Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ranma-onna vs Ranma-otoko



Differences directly shown in the manga
  • Girl form is shorter than male form (is in fact one of, if not, the shortest girl).
  • Is less skilled than male form Ranma. This is displayed during the battle with Mousse. Logically this makes sense Ranma had been training in his male form for his entire life and has only had the female form for a short period of time, no where near long enough to be anywhere near as good in that form as his natural form. Though the way it was displayed was not the best way of doing so. From a real life perspective neither Ranma or Mousse would use a jump kick since it is a solely offensive attack that leaves almost no defense. Takahashi does not really know much on martial arts basing it off of pop culture but a real life martial artist, even one without a lifetime of experience like Ranma of the manga has, should have compensated for reach differential, since they most likely would have fought taller people before (in the case of Ranma his father if no other person).
  • Female form Ranma is physically less tough then male Ranma. From a real world perspective this makes sense. Females skin is 25% less thick than males and females have a lower pain threshold and tolerance to pain. This is displayed in the manga during the battle with Taro, in which female Ranma afraid of rock Taro threw then turned male effortlessly shattered rock using arm that was injured. This shows that Ranma is either physically less tough as a female or Ranma is less confident in his female forms abilities and underestimates his female form, or both (personally I think it is both Ranma's female form has thrown/broken rocks in that size range and should have been able to deal with it as a female but I also think she is less tough).
  • Female Ranma is more emotional than male form Ranma. Female Ranma is more likely to cry in the manga than male Ranma is just one example. Whether this is because of different hormones or social reasons namely guys aren't supposed to show emotion is unknown.
  • People treat Ranma different depending on which form he is in. Most easily shown by how the Kuno's treat him depending on sex (namely Kodachi and Tatewaki). Though there are lesser more easily to not notice examples as well.
  • While he is female people expect him to act different than when he is male (sit differently, use female specific words, dress differently, etc.). He generally doesn't unless he is doing so for a specific purpose (tricking someone, hiding from mother, etc.) but people still do expect him to act differently depending on gender.
  • Is forced to deal with the double standards that apply to both genders. Example, has changed form to do something that was socially unacceptable for current form. As well as deal with sexist statements against both sexes example, Akane mentioning it being okay for girls to see guys nude but not for guys to see girls naked.
  • Ranma is less modest/more shameless as a female. We see female Ranma nude more often than male Ranma. Though even male Ranma has very little modesty seeing no problem walking around outside in only boxers or being nude around people.
Differences not directly shown but can be inferred from things shown in the manga using logical thought
  • Female form is not as strong as male Ranma. As far as I can recall this is not explicitly shown but females are not as physically strong as males (even in the manga) and female form Ranma has less muscle mass than male Ranma.
  • Again not explicitly shown but female form Ranma should be a slower runner than male form Ranma, shorter legs and if you look at world records males are faster runners than females.
  • Female form Ranma has less ki than male Ranma. This is not shown directly in the manga as applied to Ranma but is shown in Herb who has the same curse as Ranma does. His ki became significantly more powerful when he returned to his natural state of being male, this likely applies to Ranma as well.
  • Female form is likely more flexible than male form Ranma, though even Ranma's male form has shown extreme flexibility, girls are more flexible than guys.
  • Female form is likely better at dodging than male form Ranma since is a smaller target, reduced muscle density, and superior flexibility.
  • Each form has different sense of balance.
  • Female form may menstruate and be capable of having children (I do know Takahashi's viewpoint on this - don't think about it). There are a few points in the manga that leads to this conclusion.
  1. Ranma has had nightmares of having Kuno's children.
  2. The Musk were capable of having children with the animals cursed at Jusenkyo. They likely did not look at the gender of the animals being thrown in and from a genetic stand point the curse has to alter the cursed individual at the genetic level for any offspring to be possible.
  3. Female form is growing as shown in the bust battle arc.
  • why isn't it shown in manga -see Takahashi's view on it, Ranma may not have started menstruating yet - some people like the females in my family did not start until they were 18, stress can delay or disrupt it, and over exercising can mess up the cycle are just some of the possible reason she might not be yet.
Speculation that is neither shown or inferred by the manga at all but doesn't contradict it either
  • Ranma is probably capable of drinking more alcohol as a male since he is physically larger and because males have an extra enzyme in the stomach lining which breaks down some of the alcohol so less reaches the blood stream.
  • Female form better fine motor control because of smaller fingers and because the female brain is better organized for fine motor control of the hands.
  • Female form better sense of touch since females have more sensitive touch because of the differences in male and female skin.
  • While eating there are genetic differences in taste perception and differences in the density of taste buds on the tongues between males and females so stuff would taste different depending on sex.
  • Females tend to have a better sense of smell
  • Males tend to have a stronger sense of hearing.
The point of this post is to show that male Ranma and female Ranma are different. That while fighting in female form Ranma is at a disadvantage when compared to fighting in male form. That Ranma acts somewhat different while female (there are things he would do while female that wouldn't do as a male) and that he has to deal with societal expectations for both forms. Having said that Ranma, while female, is still Ranma. She is not going to suddenly start liking guys or act girly for no reason. Female Ranma though physically female is very much a lesbian tomboy.

Though I wrote this about Ranma, I could just as well have written about one of the other cursed characters. They to are altered physically. Though they do not act as differently while in cursed forms as opposed to normal forms as Ranma does (baring cursed forms that also alter you mentally like the Ashura curse), there is two reasons for this; we do not see them interacting in their cursed forms as often and, since their cursed forms are animals, they do not have the societal pressures/expectations put on them to act differently that Ranma does.


Anonymous said...

Can you cite examples where Nabiki or Kasumi use honorifics proper to the body after they know of Ranma's curse? All examples I've found have them refering to onna-Ranma as Ranma-kun.

Some examples: Kasumi after Akane hits Ryoga with a dumbbell. Nabiki during the wishing sword arc. Kasumi when Ranma is first introduced as a female to Picolet Chardin.

Herb's problem with his ki in female form may not have been due to it being weaker (at least not solely). It may be that the female ki is different in some manner and he did not have practice accessing it in that form.


antimatterenergy said...

I can do so but I don't have the time at the moment. Nabiki's usage of them was mainly to annoy Ranma, Kasumi was just being polite (also some of the instances are when Ranma was pretending to be a girl and they were going along with it like the time he was hiding from his mother). Also I'd have to show it in context (like Ranma's reaction) because the honorific does not always specify gender. Off the top of my head though Miss Hinako did so during the Aloha virus arc, causing Ranma to reply with who's a girl (or something similar).

Kuno for example has used -kun when talking to Akane a few times (easier found in the anime where he does so more often). After all in a business setting, women, particularly young women, may also be addressed as kun by older males of senior status.

As for -chan Ukyo uses the nickname of Ranchan for Ranma which means Ranma-chan. Pet names are often made by attaching chan to a truncated stem of a name. This implies even greater intimacy than simply attaching it to the full name. Chan continues to be used as a term of endearment, especially for girls, into adulthood, can be seen in manga by Nabiki using -chan while talking to Kuno mainly to annoy him. Parents will probably always call their daughters chan and their sons kun, though chan can be used towards boys just as easily.

As for Herb/Ranma's problem with Ki. True it maybe from not practicing in that form as much, or maybe subconsciously limiting himself, or there are several other possibilities. Likely though Ranma's ki in girl form is weaker as well for many of the same reasons. If for no other reason Ranma's ki blast are confidence based and Ranma is not as confident while a female.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not yet convinced. I am indeed aware that neither -chan nor -kun is exclusive to one gender or the other. For that matter, Genma in addition to Kuno sometimes says Akane-kun. But if you're going to say that Nabiki or Kasumi use honorifics proper to the body Ranma is in, I don't know what other evidence to present other than uses of Ranma-chan vs Ranma-kun. I also don't think it's fair to use examples where they're aiding Ranma to masquerade as a girl, since in that case they are using the reference in aid of the masquerade for the other person's benefit, and this does not necessarily correspond to how they would normally refer to Ranma in female form.


antimatterenergy said...

That's mainly why I don't have the time or rather the inclination since I would first have to show that:
1. They use different honorifics depending on form - showing examples of both forms and have to show multiple instances.
2. Show the use of the honorific in context since they have more than one possible reason. i.e. is -chan being used to show gender or as a term of endearment.
3. Show that the example is not to help him masquerade.
4. The instances are somewhat debatable and open to interpretation, while I interpret a particular instance to specify gender you may not agree.
5. It doesn't really make much difference for the overall post in general even disregarding that (if you don't want to take my word for it) the point still stands, the example used is just lacking.

Truthfully this occurs more in the anime than in the manga but does occur in the manga.

Anonymous said...

Just to tie this thread of comments off, I was curious rather than argumentative about the honorifics since my impression was otherwise and you've seen more of the original manga than I have. I fully agreed with virtually everything else you said in the original post.


FAWS said...

I'm pretty sure Nabiki and Kasumi don't use different honorifics, after the first chapter they always call him Ranma-kun.

I don't see Ranma as being afraid of the boulder, he is afraid for Akane, and we don't see whether he changes first or smashes the boulder first.
I pretty much agree with everything else.