Monday, October 12, 2009

Bragging

Ranma is sometimes portrayed as a braggart in fan fiction; using statements such as I am the best (which incidentally I don't really like very much and find annoying when characters say that - for example Wolverine from Marvel comics saying he is the best at what he does and what he does is not very nice) and saying "Ranma Saotome doesn't lose". I can't say conclusively that Ranma has never said things of that nature in the manga, only that I do not recall him doing so (I'm almost positive he does not at least for his martial arts abilities). I do not see Ranma as a braggart; using the definition very boastful and talkative person for braggart and speaking of yourself in superlatives for boastful.

There were several instances of Ranma downplaying his skills that I can recall such as during the first volume when he (technically she) downplayed his abilities and during gym class where he did so yet again. This by Japanese culture is the proper response and it also has an added advantage for Ranma in that it leads his opponents to underestimating him. That really is not the reason though. The main reason I don't think Ranma did so is because Ranma is a very secretive person who hates talking about himself and did not talk about any of his previous battles (most things about Ranma's past we learn second hand), Akane even complains that Ranma never really tells her anything in the manga. If Ranma boasts about say beating Saffron (commonly commenting about beating a god) it would be extremely out of character, since it would be out of character for Ranma to even mention fighting him in most situations.

In the event that Ranma did once say something of that nature in the manga, I'd like to point out that the manga occasionally introduces a trait or piece of information that conflicts with other arcs; such as Ranma developing an inability to play cards which is countered by multiple other arcs in which he can. When there is a conflicting trait, I tend to discount that trait in favor of the one that has more supporting evidence as being my personal canon. This type of error is common in many works, particularly in long works written by many authors like Batman. As for the Ranma manga, it is a comedy so it uses the rule of funny, i.e. being funny is more important than being consistent. I mostly go by the manga, since I like it more than the anime and the majority of fan fiction, but I'd also like to point out that the anime and fan fiction tend to change or exaggerate character traits (not that the manga is entirely free of doing this as well) so it is also possible that people view Ranma as a braggart from the anime or just from other fan fics.

Of course it is also possible, as pointed out to me on a forum, that it stems not from anything Ranma ever said but from some of Ranma's character traits. Such as his competitive nature, dislike of losing, and belittling/underestimating other characters skills.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't really recall Ranma belittling/underestimating other characters skills often. Ranma is dead on about about most characters(Akane, Ukyo, Shampoo, the Kunos, Ryoga, Mousse...) skill, and power levels it seems most of the time.

I can only think of three people(Cologne, Taro, and Happosai) Ranma underestimated. One might add Ryu to that list, but in my book the guy just had a few neat tricks like Saffron.

Personally I think it is Ranma's casual use of super human abilities, the belief he can win, and maybe a tiny bit of trash talk once or twice in the series that make many consider Ranma a braggart/show off.

If anyone in the series is a braggart/show off it is Akane. The morning fights, the reason she wanted to learn to swim, her behavior anytime she gets a power up... It seems almost like fanfic writers transfer Akane's flaws to Ranma.

md.knopp said...

Well, in the first eight volumes, through which I have so far made it. The most glaring exception to this is during the Martial Arts Tea ceremony when he says, "I, Ranma Saotome, have never lost ANY martial arts ANYTHING contest!" Of course, he says basically the same thing during the Martial Arts Skating arc.

These are braggy. Although, they are also a rare occurrences. What needs to be kept in mind is that Ranma has two canons, anime and manga. From what I remember of the anime, Ranma is very egotistical in the anime. Also keep in mind that many of the fans writing Ranma are more likely to have seen the anime then to have read the manga, and of those that have read the manga they are likely to still consider the anime canon and meld the two rather than simply ignore the anime.

Regarding anonymous' comment about Akane being the braggart/show off. Akane hatred has clouded your judgment. You are grasping at the oddball occurrences to justify your statement while ignoring the more common instances. Akane displays a level of confidence in her abilities that is inline with what many other characters exhibit. This is necessary for a competitor. A competitor who thinks that they cannot win or are not good enough might as well go home because they have already lost. She clearly did not like the morning fights, she didn't seem to have a choice. How the heck is that bragging? As for why she wanted to learn to swim, I don't recall that arc, and her behavior any time she gets a power up isn't much different than any other character's. She acts basically the same as Mousse did when he wore the mask that made him unbeatable, or how Ryoga did when he had the mark of the god on him or how Ranma did after he got his strength back or after the super soba noodles wore off. So does she show off? Sure, just like every other character.

At the same time, she is shown in many, many instances in the manga to have a grasp of her failings and is not above asking for help to improve. Remember that even in the manga characters will at times act out of character if the story requires it. The trick is to try and separate those instances out and categorize them accordingly.

antimatterenergy said...

I had forgotten those instances, but my point still stands Ranma is not much of a braggart (he is extremely competitive though) in the manga and his saying those is spurned on by other characters comments not him bringing it up to get others to view him as being superior to them.

md.knopp said...

Oh, don't misunderstand me. I completely agree with you. I just wanted to try and point out a possibility of where some might get that idea. If of course they are looking for the odd occurrence to reinforce their already preconceived notion of what they want. Which is often what happens in cases like this. People are looking for reasons not to like Ranma.