So, my original blog Potato Salad Life was pretty short-lived, wasn’t it? It lasted, what, three weeks? Four? But no matter. It is a new year and I am ready to try again. Now with a new name, kanabits, and a fancy shmancy domain name to call my own.
You can expect many things (and much disappointment) from kanabits, but first on my plate is to pick up where I left off translating The Making of Ranma Rumiko Takahashi interviews included in the new Japanese editions of the manga. Today’s post contains the next three parts, and going forward I’m looking at posting interviews in sets of two. This includes after I catch up to current releases, which means this series should eventually fall into a posting schedule of roughly once every two months.
But enough rambling. Without further ado, I present to you the much delayed Parts 4, 5, and 6 of the Making of Ranma. Enjoy!
The Making of Ranma, Part 4: Happosai
The strongest and most perverted member of the School of Anything Goes Martial Arts! This time we talk about the inspiration behind Happosai, arguably one of the greatest misfortunes to befall mankind.
Such pure evil his apprentices would seal him away!
— Happosai is incredibly strong, but he’s also a massive pervert. How did you come up with such a character?
Takahashi: I thought that if he was going to be so terrible that Ranma and Akane’s fathers would bury and abandon him, he’d have to be someone along those lines. I also wanted the chance to write a story where a creature long sealed away awakens and makes a very yokai-like first appearance.
— How is a man as old as Happosai as strong as he is?
Takahashi: Because I think something happens to people as they get older. Like the way nekomata are born. And strong old people are just cool.
— Now that you mention it, there are some inexplicably strong old dudes in there series.
Takahashi: Old dudes? Who are you referring to?
— You know, like Kuno’s father.
Takahashi: Yeah, I dunno what his deal is.
— Soun and Genma are martial artists, so I get that, but….
Takahashi: There must be something about Hawaii, right?
— But moving on, Happosai appears to be amongst the strongest characters in the series.
Takahashi: That’s right. I drew Happosai and Shampoo’s great grandmother thinking it would be nice to have them as these two impenetrable fortresses of sorts. They’ve reached such a ripe age, it only seems appropriate.
— Cherry from Urusei Yatsura was like that as well.
Takahashi: Personally, I’m of the opinion that older people need to stay strong.
— There are quite a few like that in Kung Fu movies.
Takahashi: The wise Kung Fu masters.
— How old is Happosai, exactly?
Takahashi: You know, I’ve never thought about his age much.
— He showed up in a flashback scene with Cologne (Shampoo’s great grandmother) where they looked roughly the same age, so that would make him around a hundred or so.
Takashi: I suppose it would.
The Making of Ranma, Part 5: Ukyo Kuonji
Ranma’s 3rd Fiance? How did Ukyo, the surprisingly strong okonomiyaki master, come to be?
Ramen Girl Shampoo vs. Okonomiyaki Girl Ukyo!
— There’s a lot more to Ukyo than meets the eye, isn’t there?
Takahashi: Well, of course. I did dress her up in men’s clothing after all. I thought that’s how it had to be. Making her grand appearance as is wouldn’t have been any fun. She hasn’t fallen in any cursed springs, so there had to be something surprising about her.
— Where did you get the idea for her to be an Okonomiyaki shop owner?
Takahashi: Shampoo had her Chinese Ramen shop, so I thought Ukyo should do something Japanese. That’s the kind of setup I wanted to create, and because of that I chose Okonomiyaki. The fact that her spatula could also be used as a weapon didn’t hurt either.
— So you went with Okonomiyaki, as opposed to Takoyaki.
Takahashi: Right. I thought Okonomiyaki worked better. And where there is Okonomiyaki, there are also griddles, aren’t there? Those things are hot! And dangerous. Just the thought of one all fired up makes me weak in the knees.
— Ukyo seems like she’d make the perfect bride.
Takahashi: I’m assuming you are talking about her devotion to Ranma?
— Remember that time when Ranma got really weak? Ukyo told him she’d be willing to spend the rest of her life taking care of him. I thought that was sweet.
Takahashi: That’s the sort of thing that ruins men. And if those two got married, Ranma would definitely end up walking out on her.
— Even though she’s so devoted to him…
Takahashi: Well, yes. Her devotion is undeniable. But think about it. She always takes the initiative. She’s not really the type that would be okay just being by someone’s side, supporting them.
— All the Ranma girls are kind of that way.
Takahashi: Hence why it’s always such a battlefield.
— Because at the end of the day, Ranma’s a pretty cool guy.
Takahashi: On the surface, anyway. He can usually accomplish what he sets his mind to, which is a lot more than I could ever say about Ataru in Urusei Yatsura. But of course that was one goal of mine with Ranma. I wanted to write a manga where the male lead was properly cool. Well behaved girls can be quite cute too, you know. So long as they can actually behave themselves….
The Making of Ranma, Part 6: Mousse
This long haired hottie may look good in Chinese garb, but he’s actually quite pitiable. This time we ask about Mousse.
A hopeless man no stranger to cowardly deeds
— Mousse is one of the rare characters who uses weapons…concealed ones no less!
Takahashi: If we are talking weapons, Kuno has his wooden sword, and Kodachi her rhythmic gymnastics equipment. It’s not as if no one uses weapons. It’s just that, instead of someone who specializes in a certain kind of weapon, I thought I’d like to try a character who just uses a bunch of things. When I asked a martial artist about the use of concealed weapons, he said it would be a cowardly act. Because of course it would. At that point I knew that’s the kind of character I needed. It’s easy to attach a personality to cowardice, and someone like that would be willing to do anything in battle to win, which would create some really silly moments.
— He sure does use a lot of weird weapons.
Takahashi: Just like the weapons I had Shampoo use when she first appeared, I threw in some real Chinese weapons from the book I had into the mix as well.
— There’s something about ducks and concealed weapons that fits, huh?
Takahashi: Ahhh, making him a duck, yes. That may have been a nod to Wonder 3 as well.
— Tezuka’s influence is great.
Takahashi: His was a different kind of duck, though.
— Ranma and Wonder 3 have some surprising connections.
Takahashi: That might be the case, but I just thought duck wings would be the perfect place to hide concealed weapons. You could definitely hide some stuff below wings that big.
— Of course! A duck suddenly spreads its wings…
Takahashi: …and out everything comes!
— And similar to Ryoga, he’s got quite the weak point: his shortsightedness.
Takahashi: Ah, there is that too. But also, just like how when Ryoga transforms into a pig he keeps his trademark bandana, Mousse also keeps his trademark spiral glasses.
— He’s still pretty hopeless.
Takahashi: Yeah, he probably isn’t a great match for Shampoo….
You can read about nekomata and how they are born here.