The Making of Ranma, Parts 11 and 12: The Kuno Siblings, Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo

Alas, here we are again. I’ve been neglecting this site for too long, and I’ve been sitting on this one for a few weeks (and some other un-posted stuff for even longer). Looking at this site, I’m not sure what the future holds, content-wise. Ideas for things I think I’d like to work on change frequently, and the rate at which I update is left to mood, motivation, confidence, etc. But I would like to see this particular series out to completion. Because it was my first, and because I love the series. The interviewer isn’t exactly great, but Takahashi does what she can to make reading the interviews worthwhile.

These translations come from interviews found in  Ranma 1/2 wide-ban editions Volume 11 and Volume 12, published respectively in April and May 2017.

The Making of Ranma, Part 11: Tatewaki and Kodachi Kuno

Their bodies may be normal, but they still wreak havoc on Ranma’s life! This time we ask about the Kuno siblings.

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The crazy brother and sister

— Let’s talk about the Kuno siblings.

Takahashi: How should I put this? Tatewaki is…the character who most looks like he belongs in a school setting.

— And he manages to stick around to the very end.

Takahashi:  Well, there was no reason for him not to, was there? As the series continued its publication, new characters became increasingly ridiculous. Despite being an early character, his level of crazy was able to keep up, so I put him to work until the end. Oh, and he’s also from a rich family, so that made him easy to work with.

— And Kodachi is even crazier, isn’t she?

Takahashi: I suppose, but I think the two are on similar levels. Thinking of her as the girl-type Kuno made her pretty easy to implement.

— This of course applies to Tatewaki too, but she’s beautiful until she opens her mouth.

Takahashi: All of the characters in Ranma were designed to be good looking.

— What is Tatewaki’s role in the series?

Takahashi: He is the first and most basic rival for Ranma. He’s like a good introduction, a Ranma 101-type, if you will.

— And he hasn’t fallen into a Jusenkyo spring.

Takahashi: No, he has not.

— His Kendo stances seem properly done. Did you do much research beforehand?

Takahashi: No, not at all. (laughs) I consulted a few Kendo books as I drew and that’s it. In the beginning I still wasn’t used to drawing Ranma, so honestly I think I was just trying to do things right. Though now that you mention it, perhaps it would have been better to have him use a bunch of silly stances instead.

— Kodachi’s rhythmic gymnastics seem like a goldmine for fight ideas.

Takahashi: Well, there’s so much equipment to choose from! It naturally lends itself to fighting.

— The Kuno siblings really hate each other, don’t they?

Takahashi: Of course. I can’t think of a single scene that shows them getting along.

The Making of Ranma, Part 11: Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo

This time, we confirm whether or not Ranma and Akane’s fathers are really the masters of Anything Goes Martial Arts they claim to be.

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Easily Identifiable Fathers

— How did you come up with Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo?

Takahashi: Well, they were in it from the first chapter, so more than coming from a place of inspiration, they just came about as I drew. In the manga’s opening scene, we are immediately introduced to Soun. Next, we are introduced to Genma, but in his panda form. Because it was just introduced he was coming back from China, it had to be the panda form.

— Genma’s glasses and the panda’s eyes form a nice connecting image.

Takahashi: Sure. And Soun’s design came about as a way to clearly distinguish himself from Genma. Lining these two up next to each other, I wanted people to be able to immediately tell them apart.

— One is bald, the other has long hair. An immediately recognizable distinction.

Takahashi: I wanted people to be able to tell them apart, even if seen only in silhouette.

— Are these two really that strong?

Takahashi: Well, one would ho…no, I’m sure they are. It’s just that all the other characters are so ridiculously strong that they don’t stand out much. As for Soun, he is obviously good enough to have his own dojo, so I didn’t think it would be necessary for him to justify his own strength beyond that. So yeah, I never really had him do anything that would make him appear powerful.

— On the subject of Soun, that story with Ms. Hanako was quite memorable.

Takahashi: Yeah, but that wasn’t really about strength, was it?

—No, it wasn’t, really.

Takahashi: It was about his feelings for his late wife.

— Genma and Ranma fight a number of times throughout the series.

Takahashi: Ah, yes. More than a measure of strength, those fights were meant to illustrate how Genma can outwit his son. Strength is, after all, a combination of things, and that includes strategy.

— Genma and Soun both stood up to Happosai.

Takahashi: There were pulverized immediately, though…

— But anyway, they are masters of Anything Goes Martial Arts, so they must be strong in their own ways.

Takahashi: After all, they are apprentices of the infamous Happosai. How could they not be?

And that’s it. Personally I would have preferred a single interview dedicated to each of these characters (especially Kodachi. Mention of her seems more of an afterthought than anything else), but what can you do.

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