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Thursday, March 31, 2022 

Screen Rant's stupefying appropriation of Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma 1/2 for ideological agendas

Screen Rant's already one of the most insufferable shill-sites around for both movies and comics, and this mind-numbing article about veteran mangaka Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma 1/2 allegedly becoming a symbol for advocates of transsexuality is no exception. It's practically written using all the Orwellian absurdities we've come to expect from such advocates:
When it comes to Trans representation in the world of manga, it's a complex history, but one iconic manga has become a big symbol for the Trans community. There are certainly some bright spots to be found here and there, like in works such as The Bride Was a Boy, but most stories involving someone that fits anywhere under the Trans umbrella tend to fit under stereotypes or punchlines for jokes. However, when it comes to media that's a notable stepping stone for members of the Trans community because of its insightful Trans themes, Ranma 1/2 stands out as an inspiration.

Ranma 1/2 by acclaimed mangaka Rumiko Takahashi follows Ranma Saotome, a fighter that finds themself cursed after falling into an ancient pool where a girl drowned while training with their father. Now, whenever Ranma comes into contact with cold water, they turn into a girl while hot water reverses the process. They spend most of the series trying to find a way to stop the curse and go back to the way things were before while also navigating living with Akane, a girl that they're expected to marry. They also find themselves turning into their girl form to help solve conflicts.
Notice how they refrain from actually addressing or referencing the star as "he" or even "she" (and substituting "that" for "who" is also fishy) by replacing such terms with "they"? You could validly wonder why such PC advocates think it's such a big deal to blur the differences between sexes or erase the actual gender of the protagonist in focus, to the point they'd describe Rana as "themself", rather than as a boy subject to a magical curse that turns him into a girl.
Just from this synopsis alone, it can be clear why this series has become important for members of the Trans community. The idea of being able to willingly change genders within an instant has sparked discussions about how this can relate to Trans themes. It brings into question what someone would do with this power if they had it. Would they willingly splash themselves with cold water and never go back? It's a thought that's led to many awakenings from people still experimenting with gender identity, which is why the story has resonated with so many out members of the community.
Well as it so happens, it's more like hijacking somebody else's creation for the sake of political activism, which this whole article sadly is. Viewed in that context, it only takes away the entertainment value the whole tale was expected to have, because now, you have this whole movement that only sees what it wants to - a validation of their lifestyle/cultural practice - and isn't really lauding Ranma out of a belief it's just an enjoyable fantasy genre entry. And the whole puff piece gets worse:
This can also be applied to non-binary people, freeing Ranma 1/2's themes from being solely bound to a gender binary. When looking at Ranma's transformation as gender expression instead of identity, it opens up a wide variety of speculation at the spectrum of different gender identities. Someone could feel like neither of Ranma's expressions fit them, but other times both...or even more!

One of the more profound discussions in recent years has been whether Ranma is Trans themselves. There's actually interesting evidence in the series to prove this case. One point from a post on Tumblr made by Secret Gamer Girl is that Ranma is introduced as a girl to the family they'll be staying with in the first volume. They don't try to sneak around the back to change. They don't have a secret hot water pack to pour on them when they get inside. They just casually stay as a girl until they shower later at night. It shows a sign of comfort for Ranma, which becomes a consistent motif throughout the series. Ranma's comfortability as a girl in multiple situations that don't require them to become a girl is a clue that this is more than a curse to them. This could just be a gift in disguise for them to finally be who they are.
Again, you have to wonder why a throughly fictional character who began as a boy is suddenly the subject of bizarre queries as to whether he's literally a transsexual being. So of course, what genuine evidence is there, outside the perverse beliefs of the columnist who's floating around in fantasyland?
For anyone that wants to look into why this series has become so influential, seek out the manga! There's a reason Rumiko Takahashi is an award-winning mangaka. Every volume of the completed series is available in paperback through online retailers and is well worth the read. Ranma 1/2 is an iconic part of manga history, and it's amazing to see it become such a symbolic piece of representation for the Trans community that has helped many people when questioning their own gender.
In other words, biology is to be "questioned", and nobody born either a boy or a girl should be proud of what they are, rather, they should despise practically both genders? Uh huh. Which just compounds all that's wrong with this article - it embraces the modern leftist belief in mediocrity, leading to additionally dreadful notions like being otherwise uncreative in terms of science fiction and fantasy. Or, to pretend/literally indoctrinate into believing these notions are literally real instead of science fiction concepts. Next thing you know, we'll be told the body of humans can project lightning bolts and float around in the sky at will, just like Superman. That, alas, is the sorry state of PC environments in the USA nowadays.

And on that note, it's crucial to point out Takahashi herself made clear, in an interview with Animerica circa the early 90s, that she hadn't written the manga for political purposes:
Animerica: Since there are so few female readers in this American market, it would certainly make us and the comics industry in general very happy if Ranma ½ could increase the number of women reading comics. In my opinion, the concept of a man changing into a woman and a woman changing into a man could be taken as an effort to enlighten a male-dominated socity. After all, Ranma never knows what gender he'll be next. Did you intend this?

Takahashi: It's just that I came up with something that might be a simple, fun idea. I'm not the type who thinks in terms of societal agendas. But being a woman and recalling what kind of manga I wanted to read as a child, I just thought humans turning into animals might also be fun and marchenhaft... you know, like a fairy tale.

Animerica: So it's more that you never created the characters with a social agenda, but that they just happened to fit in with the zeitgeist?

Takahashi: Yes, in that sense, that's exactly right.
Which is exactly why the modern hijacking of this manga by ideologues is shameful. Especially when you consider it's bound to be more men doing the cultural appropriation here than women. If I'd written a comic/manga for the simple purpose of escapism, comedic or otherwise, I'd be insulted and disturbed to discover all sorts of cultish ideologues were appropriating my creations to suit some ghastly agenda, and compounding the insults by pretending it's literally realism when it's not, to say nothing of exploiting it all for ruthless indoctrination. When most sci-fi authors of yore drew up their products, they expected the audience to accept their creations for what they were - simple fantasy for the purpose of entertainment, and any political themes came second. Now, you have basket cases claiming this is entirely reality, and running the gamut of draining any and all entertainment merit out of the product and potentially discouraging many more sensible readers from taking the time to read it. Even Animerica risked going that route when they spoke of "enlightenment".

Of all the most awful agenda-driven puff pieces Screen Rant could publish, this sure tops them all. They sure must love making sci-fi and pop culture fans feel dispirited when it comes to these fantasy products.

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...so why are you a fan of Ranma 1/2 again? If anything, this manga should be a definite No-No according to Conservative general behavior.

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