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A Brief Explanation for the Anime-Uninitiated

The purpose of this section of my web page is to provide a brief explanation of anime and manga, as well as provide access to the best resource of "Ranma 1/2" information, for the few people who come to this web site and have never even heard of "anime."

I didn't want to do this. After all, "Hearts of Ice" was written for Ranma fans -- people already familiar with at least the basic premise of the popular manga/anime series. However, after having too many friends and/or family members read the first chapter, without knowing a single thing about "Ranma 1/2," or anime in general... only to then question my sanity... I thought I'd better provide a few words of explanation. :-)

Anime (pronounced ah-nee-may): The French word for animation. The term was adopted by the Japanese, and has eventually evolved to become the world-wide term for Japanese Animation specifically.

Manga (pronounced mon-ga): Japanese comic books. Unlike American comic books, manga in Japan carries very little stigma. In other words, it is not unusual to see people of both genders and of all ages reading manga in public -- and it never even occurs to them to be embarrassed.

American tourists often comment, rather incredulously, about observing seemingly rational adults -- businessmen, executives, bankers, etc. -- wearing suits and ties... and reading manga on the bullet trains.

This does not happen in America. The American Comic Collector has to hide his or her habit from their more "rational, adult" associates, lest they come under scorn for being so childish.

Why is this? I'm an English Literature major. I love to read. Hey, I even read Shakespeare for fun. I have a deep and abiding love for stories in all their forms -- stories that entertain, stories that teach, stories that stretch the boundaries of intellect, emotion, and my understanding of humanity.

And some of my favorite stories just happen to have frame-by-frame pictures and dialogue bubbles, instead of lines upon lines of text.

However, the general American perception of the adult comic collector is often (and sometimes, unfortunately enough, accurately) perceived as a stereotype, such as the one portrayed and parodied in "The Simpsons": The grossly overweight man, still suffering from post-pubescent acne and dubious hygiene habits, who lives on Twinkies and bean burritos, hasn't had a date in... hasn't had a date... and, aside from knowing the title of every single Star Trek episode in chronological order, can quote the going collectors price for the first 50 issues of "X-Men" off the top of his head. Within his own small circle of friends, this man is king, dungeon master, keeper of knowledge. To everyone else, he might as well just have "LOSER" stamped in red across his forehead.

Is it any wonder that some comic collectors hide their habit?

I myself -- a healthy, intelligent, relatively successful and conservative 27 year old woman -- have felt the repercussions of this unfortunate comic collector stereotype. After a quick sneak-in/sneak-out trip to Dr. Volt's Comics, if anyone asks me what I've got in my bag, I do *not* say, "Ooh, guess what? I just picked up the latest issues of 'No Need for Tenchi,' 'Neon Genesis Evangelion,' and 'Dragonball Z!' Oh, and that 'Maison Ikkoku' graphic novel that I ordered came in!"

Instead, I say, "Oh, just a couple of books on deconstructive theory in literature that caught my eye."

So call me a coward.

Anyway, all my posturing and hiding hasn't done me any good. My web page has transmitted my geeky "fanboy" (fangirl? fanperson? :p) status across several continents.

The jig is up. My family, friends and associates have found me out.

Yes, I am a fan of comics; of anime, manga, and specifically, Ranma 1/2. I am such a big Ranma 1/2 fan, that I have spent much of my free time (which, granted, hasn't been much) in the past two years writing a 700+ page epic, using the Ranma 1/2 characters. I'm not ashamed, and I don't apologize. I've had fun! :-) And, from the overwhelming positive reaction I've received from fellow Ranma fans, they've appreciated my efforts.

Now, enough of the self-justification. You want to read "Hearts of Ice?" Want to see exactly what kind of story my twisted mind has come up with? Cool.

Well then, there are a few things you need to know first.

However... I'm afraid I don't have the time or patience to even begin explaining the convoluted history of Ranma, his curse and the curses of the other victims of Jusenkyo, and his various fiancees, and enemies. The quickest way for you to learn the basics of Ranma 1/2 is to go to the following web page, which is part of the much larger Ranma 1/2 Library:

Once there, read the dossiers of the following characters:

Ranma Saotome
Genma Saotome
Akane Tendo
Nabiki Tendo
Kasumi Tendo
Soun Tendo
Ukyo Kuonji
Ryoga Hibiki
Dr. Tofu Ono
Tatewaki Kuno
Kodachi Kuno
Nodoka Saotome
Hinako Ninomiya

There. That should give you enough information so that you can read "Hearts of Ice" without being totally confused.

When you read it, you will probably *really* question my sanity.

Oh well. :-)

Ja ne,