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
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
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:
Dr. Tofu Ono
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. :-)