RANMA & SHAMPOO
Main Media: Anime/Manga
Shipping Type: Quasi-Canon
Ship Name: Ranma x Shampoo
Primary Moments: Episodes 15-17 of Season 1 & OVA 1
Ranma ½ is an anime rife with potential ships and is one of the few series to have concluded without any “official” pairing coming to fruition though it is heavily implied that Akane Tendo is his bride-to-be sometime in the far future. However, I am of an entirely different opinion on that and I’ll explain why… in no specific order!
Let’s start with Ranma’s, arguably, first fiancée Ukyo. I say arguably because while Genma Saotome has sold his son’s hand in marriage for less, or more, many times before and since, she is one that has refused to back down from her claim and one that holds the least amount of ground among the girls.
True, she is the “cute” fiancée, a fact even I can’t deny, but one must consider with her, and all of the girls, what kind of a life she would want with Ranma if she were to have him as a husband. Ukyo’s whole life, and even her combative style, is focused around food and for all that she is a top contender in the martial arts that is not the kind of life she wants for herself. She wants to keep on the family traditions of serving food to the masses and for all the skills Ranma has, cooking is… probably one of them but not to her level. More to the point, it would be highly likely that Ukyo would want for him to be the stay-at-home parent and while she would no doubt encourage, or even welcome, him opening a dojo and taking on students, she would not welcome the idea of him seeking to better himself by taking extended training trips away from home.
Taking aside any potential futures though… Ukyo has been and forever shall be Ranma’s friend. For all his interactions with her and for all that he considers her as the “cute” fiancée, he considers her as “one of the guys,” a truer bro than Ryoga, though considering the lost boy’s temper that’s hardly surprising. When asked directly about her feelings towards him, by the man himself no less, Ukyo is able to confess to him that she does love him… shortly before smacking him silly out of embarrassment before running off. That… while funny is really kind of sad too.
Kodachi… is insane. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Either a direct hereditary trait passed down the family line, considering her father’s own branch of madness this holds a lot of ground, or quite possibly thanks to the raising style of her father. Either way, she is no way, shape, or form an actual fiancée of Ranma’s beyond her own declarations of such. There is little in common between her and Ranma aside from her being a practitioner of martial arts gymnastics and one whom is not above using dirty tactics to win. Admittedly, Ranma’s own particular brand of martial arts follows similar trends but even he has a line that he won’t cross when it comes to foul play. That aside, Kodachi is so deep in denial that Ranma and “Ranko” are actually one and the same that she will, and has, ignored the evidence to the contrary.
Akane… is by all rights the “right” fiancée but the cons far outweigh the positives. True, hers is the oldest proposal made by Genma, though arguably it states any daughter of the Tendo family, but it was made specifically with the idea in mind that the two heirs would bring the separate schools together. The problem is that Soun didn’t really hold up his end of the bargain and Genma held his far too much. Akane is more of a straightforward brawler and has rarely won a straight up fight against a martial artist at Ranma’s level and Ranma himself was raised with the mentality that girls aren’t as strong as boys but, more to the point, to be as abrasive as possible to his opponents to get them to trip up and let their anger control them.
This leads me to Akane’s temper which, to be fair, is not the absolute worst ever seen in this type of situation but it is, rightfully, considered among the top three and with good reason. While there are plenty of times and reasons for Akane to be angry with Ranma, the extremes she goes to in displaying said anger is at such a point that frankly any kind of potential relationship they have has long since been made toxic.
Any kind of argument the two would have would resolve itself with Ranma unintentionally, or purposefully, insulting her and her striking him in retribution. While the manga ended with the two of them nearly getting married, and interrupted by the rest of the cast, the two of them have never outright stated their feelings to each other without something either stopping them or being a magical cause behind said words being spoken in the first place.
The final nail in the coffin though is the complete lack of trust that Akane has in Ranma. Rare is a moment he can spend with another girl, especially one who falls under the fiancée category, without her immediately jumping to conclusions of what he was doing and whom he was doing it with. His curse and his general attitude in and outside the fields of battle only add fuel to this proverbial fire though the first is hardly his fault and the latter… Still mostly his fault but he does try at times.
Last but not least, my own personal choice of whom I believe would be a better bride to Ranma, Shampoo of the Joketsuzoku, or Chinese Amazons. Of the girls, Shampoo is the only one that I believe capable of being Ranma’s equal, and better, in all the ways that matter. She is a warrior and a martial artist, born and raised to be such since before she could walk, just the same as Ranma, and while I doubt that most of the girls see themselves continuing their practice in combative arts, Shampoo does and would undoubtedly want Ranma to bestow upon their children the same skills.
A popular misconception of Shampoo’s tribe is that strong men are little more than breeding stock, a sentiment that Ranma himself might also share though this is far from the truth as Shampoo’s own would-be-fiancé Mousse can attest. More to the point, a number of Ranma’s strongest attacks are techniques from Shampoo’s tribe and by her ancestral matron’s own admittance, there is several more that he could learn and perhaps create on his own.
While Ranma is undoubtedly shy and frankly far from capable of admitting let alone truly understanding his own feelings towards the girls, Shampoo has no qualms in showing hers at every available opportunity, putting Ranma on edge at times simply for the fact that he has no idea how to react to such physical signs of affection as anything even remotely resembling such things were secret, or not-so-secret, attacks made by his father in the name of “training.”
While some could say that Shampoo’s sudden affection for Ranma, and reasoning behind said affection, can be based on her culture and how she was raised, one must also remember that for all that she is capable of putting a more permanent end to her rivals, something that her culture has no qualms with, she never resorts to doing so outright. Oh yes, she’ll use whatever advantage she can, be it magical or mundane, but she has yet to consider more extreme measures.
In point of fact, one particular magical artifact unintentionally used by Shampoo, is another prime example of how strong her love for Ranma is. The Reversal Jewel that, when worn upside down, turns any love and affection the wearer has for someone into a powerful hatred any like any other. Mousse himself states the degree of hatred that Shampoo displayed whilst under the effect of the Reversal Jewel is over a 100 times greater than what she has shown him and considering how frequently she can and will kick his butt, that says a heck of a lot.
The mere act of Ranma putting his hand on her shoulder out of concern, which would normally send the girl back flipping over the moon, set her into such a rage that she nearly beat him senseless before he had a chance to react and defend himself. This is the same guy who has managed to steal chestnuts out of an open fire without burning himself in order to increase his punching speed.
More to the point, for all that he is frequently declared as being hated and loathed by Akane, it was Shampoo stating as such that spurred him into trying to pursue her and renew her affections in him and for all his emotional and mental baggage that he has… Shampoo is able to not only sneak into his room undetected but has shown herself capable of being able to fall asleep on top of him with him being none the wiser and, again, we are talking about a guy who was repeatedly attacked by his father in his sleep and would and has defended himself from anything he remotely considers threatening even whilst deep asleep.
Last, but not least… Shampoo is the only one of the girls to keep showing her affection towards Ranma no matter what form he is in. That in itself puts Shampoo whole leaps and bounds ahead of the pack because as mankind is slowly starting to learn, love knows no gender. Though far from the most popular of pairings out there, there are quite a few sensibly written fanfiction out there that show how such a pairing would result, particularly in the works of “rewind gone nuts” on Fanfiction.net, specifically the story, or rather collection of stories, called Another Rainy Day in Nerima wherein Ranma, shortly after the events of the Reversal Jewel, finds himself in a magic shop and ends up purchasing a magic mirror that shows him all of the “what-could-have-beens” alongside potential futures that would have resulted in them.
There’s a fairly even split of Ukyo and Shampoo among the stories, and even one that puts Kodachi in a more sane light, alongside a few other notable one-shot girls that Ranma encountered. If not for the romance, I recommend this story for the imaginative interpretations it takes in the slightest of alterations to major, and minor, events.