Ranma ½ (pronounced Ranma One-Half) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from September 1987 to March 1996, with the chapters collected into 38 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. The story revolves around a teenage boy named Ranma Saotome who has trained in martial arts since early childhood. As a result of an accident during a training journey, he is cursed to become a girl when splashed with cold water, while hot water changes him back into a boy. Throughout the series Ranma seeks out a way to rid himself of his curse, while his friends, enemies and many fiancées constantly hinder and interfere.
Ranma ½ has a comedic formula and a sex-changing main character, who often willfully transforms into a girl to advance his goals. The series also contains many other characters, whose intricate relationships with each other, unusual characteristics, and eccentric personalities drive most of the stories. Although the characters and their relationships are complicated, they rarely change once they are firmly introduced and settled into the series.
Written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, Ranma ½ began publication in Weekly Shōnen Sunday issue #36 of 1987, following the ending of her series Urusei Yatsura. From September 1987 until March 1996, the manga was published on a near weekly basis with the occasional colored page to spruce up the usually black and white stories. After nearly a decade of storylines, the final chapter was published in Weekly Shōnen Sunday issue #12 of 1996. The 407 chapters were periodically collected and published by Shogakukan into a total of 38 black and white tankōbon volumes from 1988 to 1996. They were reassembled into 38 shinsōban from April 2002 to October 2003.
North American publisher Viz Media originally released Ranma ½ in a monthly comic book format that contained two chapters each from 1992 to 2003, and had the images “flipped” to read left-to-right, causing the art to be mirrored. These were periodically collected into graphic novels. On March 18, 2004, after releasing 21 volumes, Viz announced that it would reprint a number of its graphic novels. The content remained the same, but the novels moved to a smaller format with different covers and a price drop. Each volume covers roughly the same amount of material as the Japanese volumes, but retained its left-to-right format and had minor differences in grouping so that it spans 36 volumes rather than the original 38. The final volume was released in stores on November 14, 2006, thus making it Viz’s longest running manga, spanning over 13 years. At Anime Expo on July 7, 2013, Viz Media announced they would began re-releasing the manga in a format that combines two individual volumes into a single large one. With the first volume published on March 11, 2014, it marks the first time the series has been released in North America in its original right-to-left format. Madman Entertainment publishes the two-in-one version in Australasia.
Together with Spriggan, it was the first manga published in Portugal, by Texto Editora in 1995.