Once upon a time...
"There is a young martial artist, named Ranma Saotome,
Who has an [Interesting] curse.
His life is never dull,
Because this world [Revolves] around him."
- Archiv, Legacy 0f $ainTs
It started with an animè, Ranma ½.
That was nearly a decade ago. Nowadays the series is quite
unremarkable, a martial arts comedy about relationships, gross
misunderstandings, rivalries blown out of proportion, growing up and
falling in and out of love, set in a rather generic Japanese locale.
But when it first reached the shores outside Japan, it caused a
phenomenon of unprecedented heights. The creators of Ranma ½ probably
never expected such an average series to become so popular.
But it wasn't an average series. Rumiko Takahashi, the author of Ranma ½, was a writer of the heart. She showed us the darkest depths that a person's hatred can reach, as well as the dizzying heights that an individual's aspirations can soar. She gave us memorable characters, both so simple as the two-dimensional plane they inhabit, yet so complex that we can relate to them, even sympathize with. True, the stories were all comedies of various degrees of jokes, but beneath the oftentimes slapstick humor lies a serious theme, one that addresses the spirit of human nature. Although it was said that Ranma ½ was not her best work, she must have cared for her characters, which would explain why even after Volume 38 the series did not really end.
In the Internet community, there were many attempts by fans to continue, even end this monumentally popular series. Most of the fanfiction stories were less Ranma ½ and more the writer's own creations mostly geared for self-fulfillment, but several gems shine through.
It was through one of these series that I first encountered GRIT. Two years prior to that I was already a fan of Ranma ½, having seen several bootlegged copies of the TV series and owning a weathered copy of Volume 28 of the manga series, partially translated by myself, and now lost. I have even played all the Super FamiCom versions of the Ranma ½ games, all in the original Japanese (Battle Renaissance came later). I already have written several works of fiction, a few of them actually getting published in various magazines, and so stories involving Ranma ½ characters have began to form in my mind.
At that time, the GRIT community had just recently finished a major story arc. Epsilon was dead(?), the engagement ring worn by Kasumi was discovered to be the One Ring, and Akane was expecting to give birth at any time. One of the Heavensrun siblings was still "bad", and the other than U-chan (now Ueki), the Magic Knights was still as of yet unheard of. Nerima of "GRITverse" was nothing like the Nerima of Ranma ½ canon, what with orks and dwarves and kender running around, gods of various pantheons living in a run-down restaurant competing with a more popular fast-food establishment, and battles reaching the scale usually present in Dragon Ball Z.
I was intrigued. Then interested.
So after a few months of lurking, with no prior experience, I took a dive into rec.arts.anime.misc with both feet. And stayed around the pool ever since.
Unlike most other similar ventures, GRIT sets itself apart from the rest by its very nature. An open-ended script format interactive roleplaying... words fail to describe what it is, it must be experienced. Everything is open, and anyone (with certain exceptions) can join. It's over-the-top cheezy flavor and wacky sequences somehow manage to portray a deep plot full of mature symbolism. For me then as it is now, GRIT manages to continue the theme (if not the continuity or even logic) of the original series, a story about relationships, gross misunderstandings, rivalries blown out of proportion, growing up and falling in and out of love, now set in a not quite so generic Japanese locale anymore.
And so it shall remain, as I have for over four years.
Always a Ranma ½ fan,
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"There is a young martial artist, named Jingai Kanzaki.
He shares our [Fate],
For he has [No Destiny]."
- Archiv, Legacy 0f $ainTs
LAMENTATIONS: A Tale of Regret (SPOILERS)
The first GRIT chara I introduced was Jingai Kanzaki, a wandering
martial artist scholar and former Shaolin monk and candidate for the
position of Dai Lama. All his life he was trained and groomed to become
a leader, only to learn that his purpose was not to be, but to lose.
Raised as a Japanese despite his unknown heritage, his sense of pride and shame was so great, he turned his back on his brothers, not wanting to return in defeat. He misses his home in Nara, but could never return until he has forgiven himself and his weaknesses.
Jingai has no family, no past, no present, and now, no destiny. He is an outsider, in all sense of the word. (In fact, his name is a slang for "gaijin", or foreigner.) He tries to belong, but always stand out, different from the rest. Those who become his friends are outsiders in their own right, trailblazers who go their own way and rebels against the established norm. They are called by many names: Renegades, Malcontents, Psychopaths... and apparently, Nerimans.
Now Jingai walks his path alone, not knowing where it leads to or what his future is. He knows every form of martial art in existence, but was never taught even the basics in comprehending human nature, for a clinical definition and guideline of emotions do not exist in textbooks and scrolls, and ultimately he cannot understand others to the point of being gullible.
(I never expected Jingai to turn out into this angst-ridden self-pitying
whiner. He was destined for much more. As I originally intended, he would
become a hero in his own right, but I wanted for him not to fall into the
usual clichèd trap of Self-Insertion Avatars that we've seen too much of in
fanfics. Although when you look between the lines, the signs of the Fall were
already in there, even then...)
Ranma ½: Kyuudan (SIDE 1) (Pre-GRIT, circa 1992).
Slowly Jingai realizes the implications of his unique nature. He will always be an outsider, for although he can manipulate the energies of his surroundings, his very aura, the chi that is his life force, is not connected to the planet. It's as if he is a separate entity existing on the surface of the world. Finally he will doubt himself for being human if he never really was.
But what is to be human?
Jingai is currently staying as a guest in the Palace of the Musk Dynasty, located in the Restricted Zone, which was once the Tsing Hai Province in mainland China. He has recovered somewhat from his depression, and is honing his ever-increasing skills during his stay there in preparation for his return. He also realizes that he does care for his "sister" that he left behind in Japan, but will Nezumi Hatsuka accept him when he comes back?
Jingai Kanzaki's Journal
Jingai Kanzaki FAQ
Other Stuff of Interest:
(Jingai Kanzaki's Bookmarks)
What is Ki?
The Laws of Anime Physics
The Martial Arts Resource Site
The Anime Powerhouse
Japan Tourist Guide: Nara
Japanese-English Dictonary Gateway
Another Japanese-English Online Translator
KUMON PIX!!! (Yes, he's my fave chara. How did you guess? ^_^)
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PICTURE GALLERYSouth Wall
An in-depth description of MaRaMaLa's characters
I have submitted the Report as required...
- Signus, Legacy 0f $ainTs
Here are my obligatory GRIT links
In GRIT, Jingai and Nezumi lives in Apartment 7D of Mystic Manor
Visit Blade's Site to find out how to contact us...
The GRIT communications page
And here's the official GRIT Site, go ahead and check it out.
The Global Ranma Insanity Thread (GRIT)
And in case Kuno's page is down, Steve's GRITpage will do.
The Official GRIT Page
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This Page is mentioned at Masato's Anime-Manga-Launchbase:
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Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and all related characters are copyright (c) 1999 Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan, Kitty Film, Fuji TV, Viz Communications, Inc., etc. All Rights Reserved. Used without permission (and hopefully _they_ won't bother to sue such a humble homage of their work. :) The rest of this page are Copyright and TM 1997-1999 Mark Ranel M. Lambo (aka. MaRaMaLa, D' Fat Dragon Scribe). All Rights Reserved.
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