April 29, 2011

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Takahashi Manga Movable Feast Guest Post: Rumiko Rummy by Megan Smith

[How about a hand for Panel Patter's first guest poster, Megan Smith!]

[Picture characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi. Fan art by Victoria Tiechman. Picture colored and edited by Megan Smith. All rights to the respective folks!]

What is there to say about Rumiko Takahashi? Well, there’s totally a lot! You could talk about her, her wonderful characters, her fans, her manga, her impact, and how I found my way into her work. But I decided to choose a topic that not many people would find the time of day to think about let alone write about.

I would like to share my appreciation before I officially begin. The biggest way I could do this was by asking my talented friend, Tori, to draw me with Ataru (far left), Godai (next to Ataru), InuYasha (next to Godai), Rinne (next to Ranma) and Ranma (far right) all together. [Editor's note: That's a cute picture!] My favorite part of Rumiko Takahashi’s world of manga is her characters. We’ve shared some pretty good times together and those characters have left such a positive impact on my heart that I don’t even second guess saying that I will stick with these guys and gals as long as I live.

Rumiko Takahashi has given Earth some of its most unforgettable manga yet, and she has back up that proves it. Shinjin Comic Taisho, two Shogakukan Manga Awards, the 1994 INKPOT, and probably even more awards from all over the world!

From the insanity that is Urusei Yatsura to the rather serious but heartwarming and breaking story of InuYasha and now to her newest addition, our unlucky ¼ shinigami, Rin-ne, Takahashi has been an inspiration for mangaka all over Japan. Who could believe that such a humble, witty, and interesting woman such as Takahashi could be behind all these famous works? Certainly not me almost five years ago, new to the world of manga and head over heels in love with my favorite show to-date, InuYasha.

When I first got into Rumiko Takahashi anime and manga, I also wanted to learn about her. Mainly because she was a female artist primarily writing for the dudes. After reading countless enjoyable interviews, there was one thing I was sure of: Takahashi seems to never truly know where her stories are going to take her.

This aspect was new to me, because, I always figured that writers had some idea (even if it was just a slight one) of where their stories were going. To top it off, there’s just something peculiar about Rumiko Takahashi that continues to keep me interested in her stories to this day. Because of this, I always try to figure out what the heck is going on in that head of hers! Over the course of the years I made observations, many insignificant and probably already made, but there is one that I realized about two years ago that I find really interesting.

It was right around Kyokai no Rinne's publication when rumor started going around about this being Rumiko Takahashi's last main work before retirement (please don’t believe this until Rumiko Takahashi has said so herself; a rumor is a rumor) because people discovered this card:

Ranma 1/2

Urusei Yatsura

Maison Ikkoku

InuYasha

Kyokai no Rinne

One-pound Gospel

That is what made me realize that Miss Takahashi is slyer than she actually seems. She has constantly stated that she has no idea where her stories take her. True that may be, but when it comes down to picking her endings, I discovered a pattern and dealt out some cards of my own.

Ranma and Urusei Yatsura have very similar endings, Maison and Ikkoku and InuYasha also share similar endings, One pound gospel had its own similar to Ranma and Urusei Yatsura ending but at the same time different end.

After making this discovery, me and my slow brain let that sink in for a while, then I finally realized Urusei Yatsura and Ranma were a series apart (Maison Ikkoku came before Ranma) and it was the same thing with InuYasha! InuYasha was separated from Maison Ikkoku by Ranma 1/2. I thought, "Wow, that is weird." Could it be that Takahashi has a legit pattern?

If this is the case, Rinne's end has been decided: running to school it is. That's my hypothesis anyway, and no hypothesis is correct until it is clearly proven. Rin-ne? He's far from being over. As a matter of fact, he's still a baby series. Knowing my luck with this mangaka though, she'll probably royally flush me by doing something totally left field and random, just to throw me off balance!