Takahashi is probably the most popular female comics creator in the world. Her series have been hugely popular in Japan, spawning animated TV series and movies, and English translations (including the recent anime hit Inu-Yasha) have drawn many American fans as well. This martial arts romantic comedy, which Viz has been releasing in comics and on video for over a decade, is among her best-loved works. Teenage martial arts prodigy Ranma Saotome was promised in marriage by his father Genma to a friend's daughter. But while training in China, Ranma and his father are cursed-and now, whenever Ranma is touched by cold water, he turns into a girl, and only hot water will change him back. (Genma's curse similarly transforms him into a giant panda.) This fun and action-packed first volume (reissued in Viz's new smaller and less expensive format, with succeeding volumes to follow) introduces much of the quirky cast, including Ranma's feisty fianc?e, Akane-a martial artist herself who is none too happy about the situation-and his formidable but thick-headed antagonists Kuno and Ryoga. There's some nudity, in a non-titillating context, but the series (with 23 volumes in print and more to come) is still appropriate for teen collections, where it will be wildly popular. Older manga fans will be interested as well. Since Viz is phasing out the older, larger editions, this is recommended for all libraries that want to start collecting this popular series. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.