Defining Ryouga as a character.

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Defining Ryouga as a character.

Postby LadyRelena » Thu May 26, 2011 1:17 am

I not usually one to dredge up a dead topic (especially a topic as unpopular as this one seems to be) but recently I've been reading a lot of fics revolving around Ranma and Ryouga finally becoming real friends. It made me want to reread the manga again as a comparison.

I've been thinking a lot about Ryouga's characteristics lately so I can get an accurate depiction of his personality. In most fic's Ryouga is written as 1) A sad wandering loser who has an adorable and naive crush on Akane, 2) A miner annoyance for Ranma and co and a complete idiot, or 3) The scum of the Earth.

Now in truth, he probably has elements of all three but they seem to differ immensely depending on what arc he's in and I can never seem to get a coherent grasp of who he really is. I've also noticed that in the beginning, Ryouga seemed like a really serious no nonsense kind of guy (similar to Ryuu Cummon) but as the story goes on he starts to have these goofy quarks and ridiculously shy moments in where he becomes a gullible moron. There are times where he can be selfless like in the Ryugenzawa arc and in the OVA where he trained Akane to fight the Tendo sisters but then there are times when he's completely selfish like the Koi Rod arc and what not.

There are a few things I may have down about his canon personality but I guess I just need some extra opinions to see if they seem coherent to the canon. (and I guess this may cover some of the stuff from the old "Is Ryouga despicable" thread but it's more about nailing down his character then anything)

I truly believe that Ryouga is a very good natured guy who's just really naive and gullible for the most part. In fact, on average (or when talking to strangers,) Ryouga actually comes across as a nicer person then Ranma does because he's less likely to sound arrogant or make rude side comments (not that he hasn't, he's just less likely to do so). He's actually a lot like Akane in that respect (when involving other people) But add Ranma and Akane into the mix and suddenly Ryouga shows his ugly side: the side that's blindly vengeful and completely irrational.

However, even when Ryouga seems to be at his worst, there still seems to be some part of me that feels badly for the guy (even if only slightly). Like in the Koi Rod arc, there is no question what he did was horrible but I don't think Ryouga intended on having sex with Akane when he used it. In fact, I don't think Ryouga even has the brain capacity to think about sex at all. He's such a simple idiot that all he probably thought about was how happy in love they would be, like some fairytale ending. And when he tried to kill Ranma-chan after the Koi Mark was affecting her, he realized he couldn't do it. Even though he knew it was just Ranma, his most hated enemy, he still couldn't kill him defenseless in a dirt hole. Now granted, just because he doesn't have the intention of being/doing evil doesn't make what he does any better, but I can't see him as a despicable character either. In my opinion, a displace character is someone who intends on doing the worst thing possible and then carries it out.

Anyway, maybe I'm giving him too much credit, maybe he's more of a despicable character then I realize but I always feel that whatever Ryouga does, there always seems to be some leeway of forgiveness. Perhaps even Rumiko felt that way and hence Akari (the seemingly perfect match for him) was created.

So that's my assessment so far and I don't feel that it's much of one considering that there's much more to his character then what I just wrote.
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Re: Defining Ryouga as a character.

Postby SpaceKnight of Chaos » Thu May 26, 2011 2:16 am

If I personally had to sum up Ryoga in a single sentence, I would probably go with "well-intentioned, but childish".

Firstly, we need to make mention that Ryoga is an inherently pitable character. Because of his sense of direction, we know for a fact he has very little regular human contact, to the extent that, in the manga, Ranma is able to feign "she" is his sister by noting that he sees his parents so very rarely that they could have given birth to a dozen siblings without him knowing this. This is only made worse by the fact he has the absolutely more useless curse in the series; even Shampoo is still quick, agile and able to climb trees, while Mousse can use his projectile stockpile. Ryoga is pretty much helpless in pig form. The resultant combination means that Ryoga routinely gets put in terrifying situations. Thusly, it's easy to feel sympathy for him, though this does not neccessarily mean that Ryoga is a good person.

Ryoga means well, usually. However, he is, like all of the cast in Ranma 1/2, rather self-centered, and made worse by the fact he is controlled predominantly by his emotions. Ryoga feels more then he thinks, and that's why he swings so widely from hero to villain. When his emotions goad him towards a positive act, he is noble - but when his darker emotions hold sway, he can be ridiculously self-serving and dangerous to others. In the all the world, Ryoga's worst enemy is probably himself - his own uncontrollable impulses and immaturity. Ryoga just tends to get caught up with the flow and goes with it despite all outside reasoning, stubbornly adhering to his preconceptions.
Water, water, everywhere, and all was cursed and black!
Drowned ones cast bad spell and out come pig, girl, duck, panda!
Swirl, swirl, slithery pond, and join with magic spring!
Swirl, swirl, dirty pond, and rid the cursed sting!
Here my prayer, I beg you please!
Now turn these curses BACK!
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Re: Defining Ryouga as a character.

Postby Crescent Pulsar R » Thu May 26, 2011 4:06 am

I'm mostly ambivalent about Ryoga because he has so many fundamental similarities with a lot of the other characters, which makes his behavior rather normal by comparison. He's self-centered, to the point of self-delusion regarding certain matters. He's selfish, leading to many of his actions to being self-serving. Combine those two things and he can even come off as a psychopath/sociopath, doing things with little or no consideration for how it affects someone else, or how they would feel about it (for example: assuming he'd have Akane's affection for killing Ranma, or finding nothing wrong with forcing Akane to love him by using a magic rod). Even when he seems to be acting noble, his reasons for doing so could be suspect, seeing as it's a good way to put on a show to improve his image. For all anyone knows, his "poor me" attitude could be based on a self-important attitude, which would explain how often he gets upset over the littlest things.

What stops me from labeling him as either "good" or "bad" personality-wise is because I'm not taking him or any of the other characters seriously, which was no doubt Takahashi's intent. Otherwise, I'd hate all of the characters save for Kasumi and Dr. Tofu. However, while I'm mostly ambivalent, why I'd ultimately see him in a negative light would be to due how often he thinks with Little Ryoga, in much the same way as so many of the other male and female youths do. I find that sort of thing neither intelligent nor interesting, so it's very unlikely that I will look at those kind of characters favorably.
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Re: Defining Ryouga as a character.

Postby FriendlyEL » Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:43 pm

I view Ryoga more or less as the "rival" of Ranma, whose purpose in the series is to go from fighting with Ranma to being a reluctant ally at times. He starts out a vicious enemy of the protagonist, then progressively goes from that to someone who is trying simply to do whatever it takes to outdo them. Of course, as the story continues and they are more prevalent, we end up seeing them in a more positive or sympathetic light as a) worse baddies come in that they help against (Happosai and Ranma's multiple outer Nerinma enemies like Taro, Herb, etc.) and b) we begin to see them in their day to day life outside of being his enemy.

Last I recall, the Dragonball series was one of the main influences of Ranma 1/2, and this type of role was not an uncommon in it.
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