Now then, where was I in my Ranma read...
Oh. Right. Her.
Let's Talk About Shampoo.

She's kind of an ascended character in the fandom, overall; the anime adaptation in particular does a lot more with her than Takahashi ever did; I doubt she intended her big role. And this first storyline is probably going to illustrate what I mean.
That said, can anyone be *surprised* she's popular? A cute girl with this kind of strength and determination?

Ranma invoking "it's complicated" when it comes to girls, have a drink or whatever.
The storyline isn't helped by the racism, which isn't just from the translation either. But anyway, long and short of it is, Ranma and pops get cursed, go to this village with the guide from the hot springs for unexplained reasons, and there's a tournament there.
The "Chinese Amazon" translation is somewhat apt: but the Japanese, Joketsuzoku, just means "village of women heroes." The fandom has often taken the translation to mean there's a strict gender hierarchy in the village, but nope! Pure fanon.

Anyway they're all badasses.
Ranma and her dad eat the first prize. Because of course. Ranma eating corn on the cob is *adorable.*
The anime makes this a whole dramatic scene of a challenge to the first price and moments of tension.

The manga does this shit and I *laughed so hard.*
It gives more dramatic space to the aftermath, aka the bit that matters: the Joketsuzoku Kiss of Death, the silliest plot contrivance in a manga where a character will eventually learn martial arts french dining and has already had an ice skating fight match.
But of course the real point here is Shampoo's pride. It's not about ritual or law, it's purely because she's like Ranma or Ryoga or, indeed, any martial artist. It's all pride.

And after some initial anger, Akane jokes about how pretty Shampoo is to needle him. I like Akane.
Shampoo doesn't recognize Ranma because Ranma is presenting boymode. This is the main source of tension for this chapter.

Yes, *Ranma's presentation* is once again *a central plot point.* Trans readings of this thing are not difficult. So naturally Ranma defeats her again.
Page 1 of my essay "Shampoo is secretly a power bottom" basically
Soun's faces in the Manga are just the best.
There's another bit of common fanon here that what this was was a "kiss of marriage". Nope. She just wanted to kiss Ranma a lot. It is Amazon law that she must make him her husband though.

By the by, Manga version of Kasumi remais so much better than the Anime.
Akane calls off the engagement, Shampoo wants to marry boymode and kill girlmode Ranma which is THE biggest potential transgirl metaphor in this chapter by far, and Ryoga is Ryoga.

Enter next chapter, which gives us one of the best Akane exchanges ever.
And after shenanigans involving Shampoo attempting to serve pig-Ryoga to Ranma for lunch without even slaughtering the piglet first somehow (comedy, don't question it) this happens.
And, interestingly, Shampoo... doesn't kill Akane. At all.

But she did something.
Akane remembers everything except Ranma. Ranma is just a blank.

Spoilers, she got Shampooed. Literally. Memory-altering shampoo. That's why the character's name is Shampoo. This one gimmick she never uses again.

Exchibit A) for: Shampoo was meant to be a one-note gimmick.
But also, Exhibit A) for; Shampoo is just cuter Kodachi.

Think about it. Both poisoners. Neither respects any opponent and will use dirty tricks. The main difference is that Shampoo is cute. That's it. That's why she's forgiven.

Oh yeah I'm ready to be charbroiled for this one.
Akane is *the best.* Such a mean sense of humor.
Interestingly they've not actually been that violent at all, just enough to make this "conditioned reflex" joke work.

Hah. Shampoo. Conditioned reflex. I get it.
Ranma does the "smitten protagonist who can't admit it" thing every damn manga copied regardless of how story-appropriate it was after every other thing they think of fails. Akane's family is unconcerned. Before he can swim the channel (again), though, Shampoo has a deal.
Shampoo tries to use Ranma's till-that-point awkwardness with expressing attraction while in boymode against him. It backfires. Ranma isn't shy about female *bodies*. It's *expression of affection* that does it. This is, once again, a consistent theme for boymode Ranma.
And you probably think Shampoo's deal is going to be for Ranma to marry her, but...
The final chapter splash page would, from any other author, be horny. Takahashi, though? She finds the whole thing just kind of weird and amusing and pokes fun at it. She does have a lot of fun drawing Ranma, though.
Ranma is a huge dolt and takes the deal, amending it to "almost kill"...

And now the tension of the chapter goes back to gender presentation. In order to resolve this, one way or another, Ranma is going to have to essentially *come out.*

Welcome to trans reading central!
Ranma attempts to recruit Ryoga into nearly killing him but beats him up. So the two dads join in... and Akane stops them from picking on "the weakling." Because she's the best person in this series.

Ranma goes on an insult tirade, and this accidentally breaks the memory block!
Exhibit B in "Shampoo is cuter Kodachi."

She's not nice. Really. At all.
So, no longer needing the memory unblocking shampoo, and needing Shampoo off Akane's back, Ranma does the only thing... she, can.
Except with a Ranma spin on it.

Soun's hair in the middle panel *fucking kills me.*
So, let's recap: given the chance to come out to Shampoo, Ranma *deliberately chooses* to let Shampoo believe she is a *girl.*

Despite the danger she knows this presents, despite it not helping to resolve the issue of Shampoo wanting to kill her.

*this is her choice.*

But, Shampoo had fallen for Ranma, and is unable to bring herself to fulfill her obligation to kill her.

Despite now "knowing" Ranma is a girl.

That's the other thing people like Shampoo for, she's got some bi energy in her where Kodachi doesn't. *I guess.* And so she leaves.
So exits Shampoo, one-note character with a one-note gimmick... but more emotionally than Kodachi. So I suppose that is one reason to bring her back later.

As a preview of next time, here's Ranma in both forms, smiling and happy *as always*, have a trans drink and goodnight.
And next time... the second most creepy asshole in Ranma shows up.

Kuno is in like fourth place, for reference.
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