The Ayakashi Triangle takes some of Ranma 1/2’s best images and gives them a modern twist, along with a colorful Ecchi twist.
Kodoani.com – Previously known for the classic series Black Cat and artwork for To Love Ru and Darling in the Franxx, Kentaro Yabuki’s latest work will soon make a name for itself. With an anime confirmed for release in 2023 and Volume 1 of the manga now on shelves, Ayakashi Triangle with a known formula. When a powerful yokai uses a secret jutsu on him, protagonist Matsuri is transformed into a girl. The guy and his childhood friend Suzu want to reverse it, but they go different ways. While Matsuri, a trained exorcist, wants to kill the yokai, Suzu insists on befriending it. Until a solution is found, Matsuri must adapt to her new form and continue her work.
Fans of old anime and manga will be familiar with a series that features a similar synopsis of manga legend Rumiko Takahashi. Her series, Ranma 1/2, is about a boy named Ranma, who is cursed to turn into a girl whenever he is splashed with cold water. While trying to reverse this, Ranma is expected to continue to practice martial arts and nurture her arranged marriage to the man-hating tomboy Akane. These two series have some core similarities. Both are romantic comedies that use supernatural elements to talk about gender. While Ranma 1/2 is a tamer classic that puts comedy first, Ayakashi Triangle opens the door to newer anime fans and takes it to a more perilous position.
The Ecchi Story
Both series have a certain amount of ecchi imagery in them. While this serves a similar purpose in each, they handle it differently. Some episodes of Ranma ½ contain enough to warrant a warning about adult content on Hulu but, in a grand scheme of things, Takahashi uses ecchi sparingly. The characters are in the environments it expects, such as in the hot spring scenes, and that’s just the reality of that scene. It is also used to show Ranma’s lack of shame, especially at the beginning of the series. He often walks around without a bra and gets judged for it when he’s in his girl form. As the movie progresses, he does this less often and opts for bras instead. In matters like these, Ranma’s ecchi imagery is a form of visual storytelling. The angles that show it aren’t always for the sake of fanservice, but it can happen if Ranma is using her body to try to get in his way.
Ayakashi Triangle also do the same thing. Matsuri’s ecchi images are often in similar environments. He looked at himself in the bedroom mirror and examined his new body in the bath, curious about its shape and function. However, Yabuki uses the ecchi image for more intriguing purposes, showing off every part of Matsuri’s body that he can remove. While Takahashi does the same thing in Ranma 1/2, Yabuki’s use of angle and perspective emphasizes what audiences should be looking at. He drew eyes on Matsuri’s chest, thighs, and other features just like he did with Suzu. Since the series is more sexually suggestive, this choice makes sense. In fact, it’s almost as expected of a work by Kenaro Yabuki. That said, it can be serious for people who don’t like series with content like this.
Humor about Gender Bender
Both series take humorous material from their main characters as they learn how to be a girl. Things that were once perfectly acceptable in the male body have become taboo in women, from the way they sit to the way they dress. However, the biggest difference in the description of this film is the time that each series comes out. When Ranma 1/2 was released in the 1980s, issues of gender and sexuality weren’t as talked about as they are today. The series has moments, like Ranma learning that he likes “girly” parfas or when guys give him free things because of his looks, but these explorations of gender are largely is superficial. As a result, the Ayakashi Triangle has a chance to take the themes further than Ranma 1/2 ever could.
Matsuri’s presentation of the new gender causes many problems for himself and those around him, the first of which is his childhood friend, Suzu. She has nurtured feelings for Matsuri over the years, and his new feminine form provides a key to her dream of being with him. Her feelings haven’t gone away yet, so now she questions whether their relationship is okay as they’re both girls. Another affected character is a rival claiming to be Soga, something of a cross between Kuno and Ryoga in Ranma 1/2. Soga has certain ideals about what his relationship with Matsuri should be like. However, the new form of Matsuri makes it more complicated. Not only did Matsuri not see Soga as a rival, but she also showed a passion for the female version of herself. If Matsuri gets too close, Soga will retreat due to his reaction.
It’s reasonable to assume that Ranma 1/2 has a part in inspiring Ayakashi Triangle, but Yabuki took this formula and set its own goals on it. Because of this, it will likely become a classic of the Gender Bender genre.