Akane Tendo (天道 あかね Tendō Akane?) is the leading female and deuteragonist of Ranma ½. She is the youngest of Soun Tendo's three daughters and one of the heirs to the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts.
Akane is the Japanese word for madder, as well as the crimson dye obtained from it. It is a common Japanese female name.
Akane is the shortest of the main characters, being shorter than Ranma Saotome in his male form, but about the same height as his cursed form. She has short black hair (blue highlighted in the anime) and brown eyes. At the beginning of the series she had long hair, but after it was cut off during a fight between Ryoga Hibiki and Ranma, she kept it short for the rest of the series.
While Akane is generally shown as compassionate and helpful towards anyone in trouble, she's also a vulnerable, stubborn and very short-tempered girl. She frequently becomes angry and jealous, and is apt to hit Ranma when this happens, often a reaction to Ranma's own bad traits like his smart mouth and insensitivity, but also due to rampant paranoia and willingness to generally believe the worst of the situations she finds him in. Despite her temper, Akane has a more prominent gentle side. She has come to the aid of her rivals, even consistently feeling compassion towards or helping people who try to make her life miserable (or in the first case even kill her), like Shampoo, Happosai or Kuno. She has repeatedly expressed extreme disapproval in attacking or hurting anyone unable to defend him or herself, and refrained from striking Ranma when he was turned into a small child despite being insulted. She has also apologized for her behavior, once she has had time to cool down or learn the facts, and consistently risked her own life trying to help Ranma without a second thought, showing extreme courage in this regard given her own comparatively limited skills/increased danger. For example, she chose to use a magic paper doll to take the damage for Ranma rather than herself, when both were bitten by lethally poisonous snake-herbs/wines, effectively consciously trading her life for his, and entered the Orochi's mouth in an effort to save him from being eaten.
Most of her flaws can be attributed to insecurities about her own attractiveness, skill, or lack of traditionally feminine talents. Despite this, she seems to have an appeal to the opposite gender. Ryoga, Shinnosuke, Kuno and Gosunkugi have all been in love with her and she's considered attractive by her schoolmates, but given that she seems generally, but not consistently, oblivious to the first case and the others have largely been of a highly negative nature (constant assaults from Kuno and sports club members, general stalking from Gosunkugi) this has not served to build up her self-esteem. Her insecurity often leads her to overreact upon finding Ranma in compromising positions and to punt, repeatedly whack, stomp, or attack him with bokken, shinai, mallets, arrows, stones, tables or any other available blunt object. Ranma seldom seems injured in the following panels, but in the Reversal Jewel story, she punched him so hard into the horizon that he was in a full body cast. Although in the anime this was also due to sustaining a follow-up beating from Kuno and Ryoga.
She's also once stated a remarkable double-standard in this regard as she was burning with outrage and vowed to never forgive him if he deigned to strike her even once during her relentless assault while wearing a 'battle dougi' that greatly enhanced her fighting power. During the 'Nabiki's fiancé' arc she got upset just from overhearing an affirmation that a dejected Ranma found this treatment very taxing (though she only clobbered him after he derisively insulted her as well), so while she's remorseful about specific instances, and has gradually strengthened her restraint as the series progresses, she doesn't stop the pattern as a whole.
That said, according to Cologne, Akane confessed her true feelings under the influence of the reversal jewel. That she loves Ranma with all her heart more than anyone in the world, and is sorry for being so angry.
Akane has difficulty trying to sort out her feelings for Ranma. There are times when she is on the verge of telling him how she really feels, but this is almost always interrupted by comedic circumstances, and they return to their usual barbs and antics, but she is consistently worried when he is endangered and overjoyed when he turns up safe.
Akane does have a need for being comforted when sad or scared, but they are both usually too uncomfortable to interact in this manner. Unlike most other main female characters, she's expressed great, traditionally 'feminine', fears of ghosts or reptiles and can be extremely frightened simply from a scary story, being in a casino, or imagining Kuno raping Ranma-chan.
Despite not being as technically skilled as several other characters in martial arts, she takes pride in her legacy and position as the scion of her father's Tendo-Ryu, and never backs off from a fight or rejects a challenge.
Akane seems to get along well with people who are technically her rivals, like Ukyo and Cologne. She tends to be naive in often wishing to believe the best of everyone even when repeatedly proven to the contrary, as with Nabiki or Shampoo. The two most notable exceptions are Ranma and Kuno. In the former case attributed to her own insecurities being fueled by regular insults and the very awkward and chaotic semi-relationship, and in the latter due to intense harassment.
Ranma easily owes Akane his life several times over (though the opposite holds true as well). She is kind, helpful, self-sacrificing, forgiving and somewhat naive towards people in general, even technical enemies, being the only character in the series who can almost match Kasumi in her ordinary mood. She's also very appreciative if Ranma treats her with consideration, and is consistently worrying about, cheering him on, or going to extremes to assist him. When severely upset however, she undergoes a bipolar shift into a state of arrogant derogatory insults, unreasonable paranoia and self-righteous violence, on average treating Ranma worse than his arrogant and extremely insensitive behavior justifies, but she can just as swiftly switch back to being very kind again and make a shamefaced apology whenever she realizes a mistake. Kasumi’s initial assessment that "She's really a very sweet girl. She's just a violent maniac." has consistently held true, if usually only in Ranma's case. That said, Ranma has also been beaten up several times by his other paramours, Akane is simply around him more often. It is also more evident in the anime than in the manga.
Akane's mother died when she was very young. Perhaps because of this, she appears not to have learned many traditionally feminine skills, and her terrible cooking is a running joke during the series as nearly everything she cooks ends up making people sick, except for her curry. Akane may see her sister Kasumi as a surrogate mother figure, since she helps her with more traditionally feminine chores.
Akane grows up as a tomboy, getting into fights, acting tough, and improving her martial arts. In elementary school, her classmates thought she was so much like a boy that she was cast to play Romeo in their production of Romeo and Juliet: Akane accepts the role and plays a very cute Romeo, though deep down she always wanted to be cast as Juliet, a wish that she'll have fulfilled only years later (though she would have four different Romeos fighting for her).
At the beginning of the series Akane has a crush on Dr. Tofu Ono, who patched her up many times when she got into fights. Unfortunately for Akane, Dr. Tofu is in love with her older sister Kasumi. In an attempt to get his attention, Akane grew out her hair longer like Kasumi's. However during one of the first fights between Ranma and Ryoga, her hair is cut, a look she retains for the rest of the series.
Because of her unrequited crush on Dr. Tofu, she initially claims to hate boys. It turned out that because her original 'suitor', Tatewaki Kuno, declared that only someone who defeated her in battle would be allowed to date her, many of the strongest male athletes at Furinkan High School began to violently attack her en masses every morning. Akane always beat them all without being late for class.
When the series begins, Akane is engaged against her will to her father's friend's son, Ranma Saotome, so that the Tendo dojo and the school of the Anything Goes Martial Arts will be assured a future. At first, Ranma could have been engaged to any of the Tendo girls, but Akane's older sisters palm Ranma off on Akane. Akane's first meeting with Ranma does not go smoothly: when Akane first meets Ranma, he is in his girl form, and they have a short sparring match. But as she goes to wash off the sweat from their workout, Akane unknowingly walks in on him in the bathroom just after he's transformed back into his boy form.
Akane and Ranma often fight and insult each other. Usually, Ranma insults Akane for being a tomboy and calls her "uncute," while Akane insults Ranma for being a pervert. Despite their bickering, Ranma is always there to protect her, and Akane often helps him through his fights, or saves his life. The two are also usually seen hanging out with each other outside of school and the dojo. Ranma's arrival heralds the end of her daily morning fights shortly after he defeats Kuno, the school's best warrior, in combat. Because of this and due to learning of her engagement, her daily attackers sadly declare that they give up on her.
After Akane's hair, which she had worked hard to grow out for Dr. Tofu, was suddenly and accidentally shorn off during Ranma's battle with his rival, Ryoga, she became extremely angry and sad. Realizing this, Ranma comforted her by telling her she looked cute with short hair. After that, Akane was able to get over her feelings for Dr. Tofu (later making several attempts to help bring Kasumi and Dr. Tofu closer) and began to develop affection for Ranma, although his abrasiveness sometimes jeopardized these emotions.
The two are often seen in each others presence when they're not fighting, and often work together when trying to accomplish something. At the end of the series, Ranma admits his love for Akane. He opens his mouth wide, and thinks the words, but it is unclear if anything comes out, save her name. Regardless, Akane states that she heard him somehow, and willingly takes part in the planned surprise wedding in the final chapters of the manga. While it is evident that Soun had partially blackmailed her by warning her he had stolen Ranma's cure and would not give it to Ranma unless he and Akane were wed, she was also enthusiastic about the idea herself, though she didn't actually say this to Ranma.
Anything-Goes Martial Arts
Martial artsAs one of the heirs of the Anything Goes Martial Arts School, Akane is in good fighting form, and has excellent physical strength and agility, although she doesn't know enough to use her style as efficiently as Ranma. She is also proficient in the use of several samurai weaponry, including bokken, shinai, bō, and yumi. Among other feats, she has managed to hold her own against Tatewaki Kuno in an official kendo match while disguised as a boy, deflected Mariko Konjo's "Airborne Cutter" 'razor-batons', and used a staff to block arrows fired at her by the Phoenix People. She seemingly possesses greater skill in armed than unarmed combat.
While sometimes considered weak due to the much more incredible physical feats various other characters have performed, Akane is very clearly a strong and very gifted martial artist in her own right. During Nabiki's stint as Ranma's fiancée, she was able to instantly defeat nine of her school's strongest fighters. She has repeatedly successfully defended herself against ambushes from Kodachi Kuno, even stopping her attacks single handed or without significant effort.
She fought, while previously injured, against the Dojo Destroyer and managed to stand her ground for an extended time, but was eventually overcome. She has held her own against Kiima, avoiding the latter's "Thousand Wings of a Seabird" signature attack, and immediately barraged her foe with several sharp bamboo projectiles, despite waking up disoriented and in Jusenkyo.
Akane has also shown great agility when avoiding throngs of projectile attacks, for example from the Dojo Destroyer, Kodachi, Kiima and Mousse, and effortlessly maneuvered between the heads of the Eight Headed Orochi to seek out the moss growing on its main head.
Her most prominent achievement in the anime continuity is likely in the OVA "The One To Carry On". Here Nabiki stated that Akane had begun to mostly use martial arts as a mere exercise. However, after being defeated by Natsume and Kurumi, she trains with Ryoga's help, and later gains an advantage in her 1-on-1 fight with the somewhat unwilling Kurumi, before it is interrupted by the more intense Natsume and she is forced on the defensive again. By collaborating with the timely returning Ranma, she manages to defeat the sisters by allowing Ranma to use a revision of the Hiryu Shoten Ha to nullify the Ring of Dragon Fire while simultaneously propelling her at them as a human projectile. With this surprise attack and her own strength, she knocks both sisters out.
Akane has the potential to be a much more formidable martial artist than she presently is. While she has most likely received consistent, intense (by normal standards), training by her ever-present father, who would like her to become a very powerful martial artist, as he expresses great pride whenever she takes up martial arts challenges on her own- several other characters have seemingly trained more extensively, and she is currently only explicitly seen training alone and devotes a relatively small amount of time to it. While she does practice quite often, she does so only when not preoccupied with schoolwork, other leisure activities, or her healthy social life, and her shown training is rather formularic and repetitive: breaking cinder blocks, jogging and basic katas against practice dummies. Ukyo, Ryoga, and possibly Pantyhose Taro, are apparently almost completely self-taught while wandering the country, but the former apparently used to be, and the second is currently shown as, extremely dedicated. Ranma has been on intense training journeys with his extraordinarily proficient father since he was at most 2 years old, implicitly spending much time away from more normal activities such as school work. Shampoo has been immersed in a warrior culture, while being tutored by the greatest martial arts teacher in the series since she was small. Mousse lacks that instruction, but is a fellow product of this environment, and has apparently managed to vastly exceed Shampoo in spite of this. Thus, Akane's displayed skills are quite remarkable given the circumstances.
Like most other regular cast members Akane possesses considerable superhuman physical strength, enabling her to, even early in the series, shatter thick stone walls with one blow, or punt Ranma out of sight. Her regular level was shown as less than that of Shampoo during the "Super-Soba" story, and far less than that of Ranma in the same story, but she seems to occasionally undergo a great boost when enormously maddened, though given the oft-comedic nature of the serie and the frequent bouts of slapstick violence, it is hard to say whether any given one of these moments should be taken seriously. During the two times he's angered her most, at the end of the "Reversal Jewel" story, and during the "Battle Dougi" arc (here without the dougi), she even managed to knock out, and in the first case seriously injure Ranma by single barehanded attacks, but partially by taking him unprepared. It is at very least possible she may have the potential to become at least as physically strong as Ranma or Ryoga, but it is unknown if she will ever achieve that potential.
Beyond her fighting prowess, she is highly athletic, but - particularly early in the series - something of a klutz, which is most prominently displayed when she agrees to compete for Furinkan High in a Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics match. She practices and excels in regular aerobics, and appears to be the captain of her school’s volleyball team. She is also moderately adept at tennis and ice skating. Akane had trouble learning rhythmic gymnastics as preparation for a duel with Kodachi, but this may be more due to the complexity of the sport, the aforementioned clumsiness, and a possible lack of prior training in aerial combat rather than any real deficiency on her part. She developed a considerable amount of skill after a week of training, enough that she was able to use and juggle clubs proficiently, make graceful leaps, and use the ribbon like a whip, even though she began her training unable to catch the clubs, awkward in the air, and more likely to tangle herself in the ribbon than make it twirl.
Another display of her athletic ability is in the anime episode Gimme That Pigtail: she completely cleared the long jump and landed flat on her feet at the opposite end, even though her attention was on other matters entirely and she wasn't focused on what she was doing at all.
However, she has no aptitude whatsoever for swimming due to a number of factors, like erroneous preconceptions of the skill, ill-conceived alternate methods, outrageously unsuitable instructors, and a stated misconception that she was supposed to somehow breathe the water. The net result is that she sinks like a stone if she gets into the water, earning her the nickname "hammer-girl" (which may also be a reference to her potent musculature). In fact, her ineptitude goes beyond mere lack of practice -- she cannot even swim with the use of a rubber ring, and when she tried she in fact managed to land in the impossible position of being trapped upside down in it, with her head stuck underwater and her legs thrashing wildly in the air. Like Ryoga's issues with navigation, her lack of swimming skills almost seems more like a curse than a natural flaw in her skills.
Outside of her considerable physical skills, Akane is quite inept with just about any traditionally female task. Her notoriously horrendous cooking skills seem to stem from ill perceived natural talent, throwing in whatever is available at the time or her ill conceived ideas of what would be good in a recipe, as well as a lack of patience and finesse. In addition to this, Akane has a displayed tendency to both refuse to follow instructions (verbal or written) as to what to include, and to try and bull her way through whatever is required -- during the Mother's Recipes story, she is shown one-handedly hacking at carrots with a cleaver as fast as she can, producing oddly-cut lumps of vegetable, and also so strongly that she carves and splinters the wooden cutting board she is using, resulting in an array of wood-chips also being put into the frying pan. Similarly, in the anime version of the Martial Arts Tea Ceremony story, she is shown mixing the tea with frantic stirs, splashing it everywhere, when she offers to help Sentaro face down his grandmother. So far the only thing she has been shown to make that at least does not cause stomach pain is curry, which in itself is a very difficult meal to ruin in the first place, and even then it took much of the series for her to learn to do so (in fact, her first revelation of her terrible cooking skills was when she ruined a batch of curry she was making for Ranma, Genma and herself). Her attempts at knitting result in creating clothing with extra arms, and her first aid skills are questionable as her attempts to put Taro's arm in a sling was not sucessful.
While Akane is admittedly not injured as much as many of the other characters, most notably Ranma, Ryoga and Mousse, she seems to be less resilient against damage than them and to also have a slower rate of recovery. While angrily proving her strength to Ranma in the Dojo Destroyer arc, she destroys a wall but hurts her hand to the extent she is told to avoid using it by Dr. Tofu and then renders it all but useless with pain when she forgets this and strikes the Dojo Destroyer, and during the Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics story she badly twists or sprains her ankle by misstepping on a discarded ball and is told that she will not be recovered in time to compete in the tournament the next day. By comparison, Ranma has taken far greater damage and recovered in incredible amounts of time: for example, in the Martial Arts Figure Skating arc, he takes an impact that Mikado declares must have cracked every bone in his body, only to be fighting at full fitness several minutes later. (Actually "just" shown to have several joints out of place, so she hardly healed multiple major fractures in minutes, but even so...) However, in the Pink and Link arc, he actually does break both legs due to combination of poisoning and absorbing a massive fall while carrying four girls, and it is stated that it will just take about a week for him to recover, so this is a decent gauge.
As the youngest daughter of the Anything-Goes School of Martial Arts, and the closest in age to Ranma of the Tendo girls, she automatically gets picked to be his fiancee, which is much to her dislike because of her distaste for men. When the two first meet, she offers Ranma (who was in his female form at the time) to be friends, to which he agrees. Just for fun, she suggests a sparring match to him, which Ranma easily wins, leaving Akane in shock, though she is relieved she hasn't lost to a boy. Of course, when she finds out that Ranma is in fact truly male, she is furious, realizing that a boy actually beat her instead of a girl. Before the two completely settle their differences, they are made to go to school together, where the news of their engagement is spread throughout the student body. Akane claims to "hate boys," but when it comes to Ranma, this line seems blurred. Even from the beginning, she could be seen in fits of jealousy over Ranma and his other fiancées, risking her own well-being (sometimes even her life) to help/save Ranma, or simply displaying a contented, albeit surprised, emotion when she finds herself being held by Ranma.
Due to their passionate natures and mutual desires to not appear "weak," Ranma and Akane suffer many misunderstandings and, thus, fight a lot. However, when they are not fighting, it can be noted that Ranma and Akane, though shy about it, can talk to each other about things they don't speak of with others (such as their true views on the various engagement arcs throughout the series) and that they value the other's opinion, whether it be in combat strategies or their personal appearances.
Near the end of the manga, Akane nearly marries Ranma, but the ceremony is interrupted by two of Ranma's other fiancées, Ukyo and Shampoo, who used different gas powders to blow up the dojo where it was taking place. It is left to the reader to guess if the two ever tie the knot.
It is very unclear as to what extent Akane is aware of Ryoga's highly visible infatuation with her. He regularly brings her gifts from the widespread locations he visits during his travels. He becomes extremely flustered at even talking to her, outright affirming that he's overjoyed from even innocent "dates" between them. Even more significantly, he becomes furious and comes to her defense the very notion of anyone (especially Ranma) disrespecting or hurting her, and has helped to save her life on multiple occasions. Ryoga has also made a few embarrassed, and highly transparent, attempts to confess his love to her.
Despite all the evidence, Akane seems almost completely oblivious to his affection. During Ukyo's prolonged introduction story, she witnessed Ryoga's very emotional reaction when Ranma made him think she was holding his hand, but drew no conclusions. She adamantly protested out of genuine confusion when Nabiki suggested that the latter was actively pursuing her, in the "Fishing-Rod of Love" arc, stating that he was simply a good friend. However, she has mentioned that she considers him as kind, pure and gentle, in the "Sakura-Mochi" arc, and as much more reliable than Ranma, in the "Tunnel of Lost Love" arc, where she also wanted him to hold her hand in order to comfort and protect her from the ghosts in the cave. Given the above she generally seems to view him as a younger brother.
There have, however, been a few exceptions. Early in the manga, even Akane noticed his feelings when Shampoo's attempt to reclaim her "water proof soap(from Jusenkyo Products!)" from him had him thinking it was Akane pawing him all over(they were inside a darkened funhouse room at the time), making Ryoga overjoyed and relentlessly persistent. This terrified Akane when she realized that his overwhelming casual power might kill her through a simple hug. Afterwards she stated that whoever became his girlfriend had to be a lot sturdier than herself.
During the "Sakura Mochi" story she also, for once, actively considered him as a potential boyfriend upon noticing several "petal marks" on Ryoga's face after he ate a "true love predicting" cookie. Even then, Akane was visibly relieved when Ranma's face showed more of them, though the "petal marks" she saw were actually P-chan's hoof prints. She has also consistently been very happy for Ryoga whenever she thinks that he has managed to find a girlfriend, admitting that she has been worried about him due to his overwhelming loneliness.
Yuka and Sayuri
Yuka and Sayuri are Akane's friends. They are in her class and are always seen in her company when they show up. They both are very supportive of Akane, trying to cheer her up every time Ranma is being chased by other girls. The pair are not as interested in gossiping as Hiroshi and Daisuke, and they mostly just try to get Ranma and Akane together by dropping subtle hints in Ranma's direction.
Yuka and Sayuri are among the regular characters of who have no extraordinary physical abilities, although they do chase after Happosai along with the rest of the female students in Furinkan any time he tries to steal their underwear. In the anime they seem to know the theme song of the show.
Hikaru GosunkugiWhile Gosunkugi is deeply in love with Akane, Akane is completely oblivious to his feelings. While he often dreams of becoming Akane's significant other, she only sees him as a classmate.
Akane appears in most of the video games, and has been referenced in many books about manga and anime.
- Despite popularity with many of the male characters in the series, Akane claims to hate boys, possibly due to her initial views on them as being chauvinistic, arrogant, genderist, egotistical, perverted, deceiving etc. Some of these regards to Ranma, Kuno and Happosai and a few possible exceptions to these are Ryoga and Dr. Tofu.
- The Spring of Drowned Akane at Jusenkyo was not a pre-existing cursed spring, but was created by Kiima in order to impersonate Akane to seduce Ranma and recover the Kinjakan. As such, it does not have a Chinese name. It is unknown if the spring was sealed/destroyed afterwards, or if anyone could potentially use it.
- In the English dubbed version of the anime, Kasumi's "violent maniac" quote in reference to Akane's nature is replaced with "she's a very sweet girl, she's just a little high-spirited".
- Akane shares similar traits with Kagome Higurashi from Takahashi's subsequent series Inuyasha such as their violent tendencies towards the main protagonists as well as punishing said protagonists in one way or another should they anger them.
- In Rumiko Takahashi's subsequent manga series Inuyasha, one of Kagome Higurashi's best friends at school is also named Yuka in the anime.
- In one of Akane's dreams in Nightmare! Incense of Spring Sleep, it is revealed that she has a slight fear of Kodachi, Ukyo, and Shampoo, but this might be because of the side effects of the incense.
- Akane's hair has gotten shorter in The Ova's.
- "Ranma no baka": To Ranma.
- That's right, I hate BOYS. Hate boys, hate boys, hate boys. I REALLY HATE BOYS!
- I'll drown him in the bathtub!
- I like being angry.
- Ranma, thank you. Even if you don't mean it. GOTCHA!
- So what, who cares if I'm not cute?
- Dry up and... DIE!