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|Aliases||P-chan, by Ranma and Akane |
Moron, Jerk, Pork butt, Pig-Boy, Fiancé, Brother, Young Master by Ranma
Charlotte, by Azusa Shiratori
Ryoga-chan, by Akari
Joe, by Anna
Stupid Piggy, by Taro
Jackass, Idiot, Sugar, by Ukyo
|Residence||Tendo Dojo (as P-chan) and Hibiki Residence (only to drop off souvenirs before wandering again)|
|Family||Mr. & Mrs. Hibiki (parents)|
Shirokuro (pet dog)
Yoiko Hibiki (apparent younger sister, later proven false)
|Curse||Human to Piglet |
No sense of direction
|Fighting Style||Mostly Self Taught|
|Love Interest||Akari Unryu (manga only) |
Female Ranma (when in disguise)
Anna (Anime only)
Ukyo Kuonji (possibly)
|Loved By||Akari Unryu (manga only) |
Anna (anime only)
A little white piglet (anime only)
Ukyo Kuonji (possibly)
|Manga debut||The Hunter|
|Anime debut||Enter Ryoga! The Eternal 'Lost Boy'|
|English VA||Michael Donovan|
Ryoga Hibiki (響 良牙 Hibiki Ryōga?) is Ranma Saotome's eternal rival, the only one he has outright stated to truly consider as such, arguably the tritagonist, and one of the most powerful fighters in the series.
The name "Ryoga" can be broken down to read as "good fang," which refers to the fact that he possesses rather prominent canines. Hibiki is translated as "to echo" or "to resound."
Ryoga stands out in the crowd due to his regularly rough appearance. His usual outfit consists of his trademark yellow and black speckled bandana (and an unknown number underneath the visible one) around his head, a yellow jumper, black trousers with yellow leg bands around the ankes and a black sash-like belt. He is sometimes shown wearing a blue T-shirt instead of his jumper. His hair, particularly the front fringe, is quite long, obscuring his bandana at the front. He also quite often carries around a black backpack and a red bamboo umbrella either tucked into straps on top of his backpack or in his hand.
Ryoga is introduced in chapter 10 of the manga, titled "The Hunter" and in episode 7 of the anime entitled "Enter Ryoga, The Eternal Lost Boy", in which he casually stops a giant boar from attacking rural villagers. He politely asked for directions to Furinkan High School, but overshot the distance by 500 kilometres south, and again shortly thereafter by 500 kilometres north. A week later, he finally managed to reach his destination and promptly attacked Ranma. The latter had to think hard to remember him, but was glad to see him when he remembered Ryoga as a friend from his old boys' school (Junior High School in the anime, High School in the manga). At first, it seemed like he simply has a grudge because the latter "ran away" from their scheduled fight, at a vacant lot located 500 yards from his own house. His bad sense of direction forced him to wander all over Japan for four days looking for his destination, while Ranma only waited three days before leaving with his father for their training trip to China. Ranma recalls the motivation as consistently beating Ryoga to the last bread at lunchtime, slowly building up the latter's resentment towards him.
Ryoga ends up a week late travelling to their next duel. During their confrontation, he discovers Ranma's curse, and the latter accidentally cuts off part of Akane's hair, by kicking away Ryoga's belt-slash, leading both boys to profusely apologise.
After another fight takes place in a rainstorm, female Ranma finds out that Ryoga tracked her to China, and concludes that the reason for his anger lies in being cursed by the springs of Jusenkyo. Ranma finds a dog on the scene which she assumes to be Ryoga and allows it into the house, while Akane finds a suspicious small black piglet in her room and tends to it. Akane tells Ranma to bathe the pig, but when he puts it the hot bath Ryoga appears. Female Ranma almost manages to convince him that he should be mad at the girl who pushed him into the spring, leading him to almost be cooked and eaten, but it turns out to have been herself, during a chase after Genma-panda, aggravating Ryoga more then ever. Akane decides to adopt the pig, naming him P-chan ("cute pig"; the "P" is actually derived from the English word "pig"), completely unaware of his dual identity and that he has become utterly enamoured with her.
Afterwards, Ryoga frequently finds himself back in Furinkan, whether to challenge Ranma, search for a cure for his Jusenkyo curse, bring pastries and gifts to Akane as awkward shows of affection, or simply become entangled in the schemes and chaos that seem to follow his rival. His antagonism towards Ranma gradually lessens with time. It starts out as a fierce rivalry, then shifts back and forth between tense competition, uneasy alliances or non-serious conflicts and, after a brief lapse, progresses to friendly enough terms to repeatedly risk his life to help Ranma. However, they remain highly competitive. Ranma himself considers Ryoga as "generally a friend" and as his only true rival/equal.
Ryoga has collaborated with Mousse on a few sparse occasions, to get a cure for themselves during the Musk arc, and considered competing together during an onsen race. He and Kuno also made two very brief team-ups against Ranma, once accidentaly when independently simultaneously entering after seeing a photograph where he kissed Akane, and for a minute during a 3-way food fight. In the anime continuity, they both attacked Ranma in the episode "Ukyo's Skirt! The Great Girly-Girl Gambit!". They also allied in the episode "Pick-a-Peck o' Happosai" and to stop Ranma and Akane from getting together in the episode "Let's Go to the Mushroom Temple". They also both beat up Ranma in the OVA "Curse of the Contrary Jewel". Regardless, Ryoga is not remotely friends with either in the manga storyline, and is on better terms with Ranma in both continuities.
Ryoga spends much of his time wandering, often depressed over having to spend so much of his time alone in the wilderness, with the slightest rain turning him into a defenceless pig at the mercy of hungry humans or animals.
His most notable characteristic is that, like his parents, and even his entire family, he has no sense of direction whatsoever. He is unable to go the right way, often sticking to the letter of any directions given to him, regardless of whether the path eventually turns. He has an inability to understand even the simplest of directions or draw any legible maps, once running the wrong way at the start of a three-legged race or getting lost in Shampoo's house for hours, looking for the exit.
This is not due to lack of motivation, however. For instance, on the way to a date, he was supposed to follow the edge of a lake, to reach a statue in plain sight directly in front of him. Instead, Ryoga follows a brook and gets lost again. In the anime, Maomolin the bakeneko possesses Ryoga and tries to lead him towards the girl he loves. However, Maomolin had as much trouble navigating as Ryoga himself even though the former was doing the thinking.
In real world terms, he would likely be classified as suffering from autistic limitation or brain damage in this area, especially in combination with his other most extreme character traits. It is also possible that his lack of direction might be some form of family curse. Another theorethical possibility is that the Hibiki family suffers from an inflamed or infected hippocampus gland, this gland being the human biologic compass, handling orientation and directional accuity along with short-term memory.
In the anime this condition is worsened by Ryoga's ability to traverse obscene distances in surprisingly little time on foot, although how he does this is unknown. When the two problems are combined, it results in Ryoga having essentially no idea where he is at any given time, which allows him to miss his destinations by insane margins. In one case, he attempted to reach Hokkaido and instead ended up in Hong Kong. Luckily, he carries a backpack, which evidently contains essentials for survival in the wild.
In the manga this is not as heavily implied to be a supernatural talent, at least not beyond his comical tendency to pop up at odd moments. He seems to need much longer travel times, and has not explicitly been seen to swiftly and randomly traverse continents under his own power. However, in his first appearance he quickly overshot Tokyo by 500 kilometres twice in a row, apparently within the span of one or two days, though no explicit reference was given. Through the aid of the (quick-travelling magical) Kinjakan, he also quickly made it all the way from Jusenkyo to Moscow and back while out to get some dumplings in Peking. His map was also once shown to contain a forest, a café, a road with a red car, the Tendo dojo, some African tribesmen, China, and France, and he once sent Akane a postcard in which the photograph displayed that he had unwittingly traversed to Hong Kong.
Ryoga's family house is within sight of Mount Fuji, where his dog Shirokuro (Checkers in the English translation) and her puppies live. However, given the Hibiki family's condition, it is usually empty. Ryoga generally leads a nomadic lifestyle, and only occasionally manages to find it. His dog, however, has no such trouble finding her way and recognises him in both human and pig forms. Ryoga and his dogs are shown to be very fond of and loyal to each other. It has been mentioned that Ranma helped to lead him home when they went to high school together.
The combination of Ryoga's poor sense of direction and his curse have regularly subjected him to imminent misery, constantly placing him lonely and lost in the wilderness, with tight food rations, or at the mercy of hungry predators. When first introduced, he is a very angry and seemingly unapproachable individual. Ryoga is very emotional, more often than not following his heart rather than his head, though he has shown capability of using strategy when he is focused or lacking distractions. He is emotionally fragile, straightforward and naive. He regularly feels depressed, which thus far has served as the source for his chi projection. He is generally shy, humble and polite, especially around women. He is often easily tricked and used by some of the more manipulative characters and turns extremely grateful, loyal and self-sacrificing for any kindness offered to him, and his compassion is just as overemotional as the rest of him, even bringing him to tears after realising that he is incapable of even trying to harm Ranma when the latter was weakened by Happosai (when trying to help him learn the Hiryu Shoten Ha to regain his strength).
A running joke is that whenever female Ranma dons a disguise, no matter how transparent, Ryoga will nonetheless be fooled. Ranma has used this to his advantage to find out about any training Ryoga has been doing, to tease him, or to torment Ryoga during any dates with Akane to destroy the latter's prospects.
Out of all of Ranma's rivals in either battle or love, Ryoga distinctively stands out as being more prominent than any of the others. Ryoga's extreme misfortunes (half of which Ranma actually legitimately directly, but unintentionally, caused through the curse, which he is not below feeling guilty about), confusion, mostly noble or chivalrous intentions (more so than any other, with the possible exception of Kumon Ryu, and sharing Ranma's and Akane's "Martial Artist's Code" to defend and definitely not intentionally bully the defenceless), in combination with having saved Ranma's or Akane's lives more times than the reverse, and consistent ability to bring his rival a very serious entertaining challenge, have also caused Ranma to respect, recurrently symphasise with, in some cases aid (such as trying to play match-maker with Ukyo or Akari), and even considers Ryoga as a friend; whereas he outright despises Happosai and Saffron, dislikes Taro, Herb, Shampoo, and Kodachi, considers Nabiki chilling, finds Kuno annoying, and seems mostly ambivalent about Ryu after settling their business or Mousse towards the end of the series. Their relationship is very complex and malleable, shifting between friends or fierce rivals, but are shown to make a very good team once they have set their bickering aside, usually in cases where they face extremelly powerfull enemies, such as Pantyhose Taro, Herb, the Yamata-No-Orochi, or Saffron; and by simply comparing them on the paper their different strengths do balance each other well. The two apparently eventually develop somewhat of a substitute strong brotherly rivalry towards each other, similarly to how Ranma seems to view Ukyo and Kasumi as platonic friendly acquaintances or possibly sort-of sisters.
Ryoga's lonely wanderings make him rather desperate for affection, to the point where a hug as Akane's pet P-Chan was his only way to get any kind of warm human contact, and he has been overjoyed when snuggled like a teddy bear or kissed on his snout. However, he generally does not seem remotely lecherous, and will become heavily embarrassed simply from daydreaming about innocent dates or holding hands. When possessed by an Oni, the most evil thing he could conceptualise was peeking on Akane in the bath, and he was utterly mortified in shame afterwards. Even being hugged by Akane can cause the shy Ryoga to nosebleed and faint. He wouldn't enter the girls locker room together with Ranma even though they believed there was a Jusenkyo cure within, until Ranma threw him in and he quickly turned the opposite way of the girls changing. P-Chan is frequently present when the Tendo/Saotome families are talking or are involved in something, sometimes sitting in Akane's lap. Ranma, Genma, and Happosai all know of Ryoga's curse, but apparently don't consider it a problem. Cologne, Shampoo, Mousse, Soun, and several minor characters also know about the curse, but as one of the series running gags, Akane never figures it out.
His piglet form tends to more openly show when he is sad or needs comfort. The curse may also be age-specific, given that it was unchanged when he was turned into a child by the "mushrooms of time".
Ranma has mostly been shown as very considerate regarding Ryoga's curse, likely because he was the one who caused it, sheer sympathy, and possibly due to a silent "warrior's code" vow to the dog that he initially thought was Ryoga. While Ranma was initially willing to threaten to expose Ryoga's secret to Akane, he eventually finds out that Ryoga sees himself as Akane's protector even in his near defenceless P-chan form and endures her regularly violent nightly movements to keep her safe and happy, and helped to save her from drowning even in this state. He has generally tried to keep Ryoga's curse a secret from Akane ever since, through such actions as catching him when he is about to fall into water, switching Akane's head in another direction, and making up excuses and explanations. He became sad for his rival when it seemed like Akane had found out (when he saw Ryoga's headband in her hands, which is indeed the same as the handkerchief tied around P-chan's neck), and tried to explain that "Ryoga never meant to hurt you", when actually "P-chan" had run away from Akane and left his bandanna behind. Though he still likes to tease Ryoga about it in their ongoing banter and sometimes makes blunders, like when honestly trying to convince Taro that it is possible to live with a curse through support from Ryoga, without considering that Akane was near. However he also sometimes teases or plays with the piglet, even juggling it with his feet, which can make him attempt to beat it after it bites his hand in retaliation.
The one moment when Ryoga was shown as slightly lecherous occurred close to the end of the manga. When turned into a young child, and Ranma presented him to Akane, he was hugged and very bashfully accepted her offer to sit in her knee. When she offered to bring "Ryoga's brother" into the bath with her, he initially protested but then reconsidered, before being stopped by Ranma, going strongly contrary to his characterisation in all previous appearances, possibly explained by having loosened up somewhat due to meeting Akari. Turning this more interesting is that Akane wasn't the least bit upset when she found out, making it questionable whether she would mind learning about the P-Chan curse, given that nothing nearly as serious ever occurred with the piglet.
Good and Bad MomentsEdit
Despite his flaws and occasional lapses, Ryoga is generally portrayed as an honourable individual. A prime example occurred during the time Happosai had weakened Ranma with moxibustion. Ranma's other rivals took advantage by attacking him, but Ryoga saved him from their assault. In fact, he was saddened by the loss of his rival and helped him to regain his strength. Unlike Mousse and Shampoo, Ryoga also had no duplicitous intentions when assisting in the battle against Taro and saved him/her from drowning even though he was in piglet form. He likewise risked himself to help Ranma against the Musk Dynasty, by saving Ranma from being killed by Herb, and entering a closing chasm to unlock her/his curse. Although originally, he only intended to help Mousse and himself. Further, he helped rescue Akane from the Yamata-No-Orochi, In the concluding arc, he saved Ranma from being eaten alive by Saffron, king of the Phoenix People, and later threw large rocks into their aerial battle, when he realised that Saffron could not withstand hard impacts. Ryoga is fiercely proud and brave. Even in completely outmatched piglet form he has stood up to Ranma, Happosai, Lime and Mint, regardless if he would take a severe beating, and he cannot stand the thought of being seen as weak by Akane.
Ryoga's worst lapse in behaviour occurred during and immediately following, the infamous "Fishing rod of love" story. He here tried out a magic fishing rod that he did not truly believe in, to gain the love of Akane, although he accidentally snared Ranma instead. When Ranma turned murderously jealous and possessive, Ryoga decided to kill his rival out of desperation, but couldn't force himself to go through with it until Ranma made him furious through a kiss on the cheek. After Akane became involved, Ranma furiously attacked her and attempted to snare Ryoga with the rod. Ryoga confronted the insane Ranma to save Akane, managed to win, and accidentally freed his rival from the spell.
Ryoga's heroic moment was destroyed when he attempted to hug and confess to Akane, but grabbed Ranma instead. This humiliation left Akane to believe that he deliberately tried to gain Ranma's love and "couldn't understand him", while Ranma viewed Ryoga with disgust and suspicion. Mitigating the former, Ryoga had immediately reconsidered his actions directly after the failed attempt, and apparently learned his lesson, since he later helped to discourage Mousse from taking advantage of his chance to enforce Shampoo's love with an imprinting egg.
Directly following this incident, unlike with Taro, Ryoga initially had no intentions to help Ranma find a cure during the Musk arc, and knocked her out from behind to retrieve it for Mousse and himself. After Ranma returned his betrayal with assistance, Ryoga more than paid for the favour, by first saving Ranma’s life from a killing strike, and then putting severe risk on his own by entering a closing chasm to unlock the latter's curse. Afterwards he turned back into a reliable ally in times of crisis.
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 at 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. Perhaps the most transparent of these attempts was during the "Miraculous Soap" short story, in which Ryoga finds the courage to confess his feelings after using a soap (which ended up in his hands after Shampoo lost it) which would nullify his Jusenkyo curse (as a matter of fact, the soap itself was a product from Jusenkyo). However, Ryoga only managed to scare Akane off with his lack of control, as he kept on destroying everything before him while chasing after her.
His attempts at expressing his love often times fail either due to him losing courage at the last moment or Akane missing any hints and implications provided to her, if there are any signs that are apparent enough (such as Ryoga's love letters) they are usually destroyed or made illegible at the last moment.
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 more honest, sincere, and 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 clearly noticed his feelings when Shampoo's "remote-control acupressure" made her charm Ryoga, making him overjoyed and relentlessly persistent. This ultimately terrified her when she realized that his overwhelming casual power might kill her through a simple hug. She afterwards 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 hoofprints. 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.
In the episode Ryoga, Run Into the Sunset, he fell in love with girl named Anna who loved him as well. During this episode, Ryoga was questioning weither or not he should stay and be with Anna or return to Akane. While he thinks about this, he and Anna drift closer to each other and he saves her life when she was kidnapped. When he saved her Anna runs up to him and they hug. But, soon he realizes that he still loves Akane and returns to her.
Late in the manga Ryoga meets a girl named Akari Unryu whose family runs a dojo dedicated to training massive "sumo pigs". By accidentally defeating her strongest pig, Katsunishiki, Ryoga became Akari's betrothed by the decree of her grandfather.
Akari is a sweet girl who loves Ryoga, although she is initially unaware of his curse, and when she tries to compliment him through comparisons with pigs (which she cherishes above everything), he takes it as a grave insult. Ryoga despises his curse and thinks it makes him pathetic and inferior, which is one of the main reasons he has trouble sharing his feelings with Akane. In the end, Akari finds out about his condition, which only makes her adore him even more. This further complicates Ryoga's life, since he is initially indecisive about her and Akane and once tried to court both of them at the same time. Towards the end of the series he seems mostly focused on dating Akari, but during the Saffron arc, he adds Akane's photo (purchased from Nabiki) into a holder, which also has Akari's picture. After Ryoga accidentally loses them during one of their initial skirmishes with Saffron, he is desperate to reclaim them, to the point of falling into a deep fissure. At the end of the manga, Ryoga appears content to let Akane wed Ranma without interrupting, until he gets lost and accidentally winds up at the reception anyway.
Ryoga's love triangle seems to be the only one that Rumiko Takahashi attempted to amend, some fans have speculated that this is due to sympathising with him, since he loved Akane in a comparatively innocent, non-lecherous way.
In the German translation of the "Memorial Book", Ryoga and Akari are described as feeling reciprocal "great attraction" towards one another, while he only felt "lingering affection" for Akane. In this respect Ryoga seems to have received a more conclusive ending than most of the main characters, since the others were still caught up in the usual romantic entanglements and complications. His rivalry for Akane is gone and he has met his seemingly perfect match, but his direction sense and remaining curse naturally still complicate matters.
Ryoga and Ukyo as a couple are joked about in both continuities, but somewhat more so in the anime (likely due to the fact Akari was never introduced in this continuity). However, this pairing seems unlikely at best. She has bluntly and abrasively reiterated her derision towards his lack of judgement, direction sense and shyness/"cowardice", followed by hard whacks of her battle spatula. Ryoga also tends to be infatuated with girls who are consistently gentle with his feelings. They seemed even more antipathetic towards one another after being forcefully separated by the ghosts in the "Tunnel of Lost Love", possibly due to the previously referred "break-up curse", alternately simply due to blaming one another.
Regardless, they never cooperate, or speak, again in the manga. In their one real interaction in the anime after the Tunnel of Love story (the "Nihao My Concubine" movie) they were both quite hostile towards each other. Ryoga was initially uninterested in helping Ukyo to vanquish her unwanted paramour Sarutoru, the monkey man, who was courting her at a dinner table, turning to leave until she pointed out that his lack of direction-sense meant that he needed her help to find Akane. It was only then that he was willing to fight Sarutoru, and defeats the latters with a Shi Shi Hokodan blast, whereupon Ukyo seems thankful and leads him away.
A surprising number of (female?) fans consider Ryoga as the character who "deserves" Ranma most/is the best romantic prospect. This is due to Ryoga being the most noble and chivalrous of all the rivals, sharing a similar heroic "Warrior Code" and interests, having complementing strengths, and recurrently coming to Ranma's aid, such as during the "Weakness Moxibustion"/"Hiryu Shoten Ha" storyarc when all of Ranma's other rivals took full advantage of his weakened state, whereas Ryoga not only couldn't bring himself to attack the weakened opponent, but felt heartbroken for losing his worthy rival, protected him from the cowardly assault, and helped Ranma to regain his strength. However, the major problem here is that both of them are very straight, and were stated outright to find the idea of a relationship with the heated (antagonistic brotherly) rival particularly distasteful. For example when a mirror copy of Ranma's female form kisses Ryoga on the cheek, he freezes up and feels "soiled"; and in another instance Ryoga attempts to confess his love for Akane, but accidentally embraces female Ranma instead, causing Ryoga to get paralyzed from the shock, while a ballistic Ranma repeatedly stomps on him at the ground, and Ranma later grumpily states that if Ryoga ever says that again he would hurt him even worse. Hence, it would be extremely out of character, but if someone wants to insert a fully female sister or mirror-clone with very similar personality then it actually does make sense that they should get along quite well.
Powers & AbilitiesEdit
Fighting-skill: Ryoga is an exceptionally proficient martial artist, roughly comparable to Ranma, whom he has defeated or fought to a draw on many occasions, especially during shorter or off-screen battles, having triumphed roughly twice as many times as the opposite if these are included (times of outside enhancements or enfeeblements discluded), occasionally in seconds when sufficiently upset or similarly motivated, but also had a great disadvantage when the latter was far more focused while Ryoga was extremely flustered, so it seems to depend on how determined and levelheaded each is at the time. Regardless, Ranma usually manages to win the final round of major climax situation "events" through applying superior strategy (as in the Bakusai Tenketsu arc), alternately a combination of distractions and cheap shots after a series of constant legitimate defeats (in the Shishi Hokodan story). Unlike most cast members, Ryoga seems to be mostly self-taught, with immense natural talent, and relentless hard training as his only mentors. When staying focused and keeping his emotions in control he proved efficient enough to simultaneously parry, disarm, and effortlessly overwhelm Kuno, Mousse, Principal Kuno, and Gosunkugi in around a second (when protecting the moxibustion-weakened Ranma), it should be noted though that Mousse was probably the only formidable opponent.
Physical Power: Under regular circumstances he appears to be a few times physically stronger than Ranma. In the manga they have never outright competed in this area, since both tends to rely on skill and special techniques, although in the anime he did effortlessly throw male Ranma to the ground when the latter attempted to grapple.
Ryoga's greatest explicit feat happened during their ice skating competition. When supremely motivated, Ryoga here moved two enormous buoying blocks of ice (to catch/stop Mikado Sanzenin) and far more impressively was shown to hurl at least one of them, with an approximated weight of around 400 metric tons, across the length of an ice rink, by using the arm he previously gripped it in. He here used Ranma's head as a brace not to fall into the water, but the latter nonetheless supported the pressure from the floating slabs. Although, to throw the weight such a great distance would take at least some dozen times the effort from simply lifting it. Like with his chi-generation, it seems to undergo a boost depending on his emotional state, beyond his general conscious level, and (much like most "Ranmaverse" fighters) the force of this seems to be his general power-source, but he has seemingly never used his full capacity to directly empower his physical traits, indirect and dispersed usage of which has been shown to eclipse even Lime in terms of raw power.
Further comparative references include that Ranma broke his legs from the effort of supporting a 50-100-metre fall, while carrying four girls. Then again, the latter likely remained severely weakened from poison at the time, so his peak effort should be greatly multiplied. Ranma also proved unable to get out when trapped under a 90-100 tonne large iron bell, without handicaps, but he wasn’t significantly motivated, and had no hold for his hands to grip.
Female Ranma seemingly effortlessly pushed a roughly 40-tonne boulder into the mouth of the Yamata-No-Orochi while swimming underwater, when supremely determined to save Akane from being eaten. Also, when under the influence of a magic incense a simple hug from Ryoga almost crushed male Ranma's ribs. Other hints in this vein include that even a casual Ryoga seemed overwhelmingly stronger when Ranma pretended to be his "sister", to the extent of literally effortlessly repeatedly handling her like a small baby, after which she was physically exhausted from the unconscious abuse, and including toppling over and almost knocking her out with a playful finger jab to her forehead (traditionally used to admonish small children). Ranma was in female form at the time, but nevertheless, the difference in muscle strength between an average man and woman is not remotely of this degree. Akane was terrified of his casual power, while she has not reacted this way towards Ranma, though some would obviously argue that Ranma may simply have better conscious muscle control.
Takahashi has mentioned in an interview that the reason for his great power lies in his constant harsh hiking life.
He was also the chosen counterpart for Lime, but that actually is less important, as this seemed more like a case of the most pronounced ability, or best adaption to handle an opponent. (Herb needed someone who could adapt and goad him to commit mistakes; Lime needed someone with great power output and sufficient speed to stay out of his reach; Mint someone who could compensate for the disadvantage in speed with multiple attacks at once.)
Striking Force: Other displays of strength include completely shattering a roughly 7m-diameter, solid bedrock platform simply by prostrating on it, and punching Ranma so hard that the latter made a 4 m diameter, at least 0.5 m deep, indentation in a mountain.
As more minor general examples, Ryoga is regularly displayed to unintentionally destroy things when his mind wanders, such as concrete powerlines, trees, poking holes (usually doodles) in the ground, concrete walls, or solid rock with a finger when embarrassed (not to be confused with the Bakusai Tenketsu), crushes whatever he is holding in his hand if angered, such as a spoon, phone hand set, telephone poles, stone pillars, etcetera; and even before receiving the Bakusai Tenketsu training he was more than capable of running straight through the walls and furniture of an entire building without noticing.
Endurance: Ryoga also appears to have greater durability, honed through years of training in the mountains and boosted through Cologne's Breaking Point Training. Though the possibility exists that it is simply a more overstated trait than for his counterpart. He has been repeatedly struck with dense heavy objects, fallen hundreds of meters into solid rock, been covered in a rockslide, and even been caught in a closing chasm, without any damage whatsoever, and emerged ready to fight on. He was unfazed by a full force blow from Taro's monster form, while a similar effort rendered female Ranma unable to continue fighting. But she was also struck through a wall and in a state of confusion about the latter's transformation. Male Ranma was only briefly stunned on another occasion, when not restrained by these limitations. Ryoga was only slightly discomforted from hundreds of Ranma's punches landed in less than a second, but repeated efforts, and putting both of them in freefall, presumably giving the latter an opportunity to instead land thousands of punches, all instances directed at the same spot, together managed to knock him out. He apparently even stayed unharmed after he and Ranma were hit dead-centre by Happosai's smaller Happo-Daikarin,, which are capable of knocking out Taro-monster in a single strike, while his rival was rendered unconscious, although the force greatly varies from occasion to occasion.
Speed: While initially an even match, Ranma briefly gained a severe advantage in swiftness and skill after undergoing a power-up at Cologne's hands, but Ryoga quickly catches up in these areas as the manga progresses. By the time of the "Weakness Moxibustion" storyarc, he is able to simultaneously parry, disarm and beat up Mousse, Tatewaki, Principal Kuno, and Gosunkugi in under a second. He likewise proved to be swifter than Mousse some volumes later, during an onsen race battle, where he avoided all the latter's attacks. Additionally, when Ranma is turned murderously jealous by a magic koi mark, Ryoga manages to narrowly avoid and parry the latter’s "Amaguriken"-training enhanced supersonic barrage, and later eventually best his rival. In battle with the considerably physically stronger and durable Lime, he easily managed to stay out of his opponent's grasp until Mint's interruption. In the final story, he managed to effortlessly parry all of Genma-panda's strikes, while looking in another direction.
Development: While he has occasionally thrown roughly large boulders a considerable distance, Ryoga has not shown explicit feats of greater physical power than the ice-boulder throwing (roughly equivalent exertion to 20.000 tonnes "bench press" range, although it may be greater) later in the series. However he did improve his strength enough to stand up to Lime, who has an upper maximum of over 100.000 tonnes. More noticeably, Ryoga seems to turn into a more balanced fighter, greatly increasing his shown speed, skill, versatility and durability. Near the end of the manga the author spoofs their relationship by portraying Ranma and Ryoga as two constantly feuding and completely evenly matched children, not counting Ryoga's more powerful and dependable force-blasts, which gave him a certain edge.
Potential: In both the manga and anime series Ryoga once helped a starving martial arts calligraphist by sharing his food. As thanks the latter bestowed the "mark of the battling god" on his belly, bringing forth a fighter's full power. Under this influence Ryoga temporarily became the, by far, most formidable character ever shown in the series, and was literally capable of casually defeating Ranma with his pinkie finger, or without noticing when tied up, blindfolded and shackled to the floor. Even his piglet form was overwhelmingly superior, capable of effortlessly beating Ranma with a single strike. However, unlike Akane's battle-dougi it is uncertain whether or not this was intended as an indication of his full potential or if it was a source of power; as it is described as working by tapping into a strength-modulating energy center below the bellybutton.
Anime differences: In the anime continuity, a number of Ryoga's greater displays of strength, most notably the ice-boulder throwing, casual stone-platform shattering, and unthinking abuse of "Yoiko", were edited out, and Ryoga was occasionally used as swift "demonstration-prey" for comparatively lacking adversaries - although the ones that actually won were ones that made use of extremely bizarre fighting styles and dirty tricks, such as Copycat Ken (able to perfectly replicate Ryoga's physical capabilities and form); or Natsume & Kurumi, who were ambushing him two to one, and were later shown to be skilled enough to defeat Ranma upfront. The overall effect is that the anime gives the implication of Ryoga being considerably less of a threat than the manga does. However, towards the end of the series this apparently changed, as after receiving training from Genma he was shown as dead even with Ranma in terms of fighting skill directly afterwards. At the end of this episode, after finding out that he had been lied to and manipulated, Ryoga struck Genma so hard that the shockwave caused an earthquake across the neighbourhood. However, in an earlier episode, when Ranma attempted a direct grapple attack, Ryoga effortlessly overcame his strength and threw him to the ground, so he apparently remained physically stronger.
Attitude to combat: Ryoga's fighting philosophy is similar to Ranma's own, in that he accumulates a wide range of varied of martial styles and techniques that he picks up on his travels, uses what works, discards what doesn't, and then moulds it into his own unique style. Some fanon speculates that he began learning martial arts as a necessary survival skill considering the extended times of isolation he has had to spend in the wilderness, presumably starting when he was small, although he was already a good match for Ranma while they were in Junior School, and Ryoga apparently didn't spend as much time lost back then.
Unlike Ranma, Ryoga is mostly self-trained, as he is not able to willingly direct himself towards specific locations, but he is usually glad to accept training from any sensei that he happens to encounter during his journeys, including Cologne, whoever taught him about Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics, and the nameless engineer who taught him the Shishi Hokodan. In the anime, he was also trained by Genma Saotome and quickly increased his skill level.
Ryoga occasionally uses large bulky objects as improvised weaponry, but has no greater tendency to do so than Ranma himself. Ryoga has a greater tendency to use his unnaturally dense umbrella as a weapon early in the series, but primarily fights unarmed with his hands and feet, and occasionally his ridiculous supply of razor sharp leopard bandana projectiles, or his sword-like belt, which is easily capable of cutting through steel or trees.
Although Ryoga is exceptionally skilled, quick, and flexible, with extreme reflexes, he has a tendency to plow ahead without thinking when sufficiently provoked, depressed, angered, or excited, and the ability to intentionally induce this is also easily Ranma's biggest tactical advantage in their battles.
After just learning a new technique, Ryoga, like Ranma himself, has a tendency to overfocus on it rather than using his full arsenal, or more pragmatically; the plot style of the manga tends to demand it from each of them.
In the later parts of the series Ryoga apparently has a more honourable, or at least upfront, attitude to combat than Ranma himself, as he will showcase his new skills before a major battle, and is less prone to using "look behind you!" distraction followed by a "boulder to the head" cheap shots, but also stated to Lime that he has learned to be more underhanded and tricky from fighting with his rival, was willing to use Ranma's favourite tactic ("Oh look! Topless women!" -> "Boulder to the head!") in their second "fight", and just before meeting Akari he took down Ranma by using a banana peel when the latter was momentarily distracted, so the giant pig Katsunishiki fell down on him...
Limitations: Ryoga seems far more vulnerable if he is distracted and his guard is completely down, so his durability may be bolstered by active chi-infusion. Lime was able to almost beat him in one full-force blow by taking advantage of such an opportunity, after Mint tumbled at Ryoga’s back from behind, and the latter became angered at Mousse for not keeping his fight contained. He has also been knocked out by an unexpected staff blow to the larynx from Mousse, while completely focused on Ranma, who has likewise managed this feat. For example by showing Ryoga Ukyo's breasts, paralysing him from embarrassment, and then kicking him through the school wall, or by hitting the embarrassed Ryoga's head with a stone pillar from behind, when the latter's eyes were closed, since he was tricked by Shampoo into believing he would get a kiss from Akane. However, Ryoga is able to far more easily handle Lime, who is even more durable than himself, in the same manner, whereas both are much harder to damage when prepared.
Ryoga's easily triggered piglet curse is an immense potential handicap should an opponent choose to use it against him, although the possibility to shield himself from water streams is also the displayed reason that Ryoga incorporated the seemingly awkward, but surprisingly effective combat-umbrella into his style in the first place.
When in cursed form he retains his incredibly swiftness and agility, but has massively reduced strength and mass, being reduced to biting attacks, barraging strikes with his hooves, or rebounding off walls to increase his speed and momentum before launching at his opponent, but he seems to retain some of his formidable durability (such as withstanding being hit with a flying tournament bell), although in the early anime he was shown to be constantly fearing for his life due to being hunted by predators, so it is hardly consistent.
Hidden Depths: In the anime, Ryoga has been portrayed as a beautiful calligraphist, and in either continuity, he occasionally quotes poetry appropriate to the situation, so he apparently has artistic talent. He also seems to get along very well with household pet animals.
Minor controversy: There is a slight debate amidst the fans as to how the two rivals compare in different areas, or in total. Farfetched rationalisations are commonplace, and given that Ranma is the main character, the advantages that he is legitimately outright shown or very strongly implied to possess: speed, acrobatics, self-control, and adaptive strategy, tend to go more unchallenged compared to those similarly shown outright or very strongly implied for Ryoga: physical strength, durability, and chi-generation. (Comparative accuracy, skill level, and learning ability, have roughly as strong argument for either one.) However, there is no actual need for it. Word of God on the matter can be seen in the final Takahashi manga arc featuring the two, wherein she spoofed their relationship by portraying them as constantly feuding completely evenly matched children; she intended them to be just that, with every area advantage taken into account. In short, the two fighters are so near exactly equal in the long run that the differences are irrelevant.
Ryoga has learned a number of techniques from a variety of sources, mixing and matching them freely in battle.
Iron Cloth (Fanon, but: 鉄布 - Tetsu Nuno): Ryoga seems to have a never-ending supply of his trademark bandannas, using them as razor sharp missiles, and can even turn his belt into a blade capable of easily cutting through a tree, or a steel pole, with a single slash. These attacks are assumed to be possible by Ryoga channelling his Chi into them, vastly enforcing the tensile strength and cutting edge of the fabrics. His umbrella is unusually resistant, but Ryoga easily wields it with one hand to deadly effect and increased impact damage. However, female Ranma was also able to use this, and it's unclear if Ryoga strictly carries this dense version towards the end, as even the Jusenkyo Guide's small daughter Plum was able to effortlessly lift it at this point.
Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics: For some unknown reason, Ryoga has a fair knowledge of this martial art. The only time he really uses it is early in the series, when he tries to teach it to Akane, then to Ranma, to prepare them for a fight against Kodachi. Given his proficient use of "iron cloth" ribbon technique whip attacks, it is possible that he studied it for this purpose.
"Bakusai Tenketsu" (爆砕点穴 - Lit. Explosive-Breaking Point-Hole): or Breaking Point, is a technique taught to Ryoga by Cologne. Originally used by construction workers to clear away debris, this technique enables Ryoga to shatter rocks and similar substances with a finger. The training is gruelling, consisting of tying yourself and a boulder to a tree and repeatedly slamming yourself, finger first into the boulder until you figure out the 'breaking point.' The technique is useless on humans, but the training's side effects make the user nearly invulnerable to physical attacks. Also, this technique is what allows Ryoga to tunnel underground. At some point, Ryoga develops a version, which works on wood, which he uses during the ageing mushroom story. He is also seen using a "Rapid Fire" version at times, striking quickly and repeatedly to produce several small blasts in a row.
"Shishi Hōkōdan" (獅子咆哮弾 - Lit. Lion Roaring-Bullet): or more simply known as Lion's Roar Blast, is a technique was taught to him by an engineer during his wanderings. By concentrating his depression and anger into his chi, Ryoga is able to unleash a massive blast of energy from his palms. When he was first taught it, in its imperfect form, the attack was strong enough to either knock out/defeat Ranma in one blow, or require a few shots, depending on his focus. The regular version proved enough to stun the latter noticably, even when Ryoga was transformed into a small child. He has occasionally been shown to use this to help blow tunnels through solid earth.
"Shin Shishi Hōkōdan" (真獅子咆哮弾 - Lit. True Lion Roaring-Bullet): The secret to perfecting the technique lay in the use of the chi and the strength of the user's emotions. As chi generated by depression and anger is 'heavy,' by projecting it into the air, Ryoga creates a massive sphere of chi that has been shown capable of instantly creating an even larger smoking crater, in what appeared to be a stone foundation, and later crack the earth around it, reaching the onlookers at what had been considered a safe viewing distance away from the epicentre. The more ki generated and used in this attack, the larger the resultant sphere of destruction; the greatest visual effect was shown when used to utterly vanquish Lime (arguably the physically strongest character in the series, with the possible exception of the Orochi) in a single blow.
Simply being grazed by the outermost boundary of one of its most powerful strikes was enough to immediately conquer Ranma, despite the latter's attempt to lessen the impact with his weakened Moko Takabisha. But a full hit from a later (apparently much weaker, given the lack of increased crater size) attempt simply stunned the latter for roughly a minute, quickly followed by a strike with even less impact.
Ryoga's chi-generation ability is so immense that even the Dragon-Prince Herb was instantly awakened and then awed when he witnessed the final version. His power similarly amazed Cologne. However, unlike Herb (or Happosai), Ryoga thus far has very limited control, has not learned to empower it through any, or all of his emotions combined, much less freely access it without using them as a focus and cannot mould or focus it into a cutting edge. Although it does seem to work with anger or frustration as well.
Nevertheless, no other martial artist in the series, with the possible exception of Happosai, has ever been shown to display a nearly as large amount of sheer force from single self-generated chi-blasts, much less generate a considerable amount of them without straining his reserves. Since Ryoga is "emotionally hollow" after the attack, he is typically unaffected by the blast. However, he can be distracted out of this state and thus be hit by his own blast when it falls down from above.
It is unknown if this problem would remain in case he managed to direct it forward instead, given that his regular versions don't show this limitation, whether or not this would increase its force through the initial chi-pillar, or if its impact against comparatively smaller combatants likewise has been greatly reduced by the very dispersed area effect. Regardless, the displayed raw power of his full blasts has at the very least equaled Rouge's strongest attacks in her Asura form.
The great weakness of either form of the Shishi Hokodan is that the self-generated power the user is able to access is directly proportional to his/her emotions. If Ryoga is unable to feel sufficiently depressed, frustrated, angered, etc, he cannot use this move at all.
For example: When female Ranma approached him in disguise as a "pretty girl" to learn how the move works, and as Ryoga had just obtained an indisputable victory, he was unable to make the move work, until he grows embarrassed and upset over how he is making himself look like a fool.
Another weakness is, as Ranma discovered while trying to learn the move, is that it also requires emotional focus on the user's part, if the user suddenly changes emotional focus, the projectile will reverse course and come slamming back into him/her instead. In case of the perfect version which thus far slams into him anyway, the generated chi passes right through without affecting him as long as he remains in an "emotionally hollow" state.
Also of note is that the technique's colour varies by source. In the manga and video games, it was supposedly coloured green, while in the anime it is red, and in the second film it is blue.
There is some fanon speculation/rationalisation regarding that anyone, including Ranma, could generate the amount of power Ryoga does if he/she felt that intensely, but there is nothing explicitly shown within the actual story, and the very concept of chi is closely connected to lifeforce and spiritual-emotional strength in the first place, whereas nothing whatsoever implies that the derived power itself would be anything but innate. Hence, all that is known is that the inherent power that each individual user is able to access is greater relative to him/herself depending on how strongly he/she feels at the time. What can also be said is that Herb and Happosai are apparently able to use chi-blasts without an emotional focus, but this could technically also be speculated about, given that Happosai is always intensely lecherous and has been upset every time he used the blasts, and Herb has been consistently irate or intensely indignated when using his own. In any case, limiting observations to strictly by what's shown, Ryoga has most likely generated stronger blasts than anyone else, although it is not farfetched to assume that Happosai's Godzilla/kaiju-sized tangible battle aura likely requires even greater chi-reserves to generate. For comparison, it would be much easier to make a solid case for Ryoga having greater raw talent than Ranma (due to being almost exclusively self-trained), than that his chi-generation is not a comparative advantage, but either would be loose self-serving speculation.
"Dairokkan" (第六感 - Sixth Sense): Like several other martial artists in the manga, Ryoga has displayed an extrasensory awareness, which warns him from incoming danger/attacks. When the Phoenix people were spying on his meeting with Cologne, Ranma, Mousse and Shampoo, he noticed their presence much earlier than any of the others. On the other hand, he also characteristically thought they were located in the wrong direction. Other examples include reflexively downing female Ranma when she tried to sneak up on him in the girls' locker room, instinctively avoiding Ukyo's ambush 'shuriken-spatulas', and catching Ranma and Shampoo's bicycle when they tried to knock him out from behind. As minutiae, he's also twice had "near death experiences" to "The River Styx", and telepathically called Akane from afar when on the brink of death, but it's unclear how much Akane contributed.
In the Super Nintendo roleplaying videogame "Treasure of the Crimson Cat Gang", Ryoga is shown using the following additional special techniques:
Sekiteki Kairin Gasa: Ryoga opens his umbrella horizontally and spins it rapidly, using this to hypnotize a foe and render them unable to move. A more potent variant that works on multiple opponents is the Shinteki Kairin Gasa.
Chiri Metsuretsu: By twirling his umbrella in a flamboyant manner, Ryoga can baffle and confuse multiple foes at once. If he is in his piglet form, he can achieve the same effect with a bizarre, flamboyant dancing routine.
Hisho Koryu Ha: An incredibly powerful energy blast technique.
- Where the heck am I now?
- I got here without getting lost my directional sense has never led me right. But now I came straight where I want to be! It's the power of love, Akane
- Ryoga is similar in appearance to Kōga from Inuyasha, who is also romantically interested in the female protagonist and has a similar name that in part means "fang".
- On Tvtropes.org Ryoga is considered the undisputed "king of getting lost" and with good reason, another interesting fact is that since his debut numerous other mangas and animes have featured characters with an almost identical sense of direction as Ryoga, also of note is that these characters also share similar attributes to Ryoga such as monstrous super-human strength and endurance, examples of such characters are Roronoa Zoro from One Piece, Sagara Sanosuke from Rurouni Kenshin and Kenpachi Zaraki from Bleach.
- Ryoga's pig name, P-chan, might be a mistake. As "chan" doesn't really mean cute but is used toward a child or a female. But, then again, "Chan" may be an endearment used towards women and children, but its actual translation roughly equates to "cute". It is a very informal, intimate and affectionate honorific, usually only used towards those you have a very personal bond with, as family or as a couple.
- Ryoga's pig form, P-chan, bears a heavy resemblance to the 5th generation Fire starter Pokemon Tepig.