Characters » Hibiki Ryouga
|Japanese name:||響 良牙|
Ryouga is the first major challenge to Ranma in Nerima. Their first fight showcases their strengths, and it is a close match. Akane accidentally discovers Ryoga in cursed form, and not knowing the pig's true identity, adopts him as her pet and names him P-chan. She is the first person to show him real kindness, and Ryouga falls head-over-heels in love with her, and consistently acts as a fierce protector from both real and imagined threats, whether in normal or cursed form. She even takes him to bed with her, and generally beats him severely with her sleep-movements.
Ryoga accepts training from Cologne because he feels that he can use it to best Ranma, and win Akane's interest. Cologne is equally using Ryouga, hoping to remove Akane from the picture, which would in turn free Ranma to wed Shampoo. His training under Cologne makes Ryouga's body very durable. He toughens to the point that great impacts, such as being buried in a rockslide, or being struck with large boulders, cause no damage. Engaging Ranma for a second time, he forces Ranma to also rely on training from Cologne, used in an inventive manner, to counter his newly toughened constitution.
When not upset Ryoga is usually shy, humble, helpful, well-intended, and polite, especially around women. He tends to stock up on an assortments of gifts and local food specialties from the highly diverse locations where he ends up during his travels. Ryoga also has strong chivalrous streaks, and consistently protects any maidens in distress, or victims of bullies, monsters, or bandits that he comes across, and is overemotional enough to be brought to tears from compassion, including for Ranma. However, he also recurrently tends to be led more by impulse and emotions than common sense, is prone to anger and misunderstandings, and although he is generally more considerate and naive than Ranma, and needs considerably stronger reasons to turn petty and spiteful, when sufficiently pressed he has displayed a few rare more ruthless moments than his rival seems capable of.
Ryouga's grudge towards Ranma for causing his second curse eventually disappears, and is replaced with a mixture of romantic, as well as professional, rivalry. This morphs into something of a mutual respect in the later story arcs, and Ryouga comes to save Ranma's and/or Akane's lives more times than the reverse. However, he remains annoyed with Ranma for recurrently making fun of or manipulating him, and their mutual battle prowess competition will likely persist forever. In the late part of the series Ryouga's affection for Akane starts to shift towards the sumo-pig breeder Akari, who becomes his girlfriend.
Ryouga is one of the first characters to use Ki-projection as a means to combat Ranma. His ki attack is named the "Shi Shi Hokodan", or "Lion's Roar Shot", which in the anime is inconsistently displayed as either a green or red globe, alternately a beam, of energy. He taps into his reservoirs through the weight of feelings of depression, loneliness, frustration, pain, anger, and hopelessness, to blasts an opponent with a vertical ray of pent up personal energy. Although Ranma does learn the same technique, his personality is much more suited to using emotions of confidence and arrogance. Ryouga further refines the technique, but the "Shin Shi Shi Hokodan" or complete form of the attack requires extreme levels of despair and projects Ki in a towering pillar, which then crashes down, pulverizing his opponent. Ryoga uses the final version of this technique while being strangled by Lime. His sorrow at the prospect of dying without being loved by Akane causes him to produce a powerful chi-attack that defeats Lime in a single strike, and causes the Musk dragon-prince Herb to wake up (due to the energy output) and feel awed by the display.
In terms of raw power, Ryouga seems to be a few times stronger than Ranma, as he has performed such feats as throwing a 400-tonne ice boulder 30–40 meters with a single arm, unconsciously destroyed a 7m-diameter rock without trying (compared to female Ranma needing time to focus to split a 3m version with a full force strike), was paired against Lime, the strongest of the Musk Dynasty, effortlessly threw male Ranma to the ground when the latter attempted to grapple (in the "new dojo student" anime episode), and on one occasion literally repeatedly handled female Ranma like a small baby, including toppling her to the ground and almost knocking her unconscious with a playful single finger tap (traditionally used to admonish small children). He has also demonstrated vastly greater chi-generation, considerably higher durability, and nearly comparable speed and skill. However, he has a clear disadvantage in term of self-control, underhanded strategy, and likely acrobatics.
Beyond exceptional self-trained skill, physical abilities, and chi-blasts, Ryouga is able to cause inert matter to explode with the touch of a finger, and, similarly to Kodachi, can cause textiles to easily cut through steel, and manifest a much larger amount of throwing-bandanas than he is able to carry through natural means. He also possesses a strong version of the "warning sense" that allows the martial artists to sense presence/auras, and incoming danger (or in Akane's case occasional premonitions). Regardless, Ryoga has triumphed roughly twice as many times as the reverse if smaller and off-screen battles are included, but usually loses the final round of "event"-themed confrontations through superior strategy or distractions. The two rivals remain a roughly even match throughout most of the series with greatest strengths in different areas. Near the end, the author spoofs their relationship by turning them into two constantly feuding and evenly matched children.
By the end of the series Ryouga spends his time wandering through the wilderness, attempting to find, and go on innocent dates with, his pig-breeding girlfriend, while striving to get over his old crush on Akane, and as usual, likely training and amassing new techniques to exceed Ranma — if he can ever find his friend and nemesis.
Ryouga is voiced by Kōichi Yamadera in the Japanese anime and by Michael Donovan in the English dub.
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