Ranma Saotome is the main protagonist and title character of Ranma ½ anime and manga.
Ranama is a teenage master of supernatural martial arts, generally assumed to be sixteen years old. Like most of the other cast members, a very contradictory character, possessing both positive and negative attributes — he can be sensitive and thoughtful one moment, and brash and insulting the next. Cursed to become a gender bender because of his father's stupidity, then bound in an arranged marriage he never even knew about until he was practically at the girl's doorstep. Needless to say, he doesn't get on too well with his father.
When it comes to Akane, Ranma's general attitude and Akane's mild dislike of men initially drives them to clash more often than not. But, as the story goes on, he gets to know her better and ends up genuinely caring for her as a person.
In the AWA fics, Ranma is a student at the AWA Academy and is part of Class 2.
In the XP4 fics, Ranma debuted in the XP4 Heroes Coalition - Kick-Off!.
Ranma can be considered of about "average" height compared to his fellow characters who are of the same age, as most of them are also around the same height, although Akane Tendo and several of the other females are slightly shorter than him, while Tatewaki Kunois taller. His female form is shorter than his male form and half a head shorter than Akane. It has been revealed more than once that the female form has a larger bust size and smaller hip size than Akane, which has infuriated the latter whenever Ranma has pointed it out. Later in the manga it is revealed that both their bust sizes increased, with female Ranma's breasts still staying larger.
Ranma's most recognizable physical trait is his trademark pigtail, although before he was cursed he wore it instead as a ponytail. In the anime, male Ranma has black hair while his female form has red hair. In order to help distinguish between Ranma's forms in the manga, Takahashi always drew Ranma's female form with a shiny spot in her hair. However when the first chapter of the manga when published in Shonen Sunday was printed in color, it portrayed Ranma's female form as having the same black hair as her male form.
Ranma favors Chinese-style clothing in the form of long-sleeved, short-sleeved, or sleeveless shirts of various colors, black pants (also dark blue or blue-green in the anime), and slip on shoes. This has served him well when changing into his cursed form or back. Ranma has his own gi which he will occasionally don specifically for learning a new technique. He wore a gakuran at his former school that he attended with Ryoga Hibiki, but is able to get away with not wearing the one required for boys at Furinkan High School. He also wears a tank top, either as a undershirt or not, and when he "dresses up", will usually put on a Mao suit, including the signature cap with a star in front. However he has also dressed in Western formal wear on a few occasions. Ranma has worn a wider variety of outfits in his female form than in his male form. She will dress in women's clothing voluntarily depending on the circumstances, usually in order to get something she wants, but also when she has to. In several instances however Ranma has involuntarily transformed back into a male while dressed as a woman.
Rumiko Takahashi herself has described Ranma's personality as a mixture of nice, clean-cut, frank, energetic, indecisive, stubborn, picky, stingy and sly, and has stated that she finds flawless characters rather boring. Under normal circumstances, he is fairly carefree and generally friendly to those around him. However, he also lacks experience in social situations and frequently speaks and acts without considering the consequences, or the feelings of others. He sometimes insults people by gloating about inflated perceptions of his prowess, or taunting them about their perceived flaws. For instance, he once boasted that his female form had a larger bust than Akane, despite that she was happy about her own growing bosom. He frequently insults the areas his fiancée has complexes about, by calling her an over-muscled, overweight, un-cute, clumsy, macho jock tomboy with poisonous cooking skills. Ranma has also given other people insulting nicknames, with shifting degrees of justification, for example calling Cologne "old hag" or "old ghoul", Happosai "old freak" or "old lech", Ryoga"clueless moron" or "sucker", Nabiki "heartless bitch", or Pantyhose Taro "pantyhose guy".
For this same reason, it is relatively easy to embarrass him. When faced with such a situation, he can freeze up or verbally lash out when found in highly incriminating 'amorous' positions. Nabiki has sometimes taken advantage of Ranma's lack of finesse and weak defenses against crying or emotional girls, manipulating him and various situations to her own advantage. While he occasionally blames others for his problems, Ranma has sporadically taken responsibility for matters not mainly his fault, such as when Akane's hair was accidentally chopped off during his first fight with Ryoga, or trying to soothe Ukyo's rage at being left behind.
Ranma is part of the Heroes Coalitions and is member of the Fairy Knights. He also attends the Vanguard Academy as a student.
XP4 Heroes Coalition - Kick-Off!
In Chapter 3, Ranma alongside his team, the Fairy Knights, are seen walking around Mount Altana somewhere in the kingdon of Fiore when they came across a group of Emotionless and defeated them. Later, they met up with Gelman and made their way to Magnolia.
XP4 Heroes Coalition - Neo-City Diaries
In Chapter 3, Ranma alongside Gray Fullbuster and Eijiro Kirishima are seen running around playing catch at the Training Camp grounds before passing-by Geo Stelar and Sonia Strumm on a bench.
Trained from the time he was about two years old (when their training trip began) by his father in the ways of the Saotome style of Anything Goes Martial Arts, Ranma is a master of several styles of martial arts, utilizing a blend of Chinese and Japanese techniques. The other branch, the Tendo School, is practiced by Soun and Akane. Ranma is seen as the school's primary heir.
A practitioner of the Anything Goes Martial Arts is expected to be prepared to do almost anything to triumph, regardless of the challenges, humiliations, or cheating involved. This versatile combat style can produce a warrior who is strong in virtually every aspect of battle, both mentally and physically, with limited weaknesses. In most fights, neither form has a discernable advantange, as they both perform equally well. Ranma is, however, stronger with a longer reach in his male form, and possibly more agile as a female in either canon, with the anime stating that he gains an increase in speed in female form. His training has made him a very balanced fighter, though he can still be surprised by opponents whom he has never fought before.
His impressive physical abilities include incredible strength, and outstanding speed. He also has superhuman endurance, enabling him to continue fighting even after he has taken many powerful blows or fallen from a great height.
As a gauge of the extent of his speed, he has been able to land 518 blows in a few seconds, during a brief ice-skating skirmish with Mikado Sanzenin, even before undergoing Cologne's speed training. Afterwards, he was able to land hundreds of punches on Ryoga so swiftly that it looked like a single strike, or catch over a hundred pebbles from the latter's Bakusai Tenketsu rock explosion within at most a few seconds. Thus he is able to move at supersonic speeds, but generally only uses it in combat situations.
He is durable enough to withstand the full power of Ryu Kumon's large iron Buddha-statue splitting, "demon god assault bomb" vacuum blade-barrage, and immediately continue to fight afterwards, (which, at the very least, would qualify him as bulletproof), managed to withstand exposure to Rouge's and Saffron's firestorms, and has fallen hundreds of meters into solid stone with only minor bruisings. Regarding his limits, when in a state of surprise, a single strike from Taro in his cursed form almost rendered female Ranma unconscious after crashing into a stone palisade. Although later, during their aerial battle against Rouge, he was only momentarily stunned.
- Ranma is the first character from Ranma 1/2 to be introduced in the AWA fics.
- Ranma's female form in the anime bears a strong resemblance to Suzuki Linn/Kotetsu from the anime and manga, Adventures of Kotetsu.
- Ranma's male form bears a slight resemblance to Kensei Ma in his teenaged years from the anime and manga, History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi.