Mark Patraw

Genma Saotome (Panda Form)

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Musabetsu Kakutou Ryuu ("Anything Goes Martial Arts") master Genma Saotome was training, with his teenage son, Ranma, at the Jusenkyo springs in China when both of them had the misfortune of falling into two different magically-cursed pools. The patriarch tumbled into the "Spring of Drowned Panda", and, as a result, whenever he gets doused with cold water, Genma instantly changes into said bamboo-munching mammal (hot water reverses the transformation, returning him to human form). Ranma, on the other hand, fell into a pool where a girl died, so he switches genders and becomes a young woman when he gets wet.

Unlike Ranma, who very much wants to be rid of his curse (although he's not above using his female form if it will further his goals), Genma doesn't seem to be too concerned about their shape-shifting problems at all and goes about his business as usual, regardless of whether he's a man or a bear. And, to be honest, if I could turn into a panda whenever I wanted, I'd probably spend a good part of the day as one too.

While he's an accomplished martial artist, Genma is also a notoriously lazy, cowardly, and irresponsible oaf that's often more concerned with filling his stomach than anything else. He frequently douses himself with cold water on purpose so that he can weasel out of his obligations or avoid situations that he'd simply rather not deal with (nobody expects anything from a panda bear after all). For example, fearing her reaction [and rightfully so, as he promised to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) if he failed to train Ranma as a "man-amongst-men"], Genma continuously avoided telling his wife, Nodoka, about what had really befallen Ranma and himself, concocting an ongoing lie that female Ranma was Akane's (Ranma's fiancée) cousin "Ranko" and that he was her pet, "Mr. Panda", whenever Mrs. Saotome was around. Needless to say, Genma's approach to matrimonial harmony is as questionable as his parenting (did I mention that he "values" Ranma so much that he has happily traded his son for food on multiple occasions?)

Aside from the general hilarity that ensues when one suddenly becomes a giant, fuzzy, black and white bear at inopportune moments, the Genma character is also well-known for another running joke: Since pandas can't speak, he can instantly and miraculously produce wooden signs, with messages scrawled on them, to convey whatever it is he wants to "say" at the moment (a la Looney Tunes' Wile E. Coyote). Conversely, Genma has also been known to conveniently use the "pandas can't talk" excuse to avoid any question that he doesn't want to answer (and he desperately hopes that, in the heat of the moment, the interrogator forgets that Genma could easily respond with a sign if he wanted to). The two hiragana characters on the accessory for this particular figure reads "Ei", which is a Japanese sound effect that an individual makes when they are exerting considerable force doing something physical, like fighting, although it's obviously much more literal in this case, as Genma is actually striking out with the sign it's written upon!


Newsprint, tissue paper, white glue, wire twist ties (ears only), and acrylic paint.

6.8 cm (2.7") wide (including the sign) x 4.6 cm (1.8") high x 3.2 cm (1.3") deep.

Two days; March 8th and 12th, 2016.

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