Relatively Absent by Togashi Gaijin
Length: 11 Chapters, 2 Sidestories, and a Prologue
Sources: Ranma ½, Sailor Moon
Rating: 5/5 (6/6 if I were still using my old rating system)
Ok, now a quick break from the short and silly stuff. Let’s take a look at something longer and a little bit more serious which I’ve mentioned before, but didn’t spend much time on. Those who know about “fukufics” most likely already know about this one, so this review is for newcomers. In short, a fukufic is a story in which Ranma Saotome of Ranma ½ ends up as a Sailor Moon-style magical girl.
As someone who has read a great many fukufics, I find that having Ranma forced into the role against his will starts to get old after a while. Unfortunately, with Ranma already feeling his masculinity threatened by his curse, it’s difficult to make a believable case for Ranma to accept the job willingly. One year ago today, I took the time to make quick mention of several stories which do this and do it nicely… but only as a build-up to reviewing another fic. Today, I will finally be focusing on Relatively Absent.
The story diverges from manga canon at the Mt. Horai battle with Prince Herb. This time, Ranma doesn’t get his curse unlocked, Herb and his men get buried in the collapsing mountain, and if it weren’t for an offer of aid, Ranma would die the same way. The offer just has one catch… the gates of time can only channel power to one who is their guardian. (For those readers who are Sailor Moon fans, this takes place after Setsuna sacrifices herself but before she can come back and reclaim the gates.)
However, don’t assume that the pseudo-coercion of a choice between death an a fuku is all I’m applauding. If that were all there was to it, Ranma would still be just as resistant, and I would be just as bored.
Not only does Ranma not know about the fuku at first, but by the time he finds out, he’s already been told that, with enough skill, he will be able to circumvent the lock on his curse. Add in some very useful magical abilities like teleportation and effortless storage of spare clothes in a pocket universe, and accepting the job is very reasonable… even for Ranma. Besides, it’s always an ego boost to know that you’re the only person on Earth that meets the minimum requirements for the job.
Throw in a nicely done “Ranma meets the family which disowned Nodoka for marrying Genma” subplot, and the spell is complete. On it’s own, the plot would earn this fic 5 out of 5 on my scale, but it doesn’t stop there. The general writing quality and style are excellent, with a great mix of seriousness and humor characteristic of cream-of-the-crop fanfiction.