Length: Oneshot and 13 chapters plus prologue, respectively.
Sources: Ranma ½
There are many indicators of bad fanfiction and in Ranma ½ fandom, one of the most obvious is when authors arrange for Ranma Saotome to get pregnant. Of course, one of the biggest indicators of a true fanfiction jewel is when an author takes such a “mistake in the making” and turns it into a good story… and that’s what this review is all about.
First, in “Spirit Walk”, circumstance and Akane Tendo’s notoriously bad cooking result in Ranma meeting Coyote of Native American lore. What follows is a well-written view of how Ranma might experience a spirit walk, discovering various truths about himself, and having his eyes opened to how so many of his problems can be blamed on his deficient social skills and overabundance of ego. It’s an excellent little story.
However, the part most relevant to this review is that, in the process of seeking “that which he desires most” (a cure for his curse), he meets the spirit of an unborn child who chooses to be his daugter. He’s immediately captivated by her but unfortunately, it seems that she is doomed never to exist because, as Coyote says, “The spirits of children do not attach themselves to men”. The spirit walk continues, but Ranma is unable to forget the beautiful little girl with the flaming red hair.
Completing this proper characterization in this oneshot is that, following the spirit walk, Ranma decides to try being more polite, but still shudders at the thought of being a mother. It’s not until “Martial Arts Motherhood Challenge” (which takes place many years later) that we see Ranma begin to consider the prospect and not without much prodding from recurring nightmares.
More specifically, in “Martial Arts Motherhood Challenge”, Ranma and Akane have been maried for over five years and have twin sons. In the prologue, Ranma wakes from a nightmare built from memories of the spirit walk. Akane tells him that having that same nightmare five nights in a row has to mean something, but he won’t hear it. However, years of maturity do allow Akane to (eventually) get him to admit his fears. What follows is an excellent and, more importantly, believable account of an adult Ranma facing his fears with Akane’s help in order to finally welcome “her” only daughter into the world. I’d say more, but this is really one of those stories where any summary would be missing the essential qualities that make it so good.
As for complaints, I don’t see many. The writing quality is excellent, so my main complaint is related to the author’s interpretation of the Ranma future. At its core, Ranma ½ is light fantasy. While once can make a case for injecting economics and technology into a Ranma ½ future to justify certain plot elements, it still feels like a mild shock at first. Thankfully, you get used to it quickly, so the problem isn’t a big one.
All in all, this story definitely deserves a 5 out of 5 rating. It’s one of the few stories that I’ve re-read multiple times and, given that I’ve re-read less than a dozen stories, both original and fanfiction, that’s very high praise. I can’t count how much fanfiction I’ve read, but my combined estimate for both original and fanfiction would have to be at least a thousand novels worth of text and possibly over two thousand.