Is Akane Tendo a True Martial Artist?
“I’m a martial artist too!”
If anyone’s ever seen the OVA episode known as the Tunnel Of Lost Love, or read the manga, this infamous saying comes to mind, which I find rather contradictive. It also brings to mind the final chapter of my Tattoon Ranma fic, in which a changed Ranma laughs his head off when Akane makes the claim that she’s really a martial artist.
Now the big question remains. Should we really consider Akane Tendo a true martial artist?
Judging by all accounts… I’d say no.
First of all, what exactly is the definition of a martial artist?
According to what I found on Wikipedia, the Webster dictionary, and various other sources, martial arts is fundamentally for self-defense, and is used as a method to achieve some spiritual level, (if one considers religious beliefs), mental and physical discipline, and to exemplify the codes and traditions of the school it is taught from.
Does Akane ever achieve any of these to a noted degree?
The answer is no.
The reason I say this is simple. Akane has Ranma, so why even bother claiming to be a real martial artist?
Let’s start at the beginning. Now I will admit that Akane had a little skill, otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to fight against the Horde of Hentai every day. However, keep in mind that she fought against an unskilled, disorganized mob, and that Kuno always went easy on her. How do I know this? It’s the very statement she makes.
“For SOME reason, I always beat him.”
Well, that would be kind of obvious, even to a non-martial artist. If Kuno is able to go full out and hold his own against someone like Ranma, (during the early chapters), then it would be relatively easy for him to defeat someone of lesser skill, such as Akane. The fact that he never does so, just encourages Akane to believe she actually has the skills of a real martial artist.
Secondly, we look at Akane’s dedication toward the Art, or to be more accurate, LACK OF DEDICATION. If she’s supposed to be the Heir to the Tendo School of Anything Goes, (a practically useless discipline in itself), don’t you think that she would train as often as Ranma and raise her skill level to match rivals?
The fact of the matter is, she doesn’t. Even Nabiki stated when Natsumi and Karumi came onto the scene, “You only exercise to keep your figure.”
Akane has been given AMPLE opportunities to improve on her abilities and School, but she never takes them. She could have trained in the Chestnut Roasting Over An Open Fire, the Breaking Point, the Hiryu Shoten Ha, the Moko Takabisha, etc. The thing is, she never does. You ask why?
It’s because she doesn’t want to undergo the proper training and suffer through it. She wants everything handed to her and she won’t hesitate to take shortcuts. Remember the Super Soba and the Battle Dogi? She simply does not want to work for it. And when she does make an effort, it is a short-lived effort, and she just backslides when the crisis is over. The same thing goes for her cooking, her sewing, and any other enterprise she gets into. She lacks the patience, drive and mental discipline to see anything through to the end.
The third point to make is that Akane does not possess the ability to compromise and adapt, when the situation requires. What I mean is that martial arts requires a person to be flexible and be able to work with adversity. For Akane, it has to be her way. When things don’t go her way, she just loses her temper and begins to throw blame to everyone, (especially Ranma), instead of improvising and continuing on.
Here are some examples. Remember that first fight when Akane thought Ranma was a girl? She first says that it’ll just be a sparring session, but when Ranma easily dodged her attacks, she got mad and shouted out, “THIS TIME FOR REAL!”
How about that Miss Takeout Race with Kaori? When Kaori blew out the other contestants’ boxes, Akane accused her for cheating. How can it be cheating if there weren’t any rules to begin with? What about the Rhythmic Gymnastics? As far as I can tell, as long as Kodachi used the tool, it was legal. Can’t call it a foul. The one that I really hated was the Battle Dogi episode in which Akane says the following…
“If you hit me, I’ll never forgive you!”
Oh please! So does that mean that you’re not supposed to hit Akane in a fight? And besides, in martial arts, you’re supposed to be able to take hits as well as dish them out. I for one, have never seen Akane take any major blows that Ranma doesn’t take for her.
Finally we come to this question. Does Akane have the POTENTIAL to be a proper martial artist? My answer is, if she does, she’ll never achieve it. This comes back to her lack of dedication and discipline and her mental belief that everything must go her way. I have NEVER seen Akane win a battle with her own skills. Either Ranma saves her, or she gets some lucky break or fluke that allows her to win against far better fighters. Sure that Battle Dogi may say that Akane was great potential, but that’s only because Takahashi wrote it that way. Besides, I doubt that potential would be equal to what her rivals can achieve, and they’ve been training for most of their lives. It would certainly not come anywhere near Ranma’s potential, and we’re talking about a guy who beat a Phoenix God.
What would Akane have to do to be a true martial artist? Fundamentally speaking, she would have to start over from scratch. The best thing for her would be to put her through Boot Camp. Have her take the lumps. No coddling or going easy on her. You either go through the proper training and expect mistakes, or you stay away from martial arts completely. Just like in cooking, if you can’t even do something as simple as following a recipe, then you have no business to be in the kitchen. For Akane, she has no business to be in the kitchen or the dojo.