Sins of the Father
Here we are, yet another session of me shooting off my mouth about something that got my hackles up. This time however, Iím not directing it against Akane Tendo, but rather it concerns the person who is really to blame, her father Soun Tendo.
I started thinking about it after reading a fan fiction called for the Love of a Cheetah, (Ranma/Gold-Digger cross), and I totally agree with the author on the point that though Akane and her behavior toward Ranma is reprehensible, she had to have gotten it from somewhere or this case, SOMEONE. Just as Ranmaís arrogance and cocky attitude may have been learned from Genma, then why not Akaneís inability to accept reality and responsibility from Soun? I mean, since when has Soun EVER taken responsibility for anything?
The first responsibility that Soun has shirked is probably the most important and thatís to his own family. Judging from all available evidence, heís pretty much left his children to their own devices after the death of his wife. He doesnít have any regular job or source of income, and whatever his daughters did is not his concern unless it has something to do with Uniting the School of the Anything Goes Pledge. He didnít show any concern for his eldest daughterís future after she graduated from high school and is more than content to let her be the caretaker for the household. He didnít care that Nabiki is blackmailing people as long as it generates income. And as for Akane, he let the daily fights at school take place and didnít display any worries that his child might get hurt or worse if Kuno or those other boys ever went full out and beat her.
Soun Tendo is pretty much a poor excuse for a father, not for what he did, but rather what he didnít do. One would think that after the death of his wife, it would be his responsibility to see to his childrenís welfare, but he did nothing of the sort. The guidance they needed to properly interact with others was not there. Akane never learned to curb her temper and was never punished for her behavior. Nabiki never got the guidance to treat others with respect. And as for Kasumi, well you canít exactly say she knows much about the realities of the outside world after spending nearly all her time keeping her household afloat. Did he show any concern whatsoever that his daughters had to fend for themselves while he went on and on about the Pledge to Unite the Schools. Not once.
Sounís second abandonment of responsibility comes in the form of the martial arts. He owns a dojo, but he has no students, nor does he train very much if at all. Even though I hate Genma, at least that panda still sticks to the regiment if only to keep his son practicing. What does Soun do? Just play game after game of shogi. Thatís it. If heís not going to train any students, nor meet any challengers, then why bother even having it? The answer, let Ranma take over after heís married Akane. Thatís a really poor excuse to avoid the responsibility of maintaining the school. As I said in my last ramble, Soun does NOTHING to improve his branch of the Anything Goes, and as far as I can see, it has no true heir, since itís entirely Sounís fault for not teaching Akane the basics of the Anything Goes. Sure she can pound bricks and break training dummies. Thatís all right when going up against non-skilled opponents and those who donít go all out, but what about the kind of people Ranma has to fight? Would Akane be able to handle them? No, and thatís why it goes right back to Soun. Heís never had to deal with those kinds of people, so why go through the trouble of training Akane when thereís Ranma to take them on? As always, if thereís someone else to take the pain, then Mr. Tendo doesnít need to be concerned about it. He wonít even meet challenges to his dojo and prefers to let Akane and Ranma handle it. Anyone remember the Dojo Destroyer?
Another example of responsibility evasion is the fact that heís never paid for any of his crimes nor does he believe that he should be denied anything that he thinks he has a right to. He believes that the Pledge to Unite the Schools is the only thing that is valid, even though Genmaís crimes and his own has long since invalidated it. Furthermore, like many others in Ranma Ĺ, Soun only uses honor as an excuse to deny any wrongdoing on his part, then ignores it when it works against him. Hereís an excerpt from the Love of a Cheetah fanfic I was talking about before. It deals with the fact that Soun used the Spring of Drowned Man water to force Ranma into marrying Akane, even though it belonged to Ranma in the first place:
LOVE OF A CHEETAH PRELUDE
"Of course, Son. Please, join me," he responded, indicating for Ranma to sit beside him before once again looking out over the garden. "It's a beautiful day this morning, isn't it, Son?"
"Actually, Tendo-san," Ranma stated, an unusually hard edge to his voice and choosing to remain standing, "I'm not your 'son', yet."
"Ah, but you will be, once you do the 'honorable' thing and marry my sweet little Akane," Soun stated, getting to his feet. Something about the boy this morning was making him nervous and his long dormant 'fight-or-flight' instincts were acting up. It didn't take a genius to understand that the boy may have been a little upset about the previous day's incident, so Soun attempted to move their conversation away from such topics. "But enough about weddings, for now. We can try again, at a later date, once you've resolved your relationships with those other girls. Now, what was it that you wanted to talk about, Son?"
Ranma was trying to keep his frustrations in check and not attack the Tendo patriarch outright for daring to remind HIM of what was 'honorable' and once again foisting the problem of the fiancées off on him to solve, instead of the one who'd created those very problems in the first place... Genma Saotome. Reining in his rapidly dwindling control of his temper, Ranma gave the older man a hard glare as he spoke, "Tendo-san, I understand that the cask of Nanniichuan that was LOST yesterday had been sent here by the Jusenkyo Guide as a gift TO ME for helping to restore the cursed springs?"
Soun nodded slowly, his mind scrambling for an answer that would seem logical and curtail thoughts of reprisal, "Yes, there was a cask that came here. It was addressed in the 'care of the Tendo Dojo' and assumed to be used as I, as the Master of the Dojo, saw fit." He turned to look at the Saotome heir, a smile on his face, before continuing, "So, I thought it would make a fine addition to the dowry of this Dojo when you married my little girl."
Ranma glared at the older, supposedly wiser, man as the tenuous grasp he held on his anger began to slip and his battle aura became visible, causing Soun to pale and step back as he prepared to make a run for it.
"You ASSUMED that with TWO Jusenkyo curse victims residing in your house," Ranma growled, his hands clenched into fists at his sides, "that the cask was sent to YOU! You ASSUMED that you could do with it as YOU saw fit, even after the Guide called you and told you SPECIFICALLY who it was intended for and WHY!" Ranma's battle aura continued to grow as his anger mounted and his voice rose. "You had the GALL to use it to BLACKMAIL your own daughter into agreeing to marry me and THEN intended to hold it for RANSOM in order to gain MY cooperation in marrying your daughter!"
"Now, Son," Soun nervously began, "I just wanted to ensure that you would finally marry my little gir--"
"SILENCE!" Ranma roared, unconsciously strengthening his voice with his chi and nearly causing the windows of the house to shatter. "You had NO right to withhold what was clearly MY property! Nor did you have the right to try to use it as you did, which resulted in its LOSS! YOU OWE ME, TENDO! For the DISHONOR and DISRESPECT that you have shown me, a GUEST in your home, you OWE me!"
Soun, sensing his absolute authority in his own home being threatened by Ranma, resorted to his 'Demon-Head Attack' in an attempt to intimidate the younger male into submission to his will. Right or wrong was irrelevant. The Dojo was HIS home and HE was its only master. That was the way it had always been and that was the way it would always remain, even after Ranma finally gave in and married Akane. Unfortunately for Soun, and unlike all the previous times he'd used the technique to intimidate the boy into backing down, Ranma merely sneered at the ki-attack and with a wave of his left arm backhanded Soun's demon-head with his own battle aura, which disrupted Soun's attack and caused a backlash of energy that forced Soun to his knees.
"N-now, Son," Soun stuttered in shock at the failure of his technique and more than a little fear of what Ranma would do next, "I-I was only doing what I felt b-best for y-you and Akane."
"YOU WERE DOING IT FOR YOUR OWN SELFISH REASONS AND NOTHING ELSE!" Ranma roared, before his voice lowered to a throaty growl. "You owe me, Tendo! And one day I WILL collect! Pray that you do nothing else to increase that debt, or force me into collecting upon it in the near future! And don't you EVER think that YOU know what is in MY best interest ever again, as you have CLEARLY shown that you care only for YOUR OWN selfish desires and nothing else!"
(End of Excerpt)
Now I will admit that this was written according to the writerís views, but I canít help but agree that heís right on several points. Soun had no right to withhold what belonged to Ranma, and he certainly had no authority to force Ranma into something that he was clearly not ready for nor was in anyoneís best interests other than his SounĎs. This isnít the first time this has happened either. Letís face it, Soun is a selfish person and that has been passed down to at least two of his children, Akane and Nabiki.
Thereís also the fact that Sounís own crimes, like Genmaís, always comes back to haunt him and heíd rather just hide and let Ranma and his children take the blame. Anyone remember Picolet Chardin? How about Happosai and the fact that heís living at his dojo while panty raiding? Heck, Sounís even participated in his crimes and makes no effort to report it to the police on the fear that he might be implicated.
Overall, Soun is nothing more than a big baby and just as Akane learned from him, he believes only in what he sees in his narrow views of the world and things that conflict with those ideals is to be denied or ignored. Responsibility is something to be shirked or foisted off on someone else. For the most part, it is toward Ranma.
In the end, Akaneís behavior and personality are abominable, but like they say, the apple doesnít fall far from the tree. Like his daughter, Soun will NEVER admit to being wrong, nor will he ever see anything else other than his own personal world since he will not take responsibility.