Created by Rumiko Takahashi. Many believe that Ranma was directly inspired on another character, Ryuunosuke Fujinami, whom she created for her first major series, Urusei Yatsura. When Ryuunosuke's mother died in childbirth, her overbearing father had no idea how to raise a girl, and so raised her as a boy and a martial artist. When asked about the character's origins, Takahashi said: "With Ranma ½, I had thought a lot of doing a series with a male/female like protagonist, and since in the greater part of my previous stories the main character had been a woman, I planned to use a man this time. I was worried about writing a male main character because of the hundreds and hundreds of male readers, therefore I decided on the character being half man and half woman
Ranma was born the only son of Genma and Nodoka Saotome. He was taken from his home by his father at approximately 2 years old, to begin a 13-14-year training trip to perfect his skills in the martial arts. While Ranma was still a child, he befriended Ukyo Kuonji, the daughter of a travelling okonomiyaki chef and martial artist, although he was unaware that she was a girl. Genma engaged Ranma to Ukyo in exchange for her father's food cart, but he abandoned Ukyo and ran off with the cart without ever telling Ranma about the engagement or correcting him about Ukyo's real gender.
Later, near the end of the trip, Genma took Ranma to a training ground in China named Jusenkyo that few people used, due to the springs being cursed. Falling into one would transform a person into something that drowned there. Not knowing this, and not having the patience to listen to a warning from the local guide, Genma attempted to train with Ranma atop the bamboo poles which jutted up out of the pools. When Ranma knocked Genma into Shonmaoniichuan/"Spring of 'Drowned' Panda", he was surprised to watch a panda emerge from the pond and leap onto one of the poles. Genma, now cursed, was able to hit Ranma into Nyannichuan (Niángníquán 娘溺泉), or the "Spring of 'Drowned' Girl". Thus he turns into a female version of his original form when splashed with cold water, which is only (temporarily) reversible through contact with hot water. Sometime after that, he ate a large bowl of porridge made from Dragon's Whisker, which would make his hair grow at ridiculous rates when he was a man. The cook of the porridge then gave him a sliver of Dragon's Whisker to seal the effect until it wears off, which leads to Ranma constantly keeping his hair as a braided pigtail even after the effects wore off (before the incident he tied his hair back in a simple, loose ponytail).
Ladies of the Tendo house
Before this incident, Genma had made an arrangement with his best friend Soun Tendo that Ranma would marry one of Soun's daughters and carry on the Tendo Dojo. After learning of Ranma's condition, Soun's daughters Kasumi and Nabiki begin to insist that Ranma choose their younger sister Akane, and rationalized that a tomboy would be a more appropriate fiancee for a man who transforms into a woman. Although Akane and Ranma are initially unwilling to be engaged, they develop feelings for each other, which they generally struggle to deny or otherwise avoid openly expressing throughout the entire series.
Ranma and Genma move in as houseguests of the Tendo dojo. Since then, Ranma has endured, among other things, Chinese Amazons, old rivals, Dojo destroyers, and even evil demons. Female Ranma has also received a few male suitors, such as Tatewaki Kuno and Mikado Sanzenin.
Meeting his mother
After receiving a letter from his wife, Genma reveals that he promised that Ranma would return "a man among men," and that if she were to discover the truth about Ranma's transformation into a girl, they would be forced to commit seppuku, a suicidal ritual. Therefore, to visit with his mother, Ranma changes into a girl during her visit, and presents himself as "Akane's cousin Ranko," accompanied by her pet, "Mr. Panda."
Ranma makes several attempts to talk to his mother without revealing his curse, to prove his manliness, but is stopped by Genma, and after being caught cross-dressing, he has to peek on Akane. Eventually, after he saves her life, Nodoka accepts Ranma as a boy despite the curse.