Akane Tendo is the female protagonist of Ranma ½. She is the youngest of Soun Tendo's three daughters and one of the heirs to the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts.
Akane is the Japanese word for madder, as well as the crimson dye obtained from it. It is a common Japanese female name.
She is voiced by Noriko Hidaka who also voices Kikyo from InuYasha in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Myriam Sirois in the English version of the anime.
Akane is the shortest of the main characters, being shorter than Ranma Saotome in his male form, but about the same height as his cursed form. She has short black hair (blue highlighted in the anime) and brown eyes. At the beginning of the series she had long hair, but after it was cut off during a fight between Ryoga Hibiki and Ranma, she kept it short for the rest of the series.
She usually wears the girls' uniform for Furinkan High School, but has a wide variety of outfits. For training or anticipated combat, Akane wears a light yellow gi.
While Akane is generally shown as compassionate and helpful towards anyone in trouble, she's also a vulnerable, stubborn and very short-tempered girl. She frequently becomes angry and jealous, and is apt to hit Ranma when this happens, often a reaction to Ranma's own bad traits like his smart mouth and insensitivity, but also due to rampant paranoia and willingness to generally believe the worst of the situations she finds him in. Despite her temper, Akane has a more prominent gentle side. She has come to the aid of her rivals, even consistently feeling compassion towards or helping people who try to make her life miserable (or in the first case even kill her), like Shampoo, Happosai or Kuno. She has repeatedly expressed extreme disapproval in attacking or hurting anyone unable to defend him or herself, and refrained from striking Ranma when he was turned into a small child despite being insulted. She has also apologized for her behavior, once she has had time to cool down or learn the facts, and consistently risked her own life trying to help Ranma without a second thought, showing extreme courage in this regard given her own comparatively limited skills/increased danger. For example, she chose to use a magic paper doll to take the damage for Ranma rather than herself, when both were bitten by lethally poisonous snake-herbs/wines, effectively consciously trading her life for his, and entered the Orochi's mouth in an effort to save him from being eaten.
Most of her flaws can be attributed to insecurities about her own attractiveness, skill, or lack of traditionally feminine talents. Despite this, she seems to have an appeal to the opposite gender. Ryoga, Shinnosuke, Kuno and Gosunkugi have all been in love with her and she's considered attractive by her schoolmates, but given that she seems generally, but not consistently, oblivious to the first case and the others have largely been of a highly negative nature (constant assaults from Kuno and sports club members, general stalking from Gosunkugi) this has not served to build up her self-esteem. Her insecurity often leads her to overreact upon finding Ranma in compromising positions and to punt, repeatedly whack, stomp, or attack him with bokken, shinai, mallets, arrows, stones, tables or any other available blunt object. Ranma seldom seems injured in the following panels, but in the Reversal Jewel story, she punched him so hard into the horizon that he was in a full body cast. Although in the anime this was also due to sustaining a follow-up beating from Kuno and Ryoga.
She's also once stated a remarkable double-standard in this regard as she was burning with outrage and vowed to never forgive him if he deigned to strike her even once during her relentless assault while wearing a 'battle dougi' that greatly enhanced her fighting power. During the 'Nabiki's fiancé' arc she got upset just from overhearing an affirmation that a dejected Ranma found this treatment very taxing (though she only clobbered him after he derisively insulted her as well), so while she's remorseful about specific instances, and has gradually strengthened her restraint as the series progresses, she doesn't stop the pattern as a whole.
That said, according to Cologne, Akane confessed her true feelings under the influence of the reversal jewel. That she loves Ranma with all her heart more than anyone in the world, and is sorry for being so angry.
Akane has difficulty trying to sort out her feelings for Ranma. There are times when she is on the verge of telling him how she really feels, but this is almost always interrupted by comedic circumstances, and they return to their usual barbs and antics, but she is consistently worried when he is endangered and overjoyed when he turns up safe.
Akane does have a need for being comforted when sad or scared, but they are both usually too uncomfortable to interact in this manner. Unlike most other main female characters, she's expressed great, traditionally 'feminine', fears of ghosts or reptiles and can be extremely frightened simply from a scary story, being in a casino, or imagining Kuno raping Ranma-chan.
Despite not being as technically skilled as several other characters in martial arts, she takes pride in her legacy and position as the scion of her father's Tendo-Ryu, and never backs off from a fight or rejects a challenge.
Akane seems to get along well with people who are technically her rivals, like Ukyo and Cologne. She tends to be naive in often wishing to believe the best of everyone even when repeatedly proven to the contrary, as with Nabiki or Shampoo. The two most notable exceptions are Ranma and Kuno. In the former case attributed to her own insecurities being fueled by regular insults and the very awkward and chaotic semi-relationship, and in the latter due to intense harassment.
Ranma easily owes Akane his life several times over (though the opposite holds true as well). She is kind, helpful, self-sacrificing, forgiving and somewhat naive towards people in general, even technical enemies, being the only character in the series who can almost match Kasumi in her ordinary mood. She's also very appreciative if Ranma treats her with consideration, and is consistently worrying about, cheering him on, or going to extremes to assist him. When severely upset however, she undergoes a bipolar shift into a state of arrogant derogatory insults, unreasonable paranoia and self-righteous violence, on average treating Ranma worse than his arrogant and extremely insensitive behavior justifies, but she can just as swiftly switch back to being very kind again and make a shamefaced apology whenever she realizes a mistake. Kasumi’s initial assessment that "She's really a very sweet girl. She's just a violent maniac." has consistently held true, if usually only in Ranma's case. That said, Ranma has also been beaten up several times by his other paramours, Akane is simply around him more often. It is also more evident in the anime than in the manga.
As one of the heirs of the Anything Goes Martial Arts School, Akane is in good fighting form, and has excellent physical strength and agility, although she doesn't know enough to use her style as efficiently as Ranma. She is also proficient in the use of several samurai weaponry, including bokken, shinai, bō, and yumi. Among other feats, she has managed to hold her own against Tatewaki Kuno in an official kendo match while disguised as a boy, deflected Mariko Konjo's "Airborne Cutter" 'razor-batons', and used a staff to block arrows fired at her by the Phoenix People. She seemingly possesses greater skill in armed than unarmed combat.
While sometimes considered weak due to the much more incredible physical feats various other characters have performed, Akane is very clearly a strong and very gifted martial artist in her own right. During Nabiki's stint as Ranma's fiancée, she was able to instantly defeat nine of her school's strongest fighters. She has repeatedly successfully defended herself against ambushes from Kodachi Kuno, even stopping her attacks single handed or without significant effort.
She fought, while previously injured, against the Dojo Destroyer and managed to stand her ground for an extended time, but was eventually overcome. She has held her own against Kiima, avoiding the latter's "Thousand Wings of a Seabird" signature attack, and immediately barraged her foe with several sharp bamboo projectiles, despite waking up disoriented and in Jusenkyo.
Akane has also shown great agility when avoiding throngs of projectile attacks, for example from the Dojo Destroyer, Kodachi, Kiima and Mousse, and effortlessly maneuvered between the heads of the Eight Headed Orochi to seek out the moss growing on its main head.
Her most prominent achievement in the anime continuity is likely in the OVA "The One To Carry On". Here Nabiki stated that Akane had begun to mostly use martial arts as a mere exercise. However, after being defeated by Natsume and Kurumi, she trains with Ryoga's help, and later gains an advantage in her 1-on-1 fight with the somewhat unwilling Kurumi, before it is interrupted by the more intense Natsume and she is forced on the defensive again. By collaborating with the timely returning Ranma, she manages to defeat the sisters by allowing Ranma to use a revision of the Hiryu Shoten Ha to nullify the Ring of Dragon Fire while simultaneously propelling her at them as a human projectile. With this surprise attack and her own strength, she knocks both sisters out.
Akane has the potential to be a much more formidable martial artist than she presently is. While she has most likely received consistent, intense (by normal standards), training by her ever-present father, who would like her to become a very powerful martial artist, as he expresses great pride whenever she takes up martial arts challenges on her own- several other characters have seemingly trained more extensively, and she is currently only explicitly seen training alone and devotes a relatively small amount of time to it. While she does practice quite often, she does so only when not preoccupied with schoolwork, other leisure activities, or her healthy social life, and her shown training is rather formularic and repetitive: breaking cinder blocks, jogging and basic katas against practice dummies. Ukyo, Ryoga, and possibly Pantyhose Taro, are apparently almost completely self-taught while wandering the country, but the former apparently used to be, and the second is currently shown as, extremely dedicated. Ranma has been on intense training journeys with his extraordinarily proficient father since he was at most 2 years old, implicitly spending much time away from more normal activities such as school work. Shampoo has been immersed in a warrior culture, while being tutored by the greatest martial arts teacher in the series since she was small. Mousse lacks that instruction, but is a fellow product of this environment, and has apparently managed to vastly exceed Shampoo in spite of this. Thus, Akane's displayed skills are quite remarkable given the circumstances.
Like most other regular cast members Akane possesses considerable superhuman physical strength, enabling her to, even early in the series, shatter thick stone walls with one blow, or punt Ranma out of sight. Her regular level was shown as less than that of Shampoo during the "Super-Soba" story, and far less than that of Ranma in the same story, but she seems to occasionally undergo a great boost when enormously maddened, though given the oft-comedic nature of the serie and the frequent bouts of slapstick violence, it is hard to say whether any given one of these moments should be taken seriously. During the two times he's angered her most, at the end of the "Reversal Jewel" story, and during the "Battle Dougi" arc (here without the dougi), she even managed to knock out, and in the first case seriously injure Ranma by single barehanded attacks, but partially by taking him unprepared. It is at very least possible she may have the potential to become at least as physically strong as Ranma or Ryoga, but it is unknown if she will ever achieve that potential.
Beyond her fighting prowess, she is athletic bu, particularly early in the series, something of a klutz, which is most prominently displayed when she agrees to compete for Furinkan High in a Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics match. She practices and excels in regular aerobics, and appears to be the captain of her school’s volleyball team. She is also moderately adept at tennis and ice skating. Akane had trouble learning rhythmic gymnastics as preparation for a duel with Kodachi, but this may be more due to the complexity of the sport, the aforementioned clumsiness, and a possible lack of prior training in aerial combat rather than any real deficiency on her part. She developed a considerable amount of skill after a week of training, enough that she was able to use and juggle clubs proficiently, make graceful leaps, and use the ribbon like a whip, even though she began her training unable to catch the clubs, awkward in the air, and more likely to tangle herself in the ribbon than make it twirl.
However, she has no aptitude whatsoever for swimming due to a number of factors, like erroneous preconceptions of the skill, ill-conceived alternate methods, outrageously unsuitable instructors, and a stated misconception that she was supposed to somehow breathe the water. The net result is that she sinks like a stone if she gets into the water, earning her the nickname "hammer-girl" (which may also be a reference to her potent musculature). In fact, her ineptitude goes beyond mere lack of practice—she cannot even swim with the use of a rubber ring, and when she tried she in fact managed to land in the impossible position of being trapped upside down in it, with her head stuck underwater and her legs thrashing wildly in the air. Like Ryoga's issues with navigation, her lack of swimming skills almost seems more like a curse than a natural flaw in her skills. Another display of her athletic ability is in the anime episode Gimme That Pigtail; she completely cleared the long jump and landed flat on her feet at the opposite end, even though her attention was on other matters entirely and she wasn't focused on what she was doing at all.
Outside of her considerable physical skills, Akane is quite inept with just about any traditionally female task. Her notoriously horrendous cooking skills seem to stem from ill perceived natural talent, throwing in whatever is available at the time or her ill conceived ideas of what would be good in a recipe, as well as a lack of patience and finesse. In addition to this, Akane has a displayed tendency to both refuse to follow instructions (verbal or written) as to what to include, and to try and bull her way through whatever is required—during the Mother's Recipes story, she is shown one-handedly hacking at carrots with a cleaver as fast as she can, producing oddly-cut lumps of vegetable, and also so strongly that she carves and splinters the wooden cutting board she is using, resulting in an array of wood-chips also being put into the frying pan. Similarly, in the anime version of the Martial Arts Tea Ceremony story, she is shown mixing the tea with frantic stirs, splashing it everywhere, when she offers to help Sentaro face down his grandmother. So far the only thing she has been shown to make that at least does not cause stomach pain is curry, which in itself is a very difficult meal to ruin in the first place, and even then it took much of the series for her to learn to do so (in fact, her first revelation of her terrible cooking skills was when she ruined a batch of curry she was making for Ranma, Genma and herself). Her attempts at knitting result in creating clothing with extra arms, and her first aid skills are questionable as her attempts to put Taro's arm in a sling was not sucessful.
While Akane is admittedly not injured as much as many of the other characters, most notably Ranma, Ryoga and Mousse, she seems to be less resilient against damage than them and to also have a slower rate of recovery. While angrily proving her strength to Ranma in the Dojo Destroyer arc, she destroys a wall but hurts her hand to the extent she is told to avoid using it by Dr. Tofu and then renders it all but useless with pain when she forgets this and strikes the Dojo Destroyer, and during the Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics story she badly twists or sprains her ankle by misstepping on a discarded ball and is told that she will not be recovered in time to compete in the tournament the next day. By comparison, Ranma has taken far greater damage and recovered in incredible amounts of time: for example, in the Martial Arts Figure Skating arc, he takes an impact that Mikado declares must have cracked every bone in his body, only to be fighting at full fitness several minutes later. (Actually "just" shown to have several joints out of place, so she hardly healed multiple major fractures in minutes, but even so...) However, in the Pink and Link arc, he actually does break both legs due to combination of poisoning and absorbing a massive fall while carrying four girls, and it is stated that it will just take about a week for him to recover, so this is a decent gauge.
- The Spring of Drowned Akane at Jusenkyo was not a pre-existing cursed spring, but was created by Kiima in order to impersonate Akane to seduce Ranma and recover the Kinjakan. As such, it does not have a Chinese name. It is unknown if the spring was sealed/destroyed afterwards, or if anyone could potentially use it.
- In the English dubbed version of the anime, Kasumi's "violent maniac" quote in reference to Akane's nature is replaced with "she's a very sweet girl, she's just a little high-spirited".
- In Rumiko Takahashi's subsequent manga series Inuyasha, one of Kagome Higurashi's best friends at school is also named Yuka in the anime.
- In one of Akane's dreams in Nightmare! Incense of Spring Sleep, it is revealed that she has a slight fear of Kodachi, Ukyo, and Shampoo, butthis might be because of the side effects of the incense.
- Akane's hair has gotten shorter in The Ova's.