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Ukyou in sundress I did specify on my home page that I was 'the cute one', right? Well, that’s because I’m not his only fiancée, unfortunately. Of course, if I was, the series probably wouldn’t have stretched to 38 volumes, now would it?

We Were Friends Once

I arrived in the Nerima district of Tokyo in 1988 (Ranma ½, Shonen Sunday Comics, volume 8), and after a stint at a boy’s school (more on that later), I found out that Ranma was attending Furinkan High School, and staying at the Tendo dojo. After beating the tar out of his father, Genma, I had myself transferred to Furinkan, and proceeded to challenge Ranma to a duel of honor.

You see, he and I were childhood friends once. Ten or so years ago, I lived with my father in rural Kansai. The Saotomes (Ranma and his father, Genma) were living nearby, nomads in search of martial arts techniques to teach Ranma. Ranma and I would fight each other almost daily, and if he won, my dad would give him a free okonomiyaki. It was my duty to defend our yattai, our okonomiyaki cart, from Ranma’s attacks. But as hard as I fought, Ranma would always win. Eventually, though, it got to be more like playing than fighting, and I was happy to have a friend like Ran-chan (we had pet names for each other — he called me ‘Ucchan’). I was so happy, I wanted it to last forever. I asked my father to have me engaged to Ran-chan.

Not Worth the Paper it Was Written On

When my father spoke with his father, Genma mentioned that Ranma was already committed to someone else, but no names were mentioned. So my father offered the yattai as a dowry, to sweeten the deal, and Genma happily accepted the engagement after all.

Maybe we should have gotten it in writing. Genma took the yattai, and placing Ranma up on the awning, ran off. Without me. I ran after them as fast as I could, but as a six-year-old girl, I was in no condition to catch this thirty-plus-year-old man, even burdened down as he was with the yattai. At school I became the butt of jokes — the girl whose fiancé ran off! — and it wasn’t too long before I ran off on my own.

No More a Woman

I vowed that I would never again let my heart lead me astray. To do this, I disguised myself as a boy, and trained myself for years in the martial cooking arts, until I could confidently say that I was the finest okonomiyaki cook in Japan. Then I went to seek the Saotomes down and avenge my honor.

Now, while I had been honing my cooking skills to be the best in Japan, Ranma had been training to be the greatest martial artist in the world. And he was pretty darn close already. I don’t need to tell you that when we fought, he beat me handily. But at one point, he’d taken my spatula from me and swung at me, and while he missed me, he tore my clothes. No one ever accused Ranma of being particularly observant, though, and he continued to fight me until at one point, he grabbed one of my breasts. This stopped him cold — evidently he’d had no idea I was female — and I proceeded to paste him with a mighty slap for his efforts. He seemed puzzled by this turn of events, and even dumped hot water on me, "to check this out", as he put it.

All is Forgiven

As it turned out, not only didn’t he know I was a girl, he had no idea his father had engaged him to me. So he was blameless for running away. And despite all the anger that had kept me going all this time, I just couldn’t stay mad at him. Not after he’d called me ‘cute’ — and he meant it! Of course, I also met the other girl he’s supposed to have been engaged to: Akane Tendo, of the Tendo School of Anything-Goes Martial Arts, and while she seemed nice enough by herself, the two of them did not get along at all.

It occurred to me that I still had hope of becoming Ran-chan’s love, once he realized that he and Akane weren’t meant to be. So I settled myself down in Nerima, awaiting the day when Ran-chan would come to his senses and choose me to be his one and only. It was only a matter of time, right?

The Ucchan in Cyberspace

Flash forward to 1997. Konatsu and I had set up housekeeping, and I obtained a computer several years back, ostensibly to keep the restaurant’s books. The system came with a copy on America Online, and I decided to check it all out, and see if the fuss about the Internet was all it was cracked up to be.

I signed on under a different alias for the first time in January 1994, and I enjoyed myself immensely, especially in chat rooms and web pages dedicated to Ranma 1/2. I was surprised at how familiar people were with our crazy little world.

And so, in April of 1997, I decided to reveal myself to the on-line world. At first, I spent much of my time in the chat rooms, learning my way around, making friends with the various otaku that populated AOL’s little corner of cyberspace. I would set up the Ucchan, and serve drinks and okonomiyaki to any and all, offering a sympathetic ear to those who needed to talk, and dodging the chaos resulting from those who - for whatever reason - needed to fight.

I was also familiarizing myself with the concept of anime fanfiction, beginning with Daigakuse no Ranma, and continuing with the U.B.C. Fanfic Archives. I downloaded enough stories to fill seven binders in a matter of a few months, but it didn’t occur to me at the time that I could join in the fun.

And Here My Nightmares Began

Late in June, I woke with the vivid sight of Nodoka Saotome’s katana, raised to cut down my beloved Ran-chan, in my mind’s eye. I had to save him somehow! I began writing what eventually turned into "Standing in the Way." The response I got was surprising, and as I continued to suffer dreams and nightmares, I proceeded to translate them into fanfiction.

I still try to put in a regular appearance on-line, although I rarely spend time in the chat rooms these days, or even on AOL. My work schedule (both at Furinkan and the Ucchan) combined with my writing have conspired to put a limit to the time I spend. If you do want to find me, though, the best time to look is between 5 and 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Mondays — Konatsu takes off for the evening, and I close the Ucchan down early that day, so I have a little time to spend out on the KawaiiMUCK… look for me under the name 'Konatsu' ('Ukyou' was already taken, I'm afraid).

Yes Virginia, There Is An Ucchan

By now, I imagine you’ve realized I’m no more the ‘real’ Ukyou Kuonji than that fat man with the white beard and red suit you see in the shopping malls every December is the real Santa Claus. Most true Ukyou fans have trouble visualizing my settling for Konatsu over Ranma, for one thing. But that doesn’t mean that there is no such thing as Ukyou Kuonji… she just might not go by that name. We’ve all got a bit of her inside of us; all who know and love her. If we can bring that willingness to make friends out of enemies to ourselves, we can make the world a better place right there. And hey… the okonomiyaki's pretty good, too.

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