Happosai (八宝斎 Happōsai?) is the founder and grandmaster of Anything Goes Martial Arts, having taught Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo. He is known as much for his perversion was as his martial arts mastery.
When he was 18 years old, Happosai made advances towards the young Cologne, who seemed about the same age, but she rejected the angered dwarf by unleashing the Hiryu Shoten Ha. After attempting to come on to every other young woman in the Amazon village, but being constantly turned down, he took revenge by stealing all their valuables. This included a bracelet belonging to Cologne, which contained three magic love-inducing pills, though he claimed that it was a memento of affection from his first love. In the anime, he also stole the magical Nanban Mirror (which allows the user to travel through space and time) around this time. It was around this time period that he befriended the nearly identical Rakkyosai, but stole his tablet of rainbow colored ink (used to create 'perfect' female breast prints), which presumably ended the friendship. The anime implies that he made friends with Chingensai (with whom he has a much better relationship than the manga Happosai has with Rakkyosai) around this time period, as the episode in which the two meet has them reminiscing about training together.
A hundred years ago he also raided a temple for a shiatsu chart, which among other things showed the ultimate weakness moxibustion point. In a wanted poster from this time he appeared much older than in the first instance, middle-aged, balding and wearing a mustache. Thus at the very least he is more than 118 years old in the manga, but is likely several additional decades older, at most a few beyond 200. In the anime Cologne has been stated as being approximately 300 years old, with Happosai placed around the same age, due to their detailed meetings. In the anime episode "Case of the Missing Takoyaki!", the narrator approximates Happosai's age as roughly 400 years old.
The "training" that he put Soun and Genma through, was cleaning up his messes, having to "take the fall" for him, and basically making life a living hell for the two. However, one day they finally managed to get away from Happosai's control. While the latter was passed out drunk from the sake that they brought to him, Soun and Genma trapped Happosai inside a box with lit dynamite, threw it into a cave, rolled a boulder over the entrance, and sealed it with fastened ofuda spirit wards. Thinking they were finally free of the old lech, Soun and Genma left to continue their practice.
After many years, Happosai managed to escape from his prison and made his way to the Tendo dojo. Fearing that he was out for revenge, Soun and Genma immediately tried to kill him, but after being instantly and effortlessly defeated they groveled before him. Even though he is a massive pest, Genma and Soun don't always have the backbone to stand up to him, especially not close to his introduction, and tried to force Ranma Saotome to apologize for helping to return his stolen underwear to its rightful owners. Ranma managed to outsmart and weaken Happosai through sticking him with a women-repelling scent, which enabled Genma to wear him down, but much to everyone's dismay, Happosai nonetheless moved in with the Tendos.
Happosai is a tiny man, about the same height as Cologne. He is completely bald except for some hair on the sides of his head and has a pencil-thin mustache. He wore a gi years before when training Soun and Genma, but now wears a two piece medium colored outfit (dark maroon in the anime). He also makes use of various disguises when needed and when on his underwear raids typically sports a traditional Japanese mask made from a folded tenugui. It is more a ceremonial disguise than an actually functional disguise, and is believed to have its roots in the now-discouraged practice of yobai or night-crawling. One of the common depictions of Happosai is wearing this mask and carrying a furoshiki laden with loot.
The only things Happosai cares about are martial arts, being a nuisance and satisfying his own hedonism. The very definition of a dirty old man, he regularly indulges in perverse activities such as groping, or attempting to peek on, and/or stealing the lingerie of Akane, Ranma, and just about any other attractive female he sees. While Ranma owns no female undergarments, Happosai has attempted to get the latter's female form to model a bra for him. One of his few, non-perverse, regular habits is cooking sweet potatoes with a camp fire he builds in the back or front yard. Nevertheless, several times characters have taken issue with this habit, albeit, only because of what he uses for kindling, among which are; their personal belongings, the moxibustion sheet Ranma needed, the paper detailing a french Martial Arts Dining technique and, in one instance, the Anything Goes Martial Art School's Dojo sign.
He is addicted to his perversion; not being able to touch a woman is like not being able to breathe for him. He goes through severe withdrawal at one point, becoming very weak and crawling along the ground, repeatedly muttering "pretty ladies." In this part of both the manga and anime, Happosai was cursed with an odor that repelled women. Not able to touch any women, he nearly ends up dying in Ranma's arms until the rain of a storm changes Ranma into his female form, allowing Happosai to regain some of his strength. He is often seen on panty raids, touring the neighborhood toting a sackful of women's undergarments twice his size and shouting out his signature battle cry of "Dai ryo ja!" (What a haul!) while being pursued by the women he stole from.
He is somewhat vain and consistently attempts to modify past events to place himself in a far more favorable light, unblemishing his younger self into a valiant, but victimized bishonen ladykiller. In reality, Happosai was simply an ugly, diminutive, and unpopular thief. When compared to Cologne who was a normal looking girl of normal height when she was young who grew smaller with age it shows he might have Dwarfism since he's been the same height for his whole life. He has remained the same over the decades. Beyond asserting that Cologne gave him a stolen heirloom as a romantic token of affection, he likewise claimed that he received the butterfly brocade from his friend Rakkyosai as a symbol of their friendship. In truth he knocked out the latter with a large mallet and stole it.
He is also extremely petty, sadistic and vengeful towards anyone who sufficiently displeases him. Happosai has gone to relentless extremes to torment Ranma, Genma and Soun by sticking them with large, unpaid food bills, incriminating them as neighborhood panty-thieves, calling the zoo to pick up Genma, or leaving false panda paw prints on the walls. But while his revenge schemes are usually comically silly, he has been unhesitant to cripple Ranma for life by permanently taking away his strength and then informing all his enemies. While he instructed Soun and Genma, Happosai kept his two students as personal slaves, who he tormented, incriminated, and starved for his own entertainment during their "training". He was also willing to kill the Niku Men if they did not give up information regarding the Dragon's Whisker. He has proudly proclaimed himself as "evil until the day I die", although, as noted above, he simply sees himself as 'misunderstood' on other occasions.
Happosai has quite rare good moods, when he shows a more benevolent side, such as when he assisted the mother of Pantyhose Taro in giving birth. Also, the old man does have a soft spot for little children whom he helps at times. In the anime, Happosai tried to give up on his bad habits when he fell in love with a young teacher named Midori. But ultimately, his perversion won him over and he lost her favor after revealing himself to be the neighborhood panty thief, whom she despised. However, Happosai at least apparently has a somewhat 'chivalrous' side, as he stated a code against fighting born women when female Ranma was first presented as a disciple, and indeed never hits or even directly defends himself against them even when given regular beatings for his thefts and gropings.
Going by the German edition of the Ranma ½ Memorial Book (The Art of Ranma ½ in English), he is likely the person Ranma despises most and views as his personal archenemy. He is one of the very few individuals Ranma has (once) actively attempted to kill, alternately post to the North Pole, but the latter has also occasionally shown compassion towards or helped to save the life of his grandmaster.
His relationship with Cologne is expanded on in the anime. At Age 18, Cologne used to have feelings for him despite his lechery and shortness but Happosai's relentless lechery ended up breaking the romance and he left Cologne's village with a pack of stolen valuables.
Strangely, Nabiki and Kasumi seem to mostly be exempt from Happosai's actions. Although, early in both the manga and anime series, he enthusiastically attempted to peek on Nabiki when he thought she was naked in a bathhouse. In the anime episode "Enter Ken and His Copycat Kerchief," Happosai and Copycat Ken attempted to grope both Kasumi and Nabiki, though Nabiki simply punches them away. In "The Horrible Happo-Mold Burst!," all three Tendo sisters had a battle aura surrounding them because of Happosai's attempt to steal their underwear.
As the founder and grandmaster of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, Happosai is by all appearances in sum total easily the, to an extreme degree, most formidable character in the entire series, due to the combination of completely overshadowing the combat skills of any other displayed martial artists, with the exception of Cologne, and also being one of the characters with by far greatest displayed amounts of raw power along with Saffron and possibly the Eight Headed Orochi. There is no indication of the limits of Happosai's prowess and knowledge, which includes ancient martial arts techniques, near-forgotten pressure points on a human body, recipes for alchemical concoctions with various effects, and knowledge of many Chinese and Japanese magical artifacts.
Happosai is able to adapt to new situations in combat and is proficient enough to quickly create new techniques to counter moves used against him. He has personally trained Soun and Genma, who are both strong fighters in their own right. He also taught Hinako Ninomiya the unique ability to drain the auras of others, using a combination of pressure points to change her metabolism and partial martial art exercises. He has effortlessly defeated Ranma, Ryoga, Genma and Soun simultaneously, within seconds, without even using his skyscraper-sized battle aura or any other special techniques. He has used this, or his smaller Happo Daikarin, to consistently casually defeat Taro's monster form in a single strike, and had enough power in a single finger to effortlessly stop it in its tracks. Soun later honestly evaluated that Taro's monster form (which in turn is more than a match for Ranma, and comparable to Herb) would need an army of twins to match Happosai in an honest unrestricted confrontation.
Happosai can very quickly recover from severe damage or beatings, frequently within a few seconds, and apparently far more so than fighters like Mousse or Kuno, going by the time they were all caught in a Hiryu Shoten Ha and then buried alive. This includes surviving being blown up with a 5m diameter version of his own bombs. He was likewise able to endure without sustenance when buried inside a cave for over 10 years, and was no worse for the wear after the Shinto seal keeping him there was destroyed.
As a flipside of this, Happosai's main weaknesses are that he is seldom remotely serious and is easily distracted by lingerie and pretty women, being quite easily handled through sucker-attacks in this manner. Essentially, although he could theoretically possibly match all the other most formidable characters in the series ganging up on him if he actually used his combination of abilities to their fullest potential, virtually anybody can take him out by showing some attractive female cleavage and then bash him with a massive mallet. Regardless, Happosai cannot be taken lightly.
Happosai is hated by nearly all who know and have met him, especially Ranma, although the later has been sympathetic to him on a few occasions. With the exceptions of Rakkyosai and Chingensai, he has no friends. The reasons for this animosity against him are:
- His perversions: Happosai has been a letch since his youth, making advances towards every pretty girl he sees, collecting women's bras and panties and randomly grabbing and cuddling breasts, resulting him being hated by women all around him. This caused Cologne to lose her respect and love for him.
- His thefts: Happosai has been known to have stolen or plundered many treasures, artifacts and valuables from other people (mostly bras and panties from teenage girls) and was branded a thief by Cologne when he stole her Magic Mirror.
- His lies and selfishness: Happosai has lied or told tall tales about his life which are almost never true, such as when he claims to be a tall, handsome man in his youth when in fact he was still as short and ugly. He also has selfish intentions whether about people or items, such as how he consistently tries to get Ranma to model in lingerie for him or at least get him to stay in his female form, even through the use of force or trickery.
- "What a haul! What a haul!" - Happosai's catchphrase when stealing women's underwear.
Happosai appears in the fighting game Ranma ½: Hard Battle. He is the final boss of the game if the player selects any of Pantyhose Taro's forms, which are the average final boss for all the other characters. Happosai becomes unlockable after the game is beaten once. Out of all the fighting characters in this game, he is the only one that cannot be selected unless one uses a code in versus mode.
- "Happōsai" has the same sound as "八宝菜," or "eight treasures dish," a popular Chinese seafood dish in Japan. The 斎 character that 菜 has been replaced with was historically a common ending for martial arts masters' names.
- Happosai is voiced by Paul Dobson, who also voiced Myōga from Rumiko Takahashi's subsequent manga series, InuYasha. Both characters look very similar and share some of the same personality traits.
- His voice actor would provide the voice of Cherry of the Urusei Yatsura.
- In the anime, Happosai seems to have given up telling people he was handsome in his youth after the events of Back to the Happosai!. As in his next tall tale in Big Trouble in Nekonron, China, young Happosai is shown to look like his regular self though he still presents himself as a heroic figure preventing world domination.