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Maomolin (猫魔鈴 Maomōrin?) is a 3,000 year old Chinese bakeneko (ghost cat), inadvertently brought to Japan by Shampoo.

Biography

History

For three thousand years, Maomolin has roamed China, seeking to take a human wife. Spreading a legend that whoever took a little bell that was paired to his own giant bell would be destined to be with the one he loved, Maomolin used this as bait to try and secure a bride. However, it never worked; either nobody believed it, or he was chased away when he tried to claim his bride.

Plot

During a trip home to the Amazon Village, the Joketsuzoku known as Shampoo fell for his legend and brought the bells to Nerima, presenting Maomolin's bell to her reluctant fiancee, Ranma Saotome, in hopes of finally persuading him to fall in love with her. Maomolin emerged later that very night in search of the woman who held his bell, and became infatuated with Shampoo. Unfortunately for him, Shampoo had no intention of wedding a giant ghostly cat, and browbeat Ranma into fighting Maomolin for him. It was a farcical affair, given Maomolin's own weakness and Ranma's intense ailurophobia, but finally Maomolin admitted defeat and gave up on trying to force Shampoo to be his bride.[1]

However, he did not go back to China; having found himself in a new land with new girls to try and court, he began haunting Japan instead.[2]

Maomolin would be briefly seen in Nerima, joining an angry mob pursuing Ranma Saotome, Akane Tendo and Happosai shortly before being dispersed by the arrival of the vengeful Lychee and her pet elephant Jasmine.[3]

During one of his wanderings, Maomolin was attacked by a pack of wild dogs, but was saved by Ryoga Hibiki. Grateful, Maomolin offered to grant him a wish in exchange for saving his life, declaring he had to repay a debt. Upon discovering that Ryoga had a girl he liked, but he was so shy he couldn't even tell her that he liked her, Maomolin decided that would be the wish he'd grant for Ryoga. He possessed Ryoga, headed to Nerima, and began trying to court Akane for Ryoga -- though he was not unaware of the fact that if Ryoga wed Akane while Maomolin was in his body, that meant he would technically be wed to Akane as well. Eventually, however, Ranma accidentally exorcised Maomolin from Ryoga who, humiliated, refused Maomolin's further assistance and hurled him into the distance.[4]

When Tatewaki Kuno became the substitute principal of Furinkan High School, Maomolin joined Happosai in attacking the school, having heard from Nabiki Tendo that there was a "bridal candidate" for him. The resultant chaos as he and Happosai attacked the female Ranma was part of Nabiki's plan to make Kuno look so poor a choice for substitute principal that his father, Principal Kuno, would never select him for the role again.[5]

Eventually, Maomolin would return to Nerima and try again to "woo" Shampoo. Setting up a lair in an abandoned temple to cats, he lured her there on the last day before the new year and placed a curse on her; if she could not get a kiss with Ranma before the temple bell rang the 108th chime of the new year, she would become a cat forever and spend the rest of eternity as his wife. Despite the interference of the insanely jealous Mousse, and Akane Tendo being unable to decide whether she wanted to help Ranma or stop Ranma, Shampoo managed to finally kiss Ranma just in the nick of time, right before the 108th chime sounded, and Maomolin's curse was broken. Despite this, he vowed he would find a bride, eventually.[6]

Despite the fact he had tried to turn her into a cat permanently, Shampoo was willing to hire Maomolin as a secondary delivery boy during one hot summer, when she and Mousse headed to the beach to man a stall there. While there, Maomolin met Tsubasa Kurenai, and became infatuated; Tsubasa's awful singing voice sounding like genuine caterwauling was but icing on the cake, and finally he began chasing Tsubasa all over the beach, asking "her" to become his bride. Finally, in irritation, Tsubasa revealed that he was actually a fully heterosexual male transvestite, but, to Tsubasa's disgusted horror, Maomolin wasn't deterred by this. [7]

Appearance

Maomolin has the appearance of a massive cat with ghostly white fur and yellow eyes. He goes about naked, save for a comparatively tiny bell - to give an indication of how large Maomolin is, whilst proportionally this bell is the size of a typical cat's bell compared to him, the bell is around the size of a human head. Somehow, the bell dangles below his chin even though he doesn't use a collar to hold it in place. He seems to be somewhat chubby, but it could just be a particular dense and fluffy fur coat.

Personality

Maomolin is a surprisingly complicated character, but first and foremost, he is desperate and stubborn. While the reason why he is so determined to take a human wife is never covered, he has been chasing one for three millennia. While normally he can be quite polite and courteous, his desperation means he is not above less than moral behavior to try and acquire a wife. He promises to treat any bride he may win with kindness, love and respect, but at the same time, is very slow to take "No" for an answer, and is perfectly willing to try force to make a woman become his wife.

Maomolin after a fight with Ranma using the Nekoken.

Despite this, there are limits to what he will tolerate; when Ranma's female form enters the Nekoken and mauls him savagely, he declares that he will not marry a woman who is such a brute. Apart from violence, though, he otherwise seems quite understanding of "character flaws" (or at least is so desperate that he will overlook them) - even revealing that he was actually a guy failed to dissuade Maomolin from trying to woo the distinctly disinterested Tsubasa.

Maomolin acknowledges his flaws, to an extent, but at the same time, can be less than sympathetic to those who are shy about matters of the heart. While talking with Ryoga, his reaction to discovering Ryoga's bashful nature and how it interferes with his courtship of Akane causes the bakeneko to start laughing, call Ryoga shyer than he is, and proclaim that Ryoga is pathetic.

Abilities

As a bakeneko, Maomolin presumably has a number of supernatural powers, though only a few of these have been evidenced in the series and it is possible he may be so weak that he doesn't have any more than these. Most obviously, as a ghost, he can transform himself into a kind of vapor, in which state he can occupy his giant bell (in which he can levitate to get around) or possess another person. A physical blow can exorcise him from whoever he is possessing, but otherwise he has complete control over the possessed host's body, though the fact their eyes develop slit pupils and his cat mannerisms (like curling up to sleep and chasing small, wiggling things) easily gives him away. He once managed to cast a curse over Shampoo that transformed her into a cat if she tried to leave the confines of a certain area, and would have eventually caused her to permanently become a cat, but this may have been dependent upon the fact that she already had a Jusenkyo curse that let her assume the form of a cat.

Relationships

Maomolin is technically an antagonistic character, but he's so pathetic and ineffectual that the other denizens of Nerima don't really take him seriously. He's seen largely as an annoyance, except by Ranma Saotome, whose intense ailurophobia means he is absolutely terrified of Maomolin.

Maomolin has something of a fixation on Shampoo, trying in two separate stories to force her to accept him as her husband, but largely seems to be content to move on in the face of her stubborn resistance to the idea. In return, Shampoo doesn't really think of Maomolin in any context, save for her adamant refusal to marry him.

In the anime, Maomolin develops a crush on Tsubasa Kurenai for one episode, but Tsubasa finds him absolutely repugnant and refuses to accept his advances.

Quotes

  • "Be myi bride!"

Trivia

  • Maomolin appears in Fighting Songs Karuta. He has his own song, is mentioned in Azusa's song, and appears in the CD's special version of Lambada Ranma.
  • In the manga, it can be read that the bakeneko involved in the storyline in which Shampoo must kiss Ranma or become a cat forever is actually a different one to Maomolin. In the anime, it was explicitly Maomolin.
    • Though the page spread at the end of the manga depicts only one ghost cat, implying it was indeed Maomolin in the manga as well.
  • Even though Maomolin seems to want a human wife, he has no problem with turning Shampoo into a cat.
  • Maomolin's design may be the basis for two Bakemono that appear in Rumiko Takahashi's current work Kyoukai no Rinne, Akamaru and Toramaru. The two go around disguising themselves as children and cause mischief.
  • His first seiyu Yō Yoshimura passed away in November 1991 and so was voiced by another seiyu, Masahiro Anzai, from 1992.
  • His second seiyu, Masahiro Anzai, voiced Ryūnosuke's father from Urusei Yatsura (Rumiko Takahashi's first major manga series).

References

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