Ryoga is introduced as Ranma's first series rival to appear in terms of martial arts skills. Ryoga's grudge goes back to when Ranma and himself were in the same Junior High. In the cafeteria, everyday at lunch was like a war, considering it was an all boy's school. Ryoga seemed to be in reach for the last Bread of the Day, but Ranma always beat him to it.
Finally, Ryoga had enough, and challenged Ranma to a duel in the empty lot behind his house. But as he does now, Ryoga then, had a horrible sense of direction, and wandered around for 4 days, 3 nights, looking for the lot. Ranma had waited for 3 days, and then left with his father for their training trip in China. Ryoga finally found the place on the 4th day, and when he saw that Ranma wasn't around, his anger flared. He cursed Ranma as a coward, and vowed to find him where ever he went.
One day, Ryoga actually caught up with Ranma, although he didn't know it was Ranma at the time. On his journey to find Ranma, he happened upon the Jusenkyo. Ryoga was on a cliff, overlooking the springs, when a panda almost knocked him over the edge. He jumped out of the way, only to be knocked into a spring by a red-headed girl. He fell into the Heituenniichuan, the Spring of Drowned Black Piglet.
Finally Ryoga made his way to Furinkan High School to find Ranma, and Challenged him. Their first real fight ended in a draw, with Akane losing her long hair to one of Ryoga's weapons. Ryoga continued to challenge Ranma all the time. Then they both found out about each other's curses, which angered Ryoga, considering he realized Ranma was responsible for his curse. But a lot of his anger changed, when he was cared for by Akane, while in his Piglet form, who was unaware of who the little black piggy really was.
Until that time, Ryoga found no advantage to being a pig until then, and hated his curse. But after Akane took care of him, and 'adopted' him as her pet pig, whom she named P-Chan. As a result of her caring for "P-Chan" so much, he fell in love with Akane. Akane doesn't know that P-Chan and Ryoga are one and the same. Ryoga always wants to ask Akane out, or tell her how he feels, but anytime he gets started on the topic, he stutters, and can't get it out.
Ryoga is the character in Ranma1/2 that probably suffers the most. Even though he rivals with Ranma, he also has a grudging respect for him as well. Ryoga does seem to have a better understanding of love than Ranma, but it is a love which is unrequited and at the same time highly idealistic. Ryoga also has a high sense of honor, and he is forever looking for a way to get Ranma out of his way. He holds to the code of martial arts while still being a fairly good person. He is willing to defend the things and people he cares about, and angers quickly against anyone who threatens the weak. He's kind of the "Tragic Hero" of the series.
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