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Regarding Shampoo – an open letter to fanfic authors

The Ranma ½ fanfiction community has a bit of a history. People like pata-hikari have written about it before, but it boils down to people copying certain elements from earlier fanfics.

This includes characters’ names.

It’s quite obvious that the three Chinese Amazons warriors have a naming theme going, as is common in manga. “Shampoo”, “Mousse”, and “Cologne”. Besides some people apparently not getting the joke and naming the functionally blind guy “Moose”, there’s the added joke, to some degree, that these are actually mutations of their “proper” Chinese names.

Unfortunately, this only holds up well for Shampoo.

In book 29, part 3, The Seeds of Tragedy, we see a Chinese-language newspaper:

The caption reads  新娘子‧珊撲, or “bride: Shampoo”. There’s an unflattering picture of Ranma next to it captioned “groom: Ranma”.

I bring this up because there’s this common trend to spell Shampoo’s “proper Chinese” name as “Xian Pu”.

This is simply not correct. At all. It’s “Shan Pu”.

I brought this up elsewhere and was told it depended on the romanization system being used. This is also simply not correct.

First let’s look up 珊:

I’ve circled the important bit. If we now look at the comparison of Chinese transcription systems and look up ㄕㄢ we find a pleasant surprise:

Well, pleasant for me. Not a single romanization scheme for Chinese has it as “xian”.

Her name is “Shān Pū”. Remove the space if you want, remove the macrons, but…

Can we please stop writing new Ranma ½ fics with “Xian Pu”? Back then we had no such references within easy reach but there’s really no excuse today.

(Incidentally, Shampoo is the only one of the three with a known spelling in proper Chinese characters. Mousse and Cologne make do with katakana, matching the fact their names are English terms.)

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