Ranma's rigorous training is not paying off. It has been a week since her last meal and with Madame St. Paul watching her she can not sneak a single bite of food. Akane disguises herself as a maid and tries to help Ranma, but Picolet's watchful eye prevents it. Ranma decides that all this work is not worth the effort and decides to change back into a guy and tell Picolet off.
Searching for Elegance
As another morning begins at Chateau Chardin, Ranma continues her elegance training by having a plate of food placed atop her head, whilst she balances on a tightrope with her hands tied with iron shackles; all the while as Madame St. Paul looks on. Whilst this is going on, Picolet looks on from the doorway, with a tear in his eye at the fact Ranma hasn't eaten anything for a week now. Despite Ranma's starvation, Picolet continues to enjoy a plate of fruit right in front of her, leading in Ranma kicking her future husband; prompting Madame St. Paul to once more attack Ranma with her frying pan.
Thanks to her actions, Madame St. Paul refuses to allow Ranma to have any dinner, much to the concern of the onlooking maids.
Later that day, as she looks out of a window, Ranma reminds herself how she's used to missing meals whilst training and declares that no empty stomach is going to stop her! Unfortunately Ranma's hunger has led her to stare desperately at any food she sees, much to the enjoyment of some passing by children.
Not a second later Ranma hears a voice behind her. As she turns, Ranma is shocked to see that Akane has returned, dressed as a maid, asking why she doesn't just give up and come home.
After explaining that Soun sent her to check up on him, Akane hands Ranma some bread she managed to sneak out. This offering overjoys the starving Ranma, but, just as she prepares to take a bite, Ranma stops herself as accepting the bread now would mean she couldn't handle the rigorous training involved with Martial Arts Dining. Akane, however, isn't as convinced and asks Ranma if she wants to die of starvation just to prove she's tough? Almost immediately upon hearing this, Ranma changes her mind yet again and goes to eat the bread, but is stopped by Picolet's intervening tongue which grabs the food away.
As Picolet busily munches on the bread he tells Ranma that he shall always be looking over her out of love. Ranma, however, doesn't return the sentiment and throws Picolet through a window for stealing her food.
That evening, driven mad from hunger, an almost zombie-like Ranma sneaks into the chateau's kitchen in the hope of stealing some food. Once she opens the fridge, however, Ranma is met with the frozen face of Genma's panda form. Infuriated Ranma takes his frozen father to the baths to defrost him, passing Akane's room and waking her in the process.
Once at the baths Ranma throws her father into the boiling water and demands to know why he insists on eating everything, to which Genma retorts that he he came here to watch over Ranma as she mastered the techniques of Martial Arts Dining. Akane, however, deduces that the real reason was so that Genma could pig out on french cuisine.
With his father now thinking about having her marry Picolet so he could eat fine food for the rest of his life, Ranma decides she's had enough and attempts to change back into her male form so that she can tell Picolet her secret and get everything finished with. Unfortunately as soon as Ranma changes back to her male form, the Iron Corset begins crushing his body so that he can't breath. Luckily Akane throws a bucket of cold water over Ranma, leaving Ranma with the realization that she can't change back into her male form until she gets rid of the corset!
Ranma's First Meal
The next morning Ranma finds Picolet and tells him that she's quitting the training. This statement upsets Picolet who begs her not to leave, prompting Ranma to suggest that at the very least he get the corset removed. Picolet, however, is overcome with sorrow at how difficult the training must be for his future bride, so throws a sandwich for Ranma. Driven by hunger, Ranma immediately chases after the bread and consumes it midair.
Having finally eaten something "elegantly", Picolet and the maids are overjoyed at seeing Ranma's first meal in a week. As Picolet and the maids applaud Ranma for her actions, Madame St. Paul sheds a tear at seeing all her training finally paying off before declaring that she will have to be even stricter from now one.
Whilst Ranma begins regretting what's just happened, Akane angrily questions Genma (who's busily stuffing his face in his panda form) if he's really considering marrying off Ranma…
Cast in Order of Appearance
- Ranma Saotome (female)
- Madame St. Paul
- Picolet Chardin II
- Akane Tendo
- Genma Saotome (panda)
- Genma Saotome (human)
- Ranma Saotome (male)
- (Picolet) "Mademoiselle Ranma, remember that I shall always be watching over you, for… je t'aime!"
- (Ranma) "Don't "t'aime" me… while you steal my food!"
- The english title of this chapter is a reference to the 1862 French novel, Les Misérables.
- There is an anime episode with a similar title, but aside from the name there are very little similarities.
- The two statues seen in the baths of Chateau Chardin are Fūjin and Venus from Sandro Botticelli's painting, The Birth of Venus