Relation to the Previous Episode
None, but the Nanban Mirror is from the episode Back to the Happosai! and the way the past-Saotomes interact with Jusenkyo is fundamentally identical to the flashbacks from Here's Ranma, as are the scenes where Soun and his daughters prepare for the arrival of the Saotomes.
Through the misty passes of China's Bayankala mountains, Ranma strides forth determinedly, pausing only to rest his tired legs and take some gulps from a traditional bamboo water container. Through the vapors, he sees his destination; the dread valley of Jusenkyo, and he races down the slopes in excitement. Finally, the cure to his gender-bending ailment is in sight! ...And then he screeches to a halt at a most terrible sight; every last spring and pond in the place is dry as a bone. He wails his disbelief and pain and anguish and rage to the sky...
And Genma smashes him over the head with a chamberpot, snapping at him it's the middle of the night and to shut up. Realising it was just a dream, Ranma falls back onto his futon... only to spring up again with another shout as he remembers just what his nightmare was about. Irritated, Genma shoves him back against the door and advances on him menacingly, even as Ranma stammers out that he dreamed Jusenkyo had dried up. Realising what's going on, Genma lightens up, laughing that it was just a bad dream. Ranma points out that if his dream comes true, though, they'll be stuck with these curses for the rest of their lives. Realising Ranma has a point, Genma still weakly protests that it was just a dream, to which Ranma asks: what if it wasn't?
Conceeding Ranma has a point, Genma turns on the light and starts flicking through a Chinese training ground travelogue... only to reveal that he still has no grasp whatsoever on reading Chinese. Ranma smashes him to the floor with the chamberpot, drags out his backpack and declares there's nothing else for it; it's time they stopped sitting around in Japan and went back to Jusenkyo. He demands Genma give him some money to help pay his way out of the country, and Genma smugly boasts that he's planned for a contingency such as this, which earns Ranma's admiration... though that gives way to its inevitable disdain when Genma proudly reveals his "lifesavings" are nothing more than 328 yen, for which Ranma hurls him across the room. When he starts advancing menacingly, Genma waves him to a halt, boasting that he's got an idea.
The two of them creep silently into Happosai's room, in pursuit of the Nanban Mirror, which allows its user to move through space and time. Ranma raises the possibility that Happosai might have thrown it away after Nabiki broke it, but Genma insists that a greedy little troll like Happosai would never throw away anything, especially something like that. Indeed, they do find it, and sneak out... but the creak of a floorboard wakes Happosai, and he slips after them as they head to the kitchen, gloating that this mirror will let them go wherever and whenever they want, no costs at all.
Happosai makes his presence known by berating them for trying to steal his magic mirror and demanding they let him come along with them. Panicking, Ranma tells Genma to grab the onion, Happosai watching in confusion as Genma rubs a peeled onion in Ranma's eye. Realising what's going on, Happosai grabs onion and mirror both, casting a tear onto the mirror and demanding it to take them ten years into the future, to both Saotomes' surprise.
In a flash of green-blue light, they find themselves standing in a much more run-down version of the kitchen, and hearing a female voice, they run out the door for cover. To their shock, a mature and beautiful version of Akane Tendo looks into the room, then walks off, calling out a pet-name for someone. Sneaking into the garden, they find out who she was looking for; the tall, long-haired figure of a similarly aged Ryoga Hibiki, clearly her husband (much to Happosai's dismay; he was certain that this future-Akane was married to himself).
Spying, they discover that the Tendo-Hibikis have three rowdy sons, and the dojo is still inhabited by the aged, withered, tired-looking Genma and Happosai, who are being run ragged by Ryoga's boys. The sight of Genma's panda-form just sitting on the patio looking miserable and letting himself be painted on, or the three boys tackling Happosai into the spring and then bounding around the garden as pigs, leaves both of the men teary-eyed with despair, while Ranma snaps at them to use the mirror so they can get out of this twisted place. Genma rubs the onion into Ranma's eye, then tells the mirror to take them to Jusenkyo, the day they got their curse, once Ranma weeps onto its surface.
Again the light swallows them, and they wake upon a stony ledge overlooking the path to Jusenkyo. Ranma and Genma are all set to go and take a dip themselves when Happosai stops them, pointing them to two familiar figures down below; the past versions of Ranma and Genma. As they watch, past-Ranma kicks his father in the face for insisting on following a map he admits he can't read, then runs off ahead while his livid father chases him down.
Trying to Change the Future
The present versions of the Saotomes immediately set off in hot pursuit, determined to prevent their other selves from making their mistake. Happosai follows, then asks why he should care; Ranma promptly offers him some women's underwear, and motived beyond belief, the old pervert goes racing ahead to switch the signpost leading to Jusenkyo around. But past-Genma throws his bag at his son in a rage before either of them see the sign, causing them to go the right way after all.
Genma declares he'll have to try, and assumes his panda form, stepping out menacingly in front of the past-Saotomes and then holds up a signing "If you're scared, I'd turn back now". Unfortunately, his impression is less than stellar - worse, he's forgotten that at this point in the past, he and his son are running very low on supplies; the past Saotomes make it quite clear that they'll eat Genma if they can catch hold of him, and so he goes running for it.
Ranma watches this happen disdainfully, and decides it's his turn to take care of things. Once his father escapes, the past versions of the Saotomes go jogging off towards Jusenkyo, past-Genma anxious to finally see the place at last. Ranma follows them, and then spots a nearby pool, into which he dives. The past-Saotomes can see Jusenkyo over some ridges when Ranma-chan catches up to them, pretending to be a frightened, sickly maiden. She notes it's a weird feeling to look at your own face without a mirror when past-Ranma comes to her aid, though her other self denies the resemblance when past-Genma remarks on it. Ranma tries to get them to turn away from Jusenkyo, first by feigning starvation (which results in Genma offering her a dead snake (subs specify it's a black viper) as food), then by claiming there are villains following her. But the past-Saotomes won't be swayed, leaving her standing behind them and fuming as they insist on blindly heading onwards towards their doom.
Happosai promptly approaches Ranma and tries to glomp her, only to be slapped aside fiercely. In an effort to get into her good books, he promises that he can stop the past-Saotomes, sneaking ahead to confront them in the middle of the road. However, for reasons of his own, he does not try to terrorize past-Genma into abandoning Jusenkyo; instead, he tries to be diplomatic, offering to deem past-Genma a fully realized martial arts master and thusly render a trip to Jusenkyo meaningless. His efforts to be nice backfire, though; past-Genma knows Happosai only as a selfish, perverted, inconsiderate little monster, and so Happosai's efforts to be nice have convinced him that the old man is a fake. Suggesting that Happosai may actually be some kind of supernatural trickster (one of "the little people" in the dub, a kitsune or badger/tanuki in the sub), the past-Saotomes promptly beat Happosai up and continue on the cursed springs.
Finally, the time-travelers decide on a more subtle approach; as the past-versions of Ranma and Genma leap and bound around, each strikes from hiding with a long bamboo stalk to knock them away from the water when they lose their balance and fall, before Genma slips his bamboo into the guide's hand and sneaks off. Infuriated by what they perceive as trickery, the past-Saotomes beat up the guide, press him into service carrying their luggage, and head off. Ranma watches them go happily, then tells Genma to enjoy being a panda while he can, because it looks like they'll both be back to normal once they return to their own time. Happosai tears up as he realises that he's just helped "destroy" his favorite glomping target, latching onto Ranma's breasts and being punched away. When he comes racing back, though, the Saotomes use the mirror to return to the present, leaving the dumbfounded, outraged Happosai trapped in China.
Back to the "Present"
Ranma and Genma rematerialize on an empty street in the middle of pouring rain - but despite the drenching, they remain male humans, to their great joy. Immediately they head home to the Tendo Dojo, but it takes a few moments for them to realise things are off; the Tendos are acting as though the Saotomes are being rudely informal with them, Akane's hair is long, all of them seem not to recognize the Saotomes. That's when Ranma realizes: they've rematerialized at the point in time when they first came to stay with the Tendos.
Genma declares that they can't do anything about this; they'll just have to try and "settle in" all over again. The two try to cover for their impropriety, but then things take a turn for the bizarre when another pair of Saotomes show up; a man who wears the body of a panda and a boy who wears the body of a girl. And then Happosai leaps into the garden, declaring it's Ranma and Genma's fault for abandoning him in the relative past in China, and then taunting Ranma that no matter what Ranma does, he can't change his past. Teary eyed, Ranma protests that's not fair, especially not after all he's gone through to get to this state, and wails his disbelief and pain and anguish and rage to the sky...
Whereupon Genma clocks him over the head with a chamberpot, snapping at him that it's the middle of the night, so shut up. Ranma tries to babble something to Genma when the Tendos suddenly barge into his room and throw heavy objects at him, each protesting that it's too late at night for him to be wailing and gibbering. As they storm off back to their own rooms, Ranma calms down and realises that the time-traveling was nothing but a dream, Jusenkyo's drying up being a dream-within-a-dream. He falls back onto his futon... then shoots up in dismay; what if this is another dream?!
Cast in Order of Appearance
|Character Name||Japanese Voice||English Voice|
|Ranma Saotome (male)||Kappei Yamaguchi||Sarah Strange|
|Genma Saotome (human, panda)||Kenichi Ogata||Robert O. Smith|
|Happosai||Ichirō Nagai||Paul Dobson|
|Akane Tendo||Noriko Nagai||Myriam Sirois|
|Ryoga Hibiki (human)||Koichi Yamadera||Michael Donovan|
|Ranma Saotome (female)||Megumi Hayashibara||Venus Terzo|
|Jusenkyo Guide||Kōichi Yamadera||Ian James Corlett|
|Soun Tendo||Ryunosuke Ohbayashi||David Kaye|
|Kasumi Tendo||Kikuko Inoue||Willow Johnson|
|Nabiki Tendo||Minami Takayama||Angela Costain|
- The events of this episode, save for the very ending, are all a nightmare that Ranma had.
- In Ranma's nightmare, Ryoga's triplet sons by Akane inherit Ryoga's pig curse. In the manga, it is implied that having a cursed parent will merely cause the offspring to inherit "traits" of the curse (see Musk Dynasty). For example, the son of a tiger cursed to take on the form of the woman has incredible strength, while the son of a wolf with the same curse has incredible speed, both of which are traditionally aspects associated with those beasts.
- Ranma's dream-visions of his self prior to Jusenkyo implies he and Genma, while quarrelsome, truly respected and cared for each other. Ranma's own much more disdainful attitude towards his father in the series could have come about because of what Genma caused.
- Precisely why Ranma and Genma are so set on keeping their past selves from falling into the springs at all instead of just focusing on curing themselves and then returning to their proper point in space and time is never explained. Then again, the Saotomes both have something of a fondness for overly complicated plots.
- Similarly, it's never explained why Ranma and Genma didn't just talk to their past selves. They may possibly have feared causing a time paradox, though.
- Precisely how Akane and Ryoga got married, and why Genma is still living at the Tendo Dojo if she didn't marry Ranma, is never given any explanation, beyond it being Ranma's nightmare. Still, given Genma's behavior in Ryoga Inherits the Saotome School? it's possible that the "backstory" for this scenario may involve Ranma marrying Shampoo/Ukyo/Kodachi and abandoning the Tendo School and Genma reluctantly adopting Ryoga as his heir (and thusly Akane's groom) in Ranma's place.
- According to this episode, Happosai's "tomb" was in the Hida mountains.
- When the "past Saotomes" show up at the episode's end with their canonical curses, this may be a sign that Ranma's dream is breaking down, or it may be a sign that Happosai forced them to go to Jusenkyo and duel, in hopes of "resurrecting" his favorite perversion target.
- This is the last episode to feature Sarah Strange as the voice of Ranma in the English dub, though she also appeared in the OVAs and feature films. She was replaced by Richard Cox at the beginning of the next season.