Akane sees a chance for her to shine again as the preeminent martial artist around when she accidentally eats a strength-boosting batch of magical soba noodles.
Relation to the Previous Episode
One evening in Nerima, a small crowd gathers near a sumo wrestling machine on the Sakura Street shopping center, where Akane Tendo is just beating the second highest (Ozeki) level. Proudly declaring that it was nothing, Akane then steps up to the final challenge, the highest level (Yokozuna) of the machine's strength test. Despite all her efforts, though, she can't budge it, and then the mechanical arm suddenly snaps to the side, hurling her away to a painful landing. As Akane lies there on the ground, feminine giggles come from inside the machine, the model sumo wrestler cracking and then exploding to reveal a gleeful Shampoo, who taunts Akane that she has lost and is weak as ever. Akane's confusion over how long Shampoo has been hiding in there gives way to rage and she demands to have a second match. Shampoo then declares she's on the middle of a delivery, using Akane's head as a platform over which to vault onto her bike, then adding insult to injury by declaring that she has no time to waste on "weaklings" as she speeds off. She throws a parting taunt that if Akane ever wants to wrestle for Ranma, she'll be waiting any time.
Akane is still fuming over this humiliation when she gets home. That night's sparring session only makes her feel worse, as Ranma won't even look at her and instead focuses on reading a manga. She still can't lay a hand on him, though. Akane frustratedly demands that Ranma concentrate on her, asking how she's going to get any better if he won't take her seriously. Ranma promptly leaps over one punch and then drops down onto her back, knocking her to the floor and having the nerve to ask if she said something. As she grumbles that she should have known better than to expect sympathy of him, then pushes herself up and demands another bout, he rolls off of her and notes that it's just arm-wrestling.
In the kitchen, Happosai is doing some cooking of his own; tired of Ranma's interference in his affairs, he has acquired a magical dish - soba (buckwheat noodles) that bestow superhuman strength upon whoever eats it. Unfortunately for him, while the cooking goes off fine, when he takes it out to the table, he gets distracted by a bikini contest on television and is enthralled while everyone else sits down for dinner. Worse, as it's summer and Akane forgot to bring back the groceries she asked for, Kasumi is serving takeout soba - when he looks back,
everyone is eating, and somebody has taken his bowl of super soba. Happosai's upset causes questions from everyone, but it is when Akane puts her bowl on the table - and causes the table and the floor underneath to collapse under everyone - that Happosai realises that she is the one who ate his super soba. When he explains what's going on, the household has a hard time believing him - but when he leaps at Akane to try and fondle her, only for a gentle tap from her in warding to send him flying straight through the wall on the far side of the garden, then they start to believe.
Ranma remains the skeptic, though, and challenges Akane to an arm-wrestling match. Akane not only wins effortlessly, but flips him so hard he smashes through the floor. Dazed, but defiant, Ranma challenges her again. And again. And again. After several failed attempts, he ends up in a corner, weeping like a baby while Genma stands over him and, on the verge of tears himself, shouts at Ranma to stop crying. Akane, meanwhile, is off in her own little world, face and hands raised to the heavens and mental prayers of gratitude ringing through her mind, while Soun couldn't be prouder of his little girl.
The next morning, Ranma still won't give up, challenging Akane again and again, much to the disdain of the three Tendo girls. Soun mentions that there is an Anything Goes Women's Martial Arts Ping-Pong contest in the park today, and Akane is all too eager to go. On the way there, though, Ranma follows her, declaring that she has no place competing in a strength contest, to which Akane mocks Ranma back that he'd enter if he wasn't afraid of losing. Wounded, Ranma demands another arm wrestling match, insisting that this time he won't "hold back". Akane, disdainfully, declares Ranma to be a real glutton for punishment and taps him in the forehead, sending him flying off through the air, screaming that she won't get away with this. As he disappears, she wonders to herself what she has to do in order to make Ranma take her seriously.
At the contest, by coincidence, Shampoo is competing and so far has proven unbeatable. She hears the sounds of Ranma coming down from the orbit Akane launched him into, and catches him by the leg seconds before he painfully impacts on the ground. Letting him go, she happily embraces him, much to Ranma's displeasure. Akane sees this as she edges through the crowd, springing up onto the arena and then hurling herself at both of them with a diving kick that only just misses Shampoo, thanks to Ranma pulling her down, and smashes straight through the edge of the arena. Shampoo admits in surprise that Akane has gotten stronger, to which Akane taunts Shampoo to try her luck against her now. Shampoo accepts Akane's challenge, declaring that they will duel in Martial Arts Ping Pong, and suggests that they make Ranma the stakes, a suggestion Akane is happy to go with.
After a brief intermission for Akane to get into a suitable costume, and Shampoo knocks the announcer out for dithering, the battle begins. Ranma isn't particularly happy about this, but his reasoning is more the fact Akane hasn't let her beat him yet than anything like fear of being forced to go home with Shampoo. This match uses unusually large balls, each one rigged to open up and reveal some kind of nasty surprise if it hits the ground. Akane misses Shampoo's two opening serves, but the resultant bolos and super-glue fail to immobilize her, thanks to her newfound strength, and she connects with the third ball. In fact, even though Shampoo manages to hit Akane's returned serve, the sheer power with which it is flying means she can't alter its impact, and is instead carried out of the arena. Shampoo is dumbfounded by Akane's strength, and the sight of the victory-crazed girl grabbing the basket of balls and then chasing after her, smashing them towards Shampoo like cannonballs, is enough to set the Chinese Amazon off running, with Akane in hot pursuit.
In a nearby tree, Ranma meets up with Soun, who has a grievous warning for Ranma; a side-effect of eating super soba is that the eater develops some distinctly male traits. Ranma jokingly asks if Soun is saying Akane will turn into a boy, and is barked at to be serious. She's just going to grow whiskers. Ranma promptly falls out of the tree in shock and disbelievingly asks if Soun means as in a moustache, whereupon Soun drops down onto him and warns him not to go there. Getting off, Soun asks if Ranma really wants his wife to have a bigger moustache than his own, whereupon Ranma finds himself confronted by the horrifying vision of Soun Tendo in a wedding dress and lipstick asking for a kiss. After he recovers from that, Soun gives him a bundle of strange red berries, explaining that these will counteract the super soba and insisting that Ranma give one to Akane. Ranma takes them, smiles darkly, and declares that it's as good as done.
Akane is on a roof nearby, steamed over having lost Shampoo, when Ranma approaches and tries to trick her so that he can slip an antidote into her mouth. He fails, then candidly admits that the fruit is an antidote to the super soba that Akane's taken. Neither of them are aware that Shampoo is just over the roof, eavesdropping and none too impressed to hear that Akane has taken a power up. She then notices that Happosai is sitting nearby - he has managed to get his hands on another batch of super soba, and plans to eat it right now. She promptly grabs it from him, boots him away, and then guzzles it down herself even as Ranma tells Akane about the side effect of the super soba. Though he won't tell her clearly what it is, instead simply stressing that it is something Akane would be horrified to have happen to her, Akane refuses until she has beaten Shampoo.
And that's when a temple bell suddenly drops out of the sky onto Ranma, Shampoo appearing on top of it and boasting that this time, they'll be equal. She hurls a match to the giant pingpong bat she is carrying into Akane's hands, then flips through the air, using it to send the temple bell hurling at Akane - with Ranma still inside! Akane catches it with her bat, gouging tracks through the tiles from the impact, then throws it right back at Shampoo. Shampoo, however, sees that Ranma is caught inside the impromptu ball and doesn't bother to bat it away, instead catching it so that one lip falls onto the roof and allowing Ranma to fall out. She playfully asks what Ranma is doing here, whereupon Ranma declares he's doing a public service and slips an antidote pill down Shampoo's throat. The loss of her strength means that she can no longer support the weight of the giant bell and it falls down, trapping them both in its interior. Ranma grins to himself that with Shampoo's super strength removed, now it's time to handle Akane, only to find he hasn't thought this through - he's not strong enough to lift the bell. Shampoo, meanwhile, quickly forgets all about any quarrel with Akane for something she considers much more important; she is now trapped in a quiet, dark place with Ranma, slinking forward to lean happily against Ranma's shoulders and giggle happily.
Akane, who has no idea what's happened, can only sit and wonder what's going on in mild confusion.
Inside the bell, Ranma runs around desperately, leaping away from Shampoo's attempts to embrace him and begging her to calm down. Plaintively, Shampoo asks why he keeps running, as this is the first time they've had in, well, ever to be alone together. Finally, she manages to grab Ranma, pressing herself against him and flirtatiously repeating her "wo da airen" line. Inspiration strikes Ranma, and he promptly starts shouting for Shampoo to get off of him and not get so close to him at the top of his lungs. His hollers of protest reach Akane, who immediately flies into a suspicious rage and slices the bell open with her bat - coincidentally, knocking Shampoo out cold in the process.
Ranma pops up, thanks Akane for that, and then tells her that with Shampoo out cold, she's had her fun, so it's time to take the antidote. Akane refuses, and accuses Ranma of just being jealous, declaring he only wants to get rid of her super strength because he knows that there's no way he can beat her otherwise. Ranma, having been slapped off of the roof and into a pond, glowers up at the gloating girl, wondering what the matter with her is.
Finally, she decides that the only way to do this is to literally beat some sense into Akane by beating her in Martial Arts Ping-Pong. While Akane stews over her firm belief that Ranma is just jealous of her superior strength, Ranma smirks to herself that there's more to martial arts than just power, and it looks like it's time that Akane learned that the hard way. The problem is, as Ranma soon discovers, that Akane has so much power that it's hard for even Ranma's skill to counteract it; when she tries to use a quintet of explosive balls on Akane, her oversized bat hits them all with one stroke, the next ball she manages to grab and then slip onto Akane's head turns out to be a harmless decoy frog, and when she uses a fork-laden fork-ball, Akane's bat makes a perfect shield. Soun then throws to Ranma a huge ball that explodes in a great plethora of chains, which Akane starts slicing in half with rapid-fire karate chops. Ranma promptly seizes onto this opening, rapidly batting five sliced chain-links at Akane and nailing her to the arena, then grabbing a long length of chain and looping it over Akane twice, anchoring her firmly in place. Ranma strides towards her, asking if now she's going to be a good girl and take her antidote, but Akane works herself up into an unprecedented fury and actually tears the segment of the arena floor she is nailed to up from the rest of it, forcing Ranma onto her rear and desperate to placate the psychotic teen titan. And that is when it happens; Ranma's eyes widen as they lock onto Akane's cheeks, while Akane snaps the links binding her arms and covers them in shock. Feeling what's happened, she bursts out crying and runs away; the super soba side effect has happened at last. Ranma watches her go, noting dispassionately that she did warn Akane, but then decides to go after her.
Once she gets out from under the chunk of solid concrete that just fell on her, of course.
In his male form, Ranma finds Akane bawling her eyes out at the top of a tall tree in the forest; three cat-like whiskers have sprouted on each cheek, the source of her humiliation. After some light teasing, Ranma flicks her the antidote fruit and tells her to just take it already. Akane swallows it, and her whiskers immediately fade with her strength. Ranma compliments that now she's back to the Akane he knows, whereupon she guiltily apologises for the way she acted and for suspecting that Ranma was just jealous. Ranma mildly says that he thought she'd know him better than that by now.
When they get home, though, Ranma's actions put a lie to his words. He challenges Akane to several armwrestling matches in a row, beating her each time and then uproariously gloating over his victory, prompting Soun and Genma to wonder if maybe he really was jealous of Akane's super soba-granted power after all.
Cast in Order of Appearance
|Character Name||Japanese Voice||English Voice|
|Akane Tendo||Noriko Nagai||Myriam Sirois|
|Shampoo||Rei Sakuma||Cathy Weseluck|
|Ranma Saotome (male)||Kappei Yamaguchi||Sarah Strange|
|Kasumi Tendo||Kikuko Inoue||Willow Johnson|
|Happosai||Ichirō Nagai||Paul Dobson|
|Soun Tendo||Ryūsuke Ōbayashi||David Kaye|
|Genma Saotome (human)||Kenichi Ogata||Robert O. Smith|
|Nabiki Tendo||Minami Takayama||Angela Costain|
|Ranma Saotome (female)||Megumi Hayashibara||Venus Terzo|
- (Soun) "Ranma, do you want to marry a woman with a mustache?"
- (Shampoo) "Why you run away?! We finally get time alone!
- (Genma) "So this means that when Ranma lost out at arm wrestling..."
- (Soun) "he went mad with jealousy."
- This episode shows that, when it comes to Ranma and martial arts, Ranma can be a pretty big hypocrite.
- However, Ranma's antics in this episode can also be taken as a sign of Ranma's low self esteem, especially if it seems that he isn't really that good a martial artist after all. Ranma will later declare that he has nothing if he doesn't have the strength to be a martial artist in the episode Showdown! Can Ranma Make a Comeback?
- In the dub, one spectator tells another that they should have seen the Anything Goes Okonomiyaki match.
- This is the second time that Akane has agreed to a match in which Ranma is the stakes. The first time was during the Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics arc, with the challenge specifically issued in A Woman's Love is War! The Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics Challenge!
- Several characters from Urusei Yatsura, can be seen in the high-speed crowd scene when Akane starts chopping up the chains Ranma is trying to bind her with: Ataru Moroboshi, and then a crowd of "Cherry" (Sakuramboo the Priest), Onsen-Mark, Sakura and Shinobu.