A blast from the past troubles the Tendo Dojo as Shampoo sends Ranma a very unusual gift in the form of a small cat. A pity Ranma seems less than thrilled with the idea; what does it have to do with the Neko-Ken?
Relation to the Previous Episode
This episode marks the beginning of the Shampoo Returns arc, which will be concluded in Cool Runnings! The Race of the Snowmen.
It is late evening at the Kuno estate, and Tatewaki is facing off against what appears to be Ranma Saotome, but is quickly revealed to be a training dummy styled to look like him. This does not stop Kuno from gloating over his "victory", nor does it stop a strange voice from congratulating Kuno. The voice turns out to be Sasuke, Kuno's ninja manservant, who materializes from the shadows to further stoke his master's ego. After declaring triumphantly that he will smite Ranma before double-dating with both Akane and "the pigtailed girl", Kuno strikes out at Sasuke, who evades so fast that he appears to teleport to a tree-branch above. Drawing a bokken, Sasuke leaps down to join Kuno in a fresh batch of sparring... but misjudges his leap and smacks face-first into a branch, then lands groin-first on a second branch, then collapses barely conscious upon the ground, even as Kuno declares him to be little better than the training dummy he was using.
The next morning, Ranma and Genma are out on a training exercise; literally jumping through the streets on a round-about route from the Tendo Dojo. Genma is in the lead and kicks out at the pinnacle of each bound, yelling at Ranma to keep up. Ranma, who is being literally held back by a ball and chain clamped onto his leg, is rather irritated by this. His complaints win a scolding from Genma, though it's cut off in mid-rant as the ladle lady catches him. Ranma, limping along at a slower pace, is spared the soaking.
Back at the Tendo home, Kasumi has just received a package from Coal Black Cat International Delivery. While Nabiki perks up at the sight of a present and asks if it's for her, Kasumi explains that it's for Ranma... from Shampoo, back in China. Akane has a brief flashback of the Joketsuzoku warrior who harrassed them all, but Soun's tired comment that things have been rather quiet around here lately is interrupted when Kasumi squeals in shock: the package is moving. Before the stunned eyes of the three Tendo girls, it wriggles and bulges and then suddenly erupts, the three of them covering their heads. What greets them is not some sort of bomb, however, but a meow; looking around, they see the contents of the package standing on a nearby cupboard. A small, live, female cat; a pale pink color, save for her paws, ears and the tip of her tail, which are purple, with her paws and tail having a small ring distinctly above them. While Nabiki is not impressed to see it was just a pet, Kasumi and Akane are both enthralled... however, while it jumps into Kasumi's arms readily enough, Akane is met with an enraged hiss. It leaps into her arms, scratches at her face, then jumps to the floor and darts away from her, hackles raised and hissing furiously at her. Nabiki comments that it must definately have come from Shampoo, given its hostility, while Akane angrily asks the cat just why it's so mad at her.
It is at that time that the Tendos and their apparent new pet hear Ranma and Genma come home, Ranma angrily berating Genma. The cat quickly races off to the door; as Ranma walks into the house, snapping back over his shoulder about how he shouldn't have listened to Genma's idea and Genma clearly has nothing left to teach him, the cat jumps into his arms. However, when he looks down at it, he screams in terror, bringing the Tendos running. The sight of Ranma lying on his back, limbs spread-eagled, an aghast expression on his face and twitching in fear, the cat perched on his midriff and delicately licking a forepaw, stuns Akane so much that she stupidly asks what Ranma is doing to it.
Minutes later, she repeats the word Genma just told them all: "Ailurophobia". As the cat stands on the table and stares in confusion at Ranma, who is backed up desperately away from it, shivering so hard in fear that his teeth chatter, Genma nods in agreement and then melodramatically proclaims that he is so ashamed, as his son is a snivelling coward. Ranma angrily declares Genma has no right to say such things, as this is his fault, and gets up with the intent of beating on his father - Genma promptly grabs the cat by the scruff of her neck and presents her to Ranma, who darts over to Soun's side with a squawk of fear. Genma declares Ranma to be an ingrate and then, when Kasumi asks how Ranma developed his fear, explains that it is the fault of the Cat Fu training. Cat Fu, as he explains, is a nickname for Freestyle Cat Fist Fighting, the training of which consists of wrapping the trainee from head to toe in jakuwa, a Japanese fish sausage, and throwing him into a pit filled with starving cats. He goes on to say that this happened in the spring of Ranma's 6th year, and then presents Soun with a tattered old manual from inside his gi. Soun reads it and discovers it repeats exactly what Genma said, which prompts Genma to explain he should have known there was a catch from how simple it seemed, and exhorting Soun to turn the page.
The next page over, as Soun reveals, states plainly and emphatically that Cat Fu doesn't work (in the subbed version: "this method is too stupid to use", in the dubbed version: "this training has been banned for causing severe psychological distress"). The Tendos are dumbstruck. Genma merely bats himself playfully on the head, declares it's too bad he never read the page, and then gives a hearty laugh. This is too much for Ranma, who promptly jumps Genma, knocking him through the doors out into the garden and heartily shaking him by the collar. His rant about how Genma can laugh when he did this to him is disrupted when Genma reveals he managed to grab the cat by the scruff of her neck and promptly uses her to terrorize Ranma. As he does this, Akane asks if it's really such a big deal if Ranma has a little weakspot, which prompts Nabiki to tease her about sticking up for him. At around that moment, Kasumi comes in, suggesting to Genma that perhaps Ranma wouldn't be afraid of cats any more if he just got used to them -- leading in a herd of meowing neighborhood moggies. Needless to say, Ranma starts screaming and carrying on worse than before.
This startles Sasuke, who has been listening under the floor, so badly that he cracks his head against the floor, but he quickly recovers and returns to his master. Kuno is preparing tea in the traditional fashion when Sasuke reports to him; he is not pleased when Sasuke promptly enters from a hidden latch in the floor instead of through the door. Sasuke humbly reports that he has discovered Ranma's weakness, with which Kuno will assuredly achieve victory -- Kuno promptly throws his cup of tea in Sasuke's face and asks how he could dare to insult Kuno by insinuating he would be so dishonorable as to strike at an enemy's weak spot, angrily ordering him from the room. Sasuke tries to scramble off in accordance with this, but finds himself being held back by Kuno, who proceeds to matter of factly ask what Ranma's weakness is. Sasuke's confusion is met by Kuno's stating that there is no dishonor in knowing an enemy's weakness and growing impatience for Sasuke to reveal Ranma's weakness. Shrugging his shoulders and accepting the hypocrisy, Sasuke whispers what he has learned into Kuno's ear, who starts grinning and giggling idiotically with glee.
Later that day, at school, Ranma finds a note in his shoes locker claiming to be a plea for help from Akane, who has been "kidnapped by villains" and is being held prisoner in the gymnasium. Slightly bemused, he turns to the real Akane, who is standing right beside him. On a whim, the two teens go along with the letter, and are both irritated and disgusted to find Sasuke on the stage, in a female Furinkan uniform and blond wig, using an ear-piercing falsetto to pretend to be Akane. The real Akane is not impressed in the slightest and angrily confronts him, prompting Sasuke to reveal his true identity to the duo and then dramatically leaping up to tug on a rope, opening a trap door... underneath Akane, to Sasuke's bemusement. Nonplussed, he tries again, releasing an almost projectile-like tanuki statue on a chain... that hits Sasuke himself. Ranma drops down beneath the stage to join the two, investigating just what the deal is with Sasuke and whether Akane is alright. Sasuke gives Ranma a chain of jakuwa, which reveals that the area they are now in is alive with cats, who hungrily close in on the scent of fish sausage.
Sasuke declares Ranma to be welcome in "cat hell", and then taunts him about his fear. However, Ranma manages to fight down his fear and act normal, though the strain he is under is obvious. Sasuke, however, seems sincerely convinced he has failed, though his fear quickly changes from failing his master to the ticked off Akane, who angrily asks what the deal is with Ranma when it becoems more obvious that he is cracking up. She ends up dragging him away by the pigtail, complaining about how he's being such a "baby"; Sasuke tries to warn her not to open the door, but she refuses to listen... revealing the fully grown tiger hiding behind it.
Back at the Tendos, the cat sent by Shampoo chases off the last of the strays that Kasumi invited into the house, even as Kasumi asks if there is really no way to cure Ranma. Genma insists that there isn't, saying he tried everything and going on to explain that "everything" consisted of wrapping Ranma up in dried sardines, smelt, and kama-boka fish cakes, tossing him back into the pit each time. Kasumi compliments Genma on trying so much to help Ranma and offers Genma a fresh cup of tea, even as he melodramatically declares that there's just now way to save a child from himself and shatters the cup in his hand.
Back at school, Akane asks Sasuke why there's a tiger here, with Sasuke weakly replying that he figured that it would scare Ranma. The hungry big cat approaches and menaces Ranma, who frantically begs it to go away and then starts screaming...
Genma tells Kasumi that the worst comes when Ranma is trapped in the depths of terror from his fear of cats... he meows...
And that is precisely what Ranma does. Before Akane and Sasuke's confused eyes, he yowls like a cat and then adopts the closest human equivalent of the stance of an angry cat.
Genma's voice over about how once this happens there is no turning back presages a cutback to the Tendos, where Genma's attempt to pick up a bean jam square results in the toothpick breaking. He stares at it seriously, notes it's an evil omen, and declares that something must be happening to Ranma. In the garden, Soun takes a momentary break from sweeping to compose a haiku, but the sight of first the new cat and then Genma, with a bundle on his back, running past and out through the gate makes him curious enough to follow.
Back at school, the feline-Ranma attacks the tiger. By the time that Kuno enters the now occupied gymnasium, the fight results in the stage erupting, cats flying everywhere, Akane and Sasuke amongst the pile of felines. Kuno catches Sasuke by accident, hoping to catch Akane, but his attempt to go to her is interrupted when the tiger lands on him. The yowling Ranma comes pouncing down from the sky and bounces off of the tiger's back, shortly before Kuno throws the tiger aside in anger. Ranma hisses and yowls at Kuno, who asks if Ranma has gone mad, and then pounces him -- fortunately for Kuno, Sasuke distracts Ranma by throwing him some jakuwa before he can do more than scratch Kuno a little.
By the time Soun and Genma arrive, a confused and concerned group of students, including Akane, have gathered around the base of a tree, at the top of which Ranma is sitting and acting like a playful cat. As Akane calls up to him, asking him to come down, Genma places a gentle hand on her shoulder and explains that words can't reach Ranma, as when Ranma's fear of cats grows too much to handle, he takes on the mentality of a cat in desperation. He adds that the only person he knows of who could snap Ranma out of this state was an old woman who lives in their old neighborhood - but she's dead now. So Genma will try to take her place, dressing up like an old woman (to the disgust of everyone) and leaping up with his bundle (which contains catnip) and a pussy-willow. He tries to act like a friendly old lady, wiggling the stem for Ranma to play with, but Ranma recognizes Genma and wants nothing to do with him, clawing him badly and sending him toppling out of the tree.
Akane is worried about what they are going to do when Soun suggests that if they can get Ranma to eat some of the catnip that Genma brought, he's likely to calm down and snap out of it. He then admits that he still doesn't have a clue how to get it to Ranma. Akane promptly borrows a bow and arrow and shoots the bundle at Ranma, who swats it out of the air and then falls to the ground amidst a cloud of catnip... only to promptly spring up again, still acting like a cat, to Akane's dismay. He then turns and leaps at her, causing her to cover her eyes in fear... before Ranma lands lightly in her lap, curling up and purring like the cat he believes himself to be. Save for Kuno, who promptly kicks up a fuss and has to be dragged off by Sasuke, and the strange cat, who is watching the whole scene sadly from nearby, none of the viewers seem too perturbed by this turn of events. Akane finally scolds Ranma to get off, as he's embarrassing her, when he leans up and rubs his face against hers, resulting in them pseudo-kissing.
Akane blushes with embarrassment, then gets mad, throwing Ranma through the air with a scream of "Ranma, you jerk!" and causing him to land in the swimming pool. The cat chases after Ranma. Female and sane again, Ranma clambers partially out of the pool, wondering how she got here when the last thing she clearly remembers is being surrounded by cats in the understage. Shampoo's cat chooses that moment to approach Ranma, meowing in a friendly fashion; this causes Ranma to faint backwards into the pool. Unperturbed, the cat leaps onto the floating Ranma's lap and curls up there, purring happily.
That evening, Akane walks home, the litany "Ranma, you jerk" repeating constantly in her head.
Cast in Order of Appearance
|Character Name||Japanese Voice||English Voice|
|Tatewaki Kuno||Hirotaka Suzuoki||Ted Cole|
|Sasuke Sarugakure (debut)||Shigeru Chiba||Robert O. Smith|
|Genma Saotome (human, panda)||Kenichi Ogata||Robert O. Smith|
|Ranma Saotome (male)||Kappei Yamaguchi||Sarah Strange|
|Akane Tendo||Noriko Nagai||Myriam Sirois|
|Nabiki Tendo||Minami Takayama||Angela Costain|
|Soun Tendo||Ryūsuke Ōbayashi||David Kaye|
|Kasumi Tendo||Kikuko Inoue||Willow Johnson|
|Shampoo (flashback, cat)||Rei Sakuma||Cathy Weseluck|
|Ranma Saotome (female)||Megumi Hayashibara||Venus Terzo|
- This episode marks the introduction of Sasuke Sarugakure. He takes over the role more or less played by Gosunkugi in the original manga.
- This episode reveals Ranma having ailurophobia(fear of cats) at the same time revealing what caused and how he developed this fear and revealing what happens when his fear reaches an unbearable level.
- This first shows Shampoo in her cat/cursed form and how she tried to become a loyal, loving companion to Ranma in the same sense of P-chan(Ryoga) being Akane's loyal, loving pet, but due to Ranma's fear of cats it could never happen.
- The flashbacks depict Shampoo bursting into Dr. Tofu's office (even though only Genma saw that and he is not present in the flashbacks scene), her leaping over Ranma's head after playing a prank on him, and her frenzied attack on Ranma before she left.
- When the Nekoken book is produced, no official translation subs are given for its title. The only subbing is that of Soun's voice, noting it is a lost text several centuries old, while the dubbing has him proclaim its title to be "Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, Final Attack: Cat Fist".
- When Ranma goes cat after being confronted by the tiger, a screen-gag of a ghostly "cat aura" is shown overlapping Ranma to emphasize how his posture is based on that of an actual fighting cat.
- In the manga, it is Kuno who realises that the greatest weakness of the Nekoken is that Ranma has only the mindset and intelligence of a cat while in it and proceeds to send him chasing after some fish sausage.