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|Originally Published in:
||Shonen Sunday 1993 Vol. 16 - 27|
|Published in English as:
|Ranma ½ Graphic Novel Vol. 24|
Fushigi no mori no himitsu
(The Secret of the Forest)
Akane daydreams about seeing the scar on Shinnosuke's back proving that he is, in fact, the same boy that rescued her so long ago. Shinnosuke tells his Grandfather that he will never forget seeing Akane bathing outside. Akane is shocked when the breakfast she prepared turns out to be extremely delicious. Outside Ranma arrives in time to see Akane seeing Shinnosuke off, and becomes jealous. She tries to tell Ranma that she came to fight the overgrown animals but he demands that she return to Tokyo with him. When Ranma tries Akane's cooking he knows something strange is going on. That night Akane stays with Shinnosuke and his Grandfather makes a startling discovery, the Water of Life which Shinnosuke needs to survive has dried up.
Inochi (seimei) no mizu
(The Water of Life)
Shinnosuke is sent to retrieve some water as his Grandfather relates the tale to Akane. Many years ago he was a caretaker of a small zoo, and when the animals escaped the water of life caused them to grow to huge sizes. Since then he and Shinnosuke have protected the area from the animals. But when Shinnosuke saved Akane he was mortally wounded by the large platypus and repeated soakings from the Water of Life is the only thing keeping him alive. Ranma sits alone in the forest and watches Shinnosuke collapse, so he decides to return him home. He tells Akane he is leaving, expecting her to return with him. When she declines Ranma is shocked and runs away cursing her.
Mori no kokage de
(In The Shade of The Forest)
Akane, Shinnosuke, and Granpa go in search of one of the many Water of Life Springs in the area, but find them all to be dried up. Meanwhile Ranma watches from a distance as Shinnosuke and Akane seemingly grow closer. Ryoga, lost once again, happens upon them and demands that Ranma tell him what has happened. Ranma simply splashes him and tosses him off whereupon he finds Akane. P-chan sits as Shinnosuke and Akane eat lunch (which tastes awful without the Water of Life Akane previously used in her cooking). Shinnosuke confesses his love to Akane, and she decides she must be supportive because she owes him so much. She tells him she likes him very much as well, which breaks Ryoga's heart. When Ranma finds out he does not handle it well either.
(See Ya, Akane)
That night Grandpa decides to tackle the mysterious source behind the disappearing Water of Life on his own so as not to endanger Akane and Shinnosuke. Ryoga and Ranma are busy yelling at one another and Ryoga decides he is going to confront Shinnosuke about Akane. When he tries to, he runs into Grandpa who has undergone a bizzare transformation. Ryoga gets splashed and runs to Akane and Shinnosuke, waking them. Just then they see Gramps... decked out in a wig, makeup and a frilly dress. He runs away saying it is for the best. Shinnosuke realizes something must be terribly wrong for his Grandfather to go to such extremes for the water. Just then Ranma arrives and asks Akane to tell him why she is leaving him for Shinnosuke. Unable to explain, Shinnosuke buts in and he and Ranma begin to come to blows. In the middle of the fight Shinnosuke passes out and Akane steps in to prevent Ranma from hurting him further. Akane slaps Ranma and he is stunned. Dejected, Ranma walks away in shock.
Chinju o shutsugen!!
(The King of Beasts Emerges!!)
A shadowing creature emerges and attacks Grandfather who is dressed in drag. He offers the beast some sake as it strikes toward him. Elsewhere Ranma packs his things deciding he will return to Tokyo and then leave on a training trip never to see Akane again. Just then he sees a giant eight-headed dragon emerge over the tree tops and spit out Grandpa. The monster begins to give chase and they encounter Akane who is sitting quietly crying to herself over what she has done to Ranma. As the dragon approaches they all duck into a cave where Grandfather explains what the creature is. It is called Yamata no Orochi, and is the magical moss that grows on its body is the source of the Water of Life. Now that it is awake it has blocked the tunnels that connect the springs to the source. As he explains this, Shinnosuke awakens and overhears everything. He now realizes he will soon die without the moss that is only found on the Orochi's body. Grandfather explains that the dragon is attracted to young beautiful women, and was hoping to get close enough to take the moss with his less than brilliant disguise.
(The Orochi and Its Fury)
Akane decides she will be the bait for Orochi and attempt to retrieve the moss for Shinnosuke. As she leaves Ranma decides that he cannot let her risk her life and arrives only a few seconds too late to stop her. Shinnosuke, Grandfather, Ryoga and Ranma all dress in drag hoping to attract the Yamada no Orochi and prevent Akane from endangering herself. The angry dragon emerges attacking them all, as Akane leaps across its back searching for the moss. She searches to no avail before realizing that the legendary eight-headed dragon only seems to have seven heads by her count.
Yattsu-me no atama
(The Eighth Head)
As the Orochi becomes more and more intoxicated it only seems to get more difficult to deal with. Ranma uses some of the alcohol and throws it into the dragon's eyes giving them enough time to knock all seven heads unconscious. Akane reports back that she could find no moss and that there only seem to be seven heads. Just then a large head emerges and everyone realizes that all the previous heads and mearly been tails attached to this giant eight head. Akane quickly surmises that the moss she needs must be on this final head, and as she goes to retrieve it, the Orochi picks up her scent and wraps her up with it's massive tongue. She manages to swipe some of the moss with her broom and toss it to Granpa before she is dragged under the water to be devoured.
Akane o tanomu
(Take Care of Her)
Ranma and Ryoga quickly dive into the water to save Akane who is being dragged to the bottom with the Orochi. As she is about to be eaten Akane can only think of how she was unable to set things right with Ranma before she meets her impending demise. Just then Ranma shoves a boulder into the Orochi's mouth and Shinnosuke, female Ranma, and P-chan swim their way to the surface. When Akane awakens Ranma tells Shinnosuke to take care of her, and then goes off to fight the Orochi on his own. Smelling the scent of a real girl the Orochi tries to eat Ranma, and just then the 7 head-tails on the other end awaken and try to do the same to Akane. A tug of war ensues as they each chase after different girls, when Grandfather tosses Shinnosuke the moss-covered broom telling him to use it on himself. Shinnosuke's terrible memory of course makes him forget why he needed the moss in the first place and he uses the broom to attack the Orochi.
Tsunobue o fuke!!
(Blow Your Horn!!)
As the Orochi tries to eat Akane, Ranma is trying to find some way to make the largest Orochi head chase him harder. He tells the dragon he will show him everything if he can catch him and the monster proceeds in dragging the other heads away from Akane. Just then Shinnosuke has another attack and passes out, but not before he confesses his love to Akane. Akane is surprised that he had forgotten he had done it once already, as Grandfather quickly rubs the moss into his dying grandson's back causing the scar to vanish. Shinnosuke awakens just as the Orochi presses down on them once again. Grandfather tells them that if only they had the whistle of the Horned Mongoose it would subdue the beast. Remembering the whistle Shinnosuke gave her when she was only a child Akane quickly pulls out the whistle and blows causing the seven heads to fall asleep. With these heads asleep the large head lunges for Ranma and closes his mouth on him. Akane dashes off to help telling Shinnosuke and Gramps that Ranma is her fiance and she must save him, but when she arrives she only finds his tattered skirt in the teeth of the beast.
Issho ni kaero
(Let's Go Home)
Akane arrives and sees Ranma peeking out from behind the giant teeth of the Orochi and telling her to flee. She quickly tells Grandfather to heat some water while she removes her shirt to distract the giant dragon. Grandfather tells her to blow her whistle but she knows that if she does so it's teeth will crush Ranma. As Akane is pulled into the creature's mouth she tosses the water one Ranma who becomes male again and he grabs Akane as he leaps from inside the dragon's mouth. They exchange glances as they fall back to the ground and promise to go home together.
(These Words I Send To You)
Akane blows the horn whistle as they dive out from the mouth of the dragon and the beast falls asleep as it's teeth close down upon them. Sleeply, the Yamada no Orochi returns to it's hybernation and the Water of Life returns the forest of Ryugenzawa to it's former glory. Back at Shinnosuke's home, Ranma thanks Shinnosuke for saying Akane when she was a child, but Shinnosuke says he never remembers doing anything like that. Ryoga takes Ranma off for a beating for letting Akane endanger herself, and then it is time for Ranma and Akane to leave for home. Shinnosuke watches them leave regretting that he was unable to tell Akane that he loved her, not remembering that he actually had done so. As they leave Ranma and Akane hold hands as Ranma thinks to himself that "it's times like this... that I like best of all."