The sky above Nerima, Tokyo is beginning to darken - soon night will fall. At the Tendou Dojo, in a room with a big sliding wall that is open to the garden, the Tendou family has gathered. Their houseguests Saotome Genma and Ranma are here. The Tendou girls sit opposite of the Saotomes, their father Souun is sitting a bit to the side talking.
Souun: I'll explain it once more. This is my old friend Saotome Genma and his son Ranma...
Nabiki: [poking the clearly female Ranma in the breast] Only that "he" is not.
Ranma: [blushing] Could you stop that?
Akane: Now come on! You won't change the fact that she's a girl by repeating again and again that she's his "son".
Kasumi: This is so confusing. I was sure she was a real boy before. Taller, too.
Souun: Ha ha ha, he is a real boy.
Genma: [frowns in concentration] Hmmmm, how can I best explain this? Ah, yes...
Suddenly in one swift move he flips the girl "Ranma" backwards out of the wall opening. She flies directly into the little koi pond behind the house.
A few bubbles burst at the surface, then Ranma emerges coughing and spitting water. He is taller than just a moment ago and has lost all female attributes.
Ranma: What on earth did you do that for?!
A look of astonishment crosses the girls' faces.
Kasumi: Now he's a boy!
Genma: [crying] Oh what a tragic fate that my son must still endure this condition after all these years.
The dripping wet, male Ranma suddenly stands besides him, looking angry.
Ranma: There wouldn't be any "tragic condition" without your stubbornness.
Before Genma can move Ranma has already kicked him into the same pond with a flying leap.
The others look even more shocked when up comes a big furry panda.
Kasumi: Father... How do you know these people?
Souun: They were not like this before. Not before they went to China on that training trip...
Some time later, Genma has changed back into a human being in the hot bath and tells the tale of the tragedy.
Genma: Ah, yes. It was six fateful months ago...
Flashback to China. Genma's voice tells the story.
There is a mountain range in the distance, in the foreground there are some bamboo sticks but the picture does not show the ground yet at this angle. A plain, stocky man in Chinese clothing points something out.
Genma (voiceover): ... at the foot of Mt. Quanjing in the Bayankala range in the province of Qinghai.
Chinese Guide: Here, honourable visitor. The legendary training ground of accursed springs: Jusenkyou.
From a different point of view the Jusenkyou plains become visible from high above. The ground is covered in hundreds of small pools with Bamboo sticks in them. Genma, Ranma and the guide are little figures at the border of the area. They are making their way weaving back and forth between the pools.
Genma (voiceover): I had heard of the legendary Training ground from a Chinese book about martial arts. It was reportedly very famous, but knowing too little Chinese I did not grasp what these springs are legendary for.
The two white figures jump in the air and balance on the Bamboo footholds above the springs while the grey clothed figure of the guide frantically waves it's arms.
Genma (voiceover): Too late came the warnings of our guide, the tragedy was already under way.
The two figures of Genma and Ranma collide in mid-air and the smaller one, apparently Ranma, falls into the pool beneath.
Genma (voiceover): The Nyannichuan. There is a very tragic legend that one thousand and five hundred years ago a young girl drowned there and since that day everybody who falls into the spring...
From a closer view of the spring one can see the ripples on the water. Bubbles arise, then hair, and the head of the female Ranma breaks the surface.
Genma (voiceover): ... turns into a girl.
Ranma (voiceover): Hey, wait a minute!
The flashback ends. Back in the Tendou living quarters Ranma has interrupted Genma's tale.
Ranma: You are turning the whole thing around. That wasn't the Nyannichuan...
Genma: [frantically trying to shut him up] Shhh! Shhh!
Ranma: ... it was the Nannichuan - The spring of the drowned boy. And I didn't just fall in... [points at Genma angrily] You threw me in on purpose!
Suddenly a stream of steaming water splatters on Ranma's head and he is female again. Akane, with a kettle in her hand, is standing behind the Girl-Ranma.
Akane: Ah, so that's it. The old man turns into a panda with cold and back with hot water. You turn into a girl with hot water, so that's your true form, Ranma?
Ranma: [obviously relieved] Yes. Actually my name is Ranko. I just call myself Ranma when I'm a boy. It's easier that way.
Akane: [to Genma, fuming] And you threw her in on purpose?!
Kasumi: Whatever made you do something like that?
Nabiki: Yeah, that goes to far, even for martial arts training.
Genma: But I had to! How else could he marry one of you?
Silence falls. After some long moments Akane speaks first.
Akane: What did you just say?
Genma: When Ranko was born female, even though the stars had foretold a boy, the vow of marriage had already be made. What could I do to save our family honour?
Souun: [with tearful eyes] What dedication. Despite this tragedy you found a way to solve the problem.
Undaunted by the fact that obviously he is the only one who sees it that way, Souun empties a bucket of cold water over Ranko who instantly turns male.
Souun: So, with cold water you become a man... Ha ha ha, then your problem isn't so terrible after all. [pats Ranma on the back] My daughter Kasumi, nineteen - and Nabiki, seventeen - and Akane, sixteen...
While Kasumi remains outwardly calm, she tugs at a lock of hair, thus betraing her inner turmoil. Nabiki looks at her father impassively, secure in the knowledge that she is able to counter and squirm out of any crazy scheme that her father cooks up. Akane, on the other hand, looks right at Ranma in an almost hostile fashion, as if daring him to offend her.
Souun: Pick the one you want. She's your fiancée.
Without a moment's hesitation Kasumi and Nabiki look at each other and speak up.
Kasumi: Oh, he wants Akane!
Nabiki: [pushes Akane forward a step] Yes, definitely!
Akane: What are you talking about?
Akane is not quite as convinced of this as her sisters seem to be. Nabiki steps nearer and talks reasonably to her.
Nabiki: Well, you hate boys, don't you?
Kasumi: So you're in luck. Since he's half-girl, he sounds like the perfect fiancé for you.
Akane: You've got to be kidding. Sure, I like girls better than boys, but not to the point of marrying one!
Souun: But he is a boy now.
Akane: She may have the body of a boy half of the time, [waves her arm at Ranma's body] but that's only since six months ago - She grew up as a girl.
Ranma coughs embarrassedly.
Ranma: Umm, actually...
Again, a little while later. The wind-chime in the window <chirrinng>s softly. In the living room Akane sits, shocked at what Ranma has just told them.
Akane: You mean... The whole time...?
Ranma: Yes, soon after I was born he took off with me. I grew up as a boy from day one.
Kasumi: [sympathetically] How horrible. You poor thing, that must have been hard to endure.
Ranma gives her a lopsided grin.
Ranma: Well, not too horrible, actually. It was kinda fun in the beginning, acting like a boy and playing with boys all the time. Later when I grew up my body was harder to hide, but we managed and it didn't seem that strange to me anymore.
Akane: Not even being engaged to a girl?!
Ranma: Well, when I was old enough to comprehend that, I kinda figured the old man had flipped when I was born and I was just humoring him by playing along.
Ranma: But I never thought that he would do something that crazy.
Souun: [claps him on the back] Well, it doesn't matter anymore how you got here, the important thing is that our families' honour is saved by your engagement to Akane.
Akane: Wait a moment! I don't care what you two madmen have cooked out, I'm not marrying this fluke of nature.
Ranma: Hey! I'm not exactly thrilled about this either, but could you at least leave the insults out?
Souun and Genma seem very happy about their argument.
Souun: Ha ha ha, they already sound like a married couple.
Akane: She's a couple all by herself.
Ranma: That does it! You guys can dicuss this all you like - I'm in the bathroom continuing my interrupted bath. You can speak to me again when you're back on this planet!
He angrily stamps out of the room. Everyone stares after him.
In Akane's room Akane is sitting on the bed with her knees pulled up, hugging them defiantly. Nabiki sits considerably more relaxed beside her.
Nabiki: Ranma was right, you know. You insulted him when you were really angry with father and Mr. Saotome.
Akane: She! Ranko is a girl. No matter what you all say.
Nabiki: All right, then you insulted her. Doesn't change a thing about the fact that you were unfair and hurtful.
Akane: [slumps tiredly] I was, wasn't I? You think I should apologize?
Akane: [getting up] All right, then I will. [pauses] Thanks, Nabiki.
Nabiki: [smiling] Hey, what is a big sisters there for if not for helping you.
Akane: [grins] I thought they were there to bug me all day.
Nabiki: Bugging you and helping you, then. [shoos her out the door]
Akane walks down the hall in the direction of the bath.
Akane: [thinks] I'm going to apologize that I was so mean to her when I was really upset about our fathers. That's what I'll do.
Determinedly she opens the Bathroom door. Inside is Ranma. He is not in the hot tub, but dripping cold water and definitely male. He is so surprised by Akane's entrance that he doesn't even think to cover his nakedness with the bucket in his hand.
Ranma: A-Akane... I...
Akane just stares as Ranma's naked male body registers with her. Ranma does not notice this and takes a step towards her.
The Tendou Dojo lies under the dark sky of the beginning night. Birds that had already settled down in the trees take to flight, as a loud sound rings out.
Ranko is lying on a futon in the house's guest room with a wet towel on her brow. She opens her eyes. Kasumi and Genma are sitting by her side.
Kasumi: Are you okay? Don't think too badly of Akane. She is really a very sweet girl. She's just a violent maniac.
Genma: That girl has spunk! The perfect fiancée for you, eh?
Ranko: [exasperated] Shut up, pop.
In the next room beyond the dividing shoji sit Akane and Nabiki. Even though Akane has turned her back, she seems a little flustered.
Nabiki: But you were the one who said that she was really a girl, no matter what.
Akane: Shut up, sis.
-- End of part 2.
Part 3: "I hate men"
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