In the Tendou living room, the fathers Souun and Genma are sitting amidst puddles of tears. Souun is bawling without restraint; Genma just sits and lets the tears stream down his face. Nabiki is looking on disgustedly.
Nabiki: Honestly, you're acting as if somebody died.
Souun: Waaah, He might as well be dead!
Genma: I have no son anymore...
Nabiki: Good grief, Ranko's just in the kitchen preparing dinner with Kasumi!
In that instant, Ranko comes out into the living room, carrying a plate of food. She is wearing one of the cute aprons that she always refused to don and her body language is dramatically different. All of her usual tomboyishness is gone. Beaming a radiant smile, she sets down the food and watches Genma and Souun expectantly, hands folded behind her back, feet together in a cutesy-girly pose.
The food overriding any other thoughts, Genma tries a bite and his eyes go wide. He grabs more.
Genma: [muffled] It'f deliffious!
Souun gingerly reaches out and tries some. Ranko beams with pride.
Ranko: Kasumi said that with a little training I'll be a really great cook. I'm so happy to be able to cook for you all.
She walks back into the kitchen. The fathers look after her, then at each other.
Genma: Perhaps... I've not so much lost a son...
Souun: ...as gained a daughter. Waaaah! With two such wonderful cooks in the house, we'll never have to let Akane cook again.
Nabiki: Oh, hello, Akane. You're back from Dr. Toufuu's. What did he say?
Akane: He said that we need the Chinese herbal shampoo to restore Ranko's memory.
Souun: [from under the television set] Do we have to?
Akane stacks the table onto the television set, thereby burying Souun's head even further into the ground.
Akane: [to Nabiki] He also said that Ranko's continued state was upsetting the balance of her yin and yang or whatever. If we don't cure her, she might go mad.
Suddenly there is a loud <Splash> from the kitchen and they hear a scream. Akane and Nabiki race to the door to look. In the kitchen there is a wet and male Ranma. An empty pot is lying in a puddle on the floor. Ranma is standing frozen and wide-eyed, backed against the wall. As the girls look on, he unfreezes.
Ranma: Damn pot. Now I'm all wet. As if wearing this stupid girl's apron wasn't enough. Honestly, Kasumi, if Akane wasn't sick, I wouldn't set a foot in this kitchen.
Ranma: [turns to her] Oh, Akane. How was your visit to Dr. Toufuu? Did he help you? You look better already.
Akane: [bewildered] Uh... uh, Yeah, sure! I'm fine.
She backs out of the door, dragging Nabiki with her. Outside, the girls look at each other.
Nabiki: Is it only me, or does he...
Akane: He is turning everything around, when he changes. That's what Toufuu-sensei meant, when he talked about her memory.
Flashback to Akane at Dr. Toufuu's clinic. She is sitting in the examination room with him, and he explains what he found out about Ranko's condition.
Dr. Toufuu: You see, like every other person, Ranko has some preconceptions about what's male and what's female behavior. I'm sure that you have noticed slight changes in her behavior when she is male, normally.
Akane: [slowly] Well... now that you say it, I think she speaks a lot rougher when she's Ranma. And she uses some pretty boyish mannerisms.
Dr. Toufuu: There you go. Subconsciously she has classified some behavior patters as "male" and uses them preferably when in male form. But now she has been ordered to forget all about Ranko - so all aspect of herself that she thinks of as female are forcibly pushed into her subconscious, and when she changes, only these aspects are present and all the rest is suppressed.
The doctor shakes his head sadly.
Dr. Toufuu: Every time she changes, she shuts out one half of her personality completely. That's not healthy - the human mind is meant to contain both male and female aspects. If this continues, she might go mad.
Akane: Oh no! Her curse was bad enough, before Shampoo screwed with her mind.
Dr. Toufuu: And that's only one aspect. I expect that she will change and find herself in situations that her other side isn't comfortable with. She would then come up with an explanation and "remember" how she got there, but if this happens to often, her memory would finally become a total patchwork from repeated writing and rewriting.
Akane frowns, not quite understanding.
The Flashback ends.
Nabiki: So he really believes that you were sick and he had to help Kasumi in the kitchen because you couldn't? That's pretty far-fetched.
Akane: [angrily] What's that supposed to mean?!
Just in that moment, Kasumi and Ranko - female again - exit the kitchen, laden with trays of truly delicious food. Ranko frowns at Akane.
Ranko: Akane! You are quarreling again. Such unfeminine behavior is really not very likable. You ought to try to act more like a girl should.
Akane looks completely downcast by Ranko's admonition. Silently she sits down for dinner.
Akane: [thinks] Ranko, I swear - I'll make you a whole person again!
Akane finds Shampoo walking down a street. She calls out to her and Shampoo turns.
Shampoo: [impatient] What Akane want of Shampoo?
Akane: You've got to make Ranma remember Ranko again! He's... He's not himself anymore.
Shampoo: True. Shampoo make him forget Ranko girl, so he can marry Shampoo. But now he want Akane girl. That is problem. [she leans forward and looks Akane straight in the eye] But solution is not giving back memory.
Akane: [takes a step back] Look, Shampoo, let's make a deal. You give me that shampoo that we need to give her- him back his memory, and I'll do anything for you. Except killing someone or something like that.
Shampoo: [snorts] Shampoo no need deal. She now finish business with Ranko girl - then she think about other obstacles.
She glares at Akane and turns to leave. Akane looks after her, sweating.
Akane: [thinks] If she weren't so simple-minded, that girl would be a serious danger.
Back at home, Akane sits on her bed. Nabiki is with her, and the two sisters try to figure out what to do.
Nabiki: Father and uncle Genma seem to be purists in gender matters. Whenever she's a girl, they cry because she's such a good girl, and when he's a boy, they cry because he's so manly. If this continues, they'll die of dehydration.
Akane: She is so damn single minded. Nothing counts but those damn laws. It's as if they're all she thinks about.
Nabiki: Well, she is far from home in a strange country - it's only natural that she clings to what she knows.
Akane: [dryly] How heartwarming to know that you can still show so much empathy with someone who is trying to kill Ranko and more or less told me that I'm next.
Nabiki: [shrugs] I was just thinking. If there were more people of her village here, perhaps she wouldn't concentrate on her task so desperately.
Akane: [sighs] So, how is Ranko?
Nabiki: Weird. Whenever she changes, you first have to find out what she remembers about her time in the other form. Sometimes she just doesn't remember doing things; Sometimes she remembers things in a really bizarre, fun-house mirror way. Sometimes the explanations she comes up with are so far-fetched, that I wonder how she is able to sustain her disbelief. [gets a thoughtful look in her eyes]
Akane: Has she ever become a boy, while wearing a dress?
Nabiki: Sure she did. He got rid of it real quick and told us that it wasn't right for us, to try out new dresses for you on him, even though you are his fiancée.
Akane: He what?!
Nabiki: He thought we had forced him to wear the dress, so we could see how it would look on you. And he thought he agreed because he wanted to help his fiancée look nice.
Akane: [with a flushed face] That's... That's...
Nabiki: Totally unlikely, I know. When would you ever wear dresses like those Ranko wears now?
Akane's head goes even redder with anger. She clenches her teeth.
When Akane enters the living room, she is in a lousy mood. Her disposition is not improved by the fact that Ranko is present, too. She grumphs a greeting and otherwise ignores her.
Ranko: My, Akane, you're not very cheerful today.
Akane: And you think that's your business, because?
Ranko: Why, I was just thinking of your good. If a girl is always grumpy, the boys tend to... ignore her.
Akane: Is that so? Well, I happen to know a boy who is very interested in me.
She looks Akane up and down, making no secret of her disapproval.
Ranko: Well, he surely must see something in you. And if you're sure he's the right one for you...
Akane: Oh yes. Definitely. The right one. No doubt. Not the least bit a weirdo, oh no. [thinks] Only a little flipping backwards and forwards between being a boy and a girl. And driving me up the walls in either form!
Ranko: I'm sure, though, that he'd appreciate it if you tried to wear something more feminine. Who knows? He might like you even more.
Akane: [heated] Oh, great! I'm so looking forward to it. Now if you'll excuse me; I've got something girlish to do. [thinks] We've got to change you back - before I wring your snobbish "girlier-than-thou" neck!
As Akane stomps out of the living room, Nabiki grabs her by the shoulder.
Nabiki: Pssst! Akane.
Nabiki: I've got an idea. come with me.
In Nabiki's room, Akane listens to her sister.
Nabiki: You said that Ranko subconsciously suppresses all her male or female aspects, depending on which form she is in, right?
Akane: Yes, that's what Dr. Toufuu told me.
Nabiki: Right. So these aspects are still there, only subconscious. What if we bring her into a situation that forces the suppressed aspects of her personality to become active?
Akane: Like what?
Nabiki smiles winningly, then points at Akane.
Nabiki: Like you seducing Ranma!
Akane: [shock position] Nani?!
-- End of Part 21.
Part 22: "I have realized something"
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