Cool Runnings! The Race of the Snowmen (爆走! 雪だるま運びレース Bakusō! Yukidaruma Hakobi Rēsu?) is the sixth true episode in the second season of Ranma ½, Anything-Goes Martial Arts, though it is treated as the nineth episode, and is the 27th episode overall.
Ranma is going out of his mind; he's been stuck in female form for far too long. But even mastering the Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken wasn't enough to help him snatch the precious Phoenix Pill he needs to counter its effect. How can he force Cologne to restore his manhood, without surrendering to her demand that he wed Shampoo?
Relation to the Previous EpisodeEdit
This episode concludes the Shampoo Returns arc, which began for real back in This Ol' Gal's the Leader of the Amazon Tribe!.The flashback Ranma has is what happened during her first attempt to retrieve the Phoenix Pill from Cologne during Behold! The "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" Technique.
On a snowy mountain ski resort, Akane and her sisters happily take to the slopes, Akane's enjoyment only diminished when she notices Ranma brooding on the verandah of the resort. She and her sisters try to entice Ranma to join them, but she refuses; coupling this with the embarrassing antics of Soun and Genma, who end up falling off of a slope and onto the back of a black bear, the Tendo girls conceed defeat and move on. Ranma wonders how she is going to get the Phoenix Pill from Cologne without having to give in to her terms, then spots her distributing ramen to a skier and sets off in pursuit of her. Cologne easily avoids Ranma's efforts to grab her and keeps up a civil conversation about other topics, much to Ranma's own irritation.
Ranma is distracted from her demands to be given the Phoenix Pill when she notices that a second Nekohanten has been built here on the mountain, which Cologne explains is to tap into the seasonal crowds, even asking if Ranma would like her job back. Ranma refuses and repeats her demand for the Phoenix Pill, with Cologne once again diverting the conversation. This time, she directs Ranma's attention to a game that the Cat Cafe is sponsoring; a Martial Arts Carry The Snowman Race, in which skiers will each be given a bokken and a miniature snowman to carry, and then race each other downhill while trying to break each other's snowmen. The first to cross the finish line with theirs intact will be the winner. The skiers aren't interested, at first, but when told the prize is a ski-tour for two with Shampoo, interest perks up - and Ranma herself becomes interested when Cologne gives the Phoenix Pill to Shampoo and declares that if she wins, it's hers. However, unfortunately for Ranma, though she tries to declare she's only doing it for the Phoenix Pill, which should obvious, Shampoo immediately cuts her off and glomps onto her, asking if she's saying the only thing she wants is Shampoo herself. Despite the fact she knows Shampoo now has the Phoenix Pill, and can hear Ranma shouting her angry denials, Akane gets angry - not helped by the fact Nabiki decides to drip some poison in her ear and ask if she's really going to let Ranma get away with this.
When the race starts, Ranma is left behind at the starting line; she has never skied before and doesn't know how. Fortunately for her, Akane throws her some snowshoes and tells her the rules don't say she has to ski, just she has to keep her snowman intact. Ranma sincerely thanks Akane as she gets into her new snowshoes, but her glee changes to tired irritation when Akane icily wishes her a nice time with Shampoo, mechanically pointing out it isn't like that. Further conversation is cut off when Soun and Genma approach from behind, still being pursued by the angry bear, which Ranma happily jumps onto and rides off down the track, even as Akane and her sisters skie along behind her. With her superior skills and advantageous position, Ranma effortlessly demolishes any of the competitors in her way, but finds herself narowly evading a blow from Cologne's staff, which knocks the bear unconscious. The two start a shortlived duel, trading banter, before Soun and Genma attack Ranma from behind, angrily demanding to know what he's thinking with trying to score a date from Shampoo. Ranma exasperatedly gets ready to yell at them, but is cut off by Akane coldly insisting that her father let Ranma be, as she doesn't care what Ranma does. Nabiki mutters a sarcastic comment to Kasumi about that as Akane promptly skies into another group of competitors and leaves them all battered, bruised and semiconscious on the snow.
As Akane approaches the finish line, in the lead thanks to Ranma being delayed by her need to fight off the bungling duo of Soun and Genma, and with all of the other competitors defeated, she finds herself facing a last opponent; Shampoo has taken up snowman and bokken and is determined that only Ranma will pass her. Akane unhesitantly undoes her skies and gets ready to duel with Shampoo... only for Ranma to come flying through, trying to escape Soun and Genma, and smash their snowmen in passing, making a quip about how it isn't ladylike to play with swords as she does so.
At that point, Soun and Genma interject again, demanding Ranma kiss either Akane or Shampoo and prove which of them he/she loves the most. Ranma promptly freezes up, while Shampoo confidently thinks to herself/Ranma that Ranma will have to kiss her, unless he/she wants to say bye-bye to the Phoenix Pill and be trapped as a girl forever. Finally, Ranma springs on a third option and heads towards Akane; she and Shampoo panic, for different reasons and in different ways, until they realise Ranma has just walked right past Akane and swatted the snowmen out of Soun and Genma's hands. Ranma's irked proclaimation that Akane has a "dirty mind" (for assuming that Ranma was going to kiss her and yelling about how they were both girls) makes Akane furious, while Soun's desperate claim that he was "just kidding" about making Ranma kiss one of the girls gets Shampoo just as mad. They simultaneously slap Ranma and then kick her in the midriff, sending her unintentionally, but helpfully, jogging off the course but straight down towards the finish line.
And that is when Cologne shows up to interfere again, declaring she is not going to let Ranma get by her unless she promises to wed Shampoo. Ranma suggests that they make this a final showdown, cockily replying that they'll soon find out when Cologne asks if she is really ready to go up against a Joketsuzoku backed by 3000 years of proud history. As Shampoo, Genma and the Tendos catch up, the two fight a fierce duel, bokken against staff, during which they manage to shatter each other's snowmen - but neither care and it ends only when Ranma manages to disarm Cologne and take her staff for herself. Though Genma immediately suspects something fishy, noting to himself that Ranma, no matter what he/she may think, isn't that good, Ranma is too caught up in her own triumph to care. She taunts Cologne about giving up, then foolishly agrees to a final bout; if Cologne wins, Ranma will wed Shampoo, while if Ranma wins, then Cologne will give her the Phoenix Pill at last.
As the growing crowd watches, Cologne promptly effortlessly retrieves her staff and knocks Ranma flying, to the dismay and anger of Genma and Akane. Shattering Ranma's snowshoes, she asks if the boy-turned-girl is ready to admit she's been beaten yet, When Ranma insists she won't give up, Cologne declares that the Joketsuzoku have been doing this for 4000 years and promptly taps her staff upon the snow near Ranma, creating a triad of small wind vortexes that eventually merge into a giant tornado, with Cologne floating in the center and spinning it (and Ranma) around and around with her whirling staff. Ranma still will not submit, instead first trying to batter Cologne with her bokken, and then latching onto Cologne's midriff until she loses control of the technique and it falls apart, dropping them on top of a frozen lake.
Cologne is indignant about being accosted like that, declaring she hasn't heard of something so humiliating happening in 5000 years of Joketsuzoku history, to which Ranma angrily explodes and tells her to shut up, as their history means nothing to her. She attacks Cologne with the Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken volley-punch, but Cologne effortlessly evades, breaks Ranma's offensive and forces her back, pointing out that she was the one who taught Ranma the technique in the first place. She knocks Ranma around, then, as the crowd skies up, she shatters the ice with a tap of her staff. Taunting Ranma, she then levitates a swarm of ice boulders and sends them hurtling at Ranma with a few flicks of her staff, disappearing from sight while Ranma is busy dodging. She then materializes atop a life-sized ice statue of a bear, which she sends hurling at Ranma like a mentally controlled battering ram, leaving her battered and struggling to get up from the bank of the lake.
Akane is promptly knocked over by Shampoo, rushing to tend to the injured boy-turned-girl and begging her to give up, as she doesn't stand a chance against Shampoo's great-grandmother. Genma calls out his agreement, declaring that knowing when to quit is also part of being a martial artist and that Ranma can simply train some more and then come back for another try. Ranma refuses to be daunted, and hits upon a last desperate strategy when Shampoo tearfully begs Ranma to stop before she gets hurt; Ranma begs Shampoo to help her, declaring that she is the only one who can do so, much to Shampoo's delight and Soun & Akane's fury. When Shampoo insists she will help Ranma, Ranma taunts the unfrightened Cologne, then hoists Shampoo onto her back and runs into the icy water.
As Cologne watches in bemusement, Ranma gets Genma, Soun and Akane to force Shampoo-neko into Ranma's face, several minutes of which finally cause her to snap and enter the Nekoken state. Yowling angrily, Ranma leaps at Cologne, literally clawing through ice boulders as big as she is to reach Cologne, shattering the ice bear, and then knocking the Chinese elder out of the air. Akane promptly calls Ranma to her lap, which the cat-minded human eagerly does so, cuddling up and purring, even as the physically feline Shampoo looks on with a hurt expression. Picking herself up, Cologne approaches, calmly telling Akane and Ranma alike to calm down. With an amused smile, she notes that it's been 150 years since somebody was able to give her such a workout, and so she conceeds this battle to Ranma, tossing the Phoenix Pill to the heir to the Tendo Dojo. She tells them she will be back again, and then leaves.
That evening, having taken the Phoenix Pill, Ranma happily leaps into a source of hot water and surfaces, male again and shouting with joy. Even the realisation that she has leapt into the occupied women's open-air hot baths to do so, and the brutal beating that results, fail to seriously dampen his mood.
Cast in Order of Appearance Edit
|Character Name||Japanese Voice||English Voice|
|Akane Tendo||Noriko Nagai||Myriam Sirois|
|Nabiki Tendo||Minami Takayama||Angela Costain|
|Kasumi Tendo||Kikuko Inoue||Willow Johnson|
|Ranma Saotome (female)||Megumi Hayashibara||Venus Terzo|
|Cologne||Miyoko Asō||Elan Ross Gibson|
|Soun Tendo||Ryūsuke Ōbayashi||David Kaye|
|Genma Saotome (human, panda)||Kenichi Ogata||Robert O. Smith|
|Shampoo (human)||Rei Sakuma||Cathy Weseluck|
- It's not immediately obvious as to why this story's setting was changed from a Beach in the manga to a Mountain in the anime. The reason, however, why the setting was changed was because the episode original aired in December and episodes are usually kept season specific (with summertime episodes like Gosunkugi's Summer Affair and The Battle for Miss Beachside which aired in June and August respectively), so to keep with this "theme" the setting had to be changed.
- Season 2 is noted for having rather poor animation in the series, in part because the show had just been picked up by a new studio, and this episode is one of the most poorly animated of the season.
- This is one of only a few episodes to break the fourth wall, when a battered Ranma declares that he doesn't care about getting beaten up, as it's still great to be a guy again, directly to the audience through the iris-out.
- In the subs, when Cologne creates her vortexes around Ranma, she proclaims it to be a 4000-year-old special technique called "Snow Whirl".
- This is the first time the transformation of a cursed character is seen in great detail. When Genma falls into the water, the ears form first, then tail, nose, and the left hand, before the entire body quickly shifts between panda and human before fully becoming a panda.