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Jusenkyo (呪泉郷 Jusenkyō?) (Zhòuquánxiāng in Mandarin) is the legendary training ground of "cursed" springs, located in the Bayankala Mountain range (Bayan Har Shan), south of Mount Kensei, in Qinghai Province, China. It is maintained by the Jusenkyo Guide.
Many sad stories have happened in Jusenkyo, mainly that people and animals have drowned (in Japanese, 'immersion' was closer to the actual wording, but it was translated as strictly 'drowned') in the various pools hundreds or thousands of years ago. Legend has it that when something is immersed in one of these pools, the pool becomes cursed, and anyone falling into that pool will become whatever first fell in or drowned there, although, unless specified, they retain their mind, personality and skills. The cure (or rather the reverse of transformation as it were) is to be splashed with hot water. Then the victim would remain in his or her natural form until again encountering cold water. While the curses themselves happen instantaneously, with no "in-between" shots of cursed characters partially transformed in the manga but in the anime there are occasional transition shots usually in the form of steam, they do take a while to activate, with the cursed character usually standing dumbstruck for a second or so after being splashed. However larger quantities of water seem to be instantaneous, or at least faster as seen when a character is exposed to water, and when the water is no longer in the transition of air to ground than the transformation has happened (though the transformation could've just happened while submerged with the period of time simply irrelevant) the same thing happens when the cursed person is submerged completely and no transition can be seen other then them being in their cursed form once they come up for air.
The Curses of Jusenkyo are all Spring specific, as each spring is named after a specific transition trait it appears that their can only be one spring per curse or that no two have simply coincided. Regardless the curses are all vastly different from each other and some may even defy common logic. Their is at least one Spring where four animals were immersed in at once, and a few of them are apparently "Blank" in the regard that none of them have had anything "drown" in them yet.
One such spring was taken advantage of when Kiima used it to acquire Akane's self for her own use. Why it didn't just become another Spring of Drowned Girl further implies that only one spring will apply for the curse, but it is also possible that the other curses may simply turn the victim into the image of what drowned in their, but this does not explain why Pantyhose Taro's is a combination of an ox, yeti, eel and crane nor why Ranma's girl form is simply a genderswapped version of his male form (in the manga they are the spitting image outside of obvious gender build and the such, unlike the anime which has them with different hair colour, though in both incarnations their eyes are different), also all other curse forms usually retain similarities to their original forms, whether be discrete or obvious, in universe Happosai could even recognize Genma from his eyes.
However it is possible that because Akane's was a "Fresh" immersion (being that Kiima used it almost immediately after it had acquired Akane as its template), the curse provided a picture-like presentation, while the other springs are much older and could've lost their original form or even weaken over time and thus they only provide the general template of what drowned their as opposed to the exact image, which is also shown by the cursed forms of both Ranma and Herb not being of the same person but of themselves genderswapped.
It is unknown if the gender specific curse is only affecting humans or if other animals with noticeable differences between genders will also have separate cursed forms. While the same cannot be said for all other curses at the very least Ryoga Hibiki, Kinnii, and Kiima retains their original genders in cursed form. However most characters will retain at least subtle hints of their original selves in cursed form regardless of what curse is affect, with the exception of Kinnii who transformation is a complete 180 turn around (fierce warrior into weak, and somewhat scrawny monk). Hair is one of the prominent similarities between individuals and their cursed forms with Ranma, Shampoo, Herb, and Mousse retaining their hair (or at least the shape of hair in the latter's case) while other characters have less obvious traits such has Ryoga Hibiki who does not retain most noticeable traits of his human form.
An inconsistency in regards to the Jusenkyo curse is whether or not clothing is retained on either them returning to or from their cursed form. Early on in both incarnations this did not appear to be the case with characters occasionally abandoning their clothing once transformed because it no longer fits, but in others their clothing seems to disappear and reappear with them as they transform. Prominently during the Pantyhose Taro Intro Arc when both Ranma and Ryoga were shown with clothing on when they returned to their non-cursed forms, but Shampoo was forced to wear a make-shift pantyhose bikini to hide her privates. It could be that the author simply wishes to avoid unnecessary nudity unless the situation calls for it comically. But given the fact that it was mostly abandoned as the story progressed it could be that the longer a cursed person retains their curse or the more often they transform than the more immediate of what they wear will transform with them. Alternatively it could be that the clothing which one fell in Jusenkyo with will transform with them, while other articles will have no such luck, but this makes little sense as Shampoo has been seen transforming while wearing a large variety of clothing while, when Ryoga first appeared his shrank out of his clothes when it rained, which were the same ones that he had went he fell it, as he had not changed (or rested really) sense pursuing Ranma from China. Ryoga had later times retains his clothing when returning with his clothing possibly taking the form of his bandanna around his piglet neck in a bow, but he already wore this as a human, making it the only piece of clothing that remains with any cursed character throughout the series. However Mousse has never been seen with this problem as his clothes apparently transform into feathers, and he is able to retain all that he keeps in his sleeves on him when in duck form.
Ranma and Herb do not particularly have this problem do to the size difference between their curses being rather small and their clothing still fits under most circumstances, but the reverse is far less contradictory in all media. Any piece of clothing applied while in cursed form will not change proportionately once the cursed returns to their base form, Ryoga's Charlotte collar still fit do to his neck being roughly the same in both pig and human form (as pigs have thicker necks than humans) while Ranma's female garb often becomes tighter in the crotch area and disproportions his muscles and stomach when he returns to male form while wearing his female clothing. Pantyhose Taro curiously has his clothing when he returns to human form as well, but he has had his curse for years lending credence to the above theory of how the clothing aspect applies to the scenario.
In the world of Ranma ½, Jusenkyo seems to sometimes serve as a "training ground" for martial artists, who seek to train through vaulting and dueling atop the bamboo poles that jut out of the many springs. Precisely what this seeks to train or how effective it is happens to be unknown; no trainee has ever been seen to complete their training at the springs without being cursed. In one anime episode, a version of Ranma & Genma who complete their training at Jusenkyo without being cursed leave in disappointment, expressing the opinion that it was really not that interesting a training site at all -- Jusenkyo seems to attract interest nowadays almost solely due to its curse-bestowing status rather then any actual benefit to be gained from training there, but it is possible that whatever past training benefits there were are simply lost to history. The curse itself however could outright be the reason as not being cursed would certainly be a reason not to fall in and as such the curse is more reinforcement to keep balance as opposed to anything else.
It is unknown how the cycle of water could apply to the waters of Jusenkyo as the water would need to evaporate and return as rain, but as the cursed water has remained for thousands of years the waters which contain this supernatural curse may be exempt from such a cycle but if it is anything like the real world cycle of water than the waters simply leaves all but the water particles behind, including the curse, and reacquire in the clouds before the rain falls down and returns to the springs as cursed water which would explain how the waters returned to their original state after the flood had caused them to switch and mix with each other. Alternatively it is possible that the curse will conduct in any water that it hits shown early in the series where went some of Mousse's Yazunichaun Water spilled into a gold fish booth and the fish within turned into ducks, but this may only apply to fresh water. Interestingly while more than one person can have more of the same curse at a time, if more than one person is touching the water at once than only one of the two will suffer from the curse as seen when Happosai bathed Pantyhose Taro in the water yet was unaffected by the curse while Taro was, even though he was getting his hands wet which would've cursed him as well.
Despite its obscure status, Jusenkyo does have a devoted caretaker, the Jusenkyo Guide, who lives in a small house on the outskirts of the valley, well away from the cursed waters. He is married with a young daughter named Plum who is being taught to eventually take over the springs, possibly implying that the job is passed on in a family or that the duty is even hereditary. Outside of being mentioned as a training ground in the Martial Arts community, the curses themselves seem be practically unheard of, possibly do to the scrutiny of such an unscientific accusation or simply a neglected part of the tales. The Joketsuzoku tribe live in a village that is close to these cursed springs but yet the knowledge is also near-none-existent to them as well as Shampoo and Mousse had no knowledge about it until cursed themselves, and while Cologne seemed to have some inklings about its mechanisms later in the story at the beginning she had neglected to inform Shampoo of it, leading to the credence that she was unaware or dismissed it as hearsay until she saw it herself, and than took the time to delve into more details of what Jusenkyo was. However their are at least two tribes of China that actively use the Jusenkyo springs to their advantage, that being the Musk Dynasty who used the Nannichuan and Nyannichuan to create mating partners of animalistic characters to better enhance their descendants, and the Phoenix People who do to being in proximity, and possibly generations of exposure to more mild forms of the curse, use it for actions of recon, and may even give insight to their various other magical objects and powers. Interestingly despite the Guide constantly referring to the springs as cursed a running gag is that it is always ignored or dismissed only to be proven true in a rather comical manner, though for Ranma and Genma they simply stormed away before he could get to the Cursed part.
In one anime episode there is also the secret organization/cult known as "The Jusenkyo Preservation Society". Precisely who they are is never clarified, but they seem to regard themselves as guardians of Jusenkyo and responsible for seeing that those who acquire Jusenkyo curses do not "abuse" their transformational powers. In the same episode said society proclaim that the curse is in their head as opposed to actually being a curse which could imply (at least in the anime's continuity) that while the transformation is physical the catalysts are the mental reaction responding to the stimuli of being wet and with exposure to temperature, however at the same time no one actually succeeds in overcoming their curse through mental powers, and what brings this idea into question is the fact that the Society itself has a member who is stricken by a curse and has not been able to overcome it mentally, leading to the possibility that the Society simply used it as an excuse to torture the cursed souls for comedy.
In the series people have, among other things, accidentally fallen into the springs of the drowned girl, panda, duck, piglet, and cat, and at least one character chose to voluntarily bathe in one of the springs, while Happosai actually bathed the newly born Pantyhose Taro in his cursed spring, and Mousse, do to his own bad eyesight and absentmindedness actually walked into the spring that gave him his curse. However, most characters featured who have the curse find it to be obstructive and would rather be rid of it. However their are some benefits to the curses provided. Mousse in particular seems to have better eyesight, and Ranma gains a boost in speed because of the swiftness of his female form becoming a better martial artist for it. Pantyhose Taro actually considers his gift to be a blessing as opposed to a Curse, but few of the other Jusenkyo Curses offer the ability of superhuman strength, endurance, as well as the ability to fly and be as slippery as an eel at the same time.
The information about possible cures seems conflicted.
It has been shown that instant nannichuan/"spring of drowned man" powder, which renders the subject immune to its effects after one application, temporarily cured Genma and Ranma, and the true spring has been stated as a working cure by the author, which was also heavily implied in the end chapter. However, it has also been found that bathing in two springs can also mix the curses rather than switch them. This was demonstrated in the manga when Pantyhose Taro bathed in the Spring of Drowned Octopus, and found that his cursed form (a minotaur with wings and an eel for a tail) had sprouted tentacles and gained the ability to squirt ink from its fingers. However this inconsistancy is explainible to an extent, to at the very least, apply a cure to Ranma's condition. As Ranma's curse is transitory in term of gender as opposed to species it is possible that as Nannichuan would be the opposite to his Curse of Drowned Girl than the two would cancel each other out, for the remaining cast it is unknown how it would apply but it is possible that as (most) of them were "Men" anyways that said spring would not per say remove the curse but instead simply return them to "men" to begin with, and the same is implied to be the case for females if they were exposed to the waters of Nyannichuan.
An alternate explanation is that "template" springs will cure if applied to a cursed victim, but other springs will fuse their curses to the victim's existing curse. So, for example, Ranma would become male if exposed to Nannīchuan, but if splashed with Maonīchuan, would have his cursed form change into a catgirl-type form, due to the fact that neither cat nor girl is what his original form was, however as one of these curses are female if mixed they might make a human male to female cat curse instead of a human to cat-girl curse. This is demonstrated by the recorded facts of what has been seen of curse applications in the series; Ranma's Instant Spring of Drowned Man did temporarily make him immune to cold water before it wore off, yet Taro permanently added octopus tentacles and ink to his body.
However it should be noted that the fusion is something that has only happened to (and thus could be a unique byproduct of his individual curse) Taro, and happens because his existing cursed form is already a physical hybridization of four separate creatures (yeti, crane, eel, ox) that drowned in the same pond. This is demonstrated by the fact that Taro's spring is explicitly called out as having contained four separate creatures, yet his cursed form is a blending of the four.
It is also possible that replacement vs. fusion is determined by how much of the "curse" is applied; a Jusenkyo victim needs to apply a large dose of a different spring to replace this curse (or to completely affect an uncursed victim), but a small dose will only add certain traits to an existing curse. This is demonstrated in that, in the same manga story that introduces the octopus-upgraded Taro, a single drop of Spring of Drowned Twins water is only enough to double one bump on Happosai's head. Furthermore, every time that a potential cure has appeared, it has always appeared in sizable quantities; the anime-only out-of-service Japanese Nannīchuan and converted Tendo Dojo koi pond were both more than deep enough to fit multiple people, whilst the large cask of Nannīchuan water that the Guide sent in the final story was explicitly stated as only holding enough water for a single person.
After the fierce battle against Saffron, heavy rains caused the waters of the cursed springs to overflow and intermix, temporarily combining the curses into an unpredictable and possibly dangerous mixture, preventing the cursed individuals from being cured. By the final chapter of the manga, however, the flooding had receded and the springs were back to normal. As gratitude for Ranma's efforts in trying to save his daughter, the Guide sent a cask of Nannīchuan to the Tendo Dojo for Ranma, but it was stolen by Soun Tendo in an attempt to use it to blackmail Ranma into marrying his daughter, and subsequently drunk by Happosai.
List of known cursed springsEdit
Manga and Animé appearances Edit
- Spring of Drowned Panda (Shonmaonīchuan; Mandarin Xióngmāonìquán)
- Cursed: Genma Saotome
- Spring of Drowned Girl (Nyannīchuan; Mandarin Niángnìquán)
- Cursed: Ranma Saotome, Herb (manga only) and a monkey (manga only)
- Spring of Drowned Man (Nannīchuan; Mandarin Nánnìquán)
- No one cursed
- Spring of Drowned Black Piglet (Heitowennīchuan; Mandarin Hēitúnnìquán)
- Cursed: Ryoga Hibiki
- Spring of Drowned Cat (Maonīchuan; Mandarin Māonìquán)
- Cursed: Shampoo and Arisa Nanjo (games only)
- Spring of Drowned Duck (Yazunīchuan; Mandarin Yāzǐnìquán)
- Cursed: Mousse and a tiger
- Spring of Drowned Yeti-riding-Bull-carrying-Crane-and-Eel (Niuhōmanmaorennīchuan; Mandarin Níuhèmánmáorénnìquán)
- Cursed: Pantyhose Taro
Manga only Edit
- Spring of Drowned Octopus (Shanyuinīchuan; Mandarin Zhāngyúnìquán)
- Cursed: Pantyhose Taro
- Spring of Drowned Twins (Shuanshontsūnīchuan; Mandarin Shuāngshēngérnìquán)
- Cursed: A duck, a crow, (and a bump on Happosai's head)
- Spring of Drowned Pious Man (Shannannīchuan; Mandarin Shànnánnìquán)
- No one cursed (mentioned in manga)
- Spring of Drowned Child (Tontsūnīchuan; Mandarin Tóngzǐnìquán)
- Cursed: Rakkyosai
- Spring of Drowned Warrior Goddess (Asura) ( Ashiuruonīchuan; Mandarin Āxiūluónìquán)
- Cursed: Rouge
- Spring of Drowned Akane (Akanenīchuan; Mandarin Qiànnìquán)
- Cursed: Kiima. Originally a "blank" cursed spring, Akane was thrown into this spring and allowed to almost drown due to her lack of swimming skill, whereupon it "picked up" her form. As a result, anyone who falls into this spring now takes on the physical appearance of Akane Tendo, and Kiima used it to replace her original Nyannīchuan curse in order to spy on Ranma.