Kissing is Such Sweet Sorrow! The Taking of Akane's Lips (あかねの口びるを奪え Akane no Kuchibiru wo Uba?) is the 18th true episode of the second season of Ranma ½, Anything-Goes Martial Arts, though it is treated as the 21st episode, and is the 39th episode overall.
When Akane gets picked to play the role of Juliet in Furinkan High School's production of Romeo & Juliet, it causes chaos. Between Kuno's determination to play Romeo, Happosai's lecherous meddling, and Ranma willing to play the role of Romeo AND Juliet to win the promise of "seeing China", Akane's going to bring down the house. Whether she wants to or not.
Relation to the Previous EpisodeEdit
Akane, the New JulietEdit
At Furinkan High School, Akane is angrily trying to fend off the members of the Furinkan High Drama Club, who want her to play the leading role in their entry in the upcoming inter-scholastic drama competition. Akane absolutely refuses, and between Ranma's encouraging her to go along with it and his declaration that she was born for the part when she angrily suggests several "female warrior" type pieces as the possible entries, she promptly attacks him. When she overhears them agreeing that they'll need to get somebody else to play Juliet, though, she changes her tune, running up the stairs to the balcony and speaking the famous "wherefore art though" line, begging them to let her have the role after all.
No sooner than they have agreed than Tatewaki Kuno appears behind Akane, shrugging off her instinctive punch to the eye to declare that he shall be her Romeo, using a "permission to join" slip and physical threats with his bokken to get them to agree. Things take a turn for the worse when Happosai suddenly appears in a storm of illusory panties... one of which is real, which drifts down to reveal that it, too, is a "permission to join" slip. While acting embarrassed and shy, he declares that no matter the challenges, the chance to have a love scene with Akane is nothing to turn down - promptly leaping at her in one of his typical molestation attacks. Ranma stomps him out of the air at the last moment, mockingly encouraging Akane in her future acting career - but to his surprise, she doesn't rise to his tone, instead accepting his words as sincere and thanking him for them.
That evening, as Akane stands deep in thought on her balcony, Nabiki comments in surprise at Akane getting to play Juliet this time, which earns the curious attention of Ranma, Genma and Soun and prompts Kasumi to display a photo album of the last time, in grade school. Up on the balcony, Akane starts musing to herself of that very experience, the reason why she was hostile towards the idea of being in another school play. Because of her boyish haircut, active nature and martial arts skills, she was selected to be the Romeo of the play (the photo is of her performing the balcony scene with another girl), much to her chagrin; as she comments to herself, while she couldn't refuse and let them down, all she wanted was to wear a pretty dress and be Juliet
The next day, auditions are held for the position of Romeo, Happosai and Kuno joining forces to flatten all of the perverted boys who want to be in a love scene with Akane. Ranma watches this disinterestedly from a tree, until he hears the drama club mention that the winner of the competition will get to "see China". Confirming this is true, Ranma excitedly declares that he will enter, determined to return to China for free and finally be rid of his curse. Kuno declares that the only way to settle the question of who shall be Romeo is to fight it out on stage; while the drama club is delighted by the idea of spicing up their performance with live combat, Akane can only declare in an aghast tone that she will never forgive them if they ruin this one precious chance for her.
The Play BeginsEdit
The competition is held the next day, with the Furinkan High entry going last. As Akane feared, it turns into a farce; first Happosai come swinging towards her like Tarzan, interrupting the narrator's voiceover of what has happened, then Kuno attacks him in mid-entry, and then Ranma attacks them both, with the narrator asking the audience to decide who is the real Romeo. As she watches, Akane suddenly discovers to her shock that Sasuke has been concealing himself as the balcony, approaching her in an effort to kiss her - Ranma promptly abandons the melee a trois and kicks him into the wall, to her gratitude. The wrestling Happosai and Kuno, though, have fallen off of the stage and are given a ten-count, whereupon a second member of the drama club declares they have lost.
The lights dim to focus on Ranma and Akane as they stand there... several long minutes pass before Ranma reveals he doesn't know his lines - he didn't even know he had to speak any lines. Soun promptly shows up in a koroko uniform, offering to help... but Ranma and Akane realise at the last second he is trying to trick them into pledging to marry each other in front of the crowd. Soun disrupts their anger at him by shoving Ranma at Akane and telling him it's time for the kiss scene. As the crowd goes wild with delight, the embarrassed teens protest that this is just a stage kiss, it's not real, it doesn't count - whereupon Genma, in panda form, shows up waving a sign eagerly insisting they're going to do it. Ranma irritatedly swats him aside, but Genma and Soun promptly grab each other's child and try to force them to kiss. Finally, Ranma grows so furious that he breaks free, sending both father figures flying as he lands on the stage, bellowing out in fury that he is never going to kiss anybody, but he's still Romeo.
This is not met with much enthusiasm by the crowd. In fact, they feel cheated, and Happosai, Kuno and Sasuke waste no time in taunting Ranma that a Romeo who cannot kiss his Juliet is not fit to be Romeo. Happosai promptly sends Ranma spinning off stage with a twirl of his pipe. As he flies away, Ranma starts to protest his disinterest, but Akane calls out and asks if that means he's willing to just leave her to act a love scene with these perverts. As her words sink in, Ranma crashes down off-stage, into several buckets of cold water. Shaking herself off, she vows to get to China one way or another, no matter what it takes, and goes to change.
On stage, Akane punches away the three lustful lechers crowding her, head bowed and fighting back tears... until she spots Kasumi in the crowd, silently encouraging her to not give up her dream. At this, Akane regains her resolution and tries to accept Kuno as her Romeo... but just can't bear to do it, shoving him away in disgust. And then a net descends from above, Happosai grabbing her and carting her off for "the wedding scene" - luckily for Akane, he gets into a fight with the narrator over his describing Happosai as a "hideous beast". Unluckily for her, she is saved by Ranma-chan, now dressed up in a Juliet costume, who pulls her offstage and down some stairs, binds and gags her, then slips on-stage while pretending to still be bound in the net.
The Madness ContinuesEdit
Ranma then tricks Happosai and rapidly gets him drunk by luring him into a water (or perhaps sake) filled barrel with a bra, sealing it up with nailed boards and ropes... but then Kuno grabs her from behind, the element of surprise allowing him to ram a bottle of sake between her lips and forcing her to chug the whole bottle in a matter of seconds, leaving her totally drunk. The school guidance officer tries to stop this, but his shinai is no match for Kuno's live-steel katana and he is promptly chased away. Drunk on power, when Ranma stands up, completely plastered, Kuno threatens her with his sword, demanding she submit to him. But Ranma lashes out in her drunken state, Soun grabbing the microphone to announce that this is the Anything Goes School's "Drunk Fu" style... however, when Ranma manages to cut Kuno's cheek with a kick, then collapses onto the stage and falls asleep, the audience turns on him as a fake.
Kuno takes "the pigtailed Juliet" into his arms, intending to kiss her, when he is drawn to a halt by Akane pressing her own rapier to his throat. She lures him away to fight her, while Soun and Genma slap Ranma back into consciousness - just in time for Akane, as Kuno swiftly overpowers and disarms her. Ranma stomps Kuno into the stage and tells Akane to butt out, mockingly asking if she actually wants to do a love scene with Kuno when Akane protests that she is supposed to be Juliet. Declaring her intention to do whatever it takes to get to China, Ranma hoists the groggy Kuno up and then, hands over his cheeks, kisses him.
Akane is distraught, disgusted, horrified and betrayed in equal measures; her fiance, who minutes ago refused to kiss her while in his natural form, has just kissed their greatest nuisance while in female form - and in front of her to boot. So caught up in her emotions is she that she doesn't notice when Ranma quickly pulls away, disgustedly proclaiming that even the tape she placed over Kuno's mouth beforehand doesn't make this any less gross. Furiously, Akane storms off stage as Kuno faints in happiness at even this much physical affection from "the pigtailed girl", which prompts Ranma to chase after her, shed her dress, resume her male form and try and persuade Akane that she used tape. Akane will hear nothing of it, locking herself in her dressing room and crying over Ranma's actions, even as Ranma repeats his familiar complaint of her being "uncute".
When she goes to the locker to get her clothes, though, Sasuke springs out at her and sprays her with sleeping potion. He gathers her in her arms, getting ready to take her to the stage and become Romeo, but has not reckoned on Ranma's keen sense of hearing; he smashes through the door and comes charging at Sasuke, but Kuno knocks Ranma aside, scares off his manservant with a sweep of his sword, and prepares to kiss Akane, having already kissed "the pigtailed girl". Ranma knocks him unconscious at the last moment, angrily insisting that a kiss with tape doesn't count, whereupon the announcer tells Ranma to get ready to set up for scene 3.
Ranma & JulietEdit
Scene 3 turns out to be a "kiss of awakening" scene better suited to Snow White, much to Ranma's fury. Offstage, the other would-be Romeos all rendered harmless, he threatens the announcer, who insists that it's a request from their special guest judge. Said judge appears, telling Ranma that if he can kiss Akane, he will win the competition, but it is the actions of Soun and Genma, challenging Ranma's courage, pointing out he's Akane's fiance (to which Ranma points out that there are dozens of people who will be watching him kiss her), and reminding him of the prize... and even then it boils down to them throwing Ranma onto the stage.
Nervous beyond belief, far too shy for such public affection, Ranma tries to talk himself into it by reminding him that this is a chance to be normal again... but he can't do it, turning away at the last second. Akane picks that moment to wake up, softly asking if Ranma hates her that much. Startled, Ranma quietly insists that he doesn't hate her - it'd be easy to kiss her if he hated her. Akane encourages him to kiss her, then, as she wants him to see China too... but Ranma just can't do it. So, Akane repeats Ranma's trick when "she" kissed Kuno - reaching up with her hands and pulling him down to kiss her, disguising from the audience the fact that she has placed tape over his mouth. Once the curtain is closed, she lets him go, playfully declaring that she put on a pretty good performance and sticking her tongue out.
Ranma is not impressed. In fact, as they head home that evening, Akane asks playfully just why Ranma seems to be so ticked off; he answers curtly, grumbling to himself that she didn't need to trick him like that. When she playfully asks if maybe he wishes they could have done it without the tape, though, he almost falls off of the fence; she laughs that she was kidding, jokingly calls him a dope, and hurries off home. Ranma starts to shout that she is uncute, but trails off to thoughtful, almost melancholy silence.
When they get home, though, they arrive to the sounds of festivities and are told that everyone is already seeing China. To their puzzlement, they enter to discover that the drama club, Kuno, Sasuke, Happosai and their fathers are partying with the strange man from the production, the special guest judge. It turns out the prize is not to "see" China, but to see "China" - the little stranger is a famous Hong Kong movie star, Mr. Ling, whose stage name is "China". Ranma promptly faints, tears dripping from his eyes; while Nabiki sarcastically suggests that Akane wake him with a kiss, Akane gently declares it's kinder to let him sleep.
Cast in Order of AppearanceEdit
|Character Name||Japanese Voice||English Voice|
|Akane Tendo||Noriko Nagai||Myriam Sirois|
|Ranma Saotome (male)||Kappei Yamaguchi||Sarah Strange|
|The Director and his Assistant (debut)||Sukekiyo Kameyama||Terry Klassen|
|Tatewaki Kuno||Hirotaka Suzuoki||Ted Cole|
|Happosai||Ichirō Nagai||Paul Dobson|
|Nabiki Tendo||Minami Takayama||Angela Costain|
|Kasumi Tendo||Kikuko Inoue||Willow Johnson|
|Genma Saotome (panda)||Kenichi Ogata||Robert O. Smith|
|Soun Tendo||Ryūsuke Ōbayashi||David Kaye|
|Mr. Ryokou (debut)||Kenichi Ogata||Paul Dobson|
|Sasuke Sarugakure||Shigeru Chiba||Robert O. Smith|
|Ranma Saotome (female)||Megumi Hayashibara||Venus Terzo|
- Sasuke's role in this episode is the most egrerious example of him replacing Gosunkugi. While most of his replacement positions actually work for the better, as it makes more sense that such a role would be undertaken by somebody loyal to Kuno rather than by somebody who resents and hates Kuno, attempting to steal a kiss from Akane is quite out of character for Sasuke.
- In the original manga version, Akane tries to get rid of the drama club by suggesting Ranma as "Juliet". Thanks to his antics in his first duel with Mousse, Ranma has developed a reputation as a master crossdresser/female impersonator, which he becomes aware of in the manga take on this story.
- This anime version lacks the scene where Ranma asks Genma just who Romeo is.
- The drama club members includes two tokai (monster suit actors), one of which is dressed up as Godzilla, the other of which is dressed in an expy of Ghidorah.
- Akane's comments about how, despite her fighting skill, all she really wanted was to put on the pretty dress and be Juliet is a perfect summary of her nature as an example of the tomboy/tsundere archetype.
- When Kuno and Happosai fight off the other would-be Romeos, the screen briefly displays Kuno's cry of "Hold!" in much the same manner as a black and white Samurai movie from the era of soundless film would.
- Many different stories/characters can be recognized when the drama clubs assemble, including The Wizard of Oz (Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion) and Journey to the West (Tripitaka, Piggsy, Monkey).