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Les Misérables of the Kuno Estate

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Les Misérables of the Kuno Estate (九能家のレ·ミゼラブル Kunōke no Re Miseraburu?) is the eleventh episode in the third season of Ranma ½, Hard Battle, and is the 51st episode overall.

Caught up in a squabble between the Kuno siblings, Sasuke finds himself exiled from the Kuno Estate and taken in by the Tendo Dojo.

Relation to the Previous EpisodeEdit

None.

Plot OverviewEdit

KunoEatstheCookies

Kuno pigs out on Kodachi's cookies

In the cavernous kitchen of the Kuno Estate, Kodachi Kuno has just finished baking a batch of untampered cookies that she intends to hurry off with and deliver to Ranma Saotome. However, first, she must answer the call of nature, dashing off to attend to her physical matters. No sooner has she gone, though, when Tatewaki Kuno enters the kitchen, lured by the smell of freshly baked pastries. Seeing Kodachi's efforts bundled in a transparent bag, he leaps to the conclusion that they have just been left for him by Akane and proceeds to wolf them down... much to Kodachi's fury when she returns, lividly declaring that Kuno has eaten that which he should not have eaten. When Kuno has the arrogance to dismiss the possibility she may be right to instead proclaim she is just jealous of his good fortune, she holds a naginata to his neck, coldly asking who Kuno thinks baked them. When he persists in his delusion by proclaiming it was Akane Tendo, or perhaps the pigtailed girl, she strikes out at him, backing him into a corner and then casting her polearm aside for an anti-tank rifle when he draws his bokken to defend himself. When she reveals that she baked those cookies for Ranma, Kuno pushes her over the edge by noting that he had thought them rather dry: she opens fire on him.

AmidstintheBattle

Sasuke stops the battle

The sounds of an explosion catch the attention of Sasuke Sarugakure, currently cleaning the garden, and he goes bounding atop the rooftops to the kitchen, diving down through the hole in the roof... and almost getting shot himself; Kuno has armed himself with a multiple rocket launcher, and he and Kodachi are blowing the hell out of the kitchen. When his pleas for them to calm down and be reasonable are ignored, aside from Kodachi noting that they wouldn't be doing this if Kuno had been reasonable in the first place, he gets fed up and drenches them both in cold water, shocking them to their senses so he can demand they explain what is going on.

IntheMiddle

Sasuke gets stuck in the middle of the argument

In the massive meeting hall of the Kuno estate, they finally finish telling him what happened, with Sasuke expressing his disbelief that they were fighting so furiously over cookies. To his dismay, both siblings promptly turn on him for "trivialising" the matter and declare it's his own fault for interfering, demanding he then assign fault to whoever is responsible. Torn between his loyalty to Kuno, who he owes his most direct oaths of servitude, and his loyalty to Kodachi, further supplemented by her ability to blackmail him with knowledge of his embarrassing secret (he's prone to wetting the bed), the hesitation eventually makes Kuno so furious that he dismisses Sasuke, demanding he leave this house at once.

AkaneNotices

Akane invites Sasuke to the Dojo

Heartbroken, his meagre belongings backed up in a small bundle, Sasuke wanders away into the city; he has spent most of his life serving the Kuno family, and now he doesn't know what to do. As he sits mournfully on a swing, Akane Tendo passes by and catches sight of him. Sympathetically, she calls out to him and invites him to follow her home; much to Sasuke's surprise, she instantly deduces that Kuno has been bullying him again.

When they arrive, Sasuke can't help but instinctively note that it's a little over three feet from the entrance to the front door and there are no defenses to speak of before mentally chastising himself. Kasumi is happy to see Sasuke has come to visit, giving a playfully polite bow to him that has the deeply shocked and nervous ninja leaping outside to kowtow with a desperate cry of being unworthy; nobody has shown him that much respect before. His disbelief only grows when Kasumi calls him a sweet little fellow; nobody has ever complimented him like that in his entire life.

As Akane heads upstairs to attend to her own matters, Sasuke goes sneaking through the house, catching himself and noting that he must stop doing that - he's a guest here. Still, old habits die hard and he nervously peeks into the living room to see Soun and Genma, in panda form, playing shogi on the porch - Genma is winning, and refuses to let Soun do over. Spotting Sasuke, Soun challenges him to a game of shogi... when it turns out that Sasuke may be better at it then him, Sasuke fears that Soun is going to throw him out for proving better - to his surprise, Soun instead tearfully begs to be allowed a do over.

RanmaandSasukeFights

Sasuke and Ranma fight

Before Sasuke can answer, a ball comes soaring through at high speed and ricochets off of his head. Looking around, Sasuke spots Ranma sitting in the fruit tree that stands near the pond and leaps to attack, apparently not hearing Ranma's apology for hitting him. As is common, Sasuke misjudges his leap and slams headfirst into the branch that Ranma is sitting on, falling onto the ground. When Ranma drops down to ask if he's alright, Sasuke shakes off the concussion and attacks, though Ranma casually dodges each blow. To Sasuke's shock, Akane then comes out and attacks Sasuke, catching him when he tries to flee and then knocking him into a corner with several powerful blows. As he cowers in anticipation of her finishing strike, she stops; to Sasuke's shock, he is thanked for allowing her to workout with him, and she then happily heads back inside.

Ranma promptly drops down from the wall, hanging onto its edge by his toes, and asks why Sasuke is here, then suggesting that Kuno has thrown him out, much to Sasuke's shock. He apologises again for hitting Sasuke with the ball, noting his aim was off and he still needs to work on it; he was trying to cut down some fruit from the tree in the garden, which he displays by ricocheting the ball off of a rock edging the pond to cut down a piece of fruit that Soun happily catches, noting it must be close to summer. Ranma offers a piece he cut down just before to Sasuke, who, still in shock, instinctively refuses it, whereupon Ranma eats it himself. Sasuke can only note to himself just how different this "training" with Ranma and Akane was to his sessions with Kuno; Tatewaki would never thank Sasuke for being his sparring partner, and certainly wouldn't feed him for it. In fact, the last time they sparred, Kuno smashed Sasuke's weapon, beat him unconscious, boasted of his superior talent and then gorged himself on the ripe apples laid aside, sparing not a scrap for his faithful retainer.

That night, Kuno realises Sasuke isn't present, stalking around the estate and demanding he show himself, complaining about Sasuke "running away", especially as he knows that Kuno can't sleep without one of his nightly shadow puppet shows.

At the Tendo Dojo, Sasuke has been given a spare futon and let inside the guest bedroom, to his amazement; not only has the linen been washed recently, he's actually being allowed to sleep inside. Back on the Kuno estate, he sleeps in the crawlspace under the house, no matter the weather, in ragged old straw bedding. Miserably, he notes even though he shouldn't expect Kuno to show him any appreciation, for he is just a servant, he still wishes that Kuno would be as nice to him as the Tendos and Saotomes have been. And because of that, Sasuke slips out of his bedding to head to the restroom; with how nice they have been to him, he wants to avoid wetting the bed more than anything. To his embarrassment, Akane wakes up and finds him sneaking through the halls, though she doesn't question his motives. Instead, she comforts him over not being able to sleep and offers him a glass of warm milk. Nervously, Sasuke takes his first sip, and then grows teary-eyed; he had no idea that milk was so delicious. Back on the Kuno estate, he was deemed only good enough to drink the runoff from the storm gutters.

Early the next morning, the bleary-eyed Kuno wakens, growling that he slept not a wink and weepingly wondering where Sasuke has gone.

At the same time, Sasuke is standing in the Tendo garden, head bowed in shame and apologising from the depths of his heart. To his astonishment, Akane displays no negativity or blame towards Sasuke at all, hanging up the soiled futon without the slightest sign of upset. Teary-eyed, Sasuke can only wonder at the difference between Akane's generosity and Kodachi's cruel mockery and blackmail upon discovering his shameful weakness. At breakfast, Ranma wonders why the linen is on the line, but, especially from the tone in Akane's voice, doesn't pry.

At the same time, over at the Kuno estate, Tatewaki has received a nasty surprise: pickled garlic (scallions, in the sub) at breakfast, which he absolutely hates. Desperately he goes searching for Sasuke to eat them for him, looking up in the attic, down a well and in a small outhouse that is Sasuke's exclusive toilet.

Sasuke'sSchoolService

Sasuke's school service

After breakfast, Sasuke starts raking the garden to help meditate over his dilemma; go back to Kuno and beg him to have his job back, or stay here at the Tendo Dojo and serve people who treat him with kindness and respect. No sooner has he begged the kami for a sign when one of the koi leaps in the pond, which he takes as an omen that he must now swear his allegiance to Akane Tendo. He sets about it right away, warming Akane's shoes with his body, carrying her books to school and, much to Akane and Ranma's horror, unthinkingly throwing himself into a puddle in their path in the expectation that they will use him as a bridge to cross. They make it to Furinkan High School just in time - Tatewaki Kuno, bleary eyed and somewhat underdressed, makes it there only after the gates are closed, rattling them furiously and proclaiming that this is all Sasuke's fault.

Sasuke'sService

Sasuke helps Akane

During gym class, Sasuke makes his presence known by helping Akane at her activities - but Kuno knows Sasuke well enough that he can track the ninja's movements, wondering in confusion what's going on. Even when he takes a basketball to the face in his distracted state, his greater concern is wondering if maybe Sasuke has sworn fealty to a new master. Or, rather, "mistress".

SasukeandKunoReunited

Kuno and Sasuke reunited again

Once school is over, Kuno retreats to his room to brood. His arrogance means that the idea of begging for Sasuke to return is anathema to him... but just as bad is the idea of being parted from his loyal ninja forever more. Back and forth he paces, trying to decide which of the two options is the least painful. Finally, he goes running off to the Tendo Dojo, shouting for his ninja manservant. Though he, in typical fashion, flirts with Akane Tendo and puts his own self-aggrandizing spin on Sasuke's reasons for leaving, he begs and pleads sincerely for Sasuke to come home, promising him that he will change and stop taking Sasuke for granted. The two enjoy a tearful reunion.

MoreCookieProblems

Sasuke in another cookie dilemma

Alas for poor Sasuke, for Kuno's word is worthless. The very next day, Kuno once again devours Kodachi's cookies, and yet again, when Sasuke tries to prevent them from fighting, both of them turn on him, each demanding to know who he is more loyal to.

Cast in Order of Appearance Edit

Character Name Japanese Voice English Voice
Kodachi Kuno Saeko Shimazu Teryl Rothery
Tatewaki Kuno Hirotaka Suzuoki Ted Cole
Sasuke Sarugakure Shigeru Chiba Robert O. Smith
Akane Tendo Noriko Nagai Myriam Sirois
Kasumi Tendo Kikuko Inoue Willow Johnson
Soun Tendo Ryūsuke Ōbayashi David Kaye
Genma Saotome (panda, human) Kenichi Ogata Robert O. Smith
Ranma Saotome (male) Kappei Yamaguchi Sarah Strange
Nabiki Tendo Minami Takayama Angela Costain

Quotes Edit

TriviaEdit

  • This episode shows just how dependent on Sasuke that Kuno is - as well as how terribly the whole family takes advantage of him.
  • When Kodachi first takes her cookies out of the oven, the kanji spells out the French word "J'taime". This means "I love you", and is the weaker form of "J'adore" ("I adore you"). This fits in well with Kodachi's penchant for using French words.
  • While Kodachi routinely uses French words, this is the first episode in which Kuno can be heard using them himself.
  • "Les Misérables", which translates variously as The Miserable Ones (literal translation), The Wretched, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor and The Victims, is not only an apt reference to Sasuke himself, but also the title of an 1862 novel of French historical fiction written by the famous French author, Victor Hugo.
  • Kodachi's usage of a black rose like a dart could be a reference to or send up of Tuxedo Kamen (Mask) from the Sailor Moon anime and manga.
  • In the dub, Soun refers to the fruit-bearing tree in his garden over the pond as a biwa plum, while in the sub, he refers to it as a loquat.
  • When Kuno figures out who the cookies were for, he actually says Ranma's first name for once rather then his full or last name.
  • There is a manga chapter with a similar title, but aside from the name there are very little similarities.

Reference Edit


See AlsoEdit


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