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An isolated community very close to a series of geothermally heated rivers, springs and ponds, Zekkyo has tried to make a living as a hot springs resort, but to little avail; as the chairman/village elder admits to his council members, the springs are all very unsafe to use. In an effort to try and drum up some business, the Zekkyo council creates a contest; an three-legged obstacles course race through the valley and its myriad springs in order to receive an all-expenses-paid ticket to any springs of their choice in the world. Their intention is that this will draw people there, but nobody will be able to complete the course, which would most likely cost all of their earnings and their saved money.
Unfortunately for them, the idea that they may be able to use the reward to get to Jusenkyo, and thus a cure, brings Ranma Saotome, Shampoo, Mousse and Ryoga Hibiki to Zekkyo, and they find the course to not be such a challenge after all.
Obstacles that the races must face include riding logs over hotwater rapids, a boiling swamp infested with crocodiles, and a quicksand-like shifting sand bath (not made any easier if one has taken the iron geta, or traditional sandals, lead obi, or waist sash, and chain-woven yukata, or bathrobe). The manga version of the race is longer, and includes an icy cold bath house and a bath house filled with tubs of hot sake.