The Anime-zing Race 2

Episode One

Disclaimer
This fanfic is not endorsed or affiliated in any way with any of the following companies: CBS, World Race Productions, Geneon, ADVision, Buena Vista, 4Kids, Software Sculptors, Bandai, Viz, Central Park Media, Right Stuf, AnimEIGO, Manga Entertainment or the Animation Alliance. This steals characters and locations from 25 different series and the original creators donít get a dime from it. But since neither do I, I guess weíre even.

Authorís Notes
Seriously, I donít know why the hell Iím doing this one. The first one was enough of a hassle, Iíve got something really special going with Level 2, Iím writing a manga with a friend, and on top of that Iím not usually a big fan of sequels unless they try to equal or better the quality of the original. Fortunately, this is one sequel that does that. Twelve new teams (many of which getting their first taste of reality competition), fifteen completely new series (none have appeared in any of my previous reality ports), and the same great competition youíve come to expect. Note that this first episode is a ninety-minute premiere, and therefore will be longer than most episodes. With that- here we go again!

Leg One
(Establishing shots of Osaka, Japan, including famous landmarks such as the Tsutenkaku Tower. Itís nearing sunset, and the lights are starting to shine over the city. Over it all, two kids, a boy named Satoshi and a girl named Arumi, narrate. Both have a fairly thickOsaka dialect.)
Arumi: (VO) This is Osaka, the third-largest city in Japan and hub of the countryís commerce.

Satoshi: (VO) Here, in the shadows of the Tsutenkaku Tower, lies our home, the Abenobashi shopping district.

(Zoom out from the tower and pan over to the two, walking through the center of Abenobashi. Satoshi has a t-shirt, shorts, and short hair covered by a hat. Arumi has brown hair worn in pigtails and wears a plain white sleeveless dress.)

Arumi: This shopping district, or shotengai, is said to be a gateway between different worlds. Its powers were kept by four posts in each direction.

Satoshi: At the center of these four locations is the starting line for a race unlike any other.

Arumi: One which will push twelve teams to their physical and mental limits as they race through fifteen different anime series for ten million yen.

(Satoshi looks at Arumi and scratches his head.)

Satoshi: How come we didnít get ten million yen for everything we went through?

(Arumi whaps Satoshiís head with her fan, knocking his hat off. Satoshi bends down to pick it up.)

Arumi: Sasshi! They said weíre not allowed to ad lib yet!

Satoshi: Oh yeahÖ anyway, each team is made up of two people with a pre-existing relationship. That relationship will definitely come under fire as they attempt to survive each world and everything in it. I know that first hand, right Arumi?

Arumi: I guess so, but some of these people donít have to work with idiots.

Satoshi: AwÖ Arumi, youíre not an idiot!

(Arumi initially continues to smile for the camera. However, in a flash, she socks Satoshi, sending him flying off camera. She folds her hands and continues to smile.)

Arumi: The twelve teams areÖ

 

(The first team walks to the starting line from the east. From CCS, they are Sakuraís brother Touya Kinomoto and Sakuraís love interest Yukito Tsukishiro.)
Arumi: (VO) Touya and Yukito, best friends and high school students from Tomoeda, from the series Cardcaptor Sakura.

(Shot of Touya and Yukito rehearsing for a play, thankfully out of costume. Interview sessions are shown through italics. The (VO) indicates that the interview starts out as a voice-over, but if long enough, show the person speaking. In these first interviews, both teammates are shown together.)
Yukito: (VO) Weíve known each other for a few years now. We rarely argue, we have a lot of similar interests, and get along exceedingly well.
Touya: This race is all about keeping yourself together no matter what happens. And in the past, weíve proved to be good at handling whatever comes our way, no matter how strange.

 

(Also from the east, warrior of light Koji Minamoto and warrior of darkness Koichi Kimura approach the starting line. Satoshi has apparently recovered.)
Satoshi: (VO) Koji and Koichi, recently reunited twin brothers from Digimon.

(Shot of Koji delivering flowers to their mother as Koichi watches and smiles.)
Koji: (VO) Until recently, I never even knew I had a twin brother. We were separated soon after birth, and only found each other through a series of unbelievable events.
Koichi: This is our way to make up for lost time and bond in an adventure where our lives arenít on the line and the world isnít at stake. But I think that weíre capable of advancing pretty far in the race.

 

(New Yorker Jessie Gurtland and Russian Ayla Roznovsky reach the starting line.)
Arumi: (VO) Jessie and Ayla, athletic rivals from Battle Athletes. Jessie is from America, Ayla from Russia.

(Shot of Jessie hosting an race for inner-city children. She fires a starting pistol as Ayla stands next to her, watching.)
Ayla: (VO) When you want something very badly, and the biggest obstacle in your path is something that equals you in strength and determination, the aftermath can often become very special to you.
Jessie: Ayla and I push each other to do better, thereís no question. When she does something, I want to do it as well or better. This is the first time weíre working together, so it will be interesting to see how that affects the way we race.

 

(Fresh from Pokťmon: Advanced, siblings May and Max are the last team coming in from the east. Both are in a really good mood.)
Satoshi: (VO) May and Max, sister and brother from the town of Petalburg, from Pokťmon.

(May is battling while Max stands at her side, monitoring his PokťNavi.)
May: (VO) My brother and I are like completely different people. He likes to learn through research, I like to get my hands dirty. Weíre here as the young kids who want to see the world and never know whatís going to happen next.
Max: Our age could certainly be penned as a weakness, since we are the youngest team in the race. But upsets are always possible, and weíre adaptable enough to succeed.

 

(Coming in from the north is Yasunori Seta and Keitaro Urashima of Love Hina. Both confidently stroll to their place on the starting line.)
Arumi: (VO) Seta and Keitaro, an archeologist and his apprentice, from Love Hina.

(Seta and Keitaro are working together on an archeological dig.)
Keitaro: (VO) After passing the exams for Tokyo University, Seta took me under his wing and gave my life some much-needed direction.
Seta: Heís been a big help recently, and weíve seen much of the world already. But not like this. It could be interesting.

 

(Next up are Nabiki and Kasumi Tendo. Nabiki is as confident as ever, while Kasumi is taking in the atmosphere.)
Satoshi: (VO) Nabiki and Kasumi, sisters from Nerima, from the series Ranma Ĺ.

(Kasumi serves dinner as Nabiki, along with the rest of the family, digs in.)
Nabiki: (VO) Ever since our mother died, my sister has pretty much taken over as the matriarch of the family. And while our little sister Akane and her fiancť are getting into all sorts of trouble, weíre stuck with a mundane life. But that all changes now.
Kasumi: I spend a lot of time cooking, and cleaning, and running little errands. I donít mean to complain, I love doing it, but in taking care of the family, itís not often I break out of my routine. I think thatís why Iím here.

 

(Behind them are fantasy world dwellers Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev. Lina passively strolls through the place while Gourry is consistently confused.)
Arumi: (VO) Lina and Gourry, traveling companions wandering aimlessly, from Slayers.

(Lina and Gourry are walking down a foreboding path through the woods with companions Zelgadis and Amelia. Despite the surroundings, the four are having a good time.)
Lina: (VO) This is great! A whole new set of worlds for us to explore, a new challenge for this dashing young heroine to conquer, and a truckload of money when we reach the end. How much can ten million yen buy anyway?
Gourry: I am sworn to protect Lina, and it doesnít matter what we end up facing, weíll be able to get through it and work together. Iím strong, sheísÖ strongÖ is there anything else we need?

(The final team coming in Genbu-side is Yukari Tanizaki and Minamo Kurosawa. Both are anxious for the race to begin.)
Satoshi: (VO) Yukari and Minamo, best friends since high school and currently high school teachers in the series Azumanga Daioh.

(Minamo is teaching her gym class in the pool. Yukari has joined her since she also likes the idea of going for a swim during working hours.)
Minamo: (VO) Sad to say, weíve almost been joined at the hip since high school. We got jobs at the same place- she teaches English and I teach Gym. Weíre typical friends, but despite that I still think we can do well if we apply our talents right.
Yukari: Weíre gonna win. Thereís nothing else to say. Weíre gonna win, weíre gonna getmoney, and Iím gonna pay the schoolís track & field team to enroll in my homeroom so I can beat Nyamo in the athletics festival.

 

(The first team from the west is Noboyuki and Tenchi Masaki.)
Arumi: (VO) Noboyuki and Tenchi, father and son hailing from Okayama, from Tenchi Muyo.

(Noboyuki and Tenchi are playing a game of go. Tenchi makes a move which clearly gives him an advantage over his father.)
Noboyuki: (VO) Some good old father/son bonding never hurt anybody. My boyís growing up, and I have to make sure thereís still time in his life for his old man.
Tenchi: In a way the family almost skipped a generation. I do a lot with my grandfather, and through quite a few distractions, I sometimes forget about my dad. This is a way to make up for that- save the world with Grandpa, see the world with Dad. Works for me.

 

(Continuing along, we reach Minato Haruka and Yukina Shiratori. Both are excited, Yukina moreso. Minato keeps an arm around Yukinaís shoulder as they proceed.)
Satoshi: (VO) Minato and Yukina, sisters-in-law currently living together, from Nadesico.

(Minato and Yukina are both somber as they visit the grave of Yukinaís brother.)
Minato: (VO) Ever since her brother died, Iíve been taking care of Yukina on my own. In that time, weíve been practically inseparable. We really do feel like sisters. Not like sisters-in-law or like mother and daughter, we are sisters.

Yukina: Iím used to adjusting to new surroundings. After all, I grew up on Jupiter. But now that Iím on Earth, it makes perfect sense to see as much as I can of it. And that money sounds awfully good too.

 

(Next up on the roster is Chiharu Mihara and Takashi Yamazaki. Since nobody ever calls him Takashi, he will be the one and only Yamazaki.)
Arumi: (VO) Chiharu and Yamazaki, classmates in Tomoeda, from Cardcaptor Sakura.

(Yamazaki is engaging his fellow students with one of his stories. Chiharu stands next to him looking really annoyed, until a laugh forces its way out.)
Yamazaki: (VO) Ever since Chiharu and I were pulled into a magical world where all we had to protect us were mystical sewing needles and fuzzy dice, weíve never left each othersí sidesÖ
Chiharu: Yeah, yeahÖ okay our lives arenít really that interesting. But thatís what we hope to get out of this. Yamazaki and I want to see things and touch things and experience the kind of magic that just doesnít exist in Tomoeda.

 

(Finally, Mitsuo Yamaki and Riley Ootori walk down the streets of the shotengai. Riley admires the view and tries to takes his hand, but he quickly refuses it. And like the last one, since nobody calls him Mitsuo, he will forever be deemed Yamaki.)
Satoshi: (VO) Yamaki and Riley, dating co-workers from Shinjuku, from the series Digimon.

(In the Hypnos building, Yamaki directs a command up to Riley, who receives it.)

Riley: We both work for the same government organization. In fact, Yamaki is my supervisor. Weíve been having a secretÖ well, an affair, that we had to keep under wraps while working together.
Yamaki: Riley has grown from an employee to one of the most important people in my life. But our relationship always takes a back seat when there are things that need to be done, and I hope that doesnít change in this race.

 

(Pan across the twelve teams, now all lined up.)
Arumi: (VO) Can these teams survive the many harsh challenges the race will offer?

Satoshi: (VO) Will each relationship strengthen or weaken through it all?

Arumi: (VO) Will the opposing teams become friendly competitors or bitter enemies?

(Continue panning to show Satoshi and Arumi at the center of the shotengai.)

Satoshi: These questions and more will be answered when they race across fifteen very different anime series that span very different worlds. This isÖ the Anime-zing Race.

 

**** THE ANIME-ZING RACE ****
12 TEAMS OF 2:
TOUYA & YUKITO (Best Friends / Students- Cardcaptor Sakura)
KOJI & KOICHI (Twin Brothers- Digimon)
JESSIE & AYLA (Rivals- Battle Athletes)
MAY & MAX (Siblings- Pokťmon)
SETA & KEITARO (Master & Apprentice- Love Hina)
NABIKI & KASUMI (Sisters- Ranma Ĺ)
LINA & GOURRY (Traveling Companions- Slayers)
YUKARI & MINAMO (Best Friends / Teachers- Azumanga Daioh)
NOBOYUKI & TENCHI (Father & Son- Tenchi Muyo)
MINATO & YUKINA (Sisters-In-Law- Nadesico)
CHIHARU & YAMAZAKI (Classmates- Cardcaptor Sakura)
YAMAKI & RILEY (Dating Co-Workers- Digimon)

13 LEGSÖ
15 SERIESÖ
6 COUNTRIES, 6 DIMENSIONS, 3 PLANETS AND 2 SPACESHIPSÖ
**** THE ANIME-ZING RACE ****

 

(The pair now faces the twelve teams. Satoshi begins by stepping forward, taking his hat off, and bowing.)

Satoshi: Hi, everybody. My name is Satoshi Imamiya. You can call me Sasshi, or if you preferÖ

(Satoshi flexes what little muscle he has.)

Satoshi: (macho) Imamiya-sama.

(Arumi scoffs and steps forward, giving her own little bow.)

Arumi: Iím Arumi Asahina. You can call me Arumi. You can not call me Osaka.

(A very audible, and slightly angry finger-snapping comes out of Yukari.)

Satoshi: In a few moments, youíll all be starting a race made up of thirteen legs, each representing various anime series. Every place you go to is marked with a yellow and red flag known as a route marker. Youíll find these flags by solving clues youíll get in sealed envelopesÖ just like the one my beautiful colleague is holding.

(Arumi was holding up an envelope, but then lightly hits Satoshi on the head with it.)

Arumi: Also along the way, youíll have to complete various tasks. Now at the end of each leg, thereís a Pit Stop. Pit Stops can be good, or they can be bad. Theyíre good because you get to take a break. Theyíre bad, because nine of the Pit Stops are elimination points. And if you are the last team to get thereÖ you will be eliminated from the race.

(Pan across the teams. A few, like May & Max, are a little nervous to hear that, while others like Nabiki & Kasumi, smile at the thought. WellÖ Kasumi smiles at everything.)

Satoshi: (OS) Three teams here do not have a driver of legal age, so they will be provided with one. They are all friends or family, but that does not give you an advantage. Teams are still expected to do all of the navigating. Speaking of cars, I donít mean to offend anybody, but Iíve heard that a few of you are pretty bad drivers.

(Yukari raises an eyebrow and points a confused finger at Noboyuki. Minamo just slaps her forehead.)

Satoshi: (OS) Therefore, Iíll be nice enough to point out that any time we provide a vehicle, we expect it to be returned in the same condition. Any significant damage done to your vehicle will result in an automatic half-hour penalty.

(Back to Arumi.)

Arumi: And it should go without saying that an equally severe penalty is enforced for discharging any magic powers, or turning into a wolf, lion, Jurian prince, or Guardian of the ClowÖ

(Arumi coughs lightly, then smiles at the group.)

Arumi: Önot to name any names.

Satoshi: At the start of each leg, youíll get a small amount of money to cover all expenses, except for the stuff we provide and airline tickets. But use your money wisely, as any thing you save will come in handy later on.

(Shot of someoneís luggage with a yellow envelope draped on top of it.)

Arumi: (VO) Your first clue envelope is located on your luggage. When we give the signal, run to your bags, open the envelope, and using the clue find your way to your marked vehicle.

(To the two of them.)

Satoshi: After that, the rest is up to you. Enough of this chit-chat, whoís up for some racing?

(A few cheers as the teams get set at the starting line.)

Arumi: Okay then. Teams- the Spirited Away leg of the Anime-zing Race begins when Sasshi and I give the signal.

(She takes his hand and they raise them over their heads.)

Satoshi: The worlds are waitingÖ

(They drop their arms.)

Satoshi / Arumi: GO!!

(At once, the stampede is on. Satoshi and Arumi quickly backpedal to avoid getting run over as the twelve teams approach their first instructions. Naturally fast runners, Jessie & Ayla are the first to arrive at their bags, with Lina & Gourry behind. Jessie & Ayla don their bags while Jessie rips open the clue.)

Jessie: Exit the shotengai to the south and find the marked vehicles by the nearby Seimei shrine.

(Lina already has her bag on, and reads the clue while Gourry struggles with his.)

Lina: Choose a vehicle and drive to the Osaka train station.

(She turns to her partner.)

Lina: Gourry, letís move!

(As they take off, the more down-to-earth teams get their clues. Touya/Yukito, Seta/Keitaro, and Yukari/Minamo arrive at about the same time, while Noboyuki & Tenchi are right behind them. Yukari & Minamo open their clue.)

Yukari: You getÖ 1,000 yen for this leg of the race?? Thatís pretty cheap!

Minamo: Come on!!

 

(Footage of Arumi walking in front of the Seimei shrine outside the shotengai. Nearby, a line of cars await the teams, with three drivers standing nearby.)
Arumi: Teams are looking for this shrine, which pays homage to the spirits protecting Abenobashi. When they arrive, theyíll climb into one of these Jeep Cherokees, drive to the cityís train station, and find the route marker somewhere inside.

 

(While the remaining six teams get their clues, Jessie & Ayla and Lina & Gourry already find themselves in a dogfight for first place. Once again, all on-screen titles are shown through brackets.)
[JESSIE & AYLA- Rivals / LINA & GOURRY- Traveling Companions]
Lina: Think you can outrun us, huh?

Gourry: Lina, is it really a good idea to make enemies two minutes in?

(Jessie says nothing, but quietly increases her speed, matched immediately by Ayla.)

Ayla: We immediately found ourselves in a dilemma. Jessie and I were the fastest runners in the field, but we could only maintain a lead if we ran to our full potential. We had to decide whether to get an early lead by expending energy, or remain on par with the other teams and allow them a chance to pass us.

 

(A little bit behind them and Touya/Yukito, who have jumped into third, Yukari & Minamo catch up to Seta & Keitaro. Minamo quietly huffs along as she reaches Seta.)
Seta: Hello, there. You know, perhaps instead of chasing each other we can team up to catch up to the teams ahead of us.

Yukari: (from behind) Move it or lose it guys!!

(Minamo silently runs ahead of Seta, with Yukari running past at full steam.)

Keitaro: Should we beÖ

Seta: (undeterred) Donít worry. Run our race.

Seta: I immediately took a shine to the teachers, and thought that an alliance with them would be really helpful early on. But they apparently wanted nothing of it. Leave it to me to make a bad first impression on them!

(Both teams are already beginning to get winded, but Nabiki & Kasumi race past Chiharu & Yamazaki.)
[NABIKI & KASUMI- Sisters- Currently in 10th Place]
Kasumi: (VO) We were a little anxious before beginning. So anxious, it seems, that we werenít ready for it to actually begin. So one moment Nabiki and I were both readying ourselves for the race to begin, and in the next moment it already had begun, and weíre behind everybody. Oh my.

 

(Jessie & Ayla have reached the cars and are loading their stuff. As they do, Lina & Gourry arrive and follow suit.)

Ayla: Who should drive?

Jessie: I thought we said Iíd drive.

Ayla: I think I remember how to get there.

Jessie: Well, then grab the map and give me directions!

(Meanwhile, Lina & Gourry are hopping into their car, with Lina at the wheel.)

Gourry: Are you sure this thing is safe?

Lina: Itís safer than if you drove it.

Gourry: So which way do we go?

Lina: Whichever way the amazons are going. And donít even think about touching the map.

(Touya finishes loading up.)
[TOUYA & YUKITO- Best Friends/Students- Currently in 3rd Place]
Yukito: Heads up, Touya!

(Yukito tosses Touya the keys. Touya catches them and takes the driverís seat.)

Touya: (VO) Immediately, we noticed the teams ahead of us bickering a little. Meanwhile, Yuki and I know what weíre doing, and we concentrate on getting ahead while they concentrate on arguing. It was an encouraging way to start.

 

(Yukari & Minamo are on the road as Koji & Koichi run up to a car. They see their driver, and their father, Kousei Minamoto.)
[KOJI & KOICHI- Twin Brothers- Currently in 5th Place]
Koji: Dad!

Kousei: Where are we off to?

Koichi: The train station. We need to move fast; thereís a million teams on our tail.

Koji: Yeah. Just follow everybody until we find it on the map.

(They get in. Indeed, several teams are on their heels. Seta & Keitaro are already at their car, while Noboyuki & Tenchi, Minato & Yukina, and Yamaki & Riley are all approaching fast. Of the three, Yamaki & Riley are the last to reach a car and open the trunk. Riley seems to struggle throwing her bag in the back.)
[YAMAKI & RILEY- Dating Co-Workers- Currently in 9th Place]
Yamaki: Need a hand with that?

Riley: (barking) No! I got it. Start the car.

(Yamaki flinches a little bit, but runs to the door as Riley flings the bag over. Meanwhile, Seta & Keitaro drive by.)

 

(On the trailing end, May is desperately trying to keep pace with Chiharu & Yamazaki, while Max is running with a map unfolded.)
[MAY & MAX- Siblings- Currently in Last Place]
May: Max, could you pick up the pace a little?!

Max: Iím trying to find the train station now. Weíll get ahead of them when theyíre lost downtown and weíre driving easily to the destination.

 

(Minato pulls out, while Yukina unfolds the map in the passenger seat.)
[MINATO & YUKINA- Sisters-In-Law- Currently in 8th Place]
Yukina: Letís see where this stupid station is.

Minato: You donít really have to worry about that. We can just follow everybody else. Weíre all going to the same place!

Yukina: (disbelieving) Uh huhÖ and everybody ahead of us is doing the same thing.

Minato: Probably.

Yukina: So whoís in front?

(Minato opens her mouth to say something, but immediately falls silent. Yukina leans in close and scans the map carefully.)

Yukina: ScanÖ

 

(Noboyuki & Tenchi are on the highway, right behind another vehicle. Noboyuki drives up close to it and Tenchi leans forward, almost to the windshield.)
[NOBOYUKI & TENCHI- Father & Son- Currently in 7th Place]
Tenchi: Looks like those two older guys are in front of us.

Noboyuki: Hey, one of them was about my age!

Tenchi: IÖ I didnít mean it that way. Theyíre not twelve! Thatís what Iím trying to say.

Noboyuki: Should we follow them?

Tenchi: Yeah, they look like theyíre smart enough to know where theyíre going.

 

(While Nabiki & Kasumi get into their vehicle, Chiharu & Yamazaki are met by their teacher, Mr. Terada. Yamazaki begins loading.)
[CHIHARU & YAMAZAKI- Classmates- Currently in 11th Place]
Chiharu: Terada-sensei! We need to get to the train station!

Yamazaki: I think I remember where it is. How fast can you drive?

Terada: Fast enough.

Chiharu: Great. Letís move.

(The three enter the car and begin driving off.)

Chiharu: It felt really good to get in the car and get moving. Itís nice having Terada-sensei driving us, since itís easy for him to make us feel relaxed. But by the time we got to the car, I could tell Yamazaki was taking this seriously. Heís an annoying goofball a lot of the time, but when heís serious, he can get things done.

(The remaining cars take off, rounding the Tsutenkaku Tower and heading into downtown Osaka.)

 

----

 

(Aerial shot of four cars driving through downtown Osaka. The first three pull up to a stoplight, allowing the fourth to catch up. Inside the fourth, Minamo takes her hands off the wheel and sits back for a moment. Yukari leans over and begins honking the horn.)
[YUKARI & MINAMO- Best Friends/Teachers- Currently in 4th Place]
Minamo: Ah! What are you doing?

Yukari: Iím honking the horn.

Minamo: Why? Itís a red light.

Yukari: I know. Whyíd they stop??

Minamo: You know, maybe instead of honking at the guys ahead of us, you could find the place on the map so we wouldnít have to rely on them.

Yukari: You want me to help? Let me drive! Iíll get us there fast!

Minamo: I believe the clue said ďgo to the train station,Ē not ďgo to hell.Ē

Yukari: (dark) Same thing. The Osaka train station is hell. So many jaywalkersÖ

Minamo: Actually, itís quite nice. I took the train here a few years ago.

(Yukari is sincerely shocked.)

Yukari: You went to Osaka?! Without telling me?!

Minamo: Since when did I have to ask your permission to go somewhere??

Yukari: Nyamo! You donít remember that contract we made six years ago? You know, the one I made you sign after you got hammered?

(Minamo says nothing. Instead, she blushes a little and drives through the green light.)

Minamo: As far as Iím concerned, this team has one driver. When Sasshi said it was a half-hour penalty for wrecking the car, he was staring at Yukari. Sticking her behind the wheel is like begging for a penalty.

 

(Chiharu & Yamazaki enter four-lane traffic, right behind another car.)

Chiharu: Pass them! Go, go, go!

(Both Chiharu and Yamazaki wave at Nabiki and Kasumi as they go by. Yamazaki smiles.)

Yamazaki: Alright! Only nine more teams to go!

Chiharu: (laughing) Weíll be in first in no time!

Yamazaki: Now I realize why they invented the passing lane in the late Heian Period.

(Chiharu slaps her forehead.)

Chiharu: Yeah, yeah.

 

(Jessie & Ayla pull up to a light.)

Ayla: I believe itís straight ahead.

Jessie: You donít sound very confident.

Ayla: Iím trying to remember where the station was last time I was here. I think this is the right street.

Jessie: You were here?

Ayla: I visited Ichino.

Jessie: Oh yeah, Yanagidaís from hereÖ no wonder sheís nuts.

Ayla: Sheís from here 3,000 years from now. But this looks like the street that led to the station.

Jessie: So straight it is.

(They go straight at the next light, followed quickly by Lina & Gourry behind them.)

 

(Touya sees the first two teams go straight while Yukito checks the map.)

Yukito: Itís a left here, Touya.

Touya: The other teams went straight.

Yukito: Itís a left. Trust me. They may be going to the wrong station.

(Touya smiles.)

Touya: Cool.

(Touya hangs a left. Minamo follows in the car behind them.)

 

(Koji & Koichiís car approaches a stale green light. Both brothers chant.)

Koji / Koichi: Yellow, yellow, yellow, yellowÖ

(The light turns yellow as the car heads under it. They, and Kousei, cheer.)

Koji: Did anybody else make it?

(The light turns red just before the car behind them cross the intersection.)

Koichi: They just ran a red light!

Koji: Damn! Theyíre persistent.

(The car behind them gets right up on their rear.)

Koichi: We should try to lose them.

Koji: Right up there. That lightís only green if we turn left.

Koichi: Then turn left!

Koji: And donít signal! If they can afford to be bad drivers, so can we!

(Kousei hangs a sharp left, almost without braking. He makes the turn.)

Kousei: Is this the way to the train station?

(Koji picks up the map.)

Koji: It will beÖ

Koichi: Koji! The guys behind us just went straight! Through another red!!

Koji: Theyíre going to get themselves killed!

Koichi: Well, at least we lost them. Good work, Dad.

(Kousei smiles.)

Koichi: Do you mind if I call you Dad?

(Kousei frowns.)

Kousei: UhÖ no problem.

 

(Keitaro has his head buried in a map.)
[SETA & KEITARO- Master & Apprentice]

Keitaro: They just turned back there. And you know, you just ran two reds in a row.

Seta: Was that the right way to go?

Keitaro: Iím not sure. I donít think so.

Seta: No matter. Weíll get there, right?

Keitaro: Right, Mr. Seta.

 

(Now, Ayla is having doubts.)

Ayla: Which station was it?

Jessie: Osaka station! Probably the main one in town! How many Osaka stations can be in Osaka?

Ayla: Actually, thereís two.

Jessie: What?

Ayla: Thereís Osaka and Shin-Osaka. Shin-Osaka is the bullet train station.

(Ayla checks the clue.)

Ayla: And we want the other one.

Jessie: So youíre saying we made a wrong turn. Dammit!

(Ayla consults the map again.)

Ayla: Make a hard left up here. Very hard. 45 degree angle.

Jessie: Hang on to somethiníÖ

(Jessie manages to make the hard left turn look easy.)

 

(So easy, apparently, that Lina & Gourry are in awe behind them.)

Lina: Why do the people we end up chasing always make it difficult for us??

Gourry: Can you do that in one of these car thingys?

Lina: Letís find out!

(Lina turns the wheel hard, and manages to replicate the turn.)

Gourry: (VO) They prepared us a little bit for this world, but there was no way they could get us ready for everything. They taught us how to drive, but they didnít teach us how to drive like a nutcase. We could have asked them, except I forgot who exactly ďtheyĒ is.

 

(Touya and Yukito are the first to arrive at the station. They retrieve their bags and hustle inside, since Yukari & Minamo are right behind them. Touya and Yukito continue running until they see a route marker. Touya opens the clue inside.)
[TOUYA & YUKITO- Currently in 1st Place]
Touya: Find the route marker at the Chishakuin Temple in KyotoÖ

 

(Spirited Away protagonist Chihiro Ogino walks in front of the said temple.)
Chihiro: Teams must find this temple in Kyoto. To get there, they have to take one of three trains leaving Osaka.

(Shot of a yellow-and-red kiosk in front of a train platform.)

Chihiro: (VO) To get a ticket, theyíll need to find the marked kiosk in front of the platform for the Kyoto-bound train. After they do, theyíll get tickets for one of the trains. The first leaves at 8:30 and only makes two stops along the way. The second leaves ten minutes later, but because of more stops, pulls into Kyoto 20 minutes later. The third leaves only a minute after the second, but will stop at every station along the way. The kiosk only has enough tickets for four teams on each train.

(Back to Chihiro at the temple.)

Chihiro: However they get to Kyoto, theyíll need to get to this temple on foot.

 

(Minamo finishes reading the clue.)
[YUKARI & MINAMO- Currently in 2nd Place]

Yukari: So we have to find the right platform.

Minamo: I think I remember where it is. Címon.

Yukari: Youíre so bossy today, Nyamo!

(They rush over to a platform. Touya & Yukito have just gotten their tickets when they get to the kiosk.)

Yukari: We need tickets!

(They arenít denied, and receive two tickets for the first train.)

Yukari: Ha! We did it!

(Yukari points to Yukito.)

Yukari: You wonít be shaking us this quick!

(Yukito bows.)

Yukito: Hi, my nameís Yukito. Itís nice to meet you. This is my best friend, Touya.

(Yukari raises an eyebrow in confusion. Minamo bows.)

Minamo: People call me NyamoÖ whether I want them to or not. And this is my friend, Yukari. Weíre teachers.

(They each smile and continue their discussion.)

 

(Yamaki makes a bold move on the highway, passing the car ahead. Riley clearly wasnít ready for it.)

Riley: Um, sir? ErÖ Yamaki? What was that about?

Yamaki: Had to get ahead of them somehow.

Riley: I know itís important to get ahead, but we shouldnít be taking too many chances this early.

Yamaki: I know what Iím doing, Riley.

Riley: All Iím saying is that we shouldnít start panicking. I saw at least three teams behind us.

Yamaki: Well, now you can make it fourÖ

Riley: Heís my boss. Thatís the only way to describe the relationship. Heís my boss, and that tends to carry over even when weíre not on the job. I was hoping this race would allow us to work as equal members of a team, but so far that doesnít seem to be happening.

 

(Jessie & Ayla enter the station as Lina & Gourry arrive. They get their bags and start running as Koji & Koichi pull in. Immediately, Koichi jumps out of the car and heads to the trunk.)
[KOJI & KOICHI- Currently in 5th Place]

Koichi: Thereís a team right in front of us. If we hurry, we can get ahead of them.

Koji: Who was it?

Koichi: The redhead and the big blond guy.

(They get their stuff and hustle in.)

 

(Jessie gets two tickets from the marked kiosk.)
[JESSIE & AYLA- 3rd Team on Train 1]
Jessie: Well, weíre on the first train. Still a bit disappointing though.

Ayla: Itís early. Thereís plenty of room to catch up.

Jessie: Weíd better go find a map of Kyoto.

Ayla: Go ahead. Iíll size up the competition.

Jessie: Good idea.

(Jessie heads to a store while Ayla approaches Touya & Yukito and Yukari & Minamo. Immediately, Yukito welcomes her into the conversation.)

 

(Lina & Gourry are awed by a large map of the station.)

Lina: Damn! How many platforms are there in this place?!

Gourry: Way I see it, you only need two- one to leave and one to come back.

(Koji & Koichi run up behind them. Koichi re-reads the clue as both quietly scan the map. Koichi points. Koji nods and both start running. Follow them as they run off. They bump into somebody.)

Koichi: Sorry.

Koji: Which way to platform 8?

Man: (pointing) UhÖ over that way.

(As Koji and Koichi thank him and run off, Lina and Gourry notice.)

Lina: Hey, those brats know where it is!

(They chase the twins. Koji and Koichi run full speed through the station, racing by normal patrons and anything else in their way. However, they both stop at a staircase, grab onto the railing, and carefully, but briskly, walk down.)

Koichi: Careful, careful, carefulÖ

(They reach the bottom of the stairs and resume running. Lina & Gourry are behind them, but the brothers easily reach the kiosk first.)

Koji: We need train tickets or something.

(The kiosk attendant hands a pair of tickets to Koji.)

Attendant: Youíre the last ones on the first train.

(Koichi cheers.)

Koji: Thatís big. Good work, bro.

(They high-five as Lina & Gourry arrive to receive the first tickets for train 2.)

Koichi: (VO) Getting on the first train was a huge victory for us. Besides the time advantage, itís a real confidence booster. Lina and Gourry seem like really strong competitors, and we beat them early on. Hopefully that sets a tone for things to come.

 

(Minato & Yukina have their bags and run to the station.)
[MINATO & YUKINA- Currently in 8th Place]
Yukina: I canít believe you let that team pass us.

Minato: Letís get inside beforeÖ

(Before they can get inside, their trains of thought are derailed by a Jeep falling and crashing upside-down in the parking space next to them. They turn around and carefully inch closer to the shattered vehicle.)

Minato: Thatís one way to get hereÖ

 

----

 

(Somehow, in the mangled piece of scrap metal that used to be a Jeep Cherokee, the driverís side door opens and Seta steps out.)

Seta: Well, weíre here!

(As he uses a handkerchief to wipe the blood off his face, Keitaro pops out the other end, completely unscratched. He runs to the back to pull their bags out. They fall out easily.)

Keitaro: The route markerís inside. Hereís your bag.

(Keitaro hands Seta his bag. Minato and Yukina are still staring at them in total shock.)

Minato: Are you two all right?

(Seta looks up at them and smiles.)

Seta: Of course.

(Seta and Keitaro run ahead of them into the station. Minato continues to stare at the car.)

Minato: ButÖ butÖ butÖ

Yukina: Uh, sis? Theyíre getting ahead of us!!

(Minato shakes it off and runs after them.)

Yukina: ShockÖ Weíre running in like normal, and here comes a car out of nowhere. Sis and I are gawking at them, and they manage to get over it faster than we do. Obviously, theyíre looking at a penalty, but I canít believe we let those two get ahead like that!

 

(Yamaki & Riley have managed to get ahead of Noboyuki & Tenchi and get their tickets from the kiosk.)
[YAMAKI & RILEY- 2nd Team on Train 2]
Riley: Second trainÖ could be worse.

Yamaki: Could be better tooÖ

(Noboyuki & Tenchi arrive and get theirs.)
[NOBOYUKI & TENCHI- 3rd Team on Train 2]
Tenchi: (quiet) How did they beat us here?

Noboyuki: Donít worry. Weíre on the same train.

Tenchi: This timeÖ

(Noboyuki doesnít respond. Instead, he introduces himself to Yamaki and Riley. WellÖ mostly Riley.)

Tenchi: Itís losing the little battles that drive me insane. The ones that donít really matter, but we still tried our best and we still came up short. I mean, if we canít win the little ones, how are we going to win the big ones?

 

(Minato is reading the clue at the route marker moments after Seta & Keitaro do.)

Minato: The kiosk only has enough tickets for four teams on each train.

Yukina: Which way is it?

Minato: I donít know.

(Seta and Keitaro start running. Yukina starts to follow.)

Yukina: Bet they do!

(Minato is a little slow on the reaction, and so they have no chance to catch the guys. Seta and Keitaro reach the kiosk first.)

Attendant: Youíre the last team on the second train.

(Both breath a sigh of relief as they take the tickets as Minato and Yukina get there seconds late. Yukina is very unhappy about it all.)

(Yamazaki hustles to get both his and Chiharuís bags out of the car. He tosses Chiharuís to her. She catches it and swings it around her back.)
[CHIHARU & YAMAZAKI- Currently in 10th Place]
Chiharu: Shoot, there they are.

Yamazaki: The entrance is up here!

(They run off as another car pulls in. Nabiki and Kasumi both hustle to get their bags.)

Nabiki: Donít worry about it. Once weíre inside, those two will get stepped on.

Kasumi: That would be an awful mess, though.

(Nabiki shrugs off the comment and both run in as the final car pulls up. May and Max struggle with their bags more than the previous teams.)

Max: Remember which wayís north. If they ask us to find somethingÖ

May: It doesnít matter; weíre screwed anyway!

(They both rush inside.)

 

(Many members of the other nine teams are cheering the final three teams on. They are particularly vocal for Chiharu and Yamazaki, who run up to the kiosk just ahead of Nabiki and Kasumi. The classmates get their tickets and walk away.)

Attendant: Youíre the second team on the last train.

Yamazaki: Well, itís better than being the last team on the last train!

(Chiharu steps on his foot. For a moment, his kitsune-style eyes open wide.)

Chiharu: No itís not.

(She releases, his eyes narrow again.)

Yamazaki: Please donít do that.

(She does it, harder this time. Again, his eyes open. May and Max arrive to claim the last spot.)

May: I canít really say weíre humbled, since our expectations werenít that high to begin with. Weíre the underdogs. We like being the underdogs. And weíll settle for just about anything, because the scrappier we play, the more fun it gets.

 

(Flash forward to the 8:30 train. The first four teams are boarding.)
Chihiro: (VO) Teams are taking one of three trains to Kyoto. Teams on the first train are Touya & Yukito, Yukari & Minamo, Jessie & Ayla, and Koji & Koichi.

(The next four teams board. Lina seems a little uncertain about the machine.)

Chihiro: (VO) The second train carries Lina & Gourry, Yamaki & Riley, Noboyuki & Tenchi, and Seta & Keitaro.

(The final teams board. Both Yukina and Nabiki are a little angry about being on the last train.)

Chihiro: (VO) On the last train, pulling in 28 minutes after the first, are Minato & Yukina, Chiharu & Yamazaki, Nabiki & Kasumi, and May & Max.

(Nearing sunset, Chihiro is seen walking past the temple.)

Chihiro: Teams must travel on foot to the Chishakuin temple a few blocks near the station.

 

(On the train, Jessie approaches Touya.)

Jessie: Excuse me. Touya, right?

Touya: Yeah.

Jessie: I was wondering if you and Yukito wanted to work together with us.

Touya: Sure. Any specific reason?

Jessie: UhÖ well, Iím American and Aylaís Russian, so we could use a hand with directions while weíre around Japan. Itís not that we donít know Japanese, butÖ

Touya: Trouble with the kanji?

Jessie: Yeah. They say go to this temple, but Iím not sure what weíre looking for.

Touya: No problem. Iíll talk to Yuki. You can stick with us. Weíll help you out.

Jessie: Can you point it out on a map or something?

Touya: Yukiís handling the directions. I donít even know where it is. But Iím sure he does, and Iím sure heíd be happy to help out.

Jessie: (smiling a little) Thanks. I just hope you can keep up with us.

(Jessie walks away.)

Jessie: Iím not opposed to alliances. I just choose them very carefully. The alliance with Touya and Yukito was designed to keep us even while weíre in Japan. They seem reliable, and are strong enough to hang with us. So I donít mind working with them.

Touya: I was happy to work with Jessie and Ayla. But I was careful about not giving them too much information. Itís obviously what they wanted. The idea was to make them rely on us for directions, so they would be forced to stay with us. Thatís one team we donít have to worry about.

 

(Koji & Koichi wisely have staked out a claim right by the door as the train pulls into Kyoto. The doors open, and they run out, immediately followed by the other three teams.)

Koji: Stick to the right and go straight for a few blocks.

(Following them are Yukari & Minamo, who sprint after them. They pass the twins after about a block. Behind them are Touya & Yukito and Jessie & Ayla. Yukito checks to verify the directions.)

Yukito: This is the street!

(Both run after Koji & Koichi, although Jessie & Ayla hold back a little to stay with their guides.)

 

(A few blocks later, Yukari is really starting to pant. Minamo is winded, but maintains her pace.)

Yukari: HowÖ muchÖ further??

Minamo: Weíre almost there. I can see the flag.

Yukari: Can we take a break?

Koji: Excuse us!

(Koji and Koichi begin to overtake them. Yukari gets a second wind.)

Yukari: You are NOT excused!

(Yukari picks up her pace, as does Minamo, who had slowed down for Yukari. As a result, they suppress Koji & Koichiís attempts to regain the lead. Both teams enter the park surrounding the temple. Yukari runs up to the route marker and quickly rips open the clue.)
[YUKARI & MINAMO- Best Friends/Teachers- Currently in 1st Place]
Yukari: Take a ticket to reserve your place in one of four vans driving to the next route markerÖ

Minamo: I see them!

(Minamo quickly retrieves one.)

 

(Shot of a convoy of four vans waiting outside the temple.)
Chihiro: (VO) Teams must find a wall of tickets in the temple corresponding to one of four vans. Each van holds three teams, and leaves a half-hour apart from each other starting at two in the morning, to an unknown destination.

 

(Koji and Koichi take the second ticket off the wall.)
[KOJI & KOICHI- Twin Brothers- 2nd Team in Van 1]
Koichi: Still made it to the first van.

(Koji squats to catch his breath.)

Koji: I know, I knowÖ

Koji: (VO) I was amazed that the two teachers were able to beat us to the route marker. We were really sprinting out there and they still managed to stay ahead of us.

 

(The remaining two teams are close behind. Ayla, Touya, and Yukito reach the route marker as Jessie looks beyond to the wall of tickets.)

Ayla: Take a ticket toÖ

(Jessie jumps out and grabs the final ticket for the first van.)

Jessie: Got it!

(Touya and Yukito finish reading the clue silently.)

Touya: But wait a minuteÖ

(Touya walks over and takes the first ticket for the second van.)

Touya: So weíre in the other van? Thatís not fair.

Jessie: Why not? We got the ticket ahead of you.

Touya: ButÖ

Yukito: Donít worry about it Touya. Weíll take the second van.

Touya: Yeah, but theyÖ

(Jessie looks a little smug.)

Jessie: What? Did we cheat or something? There was only one left for the first van. Only one of us could get it, and we got it. How else are we supposed to fight over it?

(Touya exhales, a little angry.)

Touya: Never mindÖ

(They walk away. Jessie turns to Ayla.)

Jessie: There wasnít anything wrong with that, was there?

Ayla: I suppose not. We were faster, even if they did help us immensely.

Jessie: Yeah!

 

(The second train arrives. Lina & Gourry burst out immediately and take off running. Yamaki & Riley are the second ones out, but are soon passed by Seta & Keitaro, with Noboyuki & Tenchi passing them soon afterwards.)
[Train 2- 21 Minutes Behind Train 1]
Yamaki: Are you sure about this?

Riley: If I read the map right, this is at least worth the risk.

Yamaki: Hopefully theyíll get lostÖ

(The Hypnos crew turns right and heads off into a different direction. They follow the train tracks to the east.)

 

(Seta and Keitaro are racing through the streets.)
[SETA & KEITARO- Master & Apprentice- Currently in 6th Place]
Seta: Which way did Lina and Gourry go?

Keitaro: They went straight!

Seta: We need to make a right. Theyíre going the wrong way.

Keitaro: Great!

(They make a turn. Noboyuki & Tenchi come up to the same corner.)

Noboyuki: One team goes straight and one team goes right. Iím confused.

Tenchi: Itís a right, Dad. One team goes and gets lost.

Noboyuki: Glad youíre on the ball.

(They make the turn and chase after Seta and Keitaro.)

 

(Lina and Gourry are at a temple, and search around for a clue.)

Gourry: I donít see it anywhere!

Lina: There arenít any flags, there arenít any clues, and there isnít anything that says this is the ChisaÖ whatever. Do you know what that means?

Gourry: Someone didnít plan this right?

Lina: YeahÖ usÖ

(Lina runs up to a woman.)

Lina: Hey, whatís the name of this temple?

Women: Higashi.

Lina: Thatís not the right answer. Whereís the Chisakuin temple?

Women: Down that way. East for a few blocks.

Lina: Dammit!

(They take off running.)

 

(At an underpass, Yamaki and Riley climb up to the road. Riley checks the map once.)

Riley: From here itís only two more blocks.

(They continue running, down a sidewalk this time.)

 

(Seta & Keitaro and Noboyuki & Tenchi are both at a street corner, waiting for the signal to cross.)

Tenchi: Yellow lightÖ

Seta: On your markÖ

(All four lower themselves a little, getting on their mark. About a second before the ďwalkĒ sign flashes, Noboyuki takes off, immediately followed by Tenchi. By the time Seta and Keitaro notice, the ďwalkĒ sign goes on anyway and they chase after them.)

 

(The third train arrives. This time, Nabiki & Kasumi are ready, and the battle for supremacy quickly becomes a two-way race between them and Minato & Yukina. Chiharu & Yamazaki and May & Max are unable to keep up with them, and fall behind.)
[Train 3- 28 Minutes Behind Train 1]
Minato: (VO) There was a lot of anxiety on that last train. All of us assumed there would be something ahead to let us get out of the trailing group, but none of us knew how many teams could take advantage of it. So we were all nervous when the train pulled into Kyoto.

 

(Near the temple, the other four teams are scattered around, keeping their distance somewhat. They all are watching the route marker, particularly Touya & Yukito. Yamaki and Riley donít see any of them. All they see is the route marker, and Riley quickly retrieves a clue.)

Riley: Take a ticket to reserve your place in one of four vans.

Yamaki: (pointing) Up there?

Riley: Looks like it.

(Yamaki takes a ticket.)

Yamaki: Looks like weíre in the 2:30 van.

(They walk off.)

 

(Soon afterwards, the four men arrive, still neck-and-neck. Seta and Keitaro seem to have a slight lead, and Seta reaches the box first, followed immediately afterwards by Noboyuki. Both read the clue )

Seta: Take a ticket to reserve your placeÖ

Noboyuki: Up there, Tenchi!

Seta: Grab it!

(Keitaro and Tenchi both jump out for the ticket simultaneously. Keitaro jumps a little too fast and trips. Tenchi is almost taken down with Keitaro, but he manages to keep his footing long enough to grab the last ticket for the second van. Tenchi does fall down eventually, but picks himself up immediately and smiles at his father. Noboyuki raises his arms in victory while Seta looks a little disappointed.)

Noboyuki: ĎAtta boy, Tenchi!

(They high-five, eventually turning it into a hug. They walk away.)

Noboyuki: (VO) We may not be in first, but we really seem to be connecting. I donít think Iíve ever felt as close to my son.

(Keitaro remains on the ground. He pounds the floor once out of frustration before standing up to get the clue.)

Keitaro: Dammit!

 

----

 

(After their little detour, Lina and Gourry finally reach the route marker. Gourry takes a ticket.)
[LINA & GOURRY- Traveling Companions- 2nd Team in Van 3]

Lina: (VO) So far, we havenít had quite the amount of success weíve been hoping for. This is one strange world. How many temples does one city need, anyway?

 

(Their detour must have taken quite some time, as they arenít gone for three minutes before the next group enters the park. In the lead are NabikiÖ and Yukina. Both are running evenly.)

Yukina: Pant, pant, pantÖ youíre going down!

Nabiki: Wanna bet?

Yukina: How much you got?!

Nabiki: 1,000 yen!

Yukina: Me too!

Nabiki: Then why bother?!

Yukina: (to Minato) Big sister! Hurry it up!

Nabiki: (to Kasumi) Yeah, big sister!!

(Behind them, Minato and Kasumi are also running full speed. They are also equally matched.)

Kasumi: Iím coming, Nabiki!

(The family feud continues as they reach the temple. Nabiki and Yukina each grab a clue and tear it open.)

Nabiki/Yukina: Take a ticket to reserve your place in one four vans.

(Kasumi edges out Minato and points to the wall.)

Kasumi: Are those it?

(Nabiki turns around as Yukina tosses her clue back at Minato and runs after it. Nabiki chases immediately, but is too late as Yukina rips the ticket off the wall moments before Nabiki gets there. Yukina proudly runs back to Minato.)

Yukina: Last ones on the third van!

Minato: Way to go!

(They hug quickly and leave the scene. Nabiki is in a stunned shock as Kasumi takes the ticket. She reads it carefully.)
[NABIKI & KASUMI- Sisters- 1st Team in Last Van]
Kasumi: Oh my. Weíre in the last van.

Nabiki: You got that rightÖ

(They walk out of the temple as Chiharu & Yamazaki hustle up to it.)

Nabiki: Save your energy. Itís the van of doom for us.

Yamazaki: Alright! The van of doom! Most vans of doom these days come fully stocked with portable DVD players so we can watch old episodes of Magic Knight Rayearth and Urusei Yatsura whileÖ

(Chiharu grabs his ear and drags him into the temple.)

Chiharu: Yeah, yeahÖ

(May & Max follow. May goes up to Nabiki.)

May: So what are we in? Plane of doom? Bus of doom?

Nabiki: Van of doom.

May: Styliní!

Max: Címon, MayÖ

(They walk in. Kasumi smiles at Nabiki.)

Kasumi: Iíve always wanted to see RayearthÖ

(Nabiki slaps her forehead.)

Nabiki: Basically, we have to wait until 3:30 in the morning to take the last van to an unknown destination. And we get to enjoy this trip with the Pokťmon freaks, and the ten-year-olds who act like theyíre married. Itís safe to say we havenít been doing as well as we expected.

 

(Late at night, Jessie and Ayla prowl the streets of Kyoto.)

Ayla: (VO) After arriving in Kyoto, every team had a major crisis. We had about five hours to burn, and only 1,000 yen in our pockets. That doesnít go very far.

(They enter a convenience store and browse through the instant food aisle.)

Jessie: See anything tasty?

(Ayla takes a cup of instant ramen and shakes her head.)

Ayla: So much sodiumÖ

Jessie: I know. These things are awful. Amazes me how Yanagida stays in shape eating crap like this.

Ayla: I am hungry though.

Jessie: So am I. Maybe we should do without though.

Ayla: We should use the money for something.

Jessie: Maybe we can find a place to sleep. Maybe thereís a youth center around here.

Ayla: Youth center?

Jessie: Yeah. I work with one and Iím sure thereís a Japanese equivalent. I should be able to talk them into letting us stay for cheap.

Ayla: Iíd rather eat something. Iím not tired at all.

Jessie: We should be able to get something there.

Ayla: We also donít know how far it is.

Jessie: Well, we either eat junk food here, or take a chance and maybe get a healthier meal somewhere else.

(They stare at each other for awhile. Then Ayla grabs a couple sports drinks out of the cooler and purchases them.)

Jessie: (muttering) PerfectÖ

 

(Seta and Keitaro sit down at a park bench. Both are slurping cups of the same instant ramen Ayla was holding before.)

Seta: Letís just think this through for a minute- we crashed the car.

Keitaro: *You* crashed the car, Mr. Seta.

Seta: Okay, okay, I crashed the car. So we have a half-hour penalty.

Keitaro: And weíre on the second-to-last van.

Seta: And each van leaves half an hour apartÖ

Keitaro: So we basically projected ourselves into the last van.

Seta: No problem, then!

(Seta slurps some noodles.)

Seta: We just need to finish faster than the teams in the last van. We can handle that, right?

Keitaro: I donít know. What if something goes wrong? And we also wonít have any idea where they are compared to us.

Seta: Thatís true.

(Both slump down and sigh for a momentÖ then finish off their noodles.)

Seta: Weíre in serious trouble right now. We donít know if we should be worried about elimination or not. Whatever we get has a half-hour added to it, putting us right up against the last van. Depending on whatís ahead of us, it may be a problem, especially if the teams behind us are better suited to the task.

(Chiharu & Yamazaki and May & Max are walking together, enjoying the sights of Kyoto at night. Yamazaki snaps pictures constantly.)

Max: Youíre taking an awful lot of picturesÖ

Chiharu: Let him. It shuts him up.

Yamazaki: Itís just so appropriate that weíre here at todayís front foot.

May: Todayís front foot?

Yamazaki: Yeah. Kyoto. You see, the name is derived from the words ďkyou,Ē meaning ďtoday,Ē and ďtoe,Ē the front of the foot. Todayís front foot!

May: WowÖ

Max: (doubtful) Are you sure about that?

Yamazaki: Of course! I know everything about Japanese culture!

(Chiharu puts him into a headlock.)

Chiharu: And when you donít, you make it up!! Iíll shove todayís front foot into your mouth if it doesnít remain shut.

(May laughs.)

May: You two are so meant for each other.

Yamazaki: Arenít we?

Max: Hey, thereís a restaurant open late. Hopefully we can stay under budgetÖ

(They walk in and order food.)

Yamazaki: (VO) While we were in ďthe foot,Ē as all the cool kids call it, we hung out with May and Max. Weíre both in the last van, and thereís a good chance one of us is going to be eliminated first. So weíre enjoying it now before we battle to the death tomorrow morning.

 

(May is shaking her head and laughing at their booth.)

May: This is so much fun. I mean, we are so screwed.

Chiharu: What do you mean?

May: Think about it. Both of us were so pathetic. I mean, you two did alright in the car, but you were still what? Tenth? And weíve been enjoying a pretty good view of everybody elseís tails so far. I mean, one of us is going. You know one of us is going.

Chiharu: You canít think that wayÖ

May: Why not? Enjoy it. I canít imagine either of us winning. I canít imagine either of us getting to the halfway point. We fight for it, but thereís no sense worrying about it either. Weíre so horrible weíre scary. Nothing scares us, not even elimination.

(Chiharu smiles.)

Chiharu: The fearless losers.

May: Yeah!

Max: Well, perhaps an alliance would be an advantage.

Yamazaki: Not really. Not when the dojo sisters run right by it.

May: (cheery) Forget the alliance. I want us to be bitter enemies until the finish.

Yamazaki: Yeah! If weíre going down early, we might as well have a rivalry.

(May lifts her glass.)

May: A toastÖ to the losers.

(The others lift their glasses and they toast.)

May / Max / Chiharu / Yamazaki: Kampai!

 

(Nabiki and Kasumi stand outside a hotel, propping themselves against the wall.)

Kasumi: Are you sure about this?

Nabiki: Trust meÖ and keep quiet.

(An older man walks by and notices the two. He walks up to them, smiling.)

Man: Hello. Anything you two girls need?

(Nabiki takes his hands.)

Nabiki: Actually there is. My sister and I had a room reserved here, but there was some sort of a computer mix-up and our pre-paid reservations got lost. Plus on top of that, our credit cards arenít reading properly and we only have 1,000 yen on us. Do you have a room here that we could share for a few hours? We need to leave at about 3:00, so weíll be out of your hair in no time. Please, weíre desperate.

Man: (overwhelming) UhÖ wellÖ umÖ

Nabiki: Iím sure weíll think of some way to repay you once weíre up in the room.

(The man eyes both Nabiki and Kasumi, seriously interested in the offer, for various reasons.)

 

(Twenty minutes later, the three check into a room.)

Nabiki: Two double beds, perfect.

(Nabiki hops onto one. Kasumi takes the other end of the same one.)

Nabiki: For the record- our family runs a dojo so I wouldnít try anything.

Man: ButÖ

Kasumi: Good night!

 

(May is walking through a park with Chiharu and Yamazaki. Max runs up to them.)

Max: Found a good bench. Well-lit, out of the way.

May: Beautiful.

(She turns to the other team.)

May: Well, weíll see you two at the van. Nice getting to know you.

Yamazaki: Yeah! Good luck, and may the worst team lose!

May: Thatís the spirit!

(May and Max head to their bench. Yamazaki continues to smile while Chiharu frowns the second the two are gone. Her head collapses onto Yamazakiís shoulder. He frowns.)

Yamazaki: Uh oh.

(Chiharu starts to sob.)

Yamazaki: Let me guessÖ

Chiharu: (sad) I donít want to be eliminated first. Thatís the worst thing that could happenÖ

(Yamazaki sighs, unsure of what to do. Finally, he rests his hands on either of her shoulders and holds them so he can make eye contact.)

Yamazaki: No it isnít! The sooner we get eliminated, the sooner we can go to Loser Island!

Chiharu: (sniffing) Loser Island?

Yamazaki: Itís a fabulous utopia where all the eliminated contestants meet to get pampered and dwell on their experiences together, away from the world, living in luxury!

(Chiharu pushes herself away from Yamazaki and walks away.)

Chiharu: Iím not in the moodÖ

(Yamazaki frowns.)

Yamazaki: For the record, I wasnít lying.

 

----

 

(Finally, the first van is loaded up. Itís a large enough van to seat all three teams and their bags comfortably. It takes off.)
Yukari: (VO) I donít know if they were trying to scare us with that ďunknown destinationĒ crap or what. I wasnít scared though. I knew this wasnít a plot to cart all of us out to the middle of nowhere and force us to kill each other for sport! But, man, Nyamo-chan was scared stiff!!

Minamo: (VO) I WAS NOT!!

 

(Shot of the entrance to the spirit world- a tunnel in a mountainside. Thereís a clue box just outside it.)
Chihiro: (VO) Teams are heading to this remote tunnel a couple hours away. Each team is in one of four vans- each leaving a half-hour apart.

(Most of the people in the first van are sleeping.)

Chihiro: (VO) In the first van are Yukari & Minamo, Koji & Koichi, and Jessie & Ayla.

(The second van enters the freeway and leaves Kyoto.)

Chihiro: (VO) In the second van are Touya & Yukito, Yamaki & Riley, and Noboyuki & Tenchi.

(The third van pulls out from the park in Kyoto.)

Chihiro: (VO) Riding the third van are Seta & Keitaro, Lina & Gourry, and Minato & Yukina.

(Finally, the last three teams board van 4.)

Chihiro: (VO) And in the last van are Nabiki & Kasumi, Chiharu & Yamazaki, and May & Max.

 

(The teams on the first van wake up as the van enters some rocky territory. But they canít see a thing.)
Koji: (VO) We didnít really talk much on the van. Itís like we have a sort of begrudging respect. Itís the lead pack, and we all recognize that we fought hard to get up here, but we all found different ways to succeed so thereís not much talk of alliances.

 

(The van arrives at the tunnel. Its headlights allow each team a view of the route marker. They all pull their bags out of the van and run up to the marker. Jessie & Ayla, who had their bags on top, reach it first. Ayla holds a flashlight so Jessie can read.)
[JESSIE & AYLA- Rivals- Currently in 1st Place]
Jessie: Enter the spirit world through the tunnel and find the route marker in front of the bridge near the bathhouse.

 

(Dragon-half Haku stands in front of the bridge leading to the bathhouse. Since it is the middle of the night, the place is swinging with all sorts of spirits.)
Haku: Teams must enter the spirit world and find this route marker in front of Yubabaís bathhouse. As soon as they enter, they will be given a piece of food to maintain their form.

 

(Haku is there to give Jessie & Ayla a small piece of fruit as they enter. They go by as Haku does the same for Koji & Koichi and Yukari & Minamo. Again, both are in a dog race. They are neck-and-neck as they run into the village. They dodge some peculiar spirits as they run through.)

Yukari: Where the hell is this place?!

Koji: Weíve been to stranger placesÖ

(Koichi slows down for a moment to see the Kashira head guys bounce by.)

Koichi: Öor notÖ

(He catches up with Koji.)

 

(Jessie & Ayla see the bridge and spot the route marker first.)

Jessie: There it is!

(Ayla gets the clue.)

Ayla: Detour- Slime or Swine.

 

(Head hostess Lin stands at the entrance of the bathhouse.)
Lin: A detour is a choice between two tasks- each with its own pros and cons. In this Detour, teams are going to have to choose between Slime and Swine.

(Shot of an industrial-strength tub, and a big mess of slime relaxing in it.)

Lin: (VO) In Slime, the teams will have to enter the Abura-ya bathhouse and play host to one of the large Okusare slime spirits that frequent Abura-ya. Theyíll have to give the spirit the full treatment, using any specialty rinses the spirits request. By playing gracious host, theyíll be allowed to reach in and pull out the clue inside. The task is messy, but a good host will be able to pull the clue out quickly.

(Shot of an industrial-sized pen, filled with pigs.)

Lin: (VO) In Swine, teams must search this pen filled with over-consuming humans that became pigs in this world. Four of the pigs have yellow-and-red ear tags. Teams must find one of these pigs and get the clue on its collar. Thereís nothing slimy about the task, but in such a high-density pen, finding one of the four could take awhile.

 

(Jessie and Ayla make their decision as the other two teams arrive.)

Ayla: We want to go into the bathhouse.

Jessie: Are you sure? That doesnít sound too appealing.

Ayla: But itís faster. It has to be.

(They run across the bridge as Yukari & Minamo and Koji & Koichi arrive, almost simultaneously.)

Minamo: Detour. Slime or Swine.

Koji: Play host to a slime spirit or find one of four pigs in a large pen.

Yukari: I guess weíre going for slime.

Koichi: Slime seems easier.

Yukari: Hey! No stealing our ideas!

(They each run into the bathhouse.)

 

(Despite a few uneasy glances from the frogs, Lin leads Jessie and Ayla into a bath. After a brief demonstration on how to get water, Lin offers a few other guidelines.)

Lin: Remember- above all, the customer is always right.

Ayla: Even when heís wrong?

Lin: Especially when heís wrong.

 

(A second hostess is showing Yukari and Minamo to their bath. She gives them the same spiel and leaves.)

Yukari: Hey, how bad can this be? We have to pretend to like slimy, smelly high school kids all day. And besides, hostesses get a lot of action when theyíre done with work! Betcha like the sound of that, huh Nyamo?

(A large green blob slimes its way in. Yukari and Minamo both react adversely. The spirit goes up to Yukari.)

Minamo: I think he likes you better.

Yukari: What do you want?

(The blob turns to Minamo. Minamo holds her hands out as the blob gives her some money. Yukari dives after Minamo.)

Yukari: Hey! He was going to give that to me!

 

(A similar-looking spirit greets Jessie and Ayla.)

Jessie: So, uh, what are we supposed to do?

Ayla: What the woman said.

Jessie: She said the customerís always right. What the hell does the customer want?

Ayla: A bath.

(Ayla steps forward and bows a little awkwardly.)

Ayla: Welcome. Is there anything we can get for you?

(The spirit burps. Jessie reels back from the smell.)

Jessie: That canít be right.

 

(Koichi is attempting to make conversation with their spirit before it takes the tub.)

Koichi: Now if thereís anything you need, donít hesitate to ask. Weíre new at this, but weíll help you any way we can.

(Koji comes in with a tag.)

Koichi: What took you so long?

Koji: Arguing with those frogs about getting one of these stupid tags.

(Koji finds a hole in the wall, hooks a tag onto a pulley, and sends it down. Soon afterwards, a spout comes down. Koichi pulls a cord and water starts filling the tub.)

 

(The second van begins ascending a mountain. The road gets increasingly bumpy. Touya, Yukito, Riley, and Tenchi are asleep, Noboyuki is occupying himself with a portable video game, and Yamaki looks out the window idly as Riley rests her head on his shoulder.)
Yamaki: (VO) The van ride hopefully was able to disorient some people. Some got sleepy, some got bored. But I was able to stay focused, hoping it would give us an advantage in the second part of the leg.

 

(Koji & Koichi make idle chatter with the spirit as it soaks. Although they canít understand what it says, both do their best to keep the conversation lively.)
Koichi: (VO) Weíve felt a connection to fantastical monsters before, so it was really easy for us to make the spirit feel welcome. Koji and I felt right at home with the thing.

 

(Meanwhile, Jessie and Ayla are sitting in a corner watching their spirit relax. Neither are getting too close to it.)

Jessie: So how the heck do we know what it needs if we canít talk to it?

Ayla: It seems happy. We might as well just let it sit there until it lets us have the clue.

 

(Yukari is getting somewhat annoyed as she raises her voice at the spirit.)

Yukari: Look, itís plain and simple, if youíre happy, give us the clue!

Minamo: I donít think yelling at it is going to make it happy.

Yukari: Itís happy! Itís very happy!

(Yukari attempts to pat it on the back. Her arm goes through the back and begins to get swallowed up by it. She begins to get concerned.)

Minamo: See if you can find the clue!

(No dice. The spirit shoots her arm back out, completely covered in gunk.)

 

(Koji and Koichiís spirit sits up. He nudges his head a little.)

Koji: OkayÖ hopefully this will only take a secondÖ

(Koji reaches into the spirit, squirms a little, but pulls out the clue. Naturally, itís covered in slime, as is Kojiís arm, but he gets it open.)

Koichi: Another satisfied customer!

Koji: Check in at the Pit Stop- Yubabaís office on the top floor of the bathhouse.

 

(Cool rising shot to the top of the bathhouse. Zoom in through the window to Yubabaís extravagant office.)
Satoshi: (VO) Teams must scale the bathhouse and reach the top floor. The office of entrepreneur Yubaba is the first Pit Stop in the race. The last team to arrive will be eliminated.

 

(After Jessie shuts up long enough, their spirit lets them reach in and grab the clue. Ayla does the honors, but is a little disgusted by the action. She pulls it out and hands it to Jessie.)

Jessie: Check in at the Pit Stop- Yubabaís office on the top floor.

(Ayla attempts to shake off the slime on her arm.)

Ayla: Do you have a towel?

 

(Koji and Koichi quickly find an elevator and take it up. After waiting a little bit, and being squashed by a couple of the other guests, they reach the top floor. They do a bit of running until they find the office door. They break in and see Satoshi and Yubaba waiting at the mat. Thereís also the customary route marker with the screen on it. In large green letters- ďSPIRITED AWAY.Ē The small white letters above read ďSPIRIT WORLD.Ē Koji and Koichi jump on the mat. Yubaba smiles politely.)

Yubaba: Welcome to Abura-ya.

Satoshi: Koji and Koichi?

(The brothers wait. Satoshi smiles.)

Satoshi: Youíre team number one.

Koji / Koichi: Yeah!!

(They high-five and hug each other, naturally excited about the finish.)

(Yukari is getting very impatient.)

Yukari: Hey! Let me in! I want the clue!

Minamo: You canít rush it!

Yukari: Why not? Itís a race! Here! Iíll be right back!

(Yukari rubs her hands together as Minamo stands back and prepares for the worst.)

Yukari: Iím going in!

(Yukari takes a deep breath and plunges forward into the spirit. However, the spirit has other plans, and swiftly squirms away to the other end of the bath. Yukari loses her balance and plunges head first into the slime-coated water. A satisfied Minamo smiles as Yukari comes out, soaked and covered in slime.)

Minamo: And me without my camera.

Yukari: (angry) Gimme that thing!

(Yukari dives after the spirit.)

 

(Jessie and Ayla hustle up to the Pit Stop mat. Satoshi smiles.)

Satoshi: Jessie and Ayla? Youíre team number two.

(Ayla nods without smiling. Jessie frowns and shakes her head.)

Jessie: I really blew this one.

 

(The second vanís group arrives in the spirit world. Haku passes out the food as Touya & Yukito, Yamaki & Riley, and Noboyuki & Tenchi go by, in that order. They eat their food and enter the town. The sun is beginning to come up, so some shops are closing their doors. Still, Yukito admires the scene.)

Yukito: Touya, look at this!

(Touya smiles.)

Yukito: (VO) Going through the town in the spirit world was like going back in time. It was very quaint, and it would have been a shame to run by it so fast that we miss it.

 

(Finally, Yukari and Minamo reach the Pit Stop. Minamo is perfectly fine, and is very content. Yukari is covered head to toe in a mix of slime and bathwater. Both Yubaba and Satoshi turn away at the smell.)

Yubaba: Problem with one of the customers?

Minamo: Heh hehÖ I guess you could say that.

Satoshi: Yukari and Minamo? Youíre the third team to arrive.

Minamo: Okay! Thatís not bad!

Yukari: Yeah! Way to go Nyamo!

(Yukari hugs Minamo, forcing the gym teacher to immediately shudder.)

 

(Touya and Yukito reach the Detour seconds before Yamaki and Riley.)
[TOUYA & YUKITO- Best Friends / Students- Currently in 4th Place]
Touya: Detour- Slime or Swine.

(Yukito looks over Touyaís shoulder and reads the details.)

Yukito: Letís go into the bathhouse. Weíll be done in no time.

Touya: Fine by me.

(Meanwhile, Yamaki comes to a different conclusion.)

Yamaki: Weíre doing the pigs.

Riley: Why? The bathhouse seems to be faster. And more fun.

Yamaki: I donít want my fate in the hands of some spirit. Letís find the right pig and get out of here.

(Riley relents.)

Riley: If you say so.

(They head to the pigpen as Noboyuki and Tenchi show up and open the clue box.)

Riley: Personally, I would have rather done the Slime challenge. It sounded a little dirty, but it was all part of the game. But Yamaki had to do things his way, so we did the pig task. I can only hope the whole race isnít going to be like this.

 

----

 

(Yamaki and Riley reach the pens. They are large, and crowded. Riley immediately sighs audibly.)
[YAMAKI & RILEY- Dating Co-Workers]
Riley: This is going to take forever.

Yamaki: Sitting here and watching them wonít get it done any faster. Look on the left side. Iíll take the right.

Riley: (submissive) Yes, sir.

(They begin combing through the animals.)

 

(The spirit under Touya and Yukitoís domain is relaxing comfortably. Touya watches it as Yukito manages the water.)

Touya: Fascinating. Itís been awhile since Iíve been able to sit down and just talk.

Yukito: Can you still understand it?

Touya: A little. You never lose the ability completely.

Yukito: Iíve always believed that everybody can talk with spirits. Itís listening for their response that takes practice.

(Touya nods. The spirit reaches in and pulls out the clue for Touya. Touya smiles.)

Touya: Thanks.

Yukito: Good night!

(Touya and Yukito run out with the clue.)

 

(Tenchi, meanwhile, doesnít communicate with the thing, but is patient with the spirit. Noboyuki isnít, but hides it well. Eventually, the spirit allows Tenchi access to the clue and they leave.)
[NOBOYUKI & TENCHI- Father & Son]
Noboyuki: (VO) I didnít understand what was taking Tenchi so long with the spirit, but he seemed to know what he was doing. And knowing his grandfather, Iím not going to question him. He got the job done, and thatís what counts.

 

(Riley is now swimming in pigs.)

Riley: Yamaki! Iím not finding anything!

(No answer. She looks across. Heís on the other end of the pen and canít hear a word.)

Riley: (bitter) Great call on this oneÖ

 

(Touya and Yukito run up to the mat.)

Satoshi: Touya and Yukito? Youíre team number four.

(Touya nods and Yukito smiles. They shake hands and pat each other on the back.)

 

(The third van is dropped off at the tunnel. Minato & Yukina get the jump out of the van, but Lina & Gourry quickly catch up and they reach the clue box simultaneously. The skies are becoming much lighter.)
[Van 3]
Lina: Enter the spirit world through the tunnel.

(Gourry points to the tunnel.)

Gourry: You think it could be that one?

Yukina: Find the route marker in front of the bridge near the bathhouse.

Minato: OohÖ bathhouse.

(They rush in. Seta and Keitaro are right behind, but they read the other clue in the envelope.)

Keitaro: To claim the Fast Forward, find the marked buffet table and prepare to pig out.

 

(The hand of Arumi pulls a Fast Forward clue out of an envelope.)
Arumi: (VO) Thereís only one Fast Forward on each leg of the race. The first team that finds it can skip all tasks and go straight to the Pit Stop. However, once a team uses the Fast Forward, that team may not use another one for the rest of the race. So theyíll need to decide when itís most advantageous to go for it.

(Shot of a buffet table in a part of the little town, and plates stacked with food.)

Arumi: (VO) Teams that wish to consume the Fast Forward this early in the race will have to consume a lot more. After finding the marked buffet table somewhere in the town, theyíll find a plate of spirit world delicacies. Teams must collectively eat enough food on the plate to expose the Fast Forward. Once they do, the Fast Forward is theirs.

 

(Noboyuki and Tenchi walk up to the mat.)

Yubaba: Welcome to Abura-ya.

Satoshi: Noboyuki and Tenchi? Youíre team number five.

Noboyuki: Weíll take that. Right son?

(Tenchi nods and smiles.)

 

(Lina and Gourry reach the Detour.)
[LINA & GOURRY- Traveling Companions- Currently in 7th Place]
Lina: Host a spirit at the bathhouse or find a pig.

Gourry: The spirit seems easier.

Lina: I guess. Címon.

(Minato and Yukina arrive and read through the clue.)
[MINATO & YUKINA- Sisters-In-Law- Currently in 8th Place]
Yukina: Letís seeÖ

Minato: Iíve been to enough bathhouses to know how things work. Of course, I havenít played hostess in awhile.

(They run in.)

 

(Seta and Keitaro stumble through the town. Fortunately, with the sun coming up, the spirits have taken to bed and theyíre alone in the streets.)
[FAST FORWARD- Pig Out]
Keitaro: This looks like the plate.

Seta: So do we start eating?

(Keitaro reads the clue over again. He smiles and puts it away.)

Keitaro: Bon appetit.

(They start digging in.)

Keitaro: (VO) We couldnít afford to take chances. Because of the penalty, we knew that if we were slower than any of the teams in the last van, weíd get eliminated. So we decided to use the Fast Forward to guarantee that weíd finish faster than anyone else.

(Keitaro lifts a piece and Seta sees a green envelope.)

Seta: There it is!

(Seta takes the envelope and opens it.)

Seta: Congratulations, you have won the Fast Forward. Check in at the Pit Stop at the top floor of the bathhouse.

Keitaro: Great. And a good meal too!

 

(Cool exterior pan up the outside of the bathhouse.)
Satoshi: (VO) Having won the Fast Forward, Seta and Keitaro can skip all tasks and go directly to Yubabaís office, the Pit Stop for this leg of the race.

 

(Riley is growing increasingly tired as she continues to scour the line of pigs.)

Yamaki: Riley! Over here. I found it.

(Riley manages to snap herself back into reality and joins her partner. Yamaki is holding a pig, and manages to pull a clue off the collar.)

Riley: About timeÖ

Yamaki: Check in at the Pit Stop- Yubabaís office on the top floor of the bathhouse.

Riley: Hope thereís an elevatorÖ

(They work their way through the pigs and head to the bathhouse.)

 

(Yukina clips on a tag and sends it down to Kamaji the boiler-room man. Minato pulls on the emerging cord and water fills the tub. She smells it, closes her eyes, and smiles.)

Minato: The herbal rinseÖ

(Minato turns to the spirit.)

Minato: Good choice. Always my favorite.

(She winks at the spirit as it steps into the tub.)
Yukina: Just remember Sis, weíre working with a time frame here.

Minato: You canít rush comfort, Yukina.

(Minato continues to sit near the spirit as it relaxes.)

Minato: I really enjoyed the Detour. Weíre all used to little creature comforts like a trip to the bathhouse, but itís not often we get to see spirits enjoying it as well. But why wouldnít they? Theyíre very relaxing. I wasnít the one taking the bath, but it seemed to relax me as well.

 

(Seta and Keitaro hustle up to the mat.)

Yubaba: Welcome to Abura-ya.

Seta: Hi.

Satoshi: Seta and Keitaro?

(Seta and Keitaro are still a little nervous.)

Satoshi: Youíre team number six.

(Seta nods and claps a little.)

Seta: Thatís not bad at all.

Keitaro: Until you add the half-hourÖ

(Satoshi chuckles.)

Satoshi: YeahÖ weíll talk about that laterÖ

 

(While Minato enjoys the Detour for what it is, Lina attempts a slightly different approach.)

Lina: Whereís the clue? I donít see it in here anywhere!

(Lina has her head stuck inside the spirit, wrestling around and trying to shake Lina. Gourry pulls her out of there before she suffocates.)

Lina: Iím going to get it from you whether you like it or not!!

(The spirit shakes its head.)

Lina: Oh yeah?

(Lina makes another dive, but Gourry restrains her.)

Gourry: Lina! We have to think of a better plan to get it!

(Lina relents and looks up at Gourry.)

Lina: Okay? What do you suggest?

(Gourry thinks for what seems like a minute.)

Gourry: UhÖ that coming up with plans is your department.

(Lina dives back in.)

 

(Yamaki and Riley step up to the Pit Stop, a little angry.)

Satoshi: Yamaki and Riley? Youíre team number seven.

Riley: Well, I guess it could be worse.

 

(Yukina has an arm inside the spirit, but looks really disgusted.)

Yukina: ReachÖ reachÖ reachÖ found it!

(Yukina pulls it out and opens it.)

Minato: Good work.

Yukina: (reading) Check in at the Pit Stop- Yubabaís office on the top floor of the bathhouse. The last team to arrive will be eliminated.

Minato: Weíd better get going then!

 

(In the third van, Chiharu, Nabiki and Kasumi are wide awake as the road gets bumpier. May, Max, and Yamazaki are jolted awake.)

Yamazaki: Are we getting there?

Driver: Almost there.

May: Chiharu?

(Chiharu turns back as May takes her hand.)

May: Just wanted to wish you the best. Itís going to be tough, but letís give it our all!

Chiharu: Yeah. Best of luck, even though you are so going down!

(May and Chiharu both laugh, Chiharu somewhat half-heartedly.)

 

(Minato and Yukina arrive at the Pit Stop. Yukina is still trying to wipe the slime off her arm.)

Minato: Hello, Sasshi.

(Satoshi ogles Minato for a few moments, before he snaps back into reality.)

Satoshi: Uh, Minato and Minato? You are team number eight.

(Yukina backhands him across the face with her slime-covered hand.)

Yukina: No making googly-eyes at her without my permission!

 

(The fourth van arrives at the tunnel. All sorts of heck breaks loose as the last three teams try to stay in the race. Chiharu & Yamazaki get to the route marker first.)

Chiharu: Enter the spirit world through the tunnel and find the route marker in front of the bridge near the bathhouse.

(They silently run through, with Nabiki & Kasumi right on their heels.)

Yamazaki: (VO) The van of doom really is exciting in a way. More than any of the other vans, the urgency of it really took my breath away.

(May & Max are right behind them.)

Max: (VO) Itís all so simple. The first three vans have a cushion. One of them finish last, and itís nothing to stress over. We arenít afforded the luxury. If weíre too slow- itís over.

 

(Lina is pretty much completely submerged in the spirit. But she eventually sticks an arm out with the clue.)

Lina: (muffled) Take it, Gourry!

Gourry: Huh?

(After jabbing the clue in his chest a few times, he gets the idea. He takes the clue and opens it. While she struggles to pull herself out, he reads the clue.)

Gourry: Check in at the Pit Stop- Yubabaís office on the top floor of the bathhouse. The last team to arrive will be eliminated.

(Gourry turns to Lina.)

Gourry: Weíd better hurry. Need any help?

(Lina is now upside-down, with only two arms and a head sticking out.)

Lina: (sarcastic) I thought youíd never askÖ

 

(By the time Chiharu and Yamazaki reach the bridge, Nabiki and Kasumi have already finished reading the clue.)

Nabiki: Hell, our house pretty much is a bathhouse by now. Letís go inside.

(They rush in as Yamazaki reads the clue over Chiharuís shoulder.)

Yamazaki: We canít take chances. Letís do the bath.

Chiharu: Right.

(May gets the clue and reads it over.)

May: Huh. Play host to a spirit at the bathhouse or find one of four pigs?

Max: Let me see that.

(Max reads the clue.)

May: They both went into the bathhouse.

Max: Yeah. So letís do the pigs.

May: What?

Max: Trust me! I have an idea!

(They run out to the pig pen.)

 

(The bathhouse has quieted down considerably as Lin leads Nabiki and Kasumi to a bath and gives them the demonstration. While she does, Nabiki whispers to Kasumi.)

Nabiki: Youíre the nice one. Iíll let you drive. Just tell me what I have to do.

Kasumi: Smiling would be a good start.

Nabiki: Gotcha. Easier to fool them when weíre smiling.

 

(Chiharu is getting very nervous as the spirit is allowed in. She bows.)

Chiharu: (tentative) Um, hello, Mr. Spirit. The bath is this wayÖ

Yamazaki: Welcome to the Abura-ya bathhouse! We feature modern baths, gracious and courteous staff, and a fine selection of pay-per-view movies in the guest suites!

(Chiharu whaps him in the head.)

Chiharu: This isnít the time for that!! Get a tag!

 

(May and Max reach the pen.)

May: Look at all of these things!

Max: High-density indeed.

May: So whatís the big plan?

Max: See that post over there?

May: Yeah.

Max: Thatís the center of the pen. And weíre standing in the center aisle. If we both concentrate our search on this one quarter of the pen, statistically, weíll be able to find one twice as fast.

May: This better workÖ

(May hops up the fence and runs as far as she can to the opposite end of the pen. Max begins his search at the start of the aisle. May begins on the other end.)

May: I was very nervous. This whole idea of isolating a quarter of the shed didnít sound reliable. If there wasnít one in that quarter, we were toast!

 

(Lina and Gourry step on the mat. Lina looks about as bad as Yukari did. Gourry is a little soaked as well, probably from pulling Lina out.)

Yubaba: More problems? Between this and keeping the place open this late, you humans are really aggravating me.

Lina: Look Miss Mazoku, it hasnít been a picnic for us, either.

Satoshi: Lina and Gourry, you are team number nine.

 

(Yamazaki hangs up a tag while Chiharu just kinda sits there until the cord comes down. She trips initially, but Yamazaki catches her and helps her up. She pulls the cord. Water comes down.)
Chiharu: (VO) We werenít sure exactly how to get this done faster, and I was really nervous. I guess we just went with the flow, which is something I have a lot more trouble with than Yamazaki.

 

(Nabiki is just going with the flow as well. Kasumi, however, acts like a seasoned professional. She is fanning the spirit lightly.)

Kasumi: Is the water to your liking?

(The spirit nods its head.)

Kasumi: Thatís good. Nabiki?

(Nabiki, doing her best to replicate Kasumiís soft smile, begins fanning the spirit as well. Not long afterwards, the spirit hands Kasumi the clue. Kasumi bows.)

Kasumi: Oh my, thank you. Have a good day.

(Nabiki runs out immediately. Kasumi takes a little longer and hands Nabiki the clue.)

Kasumi: Wasnít he nice?

Nabiki: No kidding, now letís get out of here.

(Nabiki opens the clue.)

Kasumi: Thereís a certain skill involved in being a proper hostess. Spirits and humans alike go to a bathhouse and expect to be pampered a little. A good hostess makes sure the customer is comfortable, while being as unobtrusive as possible.

 

(Back to May and Max. Max reaches the post he mentioned before and turns around, moving inward a little bit. May is doing the same thing on the other end.)

May: Any luck Max?

Max: Keep looking. If we meet at the center, weíll need to try another quadrant.

May: (worried) Please donít say that.

 

(Nabiki and Kasumi rush through the doors into Yubabaís office. Well, Nabiki rushes. Kasumi simply walks fast. Yubaba scans the two.)

Yubaba: Not a drop on you. Howíd you manage that?

Nabiki: My sister knows all the tricks!

Yubaba: (interested) ReallyÖ

Satoshi: Nabiki and Kasumi? Youíre team number ten.

(Nabiki smiles and motions for a high-five. Eventually, Kasumi figures it out and responds.)

 

(May and Max are about halfway to meeting when May looks down.)

May: Hey! I found it!

Max: Great! Get it!

(As Max works his way over, May struggles for a moment and gets the clue off.)

May: Check in at the Pit Stop- Yubabaís office on the top floor of the bathhouse. The last team to arrive will be eliminated.

Max: Shoot. We have to go to the bathhouse anyway. We have to hurryÖ

(Max starts to works his way back through the pigs to the exit when May grabs him.)

May: No! Weíll get out faster this way! Hop on my back.

(With help from a pig, Max jumps on Mayís back as she plows her way through the pigs.)

Max: Uh, May, thereís a fence there!

May: So?

(May reaches the fence and practically throws Max over. She then jumps, and again using a pig to assist her, scales the fence and falls safely on the other side. They run to get their bags and high-tail it to the bathhouse.)

 

(The spirit stands.)

Chiharu: I think thatís your cue!

(Yamazaki sticks both arm and head in there.)

Chiharu: (impatient) Címon, címon, címonÖ

(Yamazaki pulls both out, although he has a clue this time.)

Yamazaki: Ta da!

(Yamazaki tries to open it, but his slime-covered hands are causing him problems.)

Chiharu: Give me that!

(Chiharu has a much easier time getting the envelope open.)

Chiharu: Check in at the Pit Stop- Yubabaís office on the top floor of the bathhouse. The last team to arrive will be eliminated.

(Yamazaki is already a step ahead, and straps his bag on. She does the same and both head out.)

 

(Meanwhile, May and Max are waiting for an elevator.)

May: Do you see any of the other teams?

Max: No. I hope they arenít already done.

May: (to the elevator) Oh, please, hurry up!

 

(Chiharu accidentally runs by an elevator, but Yamazaki notices.)

Yamazaki: Right here!

(Yamazaki pushes the button as Chiharu turns around.)

Chiharu: Get here soonÖ pleaseÖ

(It does and they get on.)

 

(Both teams are in different elevators. Both May and Max are sweating bullets. Meanwhile, Yamazaki is grim, but calm, while Chiharu is beginning to panic. He puts a hand on her shoulder.)

Yamazaki: Itís okay. Nothing we can do now.

(She puts her hand on top of his.)

 

(An elevator arrives at the top floor and opens. Two pairs of feet run frantically to the Pit Stop mat. Satoshi and Yubaba greet them.)

Yubaba: Welcome to Abura-ya.

Satoshi: May and Max?

(Both are panting and apprehensive as Satoshi pauses dramatically.)

May: Would it helpÖ if I called you Imamiya-sama?

(Satoshi ignores the comment, but lets out a slight grin midway through.)

Satoshi: May and Max- youíre team number eleven.

May / Max: Yeah!!

(May falls to her knees as Max jumps into her arms. They both laugh as tears begin to flow.)

May: I canít believe itÖ you saved us!

(Max releases as May stands up. In a fit of emotion, May hugs Satoshi. He happily receives it, nodding slyly at Yubaba, who just shakes her head and smiles.)

 

(Later, Chiharu and Yamazaki get out of the second elevator and jog to the mat.)

Satoshi: Chiharu and Yamazaki?

(Neither smile as they await the verdict.)

Satoshi: You are the last team to arrive.

(Yamazaki remains stone-faced. Chiharu sinks completely, slumping over and squatting a bit.)

Satoshi: Unfortunately, youíve been eliminated from the race.

(Yamazaki puts a reassuring hand on her shoulder as she begins to cry.)

Chiharu: (VO) It sucks. Itís the only way to describe it. I could go on and on about how much fun this was and how hard we tried, but it just sucks being the first team gone.

Yamazaki: Iím usually very confident in my abilities. Itís not often I fail at something. So this is a very different experience for me. In fact, this whole thing has been a different experience for me.

(Chiharu remains a little teary.)

Chiharu: This isnít going to change our relationship. I donít think anything could change our relationship right now. Weíre joined at the hip, and if I took nothing else out of this, itís that weíll be joined at the hip for a long time, and that Iím glad weíll be joined at the hip for a long time. Yamazaki was so supportive, and as much as he aggravates me, Iím really glad he was here doing this with me.

Yamazaki: Oh admit it, you love me, donít you?

(Chiharu sniffles a little, but smiles.)

Chiharu: Yeah, yeahÖ

End of Episode One

 

Authorís Notes
Once again, there is a contest for this series up at the official Anime-zing Race website (as opposed to the millions of unofficial fansites), along with team profiles, official rules, information on each of the series, and a leaderboard. Head to the site linked from my author profile page and find out more.

Satoshi and Arumi are from the series Abenobashi Mahou Shotengai, which has just been released by the folks at ADV under the title Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi. Itís a very strange series that goes around spoofing different anime genres. A friend of mine calls it ďExcel Saga meets FLCL.Ē Because of their journeys into the different worlds, and a few of the ďrulesĒ that they are able to bring over, they act as hosts. Youíll find out more about the rest of the series later.

Dub or sub, Sasshi and Arumi both have very thick accents. The English equivalent accent chosen for this series was an rough Texan dialect. The liner notes goes to extreme length explaining why, comparing the similarities between Osaka and Houston (of course, everybody knows the real reason is that ADV is based in Houston). If youíre wondering why itís not a problem for me to have hosts who sound like they should be at a NASCAR race, you need look no further than Phil Keoghanís heavy New Zealand accent on the real series.

While a lot of fans speculate about Yamaki and Rileyís relationship, not many know that it is actually 100% canon. Head writer Chiaki Konaka (Konaka-sama!!) has made it perfectly clear that the two were gettiní some behind the scenesÖ although he apparently forget to pass the memo to the other Japanese writers, as they were quite surprised when he made the revelation.

The real series (and arguably season one of Anime-zing) had what many call ďsacrificeĒ teams- teams that were inserted for the sole purposes of getting eliminated in the first episode so no one else has to. In seasons three and four, they honed down the art so that those teams actually were eliminated first (the sacrifices in seasons one and two ended up being loved and endeared in the three or four episodes they were in). No such going here- I had a lot of trouble picking a team to go down first. Ultimately Chiharu and Yamazaki went down because I only really needed one episode to give them their moments.

Speaking of which, Loserís Island is, in a way, real. Contestants on AR who are eliminated are sequestered away in some fancy locale while the other teams plow through the rest of the world. Paris and Cancun have been previous locations for Loserís Island. However, everything else Yamazaki said is pretty much a bold-faced lie.

Next Week on The Anime-zing Race:
* The rivalry between Jessie and Ayla comes out in a competitive Detour.
* Seta & Keitaro do their best to recover from the mishaps in the first leg.
* The sisterly teams- Nabiki & Kasumi and Minato & Yukina, continue to square off.