The Anime-zing Race 2


Author’s Notes

And so, after a year of planning, it finally ends. Not with a whimper though, despite the “cut to the quick” ending. Just to get everybody caught up, here's the first 1.3 legs in a nutshell:

In the first hour and twenty minutes:

The teams were immediately bunched up as they had to hop a ride with the mysterious Toga to the even more mysterious walled town of Glie. Once there, they were under the city's rules, which forbids foreigners to speak. Enforcing that were three Haibane- Kuu (watching Noboyuki & Tenchi), Kana (watching Jessie & Ayla) and Nemu (watching Touya & Yukito). Noboyuki accidently blurted a greeting to Kuu, who responded by giving them a penalty. Jessie and Ayla arrived first at the Detour, which gave them the choice of fixing a clock or forging a halo. All three teams decided to fix the clock. While Touya and Yukito had no problems with it, Jessie struggled to place the right parts and accidently swore in frustration, giving them a penalty. Because of this, Noboyuki and Tenchi were able to catch up, and both teams fixed their clocks at about the same time.

Touya and Yukito were the first team at the Haibane temple and the Road Block- requiring one person to wear a protective suit, enter the wall, and retrieve a substance called gold leaf. Touya took this assignment and entered the wall. Jessie and Ayla maintained a slim lead, and their agreement to alternate Road Blocks paid off as they had no communication problems when deciding who to do it: it was Jessie's turn. Tenchi volunteered for the Masaki team. As well as Jessie and Tenchi did, Touya was simply too far ahead and finished first. In the race between Jessie and Tenchi, however, Jessie struggled with the detailed, painstaking assignment, while Tenchi was able to focus and finished before the New Yorker.

At the Pit Stop at Old Home, where one group of Haibane lives, Touya & Yukito were the first team to arrive. Jessie tried to stage another comeback, but Noboyuki & Tenchi retained second place, leaving the rivals to finish last. It was a non-elimination leg, of course, but it still stung during the Pit Stop, especially with Jessie unable to voice her disappointment because of the town's silencing rules.

The next leg began with Touya and Yukito silently reading their card, directing them to a small stone formation at the woods. As they arrived, a tunnel appeared before them. They entered and soon found themselves in another world. Naturally, Noboyuki & Tenchi and Jessie & Ayla had the same experience as they reached the tunnel simultaneously. Inside the tunnel, the teams found a clue telling them to drive themselves to Ohtori Academy, only there were no cars available- just a strange machine. As the teams passed through the machine, they really understood the meaning of driving themselves as Yukito, Ayla, and Tenchi turned into cars! The road to Ohtori was more like a racetrack, which suited Jessie fine. She easily passed Noboyuki & Tenchi and gained ground on Touya & Yukito. The Tomoeda boys were the first to arrive at the academy and found their next clue directing them to find a clue hidden somewhere in the school's rose garden. Touya and Yukito did, which led them to the fencing club room. They remained in first place, but Jessie and Ayla were hot on their tails!

We now join Leg 13, already in progress!

(Touya and Yukito reach the fencing club room, and several students are sparring with each other. The boys see the route marker and pounce on it.)
[TOUYA & YUKITO- Best Friends / Students- 1st at Road Block]
Touya: Road Block. This person must be a duelist.

(Yukito smiles.)

(Student council president and Crispin Freeman character number five Touga Kiryuu takes the stage as he always does.)
Touga: A Road Block is a task handed down to only one. In this ritual, that person will have to defeat a student council member in a rose duel.

(Shot of two council-members sparring- vice-president Saionji Kyoichi, a typical a-hole as most vice-anythings tend to be, and Juri Arisugawa: notable for being the only character in the series that isn't bisexual... she's a lesbian. Nearby, Miki Kaoru is timing their match with his stopwatch.)

Touga: (VO) While the powers have opted out of using genuine swords, the format is the same- a rose will be pinned on the body, and the duel lasts until one rose falls. A team will receive the next clue only after winning one duel.

(Touya looks at Yukito nervously.)

Touya: Are you sure you want to do this?

Yukito: Yep.

Touya: Absolutely certain? Do you know anything about swordfighting?

Yukito: Nope!

(Touya shakes his head and hands over the clue.)

Touya: Neither do I.

(Yukito reads the details.)

Yukito: Sounds simple enough.

(Yukito walks up and introduces himself to Saionji.)

Saionji: What do you want?

Yukito: It's time to duel.

Saionji: Yes it is... Anthy! Rose me!

Juri: Anthy's not here, you twit.

(Saionji looks at Miki.)

Saionji: Miki! Rose me!

Miki: Sure...

(Yukito and Saionji each take a practice sword. Miki affixes a rose to each of their shirts. With a drop of a third rose, the match begins and Saionji is quick to strike. Yukito dodges out of the way quickly, but is unable to counter. Meanwhile, Jessie and Ayla show up.)
[JESSIE & AYLA- Rivals- 2nd at Road Block]
Jessie: Road Block...

(Jessie notices Saionji trying to chop Yukito's head off.)

Jessie: Damn, this looks like fun!

Ayla: Sorry, my turn.

Jessie: No sense arguing...

(Ayla takes the Road Block envelope, opens it, and quickly sets up a match against Juri. Jessie sits back with Touya.)

Jessie: I hate this.

(They continue watching the battle.)

Jessie: (VO) I had all the faith in the world in Ayla, but it was really difficult watching her take the Road Block. The whole race is on the line, and it just doesn't seem right when it's not in my hands.

(Noboyuki and Tenchi reach the rose garden and start sifting through the flowers. Tenchi finally comes up with the clue.)
[NOBOYUKI & TENCHI- Father & Son- Currently in Last Place]
Tenchi: Found it!

(Tenchi opens it.)

Tenchi: Find the route marker inside the Ohtori Academy fencing club.

Noboyuki: We'll ask someone on the way.

(They keep going.)

(Back at said fencing club, both Yukito and Ayla are realizing that Saionji and Juri are no Sakura- they're actually pretty good. Saionji is clearly the aggressor in Yukito's battle, but Yukito has been able to protect his rose. Ayla is getting a few strikes in, but Juri blocks easily, with quick counters forcing Ayla to block. Ayla ends up taking hits on the arm or side in order to make sure the rose is not struck. From the sidelines, Touya and Jessie cheer their partners on.)

Touya: You need to attack more Yuki!

Jessie: Keep it up Ayla, it's dead even!

(Ayla picks it up a little more and forces Juri on the defensive. Juri has no trouble with that, but the momentum shift is apparent. Meanwhile, Yukito tries a quick offensive move. Saionji dodges quickly and capitalizes by striking straight at the heart, just far enough to dismantle the rose. It falls to pieces on the floor. Saionji smiles cooly.)

Touya: Damn!

Jessie: Yuki just lost Ayla! Now's our chance!

(Yeah, right. Juri's not giving Ayla anything. As they rage on, Touya mumbles to himself angrily.)

Touya: Maybe we shouldn't leave our fate up to a voice actor reference...

(Yukito joins him, also mumbling to himself.)

Yukito: Mustn't run away, mustn't run away, mustn't run away...

(Although Ayla isn't coming close to Juri, Juri isn't doing much damage herself. Ayla is able to stay on the offensive, managing to quickly block any of Juri's counters. Ayla pauses for a moment, giving Juri a chance to swoop in from below to attack. Ayla quickly blocks it, then muscles Juri's arm away. Juri can't do anything about that, and Ayla is able to dive in instantly and knock Juri's rose away.)

Juri: No!

Jessie: Yes!

(Ayla bows once to a stunned Juri, and gets the clue from Touga. She takes it to Jessie, who hugs her.)

Jessie: You rule!

(Ayla says nothing. She just walks out of the room. Jessie follows.)

Ayla: Winning the first duel was certainly exciting, but I was just doing my part. This whole race was not determined by this lone Road Block. Because there was much behind us, and there was still more in store.

(Touya and Yukito have seen this as well. Touya shakes his head.)

Touya: Damn again...

(Yukito quickly stands up, grabs his sword, and gestures to Saionji for a rematch. Saionji stands up. Miki adorns them with roses.)

(Jessie and Ayla exit the room. Ayla opens the clue.)
[JESSIE & AYLA- Currently in 1st Place]
Jessie: Hold up...

(They stop and try to look innocent as Noboyuki and Tenchi run in.)

Jessie: Okay.

Ayla: Find the entrance to the Duel Arena in the nearby forest.

(Rapid shots through the forest to a big ol' gate sitting seemingly in the middle of nowhere. There is a route marker on the outside, which is either a deep metaphor or something that Utena Tenjou needs to explain.)
Utena: (VO) Teams must find the entrance to the Duel Arena. They will not be able to enter, however. A route marker nearby will guide them further.

(Noboyuki and Tenchi reach their clue. Yukito is still going at it with Saionji.)
[NOBOYUKI & TENCHI- Last at Road Block]
Noboyuki: Road Block. This person must be a duelist.

Tenchi: I guess I have to do it, don't I?

(Noboyuki hands him the clue.)

Noboyuki: Don't complain. I had to drive the car!

Tenchi: I had to *be* the car!

Noboyuki: True...

(As Juri is off somewhere angsting about her loss, Miki takes a sword and prepares to engage in battle. Meanwhile, Touya nervously watches Tenchi as roses are donned and Touga begins the fight.)

Touya: (VO) I was really nervous when Tenchi showed up. We started the Road Block in last place. Having Jessie and Ayla pass us was already cause for concern, but Tenchi's an experienced swordfighter against someone who didn't look as strong as Yuki's opponent.

(Yukito is very passive this time, blocking everything that Saionji throws. Saionji gets more and more frustrated and gets a little more rash in his attacks. Out of nowhere, Yukito finds his opportunity, strikes, and a quick jab slices Saionji's rose.)

Saionji: No!!

Touya: Yes!!

(As Yukito quickly runs to claim his clue, Tenchi clearly holds an advantage over Miki. With a little bit of coaching from Noboyuki, he's able to take down the piano man in no time.)

Noboyuki: Yes!!

Touya: No!!

(Miki nods in concession. Tenchi ends up getting the clue right behind Yukito.)

Noboyuki: Nice work. That caught us right up.

Tenchi: We're not playing for second Dad.

Noboyuki: That's the spirit!

(Tenchi opens the clue.)

Tenchi: Find the entrance to the Duel Arena in the nearby forest.

Noboyuki: It's a footrace now.

(Tenchi nods and the two chase after Touya and Yukito.)

(In a creepy forest outside the school, Jessie and Ayla are looking around for the entrance.)

Jessie: Do you suppose it's something noticeable, or is it hidden in a tree or something?

Ayla: Which way to the rabbit hole?

(Both stop. Their mouths fall open.)

Jessie: That's one big rabbit.

Ayla: With a flower fetish at that.

(Noticeable doesn't begin to describe the entrance, with the giant rose in front of them. The whole effect diminishes the route marker in front of the gate. Jessie runs up to it and grabs the clue.)

Jessie: So how do we get in?

(She opens the clue.)

Jessie: Detour. Shounen or Shoujo.

(An oni pops out of the box.)

Jessie: Oh no...

(That's right: it's Abenobashi time! Mysterious old man Eutus narrates as we are treated to rapid montages of all fourteen series we have visited so far.)
Eutus: (VO) A Detour is a diversion. Two tasks to choose from; both lead to the same conclusion. In this Detour, teams will need to choose one of two paths through the previous worlds they have visited. The paths are known as Shounen and Shoujo.

(Shot of one list, with seven names on it: “Belldandy, Chii, Jura, Madame President, Miss Deep, Shayla Shayla, Yuri.”)

Eutus: (VO) In Shounen, teams will receive a list of seven names in alphabetical order. Teams must hop from dimension to dimension in the order they met each of these seven.

(Shot of a woman dressed up as Yuri. This is Mune-Mune, a redhead with huge... tracts of land.)

Eutus: (VO) In each dimension they must find the lost spirit Mune-Mune, who will be dressed as that person. Given her... features- she is not hard to spot. If they are indeed going in the correct order, Mune-Mune will give them an oni to go to the next world. If not, they will have to wait five minutes for me to arrive and bail them out.

(Shot of the second list: “Haku, Yuriko, Youta, Sasuke, Raquel, Reki, Anthy.”)

Eutus: (VO) In Shoujo, the teams will again have to hop dimensions, but instead of finding the same person, they will have to find whoever is on the list. Since some of the names only had a minor role in their leg, recalling them may prove difficult. However, the names are listed in chronological order and mainly consist of worlds visited more recently in the race.

(Jessie and Ayla ponder the decision, using the lists frequently for reference.)

Jessie: I don't remember what half of these people look like. If this one girl's as recognizable as it says, we'd be better off going with that one.

Ayla: Sure. So where do we begin?

Jessie: That Madame President was early on. She was in... uh... Kanazawa?

Ayla: Kogane. That means unless there was someone from the Spirit World, that's our first stop.

Jessie: Let's see... Chii was later on, I don't know Jura or Miss Deep...

Ayla: Shayla Shayla is in El Hazard.

Jessie: Yuri... was that the old woman who ran the bathhouse?

Ayla: No. Yuri was the Dirty Pair girl.

Jessie: Right. Wanna take our chances with Kogane then?

Ayla: I don't know. We still haven't placed Jura or Miss Deep.

(Jessie looks back.)

Jessie: We don't have much time. Yuki's not going to be losing forever.

Ayla: Wait... wasn't that Jura I just beat?

Jessie: Maybe. Look, let's take a shot. It's better than 50-50 the way I see it.

Ayla: Fine. Let's do it. Oni- Kogane City please.

(The oni draws the line and away we go!)

Jessie / Ayla: Kyu kyu noritsuge!!

(They vanish.)

(Outside the academy, Touya and Yukito are jogging. Touya points.)

Touya: Forest. That way.

(Noboyuki and Tenchi appear from behind them, sprinting. Yukito looks back.)

Yukito: Touya, we've got company!

(The two start running faster. Once again, while Tenchi could keep up with them, Noboyuki can't, and the father/son team quickly falls behind. Noboyuki begins to tire.)

Noboyuki: Can't quit yet!!

Tenchi: It's not over. Keep going!

(Noboyuki pushes on.)

(Kogane City. Jessie and Ayla were smart enough to arrive at the Katsuda campaign headquarters. However, they forgot one thing.)

Ayla: Where is she?

Jessie: We had to bike to her table.

Ayla: Right.

(They see a couple bikes nearby. With nobody looking, they take them.)

Ayla: Do you remember the way?

Jessie: Let's hope so!

(They bike along the same path as the GoldenBoy Road Block, until they find the cafe. Mune-Mune is sitting on a table, waving. She is dressed in the classic outfit that Madame President was wearing in the series opening scene. Anyone who has a mental image now has removed any doubts about why this Detour option is “Shounen.”)

Jessie: That has to be her.

(They abandon the bikes and walk up to her.)

Jessie: Mune-Mune?

Mune-Mune: Hi! Here for the goods?

Ayla: Which ones?

Mune-Mune: Funny. Do you have your card?

(Jessie hands her the Shounen checklist. Mune-Mune stamps the “Madame President” box and gives Jessie an oni.)

Jessie: Great. I think Belldandy was next.

Ayla: She was the one at the temple...

(Ayla eyes Mune-Mune.)

Ayla: ...Wearing something more tasteful.

(They vanish again.)

(Touya and Yukito reach the Detour. Yukito gets the clue. Touya gets the oni.)
[TOUYA & YUKITO- 2nd at Detour]
Yukito: Detour. Shounen or Shoujo.

(Yukito reads the clue in detail... to himself.)

Touya: Well?

Yukito: I'm reading. Basically it says we have to go back to each world and find each of the names on one of these lists.

(Yukito hands Touya the Shounen list.)

Yukito: On yours, it's in the wrong order and we have to find somebody dressed as that person.

Touya: (unsettled) In order? Oh boy...

(Yukito looks at his list.)

Yukito: Haku. I remember that one. He was the boy that gave us that fruit in the Spirit World.

Touya: Then lead the way. We need to get out of here before Noboyuki and Tenchi show up.

(They set the oni down and prepare to walk the other path.)

(At the Tariki-honganji temple in Kogane, Jessie and Ayla knock on the door. Mune-Mune in Belldandy robes? I'm sure some people will get a kick out of it.)

Mune-Mune: Oh my!

(Skuld runs in.)

Skuld: Who is it?!

Mune-Mune: Skuld, please. I'm with company.

(Mune-Mune shoves her aside, stamps the list and gives them an oni.)

Mune-Mune: Would you like to stay for tea?

(Jessie shuts the door.)
[JESSIE & AYLA- 2/7 Stamps Collected]
Jessie: Shayla Shayla next?

Ayla: We only met her at the Pit Stop.

Jessie: Sweet. I liked that Pit Stop.

(They hop over to El Hazard, and the Spring of Arliman. It doesn't take them long to find Mune-Mune soaking in one of the springs, wearing only a towel.)

Jessie: Mune-Mune!!

(She turns and notices them.)

Mune-Mune: Hey! Hop on in!

Jessie: No time. Just your stamp and your oni please.

(Mune-Mune seems to have no place to store a stamp. But she pulls it out of somewhere and stamps the card. She also pulls an oni out of the spring. Probably an extra from the start of Leg 5.)

Jessie: Great. That's three. Now where?

Ayla: Who's left?

Jessie: Chii, Miss Deep, Jura, and Yuri.

Ayla: Chii's definitely after Yuri. Yuri was after we got back from space, right?

Jessie: Right.

Ayla: Then she's definitely not next. One of those girls from the Nirvana have to be on the list.

Jessie: How do you know?

(Ayla points to Mune-Mune.)

Ayla: You haven't noticed the abundant fan service?

Jessie: Oh. Gotcha. What about before that leg?

Ayla: That's what we have to figure out.

(At the town outside the Abura-ya bathhouse, Touya and Yukito run outside, and find Haku, our second-favorite dragon half, wondering around.)

Touya / Yukito: Haku!!

Haku: (pleasant) Here for the stamp?

Touya: Yes, thank you.

Haku: Here you are.

(As Haku stamps their list, an oni bounces up from behind them.)

Haku: And there's your transporting spirit.

Touya: So who's next?

Yukito: Excellent, it's Yuriko.

Touya: Her again?? Why is that excellent.

Yukito: I didn't see anybody else doing that Fast Forward.

Touya: Oh yeah...

(They teleport to the Soyokaze.)

Yukito: Everybody met pretty much everybody at the Pit Stop of each leg, but we were the only ones who used the Fast Forward aboard the Soyokaze, so Yuriko Star is a part of our race experience and is easier for us to remember.

(Noboyuki and Tenchi reach the gate.)
[NOBOYUKI & TENCHI- Last at Detour]
Tenchi: Shounen or Shoujo, Dad.

Noboyuki: Shounen, of course.

Tenchi: You don't want to know what each of them are?

Noboyuki: Nope.

(Tenchi reads the details.)

Tenchi: Doesn't really look like it matters. We have to find one person in seven worlds, dressed up as a character on this list. Only problem is that we have to do it in the order we met them.

Noboyuki: So who's first?

Tenchi: I don't know. Who did we meet in the Spirit World?

Noboyuki: Uh... that old bag? Yubaba?

(Tenchi looks at the list.)

Tenchi: Anyone else?

Noboyuki: The slime monster?

Tenchi: Madame President it is.

(They head to Kogane.)

(Back in El Hazard, Ayla is scrutinizing both lists carefully. Jessie is walking around, getting impatient.)

Jessie: Jeez, Ayla, if you're going to take any longer, I'm going to hop in these springs.

Mune-Mune: Don't knock it until you've tried it!

Ayla: I've figured out just about everybody except Jura and Miss Deep.

Jessie: So you haven't gotten anywhere??!!

Ayla: No. Crossing off the places on the other list, we have only three possibilities.

Jessie: Why three?

Ayla: I don't remember who Yuriko was.

Jessie: Wasn't she the paper airplane thrower?

Ayla: Could be. But there's also the space legs. The Soyokaze and the Nirvana. I think Jura was on the Nirvana.

Jessie: So it's either New York or space. Lovely.

Ayla: Or London.

Jessie: London?

Ayla: The paper user was named The Paper remember?

Jessie: I think so. Go on.

Ayla: Miss Deep sounds like another inane British nickname to me.

Jessie: True. But you can't judge this time period's Britain based on Britain from our time.

Ayla: Jessie, the Britain in our time is underwater.

Jessie: Yeah, but...

Ayla: Second point- who from the Soyokaze was in in a skimpy outfit?

Jessie: You don't buy Mune-Mune in a military uniform? What about that one woman? The one that did Touya and Yukito's Fast Forward?

Ayla: Oh... wasn't her name...

Jessie / Ayla: Yuriko...

(They pause.)

Ayla: London it is.

(Speaking of Yuriko, Touya and Yukito get a stamp from her at the Marine quarters, then pop over to Tokyo and visit Youta's house for another.)
[TOUYA & YUKITO- 3/7 Stamps Collected]
Yukito: Sasuke's next.

Touya: Who's that?

Yukito: He's a ninja. You were too busy fighting your sister to notice him.

Touya: Konoha?

Yukito: Konoha!

(They head out.)

(Jessie and Ayla arrive at the LSO headquarters in London. It hasn't burned down or nothing, so it's still a really big library.)

Jessie: I was hoping to forget about this place.

Ayla: Come on...

(They run to Joker's office. Joker is not there, but Mune-Mune, dressed in the Miss Deep catsuit, is there. Jessie smiles.)

Jessie: Yep. Fanservice.

(Mune-Mune stamps the Miss Deep box.)

Ayla: I don't remember meeting any Miss Deep.

Mune-Mune: Perhaps if somebody had used the Fast Forward on this leg... oh well! I must be off!

(Mune-Mune steps back, turns around, and walks through the wall. Er... rather she tries to walk through the wall and ends up walking *into* the wall.)

Mune-Mune: (woozy) Oh... right...

(She falls down.)

Jessie: So the Nirvana's next?

Ayla: Yep.

(Noboyuki and Tenchi knock on Belldandy's door and are treated to Norse god Mune-Mune, who stamps their card and gives them an oni.)
[NOBOYUKI & TENCHI- 2/7 Stamps Collected]
Noboyuki: Couldn't forget that one, huh?

Tenchi: Nope. So who's next?

Noboyuki: Don't know. Recognize anyone on the list from El Hazard?

(Tenchi looks at the lists.)

Tenchi: Uh... nope.

Noboyuki: What do you mean nope?

Tenchi: Dad, we used the Fast Forward. And the princesses aren't on the list.

Noboyuki: Is Alielle?

Tenchi: No, thank God.

(Mune-Mune opens the door.)

Mune-Mune: You're welcome!

(She shuts the door just as quickly.)

(Touya and Yukito find Sasuke, who is at the gate outside the Forest of Death. He doesn't say much- just hands over the clue.)
[TOUYA & YUKITO- 4/7 Stamps Collected]
Yukito: From here it's right down the line- Raquel at the church, Reki in Glie, and Anthy at the academy.

Touya: The church was outside Taurus, right?

(Using their oni, they head to just outside Taurus in Dustvin.)

(On the Nirvana, Jessie and Ayla have a slight problem.)

Ayla: Do you remember what Jura looked like?

Jessie: I don't remember who Jura is.

(Ayla pulls somebody aside. She has a weird floaty thing on her shoulder.)

Ayla: Have you seen a woman around here with unbelievably large breasts?

Misty: You're going to have to be more specific than that.

Ayla: Someone that isn't usually here.

Misty: Oh. Can't help you. Everybody that's not supposed to be here is...

(The weird blob on Misty's shoulder is point to her.)

Misty: Quiet you.

Jessie: Ayla, let's check the launching bay. If she's not there, we'll try the bridge.

Ayla: Good idea. It's not the Pit Stop room. Her name was Dita.

(They check the launching bay and find Mune-Mune. Of course, Jura's bust is pretty close to Mune-Mune's so the outfit doesn't look all that weird on her. They get their stamp and oni and set up for the next destination.)
[JESSIE & AYLA- 5/7 Stamps Collected]
Ayla: World's World.

Jessie: Specify Ayla. We want the boarding school.

(They lift off.)

(Noboyuki and Tenchi are preparing to lift off from the temple, but Tenchi stops.)

Tenchi: Hold on.

Noboyuki: What? We agreed we have to go to El Hazard, right?

Tenchi: We need to think about where. We can't afford to hovercraft if we pick the wrong spot.

Noboyuki: Oh. Right. Do we want the city or the oasis.

Tenchi: Exactly. Let's see, we had Rune Venus, Fatora, and Alielle at the Fast Forward. Who was manning the Detour?

Noboyuki: Um... I didn't ask anybody.

Tenchi: Lovely. If we go to the Pit Stop and it was someone from the Detour or Road Block, we're done for.

Noboyuki: Tenchi, we're behind anyway, so we need to pick something and stick to it.

(Tenchi closes his eyes.)

Tenchi: Right. Pit Stop then?

Noboyuki: Let's go.

(They head to the Spring of Arliman.)

Tenchi: (VO) Figuring out where to go in El Hazard really slowed us down. We didn't remember much from that leg. Part of it was because of the Fast Forward, but part of it was also the fact that we really were having problems. We weren't really thinking about meeting people and remembering names.

(Meanwhile Touya and Yukito find Raquel at the church outside Taurus.)
[TOUYA & YUKITO- 5/7 Stamps Collected]
Raquel: Here you go!

Yukito: Is it alright if we leave here?

Raquel: Certainly! I want to see this spell at work.

Touya: Reki was at the Pit Stop right?

Yukito: Yep. Old Home in Glie.

(The oni does its thing.)

Touya / Yukito: Kyu kyu noritsuge!

(They arrive just inside Old Home and quickly enter and run up the stairs. Sure enough, Reki is there cooking. Nemu is also relaxing on the couch. Yukito notices her sitting up.)

Touya: R...

(Yukito quickly covers Touya's mouth. Whether or not the “no talking” rule is still in effect is anyone's guess, but they don't want to risk a penalty from Nemu.)

Nemu: (smiling) Did you say something Touya?

(Yukito smiles and shakes his head. Nemu smiles back and stands up. Reki has the stamp ready.)

Reki: I suppose you're here for this.

(They nod, both nervously. Reki stamps the card and gives them an oni. Touya gestures to go outside. Yukito nods. They run outside. Kana and Kuu are waiting for them.)

Kana: How's it going?

Kuu: Man, who said this foreigners-can't-talk law was stuffy? This is fun!

(The oni also looks up at Touya and Yukito. It needs to know where to go. On the back of the checklist, Yukito writes “Ohtori Academy” and shows it to the oni. The oni begins the ritual, with the three Haibane watching. Finally...)

Touya / Yukito: Kyu kyu noritsuge!!

Nemu / Kana / Kuu: Five minute...

(Touya and Yukito vanish in front of the haibane's accusing fingers.)

Kuu: They're gone...

Nemu: So that's what they sound like.

(Kana shakes her head.)

Kana: Another brick in the wall.

(Jessie and Ayla reach the Sweet Seventeen Academy. Mune-Mune certainly does a lot to fill out the Dirty Pair uniform.)

Mune-Mune: Hi! Say, have you seen Eutus anywhere? I have a date tonight.

Jessie: We don't know who Eutus is. Just stamp this thing.

Mune-Mune: Aw...

(Mune-Mune stamps the card and gives them an oni.)
[JESSIE & AYLA- 6/7 Stamps Collected]

Mune-Mune: Isn't that oni a cute little guy?

Ayla: No.

Jessie: We have to get to that apartment in Tokyo and find Chii.

(Player? C5 them to Tokyo, Japan!)

(Noboyuki and Tenchi manage to find Mune-Mune as hot springs Nanami. Of course, by now it's pretty obvious that they're way behind.)
[NOBOYUKI & TENCHI- 3/7 Stamps Collected]

Noboyuki: So who's next?

Tenchi: Uh... I don't know.

Noboyuki: What do you mean?

Tenchi: I don't remember meeting Jura or Miss Deep.

Noboyuki: Jura's one of the pilots on the Nirvana.

Tenchi: You remember that?

Noboyuki: Hard to forget her!

Tenchi: What about Miss Deep?

Noboyuki: I have a feeling I'd remember that one.

Tenchi: Shoot. Think it could be in London or the Soyokaze?

Noboyuki: Probably. Wanna try London?

Tenchi: Pick something and stick to it I guess.

Noboyuki: Well, there's worse places to get stuck in a dimensional hole than London.

(They take off.)

(Touya and Yukito are back at the rose garden. They see Anthy watering the flowers with Chu Chu.)

Touya / Yukito: Anthy!!

(They turn around to make sure there are no Haibane waiting to penalize them.)

Anthy: Welcome! Are you here for your final stamp?

(Yukito hands over the card. Anthy stamps it.)

Anthy: Congratulations. Here is your prize.

(Anthy bows and hands them a clue card... and a signet ring with a rose emblazoned on it. Touya opens the card.)

Touya: Congratulations, you have arrived back at Ohtori Academy. Using the ring, you have been granted access to the finish line- the Dueling Arena.

(Rapid shots of a whole mess of stairs leading up to the Dueling Arena in the clouds, below an upside-down castle in the heavens.)
Satoshi: (VO) Using the ring, teams now have the ability to enter the dueling arena. This sacred locale, where revolutions are made, is the finish line.

(Jessie and Ayla arrive at the apartment complex. They quickly run inside.)

(Touya and Yukito rush out of the academy- back to the forest.)

Yukito: Here we go again!

(Jessie and Ayla find the right apartment. They knock on the door. Chii answers.)

Chii: Chii?

(Jessie holds out her card. Chii takes it and goes into the room.)

Jessie: We're, uh, kind of in hurry you know!

(Chii stamps it and gives them a small box. Ayla takes it and quickly opens it. Inside is an oni, a ring, and a clue. Takes the oni and the ring. Ayla opens the clue.)

Ayla: Congratulations, you may now use the ring to gain access to the finish line- the Dueling Arena.

Jessie: No time to waste then!

(The two run out as Chii watches them, with a blank stare.)

(Touya and Yukito reach the entrance to the forest and they quickly rush in.)

Touya: Come on! We're almost there!

Yukito: Don't need to tell me twice!

(As soon as Jessie and Ayla arrive outside, the oni goes to work. The two clasp hands and shout.)

Jessie / Ayla: KYU KYU NORITSUGE!!

(They are whisked away...)

(Closeup of the ring, being worn on somebody's hand. The hand grabs a handle at the entrance to the arena. In a strange series of events, a droplet of water falls on the ring, and the blockade begins to move. The large rose lifts, revealing on the other side- a huge spiral staircase. Pan down. Standing in front of the staircase is an awestruck Jessie and Ayla.)

Ayla: Come on...

(As the haunting sounds of “Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku” resound in the background, Jessie and Ayla quickly jog up to the staircase. They start to ascend, but don't get very far. On the staircase they are greeted by two figures. A boy and a girl... clapping.)

Chiharu: Way to go!!

Yamazaki: Hi! I'm Yamazaki; I don't think we've met.

(Jessie and Ayla smile and proceed on. Farther along the staircase they reach Minato and Yukina, both eagerly cheering the two on as they make the climb. Next up- Seta and Keitaro.)

Seta: Congratulations girls.

Jessie: Thank you.

(Higher up on the totem pole- Nabiki and Kasumi.)

Nabiki: Not too bad, ladies.

(Nabiki high-fives Jessie. Jessie smiles as they keep going up.)

(Touya and Yukito reach the staircase. Yukito dons the ring and the gate opens to show the staircase. They take a deep breath and start running silently.)

(Jessie and Ayla reach May and Max, both cheering quite loudly.)

May: We love you Jessie!

Ayla: Since when?

(Jessie laughs. They move along to Yukari and Minamo. The teachers are quite happy to see the two.)

Yukari: Alright! You show those kids who's in charge!

Ayla: We're the same age.

Yukari: Doesn't matter!

(Jessie and Ayla pass them and reach the top of the staircase. On the large and lavish dueling arena in the clouds, a platform is set up on the other side. Besides Satoshi and Arumi on the platform itself, fourteen others are lined up in front. On one side, from front to back- Chihiro, the real Belldandy, Yomiko, Hibiki, Ai, Naruto and Rakka. On the other side- Kintaro, Makoto, Tylor, Kei, Hideki, Pacifica and Utena. All are cheering on Jessie and Ayla. Jessie notes all of them, then turns to Ayla.)

Jessie: Hey Ayla... race you to the finish line.

(Ayla smiles. They set their bags aside and line up.)

Ayla: Ready... go.

(They sprint, full speed, at the finish line. Somehow they manage to stay at the same speed. Nearing the end, Jessie extends a hand, Ayla takes it, and the both step on the finish line platform at the same time. Satoshi and Arumi step forward although the competitors can barely contain their excitement for the official word.)

Arumi: Jessie and Ayla you have been through it all!

Satoshi: You have been through six countries, six dimensions, three planets, and a pair of spaceships.

Arumi: Most important of all you've been through fifteen different animes, all of which are present and accounted for.

Satoshi: And in the end: Jessie and Ayla you are the official winners of the Anime-zing Race!!

(Ayla pumps a fist, cracking a bright smile. Overwhelmed by emotion, all Jessie can do is look skyward. She raises both hands up and points at the hanging castle to give her props to somebody up there. Dios? Ayla hugs Jessie and the blonde lowers her arms to receive it. Both revel in victory without saying much.)

(Touya and Yukito pass Yamaki and Riley. Riley is smiling brightly.)

Riley: Good work boys.

(Touya and Yukito smile and nod to their former alliance partners. Next up the ladder is Lina and Gourry. Lina smiles.)

Lina: Baka-Yuki.

(Yukito laughs. They keep going to find Koji and Koichi.)

Koji: Nice work.

Koichi: Way to go guys.

(Back up top, Jessie and Ayla are finally starting to settle down, although both are naturally excited.)

Satoshi: How do you feel?

Arumi: Sasshi they just won the race; how do you think they feel?

Ayla: This is incredible. Just to be taken in every direction imaginable, and forced to compete every step of the way.

Jessie: We really had to reach deep to get to where we're standing. And you know this wouldn't mean anything to me if it weren't for Ayla. She really was the spine of the team and we wouldn't have gotten anywhere if she hadn't held me together.

(They hug once more.)

Jessie: Even so, this wouldn't be as great if it weren't for a couple others.

Satoshi: Who's that?

Ayla: Here they come.

(Touya and Yukito are at the top of the staircase and see the platform... and Jessie and Ayla already there. Touya frowns momentarily, but Yukito pats his back. Touya shrugs it off and they jog up to the Pit Stop mat, to the applause of everybody.)

Arumi: Touya and Yukito? Congratulations you're team number two.

Yukito: (bright) Thank you.

(Touya nods. He and Yukito hug. Arumi raises an eyebrow.)

Arumi: Ooh.

Satoshi: When in Rome...

(They release and head to congratulate the victors. Now Touya smiles as he and Jessie shake hands and hug.)

Touya: Nice work.

Jessie: Thanks. You guys rule. Couldn't have done it without you.

Touya: No, you probably could have.

Jessie: But it wouldn't have been as fun!

(Touya nods. Yukito and Ayla are exchanging similar words.)

Yukito: Wonderful little race, wasn't it?

Ayla: I wouldn't call it little, but yes.

(They switch off, with Jessie and Yukito hugging and Touya and Ayla shaking hands.)

Touya: (VO) We knew this would come down to us or them. And in the end, they were just barely able to hang on. With that Detour as crazy as it was, it could have gone either way. But after all the energy we blew trying to get on each others' nerves, I'm just glad one of us made it.

Yukito: From the moment Ayla chased down that JAIC program ahead of Touya, we were rivals. I'm sure we wouldn't have been nearly as emotionally involved if Jessie and Ayla hadn' t pushed us. But that works in reverse too. We made them stronger in return, and that's why they won.

(The perennial underdogs remain so, but it's hard to see any disappointment on the faces of Noboyuki and Tenchi as they reach the top of the stairs and join the party. They step on the mat, both smiling.)

Satoshi: Noboyuki and Tenchi? Congratulations. You're team number three.

Noboyuki: Fine by me.

(Noboyuki motions for a high-five. Tenchi responds by hugging him. They get pretty decent applause from everybody, including Jessie & Ayla. They manage to make their peace.)

Noboyuki: (VO) It took a while, but it's really clear that I got everything I wanted from this race. This was an adventure between a father and his boy, and we certainly got that. We had our good and bad moments, sure, but in the end I think he respects me a little more. I don't think I need to go on about how great Tenchi is, because if he was able to pull me through this and do his old man proud, that speaks for itself.

(Not only are the final three greeted by the other fourteen leg representatives, but the previous nine teams ascend the staircase and join in the festivities. Many of the women, namely Yukari, Minato & Yukina and Nabiki & Kasumi are the first to congratulate the winners. The monster sibs are with them, with May and Koichi still staying pretty close. Minamo, Lina & Gourry and Yamaki & Riley join Touya & Yukito, as do Chiharu & Yamazaki. Noboyuki and Tenchi are popular among Seta & Keitaro, along with many series reps like Kintaro, Belldandy, Makoto, Tylor, and Hideki.)

Tenchi: (VO) Looking back on everything, it's a miracle how much we accomplished in such a short time. We did everything, we went everywhere, in the end we went everywhere again... it really is amazing. And I do feel closer to my father. I found out what kind of person he really is. His imperfections make me love him even more because he's a true person and connected to me through blood rather than some intangible like prophecy or fate. Dad and I did this together, and for every time we argued, there were moments when he saved us from the brink and kept us going.

(General mingling once more, with everybody certain to give Jessie and Ayla their regards.)

May: So what are you doing with the money?

Jessie: Oh, this race is paying for a whole lot of races and sports equipment and scholarships back in New York.

Yukito: (pleasant) You're using the money to help those inner-city kids you were talking about? Well, we should have just let you win then.

Jessie: Not on your life, Yuki!

(The party continues.)

Ayla: (VO) When you begin a long race, it's hard to fathom exactly what you're throwing yourself into. We certainly didn't. I think Jessie and I were more uncomfortable early on than we let on, even when we were successful. It was only after we found common ground with the races we've run all our lives- the dramatic comebacks, the wall, the second wind, and especially the heated rival. Even when they're in the lane next to you and you can't touch them, you recognize their presence and step up in order to go faster.

Jessie: Touya and Yukito were the reason we won. No doubt about it. They were able to match our abilities at every turn, and every time they found a way to surpass us motivated us further to catch up. They forced us to step up and fight the way this race demands you to fight. I haven't felt like that since racing against Ayla. Without somebody to bring out your best, no victory is fulfilling.

(Group shot! Kneeling in the front row, from left to right- Chihiro, Chiharu, Yamazaki, Nabiki, Kasumi, Gourry, Lina, Koji, Koichi & May who still can't keep their arms off each other, Max, Yukina, and Naruto. Second row- Pacifica, Riley, Yamaki, Yukari, Minamo, Touya, Yukito, Noboyuki, Tenchi, Seta, Keitaro, Minato directly above Yukina, and Ai. Third row- Kei, Hibiki, Makoto, Belldandy, Kintaro, Satoshi raising the arm of Jessie, Ayla having her arm raised by Arumi, Utena, Tylor, Yomiko, Hideki, and Rakka. Zoom out and fade up to show a good shot at the mirage castle above them, for they are at the end of the race at the ends of the Earth.)

The End

Author's Notes
Say what you want about the decision to abbreviate the ending, but the final moments of the leg were something I was really looking forward to, particularly the rose duel Road Block and the finish line at one of the most famous locations in anime. Utena is a very misunderstood series, as it really does have something for everybody. I guess where it gets misunderstood is that sexual miscreants are included in “everybody.” I wasn't joking about Juri being the only character who isn't bisexual. Just be glad Akio didn't show up and I didn't take too many liberties with Touga.

Since Minamo's elimination meant no more Aya Hisakawa references (she's Miki, Mune-Mune, and Skuld), we'll have to settle for the obvious reference hinted at in the Road Block. Yukito's seiyuu also does the voice of Yugi Moto and Shinji Ikari.

The Detour here is a combined effort of recognizing previous legs (the real series often has a “remember past legs” final Road Block) and trying to figure out how the hell to work in an Abenobashi leg without actually returning to Osaka. This let me do both, as well as fully introducing you to Mune-Mune, who is a rather complicated figure in the series. One of the appeals of Abenobashi is that it goes as deep as you want it to and there's some pretty angsty stuff going on in the background. As for returning to previous legs, this was particularly helpful in getting Haibane Renmei some screen time as it is a really good series, even if the leg proved to be even more meaningless than last year's Gate Keepers leg.

As I said last time, none of the three teams really fit the mold of a team you'd pick to the be the winner. Noboyuki & Tenchi had the whole problem of Noboyuki being a jerk for half the race and Tenchi being a previous winner that has been in the finals every single time he's competed in anything (Mole 1, Roomies, AAVGS... Shougai!). Touya & Yukito were right out since Cardcaptor Sakura won last time, although I really strived to make you forget that by writing Team Bishounen to be totally different than Syaoran & Meiling. Anyone who did remember CCS's win in Season 1 probably treated Touya & Yukito like the “young, fit, male best friends” that always seem to win the real series (let the comparisons to Reichen & Chip begin). As for Jessie & Ayla- as much as Battle Athletes contributes to the reality knockoff industry (and the fact that they've only failed to reach the finals once- and that was Akari), there seems to be something taboo about actually letting one of their characters win. Probably has something to do with that ridiculous strength and detached setting bit.

So why did they win? Because they were the favorites that everybody was guaranteed to overlook. After the underdogs pulled it off last time, I thought it was time for one of the natural favorites to win. Especially a team that nobody would consider. Check this- in the opening poll when people had to pick the team that would win the entire race, only two teams did not receive a vote- Chiharu & Yamazaki... and Jessie & Ayla. This had me laughing to the bank, especially after AR5 ended and my preseason pick to win it all was Chip & Kim. Oh yes, and if you haven't been paying attention, the theme of this story was rivalry.

Even if nobody picked Jessie and Ayla at first, some people eventually got the memo. Of course, eerily enough, the bonus points for picking the winner did not change the final three (it only really gave one person a big boost- from 9th to 5th). In third place, despite a few troublesome rounds, he scored consistently in the 50's and 60's when it counted. He also picked Jessie & Ayla to win right after their miracle comeback in Bekomi. With 536 points- Daneel Rush!

Our runner-up went under the radar for the first half of the series, especially after missing the Read or Die leg. But that was flanked by a 76 on El Hazard and an 80 on Captain Tylor, which turned heads immediately as the name was frequently on the top of the leaderboard- even with a missed pick. But a virtually “free” pick on Dirty Pair wasn't that helpful and running out of Touya & Yukito picks kept this one out of the winner's circle. With 559 points- Chou Nuriko!

And finally, he took the top score in Spirited Away and consistent performances gave him an early lead. He struggled in the space legs, but took off with a 66 on Dirty Pair. Good pick management, coupled with an 80 point bonus for picking Jessie & Ayla before Ah My Goddess and an astounding 175 points in the finale (out of 200) put it out of reach. With 621 points my very first non-Chromus champion (although I hear he's in the MG2 running as well)- Joe Klemm! He'll win a DVD for any of the 15 series featured in AR2 (or something in equivalent like a Naruto manga or something). Chou and Daneel will get suitable “runner-up” prizes which will be determined later.

There is still an outside chance of me going back and finishing up the Haibane Renmei leg and writing the car scene (when I look at the page count, this “little epilogue” turned out to be 2/3rds the length of an episode). But for now Level 3 beckons, as does a possible Princess Nine series that is showing a lot of potential. So until either I backtrack and finish or AR3 comes along, this is the absolute destiny apocolypse.