THE ANIME-MAZING RACE 3

Just like a wolf, I can smell blood…

* * * *

Welcome to our second lesson in the art of Miyazaki. We now go from the witches to the princesses. How ironic, that is the witch that’s the sweetie-pie and the princess that is scary.

Princess Mononoke is a real favourite of mine – it was the first anime film I watched on DVD and remains a masterpiece. I even like it more than the more acclaimed (but still fantastic) Spirited Away – it’s just a great story with blazing animation, a great cast and more depth and storyline than anything Disney can come up with…aside from casting world domination…(It’s Gendo…)

Ashitaka, if you recall, was actually part of one of my early reality works – the Anime and Video Game Survivor Series. Always the straight man, he’s a noble warrior who is divided between two sides, which almost ended in tragedy. But I’ve had enough tragedy after the last leg, so I’ll try to avoid the bloody baths…

Anyway, let’s see if we can get the true story of Mononoke Hime, in AR3 style…

* * * *

(We have a shot of two sides of the equations, boys…and girls. On the men side, all but one male character have gathered in the recreation room, as Shannon, Hiroyuki, Sasuke and Naruto sees what Jose and co do when they aren’t being fratellos…)

(…whilst at the dorms, Akari, Riku, Risa and Racquel are enjoying some relaxation with the girls…oh, and Triela had ‘kidnapped’ Hale (Weda of course egging her on) as he ‘reluctantly’ joins in with some talking.)

(Outside, Mirielle and Kirika watch some gun training…and casually ask to join in. As they do, Henrietta takes control as our host again.)

Henrietta: This is the Pit Stop. This is where the 6 still remaining teams can enjoy being at the Social Welfare Agency as guests. Here, they can eat…

(Fine Itallian spaghetti and ravioli are the day in the canteen, much better than your average school canteen, as Naruto readily agrees.)

Henrietta: Sleep…

(Triela’s attempts to swindle Hale into her room is forbidden by Claes – Hale escapes that bullet (pun intended) as the girls slumber around Triela, Claes, Rico and Angelica.)

Henrietta: (blushing) …how can Triela be so forward…(realises she has to finish)…and mingle with the other teams.

(Shannon avoids eye contact (literally) with Sasuke as Jose teaching him the deadly art…of playing pool. Needless to say, Shannon gets his butt whooped…)

(…Naruto gets his skills sharpened by the very talented GSG girls, as Claes and Rico give him a run for his money in a training area, whilst Akari and Hiroyuki speak to Riku and Risa, who are relieved at survival, but know that they are last, behind Akari and Hiroyuki…)

(Henrietta steps forward, does an arc turn and we have a good long look at the dorms…)

Henrietta: Teams will have to travel to their next destination from here, as the next leg will begin.

(Kiddy charisma Hale and his mother Weda awake from a needed few hours sleep as they shake the cobwebs out of their heads…)

Henrietta: Hale and Weda arrived at 6.02am…

(Hale looking around, making sure Triela doesn’t try to kidnap him again…Weda trying to make sure he WANTS to be kidnapped…)

Henrietta: …so they will leave at 6.02pm.

(The two puts their feet on the met as Henrietta nods.)

Henrietta: Let the Princess Mononoke leg begin!

(As soon as she says that, the clue on the postbox doorstep is grabbed by Weda.)

Weda: Bet you’ll be upset you’re leaving this place right?

Hale: Mom…

Weda: (laughs) Let’s see…ah ha. Go in the Agency and locate the book of ‘The Legend of Mononoke Hime.’

Hale: Huh?

* * * *

(FINALLY, Lillith gets to show her powers, but we’ll get to that in a second. First, let’s say hi to the Emishi’s Hidden Village (Muromachi Era), a trip to the past. We see a little girl, named Kaya, take the opening leg.)

Kaya: The first stop is in the hidden village of the Emishi, where Ashitaka was forced to leave when he was cursed by the Tatari Gami. Teams will come here to hire one of the esteemed red elks, which they’ll use to navigate through the leg.

* * * *

(Back in modern Italy, mother and son are confused, but shrug and begin to search for his book. It’s actually located in one of the rooms on the men’s floor, an old room belonging to Claes’ old fratello Rabello…however, they initially think it’s in Claes’ room (Hale noticed there was a lot of books in there…NOT that he wants to see Triela again…poor Mari, her love being such a playboy…^_^))

(It isn’t that hard to find though for the two as Henrietta is a willing helper, so the mother and son combo do find their way to Rabello’s old room, dusted off a bit like Elsa’s room as well. The two navigate through a mini-library of gardening books and old war novels before…)

Weda: Ah, got it!

Hale: Thank god…

Lillith: He’s not here…

(Lillith appears out of nowhere, spooking the two…Lillith pouts…)

Lillith: Awww…I haven’t been able to do much so far *pyun pyun* so it’s time for a Mero Mero change!

(Yes, Full Moon were eliminated in the last Miyazaki leg, had to put it in there somewhere…anyway, Lillith grabs their hands and puts it on the book…and then puts her hands on top of theirs…)

Hale: What the?

Weda: No w…

(Suddenly, Hale and Weda vanish…)

* * * *

EMISHI’S HIDDEN VILLAGE, NORTHEAST JAPAN, MUROMACHI ERA

(…and arrive in an ancient village, where pure nature is the scent of the day. Unlike the jungle nature Hale and Weda are used to, this is purity at it’s finest.)

Hale: Wow…

Weda: Amazing…

(4 little girls playing spots the intruders, and are unsure if to call the elder, but one of them (Kaya) just nods and runs up to them.)

Kaya: Hello there strangers, are you here to partake in the ritual of the leg?

Hale: I think so…

Kaya: (giggles) Anyway, over there is where your destiny…

(Kaya points in the direction of a pen of red elks. Attached to the door is the route marker clue.)

Hale: Thank you, come on mom!

(The two head off, as they get the clue and read it…)

Hale: Take an elk and head over to the central market town, and purchase the clue from Jiko Bou…a part of gold is all that is needed.

(Weda checks her pocket…and realises that indeed, their money for this leg is…)

Weda: Pure gold!!!!

Hale: Not now…

* * * *

(We quickly cut to the Tatara ba, where chubby monk and jack of all trades is working on some scrolls for Eboshi for the emperor, this is a problem as he’s supposed to be introducing the next part of the leg…)

* * * *

6.07PM

SOCIAL WELFARE AGENCY:

KIRIKA/MIRIELLE – WORKING PARTNERS – 2ND PLACE

(As 5 minutes pass in a blink of an eye for Hale and Weda, Mirielle and Kirika are about to embark on an unusual trip, even for them…)

Mirielle: …so the clue is inside a book?

Kirika: It’s inside the agency.

Mirielle: Is there a library here?

(Henrietta shakes her head….)

Kirika: It’s probably in one of the rooms…

Mirielle: Let’s find it then.

Mirielle: Straight away, a problem. Normally the first clue is easy but I guess they want to test us more direct now…

(Meanwhile…)

* * * *

Weda: So…which one is a good one?

(Hale is looking at the pen of red elks, all of them the same breed of the great elk Yakul, Ashitaka’s steed. They are all well trained, only some more so than others. They have to make sure they get a good elk.)

Hale: Well…hmmm…I think this one…

Weda: Really?

Hale: Yeah…the coat is shinier within this one, it’s been well looked after…

Weda: Yes Hale-sensei! Lead the way!

Hale: Oh boy…

(Hale, nervously mounts the elk. The elks are only strong enough to carry one person, so two have to be let out. Fortunately, all the elks are breeded as pairs, so they get the mate for the original elk as well. Hale has made a good choice with these two…just is Weda a good elk rider?)

Weda: Ride em jungle boy!

(We’ll let you reserve comment on that…)

Hale: O.K, so we have to head into the market?

(Kaya nods and just points. Hale gulps at the intimidating rocky path that follows…)

Hale: This is not good…

(After a few moments hesitation and instruction from Kaya, Hale and Weda begin their journey, onwards and upwards…as they do, back at the agency…)

* * * *

Mirielle: It’s offical…we’re never much for books…

(After managing to finally understand what fellow killer Henrietta was trying to tell them, Mirielle and Kirika have located Rabello’s room and begin searching the books. It’s the ROD TV leg all over again as Kirika locates the book, Lillith DOESN’T spook these two, but goes through the same ritual. Kirika blushes slightly as her hand goes on top of Mirielle’s, but they vanish as the skies of Italy vanish…)

* * * *

(…and the fact that it’s daytime in this time doesn’t help things though as they are confused about what time it is…not to mention what time they are in…)

Mirielle: I think we’ve officially gone into the world of abnormal…of course, that’s saying something…

Kirika: And now?

(Mirielle surveys the situation. Ancient world, check. Kids playings outside, check. No idea what to do, checkmate.)

Mirielle: We panic.

Kirika: We never panic.

Mirielle: First time for everything.

(The assassins view the surroundings, looking where to go. Kirika spots the pen with a girl in front of it, and notices something in front of it. Kaya is in the way slightly, but no match for Kirika’s sound eyes.)

Kirika: Mirielle?

(Kirika tugs on her partner’s elbow as she points over. Mirielle shrugs as they run over there. Kaya seems a little intimidated (must be that whole killer instinct, their village has had enough of that) as Mirielle approaches.)

Mirielle: I believe you are blocking something…

Kaya: Um…yes?

(Kaya hurriedly moves away as Mirielle grabs a route marker. The blond Causican looks through and nods.)

Mirielle: Not used to animal transport, but hey, I get the feeling I won’t be used to this world…

Kirika: So now?

Mirielle: Now we ride. But…which ride?

(Mirielle looks through the elks, as Kirika (more of an animal lover apparently) seems more in tune with the elks. Hale and Weda have taken the strongest pair stamina wise with decent speed (unknowingly) but Mirielle and Kirika pick a pair, both look strong and light orange like colour.)

Kirika: These will be fine.

Mirielle: So now what? We ride these into the market?

Kaya: Don’t worry, they are very well trained, and will listen to you. Just get on and hurry to the market.

Mirielle: Well…let’s see…

(Mirielle and Kirika get on the elks, but neither seem comfortable. The problem is these elks are too of the lighter ones, and whilst Mirielle and Kirika are hardly heavyweights, this means they have a bit less stamina when carrying weight. Ironically though, they are the fastest of the elks…)

Mirielle: It shows we’ve never been horse riding…

Kirika: (nods) Let’s go.

(Kirika seems to get the hang of it, but Mirielle drags behind slightly. Whilst their advantage is strong on the teams behind them…)

* * * *

(…Hale and Weda are getting further ahead.)

Hale: You O.K mom?

Weda: Never better, how much further?

Hale: I don’t know, but these guys instinct are good – I guess we follow this path until we hit something…

(They get to the top of the mountain like hill, and see it’s downhill to the town. To the right are a selection of caves (where Ashitaka and Jiko Bou rested to get away from some thieves) but straight ahead is where it is at.)

Weda: Let’s see how fast we can run…eh Hale?

Hale: Huh?

Weda: Race ya!

Hale: Mom…be seri…

(He looks at his mom’s face…sighs…and smiles.)

Hale: What the heck!

(Mother and son race towards the finish line…O.K, not quite but both smile through as the elks drive them to the town.)

Hale: Sometimes I can be serious, and sometimes I can be frustrated…and at times, my mom can be the cause of that. But others…I have to remind myself who she is, and how she can make me the happiest boy at times. I may say some things at times, but in reality, I’m proud to be her son.

(Mother and son travel forward into town, as behind Kirika and Mirielle struggle…)

* * * *

6.45pm/2.30pm (Standard Time (Agency) or Ancient Time)

(Hale and Weda get off their elks and let them drink by a bay (Hale paying for that as he gets himself and Weda some rice and some soup like item – he’s wary, but in a jungle, he’s used to eating unusual foods. Weda meanwhile is put on looking for a chubby monk where they can purchase the next clue…)

Weda: Let’s see…if I was a hustler, where would I go?

(Weda suddenly snaps her fingers in knowledge…)

Weda: Of course, jewellery!

(However, when Weda finds the market…she gets some bad news…)

Weda: You’re….kidding me…

(A sign outside a small stall says the following; ‘CURRENT AT WORK AT TATARA BA NEGOTIATING BETWEEN THE EMPEROR, TATARA BA AND THE FORESTS WITHIN. WILL RETURN AT 5PM (9.15PM STANDARD TIME).)

Weda: CRAP!!!

Hale: What is it mom?

Weda: Look…

(Hale reads as the two elks follow him – Hale sighs…)

Hale: Knew it wasn’t going to be this easy…

Hale: We had a good lead over everyone else, 4 hours on Riku-san and Risa-san, but now it’s looks like they really want to make this tougher on everyone. Any hope of keeping our lead was instantly shattered…

Weda: What do we do now?

Hale: Hmm…well, how often do we get to come to a world like this (to himself) which isn’t in Guu’s stomach (back outloud)? Let’s have a little sightseeing shall we?

Weda: I guess…BUT IS THERE ANY ANCIENT BOOZE HERE?

Hale: (sigh) Should have known…

(The two begin sightseeing, unaware that another team will soon join them…)

* * * *

7.17pm/3.02pm – MIRIELLE/KIRIKA (MOUNTAIN PATH)

Mirielle: I think we aren’t elk people…

(Shot of the two elks resting by the caves drinking by the rivers. Neither girl seems quite suited to this surprising environment, and are just taking a break…)

Kirika: So what do we do?

Mirielle: What else can we do? We’ve just got to follow this path I hope, and pray that Hale and Weda don’t get too far ahead. We’ve still got a huge advantage over the other teams, so as long as we can keep ahead now, we’ll be fine.

Kirika: (nods) Let’s hope we don’t get too many other surprises…

(As the elks refresh themselves…we see Hale and Weda back in the market, taking a little walking, letting their elks rest in the market’s pen (don’t worry, won’t get stolen, Eve will make sure of that) and enjoying the nature of the ancient times than the ones in jungle times. A feeling of disappointment is still there, but some satisfaction…)

* * * *

TOWN MARKET – 7.34PM/3.19PM

(Mirielle and Kirika have made it into town, as they need to find the next clue. Knowing they need to buy it off someone, Mirielle does that whilst Kirika looks around for any supplies for themselves and their steeds.)

(And again, Mirielle is VERY eyecatching in this type of world, with her trademark red top and black mini skirt – getting quite a few stares from all patrons concerned…)

Mirielle: This definitely has that ‘other world’ motif…

Kirika: So, we find this man then and go?

Mirielle: Yep.

(Or nope…)

Mirielle: Damn.

Assistant: Sorry beautiful but extremely dangerous looking young woman…please don’t sacrifice me to the gods…

Mirielle: Had enough of that thank you…

(She heads back to Kirika, who is stroking the elks fur as they drink water. Mirielle shakes her head…)

Mirielle: We’re stuck here for a few hours…

Kirika: It was getting a bit too easy wasn’t it…

Mirielle: Hale and Weda are most likely here as well, shall we find them?

Kirika: Let’s see if we can rest a moment – we never get much chance of that…

Mirielle: Right.

(By the elks, two dangerous girls have a sit down, and just take a moment to relax…)

* * * *

Hale: Mom…

Weda: Yeah, I see them…

(Hale and Weda have noticed Mirielle and Kirika in town, now moving about. Hale has gone ahead and scouted things around in where to possibly go, as it appears Kirika is about to do the same…)

Hale: We just need to wait now…but I don’t think being here with them is probably the best thing now…

Weda: Don’t worry, it’s not like they’re going to shoot you…

Hale: You never know…I have this horrible feeling the doctor has put a contract on my head or something…

(The two continue to observe for a few more hours, and actually enjoy some sample dishes and meat as well to keep them going. Kirika and Mirielle don’t seem to do that, they just look outside and gaze at the beautiful sun…)

Kirika: Sometimes it is the little things that help keep us going – being stuck like this, knowing we had a good advantage over the others, it makes it seems weird we are now waiting for the worst…but at the same time, just these time with Mirielle can make up for any past mistakes…in this race and otherwise…

* * * *

9.15pm/5.00pm

(Finally, Jiko trots down on his chubby legs, moving very quickly despite his diminutive size and shape..by now, both teams are waiting at the counter, not saying anything to each other…)

(…except for the fact Weda seems to be happy she is first in the queue as Mirielle and Kirika just wait patiently behind.)

Jiko Bou: Ah, what have we here?

Weda: A deal I hope.

Jiko Bou: Well my dear lady, what can we do for you?

Weda: Well, I certainly wouldn’t mind some of that necklace work, but that can’t be pure bone…

Jiko Bou: Eh, what do you mean?

Weda: Oh, I have a friend back home whose really good with making that stuff, and you get kinda used to it…

Jiko Bou: (interrupting) Ahem…well anyway, what can I do for you?

(Weda shines a piece of gold to Jiko. The monk smiles and understands.)

Jiko Bou: Ah, so you want the rare stuff huh? Well, we’ve got the deal for you…

(Jiko gets a gold sealed envelope and hands it to Weda.)

Weda: Pleasure doing business with you…

Jiko Bou: And indeed, and maybe if it’s not too much trouble, maybe I c…

(Jiko feels a twinge of fear as out of nowhere, uber-Hale comes out (complete with evil like eyes, frothing mouth and Yukino-evil smile. Jiko steps back as Hale grabs his mom’s hand and gets out of there before you can say ‘mother complex.’)

Hale: Come on mom…not saying your taste in men is terrible but…

Weda: …yeah right, I would have kicked his teeth in.

Hale: Anyway…

(They head to the elks as Weda helps feed the friendly creatures, as Hale reads the clue.)

Hale: Detour – Iron Will or Iron Town.

* * * *

(Outside the strong iron factories of the Tatara Ba, we see the leader of the town, Lady Eboshi, a confident female leader, who provided women and the accursed work in their town, when they were either seen as outcasts or sold to brothels. A strong-willed woman, she now has repented after certain incidents that have occurred during her incident with one Princess Mononoke, as her only arm can attest to. She leads this Detour.)

Eboshi: The teams will have to travel to the edge of Tatara Ba, where they can turn left to take on Iron Will…or go into the depths of the town for Iron Town.

(A shot of the dark forest to the west of Tatara Ba, where eerie sounds and non too welcoming noises can be heard.)

Eboshi: Iron Will lets the teams go into the depths of the forest armed with a spear or a crossbow. Riding on their elk, they must fire their weapon towards any of the Kodomas that appear in the forest. It’s a speedy process, but the fear inside the forest, not to mention the fear of going against the gods for breaking one of the spirits may not sit too well with the teams.

(Inside the town, we see strong smoke coming out of one of the ironworks. A smiling woman inside seem content despite the sweaty work.)

Eboshi: In Iron Town, they must work the bellows until the iron moulder is at peek rate. Guided by my head worker Toki, they will sweat through until it is sufficient enough. Once it is, they can continue. It’s hard and sweaty work, but they don’t have to suffer the god’s wrath…as I did once.

(Eboshi looks at the forest with reverence…)

* * * *

Hale: We gotta go mom.

Weda: So, we either risk being cursed by gods or getting hot and sweaty in a mill…

Hale: (under his breath) I’m cursed enough with Guu, not much worse can happen…

Weda: What?

Hale: I said let’s take Iron Will – you’ve always been the best Pokute hunter in the village, so we can fly through it.

Weda: You not worried about being cursed?

(Hale thinks about it for 6 seconds…)

Hale: No…trust me on that.

Weda: O.K, let’s go!

(The two head up, following the mountain path, and hoping to find the Tatara Ba before two certain assassins hurry up…)

Jiko: Well, you’re certainly not from here young lady, I’ll assume you have some business with me?

Mirielle: Define business. As in you have something for me in exchange for a piece of gold?

Jiko: I certainly do.

(Mirielle holds her part as Jiko gets the envelope. They exchange…)

Jiko: It’s not often we see an attractive young lady like yourself. If I may so…

(Suddenly, Jiko freezes (again). Another scary person puts herself in front of Mirielle, as the slit eyes of one Kirika Yuumara get ahead of Mirielle. Jiko gulps, thanks them for business and they escape.)

Jiko: Geez, again?

(Mirielle has a good chuckle at that…)

Mirielle: Oh come on, nothing was going to happen!

Kirika: Still…

Mirielle: (chuckles) Sometimes you can be so cute…

(Kirika blushes as they read the clue.)

Mirielle: So, we either work in the bellows or shoot some stuff?

Kirika: Difficult question really.

Mirielle: Why, was that a joke?

Kirika: Um…

Mirielle: (laughs) Never mind, come on – let’s go get cursed…wouldn’t make much difference…we were cursed the minute we became Noir.

(The assassins get their elks and begin moving up, hoping that it isn’t too far away…)

* * * *

9.20PM – SOCIAL WELFARE AGENCY

(Shannon and Racquel, unaware of the blocking down at the market, are the next to move…)

9.20PM – SHANNON AND RACQUEL – THIRD PLACE

Shannon: Well..we have to catch up…

Racquel: How far can we be behind?

Shannon: About the distance between us and Hale/Weda team probably…

Racquel: Logically correct…

Shannon: Never mind, let’s see…(reads clue: which if you need reminding, states they need to find the book entitled ‘The Legend of Mononoke Hime’)…so…we find it around here, but where?

Racquel: Where they are books!

Shannon: Not going back to Jinbouchou again…

Racquel: I mean books here!

Shannon: And where would they be?

(Racquel thinks…)

Racquel: Let’s find them!

Shannon: Not a good start…

* * * *

9.20pm/3.05pm – THE FOREST OF SHISHI GAMI (ENTRANCE)

(…the not most endearing of places greets our favourite mother and son…)

Hale: Nice place…

Weda: Yeah…

(Outside, a man armed with both crossbows and spears greets the pair. This is Kouroku, Toki’s husband and a survivor of the Shishi Gami attacks previously and not one for venturing too far into the forest again…)

Kouroku: You brave soldiers you…

Weda: I hope so…

Hale: What do we have to do?

Kouroku: Take down a Kodama on the elk each, but Kodamas call for the Shishi Gami, so beware…

Hale: O.K…

Kouroku: How can you be so calm?

Hale: To be honest, nothing surprises me anymore…

Weda: Why do you think that?

Hale: (sighs) Never mind, mom, you take the spear, you were always good with that thing. I’ll take the crossbow.

Weda: Fine, let your mom show you what she can do…

(The two mount their elks, Kouroku praying that the gods don’t get angry, and two jungle natives going into the forest…)

* * * *

Hale: So how do we know what we have to hit?

(Suddenly, a flashing little creature, with dead black holes for eyes and looking like a miniature white ET doll, appears…and just as soon disappears.)

Weda: Any more hints?

Hale: Nope.

(Hale arms the crossbow as Weda takes the spear. Kodamas flash and disappears within their eyes, as both, showing surprising patience, wait for the right moment…)

(…the pokute queen Weda strikes first blood, well…not really, she flings her spear with precise accuracy and nails a Kodama, who shakes momentarily, and then vanishes as a bright blast of light hits Weda on the chest.)

Weda: Owww…

(It suddenly has the kanji for ‘pass’ on there – I guess this is their curse for doing the detour…Hale isn’t too far behind, whilst not familiar with a crossbow, is familiar with hunting and precise timing. After he gets the hang of how to use the thing, he manages to hit a Kodoma on his 5th attempt (took Weda just 2 attempts). Same thing happens and Hale had to seeth from the pain, but the two have done it, as they head back to the entry…)

Kouroku: (scared) You’ve been…

Hale: Yes, it’s our curse…we’ll have to deal with it, so can we carry on please?

Kouroku: B…b…but?

Weda: PLEASE?

Kouroku: Hai!

(It’s official, Weda is scarier than ancient gods. They get the clue for passing the detour and look on.)

Weda: Go deep into the forest until you find the route marker.

Hale: That’s it?

Kouroku: Good luck…you’ll need it…

Hale: That’s never a good sign…

Weda: Come on! Let’s go back in there…

(The mother and son do, as the echoing cries of wolves are sounded, making them a little tense…)

Weda: We’re used to all these sorts of things in the jungle, a large forest isn’t much different in our eyes. I can understand nerves playing a part, but we’re used to this. Hopefully, this will be a problem for the other teams though…

(Suddenly, the problem with the elks for Mirielle and Kirika appears as they arrive just as Hale and Weda finish…)

Weda: BYEEEEEEE!

Mirielle: Damn…so we go in?

Kourokou: Yes…but…

(He doesn’t seem to be able to argue with the girls as they check the weapons…)

* * * *

5 MINUTES LATER…

(After Racquel manages to ‘sense’ the book…Shannon asks the most obvious question in race history…)

Shannon: So what do we do now?

(Somewhere on a Pit Stop far far away, Lillith screams ‘AND YOU GUYS USE MAGIC! BAKAS!’)

(Eventually, Racquel figures it out and puts her hand on the book. Suddenly, it begins to glow, sucking the mage and swordsman into the world of Mononoke Hime…)

* * * *

(…and find the spot closest to home probably.)

Racquel: Nice place.

(No horses and carts, but elks and packages for Shannon and Racquel. They have a small wander around town before finding themselves in front of the pen of elks. Kaya stops playing with her friends and runs up to the two strangers.)

Kaya: Are you here to race?

Racquel: You could say that…

Kaya: Well then…

(After Kaya quickly explain, Shannon and Racquel inspect the elks. Used to riding horses, they are almost as good as the Jungle Duo analysing the strengths. They pick two dark red elks – the strongest physically with a decent speed. Stamina O.K, but with Shannon/Racquel the biggest team physically remaining in the game, they need strength.)

Shannon: And now…we are back to what we do best…

Racquel: Destroying demi-gods?

Shannon: No…wandering aimlessly…

Racquel: That as well….

(Shannon sighs as the two mount their steeds and begin their long journey, as two little pigs went to market…)

 

9.25PM/5.10pm standard

(A quick cut shot of Hale and Weda going the forest. It’s literally a maze – making it very hard to navigate. Not to mention the eerie sounds of wolf, monkey and boar calls. Keep in mind that the teams don’t know that many of these creatures have a taste for human flesh (fortunately, Lillith and Eve are prepared for that, plus they’ve asked a certain Hime to make sure they don’t go too far…)

(…but it’s no easier for two jungle natives than it is for two female assassins, even if the detour is something they should be good at…)

Mirielle: More used to firearms…

(She looks at Kirika)

Mirielle: Kirika…can you take the spear?

Kouroko: I pray don’t go ahead…

Kirika: Why?

Mirielle: (shrugs) Just figured you’d be better at it than me, you’ve used ID cards and cocktail sticks, a spear wouldn’t be too far a stretch?

(Kirika nods once, not questioning logic, and arms herself with a spear as she heads in with her elk. Kourokou looks once…)

Kourokou: What’s scarier…those girls or what’s in there?

* * * *

(The two girls gingerly enter the forest, as they go a bit deep, as the kodoma flash in front of their eyes. As they disappear in and out, the Noir girls are as quiet as the night…)

Mirielle: Hitting targets this small isn’t going to be easy…

*THUD*

Mirielle: What was th…

(Kirika’s spear has impaled a kodoma against a tree. Mirielle would be in shock, but she’s kinda used to it…)

Mirielle: Oh well…

(Mirielle turns and with precise accuracy, nails a kodoma as she figures out their movement patterns. A bit more strategic, but just as effective. The sharpshooters however both have to flinch though at their ‘rights of passage’ as the kodomas curse burns into their souls…or their chests, whichever first…)

Mirielle: These spirits have a perverted mind…

Kirika: Since when has that bothered us?

Mirielle: Never – we kill them before anything.

(The two head back to get the next clue, as Koukorou is again in shock as how quick and non-chalant that was…)

(…now they have to navigate the maze…)

* * * *

Naruto: …do I look like a bookworm?

Sasuke: Not really, but I don’t know either…

NARUTO/SASUKE – GOT CLUE AT 9.22, STILL SEARCHING FOR BOOK AT 9.32…

(Back at the agency, the two ninjas have finally located the bookshelves where they need to find the book of Mononoke Hime…)

Naruto: This sucks…don’t suppose you have a technique for speed searching…

Sasuke: Dunce.

(The two finally find the book, and after deliberating what the heck to do with it, their question is answered with a powerful glow…)

* * * *

…(welcome to flavour country…and you’re not in Kansas anymore little fox…)

Naruto: It’s not home that’s for sure…

Sasuke: Keep it that way.

(After reading on the clues and sensing some energies, the two manage to get over to the elk pen. Kaya greets them, and no, she doesn’t fall for Sasuke…)

Naruto: So…we gotta ride?

Sasuke: This isn’t something in our experience…

Naruto: Well…which ones?

(Sasuke can’t really judge, so he just takes ones that looks strong, a bushy haired beast with a long neck. Quite strong, but poor stamina in this feet. Still, the fact that Sasuke and Naruto are the most physically competent duo in the race may make up for that…)

Naruto: And now, we ride.

Sasuke: Let’s go.

(Not quite a lesson that Kakashi-sensei delves in but…)

* * * *

(…two childhood friends aren’t exactly used to this either…)

9.34pm – HIROYUKI/AKARI – CHILDHOOD FRIENDS

5TH PLACE

(Hiroyuki quickly runs downstairs…)

Hiroyuki: I was playing with Jose and Hillshire at pool last night and they told me about all the fratellos include the former ones, and mentioned this Rabello had a library of sorts and it hasn’t been touched…it’s sounded a bit disrespectful but we have to catch up…

(The duo quickly find the right room, and thanks to the spray of books on the floor (thanks to Naruto and Sasuke not putting them back) it’s an easier time for the duo to find the Mononoke Hime book…)

* * * *

(…but they are still in shock of the after-effect…)

Akari: Wow…

Hiroyuki: Uh…what you said.

(The splendour and surprise of a land which has come out of a history book isn’t lost on the two high school students. However, observing the area isn’t in their best interests, as they have to deal with…)

Akari: There!

(Animal spotter Akari finds the elks quickly enough, and on a good enough hunch, they go there and spot the clue attached to the pen. Kaya comes over and lets them inspect the elks. Akari picks out a pair of bright orange ones – these are a good in between in speed and stamina, nothing special, but nothing bad. Akari strokes the long neck of the elk she’s taking care of, as Hiroyuki looks at his animal.)

Hiroyuki: You know, this is slowly becoming a pleasure trip for you isn’t it?

Akari: Nani?

Hiroyuki: Never mind…let’s get running…we need to catch up, because I’d bet my friendships that those Harada girls will be thinking about the Fast Forward…

Akari: I forgot about that…

Hiroyuki: Exactly, so if we have a chance of catching those ninjas, we’d better get our skates on. Come on!

Akari: Right!

(Two students ride into the night, not knowing the horrors ahead of them…and I’m not talking about Lemmy’s broken English or Shiho-chan’s newsflash…)

* * * *

MARKET TOWN – 10.00PM/5.45PM STANDARD

(Shot of Racquel and Shannon, ambling around. Known travellers with horses, they are well aware of how to equip and be prepared. More so though when they have to find the next clue…)

Shannon: You get what we need…I’ll find this guy…

Racquel: Right.

(Avoiding a three-peat of the attractive girl getting pushed back by the over-protective brother/son/friend (or possible lover depending on who you ask), Shannon looks around the market stalls, and works out rather easily which one is the shadiest being Jiko Bou…)

Jiko: Ah, I’ve just got something that make me stand out…

Shannon: Whatever. (toss the gold piece to Jiko) Here pops…

Jiko: (catches the it and hands the clue) You should pay more respect to your elders boy…

Shannon: Maybe…but not in your case.

Jiko: Humph. I bet I could teach you a think or two…

(Before we get into another round of ego and fisticuffs, Racquel-nee emerges with some supplies and two elks ready to go.)

* * * *

10.04PM – SOCIAL WELFARE AGENCY

(Finally, the Haradas escape and begin searching for books…and yes, I’m well aware that Risa doesn’t do that…she gets Niwa to do that…^_^)

Riku: We’ve got a chance to save ourselves, lets not waste it sis!

Risa: O.K!

(Riku is very energetic as Risa chuckles behind her sis’ back…)

Risa: Riku’s attitude has made a huge 180 – from completely depressed to totally enthusiastic. She knows we can do this, and I won’t be a weak link as long as I have to be.

(The two quickly have help thanks to Henrietta’s aid, and begin searching through the array of books…)

* * * *

10.10PM

Risa: …and you wonder why I never liked books?

Riku: Hey, we found it, right?

Risa: And it’s like we’re trapped in a painting…again…

Riku: Let’s home we don’t need to find a magical unicorn this time…

(Not quick, but the elks are close enough. The Haradas get to the pen, and get the clue…with only a few elks left, they haven’t got much option…)

(…but whilst Akari likes animals, animal LIKE Riku. One elk licks Riku’s cheek before she has a chance to open the pen, as Riku laughs at the elks friendliness. Risa chuckles as well…)

Risa: Geez, Niwa might get jealous! Or maybe With…

Riku: (laughing) S-stop it boy! Please…

(Eventually, they recover and get the elk’s mate as the Harada’s begin to ride. Risa in particular gets to show some skill considering her horse riding skills…Riku actually being a little behind, but considering the elk likes her, it doesn’t affect the Haradas too much…)

Risa: Come on little elk, let’s ride!

(The two rush off, searching for their gold digger…)

* * * *

10.18PM

TOWN

(Naruto and Sasuke have cut their speed a bit thanks to their own speed (which seems to rub off on the elks) as they begin rushing towards the goal line…or not…)

Naruto: …so you going to let them drink a while longer?

Sasuke: Make sure they get all their needs…no ramen here so we have to make do with some rice and soup…

Naruto: Nuts…

(Sasuke lets Naruto sulk as he begins searching for this Jiko Buo. And a fighter’s instinct works (consider Jiko is a pretty stronger fighter himself despite his appearance) as he finds the peddling monk doing a little gambling of a dice game…)

Jiko: Step right up folks, one piece of gold can win you three, how about you, young man?

(One glance of Sasuke’s Sharingan Eye (though he doesn’t use it) is enough to shut up the monk…)

Jiko: (sheepishly) Or not…

Sasuke: No, but I’ll certainly trade a piece of gold for an envelope with a clue in it, if you happen to have one?

Jiko: Oh sure, I have just the thing for you my boy!

(Jiko exchanges with Sasuke, the ninja smiling before heading back to the elks…)

Naruto: Eh, stop that, makes me wanna go take a le…

Sasuke: Baka…

(Eventually, the elks are full, and the ninjas continue onwards, as Sasuke explains where they have to go now, to the edge of the forest…it’s like their own forest of death has come back to haunt them…)

* * * *

(…not far behind them though, two childhood friends continue to struggle…)

10.25PM

HIROYUKI/AKARI – MARKET TOWN

Hiroyuki: O.K old man, take it!

Jiko: Geez, don’t need to be so impatient, especially with a nice young lady with you?

Akari: Hiroyuki-chan…

Hiroyuki: Just…gah…impatient old men…they just make me…

(Jiko hands the clue…to Akari…)

Hiroyuki: Fine…

Akari: Let’s go Hiroyuki-chan…

Hiroyuki: We managed to do some good time thanks to the elks and Akari’s initiative. But then this guy tried to trick us by holding out for more money. We re-iterated our clue many times, and it wasn’t until Akari came around did he bargain. Crap – it was like, he thought he could take me and bargain me out as much as possible…

(Akari leads the elks as Hiroyuki leads the race to kill the chubby monk, and there were plenty who wanted to do that…)

* * * *

(…after catching a good passway through a narrow edge of forest, Weda manage to see light…)

Weda: Is that it?

(Indeed, the centre of the forest beckons – shining multi-colours of light, blue, red, green and bright orange surrounding them in a beautiful array of nature. Even two jungle natives are impressed by this rainbow effect…)

Hale: Wow…

Weda: Indeed…

(Across the forest, they get the clue…)

10.35pm/6.20pm

Hale: Take the blood of the great wolf and boar and mask yourself before entering through the forest to the next stop.

Weda: Blood of the boars?

(Hale notices first, in front of where the clue is a large pool…and it’s of water. Far away, a young lady wearing blood on her face surrounded by wolf cubs explains. This is San, the Princess Mononoke (or Mononoke Hime).)

San: The teams are using the decaying blood made from the great boar god, Okkotonushi.

(San pauses)

San: And also of the great wolf…my mother, Moro.

(San turns slightly but then continues.)

San: This is the blood of great animals and will avoid problems as they continue, which is well, because when they stop next, they will need all the help they can get…

* * * *

(Hale and Weda, both more used to this than any other team, put on their war face paint, neither of them disgusted. In fact, they both do a quick prayer before continuing onward, the path now leading straight into the mountains…)

Hale: I guess this was our leg – it was kind of good to be in first place before this, and now we are used to what is going on, we are hoping we can only strength ourselves. We haven’t heard from Kirika or Mirielle and just hope they are getting further behind…

* * * *

10.36pm/6.21PM STANDARD

OUTSIDE FOREST

(Shot of Shannon and Racquel enjoying the scenery as they make their decision quickly…)

Shannon: I think we’re more used to this sort of thing rather than heavy labour…aside from looking after Pacifica of course…

Racquel: Of course.

(The two choose Iron Will as they see Kourokou, still acting nervous, he’s been there most of the time and night is descending – and the forest at night is worse than day…though it may make things easier to shoot the kodama….)

Shannon: O.K, so we’re using these…prefer a sword…but it’s do.

(Shannon arms the spear whilst Racquel uses the crossbow – Kourokou again seems ready to stop them but Shannon’s glare stops that…)

Shannon: Trust me…we’re used to curses…and we never believed them, right up till the end.

Racquel: She was a blessing more than a curse…

Shannon: I wouldn’t go that far.

Racquel: You’re only saying that because you know you can get away with it here whilst she isn’t listening…

Shannon: Your point?

(Without extra provocation, the two head deep into the forest of Tatara Ba, and with the light rays becoming less and less, aiming for the creatures known as kodama are not too difficult, especially for two fighting veterans like Shannon and Racquel, and whilst neither are used to the weapons they are using initially, they quickly get the hang of it.)

(Shot of Racquel nailing a kodama first, before after a few moments of aiming, Shannon throws his spear with good aim and accuracy, taking out one.)

Shannon: You beat me.

Racquel: I’m more used to aiming after all!

(The two run back out of the forest, unknowning they have to go back in again for the lovely trip into the heart of the forest…and of course, Kouroukou still petrified of being cursed…and people who seem to not care about it…)

* * * *

(A quick cut shot shows that despite Kirika’s home made machette made out of sharpened wood, they aren’t getting anyway, and their elks lack of stamina is really becoming a problem…speed doesn’t help in a dense forest, and it shows…)

* * * *

10.47PM/6.32pm

(A bit of light travelling and Hale/Weda find themselves on a darkened rocky path…climbing up, they see it narrow back into dense forestland…)

(…on a stone pillar is the next envelope. And this one…)

Hale: Road Block. This person must be fearless…

(Suddenly, snarls greet the two, as 3 white wolves, two gorillas and some wild boars come out. And with wolf and boar blood on them, they don’t seem happy…even if it is for respect.)

(Waiting for them, San once again resumes responsibility…)

San: The person that takes this Road Block must brave a path ahead of them. All manners of creatures are here which don’t take too fond of humans. They aren’t allowed to use the elks and must continue forward on a specific path…and the smell of blood isn’t just for show…

* * * *

(Neither Hale or Weda seem all that wanting to do this leg…)

Hale: They wouldn’t do this…would they?

Weda: I think that’s the problem…they want to add the project of fear…

Hale: It’s working…what do…

Weda: Stay here son.

(Weda puts on her rare serious face…as she steps forward. They don’t have their weapons, just their ears of a snarling set of creatures, hungry for flesh and fear…)

(A wolf snarls. Weda, who is used to this, with creatures like bears as well, steps forward – the blood on her face becoming flakey as she stares at the animals like she isn’t afraid. She timidly moves forward as Hale looks on…)

Hale: Mom…

(Altogether this is around 400 metres, which is not a pleasant experience for anyone, especially when thumping noises from primates are causing a real headache. O.K, not the worst of anyone’s problems but with anyone who drinks like Weda…)

(…anyway, after moving through the pathway, and a nasty looking pair of wolves at the end literally millimetres from her legs as she passes through. As soon as she does…)

(Light surrounds the animals and blocks them from progressing. Despite the noise, Hale is allowed to join up with the elks and his mom. At the end of the path, Weda is near hyperventalating…)

Hale: Mom!!!

Weda: Heh…wasn’t so bad…

(Weda gets hugged by Hale, who looks like he’s crying.)

Weda: (surprised) Hale?

Hale: Don’t do that again!!! (crying) Please…don’t…

(Weda smiles and hugs her son…)

Weda: I just did what any mom would do! Is that a real surprise?

(Hale can’t answer that…he’s too busy crying…)

Weda: Now, can we go? This is still nerve wracking…

Hale: (smiles as he wipes his tears) Hai!

(The light above as Eve smiles at that mother and son bonding. After a few moment, Hale composes himself and Weda takes the shining clue.)

Weda: Congratulations brave travellers, you have got past the first stop. Now, head to the Pit Stop, located over the river of the Shishi Gami, and into Moro’s Cave.

Hale: Let’s find this river then…

(Mother, son and two elks ride, where the sun is beaming, a terrifying experience conquered, and a world still to finish…)

* * * *

(We quickly cut now to our hero, Ashitaka, who is waiting over part way of the detour, and he has a vested interest in explaining this part.)

Ashitaka: The river is blessed once on the hour by the Shishi Gami. Whilst it can take life, it can give it too. And once per hour, he gives the water the life it needs after everything it has taken in the past. When this water is blessed, this is the only time the teams can cross it without disturbing the gods…

* * * *

10.48pm/4.33pm (standard)

KIRIKA/MIRIELLE – FOREST MAZE

(Finally, Kirika and Mirielle have made it to the centre, where the beautiful lights of the kodoma and natural forest energies are a magnificent splendour…)

(…if the fact these two girls aren’t exhausted wouldn’t ruin the atmosphere…)

Kirika: Sorry…

Mirielle: Not your fault the elk has an attitude…or my elk wanted to get us lost…and they thought nothing could separate the invincible noir…

Kirika: Mirielle?

Mirielle: Crap…

(She’s reading the clue and sees the pool of god’s blood water.)

Mirielle: Looks like we’re dressing for the occasion.

Kirika: O.K.

(The two girls go over to the pool, and mark themselves – this to make sure the wolves and boars don’t attack them, even with San’s restraint it’s not an easy path – this road block is designed to scare…)

(The two reach the stump and remove it. Looking at the Road Block, they look ahead as the path of beasts greets them…)

Mirielle: And they also said nothing could scare Noir…

(…and it’s worked for the girls as well…)

Kirika: Aside from Chloe’s knife…

Mirielle: We vowed to never speak of that again…anyway, as punishment for that gag, and taking the sharpshooter leg last time, I’ll do this one…

Kirika: O.K.

Mirielle: Huh, no argument?

(She looks ahead…)

Mirielle: Then again…I think I can understand.

(Mirielle takes a few deep breaths and makes a first step. Her assassin senses come into complete aura here as she closes her eyes and tries to sense where the beasts are coming from...)

Mirielle: Just stay ahead…no turning back…

(A wolf nearly snaps at her ankle – Mirielle’s long legs an easy target – Mirielle gulps slightly but doesn’t show nervousness. She slowly moves onward…)

(…Mirielle seems to get the hang of it quicker than Weda did, until she comes near the end when the feel of fur and hot breath amongst her arms and legs does aggrivate her. Stepping back however only seems to make them louder..)

Mirielle: Crap…damn monkeys, and bloodlust is our job…

Kirika: (calling) Mirielle, are you O.K?

Mirielle: Yeah, just fine. O.K, girl…you braved through Sicily one more time…you can do this…

(Mirielle gingerly gets past the touch of animal fur – probably knowing well nothing will happen, even if the fear factor suggests overwise.)

(As soon as Mirielle passes, the barriers forms and Kirika walks over to Mirielle without fear…)

(…Mirielle looks ready to pass out.)

Kirika: You aren’t O.K are you…

Mirielle: I’ll let you know once my blood pressure has caught up to me…

Kirika: So…what now?

(The light bursts…and the two find their answer.)

Mirielle: That answer your question?

(Kirika nods, and Mirielle takes the clue. She reads it…)

Mirielle: Over the mountain and across the water…I can live with that…though need to be steady…

(Kirika lends Mirielle a shoulder, in a scene reminiscent to the last episode of Noir, helps her friend for a while, before Mirielle recovers long enough to drag herself up the mountains…)

* * * *

(…whereas one team decides to try and finish early…)

TOWN MARKET – 10.55PM/6.40PM

Riku: Sis, you got it yet?

Risa: (calling) No…why do I have to do this?

Riku: Because the elks like me so I’m helping them…besides, isn’t your wonderful charm your best point?

Risa: (calling) I hate you!

(Riku’s chuckle is easy enough to hear, but so is Risa’s disgust when she has to meet Jiko Bou…fortunately, he isn’t too bad as Risa gets the clue…)

(…but as soon as they find it’s the detour, they ignore the clue part and go straight to the Fast Forward…)

* * * *

(…back to Ashitaka, he now introduces the Fast Forward.)

Ashitaka: The teams will take a short cut around the woods via my instruction towards the lake of the Shishi Gami. There, the god will grant a special path to allow the chosen ones passage straight to the Pit Stop…providing they are blessed by god’s touch and are ones worth of it’s cause.

 

* * * *

Riku: Pray that no-one has taken it…

Risa: …otherwise we’re dead.

Riku: It’s play or die lil’ sis, are you in?

Risa: I’m in! Let’s go…

(The sisters head off, unaware that a certain team who have had bad luck with Fast Forwards may be contemplating it…)

(We’ll explain why he has an interest later, but for now…)

* * * *

NARUTO/SASUKE – RIVALS

10.59PM – 4TH PLACE

Naruto: …we can take it now I’m sure if we want…

Sasuke: Why?

Naruto: Well…the only team ahead of us that hasn’t used it are those guys that annoy you a lot…

Sasuke: …and what if they’ve used it?

Naruto: Eh?

Sasuke: Think here Naruto. We are ahead of Hiroyuki and Akari, and we’ve got every advantage over them. As long as we don’t mess up, we’ll be fine, even if Riku and Risa use the Fast Forward.

Naruto: Hmmm…

Sasuke: Just trust me.

Naruto: That is one thing I’ve never liked to do…

(Sasuke looks at the detour and nods.)

Sasuke: Looks like we’re doing kunai training again…

(The two head towards Kouroukou, who is getting more and more weirded out, considering everyone of these newcomers seems to want to be cursed. Then again, once more, I guess Naruto and Sasuke don’t need to be cursed anymore…specifically Naruto…)

* * * *

11.00pm

Weda: Wow…

(Hale and Weda made it to the river at 8.55pm, but as they tried to go in the water, the feeling blasted a light making it inable to cross. Weda realises that the water seems bottomless with no pull factor, meaning impossible to swim. However, 5 minutes later…)

(…unseen to Hale and Weda, a single hoof hits the water, and emerging on top of the water, is a huge array of plantlife, causing a crust, strong enough to walk on top off…)

(Hale and Weda nod, and gingerly step on it. They begin to jump on the lily pads across the river, heading towards the Pit Stop…)

(…3 minutes later, the hoof hits again, and the plant life dies…)

(…just as two assassins come around the corner and are about to be royally disappointed…)

11.03pm – RIVER BED MOUNTAIN SIDE – SHISHI GAMI SIDE

(As stated, the river god passes by the river on the hour. As Mirielle and Kirika came, the plant life surfacing was beginning to die. Not thinking much of it (death being so natural to them) they struggled on. But as they prepared to see if they could wade across, they got the nasty shock…)

(…and trying to make a boat is near impossible as well. It’s a case as the waters weight will drag them to death, and with the warnings ahead, they only have to wait.)

Mirielle: Talk about an imprompt rest.

Kirika: Sorry.

Mirielle: Those elks couldn’t keep up that’s why – they got tired too easy…it’s not your fault Kirika.

Kirika: (nods) We wait then.

Mirielle: (sighs) Yeah…

(The gods not shining above the blackness of Noir after all…)

* * * *

11.05PM

(Hiroyuki and Akari aren’t too far behind, and thanks to their elks and some good mountain riding, they have also arrived at the forest, and despite some misgivings about what they have to do, they also pick Iron Will.)

Akari: We just need to hope what Lemmy showed us comes in handy.

Hiroyuki: You not scared Akari?

Akari: I am a little, but as long as there aren’t bears in there…

Hiroyuki: Akari, if there are bears in there, I trust they won’t be too friendly to you…

(Akari takes the crossbow, looks a little apprehensive, but nods. Hiroyuki grabs the spears as Kourokou just shakes his head now, he’s gotten used to these weird strangers.)

Hiroyuki: Shall we go?

Akari: (nods) Hai.

(Two real novices in this work now try when 4 teams previously have at least some sort of experience in this…)

* * * *

11.25PM

(…one team have successfully navigated to the hard centre of death…)

Shannon: Wow…

Racquel: This is pretty…

Shannon: You don’t see something like this everyday…

Racquel: Well…unless we’re casting spells or summoning…

Shannon: Point noted…and ignored…

Shannon: We did well despite Racquel’s lack of direction – it’s a strong way to sense energies ahead of you, and whilst we had the elks with us and it’s hard to navigate through these forests with them, it was still well done for us.

Racquel: So, what now?

(The howls of wolves kind of give them an idea…and worse, Shannon smells something…)

Racquel: The howls of a wolf?

Shannon: And…just like a wolf…I can smell blood.

(They turn to the pool, where the clue is there. Reading it, Shannon nods.)

Shannon: We’re going in.

Racquel: O.K.

(The two mark themselves, seem to pay a small respect to the gods as well (unusual considering how the religion back at their home has always caused them problems) before heading towards the next part…the Road Block…)

Shannon: O.K…who should do this?

Racquel: Hmmm…

Shannon: Well…

(Neither are exactly cowards, but after a moment’s deliberation…)

Shannon: You do it.

Racquel: Hmmm?

Shannon: The only time you’re afraid is when something has happened to Pacifica…

Racquel: Same with you though…

Shannon: But you can smile through it…(under his breath)…that and your spells…

Racquel: (thinks for a moment) O.K!

(Shannon sighs as he mutters ‘I just don’t like animals…’)

(…but at the same time, two young ladies don’t seem to mind them…)

* * * *

Riku: So this way?

Kourokou: Yep!

(As Kourokou is happy that at least one team won’t get cursed, the two Haradas go around a small path through the woods where Ashitaka, and his magnificent and loyal elk Yakul greet them.)

Ashitaka: I believe I’m here to guide you through the passage of the gods…

Risa: If it’s isn’t too much trouble…(under her breath: HE’S SO HANDSOME!)

(Riku sighs, lightly taps her sister on the head, and Ashitaka and Yakul lead the way…as a long winding road is easy for Yakul, as Riku and Risa try to catch up. It isn’t hard to follow though, and the girls manage to see Yakul just enough to realise where they are going…)

(…after about 10 minutes, the two arrive at what it’s taking the other teams a few hours to get to, the River of the Shishi Gami…)

Risa: Amazing…

Riku: Just like out of a storybook…

(Ashitaka steps up to the water and kneels down…)

Ashitaka: (shouting) Great Shishi Gami, it is I, Ashitaka, noble prince – I, as one who returned your body to life ask as a humble warrior to let these two maidens cross the river…

Risa: (blushing) Maidens…

Riku: Well, we ARE sacred maidens remember?

(Suddenly, a light shines above the Haradas.)

Ashitaka: Kneel and pray.

(The Haradas nod and do what they are told. Ashitaka instructs them to close their eyes at all costs…)

(Suddenly, a strong breeze comes by them as the presense of the great deer Shishi Gami makes it’s presence again. Casting life and casting death, it controls all…so if they did open their eyes, it’s presence may be a bit too overwhelming…)

(It doesn’t walk over casting it’s path of grass – instead it’s seems to inspect both girls, to see if they are indeed worthy. He naturally seems to take a bit longer with Risa than he does with Riku, but it nods.)

(As it slowly vanishes, a rainbow appears over the river, acting as a bridge. The rainbow increases higher, allowing them to navigate past most of the horrible mountain terrain, where Hale and Weda are still climbing. Ashitaka smiles.)

Ashitaka: You may open your eyes.

(Riku and Risa do so, and again, are amazed at the new display ahead of them…)

Ashitaka: You ladies have been given permission to cross, or as you say, you have completed the Fast Forward. Head straight over to Moro’s cave and head to the Pit Stop heading by San.

Riku: Thank you good sir.

Risa: Yes, thank you!

(Ashitaka bows as the girls return the favour, and steady their two elks to cross the rainbow. Risa gulps slightly but Ashitaka just nods, as she hurries along. Crossing over the river was nerve wracking in case they fell, but they manage to steady themselves, and make it over.)

Risa: (breathes) That was…

Riku: Yeah, but let’s go…we need to keep up….

Risa: Right!

Risa: Taking the Fast Forward was an option that we had to go for, knowing how far behind was, we just had to hope no-one else had taken it – fortunately, we got lucky, and now Riku is back to her overbearing, tough as nails, older sister. Now, we want to win…

* * * *

(A shot of Akari and Hiroyuki still in the forest, being the first team to struggle with the Detour. Surprisingly, Akari has actually done her part…it’s Hiroyuki who is struggling with the spears…)

Hiroyuki: Damn, I thought I was good at the javelin, but doing this with precise accuracy is TOUGH!

(The young man is sweating bullets as Akari plays cheerleader as Hiroyuki struggles throughout…)

Hiroyuki: Dammit!!!

(The echo returns as birds flying and animal noises, spooking Akari. Hiroyuki looks at his childhood friend, shrugs, grits his teeth and continues to try and get a kodama. Despite the lack of light making them able to see, he’s getting frustrated at not getting the pattern of when they come…)

(Finally, after about 10 minutes, they complete it…but at a cost. Hiroyuki has been draining, and has a cut on his shoulder from a bad spear throw where he slipped. The two escape the forest…)

Kourokou: You’ve been cursed…

Hiroyuki: No…we’ve been cut…and burned.

(With the marks of the kodama not helping any, Hiroyuki is struggling. Akari nods and tears a piece of her sweatshirt (on the arm, no fanservice guys), rips it off and begins wrapping around Hiroyuki’s injury.)

Hiroyuki: This sucks…oww…

(Akari tightened the piece a bit hard for Hiroyuki…)

Akari: Sorry Hiroyuki-chan.

(With Akari tending to his wounds, Hiroyuki sighs and shakes his head. Then he sees Akari's face…and smiles.)

Hiroyuki: Take your time…we’re going to be a bit slower now even with these guys with us…

Akari: We’ve got to keep go…

Hiroyuki: (shakes his head) No, take your time.

Akari: B-but…

(Hiroyuki eyes are enough though to silence the bishoujo. Akari nods and tightens it more…)

Akari: Hiroyuki-chan is brave, he knows that this was an incident which could be a problem, but he doesn’t want me to worry about it. He’s so caring even in adversity…that’s why I…

(Akari and Hiroyuki are declared fit and ready, as Kourokou hands them the clue and begin to head into the forest…)

 

11.39PM

(Shot of Racquel how has slowly completed the walk of death, as the animals pay her little heed, though the snarls seem to bother her slightly, she does complete it quite well, even at the end with the wolves literally on her heels.)

Racquel: It wasn’t too bad – I just had to become one with Soopy-kun, be one with an animal, and they will respect you. I felt that when the wolves at the end didn’t seem to bother with me. I was just worried when Shannon had to come across…

(Fortunately, the light of Sohma is enough to block out the growls and howls from the wolves, monkeys and boars who want to tear Shannon a new one. As Eve looks down on them, Racquel calmly takes the final clue.)

Racquel: Congratulations brave travellers, you have got past the first stop. Now, head to the Pit Stop, located over the river of the Shishi Gami, and into Moro’s Cave.

Shannon: So, we continue on?

Racquel: Yep…we’ll get there and then we can eat and rest.

Shannon: Famous last words…

(True, but one team has got there…)

* * * *

11.48PM

MORO’S CAVE

(Shot of the rock bottom at the beginning of the leg, now getting ahead of everyone. San is there, but down on her knees...)

Riku: Look at this Risa…ceremony…

Risa: Wow…

(The two walk over, as San prays by a memorial stone of her ‘mother’ the great wolf Moro. She senses the two and grabs her obsidian knife (the Gyoku no Kogotana – given to her by Ashitaka (given to him by Kaya when he left the village) for protection) but seeing who it is, she relents. The two nervously get onto the stone which has the words ‘PRINCESS MONONOKE’ engraved in it.)

Lillith: Well, you guys took the easy way out…*pyun pyun*

Risa: Give us a break, what would you have done?

Riku: Ignore her, she always takes the easy way out…

Lillith: How did you kn…er I mean, that’s preposterious!

San: Gods of other worlds are so…

Lillith: Humph…you two dumb dumbs are team number one…

Risa: Dumb?

Riku: Ignore her…we’re top though, looks like we would have been screwed if we’d have continued without the Fast Forward. Just thank our lucky stars Risa…

(Suddenly, something gets her attention…)

Risa: Riku?

(Riku looks down the mountain and smiles…)

Riku: Ganbatte, Hale-kun!

(Shot of Hale and Weda climbing up the steep mountains, as Hale looks up, coughs once…)

Hale: Wait for us Riku-san!

Weda: Eh, Riku-chan and Risa-chan are there?

Hale: Let’s get up there now…

(The Haradas cheers the family on as they struggle up…)

* * * *

 

11.49pm

Naruto: …so we’re here…

Sasuke: Yep, get ready for some problems…

(Sasuke has made it to the centre of the maze dragging Naruto with him, but when he looks at what he has to do for the clue and the road block…)

Sasuke: Right…

(Sasuke pushes Naruto into the pool of the god’s blood. Naruto doesn’t seem too keen, and to be fair, neither does Sasuke, but they’re pretty much ready and able. After marking their faces, they make a look to the Road Block.)

Naruto: I’ll do it…

(Sasuke seems ready to counter…but stops.)

Sasuke: Fine.

Naruto: O.K, let’s plough through these!

(The animals aren’t too happy to see Naruto of course, but he’s very determined and whilst the animals sometimes give him a rough time with the barking, his speed is an essence, and whilst he has to jump back when he moves too fast, he’s doing well, as Sasuke turns around.)

Sasuke: Whilst we get afraid, Naruto is naturally too dumb to be scared for a long period of time. But I have to admit, he’s probably got more guts in that case…

* * * *

11.52pm – MORO’S CAVE

(After some intense walking and climbing up the mountains, Hale and Weda reach Moro’s cave.)

Hale: You’re getting good…(pants)…aren’t you mom?

Weda: Heh, it will be 50 years before you can catch up with me my silly son…

San: Humans…force of habit…

Hale: (gulps) Um…

Weda: I don’t think you’re charm isn’t going to win here Hale…

(Fortunately, Lillith appears to brighten the mood…)

Lillith: Now now, San-san…

Hale: You were saying?

Weda: Never mind…

Lillith: Lillith-chan is here to make sure that doesn’t happen…besides, we’ll make sure you guys are safe here…

Hale: That doesn’t fill me with confidence…

San: Forgive me, but you can see I still cannot trust humans too well.

Lillith: But I’m not human!

(Cue the silence of San, Hale, the Haradas and Weda…)

Lillith: Huh?

San: Jungle duo, I congratulate you for becoming the second team to reach Moro’s cave.

Hale: Riku-san! Risa-san!

(Riku smiles…)

Riku: So, you guys made it huh?

Hale: Yeah…kinda tired though…

Weda: And no bar huh?

(Riku supresses her snicker, and puts a hand on the long suffering Hale.)

Riku: Come on, let’s find some real liquid…fresh spring water, you know any?

Hale: (blushing) Yeah, down there…

Riku: You wanna get away from here right?

Hale: (nods in defeat) Yes ma’am…

12.00PM – WATER’S EDGE

(Finally, after nearly an hour of waiting, the Shishi Gami projects it’s body onto the waters surface, making life spread, able for the girls to walk over the water…)

(…but…)

Mirielle: I just hope that hasn’t cost us…it’s obvious Hale and Weda got through, but what advantage have they got now?

Kirika: It doesn’t matter what they did, it only matter what we can do now…

Mirielle: Good point, so where do we go.

(They turn around…)

Shannon: You guys are stalking us right?

Naruto: In a word, no. In several words, NO FRIKKIN’ WAY!

Sasuke: Let’s just cross Naruto, we don’t have to say anything to these guys…

Shannon: Little punk.

Racquel: Um, already across?

(Indeed, Mirielle and Kirika have already dropped over the pond. Shannon and Racquel start running, but Naruto and Sasuke hop across with ease and go ahead of the assassins and the warrior and mage.)

Naruto: See ya suckers!

(Naruto and Sasuke get ahead of them as their insane speed is too much for them. Shannon gets across and slams his fist across the ground…)

Mirielle: Kirika, we’re going to be behind at this rate…

Kirika: We’re not going to catch up with them, just keep going and keep ahead of Shannon and Racquel…

(Shannon and Racquel begin moving…)

Shannon: Dammit!

Racquel: Let’s just go Shannon…

Shannon: I let those two punks get the better of me…crap…

Racquel: We must keep moving, we don’t know what has happened behind us…neither Riku and Risa nor Hiroyuki and Akari have passed us so…

Shannon: Yeah, we’re still alive…I just don’t want to deal with being second best to two twelve year old punks who just because they have some fancy stuff that they can use makes them superior to use, who in real life, would eat them alive…

Racquel: I know, but…

Shannon: Fine. Let’s just hurry up.

(Racquel begins to move as Shannon goes ahead, he’s obviously disappointed but what can you do…)

Shannon: It seemed like we were going to be ahead for a while longer, then two certain punks not only ruined that…AGAIN…but this time, they get ahead of us. And I just can’t accept that…next time, we’ll have to chase them…and make sure we get the last laugh…

* * * *

(…and we cut to a little moment of hilarity…)

Riku: (laughs) Hey sis, I know you don’t like mountain climbing, but wanna have a cool spring shower?

Risa: (wipes some sweat) Sure!

Riku: (cheeky grin) As long as you don’t mind a young boy joining us…

Hale: (exploding) HEY W-W-W-WAIT, I DIDN’T THINK YOU MEANT THAT – MOM HAS ALREADY BEEN MAKING F-F-FUN OF ME ABOUT TRIELA-CHAN AND AKARI-CHAN…

Riku: (thinking off the top off her head) …not to mention Chika, Sakuya, Kisa, Kitagawa, Kiki…

Weda: (shouting) Don’t forget Saga-chan!

Hale: MOMMMMMMMM! RIKU-SANNNNNNNNNN!

(Two sisters laugh as Hale grunts, but has to smile as well…however, despite this friendship, one other friendly team isn’t going so well…)

* * * *

(…whilst Hiroyuki and Akari struggle through the maze, having to stop and rest for Hiroyuki and the elks occassionally, and with hazy direction not being a good thing, plus the echoing noises of the night don’t help…)

Hiroyuki: This sucks that we’ve slowed down so much because of this…

Akari: Hiroyuki-chan, don’t say that…we did what we could, it was just unfortunate…

Hiroyuki: Yeah, baring a miracle that Riku and Risa didn’t take the fast forward or if Naruto and Sasuke or Shannon and Racquel took it, we’re in trouble…

Akari: Well…use that as hope then!

Hiroyuki: Huh?

Akari: You’re down and hurt Hiroyuki-chan, but whilst there is a 1% chance of victory, let’s go for it!

Hiroyuki: Akari…

Akari: You always said unless you had a reason you wouldn’t go for glory…well, let us be that reason now the fact there is always a chance…

(Akari clutches her best friends’ hand, as Hiroyuki looks up, Akari is near tears…)

Akari: …so don’t give up Hiroyuki-chan, don’t give up…

(Hiroyuki looks up at Akari’s hazel eyes…smiles and nods.)

Hiroyuki: I won’t…

(Akari smiles.)

Hiroyuki: …but like this, I think I’ve finally realised something I hadn’t before, making me slower than I ever thought.

(Akari looks confused until the grip on Hiroyuki’s hand relaxes…and tightens over hers…)

Akari: Hi…

(Before Akari can stop (even if she wanted to) Hiroyuki leans over and kisses her softly…)

(…Akari touches her lips, completely shocked what happened…)

Hiroyuki: I finally noticed…and finally realised.

Akari: Hi…

Hiroyuki: Wait until we get to the end…then reply to me Akari.

(Hiroyuki and Akari slowly continue on, Akari all in shock, but managing to continue…not crying, not smiling, just…just.)

* * * *

12.23PM

Naruto: Phew!

(Shot of Naruto and Sasuke at the end of the path after Naruto successfully completed the Road Block.)

Sasuke: Good work.

Naruto: Not…over yet…man, that was worse than I thought…

Sasuke: Remind you of Kakashi’s dogs…

Naruto: Maybe I should get Kiba here…see how he likes it for once…or let’s see how Shino’s bugs handle it…I still haven’t got him back after the Sports Festival incident…

Sasuke: (pauses) We never said we’d speak again of THAT incident…

Naruto: Huh? OH…not THAT incident…or THAT other incident…Shino dragged me from the toilets with those damn bugs of his…

Sasuke: Oh…I thought you meant…

Naruto: Yeah…Sakura-chan and Ino were like trying to check to make sure you weren’t…um…

Sasuke: Huh?

Naruto: Never mind…and they wonder why you have the luck with girls…though why the heck was Hinata turning bright red almost every time she saw us together?

Sasuke: And you think I’m the idiot…

(O.K, obvious yaoi inuenndo aside, the two ninjas escape up the mountain to see if they can make it to the riverside before the next hour decends…)

* * * *

12.25AM

MORO’S CAVE

San: Well…you two would probably give me a good match…

Naruto: Not today please…gotta relish in getting ahead…

Lillith: Baka one and bishy one, you are team number 3.

Sasuke: Three?

Riku: Sorry guys, we got your fast forward…

Sasuke: Figures…

Naruto: Still, we beat the crap out of Shannon and Racquel, and got ahead of those neesans as well…

* * * *

12.48AM

(…obviously without their speed, but the assassins get ahead of Shannon and Racquel…)

MORO’S CAVE

San: You have the scent of blood around you – you are warriors aren’t you?

Mirielle: I guess you could say that…

Lillith: Scary warriors…more scary than San-san here…

San: Stop calling me that.

Lillith: (gulps) Scary Mirielle and scary Kirika, Scary San declares you team number four…

Kirika: Where’s Hale and Weda?

Lillith: They’ve gone down stream, they’re collecting food for tonight with the Haradas – we’re getting Ashitaka as well to get some food from Tatara…

San: (quietly) Ashitaka…

12.52AM

Shannon: I hate their speed…no, I just hate them…

(Naruto smirks from behind the safety of Lillith and San (though San may honour Shannon’s wishes of cutting the punk down if he continues to be annoying) as Lillith steps forward…)

Lillith: Kill him afterwards…for the time being, Shannon and Racquel, you guys are team number 5.

Shannon: Right.

(Shot of the Haradas and the Jungle duo seeing that 5 teams are now here…)

Racquel: That means Hiroyuki and Akari-chan are gone right?

Risa: Yeah…kinda sad, but now we’re down to 5…

Hale: …and you guys haven’t taken your fast forward, so we’re now all looking behind our shoulders…

Shannon: Good point.

(Shannon glares at Sasuke, who doesn’t flinch….the race is truly on now…)

* * * *

12.55am

(Finally, Hiroyuki and Akari have made it to the forest centre, as they calmly look through the clue. Nerves seem to have vanished as they put the blood on their faces…)

Akari: I’ve always felt that way about Hiroyuki-chan…but yet he…

(A shot of the leg. With Hiroyuki’s injury, and in perhaps in a change already suited considering what just happened, Akari braves the forest of animals…no bears, but for some reason, the animals seem more subdued. Because of Akari herself or of the fact they have been eliminated, no idea…)

Akari: I have to be brave – Hiroyuki-chan has been my rock from the beginning of the race, but now he’s…

* * * *

1.00am

(The duo make it to the river in time for the god to do it’s magic…shame, as an uncomfortable silence for an hour may have happened, but instead, the two gingerly cross the river. Unconsciously, Akari grabs Hiroyuki’s hand as they lead the elks across…)

Akari: Lemmy…Aoi…Tomoko…Serika-sempai…Kotone-chan…Shiho-chan…Multi-chan…gomen…but…

* * * *

1.10AM

MORO’S CAVE

(The two arrive there, with all the other teams in the cave to avoid having to see eye to eye before the inevitable conclusion, they land on Princess Mononoke, still holding hands…)

San: A good evening to you Hiroyuki and Akari.

Akari: And to you Miss…

San: San, call me San, and just that. (Glares at Lillith) Anyway, I’m sorry to tell you this but you are the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop. Therefore, you have been eliminated from the race.

Hiroyuki: (nods) Thank you.

Akari: So…

Hiroyuki: Well…

(Akari closes her eyes, grimacing…)

Akari: Hiroyuki-chan…

Hiroyuki: Ye…

(Akari literally jumps into Hiroyuki’s arms, giving him a sweet, strong kiss on the mouth. Hiroyuki hugs her childhood friend/now girlfriend as in the cave, a few ‘whooos’ can be heard…)

Lillith: About damn time!

Hiroyuki: I guess even these guys noticed…

Akari: (crying) I love you, I love you, I love you…I’m sorry but I can’t help it! I LOVE YOU!

Hiroyuki: I love you too you silly girl…I can’t believe this race made us realise that…

Akari: (wiping some tears) I know…must make thanks to everyone when we can…

Hiroyuki: Let’s go home first – we’ve got some explaining to do.

Akari: Right!

Hiroyuki: I never expected it – maybe because we were always together from day 1 in our life, we were together from day 1 in the race, but because no-one could bother us indirectly, the feelings grew. I noticed sometimes Akari got upset when I mentioned another girl, and I could see it…

Akari: It was something I’ve wanted for a long time. I’m not selfish, but whenever Hiroyuki-chan became friendly with another girl, all of which are my friends, it gave a slight twinge in my heart.

Hiroyuki: I think I now can say what I want in life, and every step of the way, like it has been in step 1, I want Akari to be by my side.

Akari: Thank you Anime-mazing Race…thank you so much…

(The episode exits with another kiss – wow, in a Miyazaki episode we actually get that much...until next time...)

* * * *

Next time on the Anime-Mazing Race 3;

Find out on the next leg!

* * * *

(cries)

Ah sorry…just finished watching Negima episode 24…not I’m crying about Akari being eliminated…really…

Ah, Princess Mononoke – a leg which was a heck of a lot easier to write than that damn GSG leg – and probably be easier than the next leg as well, considering I’m so familiar with it, might be one of the reasons, so hey.

Mononoke was released in cinema at first to limited release – ironically at the same time a certain anime trend was becoming popular and released their first movie (*coughsPokemon*) – using a lot of actors in this work, as has been done with other major anime releases such as The Cat Returns and Spirited Away, it, as has mentioned, is one of the main reasons I got into anime. Pokemon was another as well ironically, but Mononoke was the first real something I watched which showed anime’s real potential – it was like, ‘wow.’

Anyway, Akari and Hiroyuki are gone – hooray – To Heart has now been delayed – boo…I was hoping by the time they got eliminated some of it would have been released by Right Stuff (who have done three top class animes in Tylor, Comic Party and Kare Kano) but not this time. Disappointed but I’m waiting for the box set. (Sadly, didn’t show as much restraint to the recently announced Angelic Layer and Azumanga Daioh box sets…) But yeah, Akari is seen at times as a bit weak and wishy washy, especially compared to the other less ordinary girls in Hiroyuki’s life. However, I have a soft spot for her determination to say the least…

…now on fansub, To Heart – Memories is out. And boy, has it changed. The art is more reminiscent of the H-games (not that I’ve played them…honest!) which some have liked and some not (personally, I dig it) but let’s list some major changes at least. (Note: some spoilers alert…)

Yeah, that’s about the jist. So why the ending?

Well, I took it based on a) what will happen (sorry Multi-fans, he’s gonna be with Akari no matter what) and b) based on the manga ending. I’ve read the manga, again, quite different, but at least we have a conclusive (and somewhat satisfying) ending. I hope that the series will also carry that trend, or let Shiho hits Hiroyuki over the head with her bag or something…

…maybe Comic Party Revolution will rip it off or something if all else fails…J

O.K, so we are down to 5 teams left…and now my favourite non-licenced series comes into play. Not Ichigo 100%, Negima, or even the excellent School Rumble. It’s a series that debuted 10 years ago, has more pun gags than Excel Saga, more cuteness that Digi Charat, a Sailor Venus clone, a cute little doggy…er I mean wolf, several love triangles, the most hilarious female ‘villian’ in Yakko, an annoying mermaid, a perverted young warlock, and the cutest little ninja prior to when Hinata ever existed.

And this show I only got interested in because of one solitary AMV on a certain Anime Mix DDR Mix…I downloaded all 72 episodes and 2 OVAs, and it’s so good, than even the mighty Cardcaptor Sakura has trouble knocking it off my top mahou shoujo show…

So with all that in mind, I let your fairy tale minds work it out, and see you in a fortnight!