10. Menchi’s Great Adventure

As Excel and Hyatt’s emergency food supply, life is somewhat bleak for poor Menchi. Her only ray of hope is her continued attempts to escape from the confinement of Excel’s apartment- attempts which lately consist of trying to chisel through the wall. Unfortunately for Menchi, she just can’t chisel fast enough in a single day, and by the time Excel and Hyatt have returned from work, she has barely made it halfway through the first layer.

Despite her slow progress, however, Menchi is not deterred- not when Excel and Hyatt take her role as emergency rations so seriously that they even suggest she find a way to multiply herself to increase their food supply. And so, the next day, when Excel and Hyatt head out to their latest part-time jobs, Menchi gets ready to resume chiselling- only to discover that all of her previous work has been plastered over.

Freedom is beginning to look like an impossible dream for Menchi, and the poor dog cannot help remembering her earlier days. Before she was picked up by Excel, Menchi was looked after by a kindly old man, but he sent her away to find a new owner when he realised his time was growing short. It seems unlikely that Menchi will ever see him again- at least, until fate intervenes…

Next door, Watanabe and Iwata are once again arguing over some money Iwata took from his friend’s wallet, and during the course of their fight, Watanabe sends Iwata smashing into the door of Excel’s apartment. As the door breaks open and Iwata falls inside, Menchi takes her chance to quickly slip out- precious freedom is hers.

Initially, however, it seems that freedom is not all it is cracked up to be. First, a little girl passes Menchi by after her mother warns that a collarless stray probably has all kinds of diseases, and when she finally attracts attention from another child, he turns out to be the self-proclaimed meanest boy in town. As the mean kid starts throwing rocks at Menchi, she expertly dodges and tuts at his behaviour. This turns out to be the wrong move, however, as the boy quickly calls up his rock and boulder bearing friends to chase after Menchi and teach her a lesson.

Fortunately, even as Menchi runs away, the kids are soon distracted by a Puchuu, and start tossing rocks at the alien instead. Whilst the kids experience divine retribution firsthand as a huge boulder drops on them, Menchi continues on her way, and by nightfall she finds herself in a suburban backyard.

By this time, Menchi is starving, but even as she searches through a nearby trashcan, she is approached by a local guard dog. Even as he attacks, however, another dog blocks his blow. This new dog faces down the guard dog, and takes Menchi with him to safety.

Menchi’s saviour introduces himself as Takahashi (although the director has told him to use the name Wolf), before taking her back to his hideout to meet the rest of his gang- the rough diceplayer Inchiki, the crazy old Professor, the jovial Taikomochi and the beautiful Kyoko. After sharing dinner with her new friends, Menchi tells them about her time with Excel, and her happy memories of her former owner. Inspired by her story, the pack comes to a decision- they will travel with her and help her locate the old man.

Having discovered Menchi’s disappearance (as well as various other oddities in the apartment such as Iwata’s unconscious body and a Puchuu boiling on the hob), Excel and Hyatt end up being late for their next Across meeting. Whilst they explain the importance of their emergency food supply to Ilpalazzo, Menchi and her new friends begin their journey, using all their skills to pick out the best route to the old man’s house. Unfortunately, the Animal Control Department’s Stray Dog Unit is hot on their trail, and before too long they have run into the Hounds, led by a dog known as Mad Spot. A former friend of Wolf’s, the pragmatic Mad Spot long ago decided that it would serve his ambitions best to work for the humans rather than against them.

As Mad Spot’s Hounds surround them, things look bleak for Menchi and her friends, at least until Inchiki makes his move. Tossing his beloved dice at the guards, he manages to stun them for long enough for the pack to make a run for it. And, as the Hounds turn to follow, Inchiki bravely stays behind, promising to hold the enemy off for as long as he can.

Having made their escape, the group take a break to reflect on Inchiki’s sacrifice. Even as they mourn their departed comrade and plan for the completion of their mission, however, the Hounds catch up with them once more. As the others prepare to run, once again one of their members decides to stay behind- Taikomochi. Promising that he will buy them some time, Taikomochi launches himself towards the approaching enemy.

Continuing on their way, the remaining pack members make it to an old wall, beyond which it is said there lives an old man. Certain they are on the right trail, the pack slip through a hole in the wall, all, that is, except the Professor. After tossing a bomb through the hole, the Professor blocks the way with a rock, leaving himself stranded on the other side. Vowing to do his part to slow the pursuit, the Professor grabs a pair of lit bombs and runs for the enemy. With yet another bold sacrifice, a little more time is bought for the rest of the pack.

Menchi, Wolf and Kyoko finally make it to the old man’s house, but even as Menchi prepares to go inside, the door opens, and two gun bearing dogs emerge. One of them shoots, and as Kyoko goes down, the identity of the two dogs is revealed- they are none other than Mad Spot and Inchiki. Not only was Inchiki an enemy agent from the very beginning, but there is one more betrayal to be revealed as another figure steps forward. It is the old man Menchi came to find, only far from appearing kindly, he is bearing an oversized machine gun.

Whilst Menchi’s hopes come crashing down around her, an enraged Wolf charges at the enemy, only to be shot by Mad Spot. As he collapses, Menchi tries an attack of her own, only to be brutally knocked aside by Inchiki. It looks as if it might be all over for the good guys, but predictably, Wolf and Kyoko manage to overcome their injuries and launch one last attack at Mad Spot and Inchiki.

As they cannon into the evil dogs, Wolf lights the bomb that the Professor gave them, and all four are consumed are by the resulting explosion. Now, only one opponent remains- the old man. Standing face to face with Menchi, the old man begs for mercy, claiming that the other dogs forced him to join their side. Menchi is having none of it, though, and, fuelled by her own anger and despair, she takes the machine gun from him, and dispenses final retribution.

Some time later, Excel and Hyatt are happy to see that Menchi has returned home, although they are a little uncertain about the origin of the strange machine gun that seems to have appeared in their home. Oh well, all’s well that ends well…

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