"Exchange" is the thirty-second episode of Kim Possible.
Middleton High welcomes a mysterious wild-haired stranger, named Hirotaka, that practically every girl at school falls head over heels for. To the surprise of the student body (and the delight of Bonnie Rockwaller), Ron is transferred to an equally mysterious secret ninja school in a student exchange. As the new boy makes himself at home, Kim and Monique comment on how easily the other girls at school cling to him and follow him around, despite their own desires to do the same. When Brick Flagg threatens to fight with him over this, Hirotaka defeats him with almost no effort, and Monique is immediately impressed with him. Later in a conversation with Hirotaka, Kim mentions her familiarity with Mantis Kung Fu, and he tests her abilities, and to her surprise finds that she has become one of the "crushing sheep" of Middleton High as well. From this point on, Kim and Monique get into a steadily intensifying competition to impress the exchange student. Kim even goes so far as to use Wade to try to track him down for a date.
Upon his arrival in Japan, Ron is greeted by a young girl named Yori, who leads him by foot to Yamanouchi's secret ninja school. She is highly skilled in martial arts. Besides hand to hand combat, her weapon of choice seems to be two blade-edged fans, which she can wield with impressive cutting force. Yori also has a crush on Ron, which he mistakes for mere friendliness.
The Yamanouchi school's headmaster is Master Sensei, a traditional "wise old master", who is a marital artist possessing a wide range of abilities, a product of his many years of training and experience, regardless of his advanced years and small stature. He also seems to possess a wide range of spiritual abilities, such as astral projection, and the ability to levitate. But despite these skills, Sensei seems to prefer not involving himself directly in conflicts unless he has to, most likely because he believes such acts are best left to the young, whom he does his best to pass his knowledge on to through the Yamanouchi school.
Besides Yori, another student at Yamanouchi's ninja school is Fukushima. During his training, Sensei reveals to Ron, that the school was founded by an ancient master who built it using the sacred and powerful Lotus Blade. When he tells the tale, Fukushima voiced his protest, resentful of an outsider being allowed to enter the school, but is scolded into submission by Sensei. Afterwards, he is shown hazing Ron and laughing whenever he makes a mistake. However, Yori is unwaveringly supportive of Ron and has the utmost confidence in his abilities, although Rufus proves to be far more adaptable to the school's regiment. Even during Ron's clumsier moments, her opinion of him has never changed. In fact, while others are put off, Yori actually seems to welcome Ron's clumsy moments, seeing them as a good tension breaker in a stressful situation. She frequently gives him a kiss on the cheek, apparently to give him encouragement, but she also has a crush on him. Meanwhile, Monkey Fist waits outside the school grounds and steals the Lotus Blade in yet another attempt to become Mystical Monkey King of the world.
Convinced that he is failing both at his ninja training, and absorbing Japanese culture, Ron is about to leave, when Sensei informs him that Yori fought Monkey Fist and his monkey ninjas instead and was captured. Like Yori, Sensei has an unwavering confidence in Ron and his abilities and sees him as a true warrior, and that he was selected as an exchange student because of his exposure to Mystical Monkey Power. Despite his lack of confidence in his abilities, he postpones his return to Middleton in order to rescue her. Fukushima teams up with him for the mission, but upon arrival at Monkey Fist's volcano lair, he ends up betraying Yamanouchi to serve Monkey Fist in his attempt to steal the Lotus Blade by telling him the location of the Lotus Blade, and leading Ron into the simian super villain's trap.
Both Ron and Yori are placed in a cage to be dipped into a lava pit, along with Rufus, who is in a different cage, but Ron reminds Fukushima that helping a super villain wouldn't look good on his school record, and would keep him from entering a good ninja college. However, Monkey Fist counters his persuasion by promising to write Fukushima a letter of recommendation, once he'd led an army of monkey ninjas into battle. Realizing that Rufus was also exposed to mystical monkey powers, he immediately sends him to rescue Ron and Yori. Later, after Ron and Yori have escaped, the students of Yamanouchi and Master Sensei arrived to fight Monkey Fist and his ninja monkeys. Fukushima engaged in battle with Ron, who in the few times successfully employs his Mystical Monkey Powers easily (and ironically) defeats him. As he leaves, the school honors him, but insists that he vows never to reveal his activities to the outside world.
- Whenever Ron has to do the dirty work he is either reminded or reminds himself that "it will be his honor" to do it. This joke would later be used in the episode "Gorilla Fist".
- Ron loses his pants twice in this episode. Actually, he was wearing the clothing of ninjas, both times, and both times, he was reduced to just his boxers.
- Fukushima is voiced by Dante Basco, star of American Dragon: Jake Long, and Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Will Friedle (Ron) would appear on American Dragon: Jake Long as Jake's (Dante Basco) annoying cousin Greggy in the episode "Feeding Frenzy".
- Steve Loter revealed that this was his favorite episode.
- Yori and Master Sensei return in "Gorilla Fist", "Big Bother", and "Oh No! Yono!".
- Yamanouchi (山ノ内) and Fukushima (福島) are both locations in Hokkaido, northern Japan, where the story is set. The former means "within the mountains" and the latter means "island of good fortune".
- This was one of the few times Ron successfully employed his latent skills at Tai Shing Pek War (Monkey Kung Fu). This is also one of the few episodes where Kim is not the primary heroine.
- The scene where Ron and Rufus prepare to leave the school in search of Monkey Fist mirrors a similar scene from the Disney film Mulan, when the titular heroine prepares to leave for war.
- Fukushima is the only villain to date who has not been confronted by Kim.
- Yori is believed to have been modeled after Faye Valentine of Cowboy Bebop fame.
- Master Sensei will also appear in the two-part episode "Graduation". Both times, he is astral projecting to Ron.
- When Yori was in the line to get her lunch, she is wearing a black ninja outfit, but when she was about get her lunch, she is in her white training outfit.
Home video releases
- Kim Possible: The Complete Second Season