Cherry Panic! The Great Romance Scheme!
A group of bandits are hiding out in the woods with a huge stockpile of ore, but the imperial guards Baiko and Tamasaburo are approaching fast. Rather than risk getting caught, they blow up their base and hightail it out of there, giving the two no clues to follow.
Otaru wakes up to an interesting sight - the apartment has been refurbished so much, it's like an entirely new place! Cherry has made him breakfast, but suggests that maybe a more interesting way to start the morning would be to... you know...
Things take a turn for the flamboyant when Cherry turns out to be Hanagata instead. "I am your breakfast. Dig in, Otaru!"
Otaru wakes up from his dream, and is quite thankful for that. Cherry has made them breakfast, and Otaru is blown away by it - this is superb, incredible stuff! He never expected to be eating this good in his life, though Cherry humbly claims it isn't that superb...
She then proceeds to have a romantic fantasy where she's making rolled omelette for Otaru, and is curious to hear his opinion. He remarks that it was sweet... but not as sweet as her tender lips...
She isn't exactly quiet about it, either. Before Otaru can query her, Lime decides to show off her idea of breakfast (some unidentifiable black thing that's still squirming on the plate), only for the wall between Otaru and Hanagata's apartment to spontaneously combust, just in time for the dandy man himself to criticize the dog food Otaru is eating. Lime and Hanagata butt heads over this, creating a mess of the apartment and their meals.
Cherry doesn't take it well.
Otaru and Cherry go out to work, leaving Lime to mind the house and clean up the mess she caused. Otaru's got a job as a candy merchant, and Cherry finds the idea of a working man incredibly romantic... romantic enough for her to get a bit too excited over yet another of her erotic fantasies, which ends up scaring away all the kids.
On their way home, Cherry continues to apologise for behaviour, though Otaru still isn't too bothered by it all. Cherry trips on a rock and stumbles onto Otaru for balance, causing the both of them to roll down a grassy hill beside the lake, the two atop of each other. Otaru's heart is suddenly beating a mile a minute, and the two lean closer...
The two leap to their feet while Lime is curious to know what they were up to. Cherry is frustrated that their tender moment was intruded upon... but Otaru tries to make sense of what the heck he was doing. Lime wants Otaru to do that to her as well, but Cherry shoos her away by making her fetch a stick of candy.
Otaru carries Cherry home as the two admire the sunset, sparking another romantic moment, but Lime butts in yet again by also hopping on Otaru's back.
That night, Cherry walks the streets bemoaning her predicament - can her affections for Otaru ever be expressed without intrusion?
A group of ne'er-do-wells spy her and stand in her way, looking for trouble, though Cherry kindly asks them to move aside - they're amused by how a marionette is trying to give them orders, but after asking her "what if we don't want to move?" she throws their leader into a wall. The three others charge at her...
... and end up in a sorry heap.
Cherry admonishes the men for being so brutish, but then changes her tone - can she ask them for a favour? The group instantly go along with anything she asks.
"I asked you very politely."
Not far away, the ore bandits sail down the river, hoping to relocate their goods somewhere the imperial guard will never think of.
Otaru and Lime await Cherry's return so they can get some grub in the house, when an arrow is shot through the door with a message - the Japoness Hell Gang have kidnapped Cherry and have her at one of the warehouses in Shinagawa Wharf! They want Otaru to come along, and make damn sure that Lime doesn't tag along. Lime is left to mind the house again as Otaru rushes out to save the marionette he's only known for a day or two (one has to imagine that anyone who makes breakfast that good is totally worth risking your life for).
At the warehouse, Cherry and the Japoness Hell Gang start preparing for their scheme, with Cherry chained and raised above the floor. At last, if all goes according to plan, Otaru will bravely rescue Cherry, and she can have some quality time with him all to herself!
Otaru sneaks his way inside and is instantly surrounded by the Japoness Hell Gang, who begin their threatening-the-hero spiel, though they stumble over some of the more poetic references in the script Cherry wrote for them. They charge in for the kill...
... and merely hover threateningly around Otaru. He slowly kicks them down one-by-one, each of them over-dramatizing their defeat, while Cherry watches in anticipation of her happy ending, when one of the gang falls into a pile of boxes, all of which are filled with ore!
Otaru notices that this isn't any ol' ore - this is very rare japonium ore, and it's contraband! The Japoness Hell Gang are as surprised as he is, they knew nothing about it being stockpiled here! The ore thieves show up and introduce themselves as "your average villainous black-marketeers" and say that because of all the threat of war going on in Terra II, smuggling this stuff to other countries is a pretty lucrative gig. Otaru doesn't take too kindly to folks profiting from warmongering, but the black-marketeers deem it wise to shut his mouth.
... with a humongous mecha, the Black Beast! It fires at Otaru with a machine gun, though he manages to take cover behind some boxes. While looking for him, their attentions turn to the still-chained-up Cherry...
Otaru won't stand for robots glaring ominously at defenceless marionettes, and drops down on the machine from above and starts clobbering it with a crowbar. That does as much good as you'd imagine. The Black Beast grabs Otaru in a pincer arm and begins to crush him.
Out in the streets, Lime has evidently gotten bored of looking after the house and is looking for Otaru. He's not under the rug. He isn't hiding in the dumpster, either! Where could Otaru be? She climbs up as high as she can, and manages to get his scent, leading her towards the wharf.
Cherry can't watch much more of this, and breaks out of her chains, cuts off Black Beast's pincer, and starts wailing into it with all kinds of marionette martial arts - is it just too much to ask for a private session to get romantically entwined with Otaru?!?
Black Beast is knocked straight out of the warehouse, and the black-marketeers are scared shitless. They get Black Beast up and active again for another round, springing a buttload of new guns out of its back. Lime finally arrives and sees Otaru; seeing that he's still winded from being crushed earlier, she assumes this big bully has been beating him up...
So she kicks its head off and hurls the rest of Black Beast into the stratosphere. The black marketeers run for their lives, and Lime chases after - she's got s'more head-stompin' left in her!
Cherry collapses to her knees. This is all her fault. Otaru is still marvelling over how she just trounced that giant gun-toting death machine, but he's very glad that Cherry is safe.
Pleased that her master still loves her, the two hold hands against a star-lit sky, and lean in for a kiss...
Lime interrupts once again; after all that roughhousing, she's dying for something for eat, and drags Otaru off so he can fetch it for her. Cherry still can't catch a break. The Japoness Hell Gang approach her and express their admiration for her power and expertise - they want her to be their new leader!
"Otaru! I beat all the bad guys!"
"Why does this always happen to me...?"
The next day, Cherry makes another splendid breakfast for Otaru... as does Lime, with yet another unidentified squirming black entity slapped on a plate. Hanagata steps in to criticize the kind of junk Otaru eats for breakfast, and tries to invite him to his place for a more upper-class meal. Lime and Hanagata get into another heated argument, leaving Cherry to step outside...
Tamasaburo and Baiko finally track down the leader of the ore thieves, lying in a daze next to the wreck of Black Beast, babbling to himself about a monster marionette.
"I won't let it get to me...!"
No explanation is given for why the wall of Otaru's apartment suddenly explodes. Just... just get used to it. Hanagata makes increasingly ridiculous entrances throughout the series, so don't think about it too much.
You'd think it'd make sense for a ransom letter to actually have a ransom on it. It'd be embarrassing to show up only to find that the kidnappers want money, and you left your wallet at home. Nobody, kidnapper or otherwise, stands for that kind of crap.
The bit the Japoness Hell Gang stumble over in the English dub is trying to pronounce "the river Styx".
In the Japanese version it's the kanji 途, for "road".