Kaito continues to sit at the counter pretending to mind his own business while actually observing Haruka who also continues worrying about how she’ll be able to find Momoi Tarou.
Saruhara Shinichi introduces himself as what many people call a natural-born oddball. His vast knowledge and analytical prowess have earned him the moniker of “Professor” and in turn helps his neighbors and friends with their various problems. That’s also while he drops some impromptu haikus to mark certain moments about his day.
Since getting his own pair of the mysterious glasses and becoming Saru Brother, he’s experienced intermittent, localized earthquakes at his home and also been the victim of a robber who’s stolen all the lights in his home. But it hasn’t been all bad. With his new powers, he’s able to do some good like help local kids get their soccer ball up from the creek.
Spring already, eh?
Is it really not spring yet?
That is truly spring.
Meanwhile, Tarou makes a COD delivery to Haruka’s Aunt Yuriko. Aunt Yuriko, from her room, asks Haruka to pay for the package for her and then asks if she’s already washed the dishes. Haruka says she’s busy with her new manga and Aunt Yuriko says she’ll just get accused of plagiarism again anyway.
An annoyed Haruka asks Tarou to do the dishes for her and he obliges. While he’s at the sink, Aunt Yuriko handcuffs Tarou thinking he is the Kurokuma Delivery thief. Tarou shows her his ID showing that he’s from Shirokuma Delivery actually.
Aunt Yuriko apologizes and explains that she’s a detective investigating a rash of strange thefts in which someone poses as a deliveryman in order to steal lamps from homes.
Tarou says he does what he can to help his customers and how they are supposed to deliver happiness, not take things away. He decides to catch the guy himself.
Later, Haruka meets Tarou at the café and asks if he’s ever made a delivery to a guy named Momoi Tarou. Tarou says no, he never has. But her question confirms to him that they really do have a bond. Haruka thinks that’s creepy.
Tarou is about to finally introduce himself to her, but he realizes his ID is gone after it fell on the floor at Haruka’s apartment. Haruka doesn’t want things to get too personal between them, so she doesn’t listen to his name. Instead, she asks if she can ride along with him on deliveries in order to find Momoi Tarou.
Tarou says that’s fine and Haruka asks her boss if she can take some time off. Kaito says okay and Haruka becomes Tarou’s new delivery partner.
They make their first delivery and Haruka asks the lady if she’s ever heard of a Momoi Tarou. She has not. Tarou asks if the lady has heard about the Kurokuma thief, but she has not. The lady thinks they’re both weird and closes the door on them.
After Tarou and Haruka leave, the Kurokuma thief appears and forces his way in to the lady’s home saying he delivers darkness. He takes a lamp, but says he needs more.
As he loads the lamp into his van, a strange woman, Sononi, appears, caresses his face and takes an interest in him since she can see the monster hovering around him.
Next day, Haruka accompanies Tarou with deliveries again. After getting a door slammed in her face for one delivery, Haruka gets harassed by two creepy guys who want to “play” with her. Tarou steps in, but immediately gets punched to the floor. Haruka is shocked and thinks she has to deal with this herself.
Tarou flicks peanuts at both the guys’ faces and they immediately fall to the floor, unconscious. Haruka thinks it was her who knocked them out and believes she doesn’t need to henshin to be strong.
Haruka makes fun of Tarou for being so weak. Tarou says he does not hit people, but Haruka thinks it’s just an excuse.
Their next delivery is for Shinichi. Tarou helps fix Shinichi’s lights after telling him about the Kurokuma thief. Haruka remembers Shinichi as the money-less haiku guy from the café.
Shinichi thinks the thief might actually be in search of revenge and was a deliveryman himself. Delivery people usually have to go through lots of hardship during work. Haruka believes that considering all the hardships she’s experienced and even put Tarou through these last few days.
Shinichi adds that a lit-up house is a symbol of a happy family. And thus, the thief wants to snuff all that light out.
Later that evening, Tarou drops Haruka off at her apartment complex. But Tarou spots the thief’s mysterious delivery van leaving. Sure enough, all the lights are gone in Haruka’s apartment.
Haruka finds Tarou’s ID on the floor and can’t believe he’s been right in front of her this whole time.
Next morning, Haruka gives Tarou his ID back and says he should’ve told her sooner. Tarou says she never asked.
Suddenly, Tarou makes a sharp U-turn when he spots the Kurokuma delivery van that he saw last night. He knows this van is it since it has the same cargo from last night. And it also wouldn’t be packed so sloppily if he really was making deliveries too.
The thief sees them tailing him and tries to lose them. Tarou does not want to speed as he has some fragile packages in the back. So he asks Haruka to take the wheel as he henshins to a mini Don ToQ Momotaro that can hop onto a small ToQger train. On the train, Tarou is able to slash the thief’s tires, causing the van to crash into a bush.
Tarou returns to his body and he and Haruka confront the man. Tarou will not allow this thief to sully the good name of deliverymen. The thief says he wants to deliver more darkness and transforms into his Hitotsuki form.
Tarou says he’ll skip the palanquin and fanfare today and just henshins. Haruka finally believes Tarou is Don Momotaro. But she has no time to think about it as she must henshin in order to face off against Anonis when Tarou slips away in order to make a grand entrance on his bike.
The other Donbros pop in to help against the Anonis. Haruka is surprised by Saru Brother’s form, thinking he is a gorilla. But Shinichi says he’s actually based off of a monkey, specifically a Japanese macaque.
Sononi watches from a rooftop and is enamored by the thief’s cute form, saying he looks like someone fully engulfed in their own greed. She transforms into her Noto form.
Meanwhile, Haruka, Shinichi and Tsuyoshi lock in a ToQger gear to uphenshin to their corresponding ToQgers. Together, they finish off all the remaining Anonis. Little Tsubasa, managing to avoid their incoming fire, tells them to watch it next time.
Tarou calls on the others to help raise his finisher platform. As Tarou shoots the Momotaro Slash at the monster, Sononi jumps in to shield him from the attack.
The thief tries to run away. Sononi says, although she thinks he’s cute, she does not like him. So she shoots an arrow at him and he is trapped in a cube before it shatters.
A Lupin Gear drops down in front of Kaito, much to his surprise.
Tarou says the thief may have committed crimes, but was still an ordinary deliveryman at his core and did not deserve to be erased in this manner. Tarou charges at Sononi, but she holds him off and says she is looking forward to seeing who he really is. She leaves.
Haruka kneels at Tarou’s feet and pledges loyalty to him. Tarou kicks her and laughs.
Donbrothers continues its nice slowburn start. And because of that, I really thought they would drag out Haruka’s obviousness a bit longer than just this episode. lol I thought it would be a fun running gag for a few more episodes. And it would really fit with the way they are developing the team dynamics in a unique way. With the way they had Tarou flicking those nuts at the guys to knock them out and Haruka thinking she did it, I thought her being oblivious and unaware would be a character trait. lol
I was expecting a big payoff and reveal when Haruka finally “finds” Momoi Tarou. So I was definitely not expecting her to find out, literally, in the dark. It was a bit underwhelming when I think it could’ve been a really big, fun moment.
But anyway, it will be interesting to see what’s next in terms of that part of the story with Haruka and Tarou and his imprisoned father.
The other big part of the episode was officially meeting Shinichi. And it was a good, quick rundown of his story in the same way Tsuyoshi’s introduction was. I hope we get full focus episodes on each of the Donbros later. Though I still like how we’re meeting the team so far.
I do think that they’ll have to bring the pieces together sooner rather than later. Because if they don’t get the timing right, it might just end up feeling disjointed. Like, Sononi popping up felt a bit random unlike last week when we had Sonoi and Sonoza actually interacting with each other at least.
But overall, it was another good episode. Fun and enjoyable. And nice to see ToQger getting all this early toy love as well.
More CGI Ranting Thoughts lol
I promise I won’t be whining about the CGI every week. But I read this interview with Toei producer Shinichiro Shirakura over the weekend.
And in the midst of all the nice, positive and well-meaning comments about moving forward with their franchises, the main takeaway I got was they kind of try to find several reasons (excuses?) for having the heavy CGI.
They talked about wanting to allow kids the freedom to choose who they want to be by using the idea of avatars. Thus getting the tall skinny Donbro and the little inu Donbro. And the red-butt of the macaque-inspired Donbro. They also wanted to have more freedom with the kind of action they could do post-henshin apparently. As well as wanting to have iconic henshins sequences like Kamen Rider.
It really does all feel like excuses to explain budget concerns to be honest. Sorry.
They specifically say they’re not even trying to be “diverse”. Uh okay.
When they talk about allowing kids to grow up without being told what they should grow up to be, things like a male pink or, in the past female yellows and blues and greens have been huge. I even remember when it was shocking to Power Rangers fans when Ninja Storm had the audacity to have a male yellow and female blue.
Those are good things though. Next step is a female black. But I doubt we’ll get a female red any time soon. Toei is not THAT progressive lol
The idea about letting kids be kids and stuff like that is a wonderful sentiment. But I think kids wanting to be spandex-wearing superheroes (any color, at that) or bug-eyed-looking genetically modified heroes has the same effect as wanting to be an odd-shaped cartoon character.
They mention how it’s perfectly normal for a guy to wear pink. But then they go and make the pink guy look wildly deformed compared to the others. What’s wrong with him being in a normal pink suit. ToQger did it perfectly fine after all.
And again, just look how great the physical suit actually looks:
Just thinking about it, they still could’ve had their less-expensive CGI forms by having them as power-ups of some sort. Have then initially henshin into *normal* physical forms before inserting some kind of gimmick to transform and uphenshin into whatever other non-legendary Sentai forms they want. You could have a short and skinny or tall and fat form if you wanted. Then animate them doing all sorts of crazy things.
And guess what? Doing that helps take care of what Toei actually cares about the most: MONEYS from toy sales. Let’s be honest here. More forms = more toys = more yen!
Again, I get the budget concerns. That’s one of the reasons Zenkaiger was a team of four suit-characters. Sentai isn’t the franchise it once was. I think it’s had more cancellation rumors in recent years than Power Rangers. (And that’s kind of upsetting for me lol)
But anyway. Like I mentioned after the premiere, I’m sure I’ll get used to it after a while. Until then, I’ll continue to be annoyed and cynical about it. (Though more privately and not in every episode’s recap. Lol) And hopefully the rest of the show can pick up the slack. Which they’ve been doing so far after these solid three episodes.