Haruka and Shinichi tell Master Kaito about Tarou and ask to use more Kibi Points to save him. But Kaito says both Haruka and Shinichi already have negative points. While he understands them wanting to save Tarou, Kaito tells them to worry about themselves first as it won’t be long until bad things begin happening to them.
The Noto3 are at the gallery. Sonoza and Sononi believe the Donbros are more powerful than they previously thought if they could bring back Tarou like that, even if for a moment. Sonoi thinks to himself how he felt a little bit of joy when he saw Tarou return. But he knows that’s impossible.
Back in the city, Tsuyoshi comes home to find Tsubasa waiting outside his front door. Tsuyoshi invites him inside and Tsubasa tells him about running into a woman he knows is Natsumi. Tsuyoshi says that’s hopeful news. But Tsubasa notices something is bothering Tsuyoshi.
Tsuyoshi tells him about Miho being in the hospital, but says she’ll be coming home soon. He adds that he is genuinely happy Tsubasa has been able to see the woman he loves again.
Tsubasa is confused why Natsumi would not recognize him though. But he is now resolved to find her. Tsuyoshi offers to help find her and he asks if Tsubasa has a photo.
Tsubasa shows him a pic of them two on his phone and Tsuyoshi is absolutely shocked.
Tsubasa’s only photo of him and Natsumi is a photobooth pic with filters on their face. Tsuyoshi says this photo will definitely not help.
Later when Tsubasa has left, Tsuyoshi looks at a photo of his wedding with Miho and the anger rises up and causes the Hitotsuki to emerge once again. The Hitotsuki takes over Tsuyoshi’s body and he begins zooming through the city.
Haruka and Shinichi hurry over, not knowing this Hitotsuki is their teammate. Just as they get knocked to the ground, Jirou arrives to help. He hurls a huge boulder at the Hitotsuki. But the Hitotsuki speeds away and the boulder instead hits Shinichi in the face, knocking him out.
The three of them head to the café. Haruka and Shinichi scold Jirou for getting in the way with his pretending to be a hero, especially when he can’t even henshin. Jirou says the voice inside him ensures that that time is coming very soon.
Shinichi calls Jirou a phony. But Jirou is sure he will prove them wrong and says he will lead the team well in place of Tarou. Haruka and Shinichi are surprised that Jirou knows of Tarou.
Jirou recalls meeting Tarou once when his high school was on a trip to Tokyo. Jirou witnessed Tarou getting ganged up on by a group of delinquents. But Tarou stood his ground, refusing to raise a fist against them. Though Tarou was badly beaten and bruised, he kept his hands in his pockets and ended up the last man standing with the bullies sprawled on the ground, exhausted from their beat down of Tarou.
It was at that point that Jirou was sure Tarou was a true hero and now he hopes to follow in his footsteps.
Haruka suddenly collapses as she loses feeling in her legs. Kaito comes in with a wheelchair and says this is an effect of using too many Kibi Points. Shinichi and Jirou help Haruka into the wheelchair.
Shinichi wonders what the negative effect might be on him.
Shinichi wheels Haruka out to the underpass where Jirou watched Tarou get beat up. She wonders what Tarou would say to them at a time like this. She thinks Tarou would be positive and encourage Haruka to not give up. So because of that, she will do all she can to ensure that she can get up and walk by the time Tarou returns.
Shinichi thinks this is a perfect time for a haiku. But he suddenly cannot come up with one. Later that night, he realizes this must be the effect of negative Kibi Points and says he has now lost his soul.
Next morning, Tsubasa calls Tsuyoshi who tells him that Miho has gotten home safely. Tsubasa updates Tsuyoshi on his, as of now, unsuccessful search for Natsumi. Tsuyoshi wishes him well in the meantime.
Miho is cooking breakfast, but still has a bit of pain in her head. Tsuyoshi is very worried, but she tells him she’s alright. As she finishes cooking, Tsuyoshi’s anger bubbles up once again and the Hitotsuki takes over.
Tsubasa is searching for Natsumi downtown and runs into a rampaging Tsuyoshi. He henshins, but excuses himself when Shinichi and Haruka arrive, saying he is a bit busy right now.
Shinichi and a wheelchair-bound Haruka chase after the Hitotsuki and are shocked when they find Tsuyoshi in his normal state before he transforms into the monster.
Tsuyoshi kicks Haruka out of her wheelchair and fights Shinichi.
Jirou arrives and his time has finally arrived as well. A Ryukonogeki appears in front of him and he uses it to henshin to Don Doragoku.
Jirou battles the Hitotsuki and is actually quite good, but the Hitotsuki manages to run away.
The three of them head back to the café. Jirou says this proves he is Tarou’s successor. Haruka says Tarou cannot be replaced. Jirou does wish he could’ve fought by Tarou’s side. But he proposes a solution.
Jirou says Tarou is gone because they failed at supporting him. So to make up for their shortcomings, he will execute them and start over with a new team he puts together himself.
Shinichi is ready to be cut down, saying death is better than living with his inability to write a haiku. Jirou is about to oblige, but Haruka asks for one thing. She asks Jirou to use his points to bring Tarou back.
Kaito comes in to say Jirou does not have any points because he is not one of their comrades. Haruka says to use more of hers then, but Kaito says going more into the negative range could kill her. Haruka does not care, as long as Tarou comes back.
Jirou is taken aback and touched by Haruka’s sincerity. He gets on his knees to bow down, apologizing for having been so rash in even suggesting their execution.
Suddenly, Sonoi speaks with them from the gallery with a chance to save Tarou who is asleep in another dimension. They can go and collect him, but in order to do that, Sonoi must strike down a Hitotsuki, Kaito understands the plan. Shinichi warns that this might be a trap. But Jirou says it does not matter if it is a chance to save Tarou.
Later, Sonoi slashes at Tsuyoshi. And before Tsuyoshi disappears, Jirou runs over to hop along for the ride. They find themselves in a virtual prison of sorts, encased in a cube. Jirou sees Tarou in a nearby cube, but is unable to get close enough to him.
When Tsuyoshi wakes up, Jirou tells him to henshin and use his wings to guide their cube in the right direction. Tsuyoshi does that and when they crash into Tarou’s cube, they are returned to the real world.
Tarou is back to normal and he recognizes Jirou. Jirou is excited that Tarou remembers him and says it is an honor to be in his presence. Tarou agrees and says he knew they would run into each other again.
Tsuyoshi suddenly transforms into a Hitotsuki again, so Tarou and Jirou both henshin to save him. They work together to counter the Hitotsuki attacks and they combine their finishers to finish off the Hitotsuki and save Tsuyoshi for good.
Tsuyoshi falls to his knees and cries, apologizing to Tarou.
As Tarou picks up the purified Carranger Gear, Sonoi watches from nearby and says this gives them the opportunity for a fair, honorable battle next time.
Shinichi and Haruka arrive at the scene and are happy to see Tarou back. Shinichi is able to recite a haiku:
An ally thought lost
Once again stands before me
A gift life flowers
Tarou apologizes. “I’m sorry for the wait… otomodachi.” Hearing Tarou call them his comrades and friends is wonderful to hear. Haruka asks him to repeat it a few times and they are all emotional.
Tarou asks Haruka what she’s doing in the wheelchair. She says this is his fault. But Tarou tells her he is sure she will be able to walk again so she must not give up.
Tarou walks a bit away from Haruka and tells her to look at him and walk. She must have faith and believe in herself.
“Where do you get off talking like you know everything?!” Haruka says as she slowly gets up from the wheelchair. As soon as she stands, she runs straight for Tarou. But she trips and falls on top of him.
“おかえり… Tarou.” Haruka says.
“ただいま。” Tarou replies.
Another week, another episode of Donbros to enjoy.
So, this episode was another one where so many different things are happening. Some related, some not. But still together, a complete narrative package. It really is refreshing.
Now, I don’t understand the point of Haruka being in a wheelchair. If I were to be critical of anything, it would be how it kind of felt like a half-hearted attempt at a meaningful story I guess? Overcome adversity, believing in yourself. That’s a great message to have. But it almost felt like a throwaway plot point in the episode. Even if it was supposedly a side effect of negative Kibi Points, it still felt a bit random. But could’ve been a bit more effective if they did more with the idea.
But even so, the final scene was a nice moment. And it furthers the team being able to truly forge the bonds that Tarou speaks of all the time. As well as give us a bit more of Tarou’s well-meaning, if sometimes cold(?-I’m not sure what word to describe it) approach to helping others and doing good.
So I guess “dead” Tarou served a few purposes. First, to give a bit of an interesting insight into Sonoi’s mysterious character. He says he wants to fight with honor. But perhaps there’s something else there as well. Maybe some kind of connection. Especially when Tarou is not from around here just like the Noto.
Then there’s of course Jirou’s introduction. And it’s worked out quite nicely. I like that he’s excited and motivated and even eager. But not some arrogant, cocky guy who simply wants to take over and be some kind of star.
Jirou telling the story of Tarou getting beat up also felt a bit too expository. Maybe it would’ve been a little better if Tarou saved Jirou from the gang or something. I dunno. But it’s another thing that could’ve been something really, really good if they did more with it. But I guess that’s just part of the season’s unique storytelling.
Finally, through Tarou (and Tsuyoshi) getting cut down by Sonoi, we learn that the others whom the Noto3 have slashed are not dead, but just sleeping in that virtual dimension prison thing. An interesting and good detail to help with the world building.
Elsewhere in the episode, they kind of resolved Tsuyoshi’s yandere Hitotsuki episode rather quickly. But I guess they will deal with the situation between him and Tsubasa in another way.
I very much like how Tsuyoshi and Tsubasa have slowly developed this friendship. They were awkward with each other at first, but it’s great to see them sincerely care about each other’s concerns. All the better to help build up the eventual reveal that Miho and Natsumi are the same or twins or whatever. Lol
I was definitely amused by the photo scene. I legit thought they would do the reveal at that moment and was ready to be disappointed that they would do so in such an easy way. But when it turned out to be a photo booth pic of Tsubasa and Natsumi, I laughed. It was funny and I hope they continue the close calls for a little bit longer.
Overall, I enjoyed the episode. Again, I think Donbrothers‘ approach is fun and refreshing. It’s really a slowburn-type of a story and that is very different for either Toei toku show. So I am really looking forward to every episode each week.
Non-CGI Donbro of the Week
Yay! Finally we got some this week. First what looks like a full-sized suit for Tsubasa:
And then apparently a physical suit (or figure/toy/something) in Inu Brother’s supposed actual size:
Great to see!