Recap: Avataro Sentai Donbrothers, Episode 18 – Jōzuna Ippon/A Jawsome Strike

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

A motherly voice awakens a sleeping Murasame who bursts out of an enclosure somewhere within the virtual world. Sonoi and Sononi notice a bright purple light zoom overhead.

The voice instructs Murasame to avoid attacks as he flies through the virtual world and straight to the human world. Murasame has turned into a sword and plants itself in a concrete slab in an alleyway. He says he is tired and his mother tells him to rest for now as he’s done a great job so far.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Over at Donburi, Haruka, Shinichi and Tsuyoshi meet with Tarou to tell them of their hesitance and disapproval of Jirou joining them on the team. They recount his dangerous moments from when he stole their powers. But Tarou points out how he was able to handle things, especially after Haruka slapped him.

Besides, Tarou says, whether or not Jirou is acknowledged as a Donbro is not their decision to make since they’re just his otomotachi.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

That evening, Jirou asks to meet with Tarou at the café to talk about his position in the team. Jirou wants to be Tarou’s equal and not just another otomo. Seeing Tarou glaring at him, Jirou pulls back a bit. But Tarou says it is an interesting idea.

Tarou wants Jirou to try and score an ippon on him. He refers to the story of Tsukahara Bokude being able to defend himself from a strike by Miyamoto Musashi using the lid of a pot. And that’s the game they will play. Jirou is free to try anything and if he can land a hit on Tarou, he will consider him an equal.

Jirou quickly pops up to point to a supposed UFO in the sky. But Tarou does not fall for it and hits Jirou on the forehead with a spoon. Tarou gives Jirou a punishment of 100 push-ups.

Next day, Tsuyoshi catches Jirou about to strike at Tarou while he is about to leave for deliveries. He calls out to Tarou who is able to block Jirou’s attack with his clipboard.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Tarou tells Jirou to jump rope 1000 times for his punishment.

Tsuyoshi calls Haruka and Shinichi over. They all want in on this game and Tarou happily and confidently welcomes it. Haruka, Shinichi and Tsuyoshi believe Tarou will have to let his guard down sometime and they are determined to find that moment.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

After Jirou finishes his jumps, the four challengers face each other before going on their separate ways to figure out their next moves.

On the other side of town, Tsubasa is surprised when Sononi appears before him. She wants to remind him about their bet the other day. Tsubasa won since he was able to stop Makoto from becoming a Hitotsuki. Sononi says she keeps her promises and asks Tsubasa to tell her what he wants and she’ll make it happen.

Tsubasa says he didn’t win because it was love itself that saved Makoto. Sononi tells him he doesn’t need to act all tough and says she can bring him to see Natsumi. Tsubasa says he doesn’t want her help, nor need it since he is sure that he and Natsumi will find each other when the time comes.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Sononi says if Tsubasa continues down this route instead, it’s going to be a living hell. But Tsubasa says his life is already hell without his Natsumi.

Sononi is very intrigued by Tsubasa as he walks away.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Meanwhile, Tsuyoshi follows Tarou to a restaurant and comes up with a plan to sneak a bean sprout out of Tarou’s ramen. That would be considered an ippon. But Tarou easily catches Tsuyoshi and punishes him to 200 step-ups.

Unrequited love
Called forth with these whistling lips
Like a shooting star

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Next up is Shinichi who tries to use a water gun armed with red sauce to shoot Tarou from a rooftop. But Tarou uses a pan lid to shield himself and then tosses the lid up right at Shinichi’s head. He punishes Shinichi with 10 reps up and down the building’s stairs.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Finally, it’s Haruka’s turn and she plans to give Tarou a supposed box of home baked cookies only to have a jack-in-the-box glove pop out to punch him in the face.

Haruka presents the box of “cookies” to Tarou while he’s having lunch at Shirokuma. His coworkers excitedly want some, but Tarou says this is the first time a woman has ever given him cookies like this. He appreciates Haruka’s sincerity and efforts and wants to savor this special gift by having a little of the cookies each day.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Seeing Tarou genuinely treasure the gift makes Haruka feel bad about tricking him so she tries to grab the box back. But she instead knocks the cover off and the glove pops out to punch her in the face.

Jirou, meanwhile, pops out of a shipping box thinking this is his chance to score a hit. But Tarou again blocks his attack and knocks Jirou to the ground next to Haruka. Tarou punishes them with 100 sit-ups each.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

While out on his deliveries, Tarou runs into Sonoi who wants to finally settle things between them. Tarou accepts. Sonoi says the Noto also cherish human life, so he suggests they compete in helping people instead. Whoever helps the most people wins.

Since Tarou is still working, Sonoi decides to help him with his deliveries first.

At their first stop, the customer looks Sonoi’s clothes up and down. Tarou tells her not to mind his odd dress. Suddenly, Sonoi is able to catch a glass of juice a little boy loses his grip on. One point for him.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

On their way back to the van, Sonoi informs Tarou that in the Noto World, he is a fashion leader. And with that information, Tarou and Sonoi proceed with their helpful competition helping people with dropped groceries, tree hats, crossing the street and falling bikes.

Tarou and Sonoi head back to Shirokuma. The other Donbros are all there waiting for their chance to strike at Tarou. But Tarou ducks out of the way of Jirou jumping out a window. Sonoi accidently steps in front of Haruka with a toy hammer and he gets the hit instead. He whips his sword out to flash at Haruka. But as Tsuyoshi and Shinichi charge at Tarou, Sonoi is able to slice their laundry poles in half.

Tarou punishes the four Donbros to 500 squats. He tells Sonoi that he is also involved in another competition so Sonoi says they can meet again tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Mother wakes Murasame once again and tells him it is time for battle. The sword flies into the air and sucks electricity from all over Tokyo.

Haruka, Shinichi, Tsuyoshi and Jirou visit Papa Jin to tell him about their contest and ask for any tips. Jin wants to get to know Jirou whom he thought he would meet someday. But Jirou says they can do that next time as what’s important right now is finding Tarou’s weakness.

Jin suggests they tell Tarou that “Gii-chan, the kabutomushi, is back.” Strange, they think, but they’ll give it a try.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Next day, Tarou notices the four Donbros scouring through nearby bushes. He approaches them to ask what the hell they’re doing. The four immediately face him and excitedly say “Gii-chan, the kabutomushi, back!”

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Tarou’s mood immediately changes and he begins frantically searching the bushes.

Papa Jin had told the others that when Tarou was a child, he had no friends except for a kabutomushi named Gii-chan who he cherished like one. One day, the kabutomushi flew away and Jin could see the sadness in Tarou’s face as he hoped Gii-chan would come back one day.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Haruka, Shinichi, Tsuyoshi and Jirou jump ready to strike at Tarou. But pull back, feeling bad about taking advantage of Tarou at this time. They admit that they don’t want to see Tarou lose and acknowledge that he must be a special man to have made them feel this way.

Haruka apologizes and admits they lied. Plus, she believes Gii-chan is probably dead now anyway. They all bow in apology. But Tarou sees the purple light streaking toward them and he warns them to duck out of the way. Sonoi is shocked.

The Donbros quickly henshin as the Murasame sword tries to attack them. It plants itself in the ground before a Donbrothers-looking person manifests itself from the sword.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Sonoi recognizes this person as Don Murasame.

Mother orders Murasame to fight and he proceeds to take the Donbros on. Tsubasa arrives to the scene. But the Donbros struggle. Tarou asks if Murasame is a Noto, but Murasame does not answer. Instead, he enters the ground like it is water and is able to splash around while hidden, taking the Donbros by surprise.

Mother tells Murasame to go Alter and he does. Tarou and Jirou also go Alter and they face off. Tarou and Jirou are able to force Murasame out of his Alter and Mother tells him to retreat for now.

The Donbros are confused by this new foe. Tarou says Murasame is unlike anyone they’ve faced before.

Sonoi does not understand how Murasame could be here. He tells Tarou their competition is on hold for now and hurries off to figure out what’s going on.

Later, Tarou tries to help a grandmother with her groceries. He forcibly takes her bag from her even though she does not need the help. “Don’t treat me like an invalid!”

The grandmother hits Tarou in the head with her cane. An ippon for grandma!

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Episode Thoughts

What a joy to watch. I loved this episode. It was an excellent mix of random, hilarious fun and intriguing new developments.

Don Murasame is an interesting new character. Him and Mother should present some new challenges for the Donbros. And I hope the show can give them a good foundation and good story. Good antagonists always help support good story for our protagonists.

The legitimately exciting battle between Murasame and Donbros was a very good contrast to all the lighter moments this episode.

The attempts by the Donbros to attack Tarou were each so funny. But that sequence where all four come at Tarou with Sonoi getting in the way was just hilarious. A really great showcase of good writing and good performances and comedic timing from the cast.

But underneath the jokes and fun of the contest, we got to know more about Tarou as well. It’s been very interesting to watch Tarou be a sort of kind soul. He’s innocent, sometimes oblivious, I guess. I don’t know the words to describe him. But he has a personality that the others respond to.

It’s almost like (and I’m just assuming here) the show is setting up how Tarou is the way he is in terms of being some sort of lord with his vassals because of how he grew up. He didn’t have many, if any, friends. And it seems like people and the friends that he did have always end up leaving in some way. That’s a very sad story of course. But I do think it is all part of how Tarou is as a person.

Seeing the Donbros understand where he’s coming from, slowly, but surely is really nice to watch.

Moments like that though make me want to see Tsubasa join them sooner and sooner. It would be so awesome to see all of them together taking part in these random hijinks and sweet moments. Just like they did in Episode 5, still maybe my favorite episode of the season.

Speaking of Tsubasa, I like that they continued his interaction with Sononi. I think they could do a lot with that dynamic in the way they’ve set-up Tarou and Sonoi’s relationship.

Sonoi, meanwhile, continues to be sort of an enigma. But it goes along with the peeling back of his character and how the Noto may not necessarily be all bad as first impressions had us believe. His little helping competition with Tarou would’ve been a whole episode by itself. But it really worked well with everything else that was happening here.

Overall, another great episode of Donbros. Really enjoying it so much.

Japanese Lesson to Myself for the Week (lol)

So I wanna talk about this week’s episode title. I mentioned before how I sometimes try to figure out the English title on my own. Of course, not knowing much Japanese makes that a challenge. But seeing the unofficial translations by various sub groups or on wikis and the like always make me wonder if they really capture the original title the best.

This week, the various translations for “ジョーズないっぽん” or ” Jōzuna Ippon” are either “A Jawsome Strike” or “A Shot to the Jaws.” And it definitely seems like a play on words that works much better in Japanese rather than in English, obviously. But how to still capture the playful meaning in English, if even possible. Or at least, just understand how such play on words works for someone like me wanting to learn the language.

Now “ジョーズな” can be directly translated to “skilled” or “skillful” or even simply “jaws.” And for this episode, “jaws” would make sense considering Murasame’s debut. “Jōzuna” here is used as an adjective to “ippon.”

“いっぽん” is a decisive point in Japanese martial arts. Which in this episode would refer to the Donbros trying to score one against Tarou.

So “A Skillful Score”? “A Skilled Strike”? Those would be direct translations, but then we’d lose the “jaws” reference with relation to Murasame.

I guess there really isn’t a way to capture the essence of the original play on words. And most of the time, that’s fine. It’s not like they should be concerned with how a title will be translated in English. This is a Japanese series, after all. =)

Non-CGI Donbro of the Week

None this week.

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