Haruka has been a willing hostage for Sonoza for a few days now. She believes it is her duty to be able to draw a manga that even Noto can enjoy. And perhaps, this can help build a bridge for better relations between humans and Noto.
Sonoza reads through Haruka’s latest pages for Hatsukoi Hero: New Term. Haruka explains that having transfer student Haruka as the main character of a high school story is always a crowd pleaser since it adds a touch of mystery and excitement.
Haruka, however, takes it a step further as the story also includes another transfer student Tarou who tosses his stinky shoe at Haruka. On the next page, cocky playboy transfer student Sonoi is introduced. And on the page after that, shy transfer student Tsubasa introduces himself too. To top it all off, their new homeroom teacher Tsuyoshi has just transferred her as well.
Sonoza is intrigued by this revolutionary idea and encourages Haruka to keep going.
Over at Donburi, Shinichi and Tsuyoshi confront Jirou about his dangerous alternate personality. Jirou insists that he does not remember anything about attacking them and apologizes. He doesn’t know what they want from him though.
Tarou says the threat of Jirou attacking them at any time is actually a good thing since it can keep them on their toes.
Outside, Jirou thanks Tarou for defending him in there. But Tarou says it’s not really defending him, but just acknowledging that with “Don” in both their names, they must be related through the Don Clan somehow. Jirou excitedly wonders if that means Tarou is his older brother. But Tarou shoots that down instantly. Jirou happily chases after him anyway.
Back at the hostage workshop, Sonoza questions the next twist in Haruka’s story. All the transfer students and even teacher confess to mangaHaruka. Sonoza asks why. “Because it’s a manga,” Haruka says casually.
Sonoza does not think that is the kind of flippant attitude an author should have. He explains that he is trying to learn the entire spectrum of human emotion and Hatsukoi Hero actually made him feel something. Haruka’s new pages, however, do nothing for him.
Sonoza rips the pages up, criticizing the idea of humans falling in love so easily for no reason.
Haruka understands and gets back to the drawing board.
Sonoza gets excited about the next twist in Haruka’s story. mangaHaruka is actually a kaijin hunter that goes from school to school. She is able to transform into a hero with a metamorphosis using a white rose.
Haruka includes a quick banana joke, but Sonoza does not know if he is supposed to laugh at this moment or not. He calls Haruka’s “homage” a “rip-off” and proceeds to rip up these new pages.
Haruka acknowledges that she really is in a major slump.
On the other side of town, Tarou is making a delivery and when he offers his services, the wealthy customer invites him in for a steak lunch as he says he’s tired of gourmet cuisine. He’s obtained everything he could ever want, but has grown bored. “Having everything also means having nothing,” the man says.
The man asks Tarou to tell him an interesting story to ease his boredom. Tarou says that he is not an entertainer and that perhaps the man is just simply a boring person.
After Tarou leaves, the man asks his butler to tell him an interesting story. And when he doesn’t have one immediately, a Hitotsuki takes over the rich man’s body. The Hitotsuki begins to rampage at an office building, looking for interesting stories. Those who cannot give him one get sucked into his belly.
The Donblaster appears before Haruka and she gets teleported to the scene while Sonoza begins reading Shin Hatsukoi Hero by Shiina Naoki.
Haruka is shocked when one of the office workers tells a simple joke and the Hitotsuki lets him go.
Sonoza pops in and henshins, attacking Haruka. They battle just as the other Donbros arrive.
Tarou asks where Haruka has been lately and thinks she’s just been slacking off. The four guys chase the Hitotsuki outside while Haruka returns to the workshop to draw a new page featuring the joke the office worker told the Hitotsuki.
Sonoza thinks it’s lame. But he wonders if the new transfer student named Sonoda is based off of him and why mangaHaruka beat the crap out of him for no reason.
Haruka didn’t realize she let her emotions flood onto the page and believes this is all part of her bigtime slump.
Sonoza rips the page up and tells her to try again. When Haruka sees he’s been reading Shin Hatsukoi Hero, Haruka asks him if she can go and see its author Shiina Naoki. She thinks meeting the author might help her get out of her slump.
Sonoza takes her to a book signing with the author who is dressed up in a bunny costume. When she confronts him, he runs away. But she cuts him off at the pass and asks why he framed her for plagiarism and how he did it.
Sonoza says the two of them should settle this in a manga-off. He takes the two of them to the workshop and they get to drawing.
Haruka presents her work to Sonoza. This time, mangaHaruka joins a dance club which is led by beautiful dancer Sonoi. But she is actually a hero and together with their dancing talents, they can transform into superheroes.
Sonoza likes it.
Just then, Naoki walks in with plates of beef stroganoff, Haruka’s specialty. When she gives it a try, it tastes exactly like hers. Now it is another thing Naoki has plagiarized off her.
Meanwhile, the Hitotsuki is terrorizing people at the beach. The Donbros teleport in as the Hitotsuki demands for some interesting stories. Shinichi delivers a new haiku and the Hitotsuku approves of it.
The Donbros uphenshin into Fiveman. Jirou arrives and wants to help. But Shinichi says he is not welcome and Tsubasa shoves him to the ground. They hurry over to fight the Hitotsuki.
Jirou feels bad that they really don’t like him after what he’s done. But he won’t let that discourage him. Right as he henshins, Sonoi arrives and wants to challenge Tarou. Jirou steps in to keep Sonoi busy while leaving the others to take care of the Hitotsuki.
The Donbros go Robotaro to take care of the Hitotsuki. As it embiggens, the Donbros hop into Don Onitaijin and finish it off with a peach finisher.
Jirou believes he also needs the power of Robotaro in order to better fit in with the team.
Haruka runs back to Sonoza’s workshop, but it is empty except for Shiina Naoki’s completed manuscript. Haruka reads through it and accepts that she has lost this one.
Haruka, however, will not let it end like this. She vows that one day she will outdo her rival mangaka.
A full Hatsukoi Hero miniseries on TTFC please! I would love to watch them all in a fun high school drama spoof. And I don’t mean the movie in which they have to film something or whatever. Just an actual TTFC series telling the Hatsukoi Hero story with the Donbros and Noto3 playing the manga’s characters. With of course Easter egg-like references to their actual Donbro characters. But the “miniseries” just being its own fun thing.
Anyway, this was just another wonderful joy of an episode with lots of great character moments beneath that bright surface.
First of all, Kohaku Shida does a great job with the physical comedy. Her funny face reactions to the camera are always fun. But she has great timing to make those moments and others feel natural and not overdone or over the top and annoying.
Similarly, Shinnosuke Takahashi has also been great in bringing Sonoza’s unique personality to life as well. Is he an emotionless assassin? Or is he just a hopeless romantic hooked on manga? He could be both! Lol
But I really like how they’ve used Sonoza in this way to basically support Haruka’s character taking a step forward in her story. I wouldn’t have expected the plagiarism issue would become a major part of her story. But it definitely makes sense. Haruka had been relishing in the fame and fortune even if sometimes she would make it seem like she didn’t care too much. It’ll be interesting to see how they continue with her story to show her character growth.
I did wonder if Kaito could be Shiina Naoki. He does enjoy reading Haruka’s manga after all. And he’s still very mysterious and sketchy. Or what if it’s even an alternate universe version of Haruka. I’m still waiting for the show to touch upon that idea (if ever lol) with regards to Kaito. But we’ll see.
The B plot of the episode was definitely Jirou’s story. It’s very interesting how they’re moving forward with what is basically Jirou’s dissociative identity disorder. I assume it has something to do with his Don Clan connection. But I hope they don’t just use this as some quirk or something. And actually tell a story about it. Perhaps including some big twist. I would assume the climax will be when Jirou will be freely able to henshin into whichever one he wants to at any given moment.
It was also exciting to see the entire main cast make an appearance in this episode. Even if only in the live-action manga scenes and still not all together. We keep getting one step closer to them all actually being in the same location together! But I’m getting impatient! Lol Hopefully very soon!
Anyway, another enjoyable and fun Donbros episode. And making it even more special…
Non-CGI Donbro of the Week
BOTH physical Inu and Kiji Brother suits! Yay! And for a good amount of time and with good angles too.
And next week Natsumiho actually holds up the full Inu Brother too! Yay!