Tarou is delivering a package for Higashi Tomoko. After she signs, he gives her his usual line about them forming a bond and offers to help her with anything. The originally sad woman has now immediately perked up and calls Tarou “Kouichiro,” her son.
Mama Higashi accompanies Tarou back to Shirokuma where she serves him and his coworkers homemade unagi bentos. She wants to thank the others for taking care of her son Kouichiro. Tarou denies that he is her son and she just takes that as him joking around.
Later at Donbura, Tarou tells the others all about his predicament. Haruka likes this refreshing feel of Tarou at a loss.
Shinichi actually remembers Mama Higashi as she had once come to him for advice. As far as he remembers, Mama Higashi’s son had moved out without notice. She used to teach piano, but has been sad and has not played ever since her son disappeared.
Shinichi suggests they help her by having Tarou pretend to be her son. Haruka says that’s impossible since Tarou cannot lie. But Shinichi has a plan.
Tarou heads over to Mama Higashi’s home with a camera and earpiece in one ear and a speaker in the other. To get around Tarou not being able to lie, Shinichi will be the one speaking to Mama Higashi instead.
Mama Higashi reminds “Kouichiro” that he would always give her a kiss whenever he arrived or left home. Tarou is unsure about this, but Shinichi tells him to just go along with it.
Tarou must mouth whatever Shinichi says through the speaker. As Mama Higashi gets lunch ready, Tarou expresses how he doesn’t think this is a good idea at all. But Shinichi gives Tarou assurance to just leave it all to him.
When Tarou is about to judge Mama Higashi’s cooking by giving it a score of 25, Shinichi swoops in to give a 200 instead.
Then when Mama Higashi asks about a memory of a trip they took when he was younger, the Donbros turn to Kouichiro’s friends they had tracked down and brought in to the café to help them with details.
The Donbros tell Tarou to stop talking or they’ll get caught. Mama Higashi does notice that his voice keeps changing, but Shinichi passes it off as puberty.
Tarou gets up to leave, but Mama Higashi asks him if he can come back tomorrow and possibly play piano for her. Especially Chopin’s Nocturne. Tarou is about to decline, but Shinichi goes on to accept the invite.
That evening, an exhausted Tarou lies on the floor of the café as the Donbros figure out how they’ll get through the piano date tomorrow. Haruka assumes Tarou can play piano since he can do everything. But Tarou says he’s never tried it.
Master Kaito says he can and he leads them to a piano studio in the back of the café. Haruka is a little confused when Kaito comes in wearing a tux as he takes a seat at the grand piano.
Tarou begins playing Nocturne. The Donbros are impressed while Tarou watches Kaito intently. Kaito finishes and turns to Tarou who says he’s got the gist of it.
Next day, a Hitotsuki appears in the city slashing at people out of their clothes, saying that he needs to find a reason to live. Tsubasa leaps to the rescue to save a little boy from getting slashed at as well.
On the other side of town, Tarou is with Mama Higashi who buys him a new tux that he can wear while playing the piano. As they walk through the park, Shinichi decides it’s a perfect opportunity for a haiku.
Mama Higashi thinks that’s so weird. First of all, haikus are such an old person thing to do. And second, it reeks of slacker culture and she wants her son to be burning with a fiery passion. Shinichi takes offense and walks out.
While Tarou and Mama Higashi have some iced coffee, Tsuyoshi takes over and apologizes for the harsh words that Shinichi had uttered earlier. Mama Higashi apologizes as well and says her overbearingness is probably why her son left in the first place. She understands now that she pressured him too much into playing piano.
As the convo continues, Tsuyoshi gets carried away and instead talks about himself, saying that despite being a failure growing up, he now has a stable job and a wife. Mama Higashi is upset that her son didn’t even introduce his wife to her and suggests that she’s just a scammer. Tsuyoshi takes offense to his beloved Miho being slandered like this and he too walks out.
Haruka decides it’s her time to shine and she hops through a virtual door to the outdoor café. She introduces herself as Kouichiro’s wife. But Tarou is unable to play along and he drops dead before being able to utter even a single word.
Mama Higashi rushes to her “son” and accuses Haruka of being the cause of this. But an explosion nearby wakes Tarou up and he and Haruka hurry over to find the Hitotsuki.
The Hitotsuki charges at Tarou and Haruka, but Mama Higashi jumps in between them and hits the Hitotsuki with her bag.
Tarou realizes that Mama Higashi’s love is real and yet they have been deceiving her this whole time.
The Hitotsuki is taken aback when Mama Higashi tells him to stop with the attacks. Mama Higashi pauses as well when the Hitotsuki repeats that he is looking for a reason to live.
Tarou and Haruka henshin and the other Donbros arrive to join them. abunaiJirou also pops up and henshins before jumping in to attack everyone in sight. Jirou struggles to take back control of his body and bows in apology to the others for having attacked them again.
A still-annoyed Shinichi goes Robotaro and tosses Jirou aside before taking on the Hitotsuki himself. Tarou and the others also go Robotaro to keep up with Shinichi and finish off the Hitotsuki.
When the Hitotsuki embiggens to Hitotsuking, abunaiJirou pops out of Jirou and the two of them combine into Toradragonjin to finish it off for good.
Mama Higashi watches as a young man is ejected out of the defeated Hitotsuking. With a sigh of relief, she heads home.
At the Higashi home, Tarou has come to apologize and come clean to Mama Higashi. She says it doesn’t matter since she had a lot of fun since meeting him.
Later, Tarou takes a seat at Kaito’s piano and perfectly plays Nocturne. He happily thinks back to earlier in the day when he asked Mama Higashi if he can give her a back rub, which she accepts.
Meanwhile, the young man who popped out of the Hitotsuki was indeed Kouichiro and he has decided to return home. He apologizes to his mother and says he now wants to take piano seriously. She opens the door and welcomes her son home.
Tarou hopes the Higashis can find true happiness.
What an interesting episode. It’s another one of those atypical episodes that really doesn’t feel like a Sentai episode, yet does at the same time.
Very much a bit of an introspective plot for everyone involved.
For Shinichi and Tsuyoshi, both really reacted to what they perceived as criticism of their life choices. Certainly matches with the mother and son’s story. But they were quick little character moments for both Shinichi and Tsuyoshi. Perhaps looking at the insecurities they might have. And again, that might even fit with the season’s overall theme regarding desire and how it might negatively (or positively) affect humans.
For the mother and son, it was a very good plot and MOTW idea. It provided many opportunities for fun gags. I laughed out loud so many times during this episode. If I had one criticism, I think they could’ve done a bit more at the end to be more direct, I guess, with how the mother was feeling.
We saw her see her son transform out of the Hitotsuki. So obviously, she understood what happened. And I assume, in understanding what was going on with her not-son Tarou, she realized her shortcomings and mistakes with her real son. Unless she knew the whole time and just went along with it because she was so lonely for her real son. I dunno. It could be either way, but I don’t think it matters much to the endgame of the episode.
Or maybe she even knew Tarou was a hero and knew that they could have her Hitotsuki’d son. Hmm!
Anyway, we didn’t really see how the son came around to bringing himself home again. But all’s well that end’s well I guess.
For Tarou, I agree with Haruka. It was very refreshing to see him at a loss for once. He wasn’t really sure what to do. In fact, he was pretty lost even with the others’ help through his ear. While half of that was him not wanting to lie and deceive the woman, we also got a peek into his inner feelings as well. Likely regarding how he grew up. He never had a mother to give a back massage to or to play the piano for. And we still don’t really know everything about his relationship with Papa Jin either.
So getting to see Tarou in an unguarded and, I don’t know how to say it, but maybe a vulnerable moment like that was a really great insight into his character. It’s very welcome.
Overall, a very interesting and definitely very enjoyable episode. Lots of fun, as always. But also some nice little character moments with a few nice moments of introspective tidbits.
Japanese Lesson to Myself for the Week (lol)
I quite like how the episode titles are not able to be directly translated into English. It adds to the fun. hehe
This week, the Japanese title is: <<むすこ、ににんばおり>> or Musuko, Nininbaori.
むすこ is a word for “son” while ににんばおり refers to a familiar comedy act where two people pretend to be one person. That is, one person is the “face” and the other will be the “arms.” And the hilarity ensues. It’s always an amusing routine with similar types of physical comedy that goes back decades. Maybe even a century all the way to the early 1900s.
This episode obviously did a version of this act where you have someone feeding lines to another person through an earpiece. But they take it a step further by actually having the person on the other end speaking through a speaker.
Anyway. It’d be easy to just romanize the Japanese words. Especially since “nininbaori” refers to a specific thing. Like, it’s a noun.
But to humbly take some creative license to westernize a title that doesn’t really need to be westernized in the first place, I borrow from RangerWiki’s translated title and tweak it to offer up a more thoughtful and philosophical title.
Aside from the obvious reference to what the Donbros did, perhaps a “coat for two” refers to the apparent relationship the mother and son had. She seems to have been a bit controlling of her son, which would explain why he ran away in the first place. She was the “arms” to her son’s “face.” And the son ended up not knowing what he truly wanted to do in life. Instead, just going along with what his mother wanted.
I like it! Hehe.
Non-CGI Donbro of the Week