Sonoza is enjoying his 83rd time reading Hatsukoi Hero. Sononi grabs the book and reminds him they are proud Noto warriors. Now that they have Murasame and in thinking about Sonoi, Sononi believes it’s time to make their move.
While the Donbros have a little celebration for the arrival of autumn, Sononi interrupts them to challenge Tarou to a duel. Tarou excitedly accepts.
The next day, Sononi and Sonoza decide to train with Murasame. Sononi says this is not to avenge Sonoi who lost because he was prepared to die. She believes that was just foolishness. Sonoza understands and they proceed with their training in order to fulfill their duty to defeat the last of the Don Clan. Mother tells Murasame to lend them his strength in their quest.
Meanwhile, Jirou offers to help Tarou with the duel. But Tarou says that will never happen since Jirou has not improved one bit. Jirou disagrees, but Tarou has a way to show him. They will face off. When one of them blinks, that is the signal to grab the bokken and strike.
Jirou tries to analyze the situation, but he is the first to fold and blink.
Later, Jirou visits Papa Jin to ask what is the secret to Tarou’s strength. Jin says Tarou is Tarou, simple as that. But he suggests Jirou might have a chance if the two people who reside inside him can become one.
On the other side of town, former aspiring ninja Ono Minoru who had turned into a Hitotsuki twice is taking care of horses. His mother visits with snacks so he can take a break. She tells him how happy she is that he gave up his weird ninja obsession. But he looks at the horse and imagines it becoming a ninja which unleashes yet another Hitotsuki from him. He apologizes to his mother.
It is noon over at Donbura. Haruka, Shinichi and Tsuyoshi anxiously wait for news from the duel. But Sononi and Sonoza are also waiting since Tarou is late.
Tarou is working a last-minute shift. Sononi and Sonoza meet him at Shirokuma, asking why he hasn’t shown up. Tarou feels this scenario is very familiar. And sure enough, Sononi and Sonoza decide to put on some Shirokuma caps to help speed up Tarou’s deliveries like Sonoi did. Sononi even charms a grandpa who gets upset with Tarou like Sonoi did to calm down Fusako.
Once they’re done, they all head over to the caves to get down to business. Sononi and Sonoza are resolved to end Tarou right here and now. Tarou senses their bloodlust is almost as strong as Sonoi’s.
Just as they start, abunaiJirou arrives and says he will not let anyone else have a chance at his prey Tarou. abunaiJirou tries to fight off Sononi and Sonoza. But Minoru bursts through the rock and transforms into the Hitotsuki. The other Donbros get teleported in and it is a beat-for-beat repeat of Tarou and Sonoi’s duel day.
The Donbros deal with abunaiJirou and the Hitotsuki, leaving Tarou to face off against the Notos. Tarou goes Robotaro in order to avoid Sononi and Sonoza’s attack. Sonoza whips out Murasame.
But the sky darkens and an explosion reveals a loud fanfare. It is Sononi with red highlights who is accompanied by the usual fanfare that accompanies Tarou, only with more black.
Tarou can’t believe it.
Sonoi calls Sononi and Sonoza his otomotachi before he transforms into his upgraded Noto form. He tells Tarou that they have unfinished business. Sononi steps forward to tell Sonoi to leave Tarou to them, but Sonoi says they are in no position to be making any demands.
Tarou and Sonoi face off with hearty laughs. Tarou asks why Sonoi is still alive. Sonoi says because Tarou is alive. They are both alike. “Like the sea and sky who face each other and share the same blue, but can never commingle.”
The Hitotsuki charges toward them, but Sonoi slashes, destroying the Hitotsuki and killing Minoru. Minoru apologizes to his mother before he explodes.
Sononi asks Murasame to show them his true power. Mother tells him to summon the power of Black Onitaijin. Murasame transforms into said robo and embiggens.
The Donbrothers form Toradora Onitajin and they proceed to battle. The Donbros manage to defeat Murasame who returns to his sword form and flies away.
Later, Tarou and Sonoi meet on the bridge for a duel. And this time it is Tarou who gets struck down. As Sonoi walks away from the scene, abunaiJirou picks Tarou up and carries him away.
WTF is going on? lol
The Groundhog Day/déjà vu-ness of the episode was both amusing and annoying at the same time.
I had to go and double check because I feel like Tarou and Sonoi’s duel was a looong time ago. But it was just Episode 27. Not as far as I thought.
I did think all those parallel, déjà vu moments were fun. But when it comes to the actual meat of the episode, it feels a bit underwhelming for me since obviously this is just to set-up whatever power up Tarou gets next.
But this is one of the reasons I was really disappointed with Kamen Rider Ghost. They killed Takeru and resurrected him over and over again. And while it sort of fit the theme, having to do that lessens the impact and lowers the stakes.
That’s how I feel here. They already killed Tarou before. And Sonoi too. But they easily come back to life with really no effort or major story consequence. I think you can definitely do this “death” stuff while also furthering the story. And this is probably one time when I think the season’s slowburn/slice of life-style of storytelling does not work for what they’re trying to do.
As lighthearted as the season can be and as much as the season doesn’t take itself too seriously, I just think it’s a missed opportunity for some good story. All the foundation is there. Tarou as a character. His relationship with Sonoi. The mysterious power of the Don Clan that is supposed to be the driver of this season’s main conflicts. Draw upon all that to make these moments and episode really land.
We can enjoy the amusing shenanigans. We can enjoy cool drone-shot fight scenes. But sometimes, a misstep with writing or the story can take away from those otherwise high points of the episode.
I dunno. With every week, I eagerly anticipate the moment Donbrothers finally starts to take big steps forward instead of just shuffling forward like it’s been doing. And having a re-do of an episode from a couples of weeks ago doesn’t give that impression. Even if Sonoi 2.0 or a gold Tarou is the result of this week’s developments.
I’ve given Donbrothers a lot of leeway because it’s just been so fun and joyful to watch. But it’s Episode 32. Let’s get things moving, yeah?