I say this a bit nervously, but it feels like Hirogaru is ready to start picking up again! It provided a lot of things this week that I’ve really wanted to see from the show. It had some good focus on Mashiro, it actually developed former antagonists like Battamonda, and even gave us a glimmer of insight as to what is motivating these enemies! This was an incredibly refreshing episode. We finally got a little bit of understanding for what life is like in the Undergu Empire. It would have been fantastic to have an episode several weeks ago. But I’ll take it! Now there’s some things to break down and try to understand.
It’s kind of amazing to finally get some kind of motivation for Skearhead and the Undergu Empire as a whole. Admittedly it’s not much to say they are doing this “because the person they love wants them to” but it’s something! At least we can kind of guess at what he means. Does she have some amazing charisma that makes everyone in that Empire love her? Didn’t seem like it when we heard her voice before, but you never know. It’s also a bit odd since that Empire seems to be obsessed with pure strength. And I don’t recall Kabaton or Battamonda really talking about the ruler with any tone of endearment. Kabaton in fact seemed rather afraid of her. Hopefully they build on this and explore the main villain a little.
In some ways I’m still surprised they decided to use Battamonda as our main villain to get character development and that he’s paired up with Mashiro for all this. But it certainly works. I kind of get that Kabaton was a bit too silly for the creators to make him the main villain to get developed. So instead, we go with Battamonda who was at least devious and seemed human. I will say though that I think Battamonda captures the retail worker surprisingly well. Just people that are out there to do their job, seem pleasant enough, but probably are just there for the paycheque. Obviously, that’s fine since people need to live. But I just found it a bit amusing how everyone seems to love “Monda” but he’s totally taking shots at them in his head at every opportunity XD!
And having him build this connection with Mashiro is interesting. He tries constantly to crush her dreams and challenge her mindset. But instead, it just helps her work through her troubles and lets her rise above it! And in return Mashiro does help give Battamonda things to think about. He must face reality that the Precure…aren’t just scary girls (and one guy). That it’s ok for him to be like “falling leaves”. He’s not worthless and everyone has something they can add to the world.
One thing I like is that they didn’t finish with Battamonda. They did imply that he’s been moved by Mashiro’s words and will rethink how he approaches things. But he doesn’t say it and even then…what will he end up doing with himself? I feel like there’s another meeting left to be had between Monda and Mashiro. Although there aren’t that many episodes left so…maybe this is the end for him. It wouldn’t be the worst thing they’ve done with this show though.
It was fun seeing how Skearhead just had no interest in leaving Battamonda amongst the living! This isn’t like the last time where he was turning former generals into monsters of the week. He doesn’t care enough about Battamonda to even do that. The reasoning of course is that he sees Battamonda as too weak for it. That the creature it would create wouldn’t be strong enough to be worth it. Instead, he just decides to try and kill him! The only criticism I’d give Skearhead is…that he summons a monster instead of just killing Mashiro. She’s not transformed and alone! Isn’t he there to kill the Precure!?
I do like the idea that Mashiro was struggling to figure out her next story. Honestly though, I thought the focus would be on Mashiro focusing too much on glory and awards and not enough on just telling an enjoyable story. She does kind of get there in the end in terms of wanting to tell stories that will give people hope. And I do think it would have been way too messy to try and focus on that kind of story and have her give Battamonda the support he needed to get his life turned around.
I prefer the focus being kept on moments like the Precure stepping up to protect a former enemy even if they don’t know that. It’s not a bad thing for Mashiro to be a bit ambitious and fired up. So, no reason to take that away from her. She just needed a direction to take her story. And by the end of the episode, she had that.
Now the story is starting to pick up again. Sora is actually…asking the enemy why they are doing all this! The main characters might regard the Undergu Empire as more than a random threat that they just need to deal with whenever they appear. I hope we start diving more into the Empire to learn something about their leader before the Precure must inevitably fight her in the finale. At least this was a solid episode. Mashiro has been great since episode 1. It’s nice to see her following the goals she’s found for herself and inspiring others to be better people. Now to see where we go with the rest of the cast.
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