Wow, this episode was much darker than I expected it to be! It seemed a given that Shalala would return to the show. But I didn’t expect things to unfold in this manner. This has been the biggest emotional challenge of the show for these characters. Cure Sky was effectively destroyed through this episode and we’ll have to see whether she can pick herself back up after it. This wasn’t a battle against an opponent that couldn’t be beaten. But it was a battle against an opponent that they couldn’t bring themselves to defeat. Sometimes events unfold in ways you’d never expect.
I am kind of surprised that they revealed a legitimate way of saving Shalala within this episode. Part of me figured they’d at least drag that out into the next episode before anyone could offer a good idea. I suppose it’s possible that won’t work, but honestly it seems like a legit option. Have Sky and Prism nail the Ranborg with an Updraft Shining while Butterfly stands ready to immediately throw out the heal. That’s about as good a strategy as they can realistically aim for.
Honestly, I didn’t think there would be a good option. Part of me figured we’d really take a dark turn and force the characters to accept that they’d have to bring down Shalala. That Sora herself would have to accept that sometimes a Hero must make a tough choice and take an imperfect victory. That alone would have guided her down an interesting arc where her idealism would be forced to struggle. If the strategy proposed works though that means they’ll be fine. That Mixed Pallet really is utterly broken if it can even save people on the verge of death.
Sora falling apart honestly isn’t all that surprising. It’s been a while since she has, but it has happened. The early going focused heavily on how she was pushing herself through her fear of fighting in the first place. Then she was forced to face the fear of Mashiro getting hurt if they fought together. That was a long time ago relatively speaking, but it’s still part of who Sora is. Having her be forced to fight against her own personal hero and possibly kill them is more than she can handle. Once she realized Shalala was in there she was out of the fight.
It was kind of refreshing in how freaked out she was. A lot of characters would get stressed or even cry out in a situation like that. But Sky’s reaction felt truly frantic. She was falling apart before she even lost her pen. She quickly reached the point that she was basically begging Mashiro to do something to make everything better…It shows how Sora may be overly reliant on Mashiro to stay standing. Being motivated by someone close to you is a good thing. But it seems as if she’d fall apart completely if Mashiro wasn’t around anymore. Not that Mashiro is going to abandon her, but Sora’s foundation seems a great deal shakier.
The only thing that seems a bit iffy is that Battamonda has been sitting on this card for all this time. Why? It seems as if the Shalala Ranborg was good to go as soon as he made it. Honestly if he made his move as soon as possible the probably would have won. At that point they still didn’t have Butterfly or the Mixed Pallet as a combat option. Not that I think Battamonda is incapable of making a poor tactical decision, but that seems like a strange move on his part.
I suppose it reflects one issue with the Precure format. Stories aren’t necessarily just being written by one person and sometimes…filler gets mixed in. The story had been building up Battamonda vs Butterfly with her being able to cut through his nonsense easily. But honestly, it’s surprising for him to build up animosity towards anyone else with how Sky’s rage scared him to his core. I’d think in that situation he’d be desperate to defeat her before doing anything else.
I will say that this is an effective strategy. It certainly caught me by surprise since I was expecting an evil Shalala that would replace Battamonda as the current enemy general. Instead, she’s been turned into a Ranborg and put on life support. I guess it is possible that after they “save” Shalala that the Empire could grab her again and this time turn her into a true threat. Or it’s possible that before the characters can do anything that all the evil energy surging through Shalala will transform her into that enemy general. It’d be one heck of a move for her to burst out from within the Ranborg and do something like kill Battamonda. We are basically in the endgame for Battamonda. There’s not much he can seriously do after all this.
Regardless though, I did find the strategy as solid as it is cruel. It does rely on the Precure not realizing that they can at least beat Battamonda up (since he’s just standing around), but it’s still a good move. The Precure basically either stumble into a win and realize they’ve finished off Shalala or they realize the truth and can’t fight. Logically Shalala is already basically dead. If her blood has been replaced by and wounds closed by that evil energy…there’s not much to be done. Is that healing move even strong enough to outright replace all of Shalala’s blood and close wounds at the same time? Battamonda has found a solid way to freeze up the cast.
While giving Battamonda credit, there is no denying that he’s truly a coward at heart. He’s not mad about Sky threatening him. He’s humiliated over being scared to death of her. That when push came to shove, he blinked and ran for his life. He’s someone that likes to put on a performance and look good. But in the end, he’s not prepared to fight for his own life or face truly vengeful rage. Not that many people are truly prepared for that, but most people don’t pull the stunts this guy does. He’s happy to harass people from a safe distance and revel in their pain. But he’s not remotely ready to take any pain himself…
I can’t wait to see how this all resolves. It probably will work out fine. I’m not a Precure expert, but I can’t recall the series letting things go this dark that often. Would they really let Shalala die here? Isn’t it more likely that they purify the Ranborg, safe Shalala’s life, and even gain enough energy to heal the King and Queen too? Sora has often felt like a standard shounen protagonist. And in that sense, there are many said protagonists that have lost their mentors through tragic circumstances. But I’m simply not sure that Precure wants to go there. I guess it depends on how we take Shalala’s words to Sora. “Never falter, Hero Girl.” Obviously, it is too late for Sora to never falter, but will she be able to move ahead even if her mentor isn’t there? I guess we’ll see.
Credit to the show for a great episode. This was heavy and dark. It would have been even more so if no option to save Shalala had been presented. Instead, they do have a bit of hope left. The big issue is that Sora has lost her will to fight, to want to be a hero, and she’s in a bad place right now. Normally I’d expect Mashiro to pull her out of it, but that might not be the best thing for Sora. She might need to find the will to stand on her own and then step forward. Who knows though, maybe all this will just be leading up to a new team finishing move that can save the day.
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