Energy Source! Sukoyaka Festival!
There are typically two types of ‘filler’ episodes with PreCure. Episodes that explore small side-plots, and ones that focus in on the characters, their relationships and development. Last week was all about Hinata’s growing insecurities and frustration with her lack of results. This week feels like the former- not in a way that’s foreshadowing per say, but clearly setting things up.
The episode starts with Nodoka and her parents at a follow-up doctor’s appointment to go over some recent test results. Much to everyone’s delight and surprise, Nodoka is given a clear bill of heath. Naturally Nodoka’s parent’s response is joyful, but it’s the doctor’s that is the most noteworthy as he seems fully surprised as he tried to connect the girl before him and her records. Even asking if Nodoka was actually truly sick.
Even with no clear responding why Nodoka’s heath has greatly improved, her parents don’t question it, nor does Nodoka herself as the trio return home and take note of the city’s festival.
After cutting to the opening, -sidebar, thank-you Crunchyroll for subbing the lyrics! Please do the same to the ending, ‘kay? – we see Nadoak, Latte, and Rabirin perched on her shoulder enjoying the festival. And oh sweet Rabirin and her animated expression as she takes in all the food and comments about how she wants to eat all of it.
Snacking and food are really at the forefront of the episode as we see Guaiwaru sharing a snack with Batetemoda before sending the newest member of their team out to go and infect the Earth. During their little exchange we see that despite acting obedient, Batetemoda has perhaps a growing personal agenda.
Back at the Sukoyaka festival, inadvertently Nodoka runs into Hinata as she helps with her sister’s mobile cafe where they are for some reason serving pancakes along with their famous juice. Following the events of last week, we see that it was actually Hinata’s efforts with the pancakes that earns her the remark of her own improvement and slowly budding confidence. One cue, as the two girls talk- and Rabirin chows down on the pancakes- Chiyu passes by on break from helping at her family’s inn.
This starts a montage of the girls enjoying the festival, mostly the various dishes leading up to the real star of the show and crowd favorite- Sukoyaka sweet buns. Small, muliti-coloured individually wrapped buns with smiling faces that are almost too cute to eat. And so healthy they have six kinds of vegetables in the indigents. Yeah- really aiming for the health aspect here…This is pure and utter delight to our foodie Rabirin. Who after having one automatically cries out for more. (Where does she even put it? And she reminds me of Usagi about now…)
As the girls, and animals enjoy the buns, Nodoka mentions the events of her doctor’s visit and comments about how she herself has been feeling better following her move to Sukoyaka. This prompts Hinata to comment that it might be part of the power of a PreCure- only to have Rabirin debunk it. As the girls try and pinpoint what might have helped, they once more get caught up in events of the festival.
During their fun the healing animals trail off from the girls, led by Rabirin to explore on their own. That is until a flyer for a contest with a prize of one-hundred sweet buns lands right into our food-loving rabbit’s face. Oof.
Just as the girls notice their partners are missing, they are in the crowd before the sweet bun seller’s booth that is having their own conflict. Out of stock, and with their steamer out of commission there is no way to replenish their stock and meet their customer’s request. Before anyone can call it a draw, we see other vendors come forward and offer their aid making the city’s specialty. This small action causes a ripple effect, including having the Cures come forward and help.
Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we see just what a good and strong sense of community the city has. A fact that is driven home by an older woman who tells Nadoak that the city has always been like this, always coming together in times of diseases and trouble. (Yes, Toei we see what you are doing there.) So such a feat like a steamer down is nothing. This leads Nodoka to believe the reason she has been able to come so far is because of Sukoyaka City, the people in it and their power.
It really is a great time to get that kind of power, as Batetemoda has every plan of not only infecting the Earth- but crashing the festival as he turns a small, handheld fan into a megabyogen.
Because this time they don’t have a flying target, the girls reunite with the animals and spring into action. And fighting an actual fan proves to be an interesting feat. Thanks to her growing confidence, Sparkle does some really great and creative moves in battle this week, including using her newly acquired lighting element bottle. But Grace’s kick right in the face to Batetemoda is gold.
Despite this megabyogen being stronger than the previous they faced, the girls and healing animals are able to save the element well before Latte requires any additional treatment. When following up with the wind element however, things get more interesting. As the element talks about how it’s been long since it has seen a PreCure.
This leads Rabirin into a small, prompt-to lecture on the legendary PreCure. A girl that once lived in Sukoyaka long before our Cures were alive that served a partner to Latte’s mother, Queen Teateine. The human girl that healed humans, animals and elements with her music. This news catches Nodoka off guard, and leads her to resolve to one day be able to be like the legendary PreCure that came before. As this could very well be the reason why her own health has improved.
As much of a clean ending as this would be for the day’s events, it’s far from over. Mainly because a certain healing animal has her heart set on more sweet buns. So it’s off to the contest Rabirin found out about earlier- a loud voice contest. You guessed it, the loudest wins. As funny as the entire idea is, the girls’ entries take the cake. Our dear, sweet Hinata cries out how she wants a new smartphone, Chiyu takes the chance to do some PR for her family business. And Nodoka- well, she expresses what she has been feeling inside for a while, her graduate and how she finally feels alive. This bold and heartfelt cry really captures Nodoka’s feelings- and delights our group as she takes first prize. Yeah, Rabirin you owe her.
All and all, a very sweet episode that once more wraps back around to our pink leader. Over the past few episodes we have seen Nodoka struggle less and less with her physical limitations linked to her heath. So I am glad it was addressed. But I highly question that this is all we get in regards to her heath. Yes, PreCure is a bright, sparking eyed series that never does massive damage to the characters like another series that comes to mind. But for a series so focused on heath and having established Nodoka’s condition so much. There is no way they will toss it away so easy.
Since the end of February when our current global situation has progressed I have been very vocal about how I greatly hope this does not affect the narrative direction of this series. Especially as in the early episodes we do see a young Nodoak in a hospital bed with a breathing mask on. Granted we have yet to have any actual confirmation of what she has suffered from, we can assume it’s respiratory related. Even now I feel even more strongly about this and hope the series does justice to Nodoka’s health issue and keeps it feeling grounded and organic. The heart of PreCure is always giving things your all, to never give up and in the end overcoming whatever you face with the love. Right now that is a message we all need to hear and carry with us.
The backstory of the previous PreCure was not something I was expecting so early in the episode count, and if we had not seen the delay we had I would likely be going on with speculations. But as we did have delays, and the merchandise is being released on time. Well, it is not as shocking. But I am very intrigued to see how it progresses.