‘Our First Fight…Nodoka and Rabirin Grow Apart’
Following the trend of having some lighter episodes that help flesh out characters and their dynamics, this week we refocus on the partnership of our lead Cure and fairy partner. And it might be the weakest one of the three we have gotten since the return. Naturally, your mileage might vary based on your option of Rabirin.
The episode opens with our three girls on break at school, and an upset Nodoka frets about having forgotten her recorder at home. That is until much to the girls’ surprise the healing animals and Latte (yes-for consistency sake I am going with Latte over Rate.) pop-up with the music item in tow. This mostly leads to a very sweet moment between Nodoka and Rabirin before the foursome return back to presumably Nodoka’s home. During their casual stroll, something catches their eyes- mostly a now love-stuck Rabirin.
Like really any smitten girl, Rabirin finds herself waking in the middle of night and pulling out a poster of the object of her affection. Only to wake Nodoka and scare the life out of our tiny rabbit and Nodoka’s parents as Rabirin proves to have one strong set of powerful lungs. Thanks to her outburst, and overwhelming embarrassment, Nodoka comes to learn of Rabirin’s crush- Lavendraruma-chan; the herb garden’s mascot character.
As Rabirin does everything she can in the present to downplay the situation, we flashback to earlier in the day when she first encountered Lavendraruma-chan. Even though Rabirin’s heart is pounding, we see the feeling is far from mutual. Even though no one else makes many majorly negative comments towards the doll or Rabirin, our little rabbit develops a feeling of insecurity towards her budding emotions. Nodoka understands her partner’s feelings as she gives some reassurance and support enough to allow Rabirin to be a little more forthcoming with the flyer and her feelings.
In order to get a Lavendramruma-chan of her own, participation in a stamp rally event is in order. But because, well Rabirin is a talking rabbit, going on her own to such an event would likely not be feasible. Luckily, Nodoka is more than happy to go with Rabirin.
And in all of the city, Rabirin is the only soul that is actually into the event as see her, Nodoka and Latte being the only patrons in attendance to the event. Truly feel bad for Lavendramruma’s creator there. Despite the actual design of the mascot being debatable, (and totally for sale in the PreCure shops in Japan- and sold out!) the stamp rally is actually nice and lavender themed.
And as promised upon getting the final stamp, the small group’s efforts are rewarded with a Lavendramruma-chan plush of their own. But Rabirin’s overjoyed state is short lived as they run into Hinata and Nyatoran on the way home. Because Rabirin is carrying the plush in her hands, there is no way to hide the obvious. Being somewhat naive, and not fully aware of her partner’s feelings; Nodoka thinks nothing of going on about their day’s events and showing off the plushie. After a slight snide comment from Nyatoran calling Rabirin out on her nearly hypocritical comment from before, Rabirin’s embarrassment hits the roof and she goes off.
This prompts Nodoka to react and become upset and confused. With one unable to admit her honest feelings and the other not being aware fully of the other’s feelings the two end up in a fight and Rabirin avoids Nodoka. Even with both the girls, and the animals the next day, they acknowledge the fact no one is really wrong and Nyatorna even apologizes, it barely affects either Nodoka or Rabirin. At this point it seems like the person most deeply affected by the argument is Latte- having been right in the middle the entire time.
Before anyone can try and find a way to bring the two together, Daruizen appears at the stamp rally venue and releases a megabyogen. With no time to waste, the two groups come together- but upon transforming a problem occurs, Nodoka and Rabirin can’t transform. With a Cure down, Hinata and Chiyu jump into action as Nodoka reels and tries to protect Latte.
Despite being sick thanks to the megabyogen, Latte takes control of the matter between Nodoka and Rabirin in her own paws. Despite being a small pup, she more than holds her own. Latte might be the best animal this season! Thanks to her very clear persistence, Nodoka and Rabirin are able to talk out their issue and understand one another better and realize what shortcomings were to be had.
With feelings resolved, the two are able to transform and Grace joins the fight just in time for the finisher. Despite being a short fight, it along with playing the mediator left Latte weaker than before and required the girls to acquire the leaf element bottle.
It’s all well that ends well, so much so that Nodoka and Rabirin do another round of the stamp rally and earn probably the only other plushie given out in the city.
Unlike the previous episode that handled a dispute between Nodoka and Rabirin, this was far more one-sided focused on Rabirin narrative wise. The moment a head-over-heels Rabirin falls for Lavendramruma-chan and comes to the realization that the other healing animals find the plushie’s appearance–er, less than favorable, is honestly a relatable thing. And like most, it’s typical to get highly embarrassed about newfound feelings and become irrational.
This coupled with Nodoka’s slightly naive nature and inability to read fully between the lines, along with the miscommunication was nearly a perfect storm for understanding. Like Hinata and Chiyu say, this was a case of the fight not truly being anyone’s fault. What really mattered is how the two respective parties handled and made amends of things.
Despite having more social experience than her partner, Rabirin proves to be just as awkward as Nodoka as the two struggle to even try and talk before the fight. Being out of sync triggered them to be unable to transform in a time of need- an interesting notion that will likely occur again as the series progresses. If not for Latte, in her sick state- seriously one of the best ‘main’ mascots of the IP- basically forcing the two to figure it out on the spot. It’s unclear just what might have happened. Even though the others probably could have handed the megabyogen alone, bar the finisher. Leaving things unsaid would only continue to strain the relationship between Nodoka and Rabirin.
Speaking of relationships, it seems that once more will be the focus of this coming week’s episode. Must applaud the series for being so focused on their character dynamics.