Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Manpuku Shojou Dragonet Episode 3 Review/Summary

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

There are some spoilers here. If you don't want to be spoiled, don't read this. If you don't mind, then by all means.


Episode 3- Tatakae Luna! Mago no Mujitsu wo Shoumeiseyo! (Fight Luna! Prove the Grandchild's Innocence!)


NOTES BEFORE WE START:

The Dragonet sister's names when in RyuuSenshi form are as follows:

Maya- DragoTorte
Mei- DragoSouffle'
Luna- DragoChocolat

As you can see, all based on desserts.

So last week was Mei's focus episode. This week is Luna's (Yes, I'm going to use Luna, even though Runa is technically correct too.) Next week is Maya's.

SUMMARY:

We begin with 2 of ToraZoku's members, Tetsuma and Kengo, eagerly awaiting a delivery from a Pudding Chef, so they can sell to their long-waiting line of customers. Not exactly my first thought when I think "evil plan" but just you wait.

Anyway, the chef/delivery guy Ryuta, gets there eventually. The pudding starts selling, and everyone seems peachy, especially Ryuta. Some time passes (Ryuta already gone) and we see that in reality, the Tiger Clan was merely waiting for the owner of the house next to them to leave. Initiate evil plan. But first- finish selling the pudding!

It should be noted that Tetsuma and Kengo are really likable. We didn't get to see Kengo talk so much as of yet, but now we do. Tetsuma is almost...well almost nice. Kengo is scheming, but still, not as bad as the other 2 members waiting back in the den. They almost remind me of a Lennie and George kind of thing...but you know, only if Lennie and George were super criminals.

So anyway, because this episode must advance the plot, the next customer to show up is none other than Tsukasagi Luna! (Because it is her episode). Another note here- the makeup, or maybe the acting, for this part is really good. Luna is sweating- not unnaturally, or comedically, but just enough so you can tell she's been running. I like that the production isn't afraid to make the show realistic, when it needs to be.

Anyway, Tetsuma realizes who Luna is right off the bat. Why you say? Here's where the spoiler is. In the end ep 1, we discover Tetsuma really is...Kaitou Dalmation! As such, he knows the identity of the Dragonet sisters already. Hiding his knowledge from her, and possibly Kengo, she goes on her way with newly bought pudding.

An older woman appears, wanting to buy some putting, but alas, our hardworking villains are out. That other girl just bought the last 4. But being the generous heroine, Luna gives up the pudding she bought and gives it to the old woman, saying she needs a diet. (In no way does this girl need a diet, hence, she is being nice, because she is the heroine.) Tetsuma witnesses this good deed, and you can it actually has some effect on him.

-CUE FLYING YELLOW DRAGON! (The scene changes are done by one of the girls' dragons flying over the screen. I will say that the dragons are animated much better here than in their henshin sequences.)

The next day- At the house where the Tiger Clan was staking out, the rare Pink Tiger Diamond (oh how I love reference!), has been stolen. Again, as always, the culprit is Kaitou Dalmation, and has left his calling card (cute dalmation-head card) as proof. Hassei Takano, I mean, Miyasaka is on the scene, once again fuming that he's been bested by Dalmation.

Over at Tokuko's detective agency, Tokuko is explaining the basics of the Clan's origins, for the benefit of the Dragonet Sisters, but mostly for the audience. Basically, there are 3 clans: The HitoZoku (Human Clan), ToraZoku (Tiger Clan), and RyuuZoku (Dragon Clan). The 3 Clans, when peaceful, maintain balance in the world. However, long ago, ToraZoku sought control, and thus upset the balance. It is up to the RyuuZoku to protect the HitoZoku, but the humans cannot know about the fight.

Tokuko calls the girls to order. There's a more important matter at hand! Why didn't Luna bring the pudding she asked for? Pretty much, Tokuko is selfish and has no comprehension of spending money. She's the mentor figure, but is more like the girls' spoiled litter sister. (in a good way.)

Meanwhile Ryuta is at the previous site of the pudding stand, wondering where the salesman aka bad guys have gone too. The old woman from before shows up, and it's revealed to be Ryuta's grandmother. She wanted to try his pudding, a recipe of his grandfather's (or something like that.) Our dedicated detective Miyasaka shows up and logically, if unfairly, tries to arrest Ryuta. His friends selling the pudding were shown on tape stealing the Pink Tiger, and he must be in on it with them, at least he thinks. Ryuta claims innocence though.

Miyasaka knocks over the grandmother, as she is trying to get Ryuta free, and is quickly decked in the face by Luna. (with a comic book Ka-pow! in English!) Miyasaka recognizes Luna as the "little Tsukasagi girl" (essentially calling her a b*tch), because Takano is allowed to do that. He really does not like this family.

Miyasaka explains to Luna that last night, the two pudding salesman broke into the house, stole the Pink Tiger Diamond, and that Ryuta has to be the Dalmation's accomplice. (Funny bit- we see the security camera footage; Tetsuma is not disguised, and Kengo gives a victory sign at the camera before the walk away with the diamond.)

To the tune of X-Files background music (the strings that are often heard in X-Files. Actually really creepy, and it kind of works here in an out-of-place sort of way), Miyasaka hauls Ryuta off, because as we've established Hassei can do whatever he wants.

Much to the dismay of the pudding-starved and money-hungry Tokuko, it seems that Luna promised the grandmother she'd get Ryuta free. When asked why, Luna explains that he's innocent, and he's making the puddy as respect for his grandfather, it being his dream etc. (It's actually really well acted, I'm just being snarky. Plus, if I explain everything in detail, this review will be 25 pages long.)

Tokuko doesn't care, she just wants some pudding. Mei asks the question- what if Ryuta is really a friend of Dalmation? Maya brings up the point that it might be a waste of time for them. (They really do remind of the Power Puff Girls in their attitudes.) Luna storms off, saying she'll find the culprits herself, and prove Ryuta's innocence. (And thus, the title did maketh sense.)

Alone and said, sitting at a temple, Luna is trying to figure out what to do. Enter Takumi (for those of you who forgot, he's the Tsukasagi's delivery boy). He has something for her from her father (he calls him chief). At first not wanting to see it, she opens the envelope he brought and in it is a picture of the Pink Tiger Diamond, and its twin, the Blue Tiger Diamond. Essentially, as Mr. Tsukasagi puts it, without one of the diamonds, the other one is useless. So Dalmation is going to need both.

Thus, Luna knows Dalmation's next move, and can prove Ryuta's innocence if she catches him in the act. It is revealed that Mei and Maya are watching the two speak, pretty much asserting for themselves, and the audience, that they are there for their little sis.

Meanwile, at Tiger Clan central, which is a bar I think. The leader, Shigeru (Tetsuma's older brother) holds the Pink Tiger Diamond up to the light, and a half a symbol is formed onto a piece of paper. (I think it's the top of the Tiger kanji, but I'm not sure.) Shigeru remarks that without the other (Blue Tiger diamond) it's not complete.

Tetsuma walks in, and it is revealed next to Shigeru, that Kengo is doing dishes, because he's a polite villain, and I appreciate that. Tetsuma asks Kengo if it's true- did Ryuta really get arrested? He had no part in this. Kengo replies that it's true, and feels somewhat sorry for it, but not so much as Tetsuma. Shigeru, being the ever scheming bastard, decides that if the police are so focused on Ryuta, then should let him be. This way, they can steal the Blue Tiger more easily. Tetsuma resists but his older brother is quick to put him in his place. You're in an evil organization Tetsuma, come on now!

Tetsuma leaves to secure the other diamond, under Shigeru's orders. Shigeru summons Jinguuji, our resident enforcer for the series. Shigeru tells him to keep an eye on his little brother. (He literally says- Ototo, Tanomu i.e. I'm leaving my brother up to you.)

Let's stop for a moment, and examine the other side of the Tiger Clan, the serious bad guys side. Shigeru is a jerk, plain and simple. The whole group may have 200+ IQ's, but he's the only one that seems to be using it maliciously. He's not evil persay, none of them are really, but he's definitely a villain. Jinguuji (first name Akinobu) is the enforcer; Shigeru's power house. I have a feeling he's going to be the one who delights in battle, but we'll get to that later.

Meanwhile, Luna shows up at a rich/eccentric woman's house (the owner of the Blue Tiger Diamond), and uses Honey Fla...err...Pochito Change! (Change a bit!, though it may be a pun on Korepocchi too. Essentially, it's a power that allows to change costume, but not assume Dragonet form),to disguise herself as a maid. (This is a magical girl series. For those who are unfamiliar with the genre, assume that the heroines can change into costumes often, and excessively. All thanks to Cutie Honey:) )

Inside, Luna is listening to the eccentric ramblings of the rich woman she is now employed to. (I really should have seen the maid disguise coming. Luna wears glasses after all. Sort of a no-brainer. Plus, her Dragonet armor has a maid-choker thing). Anyway, Ms. Eccentric stock character shows Luna her "treasure" which is a key with a diamond on the end of it. Guess what that key leads to?

Rather creepily, another maid, dressed in black-and-white, complete with matching DALMATION head band (hint-hint), shows up. She's been working here for a week. Creepy maid moves like a ghost, and the actress portraying her is very good, and very creepy. For some reason, there's a squelching noise when she smiles, and no, I don't want to think about why.

Luna creeps on over to a closed room (the cinematography is pretty awesome here), and tries to open the door, but it's locked. Go figure. Creepy maid creepily shows up again, asking what Luna's doing. Luna replies that she's trying to clean the room. Creepy replies back that only she is allowed to clean that room, and brandishes the eccentric lady's key, entering the room. Luna is rightfully stumped and scared.

Wondering why she is being treated badly by the creepy maid (who's only 1-week her sempai), Luna stumbles upon the unconcious form of her eccentric benefactor. Realizing that creepy maid stole the key from her, Luna rushes back to the other room.

Luna confronts Creepy Maid, who has possesion of the Blue Tiger. When she asks who the maid is, she just laughs, and transforms into Kaitou Dalmation. (It's nice to see that a guy has disguise powers in one of these shows, though it leads to my belief that he's on the way to being a hero, not a villain.)

Leaving his calling card, and about to flip out of their Jason David Frank style, Dalmation is stopped by Luna's assertion that it's his fault Ryuta is in jail. Her pleading has somewhat of an effect on him, until of course he jumps out the window, and she must pursue.

Declaring he won't be forgiven, Luna changes. Now again, on the Henshin sequences. They're pretty good, except for that damn dragon! I've realized now what bugs me about it. When the dragons are used for the scene changes, they are very fluid. In the henshin, it feels like they're not moving like dragons. It also doesn't help that they are designed with a muscular-chest, which takes away from the serpentine form. Going to stop complaining about this now though.

Before we go on, I should say that I think Luna is the main character here. At the very least, she gets the catchphrase at the end of the role call, and she gets focused on in the ending. Could be wrong though, but right now, she seems to be the main focal point.

Anyway, DragonChocolat and Kaitou Dalmation start their battle! (Most ridiculous sentence I have ever typed, btw.)

Again, the fight choreography is very nice to look at, and the fighting is very entertaining. Luna is very powerful, but Tetsuma/Dalmation is even more so. She fights with fists-a-flying, and he is calmly using her own aggresion against her. Very good martial arts sense Dalmation has.

Luna starts tearing up, pretty much calling out Dalmation as a jerk- not caring about the bonds of the heart and all that. Tetsuma seems to take this pretty hard, and now instead of dodging her attacks, pretty much just throws her around. He follows this up by smacking her side with his pimp cane (no, not making that up. He has a dalmation colored pimp cane.)

She lands hard after rolling down some stairs, and it seems her shoulder is either sprained, dislocated or the like. The point is, she can't use one arm, and yet, she gets up and continues on towards Dalmation. The two fight on, Dalmation still having the advantage (he even goes for her working arm with his cane. Using a combination of punches from her good arm, and kicks, she is able to spin kick him into a pillar (It's pretty badass), knocking him to the floor, and also knocking his mask off his face.

Angered by this, Dalmation just up-and-owns Luna, knocking her around some more. However, when he knocks her off balance, and she is about to fall, he grabs her hand to stop her. Why? Because in the path of her fall were a group of little flowers. (He's just like BlackWarGreymon that way.) He pulls her away, letting go. But just then, Tetsuma notices something in the sky that sounds like thunder.

He tells Luna to move, and knocks her out of the way as he is blasted by a red-black swirling vortex of death. It knocks him down, and Luna witnesses the source- out of the sky comes a man flying in a spinning tornado, red lighting surround him (Yes, you heard me right). Who is it? None other than Jinguuji of course. (I told you he was the enforcer). Jinguuji lands next to the flowers, and steps on them because he can.

Jinguuji gives the death stare to Luna, calling Tetsuma a fool. Before Luna can be hurt anymore, Mei and Maya show up. They ask for the Blue Diamond, but Jinguuji tells them to suck it, because he can. And thus, he picks up the unconcious Tetsuma, and flies away in his lighting-tornado thing. (So very cool)

Mei and Maya console Luna, because in her own words, she was completely useless- not only did she not stop the Blue Tiger from being stolen, but now Ryuta's sort of up the river without a paddle as well.

Elsewhere, Miyasaka and Tokuko are having a nice, rooftop chat. (Erika has dragon symbols on her stockings. Just noticed this. They could maybe be tattooes) It's implied here there's some kind of relationship with the two that isn't professional. Miyasaka wants her to come back to the fold as it were (he was her former boss in the MPD).

At the detective agency, it is revealed that Ryuta has been freed! Probably due to Tokuko's talk with Miyasaka. It's not mentioned specifically, I don't think, but logically, Miyasaka knows that he's not the culprit now, let's leave it at that. Anyway, the Dragonet sisters are chowing down on some of Ryuta's pudding (should I rephrase this sentence?) when Tokuko comes in. Where is hers she asks? Ryuta swears he brought 4. Meaning one of the girls ate hers! As she goes for Luna's, she pulls away, and Tokuko falls as we freeze frame.

Cue Ending Song!

NEXT TIME:

Maya has to become a model! Why? To protect other models of course. And also, because this is probably aimed at a male audience...


REVIEW (AKA THE FINAL ATTACK RIDE):

This episode gets an 8 out of 10. Maybe even a 9. It exceeded the expectations set by 1 and 2 in so many ways. For one, we got the villain dynamic out in this episode.

Tetsuma is essentially good, but his brother is the big bad, and its sort of a family thing. Shigeru's a jerk, but that's fine. Jinguuji is a powerhouse who could probably crush our heroines by only thinking about it, and Kengo is the wild card. He's Tetsuma's friend, but he's just kind of sitting in silent amusement of everything.

The sisters are good in it too, and Luna is definitely my favorite right now. I actually thought I would like Mei the best, as she seemed to be the "darker" one of the bunch, but she isn't really. Luna's sort of a badass, fighting only using one arm, she was pretty good.

Hassei and Erika don't fail to please again. I just love seeing them in these unusual roles. There's definitely are dark-ish past between them, involving why Tokuko left the force.

We don't see the parents (goodie!) but I kind of wanted to, because I know if I see them enough, they'll grow on me.

The guest stars were okay (Ryuta, grandma, old eccentric lady, creepy maid) but I think the standout character from this show is probably Takumi. He comes off as the most natural, and its hard not to like the hardworking nice guy. If Luna is really the main character (and I'm pretty sure she at this point), I think there's going to be a triangle between her, Takumi and Tetsuma, much like early Sailor Moon relationship stuff.

Anyway, that's all for now. Hope you guys can, and will, get your hands on this show. It's very entertaining.

Dukemon Out!

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