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Episode 13: Hotaru in the Forest

 

Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal

April 1, 2016

 

Summary

 

Butcho oversees the development of a new armored beast and injects its pod with a glowing green liquid. However his computer informs him that they don't have enough planet energy to complete the armored beast's synthesis. At Tsukushi, Seiji and Hikaru prepare their lunch boxes and Hikaru's parents compliment Seiji on his cooking skills. Misuzu comes up on television and reports that with more forests around the world withering, the GDO has decided the form an investigation committee to discover the cause. Haruo again blames mankind's disregard for nature as the cause of the incidents and Hikaru hopes the mountain they're visiting won't be as brown as the withered forests. Seiji tells Hikaru to finish making lunch instead of worrying and runs outside to greet Da-Garn. Da-Garn asks why Seiji is in a good mood and the latter tells him that today is their class picnic. On the bus ride to the Midorigahara field, Seiji and Pink sing karaoke to the rest of the class. Seiji returns to his seat next to Hotaru and tells her that she needs to be more enthusiastic during the trip. Hotaru however replies that she has a bad feeling. At the picnic site, Hikaru tries to take Seiji's lunch and offers him and Pink the lunches she made instead, but the rest of their friends end up offering their lunches to Pink. Hikaru spots Hotaru going into the forest and tells Seiji to go bring her back because Morisawa warned the students not to go there lest they get lost. Seiji follows Hotaru and calls after her but she disappears and he eventually gets lost himself. Seiji decides to call Da-Garn for help when a bear suddenly appears behind him. Seiji quickly plays dead and the bear leaves, but soon other forest animals start popping out of the bushes. He follows them to a clearing where he sees them all gather around Hotaru, including the bear. Hotaru asks Seiji what he's doing here and the latter says he should be asking her the same question. Hotaru replies that she came to the forest because the animals are scared. She adds that even the entire forest and the land itself are scared of what's coming. Suddenly dead leaves start falling and armored beast Victoria bursts from the ground.

 

Victoria shoots tentacles into the ground and starts absorbing planet energy, causing the forest to wither. Butcho's computer informs him that if they absorb the forest's planet energy they'll be able to create the ultimate armored beast. Hotaru leads the animals to safety while Seiji summons Da-Garn and the Landers. GDO fighter jets attack Victoria but their missiles have no effect. Victoria uses its flame breath to cause one of the jets to crash into the forest and start a huge fire. Da-Garn arrives at the forest and opens fire on Victoria. A burning tree falls and blocks the animal's path while Hotaru frantically tries to clam them down. Da-Garn kicks Victoria and pelts it with Da-Garn Magnum shots but Butcho summons more Victorias and has them combine into Queen Victoria which wraps its body around Da-Garn and stops him from rescuing Seiji and Hotaru. Seiji tells Hotaru to ask the animals if they know a way out but she says that the animals are too scared. The bear however manages to knock down a tree and clear a path for everyone. Seiji pushes Hotaru out of the way of a falling branch but the latter falls unconscious. Drill Lander bursts out of the ground and saves them from being crushed by falling trees just as the rest of the Landers arrive. Seiji quickly has the Landers put out the fire and leaves Hotaru in the bear's care. He suits up and orders the Landers to combine into Land Bison and help Da-Garn. Land Bison attacks Queen Victoria and frees Da-Garn. Butcho tries to escape underground but Land Bison grabs Queen Victoria and buys Da-Garn time to combine into Da-Garn X. Land Bison throws Queen Victoria towards Da-Garn X and Butcho retaliates by splitting off four Victoria to attack separately. However, Land Bison quickly destroys the Victorias with Land Crusher. Da-Garn X and Land Bison then quickly destroy Queen Victoria. The explosion releases all the absorbed planet energy back into the ground. Hotaru wakes up and Seiji assures her that all the animals are fine. They both notice the forest coming back to life. In his escape pod, Butcho realizes that he won't be able to accomplish anything if he doesn't eliminate Seiji and vows again to discover his identity.

 

Commentary

 

A fairly unremarkable episode aside from the return of the Landers and the revelation that Butcho is actually draining planet energy from the world's forests to make his armored beasts. Haruo is now a broken record by this point with his useless rants but since Hotaru is the show's real tree hugger, of course she gets to have Bambi's extended family gather around her like Snow White. Shame that such a trait is wasted on a joyless character like her. On the flip side, it's amusing how the scene with the students escaping featured what was obviously just three character designs looping behind each other. I also really wished we got more scenes with the bear.

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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Da-Garn Episode 13 Da-Garn Episode 13

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