At the start of the episode Dragon Kid or Pao-Lin Huang watches some old footage of one of the arrests she made, and when her sponsor suggests that she act more feminine and start wearing the hairpin her parents gave her, she shoots both ideas down.
Elsewhere Kotetsu and Barnaby rest in the chambers that Saito developed where Barnaby has the same nightmare and worries about Kotetsu before they’re called by Agnes for a job. This job however is to babysit the Mayor’s son, Sam and was a job specifically given to Kotetsu, when they get there they meet the other heroes and Karina is surprised to find out that Kotetsu already has a nine year old daughter but when the other heroes ask about his wife. He tells them that she passed away five years ago and doesn’t exactly want to talk about it. However in talking they accidentally wake up Sam who just so happens to be a NEXT with telekinesis, leading to everyone trying to stop him from crying, something that only Pao-Lin can somehow do.
So because of this Kotetsu drags her over to Barnaby’s place and among the few things that Barnaby appears to have, there’s a toy robot which was supposedly given to him by his parents. The message they try to give Pao-Lin from this is that she should treasure the thoughts that her parents put into the things they give her, and she later remembers how they gave her the hairpin as she left to become a hero. In one of Sam’s telekinesis outbursts the monitor on Barnaby’s wall is also turned on revealing all his research on Ouroboros, and so when Pao-Lin and Sam have gone to sleep, Kotetsu and Barnaby talk about it. With Barnaby explaining everything to him.
The next morning Pao-Lin wakes up to find them on the floor asleep surrounded by beer cans so she decides to take Sam for a walk outside, however as they do this they’re attacked by three kidnappers. Kotetsu and Barnaby are finally woken up by Agnese sometime after this, who’s come over to drop some things off for Sam and when she calls Pao-Lin, one of the kidnappers seizes her phone and demands that she brings one million Stern to the docks. Because they’ve only heard Agnes, Kotetsu and Barnaby think up a plan where she’ll lure them in and give them the chance to intercept them, unfortunately the two of the three kidnappers who came, Lily and Mary turn out to be NEXTs with abilities to smell either lies or money.
Because of this they strike back and Kotetsu and Barnaby are forced into action with Kotetsu going after them while Barnaby saves Agnes, and back in the abandoned the third kidnapper, Mari realises that Pao-Lin is a NEXT and tells her that her ability allows her to smell danger. At the same time she also begins to talk about what the flowers on Sam’s hat mean, leading to Pao-Lin seeing just how much thought her parents put into that hairpin. Lily and Mary arrive back shortly after this with Kotetsu and Barnaby right behind them, and just when they plan to flee Sam wakes up and his telekinesis sets the warehouse ablaze.
Pao-Lin finally manages to free herself and manages to settle things with the kidnappers with her ability just as Kotetsu and Barnaby arrive, however the way that Kotetsu twirls one of their stun guns incidentally reminds Barnaby of his parent’s killer. During the epilogue the Mayor comes to pick Sam up and Kotetsu notices that Pao-Lin has started wearing a hairpin, leading to him calling Kaede to ask about the one he gave her, but she gave it to her grandmother. Further after this Barnaby struggles with what he saw and a strange man is shown making marks on a wall.
Continuing with the trend of character based episodes that this series already has it was great to see Dragon Kid/Pao-Lin (voiced by Mariya Ise) finally get one, as just like Origami Cyclone before her, she just hadn’t really been given all that much screen time. Next to that of course it looks as if Tiger and Bunny’s bickering days are now over.
Somehow I didn’t particularly like Dragon Kid/Pao-Lin at first, all she seemed to do was show up at the last minute and sweep the capture or rescue points from right under the other heroes, it was kind of like she was just in it for the points. However knowing the nature of this show I really shouldn’t have suspected this, none of the characters are really like that and all the heroes have admirable reasons for doing what they do. Secondly she also seemed to suffer from the same thing Origami Cyclone/Ivan did, before this episode she hadn’t really been given all that much screen time and we hadn’t seen how she interacted with the other heroes.
So it didn’t really come as much of a surprise that I grew to like her after this episode, she was a tomboy with a pretty cool ability/way of using it and she managed to get a few fun scenes in the episode. And given her tomboyish nature the issue she faced in this episode was also a nice one, not relating to why she keep being a hero but instead towards how she couldn’t see her parent’s feelings that were in the gift they gave her, and while the babysitting thing may have been slightly cliche it was a good way of getting the message across.
I don’t know whether it was just the lack of Lunatic but I also found the villains in this episode, the three kidnappers Mary, Lily, and Mari kind of lack luster. They may have had some good voice actors voicing them like Mai Nakahara, Aya Endo, and Sayaka Ohara, but their abilities didn’t really leave that much of an impression, they could have been useful in specific circumstances but they didn’t seem useful overall. That said for one shot villains I suppose they were pretty good.
On another note it was also kind of strange to see the girl with the backpack again at the start of the episode, in one way or another she’s somehow managed to beat Origami Cyclone at his game and sneak into the background. So I’m left thinking about four possible reasons for this, either Sunrise loves reusing their background characters, it’s Origami Cyclone in disguise, or perhaps she’s just plain unlucky. But given the nature of her appearances it could also interestingly mean that a good number of the rescues/captures are staged.
Finally though it was also great to see that Kotetsu and Barnaby’s relationship had changed, with Barnaby finally relenting and starting to warm up to him after he had taken a hit for him in the last episode. Not only being worried for him because of that, but also trusting him enough to let him in on everything he had found out about Ouroboros and just why he’s after them. It was a nice change, and given that we’ve entered the second third of the series it was good to see this late in as well.