I’ve grown to like Asumi though I do hope this episode is the last one in a while where she’s the centric character. It’s literally been a month where her character develops and fundamentally learn the same lesson. Time to scale down a bit.
To Healin’ Good Pretty Cure‘s credit, it’s done a good job making sure the other three character get to shine a bit in the civilian side of things. First, it was with Nodoka. Then it was Chiyu. And now, it’s Best Girl Hinata’s turn. In this episode, we learn how she’s taking a more active part in her family’s veterinarian clinic. More specifically, she’s been looking after a rescue dog named Pochi-to. Hinata still feels she has a long way to go before she match up to her father and brother, both skilled vets, she’s making progress. It’s nice to hear considering that Episode 13 kind of left this insecurity of Hinata’s unchecked.
Meanwhile, Asumi learns the meaning of the word, “cute”, a word her friends keep throwing around while hanging out at the vet and later, a dog park. As silly as it sounds, it’s actually a sound direction to take in pushing Asumi’s understanding of human emotions. Liking something is a broad emotion. Whatever reason you have, you know what you either like or dislike. Finding something “cute” is a bit more specific and more subjective so it’s understandable that Asumi starts off confused by the concept, let alone recognizes what she considers cute.
Easily the smartest thing done in this episode is having Asumi bond with Pochi-to as opposed to Rate as per usual. Seeing Rate get dressed with cutesy accessories does little to help Asumi understand what it means to be cute as she already has affection for the dog built in. Having another dog, especially a timid rescue dog no less, taps into Asumi’s sense of sympathy more. It compels her to want and try to understand why people like dogs and find them cute (as they should…ahem). A nice touch is when Pochi-to stands up against the monster of the week, mirroring a similar attempt done by Rate in Episode 19 and putting Asumi in a familiar situation that’ll better improve her understanding of her emotions.
The resolution to this conflict is a little bit muddled. During the action scene of the week, Guiawaru (who’s taking his fellow generals having Mega Parts access very well) threatens to have his MegaByogen kill Pochi-to. He even goes as far as call the dog a lower life form. Asumi quickly takes offense to that, having grown to see the value humans have in their pets, and saves Pochi-to. She also defeats the MegaByogen because of course she does. This does tie into the whole “cuteness” plot as Asumi attributes it to her view that dogs, and presumably pets in general, shouldn’t be treated as anything lesser than humans. At the same time, I feel this episode should’ve leaned entirely into this. Trying to understand why humans associate themselves with normal, domesticated animals sounds worthy enough to be its own plot.