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Series / Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

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Once upon this year, in a land somewhere out there... lived four companions and one Rampaging Taro/Avataro.
—Haruka Kito, narration for the first trailer.

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers (roughly translated as "Avatar-Man Squadronnote  Donbrothersnote ") is the 46th entry in the Super Sentai franchise and the fourth series in the Reiwa Era, airing alongside Kamen Rider Revice — and later, Kamen Rider Geats — in the Super Hero Time block from March 6, 2022 to February 26, 2023. It is heavily based on the legend of Momotarō, combining it with themes of digital worlds and The Metaverse.

Twenty-one years ago, an ordinary human named Jin Momoi stumbled across a strange peach-shaped capsule that fell from a Crack in the Sky, and adopted the baby he found inside: Taro Momoi, whose supreme universal talent, forthrightness, and inability to understand deceit leaves him socially isolated from the rest of the world.

In the present day, a strange phenomenon is causing humans to transform into "Hitotsu-Ki" when they are consumed by their own greed. Using the power of the Avataro Gears, Taro has the ability to transform into the hero "Don Momotaro" to fight the Hitotsu-Ki and return them to normal.

Meanwhile, a prodigy high-schooler manga artist named Haruka Kito finds her life shattered when she is accused of an impossible case of plagiarism. Just as suddenly, she is chosen by the Avataro power and discovers a new world layered on top of the regular world: a place where oni hide among humans, and impossible feats are possible (like using hidden portals to teleport between locations). Haruka, along with three others, have been chosen to become "companions" to Don Momotaro as the "Avataro Sentai Donbrothers", and in return for their service earn "points" that can be exchanged for anything their heart desires (including escaping from their forced draft into the Donbrothers).

Superheroic action and interpersonal drama ensue as these five Ragtag Bunch of Misfits fight together without actually knowing each other: their civilian identities and backgrounds, their hidden talents and secrets, their virtues and darknesses, and their reasons for fighting.

As the Donbrothers work to save the humans who have become Hitotsu-Ki, they come up against two main adversaries: the Nōto, a Superior Species of higher-dimension beings who are tasked with purging the Hitotsu-Ki permanently to protect their integrity of their homeworld; and the Jūto, a faction of aggressive and immortal beings that pose a threat to the Human and Nōto realms alike.

Unlike most Sentai series, Donbrothers is a semi-sequel to its predecessor Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger; carrying over Zenkaiger's collectible gear items, an alternate version of its lead character, and one of its mecha. It also inherits Zenkaiger's celebration of previous Sentai series and Power Copying their teams; though while the entire franchise is featured as the basis for Donbrothers' Monsters of the Week, the heroes' Power Copying limits its focus to a sub-group of the last eleven years (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger onward) referred to as the "Senpaiger" ("Senior Rangers").

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers' tie-in media include:

The series is followed by Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger.

Recurring Super Sentai tropes:

  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Avatar Change!
  • Combining Mecha:
    • Carrying over from Zenkaiger, JuranTyranno + Enya Rideon = Don ZenkaiOh
    • Don Robotaro + Saru Robotaro + Oni Robotaro + Inu Robotaro + Kiji Robotaro = Don Onitaijin
    • Don Momotaro Alter and Don Doragoku Alter can combine with other "Alter" mecha based on the Senpaiger teams.
    • Don Robogoku + Don Robobolt = Toradragonjin
    • Don Onitaijin + Toradragonjin = Toradora Onitaijin
    • Don Onitaijin + Omikoshi Phoenix = GolDon Onitaijin
    • GolDon Onitaijin + Toradragonjin = Toradora Onitaijin Kiwami
  • Dancing Theme: Just like its predecessor, Donbrothers features an opening dance sequence for its theme song "Ore Koso Only One" (I am the Only One).
  • Debut Queue: In the first three episodes, our heroes are introduced and assembled as a team, but it takes them a little while to figure out who they are outside of the suit, usually by sheer coincidence. In fact, it takes until Episode 44 for the team to know who Inu Brother is.
  • Five-Man Band: Five people (a courier, a bookworm, a mangaka, a wanted criminal, and a salaryman) come together and transform into the Donbrothers.
  • Humongous Mecha: While the series has the standard giant robot with Don ZenkaiOh and the Robotaros, the Alters are an inversion by being miniaturized mecha, comparable in size to their actual toy versions. Even the Robotaros start out human-sized and then grow when they need to; so most episodes don't have a giant robot battle.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episode titles this season are simple phrases, all rendered in hiragana or katakana.
  • In the Name of the Moon: More commonly done in spinoffs and stage shows that required one as compared to the series itself, as the prominent Poor Communication Kills playing amongst the team members results in them taking a much longer time to work together and co-ordinate with each other.
    Taro: Listen up!! Born from a peach! Don Momotaro!
    Shinichi: Farewell, transient world! Saru Brother!
    Haruka: The Manga Master! Oni Sister!
    Tsubasa: Number One on the run! Inu Brother!
    Tsuyoshi: This birdy is sturdy! Kiji Brother!
    Taro: HAHAHAHAHA!! Avataro Sentai!
    All: Donbrothers!
    • This was parodied and lampshaded in episode 10, where after her 10-Minute Retirement Haruka returns to her role as Oni Sister and proudly accounces it, only for Taro to call her out and state that rolecalls are unnecessary.
      Haruka: Oni Sister, Haruka, is here!
      Taro: (while fighting Sononi) Well, that's obvious! Why would you even need to declare that now!?
    • And then we have Don Doragoku/Don Torabolt's:
      Jiro: Able-bodied and dragon-muscled! Don Doragoku!note 
      Dangerous Jiro: I am the strongest! Don Torabolt...!
    • The main three Nōto generals have their own as well:
      Sonoi: Absolute integrity and perfection incarnate! Sonoi!
      Sononi: A beautiful rose has its thorns... Looking to know love, Sononi!
      Sonoza: When my interest is caught, nothing gets in my way! Sonoza!
      All: The Nōto Trio is here!
    • As does Sonoshi's group:
      Sonoshi: Cleanliness first and foremost! Sonoshi!
      Sonogo: The best in beauty! Sonogo!
      Sonoroku: A big fan of kindness! Sonoroku!
      Sonoshi: We are...
      All: ...the Nōto Overseers!
    • The final episode gives Don Murasame one as well:
      Don Murasame: The jaws that have snapped awake! Don Murasame!
  • Make My Monster Grow:
    • Certain Hitotsu-Ki can evolve into giant, more advanced version of themselves known as a Hitotsu-King after being defeated, however this is extremely downplayed as not every Hitotsu-Ki has the ability to do so.
    • Interestingly enough, all of the team's main mecha (minus Don ZenkaiOh) does this, unlike most Sentai mechs that start out giant before combining. The team is able to transform into their mecha mode and combine to fight all while still remaining at human size, then grow large to fight off Hitotsu-Kings and other giant threats after that.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: The Alter mecha based on the Senpaiger can be used to enhance Don Momotaro Alter.
  • Monster of the Week: The Hitotsu-Ki, monstrous oni forms taken on by humans with extreme desires in their hearts. In an interesting twist, while the Nōto are able to forcefully create them to serve as a distraction for the Donbrothers, they are also the targets of the Nōto's own execution, due to still being considered by them as "humans far too tainted with ugly desires" that disrupt the peace of their realm.
  • On the Next: Usually framed as "Jikai, jikai..."note , which can be translated as "Once upon Next Time", narrated by the focus character for that upcoming episode.
  • Punny Name: Like Toei usually does with its series.
    • "Avataro" is a pun between "avatar" and "Taro", a Japanese first name suffix meaning "eldest son" and usually translated as "boy". It is also written in kanji as "暴太郎/abataro", meaning "Rampaging Taro", referencing how often characters lampshade that Taro, as The Leader, is also a huge Boisterous Bruiser.
    • "Donbrothers" is a portmanteau of "Donburako" which is the first words of the tale of "Momotaro", describing a peach falling in a river,note  and the word "brothers". "DON" is also used as an onomatopoeia for traditional Japanese drum instruments such as taiko (Oni, Momotaro's enemies, are known to be skilled as taiko in popular culture) which is heard often in the series music and sound effects.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Except unlike some past entries, including the last one, with pink as the sole female, this does not apply to this pink ranger. Instead, it's the yellow Oni Sister, Haruka Kito.
  • Transformation Trinket:
    • The main five Rangers use the DonBlaster, along with the Avataro Gears.
    • Just like his previous incarnation, Zenkaizer Black uses the Geartlinger.
    • The Nōto generals use their Nōto Braces to transform into their monster forms.
    • Don Doragoku/Don Torabolt uses the Ryukonogeki, which allows him to change forms depending on what mode the weapon is in (a spear for Doragoku and an axe for Torabolt).

For coming here, you have formed a bond with these Tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: The first few episodes established the Anoni were secretly living among the humans, and that the Donbrothers were the only people who could see through their illusion. The paranoia stemming from this is rarely acknowledged in future episodes, and none of the people the Donbrothers help seem to be Anoni in disguise.
  • All There in the Manual: Episode 11 has Jin vaguely telling the Nōto they should be wary of what type of origami the Jūto fold, without any details to elaborate why. The behind-the-scenes notes detail this in full as the rank of their strengths — Cats are Rank B, Cranes are Rank A, and Penguins are Rank S.
  • Aside Comment:
    • Starting in episode 1, Haruka makes a comment to the camera roughly around once every couple episodes.
    • Shinichi and Haruka do this in #21 through Inner Monologue, commenting on their current situation.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Cafe Donbura is portrayed as being far larger than its storefront would suggest, with a music room complete with grand piano and a fully-functional operating room being shown among its amenities.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All's well that ends well... almost. The good news? The Jūto have been annihilated, the Nōto Overseers have been executed for their failures, and the top strongest executioners Sonona and Sonoya were defeated by Taro before they could execute the Nōto Trio and the Donbrothers, and Haruka manages to resurrect her manga career. The bad news? Tsubasa is still on the run thanks to using his Kibi-points to resurrect Sononi and has to break up with Natsumi, though he does get together with Sononi as compensation, and Natsumi enters Tsuyoshi's life with her asking if they want to continue their dream together, and while Taro recovers his memories, he leaves for parts unknown, but he does eventually return under a new courier company.
  • Breaking Old Trends: This is the first time...
    • A male Pink Warrior is part of the main cast. Japanese media also tend to point out that Tsuyoshi is the first Happily Married salaryman "Ossan" to become a main warrior (let alone in Pink), unusually the case for a franchise that generally employs a Younger and Hipper cast.note 
    • A number of main Warriors are mostly rendered in CGI and not People in Rubber Suits, both being considerably more Beast Man-like in size and design (Inu Brother is Super-Deformed and only one meter tall, while Kiji Brother is 2.2 meters tall with long and lanky limbs).
    • A Guest-Star Party Member was introduced for the main cast, albeit a Palette Swap Identical Stranger variant of a main character from the preceding series.
    • For a series to fully utilize a degree of cross-compatibility with the previous series' gimmick, as not only the initial Combining Mecha required a member of the previous team as one of its main components, their equipment are also compatible with the previous series' line of Sentai Gears as well.
    • A Humongous Mecha fight is not Once an Episode, as several of the Hitotsu-Ki do not become Hitotsu-Kings. Though this is sometimes supplanted with a Don Momotaro Alter or human-sized Robotaro sequence.
    • Don Onitaijin breaks the usual trend of Sentai having mecha that start off or grow large then combine, and instead combines in human scale before growing big.
    • The series also notably breaks the Villains Act, Heroes React plot structure used in the franchise since the very beginning. The Hitotsu-Ki aren't sent out as part of an Evil Plan to wreak havoc, but instead are created by happenstance when a person's desires grow too powerful for them to control. The main antagonist faction, the Nōto, doesn't aim to use them to conquer the world; instead they aim to eliminate these Hitotsu-Ki just like the Donbrothers, though they're willing to use more lethal means. It's only with the emergence of the Jūto, the other antagonist faction, that this kind of plot line returns, though they're a far more nuanced example than your typical Sentai villain group.
    • DX Super Sentai robot toys are infamous for being entirely static statues with only basic shoulder movement, though a few have had some extra joints. The DonZenkaiOh toy falls under this pigeonhole, but starting with Don Onitaijin, the Bandai toy designers make sure to place extra emphasis on prioritizing articulation, following Hasbro's lead for their Power Rangers toys. Although the Donbrothers mecha still had limits, this new initiative would later take greater root in King-Ohger, with the main mecha for that series featuring a much better-executed increase in articulation.
    • Donbrothers, thanks to the team's dysfunctionality, is extremely light on the series' traditional roll calls. Throughout the entire series, any attempt at a roll call was more parodied than anything, with successful roll calls only happening in spinoffs and The Movie. It'd take until the final episode before a proper roll call could go ahead.
  • Character Narrator: Haruka narrates most of the series as she's the Supporting Protagonist, though the others get in on this when it's focused on them.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Episode 24. Victim of the Week Mrs Higashi is going through Sanity Slippage after her son disappeared - turns out he was the Monster of the Week.
  • City of Adventure: Oniga City/Oniga-shi, which alludes to the Onigashima Island from the original Momotaro lore. However it is also a Punny Name using kanji that literally means "King's Suffering City".
  • Darker and Edgier: Despite the lively theme the poster is showing, Donbrothers is a bit darker than the previous installment. Compared to Zenkaiger, Donbrothers has a more grounded perspective on both the heroes and villains. The Nōto are portrayed as incredibly dangerous threats: its generals are more than willing to dispose of anybody that doesn't adhere to their views (and they are successful at killing four already), the Hitotsu-Ki can be born from anybody with an extreme desire, and the Anōni can disguise themselves as anybody within the world. As for our heroes, they all lost something of great value in order to fight since they know the secret behind the masquerade. Along with that, their personalities and lifestyles outside of their super-heroic exploits tend to prevent them from working as a cohesive unit, not helped by the Call to Adventure forcing them to fight. That being said, the series has a good amount of absurd humor and heartwarming moments to balance out.
  • Deconstruction:
    • The first few episodes explores the ramifications of becoming a hero. Most of the team is forced to become heroes at Jin's behest, only for their lives to become worse after discovering the masquerade of the world. Not to mention, they didn't want to become heroes in the first place, perfectly content with living out their lives.
    • The series also extensively explores the complications of the instant Team Spirit most Sentai series exemplify. The team have no idea who they are in the beginning and it takes quite a few episodes for them to discover each other's identities. Unlike with Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (which dabbled with the concept before ultimately uniting the team within the first four episodes), the Donbrothers barely interact with each other outside of fights since they have vastly differing lifestyles as civilians, only meeting by sheer coincidence. The slow discovery of their identities barely bring them together as a result, leading to the team having uneven teamwork, a tenuous sense of trust with each other, and an unbalanced amount of shared information resulting in disastrous decisions being made that affect the team as a whole.
    • The Donbrothers being barely together as a team is reflected even in their official rolecall (which is so far only used in stage shows and spinoffs!) as unlike past Sentai teams, none of them have any single similarity that unifies all the callsnote  - there's always at least one of them that breaks the pattern.
      • Don Momotaro, Oni Sister, and Inu Brother talks about their human selves, but Saru Brother makes one line of a haiku while Kiji Brother makes a joke about his ranger selves' bird-like appearance.
      • Saru Brother, Inu Brother, and Kiji Brother all have animal-related joke in their role call, but Don Momotaro and Oni Sister don't have any joke related to their theme (peach and oni respectively). And even among the former three, only two of them have the joke be about animal sound ("Uki" for Saru Brother and "Wan" for Inu Brother) - Kiji Brother's joke simply revolves around the word "Tori", which literally means "bird".
  • Deconstructive Parody: A lot of the show's humor comes from Toshiki Inoue being fully aware of how infamous his constant use of Poor Communication Kills has become and intentionally doubling down on it. The very first arc of the show could have ended with the first episode, only for Haruka's poor grasp of reality to keep it going for a bit longer, and there are multiple points later where character quirks cause people to completely miss obvious plot points. Jin Momoi's entire character is knowing absolutely everything about the plot, but refusing to answer anything beyond what the plot immediately demands. There are multiple points where big Internal Reveals are just barely missed because one character just happens to leave an area just as another one arrives. This just scratches the surface, and all of it, unlike Inoue's previous works, is Played for Laughs.
  • Denser and Wackier: Compared to even its prior show, Donbrothers is one of the crazier of the Sentai shows, especially comparing to Inoue's prior works, as several episodes will have crazy subplots or gags mid-episode. Production even notes that if Zenkaiger has calculated humor, Donbrothers has calculated madness.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • For the first few episodes, Haruka is looking for Taro Momoi. The audience knows who he is, but Haruka does not. The series plays this for everything it's worth, with Haruka repeatedly mistaking other people for Taro and missing or dismissing the signs of who Taro actually is.
    • The audience also learns fairly early on that Tsubasa and Tsuyoshi's loved ones, Natsumi and Miho respectively, look identical. It's reasonable to expect some sort of conflict to arise between them because of this, but whenever they're in the same room and the conversation turns to their loved ones, the circumstances are such that Tsubasa never learns what Miho looks like and Tsuyoshi never learns what Natsumi looks like.
    • For a large portion of the series, the Donbrothers are unaware that Tsubasa is Inu Brother, and likewise he's Locked Out of the Loop over their identities. Yet Tsubasa more often than not gets rolled up in their shenanigans and goes along with them, with both sides continuing to be unaware of each other despite their frequent interactions. #44 finally has both sides learn their true identities.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Between a perfectionist who has a hard time getting along with people, a self-proclaimed philosopher with a hint of an ego, an immature and stubborn high schooler, a standoffish fugitive, a salaryman who puts his wife's welfare above everything else, and a wannabe hero with a Superpowered Evil Side, it's no wonder the Donbrothers don't get along the same way most Sentai teams do.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Don Momotaro first appears in Zenkaiger episode 42, bringing Enya Rideon with him to combine with Juran and become Don ZenkaiOh.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In the first several episodes Anōni soldiers would often aid the Hitotsuki in fighting the heroes. Once it was established that the Noto don't care for the Hitotsuki any more than the Donbrothers do and actively want the Hitotsuki destroyed, the Anōni stop doing so since that would make little sense. This is doubly so when the Anoni outright ask the Donbrothers to help them take out the Juto.
    • In the first several episodes Don Momotaro often does a Big Entrance with his arrival, including heavy usage of Summon Backup Dancers as he does his own In the Name of the Moon. However, as the series progresses he completely drops this, neither does he lead his team to perform a bigger rolecall together as per Super Sentai tradition, with it being justified as an apparent disbelief in Talking Is a Free Action due to his Serious Business attitude. There are some references to it later on in the series and he does make an appearance on it every now and then. Of course, it's simply possible he choose to stop doing this since he now enters battle alongside most of the team who all mostly know who he is, making his larger than life heroic entrances to save them no longer necessary. Though Sonoi manages to picks up on this upon his revival.
  • Gag Series: Much like its predecessor, Donbrothers leans heavily into comedic episodes, though the difference is that it goes into the realm of the bizarre, playing almost every major plot point for laughs when other Sentai (even Zenkaiger) would at least treat one seriously.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Quite a few Hitotsu-Ki only appear in order to supply the requisite tokusatsu action scenes without any connection to the overall plot, with the rest of the episode being focused on the interpersonal conflicts the main characters have.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: The faction dynamic shapes up to be this way, with the Donbrothers generally helping people even in spite of their frailties (the Good), the Nōto being a group of Well-Intentioned Extremists (the Bad) who then protect the world from the utterly malevolent Jūto (the Evil). Later developments in the series reveal the Jūto to be Tragic Monsters, with the Evil being occupied by the Nōto Council and their top enforcers Sonoshi, Sonogo, and Sonoroku.
  • Indecisive Parody: The show seems to parody Toshiki Inoue's tendency to use Poor Communication Kills in order to fuel the conflicts, but at the same time, several subplots in the second half (most of them being related to the Juto) are only possible because of that trope being played straight.
  • Inner Monologue: The series makes extensive usage of the characters' thoughts to reveal their musings on the current situation since they often don't try to communicate with each other. Later episodes dial it back as the Donbrothers get more acquainted as a team.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Episode 10 has Haruka using her Kibi Points to wish that she'd never become a Donbrother. She gets her old life back, but soon changes her mind when she realises someone else was forced to take on her misfortune in her place.
  • Masquerade: There appears to be an active cover hiding the Nōto Layer metaverse, ruining the lives of those who discovered it and manage to escape capture, much like what happened to Haruka. Given the fact that society as a whole (and seemingly the Earth itself) actually supports this without batting an eye over any oddity heavily implies the Nōto have already taken over most of the Earth in secret.
  • The Metaverse: The Earth is host to one known as the Nōto Layer, a hidden cyberspace that overlays onto Earth's own landscape with hidden constructs, Hard Light dimension doors, In a Single Bound manhole platforms, and the fact that some of the human populace are actually Anōni. Only the Donbrothers' sunglasses are able to see all this.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Contrasting most Sentai, the Donbrothers are willing to use their powers in situations outside of the battlefield to assist them in daily life, usually either by helping civilians or getting out of tough situations fast.
    • #21 explores the ramifications of this, specially when one uses their powers for personal gain. While the Donbrothers are free to use their abilities to help out civilians outside of battle, they are not supposed to use them for personal gain, as doing so goes against the idea that they are "heroes". As such, their powers are promptly removed.
      • Given that the Donbrothers do use them for occasional personal use, the rule seems to be more that while they can use their powers for minor personal gain such as getting around, or entertaining others they'd better focus on fighting the badguys too.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In #17, when Jiro Avatar changes into Dragon Ranger, he remarks that he feels like an older brother, an allusion to Burai.
    • In #31, Ryuji Inui, a young man who briefly becomes Inu Brother, sings about Black Condor.
    • In #38, after tasting Rumi's cooking, Taro dreamily floats into the sky past the Tokyo Tower while trailing sparkles, in a near-shot for shot remake of the opening scene of Abaranger's intro.
    • Don Killer's name is a blatant one to Abare Killer.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Each of the DonBrothers has their own variation of the team's costume, moreso than most Sentai teams. Don Momotaro has a larger forehead emblem and a topknot; Oni Sister has spikes on her shoulders; Saru Brother has a smaller vest that shows off abs and hairy gorilla arms, and he has a red baboon patch on his butt; Kiji Brother is inhumanly tall and thin and has wings and talons; and Inu Brother is Super-Deformed, has Funny Animal ears on his helmet, and a tail.
  • One-Steve Limit: Because both J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai and Dengeki Sentai Changeman use the word Dengeki/"Blitzkrieg" as part of their team names, the Hitotsu-Ki based off JAKQ is given a Punny Name of Ja-Ki instead, while Dengeki-Ki is solely the one based off Changeman.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Considering who the main writer of the series is, it's a given!
    • Jin Momoi tells Haruka to find Taro, and that he never lies. He doesn't give her anything else to go on, leading to many cases of mistaken identity in the early episodes. When Haruka does get a chance to talk to Taro, she doesn't let him introduce himself, and even though he's aware she's looking for him, he doesn't say anything more because she refused to ask for his name.
    • #5 is pretty much this trope incarnate. The Donbrothers all end up at Shirokuma Express's office in a Hostage Situation through various circumstances. However, they all refuse to fully communicate with each other due to their lack of trust. Taro calls them out for this, stating that they're all so stuck in their heads that they forgot about each other.
    • #25 takes this to absolutely hysterical heights. Taro hears from Tsuyoshi about his financial problems, only for the former to mishear that he's having problems with his mother. He eventually spreads this story onto the other Donbrothers without revealing who specifically, so the others (including Tsuyoshi) assume that it's Taro's friend's mother having issues, which causes them to want to try and support said mother. Near the end of the episode, Taro realizes his mistake when he hears Tsuyoshi's confession.
  • Power Copying: The DonBrothers can use their Avataro Gears to transform into - and utilize the abilities of - previous Sentai teams. Unlike how it was done in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger however, the Donbrothers are only limited to using the powers of previous warriors of the same color as them, and as such certain members can't use the powers of teams that don't have their color.
  • Red Herring:
  • Rule of Three: Certain jokes or events are re-used three times:
    • Haruka tries to find Taro and swear fealty to him only to end up getting kicked aside by Sonoi, Sonoza and finally the actual Taro.
    • There are three Imagine Spots of someone challenging Taro to a match with Tsuyoshi and Shinichi having the same image of challenging Taro only for them to realize they will get curb-stomped with Shinichi having a second one in which he delivers a curb-stomp to the de-powered Taro.
    • Tsuyoshi becomes a Hitotsu-ki three times with the others calling it a overused joke if it were to happen a fourth time.
    • Tsubasa becomes a wanted criminal three times.
  • Running Gag: A member of every major enemy faction has eaten at Cafe Donbura at some point or another.
  • Secret Identity: Taken to maddening heights compared to Sentais past. The Donbrothers' identities aren't just hidden from the public, but oftentimes even each other! The first primary arc of the show centers around the various Donbrothers discovering each other; beginning with Taro and going from there. It isn't until #11 that much of the core team is aware of each other outside of the battlefield. That isn't even getting into Inu Brother, who has successfully kept who he is a secret from everyone else for almost half the show and counting!
  • Sequel: Heavily downplayed. The series does share the Sentai Gears from the last series and has Kaito (though not the same one from Zenkaiger) as a Guest-Star Party Member, but it's clear from the start that the series stands completely on its own regardless.
  • Series Fauxnale: Parodied in #26, where, after watching the final episode of Kamen Rider Revice, Kaito also proclaims Donbrothers should end as well by deciding who's the real MVP of the team. Of course, he's the MVP.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The sunglasses the DonBrothers use to perceive the Layer (and the Anoni within) bring the propaganda-exposing glasses of John Carpenter's They Live! to mind.
    • There are several to the Momotarō mythos.
      • The Portal Door used for the Donbrothers' Transformation Sequence comes tumbling in a flowing body of water, much like how Momotaro's peach originally came tumbling in a river in the original story.
      • The Kibi-Points are a reference to kibi-dango/millet dumplings, Momotaro's favourite food that he offers to his companions as compensation for their assistance. Here, the Kibi-Points are awarded to the companion Donbrothers based on their contributions to aid Don Momotaro and the team's victories, which can be used to grant various requests/wishes as compensation.
      • On the topic of kibi-dango, Taro requires eating a serving of 300 pieces of it every few years in order to stay in his peak condition.
      • The combination sequence of Don Onitaijin references Momotaro's team travelling to Onigashima Island via boat in order to face off against the oni tribe.
      • Dangerous Jiro quotes the original Momotaro tale while hunting down the Donbrothers, though adding some changes to the story that reflect his then-current mood.
      • Don Murasame is an allusion to the 1932 animated short film Umi no Momotaro, which features Momotaro doing battle with a shark.
      • The City of Adventure that the series takes place in is called Oniga City (Oniga-shi), which alludes to Onigashima Island.
    • Our heroes' Secret War against monsters also lets them build up points that they could use to attain something incredible, which is straight out of Gantz.
    • Episode 9 has a version of the famous red light, green light scene from Squid Game, not helped by how the Hitotsu-Ki was an old man wanting to be a kid again.
    • Abatā Ranbu: Momotarozan note , specifically where only the sword flashes are seen, is inspired by Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
    • In episode 15, Jiro's stance after throwing the boulder at Gekisou-ki is that of the Kamehameha Wave.
    • Kyoryu-ki's skin is titled "Fossil that leapt through time".
    • Episode 18's title translated into English is "A Jawsome Strike".
    • The shark emblem on Don Murasame's belt is near-identical to Kamen Rider Abyss's.
    • The Ninjarksword manifesting his Don Murasame form is reminiscent of Kamen Rider Saikou and Shadow Saikou.
    • Don Murasame's Alter Change features an underwater palace behind him, a reference to Urashimako, another Japanese fairy tale with a main character named Taro.
    • The debut of ToradoraGonjin involves Jiro making his face appear in place of the mecha's face, which is straight out of Mobile Fighter G Gundam.
    • #34 has a couple. To wit, the scene where Jiro reunites with Rumi homages Michelangelo Buonarroti's The Creation of Adam, while Natsumi recites a few lines from William Shakespeare's As You Like It.
    • #39 has Inu Brother, Saru brother and Kiji Brother given the Metronomic Man Mashing treatment by Don Killer, a la what Hulk did to Loki.
    • #46's title is a reference to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with the ending showing Miho's body floating down a river, a la Ophelia.
    • #50 features Taro and Shinichi lying on a grassy hill while Shinichi raises a hand towards the sun, referencing the last scene of Kamen Rider 555's final episode.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To Mashin Sentai Kiramager. Whereas that series has the heroes prioritise their daily lives in order to improve themselves as heroes, Donbrothers has doing so rendered difficult, bordering on impossible, to the point that Haruka only unlocks her full power when she vows to give up her mangaka dreams. This is justified as the Kiramagers are not only famous professionals in their fields who are completely open about their lives, but their activities are also backed by the Mega-Corp CARAT, which has links to higher organisations to allow the Kiramagers to lead their double lives publicly. On the other hand, the Donbrothers, who are a group of Normal People (well, most of them) fighting a mostly Secret War under The Masquerade, have very little support other than Kaito and Jin.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The team's discovery of each other's identities barely serve to actually unite them on the battlefield since they have vastly different personalities and lifestyles from each other. They only manage to meet up by sheer coincidence most of the time as a result. All of this create a tenuous sense of trust within the team, viewing each other as acquaintances that just so happen to be there than actual teammates.
    • One that might hit closer to home for some - Haruka insists on following Taro around for his delivery job, and she ends up facing all of the risks and abuse he normally would, with the added threat of sexual assault at one point.
    • When Haruka receives a massive amount of Kibi-points, she has the option to quit the Donbrothers. When having to pick between risking her life fighting and remaining a pariah due to plagiarism allegations or returning to her charmed life of adoration and praise as a mangaka, she doesn't hesitate to choose the latter.
    • Taro's eccentricities resulting from his incredible talent, such as his refusal to lie, tend to alienate the people around him. More often than not, people think that he's arrogant and ignorant, even when he's trying to help them. This takes a dark turn in episode 13 when Sonoi learns about this and immediately exploits it - the episode ends with Taro apparently dead.
    • On a similar note, simply breaking any kind of behavioral habit when trying to improve yourself is a challenge. While Taro is more open to his team after coming back from his "death" in #15, he's still a very aloof person who needs to make more progress, like learning it's entirely possible to compliment or apologize to someone more than once at a time.
  • Technology Marches On: invokedThe plot of #19 happens due to phone booths being phased out all over Japan as mobile phones have come to replace their functionality. Unfortunately, one certain phone booth happens to be possessed by the ghost of a girl who hasn't moved on yet.
  • Teleportation: Both the Donbrothers and Nōto use different forms of teleportation.
    • The Donbrothers use various dimension doors made of Hard Light located throughout the city when they use their glasses and DonBlaster. When there's a Nōto attack, the DonBlaster forcibly transforms them before it teleports them via streams of light.
    • The Nōto generals use manhole-shaped platforms that send them back to their base of operations.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Standard Super Sentai episodes usually focuses on a single main conflict of the week, with an occasional focus on the villains when they have their own conflicts or decide to further their schemes. This series stands out in that because the Donbrothers are so non-cohesive several episodes are broken down into multiple plotlines focusing on mixed factions amongst the Donbrothers dealing with various unrelated personal conflicts at the same time, before the Call to Adventure brings the whole team together in the climax to deal with the MoTW... or one of them defeats it by themselves (one of the Dons usually).
    • Later on in the series the "core" Donbrothers (Taro, Shinichi, Haruka and Tsuyoshi) typically share one plot thread involving either their interactions with the Nōto or the Hitotsu-Ki, while Tsubasa and/or Jiro get the other one, involving either the &Jūto or Don Murasame.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Episode 15 - Sonoi promises to bring back Taro - by using the same Finishing Move on a Hitotsuki, allowing someone to follow it to the "Phantom Zone" where all the past victims, including Taro, really are.
  • Weird Moon: The moon in both the Forest of Slumbers and the bodies of water that serve as portals into it always shows up as a full moon, regardless of the phase of the actual moon.
  • Wham Episode:
    • #8, where Tsuyoshi intentionally set the Monster of the Week up to be killed as payback for hurting his wife, and didn't even regret it afterward. As the franchise usually stands by the principle of Thou Shalt Not Kill, this left viewers stunned at his actions and dreading what kind of karmic backlash he'd inevitably face later on.
    • #13, in which not only do Taro and Sonoi find out each others' secret identities, but that Sonoi makes good on his vow to the council and kills Taro, kicking off a mini-arc where the climax is the debut of Don Doragoku.
    • #27. What starts off as a parody of Duel to the Death clichés interspersed with Sonoi and Taro playing delivery boy ends with The Juto finally revealing themselves to all conceivable parties and invading the quarry battle, forcing Sonoi to reveal to Taro the nature of the Juto as failed Don Clan creations; hinted to be one of the reasons they were eliminated by the Noto in the first place. Several episodes afterwards sprinkle revelations here and there about how Murasame was made to destroy the Juto or how Juto copy the humans they capture. All of this culminates in #32, which is a retelling of #27 but with Sononi and Sonoza taking Sonoi's place, before Sonoi's return, powered up and ultimately killing Taro for a second time.
    • #39 ends with Jiro singing Kagome Kagome while surrounded by origami paper, and then once he leaves the table it shows he was folding a penguin, cementing him having ties to the dreaded Penguin Juto.
    • #45 is just one wham after another - Kijino turns into a third Hitotsu-Ki; Sonoshi returns with reinforcements, and the first thing he does is attack Kijino and send him to the "Phantom Zone"; Jiro's friends and loved ones turn out to be illusions created by his foster-father — who is revealed to be the Penguin Juuto — so he could groom him to be his replacement; and Taro pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and gets incarcerated in the Juuto forest.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: Most of the Donbrothers are only fighting because they've been forced to and as a result can barely work together, but they are still good people at the end of the day. Over the course of the series, they eventually adjust to both their mission and each other, to varying degrees. The Noto, meanwhile, aren't actual evil-doers so much as pragmatic vigilantes that have neither sinister intent or morality dial. Their willingness to kill Hitotsu-Ki rather than save them is the main reason the Donbrothers battle them, and even then, some of them have formed interesting relationships despite being "enemies".

"All's well that ends well!note "


Video Example(s):


GolDon Momotaro

After successfully infiltrating the Forest of slumber, Don Momotaro transforms into GolDon Momotaro and with his authority as part of the Don Clan, proceeds to condemn the Juto for their crimes against humanity and forces them to stay in the forest as punishment, proclaiming that they'll have to go through him if they disagree.

How well does it match the trope?

4.33 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoThroughMe

Media sources: