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Hugtto! Precure – Episode 40

Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I’m eager to dive back into Hugtto! Precure, as we continue to soar towards its approaching endgame. It’s clear enough that the time for fun episodic larks is largely behind us; in fact, last episode felt very much like we were already at the climax, with its thunderous reveals regarding Harry and Risutol’s shared history clarifying much about Criasu’s relationship with the hamsters. Characters like Risutol and Bishin didn’t simply embrace evil, they were recruited via Criasu’s promises to save their dying village – and having embraced complicity and lost their homes anyway, they now hope simply to maintain whatever community is left to them on the other side.

Having shed some light on the origins of George’s final accomplice, I’m excited to see what the episode to come reveals about dear old Dr. Traum, who’s always struck me as one of the most charming Criasu collaborators. His ambivalence towards the future seems to come from a place of painful personal experience, while his creation of Lulu points to a fundamental disagreement with the Criasu credo. To have a child is to express a gesture of faith in the future, that it will be a safer, kinder place for the ones who follow you. As we approach the end, it seems Traum may be regretting his prior actions, and hoping to at least spend a little more time with his beloved daughter. Let’s see how this odd family is faring!

Episode 40

Our cold open picks up moments after the last episode, with Dr. Traum out cold on the shop floor

“Lulu’s Daddy? ‘Amour,’ That Means…”

I love Traum’s goofy costume. Utterly useless overdesigned steampunk hat, massive ascot, and martial epaulets in spite of him allegedly being a scientist – feels like the costume department basically just tossed him accessories at random

I suppose if all the villains represent various economic booms, he’s essentially a visual representation of mechanized industry

Traum tells us that projecting the cast into the future was actually a test, and he planned to consult with them directly if it worked. It has always seemed like his goals differed from George’s, and he’s also seemed like the one member of the Criasu who’s not emotionally or otherwise beholden to their leader

And my god, he’s such a delightful weirdo. Not only does he have a bizarre-looking tabletop robot to serve as a projector, he accompanies that projection with a hand puppet of himself to guide us through his slideshow. Definitely nailing that embarrassing trying-too-hard dad energy

Ooh, love the texture and color design work for these simplified illustrations of the future

Ahaha, his collection of props is so adorable. A Hana puppet as well, alongside popsicle stick silhouettes of four future Precure. Love the detail of us being able to see the tape securing his Oshimaeda printout to its stick when he turns it around

I also like the implication here that the future Precure failed in their duties, thus forcing Harry to recruit a new team in the past. The frozen future was vaguely defined for most of this series, but the more we learn now, the more tragic and desperate the situation seems

Apparently George was seeking “Mother, the goddess whose love embraces the future”

“And the young girl who bears her power, Cure Tomorrow!” Obviously the girl Hana briefly met last episode

Harry asks to tell the rest, as it is essentially his confession. He went on a rampage after the village was destroyed and was eventually imprisoned by Criasu, only to be rescued by Cure Tomorrow. I like how this parallels the journeys of Hugtto’s Criasu employees, emphasizing that even a protagonist like Harry can be driven into violent despair, and must be urged onward by a friend who believes in his potential

“Do you really believe the future can shine that bright? Even after your friends are gone?” Like Hana, Tomorrow’s optimism is her greatest power

And as expected, Tomorrow reverted back to Hugtan when Mother sent her and Harry into the past

Hugtan seems exceedingly proud of herself, as she should be

Meanwhile, George directs his two remaining subordinates to claim Hugtan: Gelos and Bishin

“We will stop all time so that all may live forever with their smiles.” George’s position is understandable: he believes he’s operating from a position of knowing the future is ruin, and thus freezing time now is actually kinder than waiting for everyone to live in despair. That does make me wonder why the future is so terrible, and if this season is going to push beyond defeating Criasu into challenging whatever force made George believe stasis is the best possible solution

“They’ll be pushing hard from now on. And they won’t stop to get all fancy about it like me.” Villains are one thing, but villains who lack style are far worse

“Hugtan is our future, after all!” She’s always been a metaphor for believing in a brighter tomorrow, so I guess it’s only a couple steps further to make her a magical savior literally named Tomorrow

Lulu asks a sharp yet reasonable question: “why did you wait until now to tell us all this?”

“Humans are full of those kinds of contradictions.” I actually quite appreciate that Traum doesn’t have a satisfying answer to her question – he wanted to support his daughter, he wanted to see a better future, and he wanted to preserve what he had, and those contradictory instincts often led him to contradictory actions. We are not pure vehicles for static ideals; we are fluid mixes of values and desires, our goals prone to revision just like our professional identities

“You threw me away. My analysis concludes you must have deemed me unnecessary.” And Lulu’s anger here is also great, building off her clear pain at being discarded by Traum. He may have had his reasons, but that doesn’t make his betrayal any less painful to Lulu

Oof, great look of pain from Traum as he realizes what his daughter thinks of him, the hurt his actions have caused

“Look who’s talking. I never thought I’d see you with such a worried face.” “Patronizing little mouse.” Immediately fantastic dynamic between Harry and Traum. Please let us keep Traum, he’s a wonderful addition to the team

“I am sorry. But another moment with him and I was sure I would have a system error.” Yeah, parents can be like that

Lulu wonders why Dr. Traum gave her such complex emotions in the first place. If he just wanted an android assistant, it would have been simpler to just make her follow commands – but he wanted a family, not a servant, and that demands the power to disagree, to be hurt, to feel love

“I was named for the kinds of wild flowers that grow in fields. My parents gave me my name hoping I would grow up healthy and strong like them.” That’s a lovely, appropriate origin for Hana – someone who thrives no matter the circumstances, who can find strength in any possible world

“What is he doing!?” Lulu getting embarrassed over her dad’s dorky affection is very good

“My feelings in creating you were also born in contradictions.”

Lulu getting embarrassed over her youthful temper tantrums is fantastic. Lulu’s always been one of this show’s best characters, and she’s at her best when being pushed out of her comfort zone

“What’s going wrong? If it were her…” And here it is: Lulu was his replacement for a flesh-and-blood daughter he lost. He initially saw Lulu as a failure because she was unlike his lost daughter, but he eventually came to appreciate that Lulu is not his lost daughter, but is in fact still his family, just with a new personality of her own

“It is because I am a failure, is it not?” “No, you were no failure! I could not face you honestly. That was my failure.” Ah, this is so good! What a uniquely Hugtto-appropriate way to explore how parents often burden children with their own “hopes for the future,” only later coming to appreciate the beauty of their children finding their own paths and ways of engaging with the world

“At first I was envious of the Precure. How could they accomplish what my genius could not?” Again, contradictory but deeply human emotions

“To them, you are simply ‘Lulu Amour’ and no one else.” Unburdened by Traum’s loss, the Precure were better able to immediately appreciate Lulu’s own personality

And Emiru arrives with guitars, too late to save the day, but just in time to remind Lulu of how much she is loved

“Lulu Amour… you are you, no one else. This heart belongs to you.” Damnit, I knew this episode was gonna be a good one, but I really should have been prepping for Lulu to break my heart again

But then a monster appears! Shit, I’d basically forgotten we need a monster fight

Yep, it’s Gelos with a perfume bottle Oshimaeda. Too little time to even bother explaining this monster’s origins, we had too much Traum and Lulu drama to get through

Clever monster design nonetheless – its spray nozzle is essentially treated like a hydra head, multiplying and diving towards the Precure as they attempt to defeat it

“What’s so strange about protecting your daughter!?” And of course, Traum jumps in with the save at just the right moment

Kinda sad to say goodbye to that goofy disc-spinning upgrade the girls were using previously, but these Mother Heart winged forms are pretty sweet too

Dang, these latest Oshimaedas get an embrace from Mother before they go. Lucky bunch

Lulu suggests they eat a meal together next time. Progress!

Aw jeez. They can’t help but leave us on an awful stinger nonetheless, as Emiru realizes that Lulu also belongs in the future

And Done

Damnit Hugtto, why you gotta hurt me like this! As expected, the reveal of Traum and Lulu’s full story was heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure, touching thoughtfully on the expectations we intentionally or unintentionally put on our children, and the joy of seeing them grow beyond us in their own ways. Traum’s contradictory desires, Lulu’s vivid sense of rejection and betrayal, and that lovely explanation of Hana’s name – this was a marvelous exploration of Hugtto’s strongest characters, and a nuanced expansion of its reflections on the hope the future represents. Touching honestly on the faults and anxieties of our parents, validating the hurt we feel when our loved ones disappoint us, and building it all towards a prayer that the future might bring greater mutual understanding – a standout episode altogether, and a reminder of how insightful Hugtto can be. Children deserve thoughtful stories as much as anyone, and Hugtto is a wonderful teacher.

This article was made possible by reader support. Thank you all for all that you do.

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