Episode 4 - Desert Area
|Episode 4 - Desert Area|
Kaban and Serval continue their adventure on the now perfectly functional Japari Bus. Lucky drives the bus heading into the Desert Area, and suggests that the passengers get a better look at the landscape through the window on the bus's ceiling. While Kaban and Serval are amazed by the seemingly neverending landscape of the beautiful sandy desert, a sudden large and frightful sandstorm blocks their way. Lucky quickly decides to drive back and find an alternate route to avoid it, unfortunately getting the bus stuck in the sand in the process. Kaban and Serval leave the bus to push it in hope to move the vehicle away from the incoming sandstorm, but aren't successful. Suddenly, a Friend falls from the sky on Serval's head, and the resulting impact sets the bus's wheels free from the sand. Kaban, Serval and the unknown Friend climb behind the bus in time while Lucky drives away, finally safe from the sandstorm.
The unknown Friend presents herself as Sand Cat, a curious Friend with a beautiful voice that quickly loses interest in the things she discovers. She tells them how she was intrigued by the aforementioned sandstorm, got accidentally trapped in it and thus sent flying against Serval. Her curious personality takes over mid-sentence, and she stops talking to admire the Japari Bus, before losing interest in it a few moments later. She acts the same way with Kaban's feather attached to her hat, which she initially mistook with animal ears, and Boss's ability to talk. Her demeanour slightly irritates Serval.
The group gets out the bus in a rockier section of the Desert Area to have a closer look at its environment and share a conversation with Sand Cat. Back in the bus, Kaban takes note of the heat, prompting Boss to explain that the temperature range can often be extreme in deserts, and it can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (around 38 degrees Celsius). He explains how the animals living in the desert evolved to be tolerant of the heat and not easily dehydrated. Suddenly, Kaban and Serval notice how hot the floor of the bus has become, while Sand Cat is unfazed by it thanks to her natural thick fur.
To avoid the high temperatures, Sand Cat invites Kaban and Serval to a cooler place: the cave she lives in. When they arrive, Sand Cat offers Japari buns to her guests. Because of the cold night of the desert, Kaban and Serval decide to stay in Sand Cat's house. Sand Cat shows the two another way to the library, through a hidden, paved tunnel below her house, and digs out an opening big enough for the Japari Bus to go through it. Kaban and Serval say their last words to Sand Cat before they continue their trip on the mysterious road. On a bend, they discover an another suspicious tunnel which they decide to visit.
As they go deeper in the tunnel, the duo finds an interesting room, and decide to inspect it. Serval accidently hits a stray geta on the ground, causing the path behind them to close, and a hallway of torchs to activate. The lights reveal a mysterious gigantic labyrinth made of wood also known as The Underground Labyrinth. Kaban and Serval meet Tsuchinoko who madly screams at them while hiding behind a pillar to calm herself. After Serval partly destroys the wall of what Tsuchinoko calls "priceless ruins", she begrudgingly accepts to give her assistance to find the exit. She claims she can easily find the exit because of the scent of the air outside, as well as her ability to see infrared light thanks to her pit organ, revealing routes where ceruleans hide in.
They eventually end up at a dead-end because of the solidified lava blocking an exit door, and decide to keep exploring. A group of ceruleans stand behind a wooden fence in front of the group, blocking their way. Serval naively tries to reassure Kaban and Tsuchinoko that they won't be able to reach the group, while the ceruleans pass through the fence proving her wrong.
The group runs away from the ceruleans, and Tsuchinoko uses her knowledge of the labyrinth to find a bridge the three can run on, which collapses under the weight of the ceruleans chasing them.
Not long after, Tsuchinoko finds a coin which she excitedly describes as a "Japari coin", the ancient currency of Japari Park. After realising how fired up she was being, she embarrassedly hides behind a pillar and hisses at the other two.
Kaban, Serval and Tsuchinoko work together and find an another exit to the underground labyrinth. Yet again, solidified lava blocks the way. Tsuchinoko and Serval try make their way through with force, but cannot break through the wall of lava. After noticing an exit sign near a wooden wall, and remembering the presence of said sign near previous exits, Kaban discovers a hidden path which leads to an as-of-yet undiscovered place which leads Tsuchinoko to theorise that the entire labyrinth was an attraction made for entertainment. She suggests that the place went unused because of the lava becoming a problem. Lucky, who was separated from the group since when they entered the labyrinth, rejoins them. Suddenly, Lucky's eyes become green, and he shares the recording of an unknown, non-robotic female voice who celebrated the opening of the underground labyrinth a long time before. A similar phenomenon previously happened when Kaban was sleeping in Episode 2 - Jungle Area.
Kaban and Serval share some last words with Tsuchinoko before continuing their journey to the next area, the Lake Shore.
At the end, Raccoon and Fennec Fox meet Jaguar and Asian Small-Clawed Otter in the jungle. Raccoon nearly drowns in the river, but survives by holding onto the partial bridge ideated by Kaban in Episode 2, and when is told about her doesn't understand that Kaban is the same person she's chasing. Jaguar tries to give them directions to where Kaban is headed, but is cut off by Raccon rushing immediately to the mountain as soon as she hears that Kaban went there.
- Encounter with Sand Cat.
- Discovery of the Underground Labyrinth
- Encounter with Tsuchinoko
- Discovery of the Japari park's currency also known as "Japari Coin"
- Recording of an unknown voice shared by Boss
Of all the calls/interviews to different zoos and museums, Yoshitada Fukuhara has said that the call to the Tsuchinoko Museum was the hardest to arrange.