Suite Precure wrapped up last Sunday. It was an acceptable installment for the franchise, with some nice silly concepts and a handful of good fights. It played the revelation of the third and fourth magical girls’ identities well, and Cure Beat’s electric-guitar hair was a brilliant little touch. And for those who didn’t watch it (so, everyone) I’m not talking about her appearance. I’m talking about the fact that her ahoge is strummable.
But it was never much more than acceptable (‘as average as it gets for PreCure‘), and contained little to entertain normal adults, so what I’m saying is, I suppose, that you, dear reader, probably shouldn’t bother trying it.
That judgement makes me think about how we divide up the franchise as a whole. There’s a trend towards what I’d call Heartcatch exceptionalism: the position that Heartcatch Precure is, quality-wise, just better than the other iterations. Reluctantly, I agree. Reluctantly, because while I like Heartcatch very much, it’s not probably not my favourite—I think I prefer the original, which was my introduction to Precure a year or so ago.
Heartcatch is also one of the bits of the franchise most easily enjoyed by more normal anime fans. I’ll put it another way: I’ll cheerfully watch a boring, cheaply-animated, bad episode of Precure because there are things in the franchise’s central concepts which I enjoy, entirely independently of the quality of their execution. You are probably not like this. Heartcatch is better-placed to appeal to you. (The All-Stars DX movies are the other bit of the franchise worth checking, because they are short and endearingly mad.)
Oddly enough Heartcatch‘s position within its franchise reminds me of a very, very different title, Macross Plus. I think Plus is easily the least Macrucian Macross. Apart from anything else it is, as I’m sure a zillion people have said before me, substantially more pessimistic about music, love and transforming mecha, the three legs of the Macross tripod.
Every part of the franchise gets to play a part in deciding what’s Macrucian, true (even Macross II… hell, if you were introduced to Macross via Robotech—I wasn’t—that too will have influenced you…) but, at less than three hours, Plus is too short to much affect the impression left by the TV shows. I suspect there was a time when Plus had enough prominence among Anglophone anime people to counteract that, but nowadays the fan on the torrent tracker thinks Frontier when one says ‘Macross’.
Plus is also good. Like, really good. Solid, good fun, and great Itano circuses. It’s my favourite Macross thing. But! I don’t really enjoy Macross’s central tripod that much. I’m not a Macross fan. Perhaps I should say ‘not yet a Macross fan’, because I suspect that might change as I grow older, but that’s by-the-by. I’m no authority on the subject, but my best guess at the show which is most Macrucian is Macross 7. You will note that it is unusually long for Macross, which (I think) gives it influence as it just wears people down into its way of thinking.
Spring 2013: The Shows that Matter
Valvrave has garnered lots of attention. I probably don’t need to describe it. I take it as further confirmation of my belief that the CE Gundam opening moves are now so familiar that they can be used as background.
So far Gargantia hasn’t been very good giant robot show, but I’ve been enjoying its fish-out-of-water plot. Mildly. Wouldn’t want to get too enthusiastic about something this forgettable.
An interesting one. It’s not very serious and absolutely has a parodic edge to it, but it’s also occasionally sombre. This probably won’t work for that many people, but I’m buying into it for now. Maybe it’s the surprisingly tentative opening song.
The present age being one of petty, diminished things, all three use CG for their giant robots. I find the work in Gargantia least satisfying. Valvrave and Majestic have the advantage of setting at least some of their fighting against the more anodyne background of space. And Majestic‘s robots are plasticky, commercialised objects within the show’s own fiction, too.
Really, the mecha show that matters most to me at present is Southern Cross. It’s fun and there’s no CG. And I like the Southern Cross Army’s body armour.
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Posted in commentary, running commentary
Tagged gargantia, majestic prince, southern cross, valvrave