Tag Archives: pretty cure

Two Quintessences?

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.

VI: Asceticism

Everyone uses this shot (and by everyone I mean me an' Evirus).

The original Pretty Cure is simple and repetitive in ways that even its successors aren’t. Years ago I argued that this kind of austerity might have its uses. I wouldn’t put it in those terms, now, because I’m too conscious of my ignorance and too scared of that kind of exegesis, now, but I still think along the same lines.

Apart from the stock-footage finishers combat is almost entirely physical, and the finishers themselves are pretty simple compared to successor titles. The cast is small and there are only two Cures. Even the Cures’ names are telling: other iterations give us thematic sets—Melody-Rhythm-Beat-Muse—but here we just have Cure Black and Cure White. That’s not random, but it’s pretty, well, you-know-what. (True, later on there’s Shiny Luminous, but she doesn’t count.) Meanwhile many of the players in the overarching plot are named in a wonderfully lazy way, so the villain is a couple of shades away from being called The Villain, for example, and he manifests as a dark humanoid… shape. Indeed, I’m going to risk saying that the overarching plot is tokenistic and that that’s not a bad thing. If I’m watching for my daily dose of Cure Black punching evil in the face, I’d much rather the story be a quiet background joke.

So, as something approaching a limit case, Pretty Cure reminded me that sometimes unshakeable courage and the occasional handy rebar are more important than narrative.

I: ‘What it is like to have spent sixteen hours of your life watching one cartoon for little girls’

I may have humourous qualms about the format, but it’d be a shame to let the tradition lapse.

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Pretty Cure


I’ll be like “Geez, this is like the 30th episode in a row where they used the Marble Screw OMG THEY’RE GONNA DO IT YAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUS!”

—a younger jp captures the experience of watching Pretty Cure.

I like Pretty Cure. I decided this during December, watching the second episode, when White and Black halted a falling lift by tying themselves to the broken cable, locking arms and bracing their feet against opposite sides of the lift shaft. I’m over halfway through Max Heart now—I’ve watched about eighty episodes of this—and I still like it.

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