I’ve always wanted to watch the Precure franchise ever since the original first aired but I never got an opportunity to since this was before I got high-speed internet. Even when I did get it, the episode count had grown to the point that it was intimidating just to think about watching it. However after a little advice I decided to take the plunge a couple of weeks ago to watch all of the series starting with Suite Precure. This is without a doubt the largest anime watching project I’ve ever had and at this point I may be partly insane. I’ve even sidelined all but currently airing anime to make room for all of the Precure.
The original plan was to work my way backwards in time starting from Suite Precure and finishing off with Futari wa Precure and Max Heart. However I somehow or another got the idea to instead watch all of the six non-sequel series concurrently. So far I’ve managed to watch at least 8 episodes of each of them so as to keep up with Suite‘s current episode. To put it another way I could have finished a single Precure series already if I had concentrated all of those episodes into one show. However I do not regret my spread watching method since it gives me a good look into all the Precures. Individual initial impressions for each series below followed by my overall thoughts:
Futari wa Precure
After sampling all of the other Precure series, Cure Black and Cure White are without a doubt the most hardcore of Precure teams at least as far as initial situations are concerned. From the get go the enemy wails on Black and White with all they got. No matter who wins everyone is hurt at the end of the fight. Except for their special attacks, they don’t have beam attacks or shields and can’t fly and have to do things the old fashioned way. They also have to deal with the incompetent and selfish Mepple. I have to give them due respect for all the junk they have to put up with. The Nagisa and Honoka duo are also the most distant team since they don’t know each other prior and take longer to become close in comparison to say Tsubomi and Erika. In terms of style and design, this is the most “normal” of the shows except for Splash Star which also shares a modern, average Japanese setting. A lot of the later series, though still in Japan somewhere, have much quirkier settings and situations.
Precure Splash Star
Out of all the Precure series Splash Star shares the most in common with the original. Saki and Mai are pretty similar to Nagisa and Honoka respectively and even have similar fairies and transformation devices. However I’m not saying this is a negative way. Splash Star has its own charms that make it enjoyable. The fairly large role the heroines’ families play in the show is quite enjoyable and it’s really nice to see how Saki and Mai interact with them. Minori-chan is SO CUTE! Cure Bloom and Cure Egret’s basic repertoire of energy powers also mix up the fights enough to keep things exciting. Glitter and sparkles all over the place.
Yes! Precure 5
Just to make it clear I consider all the Precure to be combinations of sentai and mahou shoujo but Yes 5 is the most sentai-like of them all. It has the largest initial cast with 5 Precure just like many live-action sentai series. Unlike the other series in the franchise which have more-or-less equal heroines, this is the only one with a clear cut and explicitly stated leader. It’s quite funny since Nozomi despite being the leader is the only one without a very obvious talent except maybe always smiling. By the way, I love the dumb-looking smile Nozomi always has on her face. Anyway the expanded line-up and the ability of the Precures to transform independently of one another allows opportunities to mix-and-match the main girls and explore many relationships and situations. For example it was amusing to watch how Rin and Karen’s personalities clashed in episode 8. Of course the large team also means that the transformations and special attacks don’t look as flashy as could be. I also find it amusing that the fairies in this series can assume the forms of good-looking guys which leads to some hilarious situations. On a side note the sequel, Yes! Precure 5 Go Go, has my favorite opening song.
Although I really enjoy all of the series Fresh is probably my favorite Precure overall. It just has so many things that I like such as the dancing and the heart and clover motifs used. Out of all the Precures I’ve seen so far my favorite is probably Love. Cure Peach was quite impressive during her first fight and looked so cool giving such a beating to the enemy to protect her idol. Fresh also has my favorite villain in the franchise and I love it whenever Eas shows up. Love’s relationship with Setsuna is yet another reason I love this show and I find myself watching this the most in the hopes of seeing this befriending develop further. At times Fresh feels like the wackiest of the shows which only helps to further my enjoyment. Fresh has one of my favorite ending songs so far too and though the dance itself is relatively simple, it fits the chill nature so well. Did I mention the special attacks are so cute!? 悪いの悪いの、飛んでいけ！
If I had to pick the “oddball” of the family, HeartCatch would be it. Without a doubt it is the most dissimilar of all the Precure series. The main lead this time around is not the energetic type like usual but instead the more shy type. Erika takes the more energetic role and though it took me a little while to get used to her my pace style, she’s started to grow on me. I especially like the amount of punishment she dishes out as Cure Marine. There have been a few times when silly things happened in the show and I’ve thought to myself I’ve never seen that in a mahou shoujo before. I don’t want to spoil anything but it can be quite hilarious and dramatic. The overall design aesthetic such as the bright color pallet and more stylized proportions is quite interesting especially how it contrasts with the other shows in the franchise. Because of that sometimes I forget Tsubomi and Erika are in middle school. The double transformation itself is amazing and just so cute. They spray perfume on each other to help each other transform! HeartCatch also happens to have my favorite opening sequence which I can never seem to get out of my head. Oh and crowd-clearing explosions.
This was the first Precure I ever watched and I fell in love with the music motif used for the naming scheme and design. I also enjoy the character dynamic between Hibiki and Kanade because it falls outside of the Precure norm. Unlike the usual duos with the fairly friendly relationships seasoned with the occasional straining moments, Hibiki and Kanade are always at it. Like I mentioned to Aorii, it’s kind of like Yuri and Flynn from Tales of Vesperia; they’re almost always arguing about something or another but in the end they are the bestest of friends. In the latest episode, Siren’s situation also felt a little similar to Eas so I see a lot of potential for that. I’ll stay vague to avoid spoilers again. Also I love how flashy the transformation sequence and special attacks are in this series. Oh and I can watch the ending sequences so many times. I love it.
After spending time with all of the non-sequel Precure series, I’ve had the opportunity to meet 17 of the 21 Precures proper and had ample time to absorb many of the quirks of the franchise as a whole. For one I like the little bits that carry across the series such as the Double Precure Kick. Speaking of which I also appreciate the well-choreographed fight scenes which do a great job of showing how tough the girls are while maintaining a certain level of tension. The naming schemes especially for the characters are also a nice touch such as “Black” and “White” in the names of Misumi Nagisa and Yukishiro Honoka or “Dream” and “Hope” in Yumehara Nozomi’s name.
My face when I watch Precure
I’ve also noticed that my overall preference as far as favorite Precures go tends toward the energetic and enthusiastic ones which in most cases ends up being the lead character. In other words characters such as Nozomi and Love rank as my favorites which is somewhat strange since these types of characters don’t usually become my top choices in many anime. I suppose it’s because I tend to like having silly fun so I can relate. Of course I like almost all the characters so I can’t wait until I watch the All Star DX movies which I’m saving for last.
The more recent Precure feature 3D rendered models dancing in the ending sequencing. As expected of an iM@S fan such as myself I have a soft spot for CG dancing so I really adore these segments. I could watch them forever. Actually I have done that on multiple occasions so at this rate I’ll have them memorized in no time. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if I learn how to do the DX2 movie’s ending dance.
It would be a massive understatement to say that I love Precure. On the most extreme end I could be called a Precure addict which I will have to admit I am. The speed at which I’m going through episodes and the fact that I am constantly thinking about it should prove that. The Precure franchise is really fun to watch and I’ll continue to look forward to each new episode as I make my way through this project.