The PreCure franchise is the perfect stereotype of the magical girl genre. It’s the type of anime Kirino watches and Kuroneko laments in Ore no Imouto. It’s the kind of anime Madoka Magica liked to pretend it was going to be before killing the entire cast. It is the Sailor Moon of this generation. That is, it’s an anime watched in Japan solely by little girls and strange old men who then proceed to draw very naughty comics of. I was pretty content to ignore the franchise and these sorts of magical girl series in general. Too much pink and silly names like Magical Musical ~Chu~ ~Chu~ Lyrical Heart and Soul Puni Puni Girl SOS kept me away. But then something rather strange happened. The latest rendition of the Precure franchise, Heartcatch Precure, got quite a considerable amount of praise from various members of the aniblogosphere. I couldn’t get over my bias against the genre to start watching Heartcatch. However if I joined in at the start of a new Precure’s airing, maybe then I’d have a better chance of enjoying this franchise.
I lasted 6 episodes into Suite Precure. Suite Precure had two things going for it. The bitchin’ transformation sequences and the CGI dancing in the ending song. Toei are rather strict when it comes to uploads of their material onto Youtube, so I’m just linking to the search term. Which is strange given that, if I was going to recommend someone watch Suite Precure, I’d show them the bitchin’ transformation sequences. Seriously, those things are so goddam pretty and colourful. Combined with the epic musical score, the bitchin’ transformation sequences were the highlights of the episode. The CGI dancing ending was possibly even more awesome. Anime always needs more dancing, but those I’ve generally been presented with haven’t been up to scratch. I can understand that the obsession with the Haruhi ending dance is precisely because it’s so easy, but you can hardly call that a proper dance. That’s just a bit of hand waving. Suite Precure is a proper dance. Anime still hasn’t quite got the hang of CGI mecha, but they’ve managed to get dancing magical girls look pretty damn awesome.
Problem is, these two scenes made up about 4 minutes of a typical episode. I was often tempted to simply fast-forward to them and call it a day. The series started off fairly well, albeit in an utterly bizarre sort of way. The opening 8 minutes of the first episode were like some bastard child of Rainbow Gate, Mazinkaizer and Jewelpet Twinkle. The alternate magical musical land and the preposterously ridiculous bad guys, I laughed the entire way through the scene. But nope, can’t be having that. This is a magical girl series. We need to have human teenage girls for the young female viewers to connect with and for the dirty otaku to pen dirtier doujins of. Which is a shame, because I would have so watched a series of that magical musical land, providing it too had CGI dancing ending songs and bitchin’ transformation sequences.
The main problem is the incredibly lame attempts at creating conflict between the main two characters. Hibiki and Kanade are our two heroines tasked with the responsibility of defeating massive cakes and violins who have been infected by ebul musical notes. To do this they have to dress in preposterously fanciful dresses and hairdos as PreCures and combine their powers as fighting machines. However to successfully combine their powers, they have to be as good friends as possible, to teach young girls about the importance of friendship and to give smelly middle-aged males a chance to don their yuri goggles. This would be fine and all if the methods they used to create conflict between the two weren’t so dumb. The reason the two had fallen out of friendship in the first place was because one of them stood under the wrong tree by accident. Which, while facepalm worthy in itself, the lead up to the reveal with two other little girls in the exact same position simply amplified the retardedness of the situation. The next few episodes all revolve around creating equally convenient obstacles for them becoming proper friends. None of them felt in the remotest way genuine and simply felt like Hibiki and Kanade being massive idiots.
Besides, I have a massive problem with the entire plot of the show. I can handle a cat from a magical musical dimension turning two unsuspecting teenage girls into fighting machines. I can equally handle the villains being a cat and a trio of goons who sing their responses, although I do believe the show missed a massive trick by not having them being a barbershop quartet. Nah, my main problem is the whole good music vs ebul music thing. What happens in the plot is the ebul bad guys sing sad songs that make everybody all depressed. The good guys only create happy music so everyone is joyful all the time. The show even goes out of its way to say quite blatantly that music is only there to make people feel happy. I can’t be the only one who has a problem with this, right? Sad music has every right to exist and has a highly important place in society. It’s a strange thing to complain about, and maybe the show changes its tune (har har har) later on in the show to reflect a more even opinion, but the entire show centres around music. So blatantly saying that sad music is ebul grates on my nerves. Sad music needs love too! The thing is, I want more! I want more bitchin’ transformation sequences. I want more CGI dancing. But I don’t want anymore Suite Precure. Which means my only option is to enter even more of the Precure franchise. I could simply look up bitchin’ transformation sequences on Youtube, but that would remove the awesome effect you get when it appears in the episode when a bad guy appears. Hence my only real option here is to start watching the rest of the franchise. My research tells me there’s 5 Precure series I can start from the off (not counting Suite Precure or direct sequels to older Precures). I’m not going to watch Heartcatch Precure first. I’d like to save that until last so I can appreciate what it does so differently from previous renditions. I’ll probably go in chronological order, kicking things off with the original Precure.
Not that I have to watch the whole thing. Only for however long bitchin’ transformation sequences and CGI dancing alone can carry me.