Thoughts on Pretty Cure

91_Pretty_Cure_Warriors_with_Fairies_(updated)
Gradually, I have been watching each season of Pretty Cure. Since each one is around 48 episodes long, this is something that has taken quite some time. It certainly doesn’t help when there is a series that I don’t enjoy too much, but I’ll get into that in a moment.
Rather than review each season of Pretty Cure, I figured I would just collect together my thoughts here and share them with the readers of this blog.
I’ll go through each season in chronological order, grouping together the seasons with direct sequels. After I’ve shared my thoughts on all of them, I’ll list each season from worst to best, in my opinion.
I should mention that Go! Princess PreCure won’t be on this list, as it it still currently airing at the time of writing.

Futari wa Pretty Cure and Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart
Max Heart
The first and second seasons of Pretty Cure. This is where it all began, with Nagisa Misumi and Honoka Yukishiro – Cure Black and Cure White, respectively. Their fights rely heavily on physical combat, and there is the yuri subtext between the two lead characters.
A new ally, Shiny Luminous, is introduced in Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, who acts as support for Pretty Cure.
Naturally, I started with these two seasons when deciding to watch all of Pretty Cure. The music played during the transformation sequences is great, and battles are fun to watch – probably because they were directed by Daisuke Nishio, the director of Dragon Ball Z.
Cure White is my favourite Cure in this iteration. Though Nagisa possesses boundless energy, I tend to prefer calmer characters who possess intelligence. Still, both Cures are certainly capable of holding their own in a fight.

Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star
Splash Star
The third season of Pretty Cure, featuring Saki Hyuuga and Mai Mishou – Cure Bloom and Cure Egret respectively. At the beginning, it just seems to be Futari wa Pretty Cure all over again. However, it outgrows that phase and gains its own identity.
This is one of the darker series of Pretty Cure. Once the dark magical girls are introduced and Saki and Mai become their own characters, things improve a lot.
Of particular note is the final battle, which is incredible. Take a Dragon Ball Z fight, condense it into one episode and you almost have something as incredible as the final fight.
Cure Egret is my favourite Cure from this iteration, particularly as she enjoys drawing and becomes so focused on things that she misses the obvious.

Yes! Pretty Cure 5 and Yes! Pretty Cure 5 Go!Go!
Pretty Cure 5
Next up are the 4th and 5th seasons respectively. I felt that watching all these episodes was a chore, as one of the reasons I was drawn towards watching Pretty Cure was the yuri subtext. There is a lack of that in these two seasons.
As you may guess from the title, there are five members of Pretty Cure in this iteration. This leads to some ridiculously long transformation sequences, which gets worse in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO! with the addition of Milky Rose.
The usual Pretty Cure fight scenes make this one a little more bearable, and there is one guaranteed in each episode. Cure Aqua gets a great one in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 which involves a horseback battle.
My favourite from Pretty Cure from these seasons is Karen Minazuki, or Cure Aqua.

Fresh Pretty Cure!
Fresh Pretty Cure
The sixth entry in the franchise, featuring Love Momozono, Miki Aono and Inori Yamabuki – Cure Peach, Cure Berry and Cure Pine respectively.
They got the electric guitars out for this soundtrack, and that’s something I certainly enjoy. Also, the mascot characters, Tarte and Chiffon are also a lot more tolerable than those from previous seasons.
Another part that stands out for this entry in the Pretty Cure series is the arrival of a fourth Cure.
That particular Cure, Cure Passion, is my favourite character in this series – she doesn’t officially debut until just before the half-way point, but the arc detailing how that comes to pass is great.

HeartCatch PreCure
Heartcatch PreCure
The seventh series begins with the defeat of Cure Moonlight at the hands of an enemy known as Dark Precure. From there, it focuses on Tsubomi Hanasaki and Erika Kurumi who transform into Cure Blossom and Cure Marine respectively. Later on, Cure Sunshine joins them as well.
Once again, the soundtrack goes surprisingly metal. Of course, I’m particularly fond of that type of music, so no complaints from me.
Arguably the best part of this series of Pretty Cure is the series-long subplot that concerns Cure Moonlight. Due to this, Cure Moonlight is my favourite character in this series. I can’t really say too much more about it here with delving into spoiler territory, and I wouldn’t want to ruin things for anyone.

Suite Precure♪
Suite Precure
Entry number eight in the franchise. This time, it starts out with two main characters – Hibiki Houjou and Kanade Minamino, who transform into Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm respectively.
Joining them later is Cure Beat, and they are watched over by aloof ally Cure Muse.
This particular series doesn’t get as dark as Fresh Pretty Cure or HeartCatch PreCure!. However, there is an incredible amount of yuri subtext between Hibiki and Kanade – some might even say it is actually just text. Oh, and the mascot character is a cat. Cats are great.
Cure Beat is my favourite Cure from this series. Her attacks are powered by an electric guitar, and her circumstances are similar to Cure Passion’s.
Hang on, hang on… Hibiki, Kanade… music… there’s a Shirabe, too… this all sounds somewhat familiar, no? If not, go watch Symphogear

Smile PreCure!
Smile PreCure
The ninth entry of the series. Once again, a team of five Cures are featured. They are Miyuki Hoshizora (Cure Happy), Akane Hino (Cure Sunny), Yayoi Kise (Cure Peace), Nao Midorikawa (Cure March) and Reika Aoki (Cure Beauty).
There aren’t many side characters in this one, meaning that there is a lot more focus on the interactions between the five girls – naturally, this means plenty of opportunities for yuri subtext.
This series reaches a climax around halfway in, which could easily pass for a finale. Instead of starting a new plot, Smile PreCure! resumes with exactly the same plot. The reason for this is that the people in charge wanted to keep it simple, but that does lower my opinion of this one somewhat.
Cure Beauty is my favourite Cure from this series. Her designated opponent is the best villain, and anyone who wields a sword (even if it is made of ice) is all right in my book. She also has the tranquil and elegant thing going for her.
Also, this one is getting localised as Glitter Force on Netflix, with the number of episodes and episode length cut down. This will probably cause ire for some fans, but it’s not something that particularly bothers me. If it had been HeartCatch or DokiDoki!, however…

DokiDoki! PreCure
DokiDoki
Entry number ten in the franchise. The Cures in this series are Cure Heart (Mana Aida), Cure Diamond (Rikka Hishikawa), Cure Rosetta (Alice Yotsuba) and Cure Sword (Makoto Kenzaki). Later on, they are joined by a fifth Cure, Cure Ace.
There is a myth arc that runs through this series, which means that there is something in every episode that is relevant to the main plot – it could be a minor event, or it could be the main focus of an episode. This is one of the reasons it is my favourite iteration of Pretty Cure.
Another reason is that this could easily pass as a yuri harem anime – you can’t have Pretty Cure without lesbian subtext, but this takes it to another level. So far, it’s the only iteration of Pretty Cure to have its own Ho Yay page on TV Tropes.
My favourite Cure from the DokiDoki! team… I don’t really have one. I like all all of the Cures in this series, though I guess it is Cure Heart who is responsible for the whole yuri harem feel this show has…

HappinessCharge PreCure!
HappinessCharge
The eleventh season of Pretty Cure has previous Cures celebrate the tenth anniversary of Pretty Cure with a quick thank you message before the beginning of each episode.
The new Cures in this season are Cure Lovely (Megumi Aino), Cure Princess (Hime Shirayuki/Himelda Window), Cure Honey (Yuuko Oomori) and Cure Fortune (Iona Hikawa).
For something that’s supposed to commemorate a ten-year anniversary, I feel like HappinessCharge PreCure is somewhat disappointing. It has some neat moments, such as PreCure Hunter Phantom and the international PreCure. However, it just doesn’t quite live up to it’s predecessors.
If I had to pick a favourite Cure from this season, I’d have to say Cure Honey. This is because I don’t really think much of the other three Cures, but then again, I don’t think much of HappinessCharge in general…

When it’s good, Pretty Cure can be really good. However, it also has low points. Still, the music and fight scenes are consistently good throughout, and the finales can be spectacular.
As I stated before, I will now list each series in order from worst to best in my opinion (excluding Go! Princess PreCure, as it is still ongoing).

Yes! PreCure 5 and Yes! PreCure 5 GO!GO!
I don’t like Cure Dream, I don’t like the fairies, and I don’t like the fact that this iteration of the series got two seasons, making it feel like it runs on forever. The yuri subtext in both seasons is pretty negligible too.

HappinessCharge PreCure!
This was disappointing, since you’d think the tenth anniversary celebration would be something better. Still, it did have enjoyable moments, and the lead Cure is a little more tolerable. Totally think the big good and big bad should have settled things with a Pokémon battle (because they are named Blue and Red, respectively).

Smile PreCure!
Pretty much episodic, reaches a climax halfway and then resumes with the exact same plot. It’s not too bad, but it’s a shame that it didn’t go with something else after the first climax.

Futari wa Pretty Cure and Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart
This is where it all started, with Cure Black and Cure White. I think the first season has some of the best music (the transformation and opening themes in particular), and there’s the yuri subtext between Nagisa and Honoka that’s pretty much become a prerequisite for any iteration of Pretty Cure.

Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star
Sure, it appears to be a carbon copy of the first and second seasons at first. However, it outgrows that phase and comes into its own. This season has my favourite finale from the whole franchise, for the reasons detailed above. Some people will prefer Cure Black and Cure White to Cure Bloom and Cure Egret, but I’m not one of those people.

Fresh Pretty Cure!
With tolerable mascot characters and a neat character arc for Cure Passion, as well as a mighty find soundtrack, Fresh Pretty Cure! was a welcome presence after enduring Yes! PreCure 5 and Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo!.

Suite PreCure♪
The yuri subtext between Hibiki and Kanade is what gets this one placed here. Also, Hummy is the best mascot – I’m totally not biased or anything due to a love of cats, I swear…

HeartCatch PreCure!
The top two on this list are both incredible; I would even go so far as to state that they are required viewing for fans of the magical girl genre.
Cure Moonlight’s story is incredible, and definitely one of the finest plots in the entire franchise. The other characters are great, too – it’s a joy watching the shy Tsubomi blossom into a competent warrior. Plenty of yuri subtext to enjoy too.

DokiDoki! PreCure
I can’t really think of this as anything other than a yuri harem – though it actually has a myth arc running throughout, which none of the other iterations of Pretty Cure have done.
Still, many girls are drawn towards Mana, and the reason I watched Pretty Cure was for the yuri subtext. I do particularly like the relationship that develops between Mana and Regina.

There we have it. If you want to get into Pretty Cure, you’ll need to set aside a lot of time – after all, you’ve got 10 years worth of stuff to watch. If you do intend to watch all of them, it’s worth noting that finding episodes from earlier seasons might be a little difficult. Still, this is the internet, and I’m sure people know how to find something they want to watch…
Though Go! Princess PreCure hasn’t finished airing yet, I have to say that I’m finding it most enjoyable. It’s definitely a strong contender for breaking into that top five.

Each season of PreCure has it’s own film (well, Max Heart had two films, but there wasn’t any for the very first season). All of them except for Suite PreCure♪‘s are non-canon, though they all do have their own neat moments.
There’s also the All Stars films – again, non-canon but features all the different Cures teaming up.

To sum it all up – watch HeartCatch and DokiDoki!, Go! Princess PreCure is good and the Pretty Cure 5 stuff is a waste of time – everything else is all right, I suppose.

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About Rory

I enjoy writing, manga, anime and video games, so naturally here on my blog, you will find anime reviews, my art, Nintendo news and other such things that I deem interesting.
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18 Responses to Thoughts on Pretty Cure

  1. OG-Man says:

    Reblogged this on The Yuri Nation and commented:
    I’ve wanted to cover at least one of the Pretty Cure shows in the franchise on this blog but many outside factors have prevented from happening. Luckily a kind soul who is far better at time management than I am succeeded in doing just that. Here is one of the more “invisible” yuri nation members with a quick look at every single entry in the PreCure franchise up to the 2015 one, “Go! Princess PreCure”.

    For everyone wondering, most of the PreCure franchise could be considered Grade 3.

  2. cirno9fan says:

    Doki DokI Precure may as well be called “Yuri Precure” xD Seriously, it’s THAT yuri. I haven’t finished Heartcatch, Max Heart, Fresh, Yes, splash, or Happiness. I don’t plan on finishing Yes, or Happiness (and obviously Go, as it’s still running xD. Maybe will do Max Heart someday or other. But not likely from what I saw skimming through it). I am planning on finishing the others though.

    I would like to offer some different opinions on things, but ManaRegi is #1 for sure! glad to see someone else agreeing. I feel like Mana and Rikka take up too much of the fandom. Not a bad coupling at all, but well, Regina and Mana have something going that no Precure pairing has (out of what I’ve seen). Hibki and Kanade definitely got close though. Especially when you take into account the movie (gosh how I wished for a movie set after Doki’s canon. all the possibilities!!).

    Okay, moving onto those opinions:
    Nagisa and Honoka. I…honestly felt that the subtext gets greatly smushed by Nagisa’s very clear attraction to a certain someone, who seems like he’s definitely returning her feelings. It really doesn’t help that this is the MC doing this. We get something similar with Suite, with Kanade and “Ouji-senpai”, but Ouji doesn’t really seem to return her feelings, and it gets played off like a silly crush most of the time. In Futari, its’ seen more as a romance. And then there’s Honoka’s romance in the first show. For these reasons, the yuritext just feels greatly downplayed. Honoka was my favorite.

    As for Doki, it starts off very much like Mana’s yuri harem, but as it goes on, it really seems like pairings start to form. Like Alice and **** (I’ll let people figure this out for themselves when they’ve seen it). That becomes pretty solid by the end. And of course, Mana and Regina. My gosh, Doki could be seen as those two’s story of how they fell in love with each other practically xD I just didn’t feel like it was as much of a harem by the end. Regina was my favorite btw.

    Smile. I think, the appeal of Smile is that it’s very slice of life. So, fans of shows with cute girls doing cute things, will find it very enjoyable. Because it handles the slice of life stuff spectacularly. The plot it has, also is nice, but it’s very backseat. Yayoi best girl~ Also, the movie was what introduced yuritext into the show. Too bad it wasn’t a part of the canon, would have been nice to have NIko be in the series proper. And, well, while it’s not yuri, I have to give this show my #1 hetero couple award, Brian was handled amazingly well. I never rooted for a hetero couple in a Precure, but Akane and Brian was one very big exception. Main pairings: YayoixMiyuki ReikaxNao AkanexBrian. The latter two are the only ones with more than a drizzle of subtext though. Course, then there’s Niko and the movie..

    Obviously, I haven’t seen them all, but I felt that Suite did the best job of keeping the story interesting for the entire stretch. Hummy is definitely the best mascot. Never has there been such a well-developed mascot that doesn’t really ever go all deus ex when helping the precure. I loved how she found ways to help, despite the fact that she was essentially a household cat.

    That’s really all I have to add.

    • Rory says:

      You’ve got some pretty valid points there. There’s definitely arguments for Mana x everyone, but as you can see I agree with your sentiment on Mana x Regina. I might have to make a follow-up post with my favourite PreCure pairings…

      To be honest, I can’t really take the whole ‘senpai’ love interest seriously anymore thanks to the internet – it just seems like a joke to me now. Regardless, I think fanart and doujinshi may have helped to shape my opinion on things like Nagisa x Honoka. The two do have moments together, but I guess those other factors do bring it down somewhat.

      As for DokiDoki… they may end up having their own pairings, but it’s clear that everyone is drawn towards to Mana. Still, everyone will interpret things differently, and it’s unlikely that there will be a better couple than Mana and Regina.

      I think I would have enjoyed Smile a lot more if the motive of the villains had been changed for the second half, instead of just being exactly the same thing after that climax halfway through. It may be fairly low on my list, but it does mark the start of where I actually liked watching an entire series.

      Though DokiDoki is my favourite series, I’d argue that HeartCatch does the best in the way of plot. I seriously can’t recommend it highly enough.

      • cirno9fan says:

        Yeah, i get a lot of recommendations for heartcatch. It’s definiltely on my list of shows to finish.

        I definitely can agree that anything that was the “plot” in Smile could have used a lot more work. but, at the same time, Smile just was basically the CGDCT of Precure. So while the plot was weak, the character interactions were really rich. And a lot of the fight scenes were actually pretty great. Especially the mid fight, and the ones near the end. But I definitely have to give it to them for pulling off the slice of life stuff so well. And I get why it turned off many Precure fans.

        Yeah, I can’t argue against that everyone still gravitated towards Mana. Either way, the show was easily the most yuri of the Precures, and probably will retain that title for quite the time. Would be nice if the next one one upped Doki, but I’m not holding my breath on that xD

        Fair enough on Futari. it’s obviously got tons of fan support, and there were some nice moments, but it’s just too difficult for me to look past what I went over.

  3. drinkie1 says:

    I’m surprised you forgot to mention that Tsubomi is voiced by none other than Nana Mizuki gotta admit when i found that out i was rather surprised although to be honest at that time i only kinda knew of her as a singer and this was years after i watched Lyrical Nanoha but that’s not important.

    In terms of series i personally don’t like it’s Yes 5! Yes 5! GoGo! and Happiness Charge somehow i managed to keep on watching them despite me not liking (I would even go so far as to say hating) them every other series though yeah i enjoyed.

    The first part of teh battle with Gohyaan was pretty amazing hell i even go back to it fairly often just to re-watch it also one of my favorite Pretty Cure villains so far is easily Kintolesky not only is he for the most part a gentleman in regards to his fights and doesn’t use cheap tactics to fight and even warns Bright and Windy that if they refused to fight then he would destroy their town (Although personally i think he said that more to get them to fight rather than a actual threat) he’s also voiced by Juurouta Kosugi who to me voiced one of my regular’s in the Melty Blood series but that’s not important here either 😛

    • Rory says:

      You’re right, I definitely should have said something about Nana Mizuki voicing Tsubomi. Getting through the Pretty Cure 5 and Happiness Charge stuff definitely felt like a slog, and I’m glad I don’t have to go through that again.
      Whilst I think honourable villains like Kintolesky can be pretty good, I also enjoy watching ones like Joker from Smile – the straight-up evil, manipulative type.

      • drinkie1 says:

        Funny thing is when i was typing my comment i actually had joker in my mind as well as another villain that i personally like simply because of how awesome he is plus the fights where Beauty used her version of UBW on him i just wish that fight was longer 😛 speaking of fights in Smile Precure Peace Vs Akaoni where she goes Super Saiyan 2 is one of my favorites in the entire franchise

  4. JimJiminy says:

    i have also watched all precure up to happinesscharge (didn’t finish, felt i was watching yes!precure again). agree with most of the rankings though I rate SS and Futari wa the same and suite is just below Doki Doki for me (love the hibikana moments, would be so much better if the didn’t introduce muse).
    Surprisingly, the mascots can make a difference in how the show gets rated (besides the subtext of course). Fresh Precure probably wouldn’t be so high up for me if it wasn’t for Tarte (and a much better opening than splash star) just like the three in Yes!Precure just completely ruins any hope for a higher ranking.

    Mana is the queen and Doki Doki is definitely the best.

    • Rory says:

      You’re not really missing out on anything by not finishing Happiness Charge, so I don’t really blame you for dropping it.
      I don’t think Cure Muse is that bad, but different strokes for different folks, I guess. If my list had been based solely on yuri moments, then I’m sure Suite would have got second place. However, Cure Moonlight’s story is what gives HeartCatch the edge over Suite in my opinion.
      For the opening themes, Max Heart and Splash Star definitely left the biggest impressions on me. Go! Princess PreCure isn’t slouching in that department either, though I might just be saying that because it is the one most recent in my memory.

      Definitely agree with you about Mana and DokiDoki.

  5. OG-Man says:

    Thanks to you I picked up DokiDoki, Heartcatch and Go! Princess and Suite for future viewing.

    • Rory says:

      Well, here’s hoping that you’ll enjoy them.

    • drinkie1 says:

      Did you download the Raw or Subbed versions? just i’m not sure the subs for Suite are accurate in parts unless it was the Suite movie subs that were not accurate

      • Rory says:

        I watched the subs through a streaming site. I don’t recall the subs being inaccurate, but it has been a long while since I watched Suite so I could be wrong.

      • drinkie1 says:

        Ahh i tend to download the series simply because it looks better when i watch them through VLC than a streaming site especially gootube since VLC doesn’t cause the top, bottom and sides to be partially covered in some episodes

      • cirno9fan says:

        Fansubs are usually always off in parts. It’s pretty much an expected thing. I don’t recally anything about the series in specific but….I watched like 90% of it with the subs off. So…yeah

      • drinkie1 says:

        If i recall it’s during the transformation scenese the subs that i’ve watched has either Hibiki or Kanade saying that they are “Playing” the other now when i first watched the series i wasn’t as bad as i am now but when i re-watched the series a couple of months ago i thought of some HibiKana H-Doujins that i have read 😛

  6. Pingback: 280th G-View: Suite PreCure | The Yuri Nation

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