So back in October 2015, I posted my thoughts on the Pretty Cure franchise as a whole which included a list based on how I ranked each iteration of the magical girl anime. Since then, Go! Princess PreCure has finished airing, and there are some slight changes I want to make to the list. This list will group together the iterations that got two seasons, and will go from worst to best. Oh, and this is all my own opinion, so feel free to share yours as well if you so desire. The way in which I arbitrarily rank this seasons of PreCure is based on yuri subtext, story and characters – or something like that. With that said, let’s go.
Yes! PreCure 5 and Yes! PreCure 5 Go!Go!
I don’t like either of these iterations of Pretty Cure. It felt like a slog watching both seasons, and I actually took a break between the two because I dreaded the thought of having to watch more. Still, I managed it, and I won’t be doing it again.
Nozomi/Cure Dream’s voice just grates on me, the mascot fairies are terrible and there’s far too much of it. Still, it has the usual PreCure fight scenes, so yeah.
My favourite Cure from this iteration would be Karen Minazuki, AKA Cure Aqua.
Another one that I disliked… but slightly yes than the PreCure 5 stuff. Dragging it down is a ‘romantic plot tumour’, where it seems that everyone harbours feelings for everyone else and I really didn’t care. There are a couple of redeeming factors; PreCure Hunter Phantom and the international PreCure. Still, didn’t care much for everything else.
Yuuko Omori is my favourite Cure from this season, because food is her thing and I don’t really think much of the others.
Ah, know we’re getting into the iterations I actually enjoyed watching. Smile was pretty much purely episodic, and it reached a climax halfway through. The second half was pretty much just a retread of the first, so it gets minus points for that.
Still, it does come with plenty of memorable moments – Cure Beauty’s Unlimited Blade Works and Super Saiyan 2 Cure Peace being particular highlights. Also, Joker is arguably one of the best villains in the franchise.
Cure Beauty is my favourite Cure from this season, for her elegance and the fact that she is able to wield both a sword and a bow, which are made of ice.
Futari wa Pretty Cure and Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart
Where it all began. Far from my favourite, but I can’t deny we wouldn’t have Pretty Cure as it is today without these. Definitely some of the best music in the franchise, with the opening and first transformation themes being particular highlights.
Of course, there’s also the subtext between Nagisa and Honoka – though it is there, it’s somewhat negligible compared to the later seasons. Still, fanart and doujin can help with that.
Anyway, Cure White is my favourite for these seasons – I tend to enjoy watching calmer, intelligent characters. Still, Nagisa’s all right I suppose – when she’s not trying to get senpai to notice her… urgh.
Fresh Pretty Cure!
Here’s the first change to the previous ranking. Fresh Pretty Cure! is good, and it was more than welcome after the slog that was PreCure 5. Cure Passion’s character arc was pretty great, and it was the first time we saw that in PreCure (err… sort of – check out Splash Star‘s entry for more details). There have been a couple of other Cures like Cure Passion who have similar circumstances.
Oh, and the mascots, Tarte and Chiffon, in this iteration are actually tolerable, but not my personal favourite.
Favourite Cure from Fresh is Cure Passion – her powers are pretty great, and she puts them to good use in the film. Oh, and there’s her character arc as well.
Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star
So first impressions would have this as nothing more than an imitation of the first series. However, give it a chance and it gains its own identity with two dark magical girls (Michiru and Kaoru) and an incredible final battle that has not been surpassed by any other iteration of Pretty Cure thus far. The physical violence was toned down (at least until the end), but it’s still worth watching.
Mai, AKA Cure Egret or Cure Windy (I know, two forms!) is my favourite Splash Star Cure. Yeah, she’s similar to Honoka, but that’s just the type of character I like.
Go! Princess PreCure
OK, so I’ve given it some time for my thoughts on this one to settle in, and I’m placing it here on the list. Go! Princess improved on HappinessCharge by quite a lot, and I’m glad it did. I quite enjoyed watching this, and there were some incredibly beautifully animated scenes to be seen as well. Of course the whole princess thing involved a prince as well, and I’m sure you can work out what that means in terms of possible pairings… Though I have to say, that prince (Kanata) could have served as the fifth Cure in this season. Oh, and Yui might just be one of the best non-Cure characters so far.
But, yeah, there was yuri subtext too, which I was glad to see. Minami’s knight Haruka and Kirara ticking Towa are moments that stick out for me.
Cure Mermaid is my favourite Cure from this season – though Cure Scarlet does have a similar arc to Cure Passion, Minami is a blue Cure and thus statistically more likely to be my favourite. Quite odd for a guy who’s name means red, which also happens to be my favourite colour.
Top three time. At three, a show with a musical motif and characters called Hibiki, Kanade and Shirabe… and it isn’t Symphogear.
Anyway, I considered putting Go! Princess PreCure here, but the pairing between Hibiki and Kanade convinced me otherwise. Also helps that Hummy is the best mascot in PreCure so far.
We also have another Cure introduced with a similar set of circumstances to Cure Passion, and that one happens to be my favourite Cure. She is Cure Beat, and anyone who uses an electric guitar to power her attacks is all right by me.
Easily one of the best seasons of PreCure, if only due to Cure Moonlight’s story. However, it isn’t just Cure Moonlight’s story, and we get to see Cure Blossom grow from a weak, timid lass into a mighty fine magical girl. Cure Marine and Cure Sunshine are pretty great too.
As you may have guessed, Cure Moonlight is my favourite Cure from this season – she has to deal with a lot of tragedy and heartache, but she becomes a stronger person for it.
For someone who watches PreCure through yuri goggles, it should not be a surprise that this is my favourite iteration of PreCure. Mana Aida/Cure Heart, seems to have all the female characters drawn to her and there are plenty of jokes about this actually being a stealth yuri harem anime – jokes that have a pretty solid foundation, mind you.
Even then, there are plenty of yuri pairings between other characters that aren’t named Mana, whether it be between fellow Cures or side characters.
Another strong point is the myth arc that runs throughout the season – every episode will contain something relevant to the overall plot, whether it be a minor thing or not.
Favourite Cure… hmm, despite owning a figure of Cure Diamond, I’d probably say Cure Heart. After all, she’s the one that many girls are drawn to, with Regina being my favourite character to pair her up with.
There we have it. The majority of the PreCure seasons are actually enjoyable and a blast to watch – highlights being whenever the Cures fight the antagonists themselves rather than the monster of the week, and the finales are pretty spectacular as well.
So that’s the ranking for now, but it will change once Maho Girls PreCure! has finished – so, check back in February 2017 to see where I arbitrarily place it.