Maho Girls PreCure! has come to an end, and thus it is now time for me update my ranking of all the Pretty Cure shows. As was the case last time, I’ll be going from worst to best, according to my own personal opinion.
The iterations that went over the span of two seasons will be ranked together, as those who read last year’s ranking will recall.
Naturally, Maho Girls PreCure! will be a new addition to the list, but you might find that some of the other seasons have shifted around a bit. Well, might as well dive in to see how things have changed.
Yes! PreCure 5 and Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo!
Though some things may have changed, my dislike for these two instalments of Pretty Cure has not. One series alone was way too much, but having to slog through a second season as well… it wasn’t the most enjoyable experience, to say the least.
The lead Cure, Cure Dream, has a voice that I really can’t get on with, the mascot fairies are just all around terrible and transformation sequences ran on forever. To its credit, though, the Yes! Pretty Cure 5 film with the Dark Pretty Cure wasn’t too bad – it’s just that I found everything else awful.
So far, there are only two iterations of Pretty Cure that I can say that I outright dislike; HappinessCharge! is the other one. The worst part is that HappinessCharge! actually had some potential – the international Cures were something different and pretty neat, and PreCure Hunter Phantom was a villain I did quite like.
That potential didn’t matter in the end, particular with the romantic plot tumour the show developed… Let’s face it, as soon as it was said that Pretty Cure shouldn’t have romantic relationships, it was pretty obvious where things were going to go after that.
All right, now I can start talking about instalments of the franchise that I did actually like. First up, Smile PreCure!. Smile took a more episodic approach than its predecessors, reached a climax halfway through and then just sort of repeated itself for the second half of the season.
Still, there were some pretty great moments from this instalment, with Cure Beauty and Cure Peace providing some great examples when they fight their respective villains. Talking of the villains, Joker might just be one of the best from any PreCure to this very day.
Futari wa Pretty Cure and Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart
This is where PreCure begin, introducing us to Nagisa Misumi and Honoka Yukishiro – Cure Black and Cure White, respectively. These were the shows that introduced us to PreCure‘s trademarks – hard-hitting physical combat and yuri undertones.
It may have been the beginning, but I do feel that later entries into the franchise far surpassed this one. Still, it has my respect for introducing the world to Pretty Cure.
Fresh Pretty Cure!
Fresh Pretty Cure! was the follow-up to Yes! PreCure 5 Go!Go!, and boy did it surpass its predecessor by leaps and bounds. Much like the name suggests, it was a fresh take on PreCure!, and after enduring the PreCure 5, this show allowed me to stick with PreCure.
The mascot characters, Tarte in particular, mark a point where the fairies actually start becoming more tolerable within the franchise, and you also had the character arc for Cure Passion – that alone is worth watching Fresh Pretty Cure! for.
In terms of big bads, Fresh Pretty Cure also has a pretty unique one too.
In terms of yuri subtext, Cure Peach and Cure Passion have a pretty close relationship – again, this is related to the aforementioned character arc.
Go! Princess PreCure
Go! Princess PreCure has slipped down a place in my list – it hasn’t really done anything wrong, it’s just I feel I’ve come to appreciate another instalment slightly more.
As you might guess from the name, princesses are the theme that this particular entry goes for. Naturally, this does also involve a prince, but the prince has my respect for actually actively fighting alongside the Cures.
Dreams play a large role in this one, with each of the Cures realising coming to terms with sacrifices and such that they may need to make in order to pursue their aspirations.
Yui Nanase might also be the best non-Cure human character in the entire franchise, too.
We get some neat moments of yuri subtext – Minami’s knight and Kirara’s room mate being stand out examples – but there are other instalments that far surpass what is on offer here.
Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star
First impressions of Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star may lead some into thinking that it is just an imitation of the first series. However, stick with it and you’ll discover a that it gains its own identity – particularly with the introduction of Michiru and Kaoru.
It’s also worth mentioning that this series introduced two unique forms for both Cures – this kind of thing wouldn’t be seen again until Maho Girls PreCure!.
As is par for the course, there is yuri subtext between Saki and Mai, too.
To this date, Hummy remains as my favourite PreCure mascot – she is partially why Suite PreCure♪ has placed so high. This particular entry is also helped by its lead characters, Hibiki and Kanade. The relationship between the pair of them present some very strong yuri subtext (maybe even just text, depending on who you ask).
The musical theme for the series is one that I quite enjoy, and Cure Beat is an excellent addition to the cast when she arrives.
In terms of writing alone, HeartCatch is arguably the best instalment of PreCure. Again, a lone Cure provides a brilliant example of this – Cure Moonlight’s story has never been bettered. There’s a reason she is my favourite Cure from the whole franchise, and watching HeartCatch will reveal exactly why.
Still, HeartCatch is not a one Cure show, with Cure Blossom growing over the course of the series as she fights alongside Cure Marine and Cure Sunshine, as well as the aforementioned Cure Moonlight.
Whilst there is a little yuri subtext here and there within this instalment, the sheer strength of the writing is the reason for my admiration of HeartCatch PreCure!.
My enjoyment of any given PreCure franchise tends to factor in the potential yuri that may arise from it. As such, it should come as no surprise to discover that the stealth yuri harem that is DokiDoki! PreCure ranks so highly for me.
Mana sure does seem to get a whole lot of affection from her fellow Cures, and a couple of others beside. Out of all the characters that Mana could potentially pair up with, I’ll always root for Regina – I think it’s just something about the way that Regina says Mana’s name… telling each other ‘I love you’ certainly adds to that, too.
It’s not just the yuri that holds appeal for me within DokiDoki! PreCure, either – every episode has something relevant to the main plot happen. It could be a minor thing or the focus of an episode. Regardless, this all adds up into a myth arc that runs throughout the series, and I feel that’s one of the points in favour of this instalment.
Once upon a time, I would have declared Mana & Regina the best PreCure pairing, and DokiDoki! the best instalment of the franchise. However, a challenger arose providing competition for both of those titles.
Maho Girls PreCure!
Recency bias might well be playing a part here, but Maho Girls PreCure! just has so much that appeals to me.
To begin with, the No Magic and Magic Worlds – both inhabited by humans, the No Magic World is the one we live in, whilst the Magic World is full of… well, magic. It is something straight out of the fantasy genre, and the show takes the time to build the Magic World’s lore – we learn that each island only experiences a single season, there are all sorts of magical creatures inhabiting that world and we even get delve into how the Magic World came to exist.
As a fantasy fan, the Magic World holds such a strong appeal for me – heck, the Magic Academy is incredibly reminiscent of Harry Potter‘s Hogwarts.
The relationship between lead characters Mirai and Liko brings us yuri subtext – or perhaps just plain old yuri. There’s a whole lot of hand-holding going on, but the relationship the pair share is something rather beautiful. They end up both acting as mothers for the baby fairy Haa, and let’s not forget that Mofurun came to life because of the pair of them holding hands.
Talking of Mofurun and Haa, they are certainly up there as some of the best mascots within the franchise – almost as great as Hummy.
Another part of the appeal are the four Styles that the Cures are able to use – taking a cue from Splash Star, Cure Miracle and Cure Magical gain access to different forms with different abilities and techniques. This results in varied fight scenes.
The Magic World, Mirai and Liko’s relationship and the different Styles are just some of the things that I loved about Maho Girls PreCure! – I haven’t even mentioned the side characters. They’re all pretty great as well.
There we have it. Maho Girls PreCure! has managed to work its way into my heart, and dethroned DokiDoki! as my favourite instalment. As this is my own personal list, I have no doubt that your opinions will differ from mine. As such, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments.
Kirakira ☆ PreCure a la Mode is the next instalment of Pretty Cure. It’s certainly got its work cut out for it following on from Maho Girls PreCure!. Still, I’ll be watching it and I will update my ranking once more next year once it has finished.