Pretty Cure Dream Stars! is the 22nd animated film in the Pretty Cure franchise, and the successor to the All Stars films. It was first released in Japanese theatres on March 18th 2017, not too long after KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode had started airing. This is the first film in the PreCure franchise to feature the KiraKira Cures.
The director for Dream Stars! is Hiroshi Miyamoto, and the story was written by Tsubota Fumi. The composer for the film is Yuki Hayashi, who has previously worked on My Hero Academia, Death Parade and Gundam Build Fighters.Series featured: Go! Princess PreCure, Maho Girls PreCure! and KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode
As you can see from that short list of series featured, any series before Go! Princess PreCure is not included in Dream Stars!. I imagine that decision was made due to the sheer number of Cures that exist now. After all, there are fourteen different series, and the number of Cures can range from two to six.
The plot focuses on a girl called Sakura, who flees from her home world of Sakuragahara. Sakuragahara is endangered by Crow Tengu (or Karasu Tengu, but I’ll be going along with the fansubs on this one), who has stolen all the beautiful things of that world.
Sakura arrives in the Human World, seeking out groups of people who possess the items depicted on three cards she has: sweets, jewels and keys.
After tracking down the KiraKira, Maho Girls and Princess Cures, Sakura goes back to Sakuragahara with them to save the place from Crow Tengu’s grasp.
Might as well start with introductions for the characters who appear exclusively in this film. First up, Sakura.
Ichika dreams of Sakura at the beginning of the film, and describes her as a goldfish. She’s an all right character, I suppose. She was quite lonely before the events of the film took place, but that resulted in her forming a very close relationship with a fox named Shizuku.
There have been better film-exclusive characters within PreCure – Sakura doesn’t even begin to compare to Refi.
Whilst the Cures find themselves with a new friend in the form of Sakura, they also find themselves with new enemies.
The big bad of the film is Crow Tengu. He collects things he considers beautiful, and is really quite annoying. He’s the hyperactive type that has an inability to remain still. I really don’t like him. I know that PreCure can do actually interesting villains, whether they are film-exclusive or from the main entries.
One of those actually interesting villains – or it might be more accurate to say a villain I actually like – is Samidare. She’s a powerful foe for the PreCure to face, and she definitely feels like the biggest threat the Cures face during the film.
Dream Stars! switches between traditional and CGI animation. Events that take place in the human worlds stick with the 2D animation, whereas Sakugarahara is all CGI. The CGI is pretty typical PreCure CGI – that is to say, it’s pretty good. It’s not something that bothers me, but I know CGI is not to everyone’s taste.
If you’ve watched any other PreCure film before, you’ll probably be familiar with one of the Cures and/or fairies directly addressing the audience at the beginning. Dream Stars! takes those fourth wall shenanigans even further, and actually has characters appear “on stage” as it were to ask for the audience’s help. This happens right in the middle of a couple of scenes.
Whilst KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode has toned down the fights, Dream Stars! actually sticks with the more typical physical fistfights. The inevitable fight against Samidare might just be my favourite within the film, but the other fight scenes were pretty enjoyable as well.
A couple are on the sillier side – one has appropriately silly music to go with it, and another features a rather amusing ability used by the three pink Cures.
During the course of the film, Ichika, Aoi and Himari visit the Magic World from Maho Girls PreCure!, whilst Yukari and Akira go to Go! Princess PreCure‘s Noble Academy. As you might expect, some silliness ensues – the screenshot above providing an example of that. Yukari has a pretty interesting reaction towards Akira’s approach.
I found that Pretty Cure Dream Stars! doesn’t really manage to deliver the same hype as the first All Stars films did. Having the Cures join a fight accompanied by their theme tunes will probably never be topped.
This film certainly has some enjoyable moments, but Sakura didn’t leave much of an impression on me and Crow Tengu was downright annoying.
Much like the crossover films before it, airing right at the beginning of a new season of PreCure means that the KiraKira Cures’ personalities haven’t been properly established yet. For some bizarre reason, Liko (or Riko if you prefer) is also subject to this. She acts more like she did at the beginning of Maho Girls PreCure!. There’s no reason for that to be the case.
Another disappointment I had was that this film completely ignores the continuity established at the end of Maho Girls PreCure!. There’s a couple of factors that I would have like to seen present, but I won’t go into too much detail as to what they are due to not wanting to spoil the end of Maho Girls PreCure!.
When it comes down to it, though, it is just another PreCure film. Pretty much just an extended standalone episode of PreCure, and if you enjoyed the TV series than you’ll probably get some entertainment out of this film as well. I did highlight some things that I wasn’t keen on, but overall I did enjoy watching Pretty Cure Dream Stars!.