Hugtto! PreCure has finished, so now it is time for my annual tradition of ranking each and every season of Pretty Cure, from worst to best. As always, this is purely my personal opinion.
Seasons that are direct continuations will be grouped together, still keeping things a little bit easier for me. This will go from what I consider the worst season to the best.
The question is, though, where did the latest iteration of Toei’s magical girl series place on my personal ranking? Well, read on and find out.Yes! PreCure 5 and Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo!Out of all the seasons of PreCure, Yes! PreCure 5 and Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo! were probably the two that I struggled the most to get on with. Lead character Nozomi Yumehara/Cure Dream was one that really didn’t hold much appeal for me, and the mascot fairies – Coco, Nuts, Milk & Syrup – might just be the worst ones in the entire franchise.
Having to endure two seasons’ worth of that also made watching Yes! PreCure 5 a slog, at least for me. As for any yuri; there is next to none here. One of the main reasons I got into PreCure was for its yuri potential, so these two seasons didn’t really hold much appeal for me.
The fight scenes were pretty good, though; that is par for the course for almost every entry in the PreCure franchise. Also, Yes! PreCure 5: Great Miraculous Adventure in the Mirror Kingdom was pretty good, giving us our first example of Dark Cures.
HappinessCharge PreCure!HappinessCharge PreCure! was the tenth anniversary celebration of Pretty Cure, and it was quite the disappointment. When I think about HappinessCharge, one phrase in particular comes to mind: wasted potential.
It had a lot of really neat elements. There were Cures from all around the world, and PreCure Hunter Phantom is one of the more memorable villains in the franchise.
HappinessCharge‘s biggest problem, though, is romance. It’s like everyone loves everyone else, and that’s just a whole mess that is not the most compelling thing to sit through.
That does include some yuri elements, but none of the most prominent yuri PreCure couples come from HappinessCharge.
Pretty Cure‘s tenth anniversary was something of a disappointment. Fortunately, things would get much better for the fifteenth anniversary celebration.
Smile PreCure!From this point forward, we now get into seasons of PreCure that I actually enjoyed. Smile PreCure! took a more episodic approach than the seasons that chronologically came before it, and that was all right. At least until the second half of the season was pretty much just a repeat of the first.
It may have got a bit repetitive, but Smile did give us some of the best fights in PreCure‘s franchise. Cure Beauty in particular has an excellent fight that I still remember fondly. Another memorable villain comes from this season as well: Joker (no, not that one).
Pretty Cure and Pretty Cure Max HeartThe place where it all started, introducing the world to Cure Black and Cure White. The hard-hitting physical combat, and the yuri subtext; it is from these first two seasons where that all sprang from.
NagiHono is a popular ship, but it is worth noting that Nagisa has a male love interest in these two seasons. There is yuri present, but don’t expect it to be in your face. As it turns out, more obvious yuri seems to be something embraced by later seasons of the show.
Cure Black and Cure White are great, whereas the fairies… they’re amongst the worst from the franchise.
KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la ModeYou know how I mentioned that physical combat was par for the course for almost every entry in PreCure? KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode is the exception to the rule. The fights are toned down, which proved to be quite a disappointment.
KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode is one of the seasons that offers more blatant yuri, with the characters Yukari Kotozume and Akira Kenjou. They do get a couple of decent episodes that focus on them, but ultimately nothing comes of it. Other notable pairings include Aoi and Himari, as well as Ciel and Bibury.
This season might be one where the final team has one too many Cures, too. The final addition to the team just feels unnecessary.
Fresh Pretty Cure!Fresh Pretty Cure! was something of a reboot for the franchise after Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo!. It was just the thing Pretty Cure needed after the slog of Yes! PreCure 5.
What stood out most for me in this season was the character arc of Cure Passion. She is a brilliant character, and also ships very well with Cure Peach. The whole team are great in this season, but Cure Passion just stands out most for me.
The reboot also resulted in fairy mascots that were far more tolerable. Tarte is easily one of the more likeable fairies in the franchise, and Chiffon is a baby character that is bearable – up until a certain point, anyway.
Even up to this point, Fresh Pretty Cure! has one of the most unique main antagonists in the entire franchise.
Go! Princess PreCureGo! Princess PreCure is regarded as one of the better entries in the PreCure franchise, and I’m not about to argue with that. The theme of dreams is prominent throughout this season, with each character pursuing their own dreams and the enemies targeting said dreams.
Being a show about princesses, there also happens to be a prince. Prince Kanata, though, is actually a decent character, actually actively taking part in the Cures’ fights against their foes. Obviously, there is shiptease between Haruka and Kanata.
As for yuri, Go! Princess PreCure has some to offer. Haruka and Minami get some early on (and I favour that ship), and later on we have Kirara and Towa.
Yui Nanase is also another candidate for shipping with Haruka. Yui is one of the best supporting characters in the whole franchise, and I can see why she was chosen to appear in the 15th anniversary celebration over any other character from Go! Princess PreCure.
Suite PreCure♪Suite PreCure♪ gives us one of the more prominent yuri pairings in the entire PreCure franchise with Hibiki Hojo and Kanade Minamino. This season is one that decides that subtext is too subtle, and goes for just plain old yuri text.
It also has one of my favourite fairy mascots in Hummy. I’m always going to favour cat characters, and sure enough Hummy is no exception.
Also, I believe Cure Beat is the first instance of a guitar-playing Cure; something that we see a couple of other times throughout the franchise. I have a soft spot for Cures who can rock out whilst fighting.
Pretty Cure Splash StarIf you watch Splash Star right after Max Heart, your initial impression may be that Saki and Mai are just clones of Nagisa and Honoka. It is that way a bit at first, but give it a chance and you’ll soon see them become their own characters.
Splash Star is the first instance of Cures being given access to different forms, and perhaps served as inspiration for a certain other season that I have yet to talk about.
Where Splash Star truly comes into its own, though, is with the introduction of Michiru and Kaoru. They are vital to the plot of Splash Star, and yet barely acknowledged outside of it. Fortunately, the 15th anniversary did acknowledge them.
To this very day, Splash Star still has my favourite final battle in the entire franchise. Quite amusing when you consider that the combat was initially toned down. That final battle pretty much goes full Dragon Ball Z, by the way.
Saki and Mai are a duo, which naturally means that they get shipped together. SakiMai is an excellent ship, and I think they have a bit more going for them than NagiHono.
HeartCatch PreCure!For the longest time, many might have said that HeartCatch PreCure! was the peak of Pretty Cure. It is an utterly fantastic season, with some of the best writing that the franchise has ever had.
What sells it for me, in particular, is Cure Moonlight’s story. Moonlight’s tale is excellent, particularly with her connection to the villains. On that subject, I think its about time I mentioned yet another memorable villain: Dark PreCure. Out of all the villains that I remember most, Dark PreCure may just have my favourite design.
Moonlight is fantastic, but the other Cures in this season aren’t lacking either. Tsubomi Hanasaki, or Cure Blossom, starts off believing herself to be ‘history’s weakest PreCure’. She grows by leaps and bounds during the course of the season.
Cure Marine and Cure Sunshine are also particularly excellent characters; the whole cast is just brilliant.
In terms of yuri, HeartCatch isn’t the most blatant thing. Tsubomi and Erika have potential, and then there is also Yuri and Momoka. Let’s also not forget Tsubomi’s crush on Itsuki.
DokiDoki! PreCureDokiDoki! PreCure is actually just a stealth yuri harem, with Mana Aida being the centre of it all. Actually, this holds true in a couple of ways; Mana pretty much steals the spotlight in this season, which is disappointing to some.
Oh, I’m talking about DokiDoki! again, which must mean it is time for me to mention its myth arc. In every episode, something connected to the overall plot happens ranging from minor things to the very focus of an episode itself. I think that kind of continuity is rather interesting.
I mentioned this season being a yuri harem, but for me ManaRegi are an OTP. I consider Regina to be one of the best characters in DokiDoki!, it’s just a shame that she doesn’t get more screentime.
Rikka and Makoto are another pair I ship, though this comes from fanart of the pair together – in particular, stuff by artist negom (who also does a lot of NSFW stuff, just in case you get curious and decide to search).
With yuri being a major factor in my enjoyment of PreCure, DokiDoki! was always going to appeal to me quite a lot.
Maho Girls PreCure!In my Pretty Cure, Ranked – 2018 Edition post, I stated that nothing would probably be able to knock Maho Girls PreCure off top spot as my favourite PreCure season. Now we’ve come this far, there is one other season that I have yet to speak about. I was quite naive last year, huh?
Let’s focus on Maho Girls PreCure! for the moment though. It just has so much that appeals to me: the Magic World, a magic school, multiple forms (or Styles) for the Cures, and most importantly, pretty blatant yuri.
Right, before I get too into this, I think now is a good time to bring this up: go to the official English website for PreCure, and we get confirmation that Cure Magical’s name is Riko. It also says that this season is called Witchy PreCure, so…
Back on topic, Maho Girls PreCure is actually a story about two girls – Mirai and Riko – raising a baby together. There is a lot of handholding going on, and said handholding creates life.
MiraiRiko is definitely one of the best ships in Pretty Cure, and one that I thought may never be surpassed. Turns out I was wrong about, too.
Whilst Maho Girls PreCure!‘s final battle was somewhat lacking, its final episode is easily among the best the entire franchise has to offer.
Hugtto! PreCureHugtto! PreCure celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of PreCure, and absolutely blows the tenth anniversary out of the water. This season is packed full of references to previous seasons, whilst telling a story all its own.
As far as lead Cures go, Hana Nono/Cure Yell is an excellent character. She is right up there alongside Cure Marine as one of the most amusing characters in the franchise. Saaya, AKA Cure Ange, has some of the best character episodes in the franchise. Homare is bit more complicated – her ice skating stuff is absolutely fine, but her falling in love with mascot character Harry wasn’t the greatest thing.
Harry himself is actually a good character; he has an interesting backstory, and even participates in combat if the need arises.
Our other mascot is Hugtan, a baby that Hana fatefully encounters. Throughout the course of the season, you are able to see her grow – forming words, taking her first steps, that kind of thing.
This season has a particularly notable set of episodes, that bring back a few familiar faces – and more importantly, brings things into the canon that would have never been seen outside of the films. Episode 37, in particular, is a real standout for this season – in a season full of standout episodes.
We also have particularly great supporting characters, though some of them do not make a good first impression. Give them a chance, though, and they more than make up for their initial appearances.
There are also some very bold decisions made for this season of PreCure, which makes it stand out even more. There are a lot of firsts here, considering this is the fifteenth anniversary of the PreCure franchise.
There is so much about Hugtto! PreCure that makes it an utterly fantastic season of PreCure, but there is one aspect in particular I want to focus on. Now, I’ve been mentioning yuri throughout each entry in this ranking, and Hugtto! PreCure shall be no exception to that.
Mirai and Riko from Maho Girls PreCure! are an excellent couple, but Hugtto! PreCure only went and introduced one that managed to be even better: Emiru Aisaki and Ruru Amour.
EmiRuru is probably the biggest contributor to my enjoyment of Hugtto! PreCure. The two have such amazing chemistry together, and they even need each other to transform – into the PreCure of Love. Emiru introduces Ruru to the world of music, and the two form a band together. Remember how I said I have a soft spot for guitar playing Cures? That’s exactly what Cure Ma Cherie and Cure Amour are.
If you were to ask me to name my favourite character from the entire PreCure franchise, my answer would be Ruru Amour. Of course, you can’t have Ruru without Emiru.
Well, I am pleased to say that Pretty Cure‘s 15th anniversary was definitely much improved over its tenth. It is entirely possible that PreCure has peaked with Hugtto!, but I could be wrong. Who knows what Star ☆ Twinkle PreCure has in store for us?
So, let’s do this again in a year’s time, and see how well Star ☆ Twinkle PreCure stacks up against the rest.