All right, let’s do this one more time. With the end of Star ☆ Twinkle PreCure, it is now time for me to rank each season of PreCure in the order I enjoyed them, from least to most.
Naturally, this is all just my own personal opinion. As ever, I’ll group direct sequels together. Curious to see where newest entry Star ☆ Twinkle PreCure placed? Read on, and find out.
Yes! PreCure 5 and Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo!I am sure that Yes! PreCure 5 and its sequel Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo! have their fans, but I just couldn’t get into when I watched it. I’m personally not a big fan of Nozomi/Cure Dream, and both seasons trying to push mascot x magical girl romances wasn’t something I particularly liked. Especially when the mascots have the most grating voices.
Fight scenes were good, though, and Yes! PreCure 5: Great Miraculous Adventure in the Mirror Kingdom was decent enough.
Having two seasons also meant that Yes! PreCure 5 dragged on for what felt like an eternity.
HappinessCharge PreCure!Now here’s something that wasted much of its potential. Supposed to be a celebration of the tenth anniversary of PreCure, HappinessCharge went and got far too bogged down by trying to do romance. This is a season that included things like international Cures, the PreCure Hunter Phantom and a lead Cure who shoots laser beams from her eyes. That’s Cure Lovely’s “Lovely Beam”, for those curious.
It sounds like HappinessCharge had a lot going for it, but the romance overtakes everything and ends up kind of pointless in the end.
Now we’re getting into seasons that I actually enjoyed, and first up is Smile PreCure!. It took a more slice of life approach compared to its predecessors. Whereas some had stories running over multiple episodes, Smile had more self-contained episodes.
Enjoyable enough, though something I’m not particularly fond is the way the plot just repeats itself for the second half.
Still has some of the best fights in PreCure history though, with Cure Beauty vs. Joker still up there as one of my favourites.
Pretty Cure and Pretty Cure Max HeartWhere it all began, and I’ve got a lot of respect for the first two seasons of Pretty Cure. Even though they are pretty keen to push Nagisa being into that one boy, who has had almost no appearances ever since Max Heart. With that wedding figure of Nagisa & Honoka, as well as what happened in Hugtto! PreCure Futari wa Pretty Cure: All Stars Memories it is pretty clear that Honoka is the only one for Nagisa.
As for these two seasons, pretty solid entries. Not my favourites personally, but still decent enough.
KiraKira ☆ PreCure a la ModeKiraKira ☆ PreCure a la Mode changed things up slightly by doing away with the physical combat that the PreCure franchise is known for, which I would say is a point against it.
I’d argue the best thing to come from this season is some yuri pairings. Yukari x Akira have the strongest presence, though I wouldn’t count out Aoi x Himari or Ciel x Bibury. Its just a shame that ultimately nothing came of that, though the girls still work their magic in the crossover films – particularly Yukari and Akira.
The fights from this season aren’t up to much, but the episodes with a strong focus on the characters are a delight.
This is also one season where I think we may have ended with far too many characters, especially by the end.
Fresh Pretty Cure!After the slog of Yes! PreCure 5 and Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo!, Fresh Pretty Cure! was a breath of fresh air. It was intended to be that way, as it was effectively a reboot for the franchise. This is where we started seeing far more tolerable mascot characters.
It also gave us the gift of Cure Passion, who I’d argue has one of the best character arcs in the entire franchise.
The antagonists from Fresh Pretty Cure! are still unique to this day, as well.
Go! Princess PreCureGo! Princess PreCure is a season that is favoured much by the PreCure fanbase, and that is because it is a good one. Dreams are a prominent theme throughout this season, and the pursuit of said dreams drives each characters’ development.
This story about princesses does include a prince. Whilst I’m generally not a big fan when PreCure does a male love interest, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that Prince Kanata is actually a good character. A royal who actually does something.
There is some yuri on offer here, too – Haruka x Minami has a bit of early traction, and Kirara x Towa get some moments.
Can’t forget to mention Yui Nanase, who may be one of the best supporting characters in the franchise. There’s a reason Yui was chosen to represent the Go! Princess PreCure supporting cast when the 15th anniversary celebration was giving cameos to important characters. Not even Kanata got that honour.
Suite PreCure♪Suite PreCure♪ has a musical theme, as well as characters called Hibiki and Kanade. As far as yuri pairings go, Hibiki and Kanade are arguably one of the prominent couples to come from the PreCure franchise. It might’ve been a bit rough early on when they seemed to do nothing but argue, but that all settled out in the end.
Cat fairy mascot Hummy is still one of the best mascot characters in the franchise, but I might just have a bias towards cats here.
Cure Rhythm and Cure Melody may be the most prominent characters here, but I definitely have to mention Cure Beat. Any guitar playing Cure is all right by me.
Pretty Cure Splash StarEarly impressions of Pretty Cure Splash Star left fans feeling that Saki and Mai were just carbon copies of Nagisa & Honoka. They were right, to an extent. However, character development sets in and they become their own characters in the end.
This season is particularly notable for giving the Cures two forms each: Saki can transform into Cure Bloom or Cure Bright, whereas Mai transforms into Cure Egret or Cure Windy. This was an idea that was reused in a manner of speaking in one my favourite entries of the franchise.
Also coming from this season are Michiru and Kaoru, who are vital to making Splash Star stand out from the first two seasons. Michiru and Kaoru were rarely acknowledged after Splash Star, so it was an utter delight to see them during the fifteenth anniversary celebration.
As far as I’m concerned, Splash Star‘s final fight has never been outdone. Which is amusing to think considering this season was supposed to tone down the violence, but it when full Dragon Ball Z at the end.
HeartCatch PreCure!HeartCatch PreCure! is arguably the season of PreCure that has the strongest writing. I’d argue this comes from Cure Moonlight’s story. For a long time, she stood as my favourite Cure, but certain witches and an android came along – I’ll get to those in due course.
Doesn’t detract from the fact that Cure Moonlight’s story is incredible, and deals with themes that are on the darker side.
Talking of the dark side, Dark PreCure still stands as one of my favourite PreCure antagonists. It helps that her story is closely tied to Cure Moonlight’s.
The whole cast of HeartCatch PreCure! are brilliant. Tsubomi’s development as a Cure in particular.
DokiDoki! PreCureAh, the stealth yuri harem that is DokiDoki! PreCure. Probably one of the more divisive entries of the PreCure franchise. This comes down to Mana basically stealing the spotlight from everyone else. I like Mana/Cure Heart, so I could live with that. What I particularly like is her interactions with Regina, who is yet another strong villain from PreCure‘s history.
With something related to the main plot happening in every episode (sometimes minor, sometimes major) DokiDoki! is a rare instance of a narrative being threaded through the whole season. What I’m saying is that is has a myth arc – like I’ve said more or less every time I’ve mentioned DokiDoki! PreCure. Not going to stop now, though.
In case it hasn’t been made clear by now, yuri plays a strong part in my enjoyment of a given season of PreCure, and that is why I think so highly of DokiDoki!.
Star ☆ Twinkle PreCureStar ☆ Twinkle PreCure follows on the heels of Hugtto! PreCure, which I’d argue is a tough act to follow. Somehow manages it, and fairly well too. This season has a strong sci-fi theme flowing throughout, and it certainly takes advantage of that at times.
This group of Cures are a lot of fun, though the aliens do steal the show. Oh right, this entry gives us our first instance of alien Cures.
We also have our first dark skinned Cure in Elena Amamiya/Cure Soleil. She and Madoka Kaguya/Cure Selene probably could have done with more screen time, but they made their time count in the second half of the season.
The writer for this season was Isao Murayama; the same person who wrote that episode (and several others) in Maho Girls PreCure!. There are certainly some parallels between that season and this one, which might explain why I think fondly of it.
We also have the Cures singing during their transformation sequence, and I am quite fond the song – which is used to devastating effect close to the end of the season.
Expect a lot of stock footage, though – perhaps a little too much. It does give more impact to the fights that forego it, though.
Looking back on it, I have to say I am quite surprise at just how much I enjoyed Star ☆ Twinkle PreCure. Of course, it is still relatively fresh in my mind at the time of writing, so that could be playing a part.
The relationship between Hikaru and Lala is something that definitely contributes to that, too. Another pair with incredibly strong chemistry, and that is something that is also used well right at the end of the season.
Maho Girls PreCure!There is so much about Maho Girls PreCure! that I absolutely adore. We have the Magic World, a magic school, Cures with multiple forms (thanks, Splash Star) and, perhaps most important of all, yuri.
Mirai and Riko are up there as one of the greatest couples to ever come from PreCure. Two girls from two different worlds seem to make a perfect match. They also raise a baby together.
Maho Girls PreCure! may have a weak final battle, but what really matters is its final episode. It has perhaps one of the most powerful, emotional moments in the entire franchise.
Hugtto! PreCureNow this is how to celebrate an anniversary. Hugtto! PreCure is a celebration of the franchise’s fifteenth anniversary, and it pulled off doing that in spectacular style. Episode 37 is one of the all time greatest episodes of PreCure, and then there was the crossover film that only made the NagiHono ship stronger.
On that subject, Hugtto! gifted us with EmiRuru. Guitar playing Cures who form an intimate bond – I’m willing to forgive a lot just because of those two.
Actually, Hugtto! is not perfect. We have another instance of a magical girl x mascot trying to be pushed here (Homare and Harry), which I didn’t particularly enjoy. The ending also left a lot to be desired. Not that matters, because we don’t see post ending Cures in the crossover films…
There is still so much to enjoy here, though. A brilliant celebration of fifteen years of magical girls kicking arse.
Some extremely bold choices going on with this season, too, which makes it stand out all the more.
There we have it – every season of Pretty Cure ranked based on my personal enjoyment of them. A very strong showing for the newest entry on this list, Star ☆ Twinkle PreCure.
I’ll be doing this again in a year’s time after Healin’ Good♡PreCure has concluded. I’d really wish they’d stop using titles that require me to copy & paste a symbol, but oh well. Regardless, Aoi Yuuki (Hibiki Tachibana from Symphogear, Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica) voicing Cure Grace has got me looking forward to seeing what the next entry franchise has in store.