Delicious Party Pretty Cure is the nineteenth entry of the Pretty Cure series, produced by Toei Animation. The director for this season is Toshinori Fukazawa, whilst it was written by Sawako Hirabayashi.
This season started airing on February 6th 2022, ran for 45 episodes and concluded on January 29th 2023.
This season of Pretty Cure follows in KiraKira PreCure á la Mode‘s footsteps by having a food theme. When the CooKingdom’s treasure, the Recipe-bon, is stolen by a gang of thieves known as the Bundoru Gang, three Energy Fairies are dispatched to the human world. There, they hope to prevent the Bundoru Gang from stealing the Cuisine Fairies, Recipeppis.
The three Energy Fairies encounter Yui Nagomi in the human world, and grant her the power to transform into Pretty Cure. Yui is joined by Kokone Fuwa, Ran Hanamichi and later Amane Kasai as they fight to save the Recipeppis and retrieve the Recipe-bon.
As usual, the typical Pretty Cure tropes apply here – the monster of the week formula, cute mascot fairies, stock footage – all that kind of stuff. It doesn’t particularly do anything special with them so there’s not a whole lot that can be said.
Something that does contribute to giving Delicious Party Pretty Cure its own identity among all the other seasons are the Cook Fighters. The girls have some allies who will fight alongside them, for better or worse.
A key part of every battle is Rosemary; after all, someone has to make a safe area for PreCure to go all out against their foes. Almost immediately he is relegated to a support role, although he does get a little more involved combat towards the end. Rosemary’s all right.
However, another Cook Fighter, by the name of Black Pepper, really drags things down. After his introduction, he manages to worm his way into almost every fight the Cures have for a while – even ones where he has zero connection to that episode’s plot. To work in him into those fights, Cure Precious and her allies are made to look incompetent.
Fortunately Black Pepper’s appearances are gradually dialled back, but the damage has already been done. Black Pepper is easily the worst thing in Delicious Party Pretty Cure.
Talking of incompetence, the Bundoru Gang’s insistence on fighting the Cures is something else. They always manage to grab whatever Recipeppi they are after, so surely the wisest decision would be to retreat?
Nope, they will stick around and fight, inevitably losing the Recippepi in the process. The summoning of the monster of the week always takes place after they’ve captured the recippepi. If they just didn’t do that and ran, they’d actually move closer to meeting their objective. The girls also have to track down the villains whenever they get an alert about a capture Recipeppi, time which the villains could use to retreat.
Delicious Party Pretty Cure might have the clumsiest handling of the monster of the week formula of any Pretty Cure season.
Arguing that it is a children’s show is a valid point, but when you have eighteen previous seasons that have managed to make the monster of the week formula work, something is up.
Everything else just feel pretty typical for Pretty Cure. With the exception of Black Pepper, the characters are all pretty OK. Nothing really stands out about any of them. That’s the problem with Delicious Party Pretty Cure as a whole: it just feels safe.
Whilst safe can be fine, looking at where previous seasons of Pretty Cure have gone, safe is kind of boring in this case. We’ve had PreCure that deals with loss, we’ve ventured into space, we’ve had two mothers raising a child. Delicious Party Pretty Cure just lacks that something that makes it really special.
There are few things that Delicious Party Pretty Cure does do well, simply because it is Pretty Cure. The fights are entertaining to watch (at least the ones with little to no Black Pepper) and the soundtrack is good. Although decent fights and a good soundtrack are what one would expect from Pretty Cure, so perhaps praising them speaks volumes about everything else in this season.
And if you decide to watch Delicious Party Pretty Cure in the hope of some kind of yuri, whether it be subtext or something more, don’t. There’s none to be found here. In terms of romance, Yui’s male friend Takumi has a crush on her, whilst she remains mostly oblivious. In other words, absolutely nothing of interest on that front.
An absolutely middle of the road season of Pretty Cure, with nothing that makes it feel particularly special. Not particularly bad, not particularly good.