Pretear

Alt title: Shin Shirayukihime Densetsu Pretear

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Story

Fairytales are often interesting stories that take us away from the stresses of real life and immerse us in the realms of insatiable romances, sweep us into lavish countries, or give a seemingly normal person powers that make them larger than life.

One thing that I fully admit is that I do enjoy these stories, even variations of similar stories and themes, as long as they have heart and characters I can relate to. Pretear is a series that takes a clever twist on many fairy tales from Cinderella to Snow White, and portrays it in a way that gives it a magical girl spin. Himeno, a jovial girl who resides with her father, finds herself thrust into a new family and standard of high class living when her father remarries - with two new stepsisters who seem to either make her life completely difficult (but in humorous ways: if you watch Mayune, she's relatively harmless), or one who gives her the cold shoulder. Himeno's life changes when she comes across the Leafe Knights, who tell her that she's to fulfill a destiny as the Pretear, one who eradicates the evil demons that come with the red snow sent by the Princess of Disaster (or the Princess of Calamity in the Japanese original). Himeno doesn't quite fill the shoes at first, but she comes to love and associate with the knights in the adventures and battles they face. It's a series which starts with well done situational humor and lighthearted characteristics, but following the fifth episode progresses into a darker tale with heavier undertones.

Pretear's downfalls are its tendencies to fall in traditional mahou shoujo cliches. That means the monster of the day formula and summoning spells, three way love triangles, transformation scenes, and bishounen (which isn't a bad thing if you love bishounen ^^) in every corner, as well as situations that drive Himeno (and the people of her affections) apart in cliched formats that may meet the viewer with frustration if looking for a series that stands apart from tradition. Often it tends to overemphasize the themes of "never give up" that have predominated in series like this beforehand-a la Wedding Peach, Sailor Moon, etc.

One aspect I would argue in Pretear's defense is that it does have quite a few interesting twists in both character revelations and identities, you truly don't find the element of betrayal or the villainess until well into the series. Yet the reasoning behind the twists are relatively simple and underdeveloped. Another stronger is the situational humor, which is arguably what I liked the most about the series. Himeno is a hilarious leading female to start until she falls into the "clingy" stature that tends to predominate in this genre's schematic, but could say that she's a sweet character nonetheless. I also liked the situational humor that her fellow Leafe Knights and the side characters provided before the series shifts focus to develop a darker atmosphere. I find with those who love this series, if you want a traditional mahou shoujo series and favor series of this type, Pretear should not strike you in an ill fashion at all. Matter in point, I actually did like Pretear, though I watched it quite a while after the series was first released and I recognized that it wasn't my favorite shoujo series compared to those that were released in former and latter years.

The ending of the series disappointed in its rushed format. I think the parallel with some of the fairy tales, particularly with the ending could have had slightly more weight if the progression was not as limited, yet the reactions of the characters made it seem more genuine for a series of this type than it otherwise would.

I believe that if you're not expecting too much from this series, you could very well enjoy its parallels to popular fairy tales;  I counted about 5 or 6 different stories it lifted, yet I felt it could have been even better if it took liberties to incorporate more of that distinction and less in the cliche realm. It's a decent series, and I would recommend it to shoujo fans who want something that has interesting parallels, but doesn't stray too far from the standard shoujo series formula.


Animation

The animation and character desgn in Pretear reminds me quite a bit of character designs from Magic Knight Rayearth, except better coloring and more modern animation sequences, something I could note as nicely adapted for a shoujo series. One could also note the special effects that enhance the atmosphere of the series, including the shading of the darker events. It's what I could call a series that excelled among its time, and continues to maintain standard with contemporary series, but doesn't quite go beyond in its presentation. Cel production, backdrops, and even the transformation sequences are fine, though the latter does become repetitive, and one could note that cels are reused.

There were parts that were done that I did find to be a great addition, including the use of purple butterflies associated with the evil Pretear.


Sound

I did like the nice J-Pop and instrumental themes featured in this series, quite well done on most areas. "White Destiny" is actually one of my favorite opening sequences and songs by Yoko Ishida, beautiful vocals and themes that fit the series well. The ending theme didn't quite stand out to me all that much, but if you're a shoujo fan, you may find the sequence quite fun and cute (especially considering the Leafe Knights are portrayed like little mischevious angels).

Voice acting in both the English (licensed by ADV) and the Japanese versions of the series were well done for the most part. I thought Himeno's VA added slightly more humor and convincing stature to her role than the English VA, yet all of the Leafe Knights were well suited in both renditions.


Characters

If you like Pretear, it will undoubtedly be for the characters since they give an element of enjoyment - a factor that kept me watching from beginning to end. Himeno, Hayate, and Sasame are the main 3 that the series follows, yet collectively with Go, Kei, Mannen and Haijime when Himeno becomes the Pretear. The focus does shift to the situational family life that Himeno has aside from her duties, which she keeps secret from her family in some humorous situations. This is definitely a series for the shoujo crowd that will have one watching the series think it's very cute and funny. The side characters including Himeno's father and stepmother, stepsisters, have their own endearing flare when it comes to humor, quite different from those who might have read the manga, and as the series takes a darker turn, there's potential to feel for the main characters, yet i found that it pales because of the prominent cliches in points.

Himeno starts as a bold, energetic and vivacious heroine that I would have loved even more if she didn't fall into the typical reactions of magical girl heroines, particularly in the darker setup of the second half of this 13 episode series. Hayate reminded me of what I liked about Tamahome at first in Fushigi Yuugi-quick tongued and humorous, but with a mysterious past that's further explored as the series comes to pass, yet his character does tend to fall into similar cliches. The same is shown with the other main lead of the Leafe Knights, Sasame, the seemingly intelligent and friendly aide to Himeno who gives her advice when times get tough. The remainder of the Leafe Knights tend to take more of a backseat and establish the cute bishounen aspect of the series.

The side characters are interesting to watch when in humorous adaptations of their respective fairy tale counterparts, yet unfortunately find not much development. Chiawata, the quiet stepsister whom at first gives Himeno a cold shoulder, is a sweet girl under the surface, but her backstory seems overblown in some measures, not having quite the weight that it could have had if she were a more developed character.


Overall

Overall, Pretear is a series I would recommend more to crowds who enjoy traditional magical girl stories with a slight twist in not only the thematic, but also the overall progression with enjoyable characters.

6/10 story
7.7/10 animation
8.3/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.8/10 overall
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I watch anime for a number of reasons, but never before have I watched an anime for the sole purpose of writing a review for it. But this one, ooohhh this one…after watching the first episode I changed my watching status to dropped. I couldn’t do it. Everything about this anime is way cheesy and I thought I simply can’t waste my time on something like this. But, after watching a few episodes of some other (better) anime I made the decision to finish this series so I could write a review for it. No, I’m not writing this to completely bash the show and no, it didn’t get any better, but I feel this odd sense of responsibility towards writing a review… perhaps to warn you or make you chuckle a little. I don’t know. What I do know is this…

Story- 4.5/10

Okay so the story wasn’t the greatest idea of original thinking…in fact it wasn’t original at all. Seven knights? Stepmother + two step sisters? Snow? White? Sounds pretty original huh? I realize that they kind of did this on purpose and trust me I’m all for knockoffs and spin offs and other offs, but I guess not this one. The story goes like this, normal girl (Himeno) goes from poor to extremely-over-the-top wealthy when her father marries a widowed millionaire that owns the town they live in. She’s all depressed cause being rich sucks I guess, when the seven Liefe Knights show up and tell her that she’s someone special called the Pretear. Liefe is the source of all life which the Liefe Knights have sworn to protect. However, an evil power is trying to suck all of the liefe from the world and the Liefe Knights need Himeno’s help as the Pretear to stop it. Not the worst plot to begin with right? Honestly, I started to watch this anime because I thought it would be pretty interesting to see an anime version of a fairytale; it just didn’t cut it for me. The underlying story may have been pretty interesting but the direction it took towards the end and the simple lack of creativity drug the plot down quite a bit.

Animation- 4/10

There wasn’t much to it. Pretty standard and a bit cartoony for my taste, but not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Actually, now that I think about it, it fit pretty well with the overall feeling of the show.

Sound- 2/10

I watched this English dubbed which may have been my downfall in this category, but seriously…sucktastic. Illich Guardiola (Hayate) made my hit list with his very first sentence. Bleh! It wasn’t even the annoying tone it was the voice acting in general. I’m pretty sure a two year old could have portrayed feelings and emotions better than this guy. The other knights had some pretty annoying voices too but his was definitely the worst…perhaps ever. I’d like to think that for some of the characters the lack of intriguing dialogue…or any dialogue that didn’t make me face palm, was the source of their demise but I don’t think it would have improved their status by much. The opening/ending themes were probably okay…I didn’t pay much attention to them.

Characters- 1/10

This is where the brutality will ensue. I will admit the idea behind the knights with their individual powers that they can lend to the Pretear is pretty neat. However, none of them lived up to what I would have expected from a knight with super cool powers. They were just so lame and cheesy and oh so transparent. The only character that didn’t make me die a little every time they came on the screen was Shin…and he was a toddler that hardly spoke. “Snow White” is a spunky ditz that whines about not being able to do stuff right…but then later saves the world because she has a pure heart or some silly thing. Her love interest is wait, can you guess it…the tall, dark and daring knight that wants nothing to do with her at the beginning because he’s afraid of feelings. Crazy how that works huh? The quiet, second-most-powerful guy turns evil because he feels inadequate, the fire guy is cocky and likes the ladies and the kids are childish and don’t really contribute to the fighting all that much. Oh! And the best part is they are trying so very hard to defeat the oh so sinister Princess of Disaster. PRINCESS OF DISASTER! I can’t think of a more chilling and evil name to give your just as transparent (but I won’t spoil with spoilers) villain. Even Himeno’s family was boring and overdone. The affectionate dad, the cold new stepmother, the bitchy, plotting stepsister and the depressed-but-doesn’t-show-it other stepsister…come on.

Overall 3/10

The only entertaining thing about this show was the fact that it’s one big sexual innuendo. I busted a gut every time one of the characters said “Preat with me” and then commenced to merging in a flash of color and nudity. I said I wouldn’t completely bash the show so here’s my one positive comment, it made me laugh a bit and I guess it made me appreciate other anime series. Unless you just have to find out for yourself or you’re a completion fanatic like me, don’t waste your time.

Another time, another review.

4.5/10 story
4/10 animation
2/10 sound
1/10 characters
3/10 overall
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LTS : Pretear is a very fast moving story and short anime, but very entertaining. The romance between the guys aren't rushing, it's still in a steady pace which is what I love! Everything was at a steady pace, It was like watching 20 episode when it was actually only 13. (If you know what I mean)

Not many episodes sadly, making me ask more questions about what happens next, thoughts full of questions & in the beginning of the story girl (main character) was kind of annoying with all of her questions, which was why I gave the story and characters a 9. The animation & sound was perfect as usual, but the characters can tend to piss you off with their attitude. Much comedy, romance, and action. 

For sure worth watching! - LTS

9/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
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From all the anime's, I've cryed the most with this one. Although it is an very short story, you come to love all of them. It's a really sad story and you can relate to it, so it maked me cry so many times. Love it! Definitley going to watch it again.

8/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
7/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
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I found Pretear over a year ago during summer break, not sure whether or not to watch it. Sure, it sounded good, but I was overly worried about the ending of the show. I finally found the courage to watch it last night, and finished it within twenty-four hours. It is a very good anime. If you have time, and want to watch a short and sweet anime, this should definitely be one of your top picks.

A FEW SPOILERS WILL APPEAR FROM TIME TO TIME BELOW:

Many people say that this is a bad anime because it copies off Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Legendary White Pretear, seven knights, and the true love's kiss which allowed her to come back to live. These things are all elements of Snow White, but if you look at the original Japanese title, it says "Shirayuki" which means White Snow in Japanese, a hint that this anime was meant to be based off of Snow White.

It also really annoys me that some people say this anime's animations "suck" and "aren't that good". But this anime was made in 2001, so animation techniques weren't as advanced, and artists had to put a lot of work into this. Although I do admitted I was concerned about the old animation, I realized this anime did not have that issue. Often, old animation make things blurry and the HD quality doesn't get through, making an episode hard to watch. This anime's HD quality was good, and the story was definitely enough to keep me going.

The first few episodes don't involve much mystery and romance, as it deals with Himeno accepting the fact that she's the Pretear and getting to know all the characters. But at about episode 9, and learing about the previous Pretear, things are pulled together, dealing with betrayal, romance, mystery, and even some fear that Himeno has to face about being the Pretear.

The characters differ between each other (which is sometimes very hard to deal with when there isn't a labeled difference), and seem to have "realistic" emotions. Sure, things such as telling people about your emotions may seem to be childish and something you learn at a young age, but Pretear was meant to target younger children (girls especially). It did a pretty good job with not being too repetitive like some other anime that I cannot stand to watch. Keeping it short may have been the key, but I do wish they make an episode or two about Hayate and Himeno's relationship after she wakes up, because really, she's going to find out sooner or later.

Overall, I do like this anime. I believe it is good for anyone who wants to watch a good anime, or just wants to watch something short and not over twenty episodes long. It can be finished in a day or two, and may bring surprises throughout the day.

8/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
9/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
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