Dunno why I chose Fresh Precure for a review, not so much for this specific run of 50 episodes, but for the place Fresh Precure holds in the entire stretch of now seventeen series in the mega-hit in girl power genre. While in the passage of time, Fresh Precure may not rank as a superior series, but a crucial one.
I see the development of Precure in a set of presentations which followed, then broke trends. In the history of Toei's work in this concept, I see these phases:
1) Futari wa ... Max Heart; Splash Star: The small ensemble of Pretty Cure, the principles always obliged to hold hands as they transformed. The tactic of separating the two cures was pursued as the opposition ranged from the forces of darkness to those pitted against the environment. The similarity of appearance of Cures Black and White and Cures Bloom and Egret (later Bright and Windy) proved that a conformed plotline (battle the nemesis individually, then in teams, then in entirety) becomes tedious fast.
2) Yes! Precure Five/GoGo: Advancement of cures who can transform independently of each other, who lose and regain powers over the two season grouping of the same five cures joined by Milky Rose (a non-human Pretty Cure). The weakness is the inability to attract an audience who will support the same girls over three seasons.
3) Classic Period of Pretty Cure: From Fresh Precure to either DokiDoki Precure or Happiness Charge Precure. A strictly followed formulatic approach to the formation and maintaining a plot until the denoument. Whole seasons driven by theme, whether dance, or music, or flora, or the happy ending to the power of friendship. The episodes run from origin of a given cure, fun episodes involving all girls in the team, personal glimpses into one of the cures to show the maturing of the personality which usually displays some weakness or flaw, toward the darker episodes where the team moves toward a final battle. One major development in the series is moving from defeating the enemy towards a purification of the opponent.
4) Trendy Precure: Go! Princess Precure and Mahou Precure: These episodes are more a mirror of what had been successful into other parts of the world culture. The fascination of the Disney version of "Princess" which was recently lampooned in the Ralph Wrecks the Internet Movie. The popularity of the Harry Potter series.
5) Preachy Precure: Kirakira Precure to Star Twinkle. Mostly engaging the progressive culture which allowed for what would be controversial issues. Concepts advanced through emotional appeal rather than logical, analytical standards. Belief in the unlimited potential of the future, the ultimate triumph of good if despair does not dominant the society. A quest for truth through novel means ... even telepathy.
As for Fresh Precure, it was the first to use computer aided animation techniques. It's nemesis, Labyrinth, exposes the danger of a society driven by mindless unity of purpose where the possiblity that the purpose is evil is ignored. It made the bold decision to make the cures chestier than the previous Pretty Cures, an idea which was scrapped with the less than definitive designs of Heartcatch Precure. It toned down the bizarre hairstyles seen in Cures Lemonade and Mint, but Peach's blonde braids were eye-catching. While guided by the theme of dance, the music used in this series was less than assertive (was that an accordion I was hearing in the transformation scene of the first half of the 50 episodes?). But the inclusion of a cure once a sworn enemy of the Pretty Cure, Cure Passion, was innovative.
In the end, the decision to reveal their secret identities to their family and community before charging off to Labyrinth was questionable. To note the danger and explain the risk to those feeling the wrath of Labyrinth would not need such drasctic action, but preserving identity as a Precure has been a trait of specific series. Complete success in Smile Precure, sketchy in Happiness Charge, totally tossed to the winds in Fresh Precure.
Wikipedia claims that the coming of Fresh Precure restored the flagging interest in the Precure franchise lost in the last episodes of Yes! Precure Five GoGo! I would believe this to be the case. But in the end, the constant recycling of new faces to keep the mega-series strong has a downside. Cure Whip must yield to Cure Yell must yield to Cure Star. This continually reinventing of the same premise will have its own version of collateral damage over the next years.
I totally forgot the meaning of "Shoujo Girls" during this anime, Besides the whole generic shoujo plot, the girls failed to keep their identity as a magical girl hidden multiple times, and even Tart fails to keep his own secret. I know that even that some shoujo girls fail to do this, but they correct that from the start.
Fresh Pretty Cure is my first Pretty Cure out of the series, and I just didn't see the point in going back and watching 50+ episodes of 2 seasons of generic shoujo.
Minus, Cure Passion and Tart, the characters are annoying. Love, who is constantly "Happy-go-lucky" nosey, and always finding a way to butt into other peoples bussiness, she's selfish and self-centred, and never seems to give a time of day to the other members feelings. Inori, whose "special" talent is to talk to animals through her Cure, I just found that unbelieveable, (yes I know, a shoujo girl anime), and Miki, whose "always" perfect, a model, a dancer, and lets not forget, a cure. Loved Miki at first, before Cure Passion came along, and knocked the other Cure's out of the way.
Cure Passion was one of the reasons I will carry on watching this anime, to see how it develops, and to see if it can anymore likeable to its shoujo girl counterparts.
Now the story, I wouldn't say it's as bad as the characters are, but it is your typical shoujo girl plot, some evil gang of evil dooers come along to rid the world of happiness, blah blah blah. It's so overused in the shoujo magic industry, I had trouble wolfing it down. Now, the evil dooers. I loved Eas, through and through, but the other two? I just couldn't understand them, why did the evil lord constantly let the idiotic one, make idiotic monsters? It made no sense, if he wanted Sorrow to be put in the gauge atleast effectively, he should've sent them both off in a team of two, or something. It just baffling.
I also couldn't understand why the Cure's were always so...overpowered, I haven't yet seen them once get hurt, and stunned so much they couldn't stand up, carry it on to the next episode, and that really bored me, I needed some sort of action, that didn't let me know what was going to happen next. As for their weapons, I just didn't see the point in their "level-up" the monsters weren't all that hard to defeat, they had no trouble at all. so why "level-up?"
Overall, I believe that if you haven't watched a shoujo girl anime before, this is the perfect anime for you, it's somewhat likeable, and had me fangirling in places. But if you hate the overused shoujo girl plot, etc. Just don't even bother starting to watch this. 7/10.