Pretty Cure

Alt title: Futari wa Pretty Cure

TV (49 eps)
2004 - 2005
Winter 2004
2.968 out of 5 from 2,423 votes
Rank #6,719

The sporty Nagisa and the bookish Honoka are ordinary middle school students, but when two strange creatures called Mepple and Mipple force them together to form the magical girl squad Pretty Cure, their differences soon give way to a developing friendship. But being a hero of the Light is not all roses! Will there be enough time for studying, playing lacrosse and cute boys in between their battles against minions of evil?

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Story: I like my mahou-shoujo, I don't tend to see them all as Sailor Moon copies, but Futari Wa PreCure just is that. With no story what it made up itself, the story drags along for 50-odd episodes doing exactly the same as Sailor Moon, yet doing it badly. 2 girls who aren't that likeable, added up with 2 little irritating familiars who make the girls transform with magical phones of all things, fight aliens (sometimes taking the forms of vacuums and other inanimate household objects) and are out to return these rainbow gems to a place called The Garden of Light. They finally get all 7 stones, and what do they do? They lose them all over again, and have to REPEAT THE WHOLE PROCESS. So prepare yourself for more uninteresting alien fights as they collect the same things for about 30 more miserable episodes. Animation: I found the animation in this very tacky and dull, I almost didn't want to look at it- it made me look like some kind of master artist in comparison. There wasn't really anything good about it, what happenned to the normal tradition of anime characters having bright, awesome hair styles in an array of crazy colours? No, every single character looks like your typical average joe, each more boring than the next. Who were the animators and designers for this show? O_O Sound: A lot of irritating little jingly tunes were used in this show, and that was it. Even the opening song didn't do the show justice, best to watch this on mute just reading the subtitles. Characters: Perhaps the most boring sets of characters its ever been my misfortune to learn about. The only one that showed any vague promise to me was the guy that Nagisa had a crush on, but even he was boring. Overall: Maybe for 5 year old girls who can't tell fillers from good storylines would like this, but other than them I doubt anyone would find this much of a show. I can't believe they've managed to span about 7 series from it!! Watch some other Mahou-Shoujo like Sailor Moon or Tokyo Mew Mew.


So here we have the rise of the Pretty Cure ... or so we are led to believe. There are three things I found fascinating about the Precure series. First, there is the utter astonishment a girl undergoes when she first transforms into a cure.  The big hair.  The bodacious garments.  The eerie understanding of what is happening when she works the transformation device for the first time.  To find out how otherly precury she has become ... and then to clumsily go about finding and using that power! Second, those precious moments when one team of precures discover that another team of precures exist.  There are other precures other than us?  This was the bold move of Toei's short animation Precure Super Star Dream GoGo (or something like this), a five-minute short where the teams of Max Heart, Splash Star and Yes! Precure 5 wander into a rock concert, find that it is being hazarded by some sinister force of darkness, and simultaneously transform.  Surprise!  There are ten of you.  Not three, or two, or five, but a whopping ten!  More than enough to beat on the forces of evil that could ruin the music festival. I note this second thrill before moving on with what would be the first of the Precure adventures for a good reason.  I would have this same experience.  I entered the world of Pretty Cure through the western backdoor.  Glitter Force and Glitter Force Doki Doki.  I once believed the whole of this world consisted of nine super-powered girls (ten, however you determine Regina's role at the end the the GF version of Doki Doki).  Then, a little research led me to the work of Toei Animation, and that there were far more than ten (I'm lenient with Regina) GLITTER FORCE WARRIORS.  Imagine, all this time, and I had never heard of the word precure before this.  I began this new adventure with viewing the eight Smile Precure episodes not in the Glitter Force collection, realized the scope of offering a Japanese mindset in terms understood to an American audience.  Then, I began viewing Happiness Charge Precure, and dabbled with the Go! Princess and Yes! Precure 5 Gogo! before thinking of tracing the series back to its beginnings. Beginnings.  Yes, this leads to the last of the three fascinations with Pretty Cure.  Though we are to meet Cure Black and Cure White, the beleaguered citizens of the Kingdom of Light knew that they were soon to once more call upon the legendary warriors of Pretty Cure.  In other words, Black and White are but two in a long-running series of unnamed heroes.  Not the ultimate first cures, but someplace where Toei could begin their own series of mega-hits.  This is refreshingly fortunate.  No need for origin stories.  No rockets blasting off from doomed planets.  No radioactive spiders.  No massive doses of gamma rays. Just two girls striking out on their own paths, united in the purpose of being one of the legendary warriors called on to save the world.  Daunting tasks at first, but in the long run ... no biggee. And the two girls I first became acquainted with, by the power of the dub.  Natalie Blackstone and Hannah Whitehouse (now, who was Cure Black and Cure White again?).  With the coming of Max Heart, I got used to Nagisa and Hanaka.  But, I was surprised that such a market found Canada and the UK.  America was missed, and we're all the poorer for it. The strength of Pretty Cure is that of the conflicts of contrasting personalities.  The opening theme is replete with scenes of the two girls walking by each other without noticing.  Nagisa is a carefree slacker in all things school, a gifted athlete in lacrosse, with a metabolism which enables her to consume whole grocery store aisles with nary a pound added to thin frame.  Hanaka is a studious science geek with a calm reserve around boys.  A trait which Nagisa simply does not have ... at least for one boy.  The first episodes explores the idea of how these two different personalities could function together as precure, much less be friends.  Each girl has her own like-minded set of friends, Nagisa's teammates and Hanaka's fellow Science Club members.  But each girl learns to understand the special features of the other.  Such as Natalie's friends can be comfortable with calling her Natie ... a privilege which Natie gives to Hanaka. Once the barriers of different tastes and backgrounds are surmounted, the friendship between the two girls deepen, a trait that is necessary with the series of conflicts with the forces ofthe Dark KIngdom.  Episodes switch between each girl growing and maturing toward their graduation from middle school and the battles with the individual warriors of the Dark King.  One by one, the enemies are routed and the friendship of Nagisa and Hanaka are cemented. The issue of the conflicting personalities will be altered (as Cure Black's uniform) in the second series of Max Heart and the discovery of the mysterious personality in the new precure Hikari.  Till then, the girls sing, explore and experiment, enjoy each other's company, triumph in lacrosse, and suffer the despair of separation.  Good themes in a tale of friendship overcoming adversity and the limitations in a life perceived to be somehow different. The animation is not the best, as one sees when fans watch the Hugtto Futari wa Precure Movie (Memories) of two years ago.  But the music, the opening theme and the closings, set the stage for the long-running series.  Check out the ending of the previously mentioned Precure Super Stars movie.  It rocks to the Futari Wa Pretty Cure theme. Cure Black and Cure White are not ultimately the first of the legendary warriors.  But they have set in motion a phenom which I hope will see its 20th year in a few more years.

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