Somewhere in the universe there exists a place called Märchenland, where characters from fairy tales mingled together. Near the corner of Märchenland exists a world called Bad End Kingdom, where the antagonists of all fairy tales gathered. However, the Evil Emperor Pierrot of the Bad End Kingdom decided to invade the country and sealed away its Queen, while his minions traveled to Earth to collect Bad Energy and give the whole world the "Worst Ending". In order for the Queen to be revived and prevent the "Worst Ending" from happening, Candy, a fairy from Märchenland must gather the 5 legendary warriors called Pretty Cures to collect the Cure Décor, tokens of happiness that has been stolen and hidden away during the kingdom's attack. To gather them, Candy follows the 5 Beams of Light to Earth and it's there that she meets Miyuki Hoshizora, a transfer student from Nanairogaoka Middle School, who is already running late on her first day of class...
Just to be clear -unlike the previous reviewers, I will mainly be talking about Smile Pretty Cure, not Glitter Force. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4sIiNUwJ3U I've been a fan of Pretty Cure for 3 years, and Smile was the second season that I finished watching (after DokiDoki). A little over a year later, the dubbed version was announced. Like many fans, I was disappointed in the name change. My initial reaction was, "Really Saban? That is the best title you could come up with? The dub, in my opinion, is alright. I would give it a solid C+, as it has good voice acting and it a bit enjoyable at times, but several annoying changes and localization, especially constantly talking during the team's transformations is very, very aggregating to me, but enough with that. Let's get on to reviewing the original Japanese show. Most magical girl shows aimed at young girl essentially have similar plots. For this season of PreCure, a second-year middle school student named Miyuki Hoshizora (Emily) has recently moved to Nanairogaoka (Rainbow Hills,yet another really dumb sounding name change) as a transfer student to the local middle school. She meets a fairy from Marchenland (Jubiland, probably the only change that I find better than the original) who needs to recruit five heroes along with her older brother Pop to save their homeland and their mother, who happens to be the Queen. Four of Miyuki's new classmates join the team and become Smile PreCure (the Glitter Force). While the story, once again, is very typical for most magical girl animes, I still find it pretty fun, which is to be expected of anyone who is a fan of the genre such as myself. The animation is pretty nice, and probably my second favorite in the franchise right behind HeartCatch's. The soundtrack just like all the other seasons is spectacular, especially the transformation theme (which of course was cut out of the dub). Although I despised the main character at first, she definitely grew on me as I watched more episodes. The only character who I really couldn't get into was Cure Beauty (Glitter Breeze). I found her rather plain and unrelatable, but that's just me. In the dub I don't find Glitter Peace as charming as in the original. I definitely expected Saban to cut the episode about her father dying, which was still a disappointment. I feel that in the dub a bit of her personality was lost other than being a shy mangaka. Another thing that bugs me is for those who have only seen the dub are quick to call it a "Sailor Moon" rip-off when newsflash, both Pretty Cure and Sailor Moon were produced by the same studio. Not the same exact creator, but both made by Toei Animation. Overall I'd recommend Smile Pretty Cure to anyone who enjoys the magical girl genre. As for the dub, if you want to watch it, I highly advise you watch the original first subbed first and make your own conclusions. As I mentioned previously, as someone who enjoyed the original show in Japanese, I can appreciate the dub a little bit, but some of that classic Pretty Cure charm is just lost in it.
Well, gee, I noticed there was only one proper review for Smile and three for something which doesn't exist. So, let me just get this out of the way right at the beginning: Smile Pretty Cure! is the best comedy in the franchise (not the best show, that would be Hugtto). In fact, it's a damned good comedy show in general. Smile had me laughing out loud a lot. (Cure Gorilla! LOL) But be warned: Smile also features one of the most sick, twisted villains in the franchise and the Mood Whiplash he causes when he gets serious will make your head spin. The TLDR version of this review: Go watch it. It's not perfect, it's not high art, but it is highly entertaining and a very good entry point into Precure for anyone unfamiliar with the franchise. So go for it. Before I get into the rest, I'll give a summary similar to how I did in my Star Twinkle review: Things I loved about Smile Precure: The comedy. Seriously this is the funniest shit I've seen since Pickle Rick. And I haven't seen Pickle Rick. The characters. All of them, except the terminally generic Emperor Pierrot, are great. Yayoi. Yeah, you could group her under the previous point, but she deserves special mention. Ditto, Joker. He's just such a damn good villain. The delicious contrast of the silly episodes (which is most of them) vs. the seriously dark ones Things I liked about Smile Precure: As silly as most of it is, they manage to give all of the main characters significant development The character design and art are pretty good. No complaints here, although Reika ironically seems to have gotten the short end of the stick. Dat plot twist at the end of Wolfrun, Majolina, and Akaoni's final fight. Things I disliked about Smile Precure: Emperor Pierrot was dumb and generic. Royale Candy is such an ass-pull. Things I hated about Smile Precure: Pffft there's nothing to hate about this show! I hate when I can't hate anything! Meh: Neither the OP nor either of the EDs is particularly good. Oh well, can't win em all, and they're not really bad. The fairly weak and simple plot. If Smile has one weak point, it would be the overall plot. I'm told the director decreed that it should be "simple", and boy, did he get it. If you've seen almost any magical girl show before, you've seen the same basic story as is played out in Smile, and Smile does it twice. It's not the first Precure to do that, but it's notable in an otherwise-strong entry like Smile. Speaking of weak points, the ultimate villain, the Big Bad, Emperor Pierrot, is also fairly uninteresting and generic. Fortunately, he only shows up twice, and the rest of the time the antagonist's mantle is taken up by actual villain Joker, and his bumbling lieutenants Akaoni, Majolina (sometimes romanized Witchylina), and Wolfrun, all of which are strong characters in their own right and contribute a lot to the show being so entertaining. With its generic plot, Smile is a show that lives and dies on the strength of its characters and their interactions, and it lives gloriously. The Cures Miyuki Hoshizora is admittedly, kind of dumb. That's okay though, because she's not as dumb as Hikaru, and she has more positive traits which more than make up for it. She syncs well with Yayoi, the other dork on the team, she's a wonderful goofball always on the lookout for fun, she loves fairy tales (good thing Candy literally comes from the land of fairy tales), and yet she has a strong enough grounding in what matters most to see her and her team through some of the darkest times ever inflicted on a Precure team. She also makes a darn good Cinderella. Akane Hino is a hot-blooded sporty Osakan tomboy comedian short-order cook who loves to get fired up. This girl is on fire. Literally, sometimes. She also becomes adorably awkward and dorky when she develops a crush on an exchange student, and when she and the rest of the team meet a comedy duo she's a long time fan of and enter a contest with them. She's also gay for Nao, but then so is everyone else. She's a pretty good pony, too. Yayoi Kise is a shy, robot-loving artist who aspires to be a manga-ka. She's also a massive dork, and so moemoe she squeaks when using her own attack, earning her the nickname Thundersqueaker. She's arguably the cutest Cure in the franchise although I would argue for Lala. Through her friendship with the other Cures, she discovers courage and strength, but she always remains a geek at heart. She's the best fairy godmother ever. Nao Midorikawa is a super-oneesama with a crap-ton of siblings and an affinity for sports, particularly soccer and track. Sound like Elena from Star Twinkle? Elena wishes she had half the character of Nao. She's the team mom both at home and for the Cures. She's also terrified of bugs and ghosts. Her focus episode with the race was amazing. And she makes a right cute mouse. Reika Aoki takes the "cool beauty" trope to extremes, and then turns it on its head. She's also about as traditional a Blue as you can get. She's an ojou, she's an archer, she runs for student council president and worries (frequently) about her path in life. Sound like Madoka from Star Twinkle? She's what Madoka should have been. Also, Joker licks her hair. And she makes a damn fine Prince Charming. (That Cinderella episode is a trip, if you can't tell) The Bad End Akaoni is one classy oni with a big fro. I think someone watched a bit of Excel Saga, saw Nabeshin, and thought, "There's a good look for a villain!" He's dumb as a box of rocks, but combined with the other two lieutenants, it works. Akaoni may have been inspired by Nabeshin, but Wolfrun was apparently inspired by the line "I saw a werewolf drinkin a pina colada at Trader Nick's. His hair was perfect." from Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London." His crass attitude and his tendecy to get cutely flustered at odd times make him my favorite. Majolina is probably what you'd get if Mihoshi Kuramitsu of Tenchi Muyo fame turned into an evil witch with a penchant for inventing strange contraptions and potions. She's pretty damned silly sometimes. Unlike certain Star Twi villains who shall remain nameless, any one of them could've had a believable redemption arc. One villain who could not, though, is Joker. He's a twisted, sadistic, scheming, devil of a man who will stop at nothing to revive Emperor Pierrot. Some men may just want to watch the world burn, but Joker wants to watch the people despair as the world burns.
Netflix recently launched Glitter Force as an original. In this case it just means that they are the only way to watch it in the United States. That being said, they gave it the treatment you might be used to if you watched anime back in the 90's. Change the names, change the voices, basically rewrite the story to fit what the company thinks its target demographic will enjoy. In this case, that would be young girls. Now, I'm not saying that this show, being a magic girl anime that uses heaping doses of glitter spewed from a compact, was made for anyone but young girls, but usually I can get some enjoyment out of the genre before abandoning it all together. That being said, the changes are just too much. There is no option for changing to the original Japanese dub either. You watch it in English or not at all. Here is what I don’t like: The voice acting is not terrible, but it’s not good either. Even the smallest changes to the dialog are noticeable. The characters are super generic, especially for a show with as much material as this one, which is made even worse by the changes in dialog and story. It is a bit childish but I get the feeling that the original had the same feel so I’m not going to knock it for that. So, I can’t give this show a proper review, but I can say I don’t like what I’ve seen on Netflix.
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