Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure

Alt title: Hirogaru Sky! Precure

TV (43+ eps)
2023 - ?
Winter 2023
3.892 out of 5 from 75 votes
Rank #1,546

The story set in two places with Precure girls: the heavenly realm Skyland and Sorashido, a city surrounded by nature. One day, Skyland's young Princess El was snatched by a monster of the Underg Empire. Sora Harewataaru, a brave girl who aspires to be a hero, follows the princess into a mysterious hole — and emerges in another world at the city of Sorashido. Sora encounters a second-year junior high school girl named Mashiro Nijigaoka and ends up living with El at Mashiro's home.

Source: ANN

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Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure is the celebratory 20th anniversary season I've been waiting for since Star Twinkle PC (17th season, so it's been a good wait).  For those who are making Hirogaru Sky! their first Pretty Cure experience, they are taking in a superior show, an anthem to the ideals of heroism, a salute to the antics of 77 magic girls ... and counting.  To those who have seen a few seasons, they could claim that Hirogaru Sky! ranks high among the quality pieces.  But for those rare diehard fans who have seen every episode of every season ... a treasure trove! The first decade of Pretty Cure was a colossus of the heavily themed, formula driven epic performance.  The second decade half tweaked, half scraped this formulaic approach, learning that there is a fatal flaw in going too far with what works.  Hirogaru Sky! works a perfect blend of the traditional and the trick.  And this while the theme of magic girls rising to meet the threat of despair plays on. For example, for about the last eighteen years, the first cure to be introduced is typically the pink cure, who becomes the leader of the precure team.  In Hirogaru Sky!, the pink cure comes last.  The MC appears to be the blue cure and the rare white cure as her sidekick.  Boys are never included as Pretty Cure, but this time around, Cure Wing becomes the first boy to function for a whole season (Cure Infini of Hugtto! flared up for a single episode ... big whoop! ... and Black Pepper of last year's Delicious Party PC doesn't gain cure status ... just Cure Precious' undying friendship for him and the other girls).  Girls tend to be 13-14 years of age.  Cure Butterfly (that pink cure I mentioned before) must be around 20, as she has completed practicum for childcare service.  But half the enjoyment of Hirogaru Sky! is the latent references to past Pretty Cure memories.  In the opening theme, Cure Prism draws Cure Sky to her feet (ala Cure Black doing this for Cure White in the first season Futari wa Pretty Cure).  In the closing theme, the Hirogaru Sky! girls do the traditional dance sequence on a stage emblazoned with symbols of past PC seasons.  For the diehard fans, they will notice these things and cherish those 20 years (or twenty years slammed down in three years of catch-up viewing). But let's get to this season.  All Pretty Cure seasons have themes, and heroism is this year's guiding principle.  Sora Harewataru, young lass of the land of Skyland, had been rescued as a child, and this inspires her to become a hero.  She gets her chance to save little baby Princess Ellee from the grips of the sinister Undergu Empire.  While chasing the villain, she is transported to Japan, where she becomes Cure Sky to whup on the henchman.  She meets Mashiro Nijigaoka (Cure Prism) who supports her efforts to achieve hero-status.  Slowly added to the team is Cure Wing, a member of a bird species of Skyland that can transform to human shape, in his case a boy enraptured with flight.  Then Cure Butterfly, who was Mashiro's baby-sitter and is pursuing the career of nursery schoolteacher.  Her training helps us gain insight about Ellee's maturation from baby to ...  Here I am not so certain, for Elle is more magical than royal, being the Child of Destiny fated to restore Skyland from the threat of the Undergu Empire (oops, there she is, the fifth member of the Precure team, Cure Majesty). Hirogaru Sky! works to improve on the lackluster villain of the previous 'family friendly' seasons of the later second decade.  They run the gamut of the villain types seen in the pervious twenty years, from the strength driven Minoton to the incompetent Kobaton.  Hirogaru Sky! flirts with the typical three generals-one boss formula, keeping the powers of darkness at bay and still a mystery to unravel as we enter the last third of the season. The animation techniques of Toei Animation ever improve, highlighted in the closing dance routine, a trademark of the Pretty Cure franchise.  The music remains upbeat and uplifting.  Pretty Cure has been the anthem for young girls wondering what their futures hold. And for year twenty-one, I hope to see new visions with those old familiars.

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