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ThatAnimeSnob

  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Joined Dec 22, 2011
  • 42 / M

Just to make it clear, I am not a Precure fan, I am not following the franchise and I haven’t completed a single season beyond this one. The reason is because I find it childish. It was fine when Sailor Moon was airing, since it was breaking the mold of what mahou shojo is all about and there was nothing else similar to it on television. After it ended I moved to the Kamen Rider and Garo franchises and left behind more kid friendly stuff like the Precure franchise, which is walking safely on the established stereotypes of Sailor Moon, only with far more watered down dark themes and way more blatant toy-selling tricks.

Despite all that, Heartcatch is standing out amongst the numerous Precure seasons for its far livelier artstyle, which makes the battles far more exciting and the slapstick jokes way funnier. In other words, it’s all about the pretty colors and I’ll be damned if I say that is enough to deem the show good. Yes, it does look pretty good for a kid show aimed at little girls yet mostly watched by adult males, but what I always care the most is plot and characters. After all, the same style was used in Casshern Sins and Saint Seiya Omega, which I consider to be below average.

The story begins in a promising way, as the villains defeat the heroine and take over her magic tree of happiness or something. This tells us right away that they are powerful from the get-go and that the stakes are high. The trademark mascot critters run away to find replacements before it’s too late, which leads us to the introduction of our heroines, Timid-chan and Bold-chan. They have actual names but this is how I prefer to call them since everything in these shows is color-coded and archetype-based. They make an ok antithesis to keep things funny and engaging without being something that special as a duo.

Then in a typical Sailor Moon fashion the critters appear and warn the girls that they need to become magical girls or the tree will wither if the villains steal enough heart flowers and create monsters with them. A catchy detail is that the monsters are always a projection of the negative thoughts of the victim, which is a simple way of offering introspection to the cast. Not that it means much if we won’t be seeing most of the victims for more than one episode, but it’s still better than random demons with no relevance to what is going on.

Another nice touch is how they bother to show you can’t instantly use newfound powers, as the girls suck at fighting at first. It gives room for improvement and development, which makes a mostly episodic series not that stale when you binge watch it. And if you are wondering how do they stand a chance against the bad guys who defeated even expert Precures, it’s because there is always a Tuxedo Mask type of character saving their asses every time they are in trouble. He is not called that by the way but that’s what he is basically and it’s still nothing more than plot armor.

From there, things move in a rather standard way, as the girls go around beating monsters created out of negative thoughts and having the mascots shitting heart seeds (seriously, that’s what they do) for increasing the hit points of the magic tree. I liked how they always try to make the issue the victim of the episode is going through to be related with something they are doing, but other than that it’s pretty straightforward and predictable.

You are just waiting for the villains to do something else other than attacking random civilians; those episodes are always the most exciting ones. And no, just watching the highlights is not making the show better because they are not letting you get accustomed to the characters during their moments or relaxation. That is what destroyed the Sailor Moon remake.

Anyways, the big showdowns are cool but they are also coming down to last moment saves, which I hate. The Tuxedo Mask wannabe is always saving the day, and even Cure Moonlight is still alive, despite her apparent death in the first episode. The show is refusing to let bad consequences last permanently, which is also what prevents it from being anything beyond average.

I mean, the villains eventually manage to wither the heart tree, which should signal the end of the world, but it doesn’t because hope exists even without magic protection. If that is the case, what was the point of going after it in the first place? Better yet, why don’t they simply kill the Precures and be done with it, since only they seem to be able to defeat their monsters, and instead just constantly defeat them before running away? Yes, one of them is a relative to the heroines and it sort of makes sense why he wouldn’t really want to hurt them, but it still doesn’t explain why the main villain didn’t make sure he was loyal or was doing his job correctly. I know it’s a kid show, I am simply questioning what the villains were trying to accomplice for over 40 episodes.

Anyways, the final 5 episodes were almost non-stop action in space, and have one of the most spectacular endings in the genre. If you want sakuga, you will get it in spades. It’s just that everything plays out in a safe way and you are never made to believe they can lose, so the expected victory feels lukewarm because there is no actual tension or something bad that wasn’t undone and everything went back to normal.

So my final impressions for the show are that it carries a lot of punch but has very little impact. It’s certainly very entertaining as a straightforward magical girl show but if you expect anything more other than pretty colors and a predictable plot, you won’t like it. In fact, I find it hard to recommend it even for the animation when something like Flip Flappers is airing right now and has all the fans of sakuga going crazy. It didn’t age very well, it’s not that interesting in terms of plot or cast, and if this is the best season in the franchise you can just imagine what a bore the rest of them are. Can’t recommend it as anything more than a time passer.

5/10 story
8/10 animation
8/10 sound
6/10 characters
6.5/10 overall

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