Welcome back to Simulcast Corner! This week, we’re gonna take a look at a new series that I was a little scared to jump into, but when I did, I never wanted to turn back. So let’s decide our favorite colors, get ourselves some CGi transformation sequences, and return to the ridiculous show that is PreCure – but this time with Princesses!
Though many of you know me to be the fun-loving, magical girl-obsessed writer of this column, you might be shocked to realize that I am, in fact, not that big a fan of the PreCure (Pretty Cure) magical girl franchise. Maybe it is because I can smell the merchandising rights from a mile away, or that the repetitive nature of the brand as a whole is beyond noticeable, but I could never sink my teeth into why so many people liked this show. But then, suddenly, promotional material for the latest PreCure series popped up all over the internet, and I began to have a faint interest. Why? The theme was princesses and fairies. Yep. Got me, hook, line and sinker.
Now, of course, I wasn’t expecting Princess PreCure to be any sort of masterpiece. This a show made almost exclusively for elementary school kids, and is no way intended for my 25-year-old self to really become invested in. But never did that stop myself from at least taking a bite of what was offered. So, from the 5 episodes I have seen, here is what I can tell you:
The Opening Scene Of The Show Is The Same as Utena.
In the first episode of Princess PreCure, we meet our lead Haruka, a little girl who’s number one dream is to become a princess. A young boy appears next to her, decorated in white, with long purple hair framing his face. He then tells Haruka that she should never give up on her dream, as it will one day come true. He disappears into the sky, leaving Haruka with only a small, dress shaped charm in her hands. If this opening at all sounds the slightest bit familiar to you, it’s because Revolutionary Girl Utena started off almost exactly the same, minus a few details (ring instead of a necklace, prince was the goal, not princess, etc.) Is it a rip off, or a tribute? I’ll go more for a second option, as I always love seeing other shows of the same genre reference series of the past. Though I doubt PreCure will ever get as “David Lynch-like” as Utena did, the small homage was lovely none the less.
This Ain’t The Usual Introductions
Typically, most magical girl members are introduced within the first 4 to 6 episodes. They get their magical transformation moment, learn of their destiny, blah blah, rinse and repeat. But in Princess PreCure, we get a bit of a different kind of introduction to our leading ladies. Haruka (Cure Flora) and Minami (Cure Mermaid) get the pretty traditional moments to get their new powers, but the same can’t be said for Kirara (Cure Twinkle). When introduced to the PreCure girls, Kirara yawns and walks away without any sort of interest, and after her first battle, she hands back her transformation pendant, and says she doesn’t have time to be a PreCure. This sort of unexpected reaction is truly hilarious, and is played with perfect comedic effect. Of course, she’s eventually somehow gonna be part of the gang (as the opening sequence shows), but the moments between now and then are sure to be hilarious.
How To Choreograph Fight Sequences 101
One thing that is hard not to notice with Princess PreCure is its fight sequences. No, I’m not talking about the individualized attacks of the girls themselves, but the scenes in which they punch, kick, scream, all in fancy dresses and high heels. If there was anything to make you incredibly depressed with how awful Sailor Moon Crystal looks in comparison, this would be the thing to put the cherry on that emotional sundae. The speed and fluidity of their movement is gorgeous, especially with Cure Flora’s first fight in episode one. Take note, Toei, this is what we want in all our magical girl franchises!
The Proper Use of CGi in Anime
I’ll be honest, I really, REALLY hate the new trend in anime of using CGi elements with the character animation. But, I can happily say that Princess PreCure is really the only series to properly understand how to use this element like a pro. The body movement is much less awkward and creepy here than in other series (
coughCRYSTALcough), and works with the character designs well enough, that at some points, I forget that they aren’t even hand drawn at times. Hopefully this is a sign of further advancements in this recent animation choice, and maybe future incarnations of other magical girl franchises will get the same level of quality in their CGi portions.
With all these discoveries and more, I can say I am officially addicted to this latest PreCure. It taps into all my sparkly, princess, pastel fantasies, along with featuring kick-butt girls at the helm. The stories are fun, ridiculous, yet interesting, and bring just as much of the nostalgic elements of my childhood, along with the modern magical girl tropes, that make it a pleasure to watch. Bring on the sparkles, Princess PreCure! I’m ready for all the doki-doki, mahou shoujo feels!