- Go! Princess PreCure
- Season 12 of the PreCure franchise
- Episodes: 50 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: YES
- One-line summary: frilly pink magical girl series, also rather good
- I've since finished it and... I want to watch other PreCure series too!
FIRST VIEWING (NOVEMBER 2016)
I'll be watching the living daylights out of this. There are quite a few rather good kiddie anime that I've ignored, since they're usually either:
1. Wannabe-idols at idol school. (The nearest I've got to this is watching all of Love Live!, which admittedly I enjoyed. That's not actually idol school, though, but just a school club. Hanayamata definitely doesn't count.)
2. Trading card game battles or some other macho fighting nonsense. (Again, yes, I've dabbled in things like Selector Infected WIXOSS, but that lacks the swaggering pre-pubescent attitude of all those.)
3. Breakdancing (e.g. Tribe Cool Crew, Brave Beats).
4. Hundreds of episodes long.
This one looks great, though, and it's about magical girls. I approve. Magical girls rule. Also, more importantly, this is easily the happiest, most optimistic thing I've watched today. It's a show that loves its friends and just wants to give the audience a big hug.
The show's riddled with imagery that's clamped on to Disney's jugular like a vampire. Princes, castles, evil queens, etc. A fantasy sequence even rips off the ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast. Anyway, our young heroine, Haruka, dreams of being a fairy tale princess and is off to boarding school. She's an excitable redhead who tends to get carried away. She meets a soothing girl with blue hair who wants to draw picture books and unwittingly embarrasses Haruka by asking what her dream is.
Magical mascot animals turn up. These claim to be fairies and do that "kill me now" annoying thing of saying their names at the end of all their sentences. The pink-Pafu flying-Pafu Pekingese is called Pafu and can sod off and die. The pink-Roma parrot-Roma is called Aroma and can do the same. Unfortunately they survive. Drat.
A villain shows up, looking a bit like a 1970s punk version of Ryuuk from Death Note. I approve of villains. This one hates dreams and sucks Blue-Haired Girl into a magical pink cage so that he can crush her future. "Dreams are pointless, that's why!" He also conjures up a huge, goofy-looking robot whose name is based on the Japanese word for "despair". However Ryuuk also wants to destroy the talking animals, so he can't be all bad.
Haruka tells off Ryuuk because he's a bad person. Haruka is my hero.
Unfortunately nothing can stop Ryuuk from squashing Haruka like a bug... or can it? "Only the Princess PreCure can save her!" Yup, Haruka's about to get a magical transformation sequence. (Two, actually. The second one's into a Disney ballgown about the size of a coach.) This show's transformations are a bit different because Haruka keeps her slip on throughout and sprays perfume everywhere. When she turns into a magical girl, flowers bloom and petals fly into the sky. The world turns pink. Haruka then takes out the giant robot with a body slam because it was about to squash a flower.
This is the proper thing. This is what magical girl shows should be. Yes, it's for little girls, but I vastly prefer it to more grown-up shows like Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. (There are things I like in Nanoha, but the show starts badly and then mostly keeps going downhill.) There's something irrepressibly happy and positive about this kind of children's show. I'm already cheerleading for this one.
SECOND VIEWING (MAY 2020)
This was the first PreCure series I ever watched. Now, I'm watching them all from the beginning... so what did I think of this on second viewing?
Firstly, Haruna's an interesting lead PreCure. She's more specific than the usual template. She wants to be a princess and she seems to think that you can achieve this by really wanting it. To achieve this goal, she's going to a boarding school, Noble Academy.
"You can't become a princess!" chant some small boys. They're cruel, but they have a point.
"Yes, you can," disagrees Kanata. "If it's your dream to become a princess, you can. Dreams have a lot of power."
This boy is irresponsible. That's actually a bit uncomfortable, if you think about it. As it happens, Haruna's going to become a "Princess PreCure" and so her dream will soon be coming true, sort of, but in general that's not a nice message to be telling a young, impressionable girl. Incidentally, I spy some significant names. "Haruna" in Japanese means "distant, remote, far off", while "kanata" means "beyond, across, distance, the other side".
(Kanata's a prince, though, so there's still the knicker-dropping route into the royal family. We're probably not meant to be thinking that in a children's show, though.)
Anyway, Haruna settles into her new school, meets Yui (I remember I loved her in the series as a whole) and has an interestingly strong reaction to Minami Kaido. I can imagine two explanations of the latter. Either Haruna's a lesbian or she was simply overreacting to the elegant, well-bred, aristocratic Minami as if to a princess. Switches tripped in her brain. Or, perhaps, both.
This year's baddies are scary-ish. (Hurrah! I approve.) They're menacing in the title sequence, while Close has shark teeth, a punk outfit and spikes all over his outfit. I admired Haruna's courage when she stood up to him (without even any PreCure powers). That had some emotional weight, for me. I also loved the scenes where she defended Yui's dream and protected the flower.
In short: one of PreCure's stronger episodes. This year's started well. I already admire Haruna, I'm going to love Yui and I've got Cure Scarlet to look forward to. I'm going to enjoy this.