- It's a film: Mahoutsukai PreCure the Movie: The Miraculous Transformation! Cure Mofurun!, enjoyable but not first rate
- It's a film: Pretty Cure All Stars: Singing with Everyone Miraculous Magic!, which is a solid film and pretty good.
- Mahoutsukai PreCure!
- Maho Girls PreCure!
- Witchy Pretty Cure!
- Season 13
- Episode 1: "A Miracle, Magical Encounter! The Birth of the Magical Pretty Cure!"
- Episodes: 50 x 24 minutes, plus movies
- Keep watching: obviously
- One-line summary: old-fashioned magical girl anime
- I've since finished it and... the first half's lovely, but to my astonishment the second half was a slog
FIRST VIEWING: NOVEMBER 2017
It's the only old-school magical girl anime that's still going. There's a conversation to be had about the Sailor Moon revival, but Lyrical Nanoha doesn't count. It's unwatchable, obviously, but also these days it's a shounen-style tournament fighting series that happens to have female protagonists. Little girls aren't its target audience, which is why I'm also excluding Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya.
Of all those shows, PreCure is the only one that's not ashamed of its traditional demographic. It's for little girls. It's pink. It's light and happy. This episode's excited and enthusiastic about witches, as indeed is its protagonist, Mirai Asahina. She's thirteen, but she carries her teddy bear everywhere and she's clearly the heroine of a children's show. She's full of energy. She smiles a lot.
She sees a witch (Riko Izayoi). It's in the show's title, after all. "Mahoutsukai" means "magic-user". Riko's riding a broomstick, wearing a witch's hat and flying in the open with no concern about being seen. Does she think she has invisibility, perhaps? If so, it's on the blink.
There's a villain, although he's a bit bland. He's called Batty and you can think of him as the most generic, anonymous vampire in the world. He's looking for Linkle Stones, which is a slightly bathetic name. He creates a Silly Transformed Monster of the Week, as usual, which here is an evil transformation truck. This is a bit daft... but then eventually it turns out to be oddly awesome to have our girls being threatened by a GIGANTIC FLYING TRUCK. You'd fill your trousers if a truck flew through the air at you. I particularly liked the scene where the girls defy Batty even while hanging in mid-air high above the city.
Downside: the mascot character who says "mofu". That's the only PreCure tradition I could live without.
I love PreCure. It's a charming franchise, albeit one that usually gets ignored by Western otaku because: (a) we're not six years old, and (b) the show's been churning out fifty episodes a year for thirteen years now. It's iconic. This episode has two girls punching out a truck. PreCure can be cartoonish and repetitive, as you're liable to get from almost any show for an audience of this age, but I think it's capable of finding unexpected power in its innocence.
One last anecdote. Tomoko has a friend in Japan with a daughter slightly younger than Natsuki. One day, this daughter (aged about two or three) was being particularly stroppy. "If you don't do as I say, you can't be a PreCure!" said the mother. The daughter went silent and immediately did as she was told.
PreCure is awesome.
SECOND VIEWING: JUNE 2020
My PreCure marathon has reached Mahoutsukai. There are competing lame attempts at anglicising this, like Maho Girls and Witchy. I'd be okay with "Magic User", but I'm happiest with, y'know, its actual name.
Anyway, back in 2017, I think I'd been overimpressed with Go Princess and so was expecting too much from Mahoutsukai. This time, I was pleasantly surprised. It's a strong first episode. It made Natsuki and me laugh. I appreciate the way magic users fit so naturally with magical girls. I'd even forgotten how much I love the theme music.
Mirai's lovable and everything you'd want from a Pink PreCure Protagonist. Riko's funny in her attempted dignity and her magical failures, although the episode's not making fun of her. She's not a butt monkey. I also laughed at the way she casually told Mirai the muggle about her dropped teddy bear, with no attempt at concealment. It's as if Riko hasn't realised that people might be surprised to see a witch flying on a broomstick. (Naturally, Mirai goes mental.)
I also really like Mofurun, who's not just another flipping fairy. She means more than that. She's Mirai's teddy bear. "If it were possible, I'd really like to talk to her."
The action's pretty good, although the airborne scenes could have been scarier. (I think they were backpedalling away from "scary" after Go Princess.) The baddie's obviously a vampire. (Fangs, cloak-wings, hangs upside-down from trees.)
I was reminded of Harry Potter, though. I'd had similar thoughts with Go Princess and its English-style boarding school, but dismissed them. Harry Potter had finished years ago by this point. Here, the parallels are stronger, but it's not a problem. I'm fine with it.
Cute dancing on the end titles, too.