I give up. I quit. I'm done. (Probably. Maybe.) This is the 18th year of PreCure I've watched, but at last they've broken me. The franchise went to hell with its eyes open after Go! Princess PreCure was unsuccessful and Kirakira PreCure a la Mode was a hit, but I'd been hoping for a three-year cycle.
2015: Go! Princess PreCure = too scary for the target audience, didn't sell enough merchandise. (It's fantastic.)
2016: Mahoutsukai PreCure = not terrible, but meh.
2017: Kirakira PreCure a la Mode = unwatchable, despite memorable heroines and fantastic theme music.
2018: Hugutto! PreCure = actually quite good and a crossover with the mighty Nagisa and Honoka from the first two series.
2019: Star Twinkle PreCure = will erase itself from your brain, except for the fact that it goes into space and has aliens and spaceships.
2020: Healin' Good PreCure = will erase itself from your brain.
2021: Tropical-Rouge! PreCure = comes pre-erased. It won't even enter your brain in the first place. It's not significantly different from Star Twinkle and Healin' Good, to be honest, but I'll be letting rip on it anyway because "straws" and "camel's backs".
Intriguingly, they've announced some PreCure sequels for adults, airing late at night. I'll watch those. But the 2022 series is called Delicious Party PreCure and presumably it'll involve cooking and food and no no no no not another Kirakira a la Mode kill me now. I'm not planning to watch it... but I'll probably check out a few episodes anyway, just in case. And then I'll get suckered in, as usual. However, the year-long mistake I'm reviewing today has themes of motivation and responsibility, plus motifs of mermaids, oceans, tropic islands and cosmetics. Its cast includes:
(a) MANATSU NATSUUMI (Cure Summer) = the protagonist, who wants to do everything. No, really. The show's all about motivation, so Manatsu is absurdly enthusiastic about whatever's under her nose. She wants to join all the school clubs. She's always gung-ho about whatever this week's episode is about. In other words, she has no significant characterisation at all. Someone who wants everything doesn't actually want anything in particular. (The artists do, though, give her amusing facial expressions.)
Like all lead PreCures these days, she also has a contrived catchphrase word she says all the time. This time it's the word "tropical", which for her is a verb meaning "shiny, amazing, marvellous". For the first few episodes, I hoped that this might become less annoying than average. Ahahahaha, no.
(b) SANGO SUZUMURA (Cure Coral) = her family runs a beauty parlour and she loves fashion and make-up.
(c) MINORI ICHINOSE (Cure Papaya) = a bespectacled bookworm with minimal personality. Her facial expressions are so stoic as to seem robotic. She is, though, the cleverest of the gang.
(d) ASUKA TAKIZAWA (Cure Flamingo) = the tall, sporty one. She's mostly boring, but she has more complications (i.e. any at all) in her backstory, motivation and past relationships. Her focus episodes can be quite good, whereas Sango's make me lose the will to live.
(e) LAURA LA MER (Cure La Mer) = the only one worth watching. She's a mermaid, not a human, and she's determined to become the queen of Grand Ocean. She's also got a whale-sized ego and is capable of being vain and selfish. She's fun, actually.
As for the episodes, they're usually pointless. The gang forms a school club that does whatever's most recently crossed Manatsu's butterfly mind. That's it. Really. Schoolgirls do random stuff every week for a year. A generous description might be "Slice of Life". They also fight monsters (albeit lazy ones that can't really be bothered), but even this is unfortunate, because they have the worst PreCure transformation sequence ever. They put on their make-up. Lipstick! Blusher! Eyeshadow! I'm sure this would mean more to me if I were a girl who cared about make-up, but I'm not and I could hardly stand it.
The show's not actively hostile to the concept of drama (unlike Kirakira PreCure a la Mode), but I wouldn't really say it gave a toss about it either. If you want to watch the few episodes that actually resemble a normal, competent show with a point, I'd suggest episodes 17, 29, 31 and (sort of, ish) the concluding run.
Ep.33 is a bizarro episode. It's a bunch of pisstaking skits, mocking the standard tropes of magical girl shows and giving a cameo to the Heartcatch PreCure girls from 2010. (This year's PreCure movie is a crossover with them.)
The mermaid kingdom of Grand Ocean is supposedly lovely and desirable, but it might creep you out. Any mermaid who talks to a human must have her memory wiped. Not the human. The mermaid. Welcome to a happy Disney-like land of totalitarian thought police.
No. Alternatively, bloody hell. The cast, the music, the scripts... no aspect of this series stands out. It's good at being light and friendly, but it hardly ever has any content beyond that. Laura stands out, to some extent, but nothing else here will stay with you. I already can't remember the difference between this and Healin' Good PreCure (although in fact that series was still far better than this one). They're like two halves of the same void. Get outta here.