DokiDoki!SmileHappinessChargeGo! Princess
Pretty Cure All Stars: Spring Carnival
Also known as: Pretty Cure All Stars: Haru no Carnival
Medium: film
Year: 2015
Director: Junji Shimizu
Writer: Mio Inoue
Actor: Haruka Tomatsu, Hibiku Yamamura, Masumi Asano, Megumi Han, Megumi Nakajima, Rina Kitagawa, Yu Shimamura, Ami Koshimizu, Asami Tano, Atsuhiko Nakata, Fumie Mizusawa, Hitomi Nabatame, Kanae Oki, Minako Kotobuki, Misato Fukuen, Miyuki Kobori, Nana Mizuki, Naoko Matsui, Nao Toyama, Orie Kimoto, Shiho Kokido, Shingo Fujimori, Tomokazu Seki, Youko Honna, Yukana, Yuko Sanpei
Keywords: Futari wa, Splash Star, Yes! PreCure 5, Fresh, HeartCatch, Suite, Smile, DokiDoki!, HappinessCharge, Go! Princess, PreCure, anime, magical girl
Series: << PreCure team-up movie >>
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 75 minutes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 2 September 2020
I'd barely call that a movie. It's a TV variety show where all the PreCures perform their theme songs, with occasional movie-like features. There are baddies and eventually fight scenes (after almost an hour, for only five minutes). The nearest you could get to a spoiler would be a playlist.
That said, though, I also really enjoyed it. I loved it even back in 2016, when I'd only seen Go! Princess and had never heard of the other 37 PreCures from the previous eleven years of the franchise. (I thought it was total nonsense, but I still had a ball.) Today, rewatching it, I enjoyed it just as much. It's a happy, good-natured love letter to PreCure and all their music, including some refreshing choices. They've used lots of end themes. Each PreCure season normally gets three theme songs (one opener and two closers), but it's the openers that normally get all the attention.
Mind you, this film must have been cheap. Each theme song performance is basically a music video, including lots of clips from the original TV series. There are also new CGI dance sequences, though.
These are the relevant film soundtrack album tracks. Remember that an anime theme song lasts 90 seconds in its TV version, which for ten PreCure teams makes fifteen minutes of a 75-minute film. What's more, that excludes lots of incidental music, plus five minutes of movie-original songs.
1st [16:16] = "You make me happy!", 1st ending for Fresh (year 6)
2nd [18:52] = "Yay! Yay! Yay!", 1st ending for Smile (year 9)
3rd [20:22] = "Yes Pretty Cure 5, Full Throttle GO GO!", 2nd-season opening for Yes! 5 Go Go (years 4-5). Someone had a tough decision here, since Yes! had two years and so theoretically six theme songs, although one of those (Ganbalance de Dance) was used twice and came from Splash Star anyway. Here, the film confused me. They put Yes! PreCure 5 straight after their copy-paste clones, Smile, and I didn't realise they weren't the same team! You can tell the difference if you look closely, though, since Smile doesn't have a Milky Rose.
4th [23:56] = "Alright! Heartcatch Pretty Cure!" opening song for HeartCatch (year 7). That song gets me emotionally. Every time. Mind you, I'd have laughed my head off if they'd used the gospel-themed second closer, "Tomorrow Song".
5th [25:23] = "DANZEN! Futari wa Pretty Cure (Max Heart version)" opening song for Nagisa and Honoka (years 1-2,15). Wow. Immediately after clobbering me with HeartCatch, here comes the ultimate PreCure song.
The film takes a little break here, letting the baddies steal the PreCures' transformation items and break the fourth wall. "Did anyone see you?" "Yes, those brats in the audience!" Normally I hate fourth wall breaking, but it fits in a film this light and celebratory. It's like pantomime.
6th [30:39] = the baddies sing gloatingly about how evil they are. Movie-original song.
7th [33:42] ="Love Link" 2nd ending of DokiDoki (year 10). Regina appears, so I was happy.
8th [35:14] ="Leave It To Us Splash Star" opening of Splash Star (year 3). I hadn't realised how much I loved this. I might rewatch this one day. Saki and Mai are the most underrated PreCures.
9th [40:34] ="Wonderful Powerful Music!!" 1st ending of Suite (year 8). This is absolutely the right choice, especially when they recreate the mildly sexy dancing. PreCure isn't sexy and shouldn't be... except in "Wonderful Powerful Music!!". Although, admittedly, other CGI dance sequences have occasionally had their moments.
10th [42:04] = "Party Has Come" 2nd ending of HappinessCharge (year 11). I don't mind this choice, but I'd have been tempted by the opener, "Happiness Charge Pretty Cure! WOW!". Especially in the extended version, where they live up to the title and say "wow".
11th [52:04] = movie-original song for everyone. They'd all been singing their own songs, after all, so here they sing together. That's very PreCure.
12th [1:08:188] = "Dreaming Princess Pretty Cure" 1st ending theme for Go! Princess (year 12), as is right and proper. They were the current team when this film came out, after all.
Most of the film is deliberately playing like a TV variety show. The baddies introduce the acts, then interview the singers afterwards. There's plenty of humour and character moments. The girls come across well.
HeartCatch's Erika is officially the funniest PreCure. Every time she appears in an All Stars film, she makes you laugh. They always give her a gag moment, although there's plenty of comedy from the others too. Hime's amusing.
Go Princess's Haruka holds the film together, as she should. What's more, this is a deceptively strong character story for her. She's a bundle of nerves about an impending music exam. She's terrified by the prospect of singing. This is funny. However she also does something wonderful and early-Haruka-ish, which is to give all her heart to irrational nonsense. Everyone's been trying to encourage her and she believes them. "I'll believe in the power of song and dance!"
The baddies lock everyone's transformation items in a chest, then destroy the key.
Haruka's response is to sing. This works. Singing opens the chest.
I was in awe. Haruka 1, rational thought 0. Explanations? Don't be silly. Then, later, we meet an angry dragon god with breath that can vapourise castles. Fortunately, it loves singing and dancing.
There's a battle, of course. It's PreCure. There had to be. HappinessCharge's Megumi is the most awesome, unleashing a "Lovely Beam" like the X-Men's Cyclops and then (with DokiDoki's Mana) punching through a castle wall.
This is a lovely film. It's also nonsense, of course. Why would a thief want to crush the PreCures? (Firstly, he's not an evil supervillain. Secondly, he'd have trouble crushing a grape.) There's a message of "normal girls can do anything", conveyed with all the eccentric power of Haruka's deranged determination. This is, genuinely, worthwhile. I also love irrational Haruka, which I'd wanted to see explored more deeply in her TV episodes.
This film is unique in PreCure. It must have taken courage for the filmmakers to depart this far from anyone's idea of a movie.