Romi ParkMiyu IrinoMariya IseEri Sendai
Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo! The Movie: Happy Birthday in the Land of Sweets
Also known as: Yes! Precure 5 GoGo! Okashi no Kuni no Happy Birthday
Medium: film
Year: 2008
Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Writer: Yoshimi Narita
Actor: Ai Maeda, Ai Nagano, Akio Ohtsuka, Akira Ishida, Ami Michizoe, Eri Sendai, Junko Takeuchi, Kazunari Kojima, Kokoro Kikuchi, Mariya Ise, Masaya Matsukaze, Mika Doi, Miyu Irino, Romi Park, Shinya Fukumatsu, Taeko Kawata, Takeshi Kusao, Wasabi Mizuta, Wataru Takagi, Yuko Sanpei
Keywords: PreCure, Yes! PreCure 5, anime, magical girl
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 70 minutes
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 19 October 2019
Yes PreCure 5
It's a bit rocky, but it has interesting aspects. I don't know if I'd say I liked it, but it's doing some major and important things that were conspicuously missing from its parent series. It's worth discussing and thinking about, at least.
Its main problem is that it's Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo!. The girls get less characterisation than they did in the last movie and you'll have to suffer through their GoGo transformation sequences. I got so bored that I timed it. You can tell how mechanical it is from how each sequence lasts a whole number of minutes, almost exactly to the second. Two minutes of transformation sequences before they fight a Hoshiinaa at 9:03. The fight itself lasts exactly five minutes, but three of those are stock footage transformations. (The remaining minute is the merchandise-touting lightsabre sequence at 12:30.) After that, there's a three-minute transformation sequence at 30:17, which is just more of the same footage we'd seen at 9:03 (and indeed in every single episode of the parent TV series).
The Hoshiinaa fight is pointless, by the way. That was the film's most painful part.
The film's story is mostly what you'd expect. Our heroines go to a Dessert Kingdom and help a fairy princess called Chocola. (Well, except for Syrup, who's nasty to her. That's Syrup for you.) They fight villains called Mushiban, Dry and Bitter. That's it, really.
There's one laugh-out-loud scene. "Won't eating all these sweets make us fat?" asks Karen. Nozomi, Urara and even Rin respond with melodramatic dying speeches. (Fortunately, we're told that the Dessert Kingdom's sweets don't cause obesity. I'd have laughed if that turned out to be a lie.)
Bumbee gets a cameo. That's all, but he's still fun. He also, literally, takes the cake.
The film escalates quite well. Almost the first half is light and throwaway, but then the PreCures fight Dry and Bitter. They get trashed. What's more, they lose by being turned into food. There's horror in those shots of Rin and Karen as ice cream statues and of Urura and Komachi as biscuits in the desert. Nozomi then can't bring herself to fight an evil Coco, leading to quite a powerful scene as she lets herself get pummelled while her body turns to chocolate. (If you were having a superhero battle, chocolate must be one of the worst possible things you could turn into. It has very little strength, it melts and it can be eaten.)
What's more, those are all proper fights. You've got kicks, punches and the losers facing serious punishment (or magical twinkly death). The film got all of GoGo's tedious merchandise-driven magical attacks out of the way in the Hoshiinaa scene, although it must be said that Urara's use of Prism Chain is what she should have been doing every week in the TV series.
1. A Rin-Karen team-up, as a nod to the source material they're cloned from. The GoGo TV episodes weren't entirely without that, but this film does it properly. They even hold hands, although admittedly so do Urura and Komachi.
2. Coco-Nozomi romance. Yes! 1 set it up, then Yes! 2 shoved it aside. Nozomi would just stand there doing nothing as other girls threw themselves at Coco instead (Kurumi, Crepe)... but I think we were also being expected to remember that Coco-Nozomi was theoretically in the air too. It's all a bit of a mess, really.
Here, though, the film starts with Coco waking up Nozomi and them teasing each other as if they're almost a couple. "Do you want me to wake you up with a kiss?" ...beat... "Just joking." After that, Chocola is introduced by having her glomp on to Coco in a sexually forward manner, even though her apparent age is about seven. (The film immediately forgets about this and never refers to it again. Her motivation thereafter will be to save her mummy.)
We then meet the villains... and they're all overweening males, saying things like "girls are weak" and "I'm going to have a taste of you". It's not explicitly sexual with Rin, Karen, Urara and Komachi, but it's as sexual as hell with Nozomi. You'd never guess that this is a film for small children. There's a shot of Evil Coco about to force a kiss on a trembling Nozomi, ordering her to "satisfy me".
This hits another level when Evil Coco is unmasked and the audience realises that Nozomi probably wouldn't have been averse to that, under normal circumstances. In the end, she kisses him. (This was the first onscreen kiss in PreCure and the only one in its first decade.)
Oh, and Mushiban's superpower lets him enter your body. Nozomi kills him.
Wow. That's startling for PreCure.
Is this a good film? I don't know about that. At its worst, it's tiresome (the Hoshiinaa). Sometimes, it's unintentionally hilarious (the murderous country-stealing villain's motivation was to eat delicious sweets). However I can't dismiss it as a bad film either. It's far too strange and distinctive for that, with PreCure near-sexual content. It also has plenty of cool stuff, including satisfying fight scenes. Urara's use of Prism Chain. Nozomi's lightsabre sword fight! I also loved the brief scene of Milk vs. Mushiban, since she's one of the only two non-villainous characters here with teeth. (The other is Syrup, but he's a dick.)
This film is nowhere near perfect, but you should definitely watch it if you're watching Yes! PreCure 5 GoGo!. It improves the balance of the whole season. (If you're wondering when to watch it, incidentally, it was released between ep.37 and ep.38.)