Pretty Cure

April 20, 2007

Yay! I finally got my wish when the local tv stations finally decided to air the anime series Futari Wa Pretty Cure over a year ago. Ever since then, I have faithfully and nearly watched all of the 49 episodes of the series. Okay, so I do miss a few because it’s shown quite early in the morning. Yeah, probably the target audience are young children. And yes, I’m still a young kid who refuses to grow up! Hahaha.
 
The reason why I was so enthusiastic about watching the series because of the 2 cute and kawaii bishoujos, Nagisa Misumi and Honoka Yukishiro, who’re also the main protagonists and heroines of the show. I’m not sure if I could really classify this series as another one of those magical girl genres as most sites classify it as one. I mean, yeah there’s magic, some clothing transformation, some little helper creatures and it’s your typical good versus evil. Just short of that magical wand. Okay, maybe it does fit into that genre but I felt that it’s more like a mix of action, adventure, comedy, fantasy and drama. Hmm… that’s a lot. And it seems there’s a little amendment from my initial blog of the series.
 
So basically the premise of the story is about this 2 high school girls of Verone High School, who one day got bestowed by some magical powers to become defenders of the light called Pretty Cure. Well, you see the forces of darkness, the Dusk Zone (aurally heard as Dotsukuzon and I initially thought it was some poison zone) is encroaching the Garden of Light. This prompts the 2 weird little gerbil-looking creatures, Mipple and Mepple, who’re lovey-dovey with each other and end their sentences using their names (okay, it’s ‘mipo’ and ‘mepo’ actually), fled to find suitable protectors for their land. So call it Nagisa or Honoka’s fate, lucky day or bad luck as their being chosen, thus their lives will never be the same again. Yeah, especially with those weird and sometimes irritating creatures around, who’d be annoyed, especially Nagisa who has Mepple and the 2 usually get into arguments frequently, while Honoka and Mipple seem to be calm and get along with each other. So it’s gonna be quite a challenge for the girls to juggle with their superhero life along with their school and social life.
 
Because the big bad boss of the forces of darkness, King Jaaku, a large shadowy humanoid figure who is chained to some volcano in the Dusk Zone, can’t obtain heart shaped Prism Stones (7 of them) to free himself and rule the world by spreading darkness, he has his 5 minions to do his biddings. King Jaaku must be real patient as you’d guess that his minions would fail to do so in each episode. I mean, even if they’re incompetent in a way, but hey, somebody’s got to do the job.
 
And so for most of the episodes is gonna be like this. A little theme or setting for the particular episode like at the art gallery, a family vacation, summer camp or even working part time at a farm, then of course 1 minion will appear and trouble them (I don’t understand why not all 5 of them go one shot instead of 1 by 1. Maybe it’s to see whether that minion is competent or not. But then…), asking them to give their Prism Stones or else and of course the duo wouldn’t. Yeah, those minions have a habit of interrupting or coming in at the most crucial time when Nagisa or Honoka have an important task, whether it’s school or family related. Then the minion would call upon the dark powers of Zakenna which could transform any person (like the girl’s school jerk teacher or worms) or thing (like vacuum cleaner or tractor) into an evil hideous looking creature to attack the heroines. And the sky will turn all dark because of the powers of Zakenna.
 
And because Nagisa and Honoka have no powers they have to whip out their handphones (source of their transformation power and Mipple and Mepple’s other form) and swipe some card (I thought maybe the producers wanted to implement some card system here too) which will transform them into Cure Black and Cure White respectively. After a lengthy transformation which I felt serves as a cost cutting feature because in every episode they show the same repetitive scene, though some episodes they shorten it. The duo would then do and say a systematic and co-ordinated speech and moves with that typical hyped transformation music in the background. Once in their superhero outfit, they can do twists, spins, aerial sommersaults and other cool fighting manoeuvres to counter the Zakenna threat. Sometimes the surroundings and buildings get smashed because of the impact and the 2 may seem like losing at first, but it’ll all work out well in the end.
 
Then they should have do this in the first place to save all that punching and kicking by using their Marble Screw weapon (yeah, another systematic and co-ordinated speech and move) and blast the Zakenna and/or minion away, who can’t endure the superb power of the light. Then you can see the Zakenna disintegrate into little cute dark five pointed stars as they scatter and run away and the sky will turn bright again and the surroundings back to normal. Of course that minion will do like a terminator and will be back. Sometimes the girls will use their Rainbow Cure Theraphy to heal and cure humans or animals influenced by the Zakenna powers. And if there’re some activities or tasks left unfinished because they got disrupted by those minions, our 2 girls will make it back in time and complete it, thus a happy ending for all. Yay. Typical.
 
Since there’re 5 minions at first, they only have a ‘limited’ number of episodes to make their appearances, or rather, defeat the Pretty Cure. And when they lose for good, they’ll become a Prism Stone, which Nagisa and Honoka can place in some heart shaped device called Prism Hopeish, which is guarded by another weird little creature called Stonekeeper and by collecting all 7 rainbow coloured Prism Stones would allow to take them to the Garden of Light and repair the damage done by the Dusk Zone. Let me see, if the 5 minions are holding a Prism Stone each, then the remainder 2 must be with the Pretty Cure. Once a particular minion is gone, you won’t see him/her ever again. Well, most of them that is.
 
The first minion to start things off is Pisard, who looks like a KISS rock group member but he lasted for only 5 episodes. Then it is Gekidrago‘s turn, the big and muscular (but his strength seems so so only in his battles with Pretty Cure) guy in gym attire complete with suspenders. Well, since he’s the ‘brawniest’ of the bunch, I guess he lasted for around 6 episodes. Then the only female of the 5 is Poisonee, a vampiress look-a-like who’s much more cautious and subtle in her job as I notice she doesn’t get a direct blast from the Marble Screw like those previous 2, but evades it and disappears when she’s losing. Because of that, she appeared for 9 episodes before taking her final bow.
 
Then probably the youngest one, Kiriya, at first his job was to spy and infiltrate the school the Pretty Cure were studying in as a transfer student. He got close to Honoka and I think Honoka likes him. Because Kiriya mixed around with them, he has this uncertain and indecisiveness of which side he’s on, though he mentions that he’s on the dark side. Though he’s been introduced during Poisonee’s appearance, his time to fight arrived an episode soon after Poisonee’s defeat but even after revealing his true nature to Pretty Cure, instead of fighting back he willingly gave up and hand over his Prism Stone to them. Honoka must be sad but as Nagisa mentions they have to fight on so as not to waste his efforts.
 
I guess that leaves the last and most powerful of the minions, Ilkubo, who looks like a bald alien, to make his move. Though he has appeared in earlier episodes, he didn’t actually seriously start fighting them as he’s just watching. So his actual fight with the duo lasts for 4 episodes. Why so short for a strong sub-boss? Well, maybe it’s because the series has reached its halfway mark and they want to put in something new? Just kidding. Okay, at first Pretty Cure seems to have trouble defeating Ilkubo with his power orb. But Ilkubo managed to beat Pretty Cure and took their Prism Stones. But it’s power was too much for him and was defeated by it.
 
Before Ilkubo is really gone for good, he managed to suck the Pretty Cure into the Dusk Zone and there they had their confrontation with King Jaaku. With their combined powers and some help from the Queen of the Garden of Light, they manage to defeat the evil king. Is he really gone for good? His chains breaking and him disappearing to who knows where. Well, it’s only halfway of the series. Anything could happen.
 
And so, our heroines have managed to defeat the forces of darkness and collect all 7 Prism Stones. Just when things are about to settle down for them, we’re introduced to a new character, Polun. He’s another weird creature from the Garden of Light, supposedly the prince there and is selfish and spoilt. Oh oh. Another weird creature who also ends it sentences with ‘popo’ coming to stay with them. We also see some elder old fart which I think is a close aide of the Queen and the Queen herself, which I notice sometimes doesn’t move at all, sitting on her throne and like as though she’s a giant glowing statue. Uh-huh, seems like a statue talking back (yeah, her lips aren’t moving too). So the Pretty Cure visits the Garden of Light and finds it very awesome but decided to have their feet back on the ground and go back to live in their own world. Now there’s lots of catching up to do.
 
So besides the girls saving the world or any other theme or settings related to them, there are certain episodes which involve other characters too. Like how in one episode there’re a couple of classmates of theirs impersonating themselves as the real Pretty Cure, or helping one of their classmates, Shiho get her confidence back for some relay race, or Nagisa having to secretly watch over her little brother Ryota as he run an errand by bringing some documents to his dad’s office, or their teacher Yoshimi-sensei getting married with the class wanting to give her a present. There are other minor characters in the series from their friends to relatives but I’m not going into all that.
 
And of course the girls themselves go through friendship bonding and understanding episodes, like how in an early episode they couldn’t accept this save the world stuff and couldn’t get along and thought of breaking up, the time when Mipple got snatched by a teacher because he thought Nagisa brought a handphone to school, Nagisa’s lacrosse tournament, Honoka’s busy parents return for her birthday, how the 2 teamed up as a duet to represent their class and school in an inter-school choir competition, and Nagisa’s crush on the school’s football player, Fuji, but seems to get all nervous whenever he’s nearby. Lots of close encounters and near-misses. Well, better confess fast because there’s an episode near the end whereby there seems to be another girl who’s interested in Fuji and even asks Nagisa’s help to what attracts him! Some indecisive moments there but I think Nagisa’s glad to have Fuji around and the way things are now even if he’s oblivious to her feelings. And of course, those baddies having ideas of separating them because they noticed that their powers work only when they’re together. But eventually, the Pretty Cure still manage to reunite in the end and give those baddies a taste of their own medicine.
 
Anyway, just when Nagisa and Honoka are gonna take a break from get back to their life, suddenly new faces of the forces of darkness appears to continue and torment them. Yeah, I don’t remember or know how, but somehow King Jaaku was revived back to his original imprisoned position back in the Dusk Zone. This time he has 3 minions which randomly appeared 1 by 1 from the human world. I don’t know what it means either since they’re normal looking humans at first and then it’s like they’re trying to remember something but can’t seem to do so until finally they realized their true nature and transformed themselves into meaner looking baddies in full body hugging suits. The trio are Juna, a tall office worker in his non-transforming form, the red head female Regine who has funny perm curls as her hairstyle (shocking Nagisa when she first saw her) and the leader of the trio, Belzei, a former doctor before he was ‘awakened’. Are they in some sort of ‘slumber’? At first I thought it was the 5 original minions reincarnated, but later on it wasn’t so. Yeah, they’re much more powerful too and they don’t summon Zakenna as often as their predecessors because their own powers are good enough to take on the Pretty Cure, though they still lose out in the end.
 
Yup, so it’s the same thing with the new baddies. Some theme or setting, baddies interrupt asking them to hand over the Prism Stones and as usual the duo won’t and they fight. But this time, Polun indirectly joins the fight by giving or upgrading the Pretty Cure’s powers. In the sense that because he’s such a spoilt brat, whenever he sees the Pretty Cure in a pinch or difficult position, he would let loose a blood curling scream (and a very looooong one), which will then somehow fire to them some bracelets which look like some wrist gadget. Now powered up and with a new weapon, accompanied with a new synchronized, systematic and co-ordinated speech and moves (I wonder how they now what to say and do. Must be natural for them, huh? Yeah, Nagisa was surprised at this at first too), they easily blast away their enemy with an all-new Rainbow Storm. Just like Marble Screw but more colourful and powerful.
 
So during the second half of the series, in a desparate attempt to get the Prism Stones, those 3 baddies kidnapped Stonekeeper. But before that, Stonekeeper transferred all the 7 Prism Stones into Polun, the main reason why the Pretty Cure could get such a cool upgrade during their battles. And ever since then, Stonekeeper has been kept prisoner in a bird cage along with the baddies talkative pet macaw. Yeah, it seems they operate in some big mansion hidden deep within the forests. Pretty Cure managed to find their base in 1 episode but their mansion and the forests ‘moved’ making the place unrecognizeable and hard to locate again. Plus, in their mansion they have 2 clumsy, short-fused and incompetant butlers who end their sentences with ‘zakenna’. Those useless and bungling butlers serve as comic relief for the series. Otherwise their roles can really do without.
 
As the series progresses, those 3 baddies aren’t the usual faithful subordinates they are to King Jaaku. Yup, Belzei realized something important and schemes with the other 2. He realized that the power of the darkness will soon consume them if they don’t get the Prism Stones soon. And even if they get it all, would King Jaaku have any further use of them? Uh-huh, that’s real typical bad guy scheming to the core. And so they decided to get the Prism Stone for themselves. Even when King Jaaku found out about it, he’s like still calm and questions them back like even if they had obtained the powers, would they be able to handle it or defeat him. As for our Pretty Cure, whatever the reason, it’s still a no no.
 
Soon the trio baddies figure out that Polun might be having all the Prism Stones and made their move on that little creature. Once they have done so, the trio then merged into 1 super powerful being. Yeah, it reminds you like the Oscars statue. Only thing he’s muscular, grey and covered with electrical current. Besides, since that happened in the Dusk Zone, Pretty Cure has no choice but to venture there again and put a stop to it once and for all. The usual battle ensues.
 
But even if the Pretty Cure were temporarily ‘defeated’ by him, that Oscar-look-alike then decides to face King Jaaku himself as the 2 forces of darkness battle it out for ultimate supremacy. Looks like King Jaaku still has some powers even though he’s chained. What’s this? Kiriya appears out from no where and pulls the Prety Cure to safety? I thought he’s gone. Well, probably he wasn’t directly defeated at the Pretty Cure’s hands. Honoka must be a little happy. Kiriya’s like giving them some ‘advice’ or rather the realistic chances of defeating the darkness. But the duo are pretty adamant and will fight to the death and try their best.
 
Suddenly King Jaaku sucks and absorbs the Oscar-look-alike’s powers, devouring him in the process and freeing himself. Yeah, those baddies are gone for good. One bad turn deserves another. Now King Jaaku has become more powerful so much so it ripped a hole open onto Earth and the darkness is fast covering the Garden of Light. I can’t believe the Queen was a little pessimistic and said something like all they could do now is hope and pray for everything is in the hands of the Pretty Cure. Well true.
 
The final battle has lots of power and blasting and the battle zone took place on a desolated planet Earth whereby King Jaaku’s powers has somehow ‘vanish’ the Earthlings. And you’d probably guessed it that the only way to have things back to normal is to defeat him. With lots of self-believe, optimisim and I-won’t-give-up attitude, the Pretty Cure manage to blast away King Jaaku. Yeah, he couldn’t believe that he lost and did a terminator by saying he’ll be back. Is he really gone for good this time?
 
So your usual good ending where good finally triumphs over evil and everybody is happy and the girls can go back to their normal school lives. Oh wait, it’s already graduation day already. Oh well, it’s really been a long year. And what’s this? Kiriya got fascinated by the unbeliveable act of the Pretty Cure and says to himself he now knows what to do and disappears. What does that mean? And since the forces of darkness has been defeated, Mipple and Mepple dishearteningly told the girls that they’re going to ‘sleep’. Of course, since they’ve been so long together, no matter how annoying or irritating they are, it’s difficult to part as the girls weep uncontrollably. Erm… Seriously, are that those 2 ‘going away’? And in the final scene, we see Nagisa and Honoka walking back after school and Honoka spots a Kiriya look-alike! Though their eyes met, that Kiriya boy just stared at her as though he’d seen her somewhere before but couldn’t remember as he soon walk away with his parents. I guess Honoka’s happy to know that Kiriya’s well and hope that they’ll meet again some day.
 
Overall, I would say that this series is quite okay. Though I have felt and noticed that as each passing episode, my interest and enthusiasm in the series has waned or diminished. Uh-huh. I wonder where has all that ‘magic’ gone too. Probably that’s because I’ve seen too much of the same thing. But this isn’t the end of the series. Why, there’s a sequel even after that called Futari Wa Pretty Cure Max Heart. Yeah, I saw there’s a third additional member to the team (actually the Queen herself who lost her memories and came to Earth) and probably more of those good versus evil themes with cute girly stuffs and of course new villains, new characters and new moves.
 
And if you really can’t get enough of it, there’s a third season which is a spin-off of the original series called Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star. Lots of resemblance to the original series but with a different theme (a bird theme?). Plus, to satisfy harcore fans, there’re 3 movies up to date and currently a 4th season is being aired in Japan, called Yes! Precure 5. And the numeral ‘5’ doesn’t indicate the season number, but the number of members in the Pretty Cure team. Hmm… It seems the number of team members just keep increasing. Sort of. But because I’ve had too much of a Pretty Cure dose, I’m thinking I should pass these sequels and spin-offs.
 
So back to the original first season series. The drawing, art and animation seems pretty okay. I mean, since it’s targeted for younger audience, it’s filled with lots of cute and girly stuffs and the colouring is quite bright, though of course it will be dark and grim whenever they show the Dusk Zone or things pertaining to the forces of darkness. Since it’s a quite a long series, I guess I could say that there’s enough character development especially between Nagisa and Honoka, and certainly a little from their family members and school friends too.
 
From the opening theme song, you’ll know that the exciting and fast beat theme, Danzen! Futari Wa Precure, sung by Mayumi Gojo, will get you in the mood (at least it does for me). While the ending theme, Gecchu! Rabu Rabu?!, sounds like a cheerleading song at first, which is also sounds exciting and quite ‘cute’. And it’s amusing to see the characters doing some synchronized slow walk in a row as they walk across the screen. Even those 5 minions and Zakenna had their share. But the later 3 baddies did something like a Russian dance. Funny.
 
I guess the moral of the series is about friendship and teamwork besides the good will always triumph evil. So people, if you ever need a team of superheroes to save the day against the forces of evil, forget Superman, Batman or the X-Men. We have 2 cute teenage girls who can do just as good. Powerpuff Girls you say? Why, it’s way past their bedtime already.

Futari Wa Pretty Cure

January 13, 2006

Mitai! Mitai! I want to see this anime! After watching just a couple of video clips I downloaded from the internet, I seem to ‘fell in love at first sight’ for Pretty Cure. Yeah, it’s not so much about the storyline you see. It’s because of the 2 pretty kawaii bishoujos, Nagisa Misumi and Honoka Yukishiro (haha, you should’ve seen that one coming). Ohh… they’re just sooooo pretty *faints + eyes rolling*. In addition my heart skipped a little just to think about them (I’m not a pervert, okay). I think that’s pretty much about what attracted me to watch this anime. The storyline’s average. Two contrasting characteristic ladies, one a sports-active type (Nagisa) while the other the studious type (Honoka), one day encountered a shooting star which carried 2 weird (some may call it cute) creatures, whose land is being undersieged by some evil force. So without any further thought, these 2 creatures bestowed some magical powers upon these 2 girls to help save their land. Pretty average storyline, huh? I mean, why pick ordinary school girls? Well, I guess in their land, looks can really KILL!. Or maybe these 2 girls are bored and wanted to get a real life or they couldn’t resist desperate pleas from cute things. So, our 2 girls then can transform themselves into magical defenders of light, Black Cure (looks like a maid) and White Cure (looks like a bride). Oh, and those transformation scenes reminded me of those Gaban and Baja Hitam days (maybe even Power Rangers). A little lengthy and over-exaggerated, showing nearly every part of their body/dress being transformed. Wow! I think it’s the dress in which their magical powers come from, don’t you think? I mean, look at Superman, he wears his underwear outside and doesn’t feel embarrassed about it. Well until then, good luck ladies! I’ll be dreaming about you both in times to come (I’m still not a pervert, okay).