The following entry in the PreCure franchise is considered by diehard fans to be the best written one. Are they right or exaggerating? Let us find out as we take a look at the seventh installment of the Pretty Cure franchise, Heartcatch PreCure.
:Genres: Action, Magical Girl, Comedy, Slice of Life, Magic, Drama.
Themes: Flowers, Fashion
Number of episodes: 49
Plot Summary: Tsubomi Hanasaki is a 2nd year middle school student who loves flowers and plants. One day, she dreams of a mysterious flowering tree that wilted, causing the sprites to disappear. When she transfers to Myodou Academy, the fairies that she saw in that dream appeared before her. The fairies begged Tsubomi to become Pretty Cure to protect the Heart Tree, but she refuses. However, a sudden attack from a mysterious enemy came, and the Heart Seed of her new classmate, Erika Kurumi, is stolen. To save Erika’s heart, she had no choice but to become a Pretty Cure and fight
So right off the bat I will make my thoughts clear. From the entries I have seen as of this writing I thought DokiDoki! was the gayest and Suite was the funniest. As far as Heartcatch goes…the diehards are right. This is the best written entry I have seen so far. To explain why let us first talk about the episodic formula and how it differs from the other two mentioned entries:
- Tsubomi and friends are chilling or doing something fun.
- There is(are) a side-character(s) who is(are) going through some kind of emotional distress.
- The Desert Apostles/Messengers (Depends on the subs the viewer’s watching) scheme to take down the PreCure.
- They find the aforementioned side-character(s), see that their Heart Flower is wilting and then turn them into this entry’s “monsters of the week” the Desertrians.
- The Cures engage the monster (later on also the equivalent of Power Rangers’ Putties, the Sunacky) in battle.
- The Desertrian lets out all the side-character’s bottled up (sometimes reiterates) frustrations/fears/doubts etc.
- Awesome fight scene the Cures finish off the Desertrian, the day is saved.
- “We’ll get you next time PreCure!”
- The side-character reflects on what happened while turned into a Desertrian.
- One of the Heart Fairies farts/poops out a Heart Seed depending on how many Desertrians were defeated.
So yes a lot more to take in this time around. The side-characters’ woes range from “trivial to most but very painful to the one suffering” issues such as hiding a personal hobby/dream from one’s parents to legitimately concerning issues such as a life changing operation. Then there is that one “homework sucks” episode that was one of the most entertaining “do your homework early” moral episodes I have ever seen. Anyway it is pretty interesting having the Cures not only engage in awesome fight scenes but also attempt to comfort or reassure the people turned into Desertrians to help them come to terms with their woes…before proceeding to save them “PreCure style”.
Next up let us talk about the flowers as they play an important role in the show and is also one of its main themes. This entry’s theme is “Flowers (and fashion to an extent) vs Desert”, meaning a world filled with colors, emotions and life against a world filled with sand, dryness and emptiness. Viewers will learn a lot about flowers by watching Heartcatch should they be interested, especially the “language of flowers” where each flower has a significance behind them, both for our heroines and the side-characters. Every single character has their own Heart Flower and with that comes loads of character development. Not academy award winning but definitely has its hard hitting ones. Even the villain generals of this entry, the Desert Apostles/Messengers led by Professor Sabaaku and Dark PreCure (Ohhhhhh Dark PreCure. WOOOOT!) had some pretty good development. I would argue these are the best written PreCure villains I have seen as of this writing. As for the fashion theme of the show, I felt like it focused more on how it affects girls and women. DUH since this is a show marketed towards young girls. Still, there is something to be said about clothing and the people wearing them. My father nags me about the clothes I wear because he says that in life the clothes make the man…or something like that. Point being that what one wears affects and reflects their mood. It is easy to understand but kinda complicated to explain. Hopefully my words got the message across. Anyway even though fashion has some importance in the plot it is the flowers that take center stage.
Not to go too long into the but if there was one PreCure show that would convince viewers that the touting by fans about how PreCure franchise has shounen worthy battles it would have to be Heartcatch. Hot DANG some of these fights. If this were not a show marketed primarily toward young girls then I swear they should have broken spines after their first encounter with Dark PreCure. Oh and the show’s climax is da shiznit. Holy cow did it rock hard!
I swear the more I watch Precure the more I notice the similarities between it and the Kirby series, especially Heartcatch with its two main heroines Tsubomi/Cure Blossom and Erika/Cure Sunshine. These two are the most cutesy Cures I have ever seen. I saw images of the other Cures and very few of them look as cutesy as these two. Also as mentioned before, like Kirby, behind the cuteness there is plenty of badassery to be found. Cure Blossom and Marine are no different. Now for the animation quality. Maybe it’s just me but some of the girls in Heartcatch look more anorexic than others. Not as bad as Utena’s girls but similar to Strawberry Panic’s. Not a detraction mind you dear readers, just an observation. As for the music, while Suite has, as of this writing, my favorite soundtrack in the franchise Heartcatch’s is no slouch. It has sweet tunes fitting every occasion. Its fight tunes are pretty good and its more dramatic tunes…let me put it this way, I almost cried at one point. I wonder who can successfully guess when I almost melted?
This being the third PreCure show I have reviewed in its entirety I do not mention flaws much. The reason being that it is self-explanatory whether viewers are in picking these shows up or not. Does not matter how much I praise them, ultimately the viewer decides whether they are worth picking up or not based on how they feel about formulaic magical girl shows. No amount of badassery can compete with a person’s patience/preferences/tolerance. Anyway the one nitpick I have with Heartcatch is that while it is excellent, it had a slow start compared to DD! P and Suite for me. I know it has to do with the order I watched these shows but yeah.
Before I get to the yuri…what little there is of it actually, let us briefly discuss our heroines:
#4 for me is Erika/Cure Marine. She is an adorable genki who loves fashion and bickers with her sexy older sister Momoka.
#3 is Tsubomi/Cure Blossom. She has an awesome “From zero to legend” story arc. She is adorable and her character growth is praiseworthy.
#2 is Yuri/Cure Moonlight. She has arguably the best character arc on the show and is the most badass in combat. Do not quote me here but I think she is considered the Saber or Cloud Strife of the PreCure franchise, meaning the epitome of/most well known badass of all PreCure.
#1 is the third Cure. Yes. Despite Cure Moonlight’s undeniable greatness she is not my favorite Cure on the show. That honor goes to the third Cure to join the team along with her initially bratty but ultimately wonderful Heart Fairy. Without spoiling her identity I will put it this way, her character arc is familiar but I feel as far as this particular trope goes, it is done right. Also she has a what I would call “future bombshell” type body.
Now we get to the yuri…which really is not that much. Tsubomi X Erika is…kind of a good ship. I guess. There are some moments here and there but very few that made me squee or say “These two are destined to wed”. they have some sure but they are far and few. the next one however, Yuri X Momoka…wasted potential. It was like this was a ship waiting to set sail and for fans it had but as far as materials went…so few. I also wonder what fans after…THAT episode. You all know which Yuri episode I am referring to around the mid-30s mark. The pairings are there but if DD! P and Suite are Grade 3, Heartcatch is Grade 5 I feel. I imagine others besides DD!P, Suite and Mahou Tsukai have little material to work with also but hopefully not as little as Yuri X Momoka. And as for the Moonlight X Dark PreCure shippers, after finishing the show I asked myself why? Foe-Yay I guess
Overall the Heartcatch PreCure praise is all true. It is one of the best written entries in the franchise. Having said that it is still a formulaic magical girl show with moments of brilliance so readers who are not into shows like this I do not know if this will be the one to sway you. It could be. As for people who do not mind these but have yet to watch Heartcatch, DO IT!
PS: Like DD! P and Suite, Heartcatch shares one big similarity. However, from what I have been told these are the only three entries in the franchise to share this big similarity.