As usual I got lazy and fell behind with my coverage of something. I kept a close eye on the latest season of PreCure and now would be a good time to get everyone caught up with the Twinkle Rangers. I am not going into full detail of each episode. Just the more noteworthy stuff leading up to the main event.
Let’s start with character episodes and stuff.
First up is Lala. Her episodes revolved around learning to trust everyone more and learn the power of teamwork.
Another was about her wanting to go to school with her girlfriend and friends. She tried coping without the need of her guidance A.I. but when everyone treated her like some weirdo (specifically a genki boy) she ran off and put on her communication glove. Turns out following the rules made her seem even weirder. In the end she learned that “being yourself” was the best approach.
Madoka’s episodes were about her needing to take it easy every once in a while. She overworked herself “being perfect” in order to bring honor to her family legacy, being a Twinkle Ranger AND keeping her superheroine identity a secret from her clever dad.
In the 2nd Madoka episode we were introduced to another rival. This time it was during an archery competition and the rival was the impressive but super serious Yumika Nasu. Put simply Yumika thought Madoka having friends made her weak and lose focus but of course was proven wrong when Madoka beat her after she made a rare mistake. The reason for this was because deep down Yumika was envious of Madoka so good AND having lots of friends while she got to where she was by herself. In the end Madoka extended her hand in friendship and Yumika got a crush on her. Hopefully we’ll see her again one day.
Of course we can’t have Madoka episodes without Sakurako and she unsurprisingly glorious every time she got screen time, devoted to surpass Madoka and become #1. Admit it girl, you like her.
As for Elena she was Best Ranger as usual. You all I know I have an Elena bias so #DealWithIt.
We did get to meet her parents in one episode and find out what her her Latin ethnicity was, Mexican. Mexican dad, Japanese mom. There we go. Latino Heat BABEH! The episode was, as expected, about her mopey brother (2nd oldest of the siblings) being embarrassed about his family. It’s nothing too important really. Elena admitted she too thought her family was weird. There you go. I think she’s the Akira (Kira Kira PreCure a la Mode) of the Team, meaning she’s the least emotional baggage to deal with. Fine by me. I’m content gazing at her badassery, coolness and beauty. Not every character in fiction has to be an emotional wreck with a tragic backstory to become my favorite.
To talk about Hikaru’s character development we need to get to the serious two-parter where the Notraider liutenants got a power boost from their leader, an ominous entity named Darknest sealed withing a crystal. After the power boost of course the villains cleaned the Rangers’ clocks.
Point of the two-parter besides the Rangers getting a power boost of their own a new Team Finisher was Hikaru realizing that she wasn’t a burden/terrible leader but a ray of hope for everyone. After all, it’s thanks to her the others were able to find the answers to their problems. We also got a bit more HikaLala goodness as seen above.
Some other interesting tidbits about the two-parter was how Darknest reacted to the Rangers getting the Twinkle Sticks and also the Notraider liutenants not exactly serving the forces of evil willingly.
I brought up HikaLala in the two-parter but the episode that followed, featuring a shocking reveal regarding Steven Spielberg (Though really I should have known that was his secret), our heroines offered to help Spielberg film his latest movie so that Lala wouldn’t have to go back to her home planet. Remember? Space laws saying it’s forbidden for aliens to reveal their secret identities to Earthlings. The Twinkle Rangers thing was a small loophole. Anyway the important part happened during a scene where Lala’s character had to leave Earth. Hitting too close to home Hikaru and Lala went off script and expressed their desire to be together forever. Fortunately the deep emotions in that scene and an impromptu battle against the Notraiders was good enough to cancel Lala’s departure. I have a feeling our lovebirds will have to repeat this moment near the end of the show. We’ll see what happens when we get there.
Another cool Hikaru episode was about her relationship with her mom Terumi, a mangaka. She was getting hyped to work on a sci-fi epic but her editor was like, “NO! What sells are hospital romance dramas, especially ones with love triangles,”. His words, not mine. He was of course wrong and Mama Terumi realized what motivated her to draw manga in the first place, Hikaru’s smile. Basically “Do what makes you happy and proud instead of following what’s trending because trends may get you temporary success but it won’t always guarantee more than 15 minutes of fame”.
That should cover the important stuff. Let’s get to the main event, the Black Cat Arc.
To do that we must formally introduce the third Notraider liutenant, Ayewan/Eyewon and her cat butler Bakenyan. Depending on the fan translation she either adds “like” or “freaking” into her sentences and has an intentionally annoying laugh. She is the scientist of the Notraiders. As for Bakenyan he is both her butler and adviser, ensuring she doesn’t get carried away and fails, which she often does. She introduced Dark Pens. Zodiac Pens shrouded in darkness she uses to create Notriggers. Not exactly Monsters of the Week because Kappard and Tenjou fight the Rangers differently, which I find interesting. Kappard prefers fighting the Rangers directly with his powered up weapons and Tenjou is more of a strategist, relying on Notray formations and later infusing victims’ hearts with mechas. So Ayewan/Eyewon is a more traditional PreCure villain lieutenant.
Back to the arc. During one of the Rangers’ space explorations in search of Zodiac Pens they tracked one at a Las Vegas-esque planet. Puruns got excited because he saw a poster saying the space idol Mao would be performing.
Of course he got to meet his idol in person. Jumping around a bit, the reason Puruns idolized her was because while on the run from the Notraiders with Fuwa there was a point he was about to give up but he heard Mao singing on the radio. It was so beautiful she inspired him to keep fighting.
Back on track. The Zodiac Pen they were looking for was being auctioned off. Thanks to Mao our heroines got to participate in the auction and Madoka used her experience attending auctions with her father to win the pen. However…
…the pen was stolen. The Rangers caught up with the thief. It was Mao, who in reality was the infamous space thief, Blue Cat! Interestingly the liutenant who joined the party was Ayewan/Eyewon. More on that in a bit. Long story short the Twinkle Rangers and Blue Cat worked together to stop the Notrigger, followed up with Blue Cat disappearing with a very specific treasure.
After the aforementioned Madoka archery episode the Rangers located another Zodiac Pen at the Las Vegas-esque planet in the hands of the space dragon noble they beat in the auction. Blue Cat obviously showed up as well. The thief and the Rangers agreed to work together again. Long story short the team overcame all of the dragon noble’s traps on their way to his treasure room, including his golden mecha.
Remember that specific treasure Blue Cat left with last time? One of them was a Rainbow Crystal from Planet Rainbow. Said planet was reportedly destroyed by the Notraiders. Blue Cat showed great interest in the treasures decorated with Rainbow Crystals. Hikaru noticed the blue haired one genuinely smiling upon seeing them instead of her usual smug grin. After saving the dragon noble from a Kappard attack he agreed to let our heroines keep the treasure and Zodiac Pen.
After the Mangaka Mama episode Blue Cat made her third appearance. This time the Rangers located a Zodiac Pen on a seemingly deserted planet. To their shock it was the “destroyed” Planet Rainbow. To be precise the inhabitants were turned to stone. Oh and they looked like cat people. It was around this time I am certain most fans put the puzzle pieces together. So our heroines found the pen and a pile of treasure decorated with Rainbow Crystals. They found Blue Cat’s hideout. Unfortunately so did Ayewan/Eyewon and Bakenyan.
Surprisingly the one-eyed villain engaged the Rangers in combat personally alongside Bakenyan with her trusty Acme Blaster bestowed upon her by a legendary Martian. While fighting Cure Milky the Ranger commented on her not standing a chance since there was no one she could turn into a Notrigger. Seeing the petrified “Rainbownians” as I’ll call them Ayewan/Eyewon revealed that it was she who turned them all to stone. Some time ago when she led an attack on the planet she planned on testing her Dark Pen prototype on the Rainbownians. However, it being a prototype it shattered and the dark energy within drained all life on the planet and petrified everyone.
The one eyed invader planned on using the Dark Pen on Fuwa but Bakenyan said he had orders to deliver the puffy one unharmed. Fuwa smelled a familiar scent. A certain perfume…
It wasn’t hard to figure out. Bakenyan not letting Ayewan/Eyewon go all out. His reactions to decisions made by the Notraiders. The two biggest hints were when Blue Cat transformed into the dragon noble in the 2nd Las Vegas Planet episode, a guy, and the Rainbownians all being cats. So yes. Blue Cat created the Bakenyan identity to go undercover and spy on the Notraiders as Ayewan/Eyewon’s butler. Speaking of, she took the reveal well. Enraged she tried using the Dark Pen on one of the Rainbownians.
This was important as it showed our heroines the Rainbownians were still alive despite being petrified.
The next development came after they returned. After seeing the Southern Cross Shot failed to restore the petrified Rainbownian Blue Cat took matters into her own hands with a smokescreen followed by a Fuwa-napping and pen stealing.
When Fuwa showed no fear of Blue Cat despite being kidnapped by her she told her about the Rainbowite (the crystals) and them having the power to bring life to the planet before the Notraiders invaded. After that she planned on leaving the planet and plan her next strategy but the Rangers caught up with her.
A battle chase ensued with bomb cards, smoke bombs, whips and Blue Cat briefly lowering the Rangers’ guard by transforming into Cure Star. They chased her to a Rainbownian shrine. Cure Star tried reasoning with her. Blue Cat said the two were the same, fighting for the people they cared for. The difference was Blue Cat could only rely on herself and would do whatever it took to save them. Cure Star was like “That doesn’t excuse you stealing or making others sad”. Cat tried escaping again but Star stopped her. She accidentally dropped a smoke bomb on the Rainbownians. Another “shocking” revelation followed.
What’s important here wasn’t Cat being a Rainbownian too (I mean that’s even more obvious than her being Bakenyan) but the backstory of her people. The Rainbownians were originally a race of outcast space cats because people feared their shape-shifting abilities. It’s similar to the Faunus from RWBY. They found a place to live in the uninhabited desert planet. They discovered Rainbowite and lived peacefully until Ayewan/Eyewon invaded. We all know what happened next. Cat was the only one who escaped petrification. She vowed to find a way to restore her people. That’s how she created her three alter egos to find the necessary resources. The most important being learning about obtaining Ultimate Power by finding all Zodiac Pens. Take a wild guess what she wants to use the power for.
The Rangers offered to help but Cat pretended not to care. Cure Star remarked on her stealing the pens and Fuwa…but not their morphers, showing she kinda cared about their safety despite her denial.
Suddenly Kappard and the Notraiders arrived but Ayewan/Eyewon’s like “This is my fight!” and used a Dark Pen on herself. Notriggers, like most PreCure villain MotW devices showed a person’s negative emotions. In Ayewan/Eyewon’s case she wanted revenge on “Bakenyan” for betraying her. I’ll get back to that in a bit. The Rangers fought valiantly against the cyclops but she was too strong. They also protected Cat. She of course was confused as to why they did so despite her wrongdoing. Cure Star was like “Because we’re heroines and that’s what we do”. Then Fuwa was like “You and Star are the same, remember? Fighting for the ones you care about”
Cat was like “Oh for Pete’s sake. FINE! I don’t get it but for whatever reason I wanna protect you too!” Fuwa sensed the strong will inside Cat.
It’s Bonus Ranger time!
So yes. My comparing this season of PreCure to Power Rangers in Space was no coincidence. Cure Cosmo proceeded to give us a preview of her awesomeness. Tune in next time for more Cure Cosmo and the conclusion of the Blue Cat Arc.
Oh right. Darknest reacted the same way to Cure Cosmo getting her powers as the Rangers getting the Twinkle Sticks.
Once again a Bonus Ranger changed the game like many previous seasons. Despite what many other Cure Holics will inevitably say I’ve been enjoying Star Twinkle before the Blue Cat Arc. Like Hugtto it was during the Bonus Ranger arc that the season showed its true power and that’s been the case here in Star Twinkle as well.
PS: Call me crazy but my gut is telling me that unless something bad happens we may get Blue Cat X Ayewan/Eyewon.