Heartcatch Precure was the third magical girl show that I watched. And it’s true what they say: the third time’s the charm. Heartcatch Precure is just oozing with style visually; with character designs by Yoshihiko Umakoshi and multiple animators who, like Umakoshi, worked on Casshern Sins. Which is beautiful as far as I’m concerned. But the entire show is bogged down by a problem of shallowness and the fact that its story simply could not justify its length of 49 episodes.
I really am a fan of the character designs in Heartcatch Precure (excepting Cure Sunshine’s, but let’s not talk about that). It’s one of the stronger points in my opinion, and it’s unique enough to set itself aside from other anime series very distinctly. It’s probably the noses. Anyway, the animation is usually rather typical but it’s not exactly uncommon for it to spice up fight scenes with some pretty awesome animation and choreography that does not consist of RANDOM BLUR OF PHYSICAL ATTACKS WHICH ARE BEING DODGED AND/OR EVADED. THIS IS NOT WORKING LET US USE OUR SUPER MAGICAL SPECIAL ATTACK. That is a huge plus for a show with such an episodic formula where there is at least one fight every episode.
Storywise there’s not much to write home about. It’s generic as generic can be, really. Of course, things like this are always more about presentation rather than originality, and I think Heartcatch Precure presents its story well enough that the genericness does not become a detriment to its enjoyment. However, as I’ve said, the story it has to tell is not nearly grand enough for its 49 episodes. That means much of it is filler that does not serve to advance the story or develop the main characters at all. Instead you have episodic stories that are very clearly aimed at, well, the age group Heartcatch Precure is aimed at. But you really feel it with these because of the shallowness of the conflicts. And that’s just not cool, yo.
The characters are pretty lacking. The main characters tend to start out strong but lose much of their individuality within a few episodes, and the minor characters are really just walking cliches that have a problem and then learn a very valuable and terribly predictable lesson by the end of the episode. I will forgive this as they were obviously never meant to be deep or interesting, but the loss of individuality with the main characters over time is a bad thing that I will not forgive.
The music is above average, but nothing spectacular. Actually a bit of a disappointment to me, as I was expecting something spectacular because that is just what I have come to expect from Yasuharu Takanashi from my previous experiences with him. There are a handful of really good songs in it, but often the music is kept in the background where you won’t notice it very often. You will probably notice it sometimes and think that it is good, but you will not rush out to buy the soundtrack.
Overall I liked Heartcatch Precure a great deal, but I’m not going to lie. It’s not that great aside from the visuals. It is still enjoyable but it can be hard to actually sit through an episode if it doesn’t appear to be advancing the story at all. And sometimes even then it can be hard. Sitting through 49 episodes without a significant break in between them? Probably not going to happen.
tl;dr don’t watch this unless you’re patient, have time to waste, enjoy magical girl shows, or just can’t get enough of dat style. But don’t think of it as bad, because the truth is that it is simply not meant for your eyes but for the eyes of little girls. And to them it is probably amazing.