“Sandra,” you ask me, the endless curiousity of a child filling your hazel eyes, “what does that title mean?” I place my hand upon your soft brown hair (your hair IS brown, right?), smile gently, and then I say all of this crap:
Once upon a time I wrote a review of Heartcatch Precure. One day, I got a pingback for it, so I remembered that such a review existed, and re-read it. It seemed a lot more negative than how I remember feeling about the series upon finishing it. I don’t know why. Maybe I can blame Suite Precure, which had problems and was airing at the time. It’s convenient, so let’s do that.
While we’re at it, I’m gonna re-review Heartcatch Precure, review the movie, and I’m also going to have this dumb wall of text where I talk about why I think Tsubomi and Erika are awesome. In one post, because even though I knew this was a big mistake, it felt like the only correct way to do it. And since my blag is apparently an image gallery, I must warn you that there are too many pictures in this post. Can’t say I mind it when we’re dealing with Umakoshi.
Since this post is at that awkward moment right between June’s full moon and my birthday, maybe you should listen to the song Strawberry Moon, by Cascade. I am apparently into this kind of music. Too bad it’s not my favourite song from them. But wait! There’s that part that sounds like a part in Duran Duran’s Union of the Snake. I was only in a music theory class for the week I spent in high school, so I have no way to explain this. Anyway, enough excuses to talk about non-anime music. Post, I choose you! Go!
“What’s that? You’re reviewing another show animated/designed by that Yoshihiko Umakoshi guy which has vague, unimportant connections to its franchise and it has something to do with deserts, flowers, guys named Dune, irritated jerks who just want to break stuff, and hope?” Welp.
Since this rereview is kind of a response to my original review, I’ll start by going through that quick. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read the original one to understand what I’m talking about.
“But the entire show is bogged down by a problem of shallowness” is a thing I said. I also said “the story it has to tell is not nearly grand enough for its 49 episodes.” I kind of still feel that way, but kind of don’t. It was the more fillery filler episodes that were so shallow that they were pointless. For this post I actually only rewatched 32 episodes. I can’t say I feel like I’ve missed anything. So I suppose 49 episodes really is too much. But you have to forgive the show; after all, they did at least try to spread out these episodes.
Okay, you don’t have to forgive it. You may think it’s not worth forgiving. There’s a chance you could be right. But I want you to forgive it. I did! Although I can’t lie, having only 32 episodes to watch this time did not make it any less difficult for me to watch the show, regardless of how much I enjoyed what I was watching. But I don’t know if it’s a problem with Heartcatch Precure itself or if it has something to do with the fact that I tend to get extremely disinterested in many shows after 15 episodes.
Another thing I said: “main characters tend to start out strong but lose much of their individuality within a few episodes.” Now, this is just lies and slander. I think I know why I said this, though. First of all, Suite Precure. Second of all, filler episodes have almost no focus on Tsubomi or Erika. Third, Cure Sunshine is boring. Fourth, Cure Moonlight doesn’t make any sense. “i got a laser to the face back then because i was arrogant and thought it’d be cool to fight dark precure all alone, so i have to get over that past… by fighting dark precure alone.” Whatever, Moonlight. Whatever. Nah I’m kidding Cure Moonlight is a great character. It was the fillers and Sunshine. Overall the characters are just fine.
And on music, I said “The music is above average, but nothing spectacular.” which again I don’t really agree with anymore. I must not have been wearing my headphones or something. There’s plenty of good music in this. There’s a lot of awesome music, too, and I do like how it had some insert songs with the voice actresses singing as their roles in the main cast. Nana Mizuki is included in that “main cast” for those of you who are into that. And she has a difficult time hiding the fact that she’s a great singer.
So I’m going to try to summarize things here instead of arguing with myself. Some of the characterization is actually really realistic. That is awesome. The music is good. The designs are good. Sometimes the animation is really good, notably in fighting scenes (key word here is “sometimes”… don’t expect it to be good every episode).
And the story is just fine, though of course you must keep in mind this is for little girls. It’s just a bit darker than the usual fare for that age group. But there are episodes like 38, 48, and 49 which I really wish all magical girl shows would use as inspiration or something. When I watched those episodes, I thought “this is what a magical girl show should be like”… and I also had some pretty strong thoughts of wanting Sandlot to make a Heartcatch Precure game. But anyway.
These fights get to such an epic scale that they actually go to space to fight a certain enemy. In space. That basically never happens outside of sci-fi. I want more magical girl shows that have battles on this scale. And I want more magical girl shows that have the level of emotion, awesome, and determination that Heartcatch has in those three episodes. These episodes establish firmly that Heartcatch Precure broke through the borderline into the land of Awesome.
If you have no patience for fillers, you probably won’t be able to watch this for too long before getting bored. An unfortunate fact. It does get better. Significantly better, actually, around episode 34 or so. Even the few filler episodes they have left at this point have a fabulous fight scene in them or are just hilarious, if nothing else. But if you don’t like it after the first few episodes you will never like it.
Besides, you shouldn’t have to wait 34 episodes to get to “the good parts” just like I shouldn’t have to wait 34 episodes for Clannad to become watchable. If you don’t see it as worth watching at the start then seriously, just forget about it. Or skip over to episode 38. Things won’t make sense but do you really care when you weren’t going to watch any more anyway?
tl;dr Just try it. I like it more than Madoka Magica. Depending on what you feel about Madoka Magica and what you know about how I feel about Madoka Magica, this could mean all sorts of things. But it is a fact, so I want you to try watching it.
This will be short as the movie itself was short. And sweet! All meanings of that word. That’s what this movie is. Since it’s a movie sidestory to Heartcatch Precure, it will of course have glorious visuals. The animation is great, even when it’s not being silly or in fight scenes. It’s just always great. It also uses a lot of neat visual things. I’ve seen others describe similar things to what this movie did as “great directing.” So there you go. It’s got Great Directing. Far greater than anything you might’ve seen in the series itself. Also the music is really good. No surprise there.
But you know what else is cool about this movie? The story. I’m not going to give details because I don’t like doing that in reviews (although I sometimes do anyway, I don’t feel it would add anything in this case). But you will get attached to Olivier, a character who is very important in this movie. So when he cries, you will cry. Unless you’re too manly for tears or whatever. It’s still sad though. Even if you don’t cry. In fact, forget I even said it was sad. It’s good. All you need to know.
Anyway, the story also fits in really nicely with the series. It’s not just some magical mystery adventure somewhere far away where everyone will chant “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It has a bit of backstory for some lesser-developed parts of the series’s story, and they do make very small references to the movie in the series. So it really feels like it’s actually part of it. I like that. Let us rid the world of sidestories that will affect nothing and be forever forgotten, and sidestories that were never meant to be canon. Everyone will be happy!
Of course you can’t watch it without having seen most of the series first, since it takes place somewhere between episodes 37ish and 44. This is an unfortunate thing, as it really is a great movie and as a very impatient person, I can understand why nobody would want to watch the series. Even if, you know, I just spent a bunch of paragraphs telling you why you should watch it in my re-review. But maybe you didn’t read that. It’s okay. We can still be friends.
tl;dr Do the obvious. Watch the movie if you watch the series. Don’t watch the movie if you didn’t. … you can watch the movie anyway if you just like pretty things though.
And by “talking too much about myself” what I really mean is this whole thing is basically just me comparing myself to Tsubomi, probably without any purpose. She’s a great character and I really think they did an amazing job at actually making her as shy as she’s always described. And I’m no Erika, but I have reason to believe she’s just as awesome and realistic. A warning before you read on: I spent a lot of time editing and rewriting this part. But there’s a fine line drawing my senses together and I think it’s about to break. Hopefully you will find something worthwhile in it despite that.
So, begin Tsubomi comparisons. I’ve got awesome long red hair like hers. I’ve got prescription glasses and, like her, I do not have to wear them (although I believe she wears contacts when she’s not). Her handwriting is small. So is mine! In fact, my writing is so small that I’ve had teachers write on my quizzes and tests “write larger!” on more than one occasion. I don’t know if any of these traits are actually things to be associated with “shy introverts,” but there you go.
Tsubomi speaks quietly, and if asked to repeat what she said because nobody heard her, she speaks even quieter, as I do. It’s not something we try to do. It just happens. It’s kind of like being reminded that these are actual people you’re talking to. And now, if they weren’t already, all eyes are focused on you. You feel tiny so your voice comes out tiny. Something like that.
Fun fact: when I was younger, before I realized that I was actually speaking quieter, I started getting really annoyed about this. I felt like the problem was them not paying attention, or them having awful hearing. How dare they deafen themselves with any music other than Dura–okay, I’m not going there again I’ve gone there enough in this post, both overtly and covertly. Anyway, so I refused to repeat myself. If you didn’t hear me the first time, that was it. It just annoyed me so much before I realized it was a problem on my end.
That paragraph was supposed to be evidence that we don’t realize we’re doing it. So don’t get angry at us or make fun of us! We didn’t know!
Anyway, Tsubomi has another problem she doesn’t bother listing with her usual self-description of “shy and introverted.” And that is a lack of confidence. Her constant thoughts that she is a burden which, in episode 4, lead her to believe that Erika would be better off with a different partner… and of course, true to this entire personality dynamic Erika never thought of her as a burden.
Erika is great. It’s actually rather interesting that she’s not the main character or the leader of the group. That second part is even more surprising when you realize that there isn’t really a leader for the group at all. Erika would really be a good fit for both roles, so the fact that she doesn’t end up as the leader is kind of special. You’d think that with a lack of a “designated leader” the most leaderlike person would end up acting as leader anyway. But that’s not how things go in Heartcatch. Not even Moonlight takes up that role, despite being the veteran Pretty Cure. That’s awesome and interesting.
Erika is always the one to step forward first, paving the way for everyone else to follow suit. Good news for anyone who actually stops to consider the possible consequences of an action. That means they don’t have to do anything they know is risky and they won’t be crippled by the possibility that things could go wrong. This even goes for something as simple as making friends. Tsubomi probably would never have made any if Erika hadn’t decided to talk to her first (that’s just how it goes with shy people; they don’t usually talk to people without reason or prior context, and when they do it’s really awkward). Erikas are great; they bridge the gaps between shy people and everyone else.
I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that 1. I don’t know how to end this post, 2. excuses for why the third part doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be about and 3. Heartcatch Precure is awesome (and as a result of this post I hope the amount of people watching Heartcatch is on the climb) and knows what it’s doing. Unlike me.