Suite Precure began airing in 2011, and like all Precure series, lasted an entire year. This installment in the franchise was directed by Munehisa Sakai, and as the name of the series implies, it had a pretty prominent music theme going on (on a very shallow level only; unfortunately it spends most of its time either ignoring the music theme or discriminating against music that isn’t happy and clefs that aren’t treble).
Suite Precure was actually my first Precure series, and though I’ve said all sorts of unsavory things about it in other posts which were not about Suite Precure, it was the series that got me into both Precure and magical girl series in general. How can this be?! You will have to read to find out.
First, to shower endless praises onto Suite Precure. Guys guys guys! Did you hear? The music is composed by Yasuharu Takanashi, and as you should expect from that name, it is great! At worst tracks are predictable, and at best they are the heart of why I was able to watch all 48 of its episodes, even during the long stretches of episodes without merit.
There’s quite a bit to say about the visuals in Suite Precure. The character designs are done by Akira Takahashi, and they’re definitely nice to look at. Everything’s pretty and filled with colour. Even the supporting cast have designs that are quite pleasing to the eye. However, I would say that the animation is slightly below par for what I’d expect from a Precure series.
It’s typical in Precure for there to be few moments of noteworthy animation and many moments of derpworthy off-model shots. This is usually balanced out by a handful of segments of amazing animation… Suite Precure barely has any of that. Instead it makes up for that lack by having the most glorious stock footage I’ve seen in animation yet, with possible exceptions if we include opening sequences.
Inevitably, in each episode of Suite Precure you are going to have at least one (and more likely at least two) instance(s) of stock footage. Because Suite Precure, as a magical girl anime, has transformation scenes and special attacks. Stock footage kind of goes with the formula in a show like this. But Suite Precure’s stock sequences are special. They have this shading and finish to the colors that makes them look amazing, and the choreography in some of them is pretty cool.
People usually complain about stock footage because you are watching the same thing every single time, but it looks so amazing in Suite Precure that you really don’t care anymore. And besides that, Suite Precure has a lot of different attacks and varieties of attacks that all use at least slightly different animation. There’s enough freshness to be found here that it doesn’t feel all that repetitive, so instead it feels like a treat each time stock sequences come up.
Now, for the story and characters. The characters are definitely somewhat problematic. Early on, two of the main characters get into the most absurd arguments which are only caused by things that are not essentially stupid misunderstandings about half the time. It’s annoying and rather difficult to really understand, much like the previous sentence. On the bright side, the other half of the time it’s a more genuine clash of personalities, which is completely acceptable. In fact, their interaction is actually fairly enjoyable at this point. But things happen as the series go on that basically completely destroy this entire paragraph.
More characters join the main group. Apparently Suite Precure never got the memo about maintaining balance. So when the first new character is introduced to the group, not only did that character seem to lose something that seemed integral to her personality, but Kanade stopped existing.
That nice dynamic between best friends Hibiki and Kanade? Yeah, better get a funeral planned out for that. It gets worse when they introduce a fourth character to the group, because she also seems to lose a strong aspect of her personality when she joins and then Kanade becomes a ghost who just says the things that anyone would have said instead of a character who says the things Kanade would say.
It was really just a mess in regards to the handling of the characters. The story itself isn’t exactly exempt from messiness, either. Thematically speaking, especially. It starts out with a clear and strong theme about friendship, and it works really well with this.
Then the second half gets started and suddenly it’s about… family or something? That’s okay I guess, because it had some episodes that dealt with family before the second half hit anyway. But the friendship theme is gone entirely, and that’s not okay. Plus, it suddenly becomes mainly about overcoming adversity near the end. What in the world? These kinds of thematic switches probably happen very frequently in most anime, but Suite Precure was one of the few series where it felt jarring to me, and where it completely abandoned themes it started out with.
It’s not as if I dislike these individual parts of Suite Precure. I actually really love how a lot of parts of its story were handled. In particular, the parts dealing with friendship and the final villain’s motivations and thought processes will always hold a special place in my heart. They just don’t all feel like they mix well into a whole, and there’s really no forgiving the missteps they made with the characters I described above.
Those long stretches of episodes without merit I mentioned before? They could have had some merit if the character interaction or development was as good as it was in the first half of the series. But they messed up and didn’t try to fix it, so there are a lot of worthless episodes that don’t even have much in the way of entertainment value.
Overall, I really liked Suite Precure, but even I can’t ignore all of its problems. It’s actually rather difficult to decide if I would recommend it or not, because there are parts that are just done so well, but are offset by the parts that were done horribly. I could just recommend it to people who are intrigued, or to people who already like magical girl shows. Yeah, let’s do that. Suite Precure is good but problematic, so watch it if you’re intrigued or if you like magical girl shows.
tl;dr Any show that’s convinced that sad music is the one true evil definitely has some mental issues it needs to work out before it can be good date material.