Anime I wish I…could watch without tearing my eyes out – #1 – Futari wa Pretty Cure

June 11, 2006

I’ve been quite away from my computer recently, so have been quite behind on reading other blogs. However, reading Ai to yuki no otogibanashi yesterday I was struck by how into Pretty Cure he was. This in turn got me thinking back to my attempts to watch said series.

Now as most of you, the people reading my blog will know, Futari wa Pretty Cure is a Mahou shoujo (magical girl) anime of stereotypical proportions – That is – in each series there are a set number of things to collect (which look remarkably like they could be easily marketed as merchandising), and the girls transform to battle hordes of similar looking monsters, usually only using one attack. (Makes you wonder why the enemy doesn’t think of producing monsters immune to that attack….but no use dwelling on the physics of it ^_^;;)

The thing that sets this mahou shoujo series apart from the other never-ending series like it is that it has generated a healthy shoujo-ai following on the internet based around the two female leads (Nagisa and Honoka – not, so far as I know for the new series – Splash Star). In fact, the fandom has gone so far that Nagisa and Honoka could be said to be the archetypal yuri couple (when you see lots of photomanips of other couples in Pretty Cure costumes, you know some references are being made)

Therefore, you would guess that there would actually be some subtext in the series. And you would be right….but only just. Apart from holding hands in every episode (and despite what ‘shippers want to believe, holding hands DOES NOT EQUAL GAY), there are very few actual subtextual moments. For example, Nagisa is cast opposite Honoka in the obligatory “Sleeping Beauty” school play, and once they sleep together (not in a hot and sweaty naked sense). In fact, the relationship between the two seems more like sisters than lovers.


So why watch the show, with this knowledge? Well, if its an ok anime, then why not? Its always fun to watch trashy anime and try and subtextualise every action between your couple of choice as perhaps hinting that they are having hot-behind-the-scenes-yuri-shenenigans. However, my attempt to watch Pretty cure ended in 5 episodes. Why? Because I find it so bad I feel my brain literally melting and flowing out of my ears.

5 Reasons not to watch Pretty Cure:

1. There is no story progression at all.

I can accept that this is a good thing in shows aimed at kids, since then children can tune in at any time during a series and not feel lost (a la British soap operas), but it really sucks if you watch every episode starting at the beginning. At least in Pokemon they travelled to different places and found different pokemon and other side characters to talk to. In Pretty cure they spend 2 series and 2 movies at the same school with the same supporting cast battling largely the same enemies. Zzzzzzz

2. The battles suck

Yeah, yeah, I know, shoujo anime battles suck anyway in principle. but even Card Captor Sakura battles were better than Pretty Cure. At least Sakura used a different card every once in a while (though she did pretty much fight the entire series with ‘Windy’), but Pretty Cure has (consults Wiki) 7 different attacks in the entire of two seasons? and 3 of them are based on the same attack (Marble screw). When you know how magical girls are going to win their fights, the fights might as well not be in there at all.

3. Too commercial

You can just feel the merchandising selling out of shops the minute the Pretty Cure girls get a new item. I’m sure that making the magical animals transform into cellphone shaped objects wasn’t a coincidence. I guess I just object to the series since it feels like it was just made as an infinite soap opera/drama to sell merchandising off of.

4. There is no yuri at all. Really.

I object to having to watch 50 episodes of mediocrity to savour 30 seconds of yuri moment >_<

5. Its infinitely long

Well, actually, it isn’t, strictly speaking, since the Pretty Cure arc finished at the end of Series 2, though the new Splash Star arc features characters which look exactly the same in costumes which look exactly the same and magical animals with even stupider rhyming names (Flappy and Choppy – actually, those don’t even rhyme -_-) and attacks which are subtly different (they have a different colour palette). Just change a few words and names here and there and hey presto, a new series. Anyway. The series is far to long to even think about watching all of it without turning into a gibbering, vibrating blob of jelly-like consistency. And that’s without watching the movies.

To those people who really like Futari wa Pretty Cure, I apologise for this rant. I don’t really hate it that much, but it just annoys me that there’s an anime rich in shoujo-ai capability that I am physically unable to watch. If anyone is out there that can refute me on any of this, please feel free to do so (especially if you could give me references to the episodes that are actually good ^_^).

Ix

11 Responses to “Anime I wish I…could watch without tearing my eyes out – #1 – Futari wa Pretty Cure”

  1. tj han Says:

    jpmeyer is so going to fight you. Anyway, I understand his love for Precure since I share the same love for Gatekeepers.

    There are a few factors that make an anime series special to a person. Here, the Timing and suitability come into play. He must have watched the show when he was younger, impressionable or a less experienced age when he wasn’t aware of cliches yet.

  2. jpmeyer Says:

    The reason that I’m not going to fight you is that I simply have NO IDEA why I like this show. Hell, a lot of my reviews of Max Heart were like “God, I’m like a battered wife with this show. It’s not good at all, but like those 30 seconds when it was good made up for the 30 episodes when it was lame.” Or I’ll be like “Geez, this is like the 30th episode in a row where they used the Marble Screw OMG THEY’RE GONNA DO IT YAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUS!”

    But yeah, the most yuri-licious episode of this show is #37 where they’re having the culture festival and Sakura Class decides that they want to put on a play. So obviously they put on Romeo and Juliet and make Nagisa play Romeo and Honoka play Juliet.

    And possibly my favorite blatantly commercial scene is that they have an episode where the Sakura Class is participating in a choir competition and they’re trying to figure out what song to sing. So Nagisa, Honoka, and their friend who is conducting the class are in a record store and what does Nagisa just-so-happen to come across that ends up being the perfect song for them to sing? The ED.

  3. yuribou Says:

    LOL

    So jpmeyer, did you watch it when you were younger and therefore have been irrevocably hooked by the inner greatness of pretty cure? Or perhaps you tap into a hidden meaning in the show that the regular adult public cannot understand?

    I bow down to your greatness ^_^

  4. jpmeyer Says:

    Well lessee, I think I watched this show in the fall so nope, still 23 when I watched this show! Basically, one day I decided to check out the show, and then that night I went “OH EM GEE. I just spent my entire day watching this show without realizing it. I should probably kill myself.” But then rather than killing myself, I watched the rest.

  5. Vud Says:

    Flappy. LOL. Seen that word a lot over at lolitron.

  6. the7k Says:

    Even though I’m aware that there is basically no actual yuri in the series, I’m still glad that the anime has been released due to the fact that alot of yuri fan-works are being produced for it. It could be said that it’s producing a level of ‘yuri-awareness’ that even Gravitation wasn’t able to do for yaoi. Even so, yaoi is still ten times more popular than yuri is, at least as far as animecons and bookstores go. I’ve never seen a single yuri manga at a bookstore, but often find Loveless, Fake, Gravitation, etc. *sadness* Regardless, I’ll take any aid to the yuri fandom there is, and I’ll enjoy those fan-works for a while too.

  7. kero Says:

    Pretty Cure is Pretty Cure. Bad or good animation, doesn’t matter. Many of the hardcore fans look past it and watch only for the Nagisa/Honoka relationship. The implications of being secret heroines in a war against evil puts both Nagisa and Honoka into a unique situation. A situation which they can only share all of their moments and thoughts with each other because they both are in the same ‘boat’, per say. Speaking of these things to an outsider would of course create problems.

    Steming from this thought, I wonder how hard it would be to love and trust someone else. Someone that wasn’t there when you were near death. Someone that wasn’t there when you and your campanion were saving civilization as we know it. Someone that wasn’t there for your greatest moments.

    The implications of these thoughts could go on and on, I’m sure. As it is though, I’m going to cut this text wall short.

  8. tieu_yeu_nu Says:

    although i do like Pretty Cure but i do agree with everything you say.

    but unlike you, i would sit through 50ep to watch 30’s of yuri. and it actually had more then tat. tats how much i’m will to go for a couple i like.

    i had to sit through Stawberry Panic when i didn’t like a single character. just for the yuri scenes.

  9. Rayven Says:

    I GET WHAT YOU’RE SAYING, BUT, IN DEFFENCE, PRETTY CURE IS A REALLY GOOD SERIES. UNLESS YOU WATCHED PRETTY CURE, PRETTY CURE MAX HEART, PRETTY CURE SPLASH STAR, PRETTY CURE 5, PRETTY CURE 5 GOGO, AND FRESH! PRETTY CURE, THEN BASICLY YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO REALLY DISS THEM.

  10. hannah Says:

    how dare you say such things i love pretty cure mabye its not important to a skeptical type like you but it is to me, so pretty cure isn’t the most realstic but neither is dbz and thats awesome also if the fights aren’t good so what its a kids show and anime isn’t all about fighting! its called anime not fighting! i think you should just get over yourself and relize your not the best critic ever!

  11. Cloud Says:

    I would like to watch Futari wa Precure (an English dub preferably) but can’t find it anywhere! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Anyhow your complaints seem valid. Since I haven’t seen the show all I have to go off of is blogs like this. But I enjoyed season 1 of Sailor Moon simply because it WASN’T complicated. It was simple, cute, and eye candy. Mindless dribble but colorful enough to distract and hey, there were cute little anime girls in cute outfits in it. Who doesn’t love that? Further seasons of Sailor Moon became convoluted and confusing with the weird storylines. If they would have kept the season 1 simplicity throughout the series I probably would have enjoyed it more. When I want to watch something deep I go for The Silence of the Lambs or something that wasn’t created for a younger audience. When I want to wind down and lose myself in cute la la sprites I go for an anime and Pretty Cure seems to be right up that alley.

    That said, I’m a little disgusted that people like to think of these characters as a sexual couple being as how they are junior high students as far as I know and it seems perverted to imagine anything happening between people that young. I’m relieved to read that they feel more like sisters than a romantic couple. I know gay couples are all the rage in Japanese entertainment, and the fans eat it up, but when it’s about two young girls it reeks of pedophilia.


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