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 ^_^).