Yes! Precure 5
Nozomi Yumehara, a regular student, finds a magical book called the Dream Collet in the library and meets Coco, a creature from the Parumier Kingdom. Upon hearing the tragic tale of his Kingdom's peril, Nozomi decides then and there to do everything in her power to grant Coco's wish of returning Parumier to peace and happiness, by completing the Dream Collet and finding the 55 Pinkies to make any wish come true. Meanwhile, the Nightmares are moving into the real world. Once Nozomi agrees to help, Coco transforms her into the magical girl Cure Dream and turn four fellow students into her Pretty Cure team.
The Pretty Cure franchise is one that usually initiates a collective rolling of the eyes from the THEM Anime gang...and being a lover of all-things-magical-girl, I gave Futari wa, Max Heart, AND Splash Star a heartier try than most (and more than what they deserved, if you ask me).
So of course I entered this new series with a bit of skepticism--and initially was pulled in by the pretties--that's right:
--The pretty colors.
--The pretty animation.
--The pretty boys.
You heard me. I admit it. I am a shallow, shameful, hormonal fangirl. The usual devices suckered me in, and, now that I am a member of the translation team for this series, I have dedicated myself into being in it for the long haul.
The audience of Pretty Cure is growing up, and Toei is having the franchise grow up with it, apparently. Let's look at this new series, and see how Toei has learned from past weaknesses to possibly make Yes! PreCure 5 the strongest, most popular Pretty Cure ever...and maybe even deservingly so!
First off, Toei has loads of money to burn on this series. Pretty Cure has been its cash cow for the past several years, and, spare an episode here and there, it shows. Animation and artwork are constantly high quality (if only Sailormoon had looked this good) and the background music is gorgeous and not the least bit grating, ever. Full orchestrations, catchy melodies, emotional versions of the opening and ending themes (which are also totally awesome), all make for a classic soundtrack in the tried-and-true Marmalade Boy and Sailormoon sense.
Second, the characters. One of the biggest weaknesses for me in the Pretty Cure franchise was that the characters were too--forgive me--black and white to be believable. They were the embodiments of the worst kind of cliches, with no variation made to them in the least. They were grating, bland, flat--at this point we would usually say we were rooting for the villians, but the villians lacked any "cool" factor, that I couldn't even root for them!
None of that in PreCure 5. The lead is adorable and bubbly, without being a carbon-copy of Usagi (Sailormoon, in case you were born yesterday) or Ichigo (Tokyo Mewmew, not Bleach). She has goofy speech mannerisms without being annoying, and she is flawed in her own original, special way. Her best friends/team mates are also, to a point, your typical collection of "the smart one, the fiery one, the gentle one, the cute one" and at a glace people accuse it of being a Tokyo Mewmew rip-off. But sticking with the show for just two episodes, will show that they are completely different animals, here. The entire cast of PreCure5, down to the mascots (who--squee!--turn into "ikemen," aka TOTAL HOTTIES) are loveable, and you never tire of them. I dare say that they are even stronger than the Tokyo Mewmew cast, and are closer to Sailormoon in likeability--because they really do a good job in avoiding the stereotypical. Whereas characterization was most likely Pretty Cure's biggest weakness in the past, it is definitely the strength of this series, and I eagerly anticipate the new episode every week.
The plotline, while not the most original (how original can you be in a magical girl show?), is interesting enough to keep a 23-year-old girl's attention (though honestly I am just watching it to see who the pretty-boy mascots end up with XD). There is obvious set-ups for future conflicts, both externally through the villianous Nightmare organization (commentary on the workaholic Japanese workforce?) or internally, through your typical drama that results from such various personalities.
In sum, if you like magical girl anime--don't let the Pretty Cure name throw you. This series is the most entertaining I have come across since Sailormoon...better than Tokyo Mewmew or Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch--and who knows? Maybe it will climb up on my favorites ranking...time will only tell. Give this one a shot, folks. You just might be pleasantly surprised.
Not the best magical girl show ever--at least, not yet. Having the Pretty Cure name to it is actually a disservice...I fear a lot of people are going to avoid it because of that. Add a star if you like pretty boys or magical girls, take away a star if you don't like shoujo things. — Melissa Sternenberg
Recommended Audience: All shoujo lovers should give this one a try.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source.
Review Status: Partial (12/45+)
Yes! Precure 5 © 2007 Toei Animation
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