English: Heartcatch Precure!
Synonyms: Heartcatch Pretty Cure!
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Feb 7, 2010 to Jan 30, 2011
24 min. per episode
PG - Children
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.971 (scored by 2037 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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Synopsis2nd year middle school student Tsubomi Hanasaki has just moved with her family to the town of Kibougahana to live with her grandma. She is shy and introverted, but is determined to start off her new school life at Myoudou Academy as confidently as possible.
Lately she has been having the same mysterious dream again and again, of Cure Moonlight's defeat at the Great Heart Tree. She wonders what it all means. Then suddenly, two fairies from the dream appear to her, and before she knows it, she is transformed into the legendary Pretty Cure, Cure Blossom!
Later joined by her high energy classmate and new friend Erika Kurumi as Cure Marine, the two girls vow work hard to protect everyone's Heart Flowers from the evil gang, The Desert Messengers.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Heartcatch Precure!
Alternative setting: Futari wa Precure, Futari wa Precure: Splash☆Star, Futari wa Precure: Max Heart, Yes! Precure 5, Yes! Precure 5 GoGo!, Fresh Precure!, Suite Precure♪, Smile Precure!, Dokidoki! Precure
Spin-off: Precure All Stars Movie DX2: Kibou no Hikari - Rainbow Jewel wo Mamore!, Precure All Stars Movie DX3: Mirai ni Todoke! Sekai wo Tsunagu Niji-iro no Hana, Precure All Stars New Stage: Mirai no Tomodachi
Side story: Heartcatch Precure! Movie: Hana no Miyako de Fashion Show... Desu ka!?
Characters & Voice Actors
I was hesitant to jump into the Precure Franchise due to the large number of seasons, and how similar people said they were. I asked around for the best of all seasons. All signs pointed to Heartcatch and even now watching the very good Smile Precure, I agree that Heartcatch wins by a mile.
[ Story ]
The story is pretty typical for even a Precure season. A great evil was sealed away long ago and is returning to wreck it's own special brand of havoc on the world. Since Heartcatch is flower themed, this comes in the form of desolate wastelands, specifically of the desert variety. And so our Precure warriors must band together to combat the threat of this evil's band of minions, the Desert Apostles.
Watching Smile Precure at the moment I'm able to see one thing that really stands in Heartcatch's favor, the limit on main characters. At the start of the show, Heartcatch only has two active fighters, as opposed to Smile's ensemble of five warriors. This allows the two fighters to take on a single monster without the need for blatant methods of disabling all but the focus character of the episode.
The fighting is probably one of the things most older male viewers are going to remember from this show. Precure in the past have always been known for being super strong and having enhanced combat ability, but these girls spend much of the fight rumbling with their foes in an impressive display that would be welcome in a Cartoon Network lineup alongside Powerpuff Girls. But, true to Magical Girl fashion, they always finish with a flashy Magic attack.
One of the things that works against Heartcatch is it's victim of the week formula. A standard filler episode features a random background character with an emotional problem. Our leads, Tsubomi and Erika associate with this character before said character becomes the power source for the latest monster of the week. It can get really predictable at times, to the point that you can tell right away who's going to be the victim. Their problems are also very easy to see through at times, and you can tell exactly how they're going to overcome it. It gets downright repetitive at times, where the monster of the week will stop in the middle of the fight to cry over the problem the victim is having. "Girls aren't allowed to play on the boy's soccer team!" and such. The villain who summoned the monster will 9 out of 10 times, laugh about the problem the victim is having, saying that it's stupid and pointless. At this point our heroes will make a big speech about how important that problem is, followed by catch phrases and then the aforementioned magic attack. On a bad filler episode, the lead characters get maybe... five minutes of screen time, aside from the fight.
One interesting thing to note is that the show is somewhat savvy toward the cliches of the genre. If you're watching online. Just when you think there's going to be a typical stock footage finish attack, a villain interrupts it and the fight continues.
Despite the aforementioned filler there is a surprisingly gripping and sometimes dark story taking place amid the colorful scenery and cutesy designs. At the focal point of is Cure Moonlight, a fallen Precure who spends much of the series recovering from the emotional damage of her last battle prior to the start of the story.
[ Art ]
With an animation style reminiscent of Ojamajo Doremi, it's easy for those who aren't fans of the genre to be put off by this show. If you can get past the flurry of pink and rainbows that is the opening theme, the show itself is vivid and gorgeous, showing just how beautiful the world is despite the hardships these characters endure. The character designs all come with round, lovable faces and dazzling eyes that convey their personalities so well.
You would think that this art style would have a bad effect on the darker, more serious moments of the show, but amazingly it works in their favor. Even with the color toned down, the smooth animation style stands as one of the best aspects of the series.
Edit: How could I forget to mention the most gorgeous transformation sequence in Magical Girl history? Blossom and Marine's dual transformation is absolutely stunning.
The ending themes feature the cast of characters in CG, dancing to the song. This animation is nice, but seems awkward compared to the style of the series.
On a personal note, I wish I had watched this show after receiving this gorgeous flatscreen monitor I have now. My last one was pathetic, so I wasn't able to appreciate the animation style like I can now.
[ Sound ]
The soundtrack of Heartcatch Precure is another thing that helps it vividly display the joys and hardships of life. Gorgeous melodies accent the peaceful serenity that comes with the flower motif. In particular, the transformation sequence music is among the most upbeat and inspiring of any in the Magical Girl genre. This series has something for every occasion. Powerful, upbeat music for dramatic action moments, gentle, mellow tunes for the tragic, emotional moments and plenty of cheerful, upbeat melodies to suit the fun of being a girl and having great friends.
The opening theme is catchy and cheerful, perfectly suited for the bright, optimistic majority of the series. The first ending theme is another of those upbeat, catchy dancing themes that spreads through the internet like Haruhi-ism. The second ending is one I'm less favorable toward, as it's a gospel-style song, a weird choice for a Magical Girl show with no religious symbolism.
[ Characters ]
The characters in a Magical Girl show are usually it's strongest point, and Heartcatch is no exception. This cast is well rounded and colorful, developing beautifully whenever there isn't a filler episode. Our lead, Tsubomi Hanasaki, is a rare treat for the genre. Whereas main leads are often the idiot hero type, Tsubomi is intelligent, withdrawn and insecure. Realistically, she's not at all ready to accept the burden of fighting dangerous monsters, and even when she has no choice but to become a Precure, it takes her a while to get used to this new power. The best thing about Tsubomi is that she doesn't immediately shed her timid self. It's all too easy for a protagonist to become instantly courageous and confident upon receiving power. Tsubomi on the other hand still has her doubts about herself, and spends much of the series growing as a person.
Serving as the foil to Tsubomi's weak exterior is her friend Erika Kurumi. Erika is another unusual character. Her Cure powers are water based, but she's as hot blooded as any Shonen Hero, maybe more so. Erika is loud, obnoxious and incredibly outgoing, making her overwhelming for those around her. That isn't to say she's completely without concerns, she has her own insecurities, but has an easier time masking them through sheer energy. Such energy and yet Erika is lazy at the same time, especially when it comes to school work.
For those who don't mind casting the spotlight away from the lead characters, every filler episode brings us a new character who the show takes the time to develop as a person, instead of simply throwing them on screen, throwing a problem at them and being done with it. The best part is that these characters exist around our heroes long after they've become the victim of the week, offering their support and serving as comic relief.
The villains of the show we mostly see are a trio of quirky characters. Most noteworthy among them is Kumojacky. Just looking at the guy, you can just see him as the hero of any hotblooded mecha series. He is a man who believes power is most important. Of course when you're in a Magical Girl show, this philosophy isn't on the winning side.
Kobraja is another of the more interesting villains. He's a complete narcissist, and FABULOUS MAX at that. He can be both a serious threat and comic relief.
And then there's Dark Precure, the nemesis of Cure Moonlight who's sole goal in life is to eliminate her enemy. This puts her at odds with even the main villain of the series, who wants her to focus on eliminating the Cures who are still in commission. While there's much more to her than meets the eye, the thing that stands out most about her for me is that she is the bringer of the more serious, impressive moments in the series. Every time she shows up I pretty much cheer, cause I know things are gonna get awesome.
[ Enjoyment ]
I admit I was a bit bored during the first few episodes. The victim of the week formula gets a bit tiresome, especially when the main cast is so vivid and lovable. But I'm so glad I stuck with it. Things got much better after a while, and even in the filler episodes, we have the amazing fight scenes and gorgeous animation that make this series stand out even among it's successors, Suite and Smile Precure. In particular, the arrival of the third Cure brings about a change in the formula, as there are now enough able warriors to warrant the villain assisting the monster of the week, or not using a monster at all.
[ Overall ]
Heartcatch Precure is a must see for any fan of the Magical Girl genre. Even if you were bored with the original Precure season, give this one a try. If not for the amazing fight scenes, then just for that beautiful animation style. It's a fantastic series marred only by a bit of tedious filler, which is par for the course in this genre. If has it's dark moments, arguable the darkest in the Precure franchise, but you're looking for lots of angst and despair, you're watching the wrong series. Heartcatch Precure is a fun series with something for all ages and genders, full of cute characters, colorful animation mixed with amazing action scenes and surprisingly dark moments, but in the end, love conquers all! read more
Story: Story has never been a strong point for any tokusatsu/magical-girl anime. This is proven again as we're treated to a fun, albeit predictable story. If you've seen Sailor Moon or Power Rangers growing up (and let's face it, who hasn't?) you know the monster-of-the-week formula by heart. Having said that there is enjoyment to be found in it's light hearted fluffy plot, assuming you don't take it too seriously.
Art: Definitely a strong point for Heartcatch. The animation is very smooth and colourful, making the series a treat for the eyes. Bright colours, explosions, Dragonball level beam-spam and fun to watch battles make up for most of the series shortcomings.
Sound: While some character's voices can become irksome at times (Shypre Coffret come to mind) the voice casting is generally well done. Nana Mizuki does a great job capturing Tsubomi's timidness and strength as a Precure, and Fumie Mizusawa is always a delight to hear as the spastic Erika. The rest of the sound is somewhat generic for an magical-girl anime, but still crisp and fun to hear every time they use their special attacks. The music is also extremely well done, easily meeting cinema level quality and composition.
Enjoyment: Ah yes, here's where it's up for you to decide. I myself enjoy the cheesy plot and epic fights that tokusatsu/magical-girl series are famed for. But again, your mileage may vary.
Overall: While Heartcatch Precure may not be the anime of the year, it's certainly worth a glance if not to reminisce upon those days of yonder spent planted in front of the television watching Saturday morning cartoons. Highly enjoyable, assuming you're not looking too deep into it. read more
Opening Theme"Alright! Heartcatch Precure!" by Aya Ikeda
Ending Theme#01: "Heartcatch ☆ Paradise!" (ハートキャッチ☆パラダイス！)" by Mayu Kudou (eps 1-24)
#02: "Song of Tomorrow" (あしたのうた) by Mayu Kudou (eps 25-49)
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