A sixteen-year-old girl is struggling to adjust to a new step-family when seven guys appear on the scene revealing that she possesses a special magical power. Shying away from the strange group, she later joins them when a monster places her friend's life in jeopardy. Without training, she must prove herself capable to take up the sacred duty of the Pretear. They must resolve their differences and work together to defeat the evil princess intent on destruction.
Upon first looking at the title you may be thinking to yourself, is this some sort of story about someone about to cry? (Pre-tear) Hahahaha but no, in all seriousness this is actual a magical girl style anime with a more interesting concept.
Basically it follows our main heroine "Himeno" as she tries to stop the evil demons made from the "Princess of disaster." (main villain) But how she does this is pretty interesting, she basically has to merge with these beings called "The Leafe Knights" in order to temporally take control of their powers, and this is quite important as she will need different
elements against the right foe. It basically sticks to this the whole way through, all along giving the viewer some pretty nifty plot twists and surprises after the half way point. There is also a nice love story that takes place between Himeno and the main Leafe Knight, (even if it is pretty standard in anime. You know? The whole love--hate relationship) along with other mini plots to help prevent the story from keeping a sort of straight forwardness to the audience. In fact there are a handful of episodes that deal more with personal problems, and take a break from the overall story. The ending itself is by no means anything spectacular, but it does resolve all plot threads and questions, and should make you feel satisfied at the end. The action scenes I must say are a bit more on the shallow side and lack a certain flare and appeal, as some enemies were defeated in a matter of minutes once Himeno transforms, which might disappoint some viewers. This happens on most parts where they usually are involved with side plots, and make you feel like some of the actions scenes play second fiddle in some episodes. Though this is a magical girl style anime, it also has some pretty funny comedy scenes as well, but it’s never over the top and is mostly there to keep the audience into the anime. When they do gear up for battle and/or show more problematic scenes between the characters, the title quickly shifts into the appropriate mood, so you don’t have to worry about the characters acting comical at the wrong time, as it’s balanced with the seriousness.
Pretear does have some content that should be mentioned, for one there are some scenes that show Himeno and the Leafe Knights in a more nude look. It basically happens when they are about to merge with one another. Though they don’t draw any actual detail in the body, and are more just implied (ie Sailor Moon transformations).
Well being that this is a 2001 title, it will come as no surprise that it shows age. The character design that went into each is quite nice though, each article of clothing and facial expression is pretty decent to look at with a good scenes of detail and personality, however the backgrounds leave much to be desired, as most come off as a sort of bland watercolor style painting, this is especially true with the more natural environments, (such as the parks and forests) which aren’t the nicest to look at. Though some of the interior (such as Himeko’s house) is pretty detailed and well made with style.
The opening and closing themes are very pleasing to the ears, the first with a more mature magical girl style up beat theme, and the ending with a much more relaxed yet enthusiastic style. The background music is pretty forgettable though, it does play the right tunes at the right time depending on the situation. But you will most likely forget about it once you finished the series. The character voices are very well done (even in the dub version), and mix well with the character’s persona. An endearing soundtrack overall!
Well to be quite frank they are very appealing and give off good vibes to the audience, but they lack real depth found on other magical girl series. As this is due to one problem, there are simply too many characters in the overall story that you really never get a chance to learn about any of them. In fact if I was to give number count of how many of them you get actual back story and/or knowledge of, I would say its around 5 or so. Which isn’t much considering there are around 14 characters in this. Still, they do spotlight the appropriate cast members whom of which are indeed important to the storyline.
Bottom Line: 7/10
All in all Pretear is an endearing tale that should satisfy its audience. Even though it lacks deep character depth found in other titles of this style, it makes up for it nicely with its mix baggage of genres (ie love, action, suspense, comedy). While I am not the biggest fan of magical girl titles, I certainly did have fun with this. And I think you will too!
At first, I thought Pretear would be some dumb rip off of Sailor Moon using elements instead of planets but man was I wrong. This show was much deeper than I thought it would be and even made me cry at the end! One thing I liked about this anime was that all of the characters developed into likeable people and it also wasnt predictable-- because predictable shows are just plain boring. I couldnt stop watching it and finished the series in one night! So I give this one two thumbs up, although I wish I could have watched it over time other than all
at once so I dont reccomend my method haha. Well hoped this helped even though it was written kinda bad :]
When most people look at the mahou shoujo genre nowadays, there are probably two things that immediately pop into their heads. The first is a traditional, happy-go-lucky mahou shoujo series with young girls fighting evil with the power of love and friendship, a la Sailor Moon or Pretty Cure.
The second is Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the dark and gritty reconstruction of the genre that became the darling of the anime fandom almost overnight.
However, Shin Shirayuki-hime Densetsu Pretear, or simply known as Pretear, seems to straddle those two preconceptions. While the series starts out as light-hearted as a traditional magical girl
series, the latter half exposes many of the darker elements that made Madoka Magica so popular, even though Pretear was created nearly a decade before. And while I'm not here to compare Pretear to every other mahou shoujo anime out there, I do find it important to place the show in the context of something in a genre that is meant for younger girls. With that said, let's begin the review.
Pretear definitely had a slow start, and the first quarter or so is extremely episodic with a monster-of-the-week formula. The tone was very light with numerous comedic moments that you would expect to see in a typical shoujo series. However, around the half way mark, Pretear begins to unveil some of the darker undertones and by the last few episodes, it becomes quite emotional and dramatic. There is a sense of despair in those final episodes, as characters are put through many difficult situations. Although I wouldn't necessarily call the story philosophical in any way, the depth is there if you look for it. Throughout the latter half of the series, themes like unrequited love, abandonment, and loneliness play a huge role in how the story pans out. And while this type of drama may not appeal to everyone, I certainly found the story to be quite gripping and emotionally charged where it needed to be. Pretear also borrowed some ideas from famous fairy tales, so it was also interesting to see those elements come into play at various points in the series.
For those who have read the manga and enjoyed it, keep in mind that the anime story line is quite different from the midpoint onward. However, I personally felt that the anime version was much more enjoyable with the changes added, since it contributed to the drama and overall feel of the series. Although the manga explored similar themes, the anime changed the plot in a way that made much more sense, in my opinion.
When watching Pretear, I tried my best not to gripe about the art and animation too much, given that the show was produced in 2001. Still, I can't say the animation was top-notch, and even the character designs weren't all that great. Himeno in particular had this problem of looking too thin and lanky from afar, and the faces of all the characters were often distorted slightly during some scenes. But since Himeno transforms into a different form with each guy, the costume changes were very pretty to watch. Overall, don't expect too much from the art and animation. It wasn't terrible to the point of making my eyes bleed, but it definitely wasn't outstanding.
Unfortunately, the sound department for Pretear was also not top-notch, but this probably had less to do with the production year and more with the type of budget usually given to a title like this. There wasn't much music throughout most of the show, and even during the emotional scenes in the finale, they just reused the opening theme over and over again. Although the opening theme wasn't bad, it eventually became annoying because they played it often more than once in several episodes. At other points during the show, the music was either not noticeable or wholly nonexistent. As for voice acting, the roles were played out quite well but none of them stood out. A few were even slightly grating, such as Mayune and Yayoi, but this might have been due to the characters themselves being rather irritating at times. Overall, the sound was just mediocre. Not horrible, but not great either.
This is definitely where Pretear shined. Although the characters each follow archetypes, each of them develop enough that towards the end of the series they become quite likable. Save for a few, even the comedic relief characters end up being important towards the end. The main lead, Himeno, is your typical ditzy shoujo protagonist. What makes her unique at first is her physical strength due to years of martial arts training, but this aspect of her character is not brought up as often as you would think. Himeno is quite admirable as she attempts to understand and help others while blocking out her own vulnerabilities, and this makes for much of the drama in the series. The seven "Leafe Knights" are her comrades and protectors, and while two of them, Hayate and Sasame are fleshed out more than the others, all of them become endearing to the viewer by the end of the series. The antagonist, whom I won't name because of spoilers, is actually a very tragic figure and easy to sympathize with. Although I wished her character back story was elaborated upon a little more, I still felt like her plight was understandable.
And then, there's Himeno's family. One thing that really separates Pretear from the hoard of mahou shoujo anime is that a lot of attention is given to the main female lead's family. If you've ever watched Sailor Moon or even Madoka Magica (to a lesser extent) you'll find that the family is introduced, then effectively disappears for the climax of the series. But Pretear is not just about romance and magic; the theme of love in the family sense is also explored quite well. Throughout the series, Himeno's family serves as a source of happiness as well as conflict, and this was very interesting to watch. Although I do wish more insight was given on her relationship with them after the final battle, the growth of that relationship through the rest of the series was still quite good.
Overall, I have to say I was quite impressed with Pretear. Since I read the manga before watching this version, I was a little nervous as to how it would be adapted. I expected a normal magical girl series, but what I got was something that was actually a few shades darker than the source material. Of course this is no Madoka Magica, but it's definitely not Sailor Moon either. If you're a fan of mahou shoujo series, then Pretear is definitely a show you should watch if you haven't already. If you don't necessarily like traditional mahou shoujo but you would like a fantasy romance with a few darker psychological twists (but not enough to make it truly grim and gritty like Madoka Magica) then Pretear may be something you would like to check out. All in all, while Pretear wasn't perfect, I did enjoy it a lot. The first few episodes dragged a bit, but once I bit into the meat of the story it really captured me. The finale especially was quite enjoyable with all of the emotional drama.
I've pretty much said everything that needs to be said, and this is already a really long review so I'll just leave it at that. Watch this series if it looks like something you'll enjoy, and keep in mind that it isn't actually all it seems to be at first glance.
From the first impressions I had about this series, it seemed like it’d be a simple magical girl anime about magic and something about fairy tales. It didn’t seem that it would go that deep and the art itself seems like it’d be a typical shoujo-slash-magical girl anime. I remember I came across the OP during my Internet travels and liking a lot because it’s by Yoko Ishida, one of the more well-known singers for anime.
The first episode introduced a lot of the elements to the series, more specifically, something exactly we’re going to get. There might have been attempts at being deeper while introducing
Himeno’s feelings from taking care of her drunk novelist dad to sudden immediate comfort and her needs being met. Not only that, there seemed to be some tension between the sisters, Mawata and Mayune, and Himeno because of her previous status in life. This is where Himeno meets the guys, or rather, the Leafe Knights.
Leafe is the life force that everyone and everything has and it has been disturbed because the Princess of Disaster’s seal has been destroyed by someone. The Leafe Knights are those who, well, protect those. The Pretear is someone who helps protect the Leafe and do things that the Knights could not (after merging with her). After they found Himeno, they start training her (or rather, she trains herself) to the power that she apparently had dormant.
The anime is exactly what it says on the tin although it does try to be a little deeper. The question that resides most in this anime seemed to be: What happens when the Leafe Knights are done with the Pretear and everything is done? But this question doesn’t come up till a little more than halfway through the series.
If anything, the focus is more on the slapstick and the family element Himeno and Mawata are suffering through. And even then the slapstick takes the focus away (even between the Leafe Knights and the kids versus Go) from the main plot elements. We don’t really know what’s going in anyone’s head until they actually tell us which defeats the purpose of the visual media.
The art, at times, is really bad and shows its age. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s going on until the characters tell us what just happened. It seemed that most of the budget went towards the transformation sequences (which is a cool idea in itself – the Knights becoming her power and changing various outfits and elements) and the battle scenes.
Musically, it’s also pretty nice although sometimes there’s a random insert song that one of the voice actors sang for it that’s a little distracting from what’s going on. Granted, it doesn’t seem that the production team had a lot of music to choose from (mostly the instrumentals of the opening and ending songs as well as musical box versions of it) but, in general, the music does fit with the tones nicely (although sometimes it comes in a little too early or a little too late at times).
But for the themes itself, it’s a little clumsy on what it wants to focus on. There’s the element of family, adjusting to new life, and then there’s the thought: what happens to the Pretear after she’s done being useful? In Takako’s case, she fell in love with one of the knights and he rejected her – she didn’t realize the other guy loved her until sixteen years later.
As for the family elements, as mentioned before, it’s very clumsy. Mawata’s story is more of coping with loss many years ago and dealing with new family members, Himeno’s deal is adjusting from poor to rich life (as well as not understanding why rich people do what they do), and Mayune’s way of dealing with someone like Himeno who’s suddenly thrust into her world.
You would think, based on the focus on Mawata’s background about her feelings, this story is about her and not Himeno. It’s understandable that people would think her quiet and demure would mean she’s perfectly emotionally equipped to deal with all sorts of things on her own. She does very much care about her family but she’s carrying a huge burden that she hasn’t been able to release for whatever reason.
With Mayune, her bullying is actually most of the slapstick. In the first episode, you’d think that maybe there’d be a focus about bullying within the family but it never goes beyond slapstick comedy. She doesn’t make it clear, other than Himeno’s previous status, on why she’s even bothering to do it in the first place. And then she makes a personality twist that she suddenly cares about Himeno? This would have been more believable had there been a serious focus on Mayune instead of just laughing at her attempts to thwart Himeno and seduce one of the Leafe Knights.
Himeno, though, doesn’t really focus too hard on anything. There’s a forced romance between her and the main Leafe Knight, again, halfway through the series and there didn’t seem to be any chemistry (although more synergy since she needs him to use his powers). She doesn’t really interact with her parents unless it’s forced or they’re at the dinner table. The step-mother isn’t cruel or anything but she always tries to help Himeno into becoming a proper young lady of her status. The anime tries really had to make us believe that there’s a sort of tension between her and the step-mother but there really isn’t. If anything, Himeno is reacting like how any teenager would. Was that the point?
Despite these problems, though, the anime does try hard to focus on the “What happens to the magical girl after she’s done being useful?” It’s an important conversation to have though – especially in a situation where the Knights have to bond with her in order to give her her powers. For Takako, there was love and, eventually, despair.
For Himeno, life goes back to normal although she’s still really close to them. Try as they might, they want the viewer to believe so hard that the couple could become a couple but it seems that she’s a little closer to her family than ever. We wouldn’t know what was going on until Himeno told the viewer.
For what this series is, it’s exactly what it says on the tin. The transformation sequences are really cool and actually interesting (not enough time to see all the outfits in a battle though) but everything else is pretty basic and normal. It’s good that Himeno is more focused on her family than falling in love and worried that much over rejection.
This series is a decent start into the magical girl series that won’t ask a lot of questions right away and instead tries to entertain the viewer with some slapstick comedy mostly, instead of focusing in too much with what’s going in the actual plot.