Doki Doki is the worst season of Pretty Cure in the franchise. It would already be a bad enough show on its own but also decides to tread on the spirit of Pretty Cure, be something it's not, and ends up as everything a season of Pretty Cure shouldn't be.
The show is much more plot focused than any other season and here is the first major problem. While heavy focus on the plot isn't inherently a bad thing, in Doki's case it unfortunately comes at the cost of developing the characters and their relationships with each other, especially in the first half of the
show. And despite the creators trying to make a more complex story they fall flat on their face and Doki ends up having numerous plot holes in addition to the ones you'd commonly see in any other season. It's a kids show built around selling merchandise and they simply tried to do to much with it and failed, there are numerous concepts and ideas brought up that never really get expanded on. The pacing in the show feels like they just tried to cram in as much stuff as possible without allowing for any breather room or for things to naturally develop. There are so many plot devices and power ups that come out of nowhere with no or very little build up or foreshadowing. Pretty Cure usually has this to some degree but Doki takes it to a completely new level.
The Cures themselves are mostly okay characters. The problem is what the show does with them. You'll never see a Cure more poorly treated and wasted than Cure Sword. She is a veteran warrior from the devastated Trump Kingdom but the show has no idea what to do with her or how to keep her relevant later on. Diamond and Rosetta similarly get the short end of the stick, especially in the first half once again.
The fairies are okay for the most part, Davi is in fact one of the better ones from the franchise I think, but they and their relationships with the Cures aren't well developed and for the longest time they don't really feel like friends or even partners with their Cure. Ai-chan unfortunately never stops feeling like she's a plot device more than a character.
When it comes to comedy the show is a little weird. At times it tries to emulate the wacky and silly style common in Fresh or Smile but with far less success. There's a lot of really out of place stuff poorly integrated into otherwise serious episodes and it kind of ruins the atmosphere or just comes across as dumb. It has plenty of fun moments and episodes still but a lot of stuff feels like it would've been better or fit in more in a different season.
The villains are the Jikochu. The minions in the show are boring. They follow a seven deadly sins theme but it never amounts to more than a one-note character trait at best or at worst having nothing to do with them at all. Bel is an okay villain but keeps going back and forth between comic relief and serious threat and excelling at neither. Anything set up with the minions never really amounts to anything good.
Regina starts off as the only entertaining villain the show has but what the show does with her quickly becomes repetitive, annoying, and boring. The main villain of the show is King Jikochu and he is surprisingly a pretty interesting and entertaining villain through the whole show. It would be too big of a spoiler but he's rather unique for a few reasons.
The monsters of the week are okay. Some of them have pretty interesting designs and gimmicks and are pretty funny. A lot unfortunately don't really get to shine and there are barely any remotely good fights against them.
The fighting in the show is on the whole very weak. Poor animation quality during the fights leave most of it unremarkable and without any impact. Doki does have quite a few silly and unusual fights to somewhat make up for it but it's never great at that. There is a lot of strategy used in some fights and the properties of what a Jikochu is made from sometimes factor into it. For instance a Jikochu made from a stereo runs out of batteries when it's not plugged in. But this happens less as the show goes on and it becomes more straight-forward action. Which is unfortunate because it still isn't good.
The general soundtrack is good, the opening and endings just okay.
The stock footage in the show is bland. All but one of the transformations are terrible. The one good one is so good it looks like it should be in a different show. The attacks are nothing special, some bad and some okay ones.
Possibly the biggest problem with Doki is its main character. Aida Mana, Cure Heart. The show completely revolves around her. Instead of it being about friendships and bonds between all the Cures it's all about how everyone loves Mana and that's why it's everything Pretty Cure shouldn't be. She's completely perfect from the beginning of the show and doesn't grow or learn anything at all. Any supposed lessons she learns are forgotten and repeated later. The show sets up things like how her amazing selflessness might cause problems for her but nothing ever comes of this. Everyone loves her and she never fails. She's completely uncompelling and unrealistic and even worse is a terrible role model for children. Even when she shouldn't be the center of attention or have something in the plot revolve around her it happens anyways because she's the creators favorite. Add to that she's also just a terribly written character as her intelligence and fighting ability fluctuate episode by episode. She is the worst Cure of the franchise because everything she's about spits on what it means to be a Cure.
The finale of the show is strange. It's not good by any means. It's hilarious in the same way a particularly bad movie is hilarious. There are some nice moments in it and some nice ideas are used but there is also plenty of dumb stuff, out of place comedy, terrible plot devices, a shoehorned in final fight that makes no sense, and generally poor animation quality and action that ruins it. The finale leaves one wondering where the animation budget went as despite there being some good moments it's really not that good looking and neither were the episodes leading up to it.
So Doki Doki is the worst season of the franchise. At most times mediocre, sometimes terrible, never that great, with boring villains, and with the worst lead Cure ever.
If you were to go back to the beginning of 2013 and asked a general Precure fan what the worst season was claimed to be, the chances are they would've said Suite, and usually for the universal reason that it wasn't the well-acclaimed Heartcatch season. If we're to go back to the present and you asked a general Precure fan what the worst season is, you'll probably hear them say DokiDoki, except for very, very good reasons.
DokiDoki Precure is a Precure season that not only fails to be a good show in general, but it fails to be a good show for this franchise in
general. When I say that, I mean that there are general things in Precure that makes the franchise very worthwhile, and DokiDoki fails at even delivering those.
While the plot of this season appears to be a simplistic one, the show is intent on continuing to expand upon the plot until many holes begin to to show up and many things are left both unexplained or are given improper care time. People praised DokiDoki in the beginning for being more plot-centric than past seasons, though DokiDoki ultimately suffers from this formula.
Since the plot and characters go hand in hand, let's discuss the characters too. The reason DokiDoki suffers from its plot-centric formula is because it shafts its characters, their development and their interactions in favor of things like a badly done plot point or more time for our main character. (whom I'll rant about later) There is one characters whose school uniform we don't get to see until episode 49. The last episode. That's how long it takes.
The show also made two instances of randomly introducing new characters into the plot in the middle of the show. First case was with a poorly-done character, Regina, who basically starts off as a bad guy, decides she's pretty much in love with our main girls, tries to become good, becomes bad again, becomes good again, then becomes brainwashed into being bad and we don't see her again for about 20 episodes since they decide to shoehorn in another character who we had no indication of appearing prior. This character is Madoka Aguri, Cure Ace.
Fun fact: There's a video up on YouTube where a 5 year old girl who watches the episode that Ace debuts is very confused and upset because of how random her appearance is. That's how bad it is. Ace is, essentially, an over-powered 10 year old who had no foreshadowing of appearing and is there to basically lecture the other girls into "getting stronger" and takes credit for a lot of their development episodes. She is bound by a time limit which the plot removes when they need it too, and is basically the second strongest character next to the over-overpowered main lead.
Speaking of this main lead... Mana Aida. In some seasons, there is definitely some leader bias, but never before has it been this bad. The worst part is that Mana is bland. She is bland, she is flawless according to the show, the show never acknowledges her flawed logic, and she is given everything. Mana has all the other Cures transfer THEIR power to HER. Teamwork? Who needs that, just give all the power to Mana! Most of their combo attacks revolve around giving Mana the power and her taking them out. She is loved by everyone. She is the student council president, has a bunch of friends, and when she outs her Cure identity everyone is okay with it.
Mana is also the only one who gets a leader upgrade at the end of the season. She single handedly takes out the big bad using everyone elses' power. She is the one who basically restores everything. All the Cures' and their resolves revolve around Mana. Their reason to fight? Mana. It's all about Mana and it's terrible, because this show has 5 other characters, 3 of which are already shafted as it is, that it could focus on and develop but it instead focuses on and DOESN'T develop the overpowered and generic main lead.
Other Cure leaders may have been some spotlight hogs, but at least they had some good interactions and growth with their friends. At least it somewhat made sense that Nagisa had a lot of attention since there WERE only two cures (eventually three) in that season. There is no excuse here, just bias, and it results in an extremely bland main character who gets everything without reason and sucks everything away from all the other characters who deserve it. When the show didn't focus too much on Mana, it focused too much on Reginas' shoddily written character arc that relied on shifting her sides when the plot demanded it, or too much on Ace, who bossed the Cures' around and took credit for their growth and served as a deus ex machina plot device.
The villains, honestly, the only one with actual character was probably Ira. He had one interaction episode with Rikka, one that had lots of great potential with her, only for that episode to end and for it to never be directly spoken about again. Its implied a few times in the finale, yes, but overall his time with her is wasted in favor of, you guessed it, more Mana.
Basically, the plot is a big mess that ends up shafting a bunch of characters in exchange of more Mana, Ace, Regina, or some other plot points that they feel like bringing up to expand things more that only result in everything becoming more confusing and unnecessarily complicated and stupid.
Art and sound are mediocre. The transformations, aside from Ace, are extremely average at best and are very dynamic and honestly pretty boring. The endings have some nice artwork and some catchy tunes, though nothing else really stood out besides that. There's quite a lot of QUALITY inducing scenes within the show, but the overall art isn't exactly that bad.
I mean, as someone who likes mahou shoujo, I enjoyed it.. to an extent. Sort of. Though honestly, there was nothing appealing in this season. A plot centric season? Yeah, a BADLY written plot-centric season. Character centric? Well, it was Mana centric, where none of the girls' interactions with Mana went outside of 'we need you.'
DokiDoki has nothing going for it, nothing at all. Not as a show in general, or as a Precure season. When it fails on both accounts, there's nothing really worth watching here. If you want to start Precure, go with any other season that isn't Max Heart or GoGo!. (They're sequels) Just don't start with this, there is nothing to gain from this season of Precure and let's just hope the next season succeeds in the things DokiDoki didn't.
There is a natural human tendency to be complacent and repeat the same formula over and over again. This includes the Precure franchise with the previous Smile Precure being nothing more than a rehashed Yes5, according to reliable sources. The inability to adapt to a changing world has been the cause of failure of governments, corporations and society. Dokidoki has shown that even a well-established franchise is able to change with the times and cater to Generation Z children who have evolving and different needs.
The first and foremost difference is that the Pink cure, Mana takes a far stronger leadership role in
this series compared to the past. In the run-up to Dokidoki, Japan has faced a leadership crisis, having 6 different Prime Ministers in as many years. Mana is a kind, but domineering character who knows no fear of attempting the impossible. Mana's ultimate dream of becoming a Prime Minister is no coincidence and her character is an inspiration to the children of Japan to take more risks, and get the job done in an otherwise risk-averse society.
Despite Mana's superb level of competancy in many things, one that children should aspire for through diligence and hard work, it is strongly emphasized that she is only human and is imperfect. At one point, Mana loses motivation and a new character, much like the political opposition takes over the leadership role for a while, developing Mana and the cast until Mana is well again. This really draws paralells with the second coming of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, who after a weak first stint, has returned with strength, dominance and assertiveness not seen since the Koizumi era.
That said, governments are essentially a team who need excellent leaders and followers. The cast knows when to stand up and lead, and when to provide excellent support to Mana. Even the said opposition is able to accomplish both roles, a life skill that is necessary for everyone.
Dokidoki also takes a concept that is very relevant in life; selfishness. This relatability is a change from fantasy elements such as music, flowers and fairy tales. Almost every episode involves a person having selfish desires. Even the smallest selfish thought can escalate into something big, and Dokidoki shows how such thoughts can be suppressed, a crucial life skill that children need.
Each member of the cast faces their own relatable trials and challenges in life and is given time for growth and development. An excellent example of this is the exploration of the theme of conflicting friendships. Little girls have a tendency to become upset when their best friend decides to get to know a new person. They become lonely and jealous, resulting in petty arguments along the lines of "I'm her best friend, how dare you take her away from me?" Dokidoki recreates this situation and provides a viable resolution.
The theme of separation is also explored like never before in previous Precure seasons, something very relevant to the globalizing world. The Children of today are more likely to part ways and travel to far-flung places in their lives than ever before. The common reaction of sadness and depression is a strong theme and Dokidoki provides meaningful advice to children in the same situation in order to stand up, keep going, finding happy things in life and getting the job done.
Another big theme is brainwashing. In this information age, we have easy access to a wide range of different sources, including less reputable ones. Children are especially vulnerable when it comes to listening to an unreliable source. Dokidoki explores one character who faces such a situation and the amount of love and care that is needed in order to restore and rehabilitate such children who take the wrong path in life.
Last but not least, Dokidoki's plot has so many twists and turns that will put Code Geass to shame, catering perfectly to a generation that has ever-shortening attention spans. The wide range of themes that are covered, and the sudden changes in the predicament of the cures will put anyone at the edge of their seats. The transformation scenes are no-nonsense and different background music is substituted in to convey the mood of the situation, in what must be a first for the franchise and is rarely seen in the Mahou Shoujo genre. The endgame also takes a shocking twist which would leave the audience in awe.
Combined with a character design that is easy on the eyes, consistently high quality artwork, animation and effective use of music, Dokidoki is a series that has succesfully managed to move on and adapt with the times. This is evidenced by a YouTube reaction video of a 5 year old who is fully engaged with the series, and is shocked and awed by the attention-seeking techniques that Toei animation has used in order to keep today's audience glued to their screens.
The antithesis to Dokidoki is the "Aria the Animation" franchise. This series should never be watched as it was made for a previous generation born in the 1990s and is familiar with devices such as the VHS and the floppy disk. These devices are common in the fact that they are slow, and will sedate anyone from the 2000s generation into boredom and sleep.
Once upon a time when the topic of the worst Precure Season was brought up, I'd have no idea what to say. Even putting aside my lack of experience with the franchise, I had no idea what would drive me to think so negatively about a light hearted kid's show with healthy morals. Even when I went and watched past seasons that were looked upon unfavourably I still enjoyed them for what they were despite their flaws. And now we come to the present day. While I've still yet to make my way through every past season of the show, I can now confidently answer
the previous question of what the worst Precure season is. And despite what people would have said before Doki aired, it isn't Suite or Smile.
Despite the fact that I enjoy the Precure franchise in general, I will freely admit that the basic plot structure of each season is somewhat predictable. But when it comes down to it you can't really criticise the franchise for being predictable when you consider the target audience. So by that logic does that make DokiDoki bulletproof? Well, not quite. When it comes down to it the execution is what matters the most. Despite being aimed at a younger audience it hasn't stopped Precure from excelling in different areas and it doesn't stop DokiDoki from being great either. What stops DokiDoki from being great is DokiDoki itself.
With the initial character introductions the main cast comes off as likeable. However despite a good chunk of the show supposedly being devoted to character development the fruits of their labour are never really felt. While they gain a multitude of new powers and save the Earth from certain doom they're pretty much the exact same people they were 48 episodes before. Especially when it comes to Mana, Rikka and Alice who, while not particularly unlikeable, are privileged and flawless and about as far removed from relatable as you can get. Even when it comes to the characters that initially had a lot of potential they suffer greatly due to the lack of focus
When such flawed characters this leads to a lot of other problems. Monster of the week episodes which previous seasons used for character development are just mindless filler and nothing more. Whether the plot developments are hits or misses doesn't really matter because the characters will remain stagnant regardless. No matter how substantial, the moral lessons contained in each episode all feel hollow considering they rarely contribute to the character's development or the overall plot. Even putting aside the characters and plot the action scenes which take up at least half of each episode mainly consist of the characters spamming their bland magic attacks. No fisticuffs, no surprises, just repeated animation.
The animation budget seems to significantly lower than previous seasons with a plethora of QUALITY moments. The art isn't offensively bad but the animation is very sub par by modern standards. The transformation sequences are an integral part of magical girl anime and often quite well done but the ones in Doki had me clicking the fast forward button almost every time.
On the topic of sound, the OST isn't obnoxiously bad and has some nice songs but is often times repetitive and forgettable. The OP sequence used for the show is also somewhat forgettable but catchy enough to fulfil its purpose. And if it wasn't the boredom that made me want to see the end of an episode, it was the one of the two glorious CG ED themes by now series regular Hitomi Yoshida. The voice acting was also of a high standard with famous VAs such as Rie Kugimiya (Except this time not a tsundere), Mayumi Tanaka (Luffy from One Piece), Minako Kotobuki (Mugi from K-ON and member of idol group Sphere) among others.
I will say that I enjoyed DokiDoki for the basic reasons I enjoy the mahou shoujo genre in general. But that's about it. While I was somewhat entertained by the beginning and the ending a large portion of the show had me wishing I was watching something else. So overall, I guess I didn't really enjoy my time with DokiDoki even though it has the sentimental value of being the first Precure Season I watched as it aired. In fact, I'd go as far as saying the show is noticeably quite boring.
If you want a good magical girl series, DokiDoki doesn't deliver. If you want a nice kid's show that teaches healthy moral lessons about eating vitamins and saying prayers, you won't get that either. If you were expecting quality entertainment, then boy have you ever come to the wrong place. DokiDoki Precure is your typical mediocre and completely forgettable kid's show from a franchise that is anything but mediocre and forgettable. But hey, if this is the worst thing to happen to Precure than we can only hope it's all uphill from here.
You know, as long as I've been doing this I'm surprised that this is the first Precure series I'm looking at. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Precure or Pretty Cure is a long running magical girl franchise from Toei animation. It all started with Futari wa Pretty Cure and the most recent installment is Happiness Charge Precure, which is currently ongoing. Most of the series within the frranchise don't have anything to do with one another aside from a similar aesthetic and Doki Doki Precure is the tenth series within the franchise. The writing for this one was handled by Yamaguchi Ryota,
who anime fans may recognise as the writer behind the Escaflowne anime. So, how does this one hold up?
Our story opens with a Precure, we later learn that her name is Cure Sword, fighting monsters in a desolate landscape. Skip ahead to a group of students on a field trip and student council President Aida Mana's efforts to keep order. Their trip is interrupted when a teal-haired boy creates a monster from a person's heart which attacks the area. Mana is told that she can transform, which she does, enabling her to save the day. She finds out that the monsters are called the Selfish and they're attempting to gather dark energy to unseal their ruler, King Selfish, who was trapped in stone during the Selfish's invasion of the Trump Kingdom.
It's a pretty standard magical girl plot. So, the question becomes, how well is it executed? Well, let's start with the positive aspects. The way the Selfish turn people into monsters is interesting and I do like that they always use the kinds of selfish thoughts that we all have at times. The antagonists in general are well handled, not being portrayed as outright evil but more as inconsiderate jerks which both makes for an interesting conflict and opens up the possibility of redemption, which is definitely taken full advantage of. The story also has some really good twists which are hinted at but are still difficult to anticipate. There are some excellent humourous moments as well and quite a few superb heartwarming moments. The series also manages some crowning moments of awesome.
So, with all that going for it, what are the weaknesses? The truth is that there's only one major flaw to the storytelling. There are five episodes towards the end of the series (34-38) that have no bearing on the plot and are just kind of filler. Now, that probably doesn't sound that bad. But these episodes are just annoying. The character interactions in them are weak. They lack the good humour of the rest of the series and four of the five put the focus on the worst character in the series, but we'll get to her later.
Most of the characters in this series are really lovable and just generally amazing. Mana, Rikka, Alice, Makoto and Regina are all great characters who interact perfectly with one another and they're a lot of fun to watch. Most of the side characters are quite enjoyable as well, especially Sebastian. (I wouldn't mind seeing more of that charming man and his epic mustache.) There are really two weaknesses here. The first is Aguri. She is a severely under-developed character. Whereas the other girls act and feel like actual girls, Aguri is just kind of two-dimensional. Her main defining characteristics are that she scolds people and likes sweets. Her scolding can also get a little grating at times. That being said, Aguri is not that bad. The series has Ai for that.
Ai is the exceedingly obnoxious character I mentioned earlier who gets the focus for four of those five bad episodes. Most of the time Ai stays, thankfully, in the background, but there are moments when she comes into the forefront and she spends all her time there crying, throwing tantrums or just being generally the most obnoxious thing since Navi. Now, some of you are probably thinking “she's a baby character, aren't you being harsh?” No, no I'm not. There are two main reasons. One, she frequently doesn't even act like a real baby so you can't say “well, it's a realistic portrayal of an infant.” It's like she was deliberately written just to be annoying. Two, she is a pointless character. I'm not even kidding. The explanation they give to justify her existence in the story is really flimsy. You could literally replace her with a black Labrador and the story would still be just as cohesive, if not more so since most of the stupid and pointless episodes would be gone.
The art is done in kind of a cutesy style, which does work perfectly for the aesthetic of the series. I do appreciate that the girls look very different when they transform into Precures, which makes it realistic that they wouldn't have their identities discovered. Unlike some magical girl series where they're just wearing different outfits. I love Sailor Moon, but it's a prime example of that as a problem. The monster designs are strange. There's a mailbox goat, a stoplight monster and many others that are just weird. That being said, the designs are creative and I rather like most of them. Sure, a lot of them are silly but that works for the franchise.
The usual transformation and special attack stock footage are present and they're just as lazy as they usually are. In all fairness, however, they aren't bad sequences in the slightest. The special attacks are dynamic and the transformations, except possibly Aguri's, do look good. I will give the series credit for its action sequences, a good percentage of the special moves involve actual weapons instead of wands, microphones, castanets and the like. The action sequences also involve actual fighting moves with punches and kicks. The combination of that with the stock attacks does make the action scenes a lot more dynamic and interesting.
Most of the action sequences are really good, but there are some that move up into excellent. I don't want to give anything major away, but I will give one example. There's a particular scene where an enemy breaks Alice's shield in half. In a true crowning moment of awesomeness, she actually grabs the pieces and uses them like swords. It is just as cool as it sounds and definitely ranks among the best action sequences I've ever seen in a magical girl anime.
Doki Doki Precure has some really talented actors. Mana is voiced by Nabatame Hitomi (Gokujou Seitokai's Kanade.) The other main characters, Rikka, Makoto, Alice and Regina, are voiced by Kotobuki Minako (K-on's Mugi), Miyamoto Kanako (who I have not heard in any other major roles), Fuchigami Mai (Girls Und Panzer's Miho), and Watanabe Kumiko (Sailor Moon's JunJun.) They all give good performances. The music is really good. Especially Makoto's songs.
That being said, it's not all positive. The faeries all have verbal ticks that can get kind of annoying. Ai doesn't get much dialogue aside from her usual shrill screaming, but when she does it's pretty grating. The unfortunate task of voicing her went to Imai Yuka, who is not a bad actor by any means. You can even tell that from this series since she also voices Princess Ange, who is not obnoxious to listen to.
You know, I've seen a lot of anime with shoujo-ai subtext, subtext so blatant it might as well be text and text. This is the first time I've seen a series that has a shoujo-ai poly-amorous five-some. Mana, Rikka, Alica, Makoto and Regina all seem to be into one another, all of them but Regina even come out and say they love all the others. Regina only ever says that she loves Mana, but there are some really homo-erotic scenes where the other three reach her heart, particularly Makoto and Alice. You also get some lovely scenes wherein Rikka is said to be an ideal wife for Mana, which Mana agrees with, and wherein Makoto and Mana are likened to a newlywed couple. Some of you are probably wondering which pairing makes the most sense when it comes to those five? The answer really is a poly-amorous grouping. All five of these girls are incredibly homo-erotic with one another, and I respect their decision.
That isn't even the extent of the les-yay in this series. Even Aguri gets some homo-erotic scenes with one of her classmates, Eru. It's also heavily implied that Makoto had a crush on Princess Ange before the Trump Kingdom fell and, unlike some magical girl anime, there are no gratuitous male love interests to try and disguise it. The Ho-yay is at a solid 7/10 for a huge number of really cute scenes.
This anime is cutesy, overly optimistic, kind of cheesy and I absolutely love it. It's a highly enjoyable series with some great characters who have awesome interactions, surprisingly epic scenes, and some amazing tender scenes. It's just a delight to watch. That being said, it does suffer from Ai, five bad episodes, Ai, a reliance on stock footage and, of course, Ai. Fortunately, those aren't major problems since Ai is mostly kept to the background, and the bad episodes can be easily skipped without losing anything of value. I do highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys the magical girl aesthetic. Unless you're one of those people who thinks that the worst trope commonly used in magical girl anime is the shoujo ai subtext (yes, those people do exist. No, I don't understand it either) because there is a massive amount of it in this series. For myself, I give it a 9/10. Next week I'll take a look at Sword Art Online now if you'll excuse me I'm going to look for plushies of Mana, Rikka, Alice, Makoto and Regina.
Dokidoki Precure is a typical shoujo anime, involving a young girl who transforms and fights evil. Full of predictable outcomes, fillers and frustrating transformations, this show certainly just floats with the rest of the like.
Like previously stated, this story is too typical. It concerns a young girl who discovers her ability to become a PreCure. With her newfound ability, she influences her friends to join her as they fight the evil Selfish. Nothing really struck me nor was it awful, but it has just been done too many times before, and like mentioned above, it consists of way too many fillers. Actually, it's basically
a replica of all the other Precures.
I think the only pro of this series would be the art. Each detail is drawn skillfully and intricately.
The music from this anime isn't at all bad, especially considering that it's catered to little girls. However, its rating isn't too optimistic because generally, the music is rather ordinary.
In the beginning, each character is terribly common but PERFECT (negatively). The main character is the student council president that FINDS PLEASURE in helping people, her best friend is a studious girl and her close friend is an extremely polite rich girl. Though these 3 characters are rather unrealistic, there is 1 character that intrigues me, especially taking into account that this is a rather childish anime. Regina, the daughter of the leading villain befriends these legendary heroic PreCures. This intrigued me for it somehow symbolized how children aren't always like their parents.
I personally didn't quite breathe in entertainment while watching this anime. Perhaps it's because of my age that the colorful transformations bore me or that the predictable triumphs of the PreCures occurred during practically every episode. Maybe a little girl aged 10 and below would love this, but for a teenager, not so much.
Dokidoki Precure is a medicore anime. The reason I yearn for anime is the deep and mysterious plot it supposedly possesses (in general) and the tragic and dramatic plot twists that greatly relate to present day adolescence. DokiDoki, however took these away. For a 10-year-old, this would be great, but for teenagers, this show is unfortunately a waste of time, that I had dropped it.
When I started watching this series, I was aware of how most people consider it "the worst Precure series ever". However, I didn't feel it that way. I enjoyed the series from start to finish. The characters are loveable, the story advances in a quick pace and even though there are some flaws, I can let them slide.
The story focuses on two opposite human emotions: selfishness and love. If the villains try to take over the world by manipulating people's selfishness, then the Precure counter it with love. As the series goes on, we see that almost everyone has a bit of selfishness in
their hearts, including the Precures, but they can overcome it by love.
This is a series with a meaningful message and it is my second favourite Precure series after Fresh.
I'm not gonna lie, this was a terrible show that I enjoyed sitting through. But it. Was terrible.
If you're unfamiliar with Precure, I'll give you a rundown: Toei Magical Girl Cash Cow about girls who fight evil by utilizing powers bestowed onto them by little floaty creatures that are usually some brand of sugary cute. It's standard shoujo, extremely formulaic, and often features stories of friendship and Girl Power (tm). Think Sailor Moon, but with new stories and continuities every season. You're free to look up the movie poster for Pretty Cure All Stars Haru no Carnival♪ if you want to know the beast
you're dealing with.
Mind you, standard Mahou Shoujo isn't a /bad/ thing. Don't let any fans of the Seinen variations tell you otherwise. Is it feminist inherently? No, of course no - arguably, it isn't feminist at all. But, in it's purest state, there is nothing wrong with little girl animes for little girls. The issue comes in when producers underestimate the intelligence of their audience, or get a bit too creative while also trying to appeal to their audience. And failing. Badly.
DokiDoki! Precure is the latter case.
This season mixes the creative minds behind The Visions of Escaflowne and One Piece, to create a truly bizarre hybrid of shoujo and shounen that comes out incomprehensible and disappointing.
DokiDoki! Precure revolves (and I do mean /revolves/) around Aida Mana and her friends Hishikawa Rikka and Yotsuba Alice, and additionally big-name idol Kenzaki Makoto after she warms up to the gang. As Precures, they fight the Selfish, who are...selfish. This season's visual theme is Poker. I wish that was an exaggeration. Everything else you can probably look up. Technically, every episode in this 49-episode season is plot related, which means you have to decide for yourself what's filler and what's not. I did not know this coming into DokiDoki! Precure.
The Plot is pretty much about a single person. Who is actually three people. Yeah, we're at that level of convolution. In a time of trouble, the individual divided her soul into two parts, and her body reincarnated as a freakish baby. The majority of the plot points revolve around at least one part of this trinity, and it really is exhausting. Due to this focus on this character & triad, every other character's development suffers. Unless that character is Mana, of course, as this series suffers from serious Pink Shoujo Protagonist syndrome (the pink protag is a huge, powerful mary sue that nobody ever faults, even if they are acting like a huge jerk). We're sorry, Makoto. You didn't deserve this treatment.
The animation is extremely variable, but the art is bogged down by busy character designs and dead eyes. You see, they decided to go with a design theme of asymmetricality, but they just didn't know when to stop. It's something you just have to ignore while watching, so if you're really particulate about art, stay far away. You can tell exactly where they allocated their budget, and man, is it unequal. There are /visible/ animation bumps and valleys, to the point of disorientation. It's like being in a car with a teenager learning how to drive, who's too afraid to get in an accident, so they're constantly slamming on the breaks every second. When it's good, it's REALLY good. When it's bad, it's REALLY bad. If you care about design aesthetics, stay away from Doki. For your own sake.
The music, for Precure, stands brightly. Hiroshi Takaki did the BG music (the wikipedia article is inconsistent on who did the music, and lists Hiroshi Takagi. Which is physically impossible), and did a heck of a job. Although some of the tracks are somewhat bland, the transformation music blares triumphantly and memorably. If there was any music in Doki I didn't like, it was Kenzaki Makoto's idol songs. Oh, she's an idol, by the way. Her singing isn't...great. Besides that, Takaki managed to make something good for something that probably didn't deserve his composing.
Now, onto the main reason why I wanted to shit out this review: Cure Ace.
I'll start by saying that she's...extremely attractive, in my opinion. Yes, your character design is excessively busy and doesn't make much sense geometrically, and you kind of resemble an arrowhead for some reason, but I'd still take you out for dinner and treat you in a respectful manner. However, that's kind of the problem. The character who is Cure Ace? A ten year old who ages up in transformation.
Now, a lot of magical girls have age up transformations. A lot of magical girls have age up transformations into overtly sexualized women. However, those are typically in Seinen, where it's at least logical for that genre. Mind you, Cure Ace's outfit is more going for beautiful than ""sexy"", but her demeanor during attacks and transformations shows a flirtatiousness that's out of place with her comrades. Out of place for someone who's actually /ten/. It makes things extremely awkward, from seeing her at one moment applying magical lipstick and blowing out a death kiss, to drawing a picture of her mom for an elementary school project and refusing to eat carrots. Like, it might have been one thing if she were a high schooler, much like Cure Moonlight from Heartcatch, but...she's a little girl.
This seems just like whiny feminist complaining on my part, but she gets almost all the animation bumps. Her transformation sequence is honestly one of my favorites, and her attacks are fun as hell to watch, but WHY does she get so many animation bumps? As a character, she's extremely obnoxious and show stealing, and pretty much all attention is directed to her after her introduction. Her extremely shounen introduction of showing up out of nowhere, blasting the guts out of a strong opponent, then leaving immediately. She constantly bosses around the other characters, and takes credit for their character non-developments. So, clearly this treatment isn't due to her lovely personality.
It should be important to note that the writers originally planned to have Mana in a relationship with a man twice her age, but the female writers smacked that idea down fast. With that in mind, the coquettish focus on Cure Ace, reveals not only pandering to the adult audience of Precure, but a strange preoccupation with the sexualization of girls. This probably leads back to the idea that girls should follow gender roles and tolerate the advances of creepy men (Joe is a creep, I will always stand by that). However, maybe I'm just reading too much into it. We could talk about the character Regina, who stole almost as much time as Cure Ace did, but we'd be here longer.
The story has convoluted plot twists, the characters are poorly developed, the art lacks consistency and flow, and the people in charge seemed to care too much about what they wanted (or what they thought the audience wanted) to actually produce something good. Is the show enjoyable though? Honestly, it's a guilty pleasure. Are there episodes I will always skip? God yes, even with all the plotty episodes. Are there characters I thoroughly wish didn't exist? Several. Would I sit through Dokidoki! again? Maaaaaybe. Is it the worst Precure? No.
The season didn't become awful until half-way through, which gave enough time for the characters to endear themselves to me. It lacks the hammered heteronormativity of Yes Precure 5, and not everyone is annoying like in Happiness Charge. Although there was a definite 'darker and edgier' feel, it didn't really cut out the show enjoyment. Belo and his evil gang were entertaining, and though their schtick was tired after a while, they kept me going. So, yes, I did enjoy Dokidoki! Precure. Even though it's a pile of crap.
And since it is an enjoyable pile of crap, I'll give it a 4.5/10.
Doki Doki Precure is tied with Kira Kira Precure a la Mode for my favorite Precure season and is one of my favorite anime of all time. The overall tone of this show is uniquely happy and up lifting. All of the protagonists carry this optimistic attitude towards achieving their goals. Aida especially is a great role-model for both child and adult viewers with her forgiving nature and constant desire to help others. She's the perfect type of person to lead a group of heroes. Although I typically don't enjoy lackeys of the main villain in anime, my personal favorite character is Ira. His smug
attitude is very entertaining thanks to both the show's writing and the Japanese vocal performance by Tanaka Mayumi. The art is beautiful with distinct designs for each Precure and villain. The action is well choreographed, as it is in the rest of the Precure franchise. Though the Precure typical monster of the week plot line, the characters and their strong friendship with one another keep every episode engaging. The messages this show gives to their audience about friendships and other relationships are very well presented and are applicable in the real world. I would highly recommend Doki Doki Precure to any fan of the magical girl genre. This was my introduction to Precure, and as long as you don't watch the English dub, I believe that it's a great starting point for anyone hoping the get into this franchise.
Let me be very clear, here, this show is awful. It has a contrived and awful plot, 2 dimmensional characters, and badly conceived monsters and enemies. And it is for those reasons that I love this show. You'll notice I rated it as bad, so don't get me wrong thinking I am trying to defend it or something. On the contrary, I want people to watch this show because it is awful.
Sometimes, in between all the drama and heart crushing plot of other, decent anime, you just need a terrible traffic light monster to lighten the mood and give you a good laugh. They probably
didn't mean for me to be laughing at most of it, but like hell is that gonna stop me. No thinking, no discourse, just pure, unfiltered nonsense to help you sleep at night. It's the simple joys in life, ya know?
This is one my favorite seasons with my favorite Cure, Cure Heart. Many fans dislike her because of she gets the most focus, but she's really an awesome character. I like the specific combat roles of the characters and I like the heavy les yay moments.
The story is heavily focus on the plot and has very little fillers. The season also introduces my favorite villain, Regina.
Doki Doki Precure is the 10th season in the Precure, or Pretty Cure, franchise. Like all but two of the Precure seasons, it takes place in a completely separate universe and continuity from the others, allowing it to be easily picked up by viewers who have never seen another Precure season. As with most Precure seasons, Doki has a unique style to it that should be viewed as its own thing, rather than be compared to previous and future seasons.
=== Story ===
Our story begins with a lone warrior known as Cure Sword, gazing out at the ruins of her home, a magical realm known as
Trump Kingdom. The war against the invading enemy known as "Jikochuu" or "Selfish" has not only transformed the vast majority of Trump Kingdom's people into monsters, but has also resulted in the disappearance of its beloved princess, Marie Ange. Under the guise of pop idol Makoto Kenzaki, Cure Sword travels to the real world, hoping to use her singing talents to find Marie Ange and save Trump Kingdom.
But this isn't her story. No, this is the story of Mana Aida, an ordinary fourteen year old girl whose defining trait is her love of helping others. Mana's chance encounter with both Cure Sword and the generals of the Jikochuu menace lead her to becoming Cure Heart, the heroine of our story. Through Mana's headstrong nature and unyielding kindness, Makoto/Cure Sword learns the value of friendship and teamwork.
Along the way, a fairy baby falls into the laps of our heroes. Given the name "Ai-chan", this baby becomes both their responsibility to raise, and a plot token dispensing machine. Meanwhile the generals are working hard to gather energy to revive their leader, King Jikochuu, who was frozen in suspended animation by Marie Ange.
Doki Doki Precure is one of the few seasons to adhere to a strict story. There are no episodes that are entirely filler and all of them have some sort of impact on the story and characters. Whether it's introducing new characters, making progress on Makoto's attempts to find Marie Ange, or having focus episodes on the main characters, nothing feels like a complete throwaway episode.
This all sounds like it would make the best Precure season and at about episode 7 I thought it WAS. But things went downhill fast as the show clearly threw all of its cards on the table at once. Doki Doki Precure has a very bad problem with consistency in its writing. While it is always charging forward, it doesn't seem to know what to do with itself.
One plot-line that up to six episodes can be spent on will be immediately discarded in favor of another. New characters are introduced halfway through the show and quickly shoved out the door, making them seem completely irrelevant. Characterization tends to either remain completely static or jump around in jarring ways as the plot demands.
Those who watched Fresh Precure might remember the red herring stunt that was pulled halfway through the show with the last member of the team. Doki Doki Precure attempts to replicate this, but gets the most basic part wrong. Many Precure seasons have had a new character recruited onto the team midway through, and it has always been someone that the viewer has gotten time to get to know. Doki's new recruit comes completely out of nowhere, with absolutely no foreshadowing, and her very existence not only contradicts much of the show's previous story, but also renders several major subplots completely pointless.
Out of all Precure seasons this one seemed to be the most desperate for ratings, as it pulls stunt after stunt to get viewers to keep watching. A mysterious new character appears in the preview for one episode, enticing you to watch again next week. You literally saw all you're going to about that character in the preview, as they only appear five seconds before the credits. Now you have to watch again next week to find out literally anything about this character!
The red herring stunt above was also teased in the credits right before a major redemption arc, only for that character to be cast aside in favor of the brand new face. Even a Cure's attack was used as a ratings trap, Cure Rosetta's Rosetta Balloon was introduced with her directly stating to the viewer that something different would come out of it each time, and the viewers should keep watching to find out what would happen next. It only appeared one other time.
=== Art ===
By now we're no strangers to Toei Animation, so for the most part we know what to expect from one of their shows. Doki Doki Precure is one of the seasons more highly prone to off-model animation, with even a large amount of close-up shots looking completely absurd. The show's visuals really stand out during the transformation sequences, which blend CG and animation in a manner that is impressive despite the sequences themselves being bland and uninspired.
The ending sequence, like with many past and present Precure seasons, is entirely CG and features 3D models of the characters dancing. It's actually very well animated. Vivid colors, fluid animation and gave us one of the franchise's funniest memes, Rikka dancing.
=== Sound ===
It's been a while since I've watched Doki Doki Precure and aside from the OP and ED themes, not much of the background music has grabbed my attention. The music best stands out when one of the main characters is singing. The OP and ED themes are very standard Precure affair, catchy and fun songs for the little kids to dance to but certainly not the best Precure has to offer.
=== Characters ===
And we come to the part that absolutely killed Doki Doki Precure. The driving force between the vast majority of the show's criticisms. Counting the main characters, fairy partners and antagonists, the cast comes to a number of about twenty. Yet Doki Doki Precure doesn't seem to know what to do with even this amount, as the show suffers from a very bad tendency to focus on only a small number of characters.
In order to truly illustrate how bad this gets, we must first talk about Mana, the show's lead character. Precure seasons have always had a very strong emphasis on team work. Be it the most basic or crucial of battles, it never feels like one character is more important than the others. When the final battle arrives, victory is usually the result of the harmony between the entire team, and in some cases even supporting characters get involved.
Doki Doki Precure is the exception, as the vast majority of the show's focus revolves around Mana. Mana is the only character able to finish off the monster of the week, and all too often the others have to give her their strength so that she can be the hero. Perhaps it's because one of the writers from One Piece was involved in this season, or that the creators have admitted that Mana is her favorite.
If that were just the extent of it it wouldn't be so insufferable, but there's also her handling as a character. There is only one instance, early on where Mana's behavior is shown to be a flaw, and has her realize this and resolve to fix things. After that the universe shifts into a reality where Mana is incapable of being wrong about anything, and even if the other teammates and the viewer see that this is completely asinine, she ends up asserting her way and being rewarded for it.
About fourteen episodes in a character by the name of Regina arrives on the scene and serves as one of the primary antagonists. She seeks to befriend Mana purely out of her own amusement, and what begins is a head-ache inducing roller-coaster of obliviously stupid behavior from Mana, as she blatantly ignores Regina's nasty behavior for the sake of trying to become friends with her.
Regina's character is also one of the worst handled in the series, as the show tries to go for a redemption for her several times, only to immediately backpedal and throw in an outside force to warp Regina into an even more wildly antagonistic character, repeatedly. The second time she is taken out of the show entirely for quite a while.
Aside from one other character, none of the other protagonists are allowed to stand out in any way, or do anything of substance. The shortest end of the the stick goes to Alice Yotsuba, who becomes Cure Rosetta. She gets one episode of focus and development early on before being immediately sidelined and acting only as the pleasant voice that attempts to reason with Mana, while Rikka and Makoto do so more harshly.
Doki Doki Precure uses a victim of the week formula for its monsters. The generals can spot minute traces of selfish desire in the hearts of various background characters, which they prey upon and unleash into powerful monsters. These background characters almost NEVER have a name or a purpose, and frequently appear on-screen for only seconds before being victimized.
While it does grant more focus time to the protagonists it feels soulless compared to Heartcatch's portrayal of this, as the monster bears no reflection of the psyche of the victim and there is no urgency to save the victim from this fate. It's just a standard monster of the week fight.
The antagonists don't fare much better in terms of focus and development. They have very standard antagonist personalities, with Ira being bratty, Marmo being vain and Regina is pretty much both of these combined. The villain who stands out most in my mind is Bel, who is usually very lazy and doesn't take action often, but when he does he's usually incredibly cunning and savvy, knowing how to manipulate both allies and enemies to his advantage.
=== Enjoyment ===
As I said before I really enjoyed this season early on. I actually defended Mana against the claims of her being a Mary Sue after seeing her acknowledge that she can come on a little too strong and be inconsiderate toward those she wants to befriend. I really loved how the show mixed things up by having the villains be savvy enough to have a second monster waiting to ambush the Cures, and stepping into the fray themselves without hesitation.
While I initially disliked Makoto's harsh attitude toward the others, I absolutely adored her turnaround and eventual integration into the group.
The show also gave shoujo-ai fans a run for their money as so many scenes made people scream "SHIP!" with Mana being joked about as building her own harem. When you have two girls lying in bed together with their hands clasped, you can't help but think the creators were being blatant.
I really liked how structured the show started out being, and as mentioned just above, how savvy the villains were.
It's just a shame Doki Doki Precure didn't quite know where it wanted to go. It had a very good thing going, but it squandered it all by dropping and picking up plot points at random and wanting to focus too much on a dime-a-dozen perfect hero archetype.
The first Pretty Cure series I watched all the way through was Heartcatch. I got into it because of a blogger's recommendation, and I never looked back. I recently got into the Pretty Cure fandom last year, and as of now, Doki Doki is the 4th Pretty Cure season I finished. It would have been 3rd had Suite not completely won me over. I've seen a lot of hate for this series, and...well, in some ways I can agree on some things. I agree that there's a lot of potential that it could have used but wind up becoming completely wasted because of other things.
Some series focus too much on different things, which affect the story in the process. Doki Doki, on the other hand, is very plot focused...which is great, but in this case it winds up being its downfall.
One thing you'll notice is that the main character isn't an idiotic ditz. Instead, she's a competent, reliable, and capable girl named Mana who's the president of the student council, and is always helping people out. One day a man gives her something called a lovead. Later on, she witnesses a warrior named Cure Sword fighting something called a Jikochuu. She becomes the warrior named Cure Heart and joins in the fight against the Selfish. Cure Sword's homeland, the Trump Kingdom, was taken over by the Jikochuu, and she needs to find the princess or else both worlds are in danger. Joining them are Mana's childhood friends Rikka and Alice, Cures Diamond and Rosetta, and a strange baby they name Ai-chan. Later on they're joined by another enigmatic warrior named Cure Ace, who's hiding a lot of mysteries.
The animation for the show is...eh, okay. The character designs are sleek and decent, but movement is rather limited except in some fight scenes, and even those come off as a little bit sub par. I do like the character designs though. For their civilian forms anyway. Their cure forms look a bit tacky. My favorite out of all of them is Rosetta's Cure design. She definitely looks the cutest. The music, on the other hand, is quite good. Not as good as other soundtracks, but it does its job decently, at best.
DokiDoki could have been a great series. Unfortunately, it has many flaws that really bog it down. One of its biggest issues is its major focus on developing its story. It's like Escaflowne where every episode moves the plot forward, with there being little to no filler. This series could really have benefitted from some filler episodes, because its intense focus on its story wound up costing it time to focus on its main characters and their personal lives. Makoto and Alice are the characters that have been hit the hardest by this, as they get the least screentime and the least amount of meaningful character development. I like them as characters, but I would have liked to see more of their personal lives, such as Makoto's life in the Trump Kingdom before it got invaded and where Alice goes to school.
Another big reason for this is the show's intense focus on its main character, Mana Aida aka Cure Heart. Now don't get me wrong. I like her for not being a ditz who's dumber than a sack of bricks like most characters in the Pretty Cure franchise. She's smart, reliable, and reasonably competent. But...the problem is, as much as I like her, the creators loved her too much and pretty much turned her into an overly perfect Mary Sue spotlight hog. She's loved by everyone, she has no real character flaws, she gets whatever she wants, all the other characters give her their powers so she can use the final finishing move, and she gets all the power-ups while everyone else gets the shaft. I personally don't hate her like most people do, but I agree with them in that the creators should have focused far less on Mana and more on characters like Alice, Rikka, and Makoto.
It doesn't help that there's a lot of plot holes that never get properly explained or expanded upon, such as the royal crystals and the previous Precure before them, and the things the creators do to make every episode contribute to the story end up inevitably bogging it down. I won't go into much for the sake of spoilers, but Doki Doki really could have been better had it left out certain elements. But it's not a bad show by any means. It still retains Precure's messages of hope, friendship, redemption, etc. The music is reasonably good, albeit it not very memorable, and for the most part, it takes itself seriously and doesn't try to dumb itself down for its audience. It's a shame the show came out so convoluted as a result.
Doki Doki isn't the best Precure season, nor will it ever be. It's not bad, but again, it could have been a lot better had some elements been removed and had the creators focused less on Mana all the time.
SO, the story is the same old thing. Boring. But over all, pretty good, just the story was too easy to catch on to. I knew what was going to happen because in Glitter Force, this is the same thing. Its kind of just boring, like I dont even want to watch the episdoes again anymore. They should include different personalites, not the same old cliche. Ive created an entire squad of glitter force ocs, and instead of the blue haired girl always being smart, I made mine an airhead. Instead of the pink haired (the pink one for mind has blue hair actually) being
helpful, mines a bit sarcastic.
Unforunately, doki doki overpromises, and ended up causing people to fall out of love with it. Many will remember being impressed by the first episode, however that high was a one-time and things have since never reached that high.
By the point where I stopped the characters have unfortunately turned stale and are not as endearing as previous instalments of Precure. This is a shame since the series started off promising. The only few things that I do like about this is the animation of the henshin/power-up sequences, which look dynamic.
I will point out that the introduction of the 5th Precure (Cure Ace) complicated things. The
design and concept of this character looked good, however the late introduction as a deus ex machina did not help the faltering storyline. With the addition of too many characters that don't really matter (yet play important roles), the storyline seemed too spread out for any proper character development in anyone of them. It also seemed as though the writers didn't know what to write anymore and just brought Regina back to hold up the show until its grand finale early next year.
The cast unfortunately risks being forgotten. The costume designs are terrible, not very original and therefore not very popular among children who loved the Precure series. There has been a recent drop in ratings that caused the show to hover around a 4.0 average rating.
The change in music was initially good, however as episodes go by I couldn't capture that feeling. It is good for its purpose, but it was not endearing.
Doki Doki Precure is worth a watch, but I have decided to drop this for the time being. Maybe I shall see how it ends up once it ends.