One day, the Pretty Cures receive an invitation to a party in their honor. Everyone is heading to the party venue, the school of fairies, but awaits a mysterious shadow. The shadow steals transformation objects! What can they do? If the Cures can not be converted are in big trouble! If this continues, the school, our world and everything else will deborado by that shadow! The 32 Pretty Cures will fight to protect everyone!
In 2012, Toei decided to step up their game with the Pretty Cure All Stars movies by focusing less on epic fights and cliche plots, and trying to sprinkle some substance into their later movies, this one included. This idea...was not very well received by the fandom. But I honestly don't mind. In fact, I like this move. It shows that Toei knows that their movies have problems and they want to at least do something to make them better. I'm glad they're trying to do something new with the All Star movies, as I hear the first three are pretty bad. I do like this movie, but it's honestly not as good as New Stage 1.
The story takes place in a fairy world, where fairies who want to become Pretty Cure partners go to school and learn about Pretty Cure. One fairy, Grell, isn't too fond of the Pretty Cure and likes to cause trouble. Another fairy, Enen, is very fond of them but is too shy to do anything. When Grell comes across a crystal in a forbidden dungeon, it becomes sentient and he and the shadow start doing bad things, even going as far as to trick the Pretty Cure into coming to the fairy world so the shadow can encase them in ice and grow strong. Grell even goes as far as to rope Enen into his plot. But once he realizes what he's done, he decides to try and fix it with Enen's help. But can they do it?
The animation is pretty much the same as New Stage 1. Not particularly noteworthy, but fluid during the action scenes, and it does its job for the most part. The music has a lot more rock and heavy metal tunes than usual, which is quite odd for a children's movie, not that I particularly mind. At least the music adds to the movie's atmosphere and tension, so I have no problem with it. The Pretty Cure girls don't really get much in the way of development, and again, others are just there to move the plot forward to the point of not having lines, which is both a waste of animation and detrimental to the movie's quality. If you're not going to give characters' lines or a reason to be in the movie, then don't include them at all. But I liked the new fairies and the development they got, cliche and questionable as it is.
And by questionable...well, I have one big issue with this movie, and I'm honestly surprised nobody's talking about it. There's a scene where Enen and Grell try to cross a cliff, but Grell falls and Enen tries to save him. At this point, Enen confesses that he considers Grell a friend because he took time to talk with him. But the thing is? There's absolutely NO reason for Enen to consider Grell a friend, especially when all Grell has done is bully him, verbally abuse him, berate his interest in Pretty Cure, and worst of all, rope him into a plot where the shadow encases the Smile girls in ice and making him take the fall for it, even though Grell does regret doing this later on. Does anyone else here notice how questionable this is? Is the movie trying to teach kids that the best way to make friends is if they're nothing but mean and abusive and have to use you for their own ends? That's not how friendship works! I've made friends through finding mutual interests, understanding, and open communication. Grell and Enen NEVER do ANY of this throughout the movie, so I find their whole friendship thing to be really fake and superficial, which makes the whole thing a MASSIVE broken aesop. It really says something when the first New Stage movie portrayed friendship better than this movie did, and I'm surprised Ayumi is getting a lot of backlash and hate when Grell is the one more deserving of it for the way he treats everyone, Enen included! At least Ayumi didn't behave like a b****, but people care too much about her taking up screentime to really bother with the facts. Even if Grell did get better toward the end, none of it justifies his actions, and the fact that everyone forgives him in the end makes the whole thing even more cringeworthy! I know he develops and gets past his flaws, but I can't forgive his treatment of Enen. Characters like Korra from Legend of Korra and Garrod from Gundam X had similar problems in which their actions resulted in repercussions, but at least they didn't do any of it out of malice and weren't outright abusive to their friends, and they actually had time to befriend people and get to know them better before running into problems along the way! I just feel Grell and Enen's friendship could have been executed a lot better. But I do love Enen! He's adorable! I want a plushie of him!
Phew! Finally got that elephant out of the room. So yeah, the aesop and its execution are the only things I felt were bad about this movie, along with Grell's previous abusive treatment of Enen. If you want a flashy movie with Precure fighting, then check it out. But give it a miss if you want something with better executed stories.read more
Ah the Precure crossover movies. A yearly tradition that can vary from fun to just annoying. But how does New Stage 2 hold up? Well it's a much better than I thought it would be, though it did suffer from a lot of problems that come up in the later DX movies.
(Note that this is early on in the Doki Doki show, so no power ups just yet, and beware of the small spoiler from Smile that shows up in the beginning.)
Story (6/10): Pretty simple plot- Precure get invited to fairy school, though it turns out to be a trap to collect their transformation devices and fairies, which leads to the current Doki Doki team to help save the day with the 2 fairies that caused the whole mess.
Yeah, this does have a cliche plot device that I've really come to hate over the years: Stupid Kid Syndrome (or when a little kid who's being annoying/stubborn/naive and falls right into the obvious villains hands, kick starting the plot). Beyond that, it's interesting that we finally have a genre savvy villain, though that only holds out as long as you would expect. It's also kind of funny in that the Doki Doki Precure are the cause for his demise since they aren't in the Precure Textbook.
(Also don't think too hard on there being a fairy school when we clearly know that all the fairies have no common origin. It's non-canon anyways kids. ;) )
Art (8/10): The art is pretty good all around. Backgrounds are colorful, the humans are all drawn well in their respective styles, and all the different fairies are given (somewhat) unique designs. There is some wonky bits here and there, mostly dealing with close-ups of faces, but other than that everything looks pretty good. (There is the inevitable CG dance ending, which looks good, but a little weird still.)
Sound (7/10): Eh...nothing too special here. The actual insert songs are good, including the ending dance with the ED of Doki Doki, so nothing to complain about. It can be a tad too dramatic for its own good at points, but it's only distracting in those isolated spots. All in all, pretty solid.
Character (7/10): As I said in the Story section, there's the annoying kid that starts the whole plot. And BOY is Gureru annoying for 2/3 rds of the movie in that overly excited animated little boy way. The other fairy, Enen, is much better and his character development makes so much more sense. For the Precure themselves, they all come off as alright, with the Smile Precure girls coming off much better here than they do in their own show (yeah, that's probably just me, but they did) since they have some other people and variety to work with (and I'll stop there :) ). It suffers from the same problems that most other DX and the other New Stage movie has: too many characters in one movie. I mean, we're on 32 Precure now! Yeesh!
Enjoyment (9/10): Since this IS a Precure movie, there's gotta be an awesome last act fight scene. And it really does deliver. I'll admit that I squeed completely when I saw the original Futari Wa team kicking ass, along with the Heartcatch girls being awesome as well. All the other teams do well, with some praise being warranted for the Smile/Doki Doki team up. They balanced the powers pretty well and it really makes me sad that the Smile team couldn't be this awesome all the time in their show. It's also nice to see that the writers are trying to do a better job of getting a little screen-time for all the Precure teams, which is a continuing problem in these movies.
(They continue, however, to do a bad job of shoving the Deus Ex Machina Miracle Lights into the movie. Really Toei? At least try a little harder. :/ )
While New Stage 2 suffers from the typical pitfalls of the previous DX/New Stage movies, it does do some things right. The battles are fun, the characters come off well, and it looks as nice as its predecessors. Don't look for anything mindshattering here, but if you want to spend an hour and a half or so watching some magical girl goodness, can't go wrong here. read more