Yumehara Nozomi, a regular student, finds a magical book called the Dream Collet in the library and meets Coco and Nuts, two creatures from the Palmier Kingdom. They plead with Nozomi to restore their world, which has been destroyed by an organization called the Nightmares, by completing the Dream Collet and finding the 55 Pinkies to make any wish come true. Meanwhile, the Nightmares are moving into the real world. Once Nozomi agrees to help, Coco and Nuts transform her into the magical girl Cure Dream and turn four fellow students into her Pretty Cure team.
#1: "Kirakira Shichatte My True Love (キラキラしちゃってMy True Love!)" by Kanako Miyamoto (eps 1-32) #2: "Ganbalance de Dance ~Yume Miru Kisekitachi~ (ガンバランス de ダンス~夢みる奇跡たち~)" by Kanako Miyamoto with Precure 5 (eps 33-49)
Despite what demographics might suggest, it shouldn’t come as a surprise by now to see an overlap of elements from the mahou shoujo and super sentai genres. Over the years, Toei’s Pretty Cure franchise has achieved a harmonious balance between its frill-clad warriors’ school and superhero lives – to the point where it’s become somewhat of a household name for little girls and grown men alike. True to its roots, Yes! Precure 5 is a season that exemplifies the franchise’s core strengths. Between its delightful cast of diverse personalities, convincing coming of age moments and plenty of baddie beat downs, this is one installment fans
of either genre won’t want to miss.
Carefree but clumsy, Nozomi Yumehara is an average middle-school student with few dreams or talents – that is, until she crosses paths with an unbelievably handsome guy…err fairy from a magical land. After hearing his plea, her resolve to restore his ruined kingdom that was destroyed by the evil organization, Nightmare, causes her to awaken as Cure Dream. However, in order to do so, she must capture 55 magical creatures called pinkies which will then grant any wish.
Although the show’s premise may hint at it being nothing more than a drawn-out fetch quest, Yes! Precure 5 thankfully settles in on a more character-centric approach by pushing the pinkies to the periphery. With five Cures compared to the previous installments’ two, the diverse cast becomes, without a doubt, the show’s main selling point. As likable as she may be, Nozomi’s enthusiastic behaviour is only one of many personalities in the crowd. Amongst Rin’s tomboyish attitude, Urara’s sweet charm, Komachi’s quiet, yet perceptive outlook and Karen’s cool and collected demeanour, there’s plenty of spice to give this group its needed flavour.
With the team fully assembled after a mere 6 episodes, most of the focus is on the Cures pursuing their dreams and maturing. A typical plotline will focus on one or more of the girls as they encounter some sort of adversity in their life, be it a disagreement with another team member or difficulties in achieving their goals. Ultimately, what separates Yes! Precure 5 from other entries in the genre is the realism present in each of the girl’s stories coupled with their excellent characterization. For instance, the episodes centered on Komachi striving to become an author detail her personal growth exceptionally well. Being the most soft-spoken member of the group, Komachi tends to be more reserved and spends her time writing stories. However, it is only after bonding with one of the other characters that she confronts her weaknesses and finds the internal strength necessary to protect her future. What is especially satisfying about Komachi’s resolution is how understated many of the moments are; emotions are conveyed through realistic body language and effective cinematography, while dialogue is used sparsely to reinforce the closeness between the cast. With such convincing scenario writing, it should come as little surprise that many of Yes! Precure 5’s character arcs excel in a manner similar to Komachi’s.
That being said, the season does not solely succeed on the basis of its strong writing. Rather, the storytelling combined with the unity of the Cures’ group dynamic rounds out the final product. Being the appointed leader of the team, Nozomi often behaves in manner that is less than befitting of her official title. Once Nozomi gets an idea in her head, she’ll simply shout “it’s decided” without consulting anyone else’s opinion. As a result, her unpredictable nature tends to single-handedly dictate the group’s course of action. While Urara is more than happy to join in on her schemes, Rin has no shortage of snarky remarks to tease Nozomi for her thoughtless decisions. Of course, this is all part of the group’s appeal, as the show has a good sense of when the Cures are simply engaging in a bout of lighthearted fun; their ritualistic bickering, laughter and goofiness is all confirming evidence of their closeness. In time, the gang’s more subtle idiosyncrasies start coming to light, making it a true delight to watch their daily lives.
However, what really defines the cast is the fact that each character has a distinct disposition towards one another. Karen, for example, acts very composed when she’s around the entire group, partly due to the fact that she’s in the presence of the younger girls. She’ll only display a more vulnerable side of herself when confiding in her best friend, Komachi. On the other hand, Karen adopts a friendly rivalry with Rin which ranges from the two arguing about trivial matters such as favourite juices to competing while fighting their foes. Initially, the two don’t have much in common, but over the course of the show their rapport slowly evolves. Although their bickering never really ceases, Karen eventually comes to respect Rin’s determination to achieve her goal and vice versa. Similarly, watching the natural progression of each character pair adds a great deal of depth and enjoyment to the show.
Being the first instance where Toei diverged from some of the franchise’s traditions such as the two Cure setup, Yes! Precure 5 also delves deeper into the romance. While previous and even future installments would just have the Cures’ crushes going nowhere by the end, the relationships in this season are better realized. This is due to the primary love interests being relevant characters that are tied to the Cures’ development. For instance, Nozomi gains confidence in her own abilities and discovers her passion only through bonding with Coco. As the show progresses, the two characters help each other work through their problems and become closer as a result.
Although it all sounds good on paper, there is a bit of an unfortunate twist here. Specifically, the writers chose the mascot characters, Coco and Nuts, to become love interests for two of the Cures. While the show does steer clear of some controversial topics by having the little critters shape shift into young adult men, numerous discrepancies arise as a result. For one, the Cures only become infatuated with the guys when they are in their human forms, leading to some romantic inconsistencies down the road. Additionally, Coco and Nuts’ portrayals vary largely between their two forms. While they are quite mature and knowledgeable as humans, both characters possess the mentality of fluffy, woodland creatures as mascots – making it difficult to swallow, at times, that these are the same dudes the Cures have fallen head over heels for. However, if one is able to look past these shortcomings, the romance aspect provides plenty of additional exposition to the select Cures’ characters.
Being an almost mandatory staple of mahou shoujo and super sentai shows, Yes! Precure 5’s villain troupe, Nightmare, certainly deserves a mention. While their primary purpose is still to wreak havoc by summoning monsters each week, Nightmare’s organizational structure provides an interesting departure from the genre’s norm. Specifically, their establishment closely mirrors that of the corporate world, complete with grunts placing their lives on the line to earn their next paycheck; it’s a nifty little metaphor for the harsh reality of the real world and provides some darker contrast to the Cures’ optimism. Sadly, beyond that, there really isn’t much else going for Nightmare that makes them stand out as villains. Aside from the aptly named Bunbee, who fumbles his way down the corporate ladder as the season progresses, the majority of the other villains are about as clichéd as they get. With few qualities that would make them likable or endearing, most of them end up as nothing more than glorified punching bags. As such, once the Cures permanently banish them to the realm of unemployment, they’re often not worth remembering.
With regards to the show’s production values, Yes! Precure 5 tends to look quite good on average for a 49 episode series. Character designs are very appealing while the show’s backgrounds are so vividly detailed, they’re almost picturesque. Although there are a few noticeable drops in quality at times, the show knows when to really go full throttle with its art direction. During key moments such as the Cures’ resolutions, greater attention is given to the accompanying lighting effects and expressions of the cast, intensifying the impact of these scenes. Unfortunately, the main area where the animation quality becomes a letdown is during the fight sequences. Outside of a handful of them, there’s a general lack of fluid animation used to detail the Cures’ martial arts, resulting in many of the weekly battles being anticlimactic. It’s a bit of a shame, as the fights are otherwise well scripted; featuring plenty of teamwork and diversity between the Cures’ unique powers.
Having worked on the soundtracks for the previous Precure seasons, Sato Naoki’s talents as a composer also really shine in this installment. The prevailing classical tone of his musical score complements the show’s characters and events; a gentle ensemble of flutes is used for Komachi’s theme whereas the roaring sound of trumpets can be heard during fierce battles.
All things considered, Yes! Precure 5 is a season that definitely makes its mahou shoujo and sentai forefathers proud. Nozomi and the gang’s superb group dynamics along with the resounding impact of the Cures’ character growth make for a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging Precure experience. Although the mascot characterization and villains are lacking in comparison, fans of either genre still unsure about watching this installment should be given this answer.
Nozomi Yumehara is a girl without a dream or goal for the future. She's clumsy and is good at neither sports nor academics. Until now she's just been drifting through her life without a care in the world. That all changes when she suddenly meets Coco, a fairy prince from the destroyed Palmier Kingdom, and now she decides that she will become Pretty Cure to fight evil and help revive the Palmier Kingdom.
Yes5 greatly changes the formula for the Pretty Cure franchise. It's the first season to give the individual Cure's the ability to transform without each other and have their own attacks for defeating
the Monster's of the Week. Changing Pretty Cure from a duo to a five-person team also obviously increases the number of important characters and makes the team dynamic and character interactions for this season completely different from the previous two.
The basic plot for the show is very simple, the girls must find the 55 Pinkies and put them into the Dream Collet and they can then make whatever wish they want. Pretty Cure wishes to use the Dream Collet to revive the Palmier Kingdom while Nightmare, the evil organization of the season, want it to grant their leader Despariah's wish of eternal youth and immortality. However, the show treats gathering the Pinkies sort of as a side-plot, Yes5 is much more focused on it's characters and their development and interactions with each other. Something unfortunate is the actual designs and transformations of Pretty Cure. The outfits are pretty plain and the transformations equally so, probably the worst in the franchise.
Being the main focus of the show the Cure's in Yes5 have more development and personality than the Cure's from previous seasons. As do the fairies who can change into human forms. Nozomi, Cure Dream, starts out as a silly girl with her head in the clouds who doesn't know what she wants to do in life, over the course of the show she becomes a great leader and an inspiration to all of her friends. Rin, Cure Rouge, plays the straight-man of the group and is a typical "tomboy with a girly side to her" with Rin you see her developing friendship with Karen and the rest of the Cure's. Urara, Cure Lemonade, is the youngest of the group but already working as an idol and her cheerful demeanor belies the fact that she lost her mother at a young age. Komachi, Cure Mint, struggles to find passion in her life and to find her own voice. Karen, Cure Aqua, is a lonely girl who until becoming Pretty Cure never had a friend aside from Komachi. All of the girls also struggle with their dreams for the future, while unlike Nozomi they have their own passions and talents they're all still unsure of what they really want to to do with their lives.
The fairies in the show are Coco, who disguises himself as a teacher at the school the girls attend. Being a prince of the Palmier Kingdom Coco is constantly looking out for the happiness and safety of the girls. Nuts, the second prince, is tortured by the fact that he was tricked by Nightmare into allowing the Palmier Kingdom to be destroyed in the first place. He closes himself off to others and only gradually opens up more across the show.
Yes5, unlike pretty much every other season in the franchise, also has a much bigger focus on romance. Unlike most seasons where some Cure's would just have a little crush on some guy and it wouldn't go anywhere the romantic relationships in Yes5 actually develop and lead somewhere. Coco, despite his best efforts, falls for Nozomi but is tormented by the fact that when this is all over he'll have to return to the Palmier Kingdom and leave her. Nozomi more than reciprocates his feelings and has the same problems with their inevitable seperation. Komachi similarly falls in love with Nuts and agonizes much the way Nozomi does, unlike her though Komachi has a much harder time just telling Nuts about her feelings.
The two biggest themes in the show are "Hope vs. Despair" and finding ones dream for the future. With the Hope vs. Despair theme we see this throughout the story with the fairies and Pretty Cure never giving up hope that they can succeed and revive the Palmier Kingdom. The villains simply wish for them to accept their inevitable failure and drown in despair. Finding ones dream for the future also comes into play throughout the season as the girls individual character arcs develop and they eventually find out what they want to do with their lives.
The company of Nightmare was a pretty different antagonist for Pretty Cure at the time. Being an evil business essentially they aren't as threatening and the scale isn't as big with them as it was with the Dark Zone or Dark Fall from previous seasons but because they were so different in their setup and goal it was refreshing.
The individual villains of Nightmare are kind of a mixed bag. There are some great ones, some okay ones, and some crap ones. Girinma, Arachnea, and Gamao, the three minions originally serving under Bunbee, are crap. Just boring villains and nothing to write home about.
Later on the stronger Hadenya and Bloody get introduced, they're both quite a bit better than the previous three. Hadenya has more flair and personality to her and her fights are generally a little better than others too. Bloody is even better, being a more serious and threatening villain the few episodes with him as the adversary are great.
But the actually great villains in the show are Kawarino and Bunbee. Bunbee initially seems like the boss of the organization but is essentially just "middle-management" and while remaining a credible threat to Pretty Cure throughout the show gets less and less respect from his colleagues as time goes on and becomes more of a comedy-relief villain. Kawarino is the opposite. Very evil and creepy, Kawarino is Despariah's right-hand man, he cares nothing for his comrades and has no qualms about sending them on suicide missions or transforming them into mindless monsters. As a sort of counterpart to the happier romance in Nozomi and Coco's lives he is also clearly and deeply in love with Despariah.
The main villain of the series is Despariah, the only female main villain from Pretty Cure. Like many main villains in Pretty Cure she is the exact opposite of the leader Nozomi, Nozomi is hope and Despariah is obviously despair. Whereas Pretty Cure seek to use the Dream Collet unselfishly to help the Palmier Kingdom Despariah only cares for herself and wants to be the only happy person in the world while everyone else is trapped in sadness and despair. The biggest problem with Despariah is that she doesn't have much presence in the show, barely appearing or doing anything herself until near the end. It makes the final fight with her feel like an almost unnecessary addendum and lacks the emotion and impact it should have.
The Monster's of the Week in Yes5 are the Kowaina. A dull concept and physical designs put them, in my opinion, as the worst from any season. Only Bloody uses them in an interesting way.
Another problem with the villains is that they never team-up even though there's no logical reason for them not to. They have good chemistry when talking and meeting together so it's kind of a letdown that we never see them fight together.
The action in Yes5, well to put it plainly it sucks. Like every season there are a couple of good fights but not as much as there should be. A combination of poor animation quality and a stiff art-style make a lot of fights just not look good even if the action is okay.
The music is great, Yes5 probably has one of the best soundtracks in Pretty Cure. The opening and endings however are just okay and nothing really special. Like Splash Star before it Yes5 uses some music from the previous seasons so every now and then you'll hear music from Futari Wa, Max Heart, and Splash Star playing.
The build-up to the finale is pretty poor. It just suddenly sort of starts and the episodes don't really flow well together. Once in the actual finale it's great though. The themes of the show are displayed excellently and it gets really emotional as Pretty Cure face their darkest hour. It's a really dramatic finale, as it should be. However the last episode is "uneven" so to speak. It sort of tries to do too much and despite having a lot of good points it and the fight with Despariah leave much to be desired. The ending is bittersweet, but much more sweet, and the epilogue is perfectly fitting for the show.
So Yes5 takes Pretty Cure in a new direction and still does some things that no other season has done making it a perfectly good and highly enjoyable show.
I've looked at the PreCure franchise quite a bit. With Futari wa, Max Heart, Splash Star and Doki Doki as well as three different films. This time around, we're going back to the first PreCure series to feature a team, Yes PreCure 5. This one ran from early '07 to early '08. The head writer was Narita Yoshimi, who also did series composition work on Splash Star. So, that's a pretty good sign. Let's delve back into the world of PreCure.
We open with our main heroine, Yumehara Nozomi, running late for school. Something we've never seen in any anime before besides ninety percent of them.
On her way there she almost trips but gets caught by a very handsome older man. Being more than a little thick, she thinks of it as a fated encounter. Even when he turns out to be a gay squirrel. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. She's in the library, presumably for picture books, when she encounters the stranger again. The pair of them are attacked by a Mantis man and she transforms into Cure Dream. The squirrel introduces himself as Coco and tells her that they need to find the four other legendary warriors to wake up his boyfriend who's sleeping in the Dream Collet & the fifty five pinkies to revive the destroyed Palmier kingdom.
Let's start with my biggest problem with this series, namely, the attempts at romance. Unlike the other PreCure series we've looked at where the straight love interest is either absent or a largely ignored element, this one likes to push the idea that a couple of these fourteen, maybe fifteen year old girls should get together with these grown ass men, one of which is their teacher and both of which are actually squirrels.
So, it's the worst in the franchise in that regard so far. Say what you will about Soccer boy Senpai from Futari wa or Mai's elder brother in Splash Star, at least they were close in age to the girls who were interested in them and not in positions of power & the same species. Every single episode where they try to push the romance aspect in this series comes across as more than a bit grotty & really cringey.
There's also the way the whole pinky thing is handled. It's very much an element the series brings up when it feels like it. Most of them are caught off screen & they barely do anything. There's an episode where one gets used to treat an illness and another one acts like a photocopier a few times. I think that's actually it.
But it's not all bad. The way the overall theme of hope against despair and the way dreams for the future factor into holding on to your hope is pretty well handled. The ending has some nuance to it and really doesn't unfold like you'd expect. So, that's appreciated.
The biggest problem with the cast here is that they're very much a bog standard group. Nozomi is the super optimistic, good-natured, dumb as a brick variety of protagonist. Rin is the athletic one. Urara is the excitable, cheerful young one. Komachi is the calm older sister type & Karen is the smart one. And unlike, say, Doki Doki or Sailor Moon the characters never move beyond the most archetypical writing for those tropes in any significant way. The most interesting character in terms of writing is the main antagonist, Despariah. And that's only because of what happens with the ending.
I will credit the series with trying to juggle the characters and give them all a decent amount of focus. I'll also credit it with giving each of the main five their own little arc. Even if those arcs are trite. And the dynamics that aren't pushing the idea of romance between young girls and adult animals can be fun.
One issue with the writing is that the series doesn't know what to do with their underling antagonists. To the point where two of them exit the series in a really unsatisfying fashion. At least the others get big, final confrontations against the heroines. These two just kind of get unceremoniously axed.
The character designs are solid, especially for the villains. It also continues the proud series tradition of having very physical bouts and ending them with the big, magic attacks. The action scenes in general are nicely done. I especially like the horseback duel that Karen fights. The villain designs are quite good. The backgrounds are quite nice and, overall, the art just works well.
The performances are well done. Nagano Ai, Ise Mariya, Maeda Ai, Takeuchi Junko, Sanpei Yuuko and the other various major actors are all good at what they do. Overall, I also did like the music. One issue I do have is that they get rid of their original ending theme tune partially through and just replace it with a remix of Splash Star's. It's like the Toei team responsible for making the series decided the tune they had wasn't good enough and they didn't have time to write something new, so they just modified something they already had. Granted, the theme tunes in this isn't as good as the other PreCure series we've looked at, but they're perfectly fine.
There's a lot of it betwixt Coco & Nuts. There are also a few scenes with Komachi & Karen where they come across as more than friends. And there are some scenes where Urara seems to have a bit of a crush on Nozomi. (Notice her, Senpai.) This series does have significantly less ho-yay than the rest of the franchise we've looked at, however.
Areas of Improvement:
Get rid of the attempts at romance. Seriously, you don't need romantic elements. In fact, they're downright detrimental when the main stuff you're pushing is gross in three different ways.
Give your characters something to set them apart. I get it, this was the first time they had a team and they didn't really know how to juggle character development for five girls. But give us something that moves them beyond archetypes.
Give the two villains with abrupt departures proper send offs. Again, I know why they handled it the way they did. They wanted to emphasise a particular antagonist's sadistic side with how he disposes of these two. But I feel like they could have done that and still had the send off. After all, they do with the villain who leaves before these two.
Yes PreCure 5 is not nearly the best the franchise has to offer. Honestly, it's kind of weak. While it has its enjoyable moments and a few interesting elements, it suffers from bland characterisation, the worst romance elements in the series thus far and some aspects that just aren't handled in engaging or interesting ways. In the end, the closest series I can compare it to is Max Heart. Like that series, it's very mediocre. I'll give it a 5/10. Maybe the follow up to it will redeem it somewhat when I eventually look at that, but given that it's the series that marked the end of direct sequel series in the franchise, I'm not all that optimistic.
Yes Precure 5 is not as lazy as Splash Star, although an 18 year old cat on Ketamine can’t even reach the pinnacle of laziness the production staff on Splash Star achieved. At the very least, Yes Precure 5 at least tries to do something mildly different from the original. The main character has a different personality at the very least (even if orange-haired friend in this version is pretty much a carbon copy of the same girl from the original Precure). There’s also 5 Precures instead of 2. Even the magical pet looks slightly different, and is really a transforming bishie, Fruits Basket style.
Otherwise, they’ve kept most of the rest of the standard Precure scenario. Precures have to stop evil organisation of dreadful villains from an alternate world, using the powah of friendship, all while collecting these magical sausages or whatever random artefact it is they have to travel across the country to find. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because powah of friendship to defeat baddies is a decent formula. However, it appears that’s about the point the production staff decided to call it a day.
"We’ve changed the formula enough from the original, now lets use the rest of our budget to hire some strippers! Animation? Script writing? Fuck that, give it to the intern. Actually no, scratch that, give it to the monkeys in Toei’s basement."
The writing in this is horrendous to quite extraordinary levels. What particularly bugged me was how stupid it assumed its audience was. Yes, I know the audience are girls with only one digit in their age, but the original Precure didn’t talk down to them this much. If we see a shot with a bunch of super excited girls hoarding around the student council president, it’s pretty obvious that’s she’s popular. We don’t need our braindead main character and her carbon-copy-from-original-Precure-friend pointing out to the audience how popular she is.
There are other instances where they simply stop trying to give characters reasons for what they do. I know a regular occurrence in Precure is how shit the villains are, but it’s something I’m going to rag on yet again. When someone fires a weak beam at you that totally misses, what sort of excuse is that to then run away? Or the villain catching one of the magical muffins the Precures are trying to hoard, then giving it back to them for no adequately explored reason. And this guy was apparently the leader of the villainous group. I’m guessing the aptitude test for entering this villainous group involves a high-hanging banana and a stick, and if they get the banana in under a minute then they’re not allowed join the group.
Even worse than the writing is the animation. This is a friggen Precure series! These things rely on a combination of advertising toys and pretty visuals. This series got the advertising toys aspect down, for better or for worse. Well, no, just for worse. But the visuals are awful. An large amount of this series is incredibly lazy panning shots. You know, the ones where the characters don’t actually do any movement of their body. They’re just held up on a stick and waved about by one of the basement monkeys at Toei just below the bottom of the screen. The backgrounds were probably going for that watercolour look from the likes of Honey and Clover and Nodame Cantabile, but instead just looks like childish scribbles.
But you know what’s the worst part of all? The very reason I decided to watch these blasted Precure series in the first place? The bitchin’ transformation sequences, that even Splash Star managed to get off their backsides and producing something visually spectacular for. Yes Precure 5’s transformation sequences aren’t bitchin’ in the slightest. I was looking forward to the prospect of 5 different transformation sequences for each Precure. What normally characterises a Precure bitchin’ transformation sequence is how the costume billows out ins some sort of crazy way, combines with epic music and swooping camera angles.
Yes Precure 5’s didn’t bother with something as cool as swooping cameras, instead simply opting to pan down to the next segment of the characters body that would spout new clothing. Worse still, each Precure would go through this same process with little variation. The one interesting bit of transforming was Cure Lemonade’s swirly hair-pieces, but even that transformation sequence has the same uninspired music the rest of them had. Plus, it cycles through each and every transformation sequence in the episode, so by the time we had all 5 Precures, we had to sit through that same lame transformation sequence 5 fucking times. You think it’s all over BUT NO! Then they all have to go through their signature moves, all of which look the same and have the same damn music all over again.
You know you’re a shit Precure if you don’t even have good transformation sequences.
Pretty Cure is a long running mahou shoujo series that has enchanted young girls for over 10 years. The songs featured in it represent the essence of the series, but what exactly are they about? Let's take a look at the song lyrics in Precure through a process called text mining to find out.