Nono Hana is an 8th grade student who wants to be a stylish and mature big sister like figure. She always puts on a lovely smile and loves to search for exciting things. One day, Hana meets a baby named Hug-tan and her guardian fairy named Harry who had fallen from the sky. At that exact moment, an evil organization called Dark Tomorrow suddenly appeared! They're trying to forcefully take Hug-tan's Mirai Crystal! In order to protect Hug-tan, Hana wishes to do something to help her, and her wish is granted, as she gains a Mirai Crystal and transforms into Cure Yell. The world is overflowed with Tomorrow Powerer, which is the power to create a brilliant tomorrow, which is crystallized into the Mirai Crystals. If it's stolen, everyone's future will not exist. To protect Hug-tan and everyone's future, Cure Yell will do her best!
First of all, I really have to say thank you to all the people who were talking nicely about Hugtto, without them I wouldn't have given a chance to a franchise that is now giving me endless hours of fun between all the entries. I hope this review helps other people to do the same.
As I did with the provisional version of this review while the series was airing, I want to tackle some points that people have against giving a chance to Hugtto, or this franchise in general:
- "This is a kids show": Locking yourself to demographics is such a waste, a good
story is good be a seinen, a shoujo, or whatever it is. Precure in special also falls into a fantastic spot where it pleases fans of cute girls anime due to the lovable and funny character interactions the characters have, fans of actions series that want to see great fight scenes, and also to people who don't care as much for those thanks to the (completed!) story and nice drama and character development. Hugtto in special delivers with that touching some controversial themes that left me so satisfied with the execution. And as with all the entries I watched so far, it's not afraid at all to get dark whenever the story requires so, delivering hard hits that left me wondering if kids are really the main target audience.
- The mascot characters: I could understand it for some Precure entries, but that's definitely not the case for Hugtto. Hugtan is a well done baby character that is 100% adorableness 0% annoying crying, and Harry is far from being just a mascot, he's a fantastic character that adds so much to the cast and the story.
With that out of the way, let's talk about the series.
The story of Hugtto is focused on the Criasu Corporation, an evil company that tries to stop time and put an end to the future of the planet, Harry and Hugtan come from the future to avoid this with the help of the Precure. This anime is not afraid of going in the dark direction showing the danger of the villains while at the same time being honestly fun characters to watch, one roots for the protagonists but still enjoys the interactions with the bad side.
The big theme of this story that I adore and in my opinion had flawless execution is about moving forward and keep dreaming despite the fear for the future. The characters in this story have their traumas they can't deal with and/or fears for what might await for them as time passes, this is especially visible for the villain side, who I found myself really emphatizing with after we got to know more and more about them. This theme hits close home for most people (myself included) and this anime can really give a push of motivation to any watcher who can relate to the characters and how they feel.
I only have good things to say about the villains and so I feel about the good side. The main characters of the series are fantastic, having likeable personalities and very solid development with honestly one of my favorite character arcs in anime included for one of them. Their interactions are lots of fun to watch and both comedy and drama moments coming from them are a blast to watch. The protagonist of the story, Hana, deserves a special mention after becoming one of my favorite characters, her cheerful and lovable personality only does but increase how hard it hurts the drama focused around her and how painful is to see her working so hard to make everyone happy when she herself is one of the characters struggling the hardest.
After this we get to the fights, Hugtto did a very nice job at keeping the story and development always going, with close to zero episodes feeling like filler, but that doesn't change the fact that the episodic action scenes are a staple of the franchise and this anime hasn't changed that, nor it needs to because they are awesome to watch. The animation is constantly great for them (and honestly the whole show looks nice, it feels so alive) and so much fun to watch, this also includes the mandatory transformation scene before the fights that are sooo good looking, Precure knows that they will be reutilized a lot so they go full power on them to make them look as great as possible, and I can say they deliver.
With that said, I will go for pretty much the only complaint I had for Hugtto: the fights sometimes felt unnecesary and out of place. This is a small issue but one that Hugtto in special suffered compared to the rest of the franchise I watched so far due to its big focus on character drama. Some episodes delivered really emotional moments to then make the monster of the week appear out of nowhere into transformation into fight (sometimes shorter than the transformation) to end the episode. I wish they had just kept going with what the plot was delivering instead of the mandatory fight, although sometimes they managed to make the fight add to the meaning of the episode so this wasn't always a bad thing at all.
As I already briefly mentioned for the fights, the art and animation quality are very nice and consistent, and I'm also impressed with the direction of this show which delivered fantastic execution of scenes, especially in dramatic moments where it provided great shots that added so much impact to them. The music comes from Yuki Hayashi (which you might know from other works like Boku no Hero Academia, Haikyuu or Death Parade), and as with those, he did such a great job in that department, giving us some very memorable songs.
I hope the points made in this review convince you to give Hugtto a try, I really don't want to see a franchise as fantastic as Precure stay this ignored here in the West as it currently is, and if my reviews of the series help changing that even if just a bit I will be so happy.
One year ago, smart PreCure fans were devastated. KiraKira had been terrible and hurt the franchise for all time. But there was hope left, for Hugtto was starting. Surely a more traditional season that brought back physical battles would be much better, right? ...Right?
Story: Easily the worst part of this season. The story is awful beyond words. Now I'm not expecting any masterpiece from little girl anime created to sell toys, but at least some sort of consistency and logic and basic writing skills are expected. However series composer Tsubota blows her nose at things like proper writing and consistency. The series is choke
full with Deus Ex Machina and too many things are solved just too easily, both small and big things. Besides that you have things like the personal storylines from the main cast. One girl solves her personal plot when she joins right at the start of the show and other girl solves her storyline in the most ridiculous way possible simply because similar characters from seasons before had a similar resolution.
The themes of the series are parenthood, jobs, and doing anything, and oinly the first one was handled okay sadly. Jobs gets forgotten and the way the anime shows the last one is the most ridiculous scene from the entire franchise. The series also involves time travel and does a terrible mess with that since apparently having consistent time travel rules is really hard. Some individual episodes and scenes are good, but that's about the best we can give this show. It's better than KiraKira for all that helps, since at least this gets the basics right, but every other season is far better.
Art: Animation and art are usually on point thus good. However the fights are pretty boring and also often unrelated to the plot of the episode. It's not like Toei can't make good fights since the cameos get those, meaning they're holding down either because of budget reasons oir angry parents who complain about violence but not about bad writing. Maybe both. Either way these subpar fights certainly are not pleasing. Also the ending dances are getting really tiresome.
Sound: It's not bad. The song that resembles Corridors of Time plays every now and then and still feels jarring. The voice actors are fine, but hearing Yui Ogura not use her usual cute voice was real weird even if that shows she has range. And poor Yukari Tamura being in this bad season...
Character: Another big issue for the show. The main Cures feel split into two groups since the two that join halfway barely interact with the original trio. The original trio also gets the shaft for story except for the pink one, who has the usual Pink Cure Bias the franchise adores. And then there freaking was Henri the worst character from the entire franchise. He exists solely for pushing the agenda from the series composer on gender roles and the like. The problem is the guy was written horribly and the way he's handled looks more ridiculous than anything else, making the whole issue not end serious. And yes, like you probably heard he transforms once. However it's really forced and the guy does nothing, meaning no matter whenever you like the idea or not this does not delived one bit and just fails. Just like the rest of the series.
Enjoyment: The show is probably alright if you pay zero attention to the plot. Otherwise any older season will serve you much better. Except KiraKira for obvious reasons.
Overall: Star Twinkle better improve, since we've got two messes consecutively. This mess has better moments and really bad ones, instead of just awful mediocrity, but it's very much a mess and thus better avoided. We really need a rival magical girl show to give Toei scares and get them back into actually putting effort.
This was my first contact with the Pretty Cure franchise.
It was pretty much the result of my boyfriend constantly fanboying over the series as he's a huge fan of it. I wasn't too hot on the idea, as I had this initial conception of a magical girl show as being for kids and thus, having naive values I wouldn't really relate a lot with. Still, after some brief searching, season comparing and some input from my lover, I gave the latest season a try anyways, because hey, everyone looked cute, and this was bound to be a nice little watch regardless.
say, Hugtto actually went beyond my expectations and caught me off guard too many times to count.
One of the things I'm VERY attentive when watching media is the story, and I'd entered watching the anime appenehsively on that point. However, I was most surprised finding a mix of scenes, situations and values that could actually appeal to an older audience! Hugtto deals with more mature themes than I'd have expected, and albeit simplified in some parts, still managed to resonate well with me anyways. What I found most satisfying is the mix of real life and supernatural matters that more often than not go well together.
Unfortunately, the pacing occasionally suffered from less hyped episodes, occasionally poorly-timed fight scenes and a lot of plot holes that became unresolved as the final episode aired. I'd also occasionally find my excitement dying down in the later episodes as, excited for more, the episodes actually ended up with less satisfying outcomes than expected. Nonetheless, the story was very enjoyable, as it still managed to keep me hooked up for more every episode and get my theorycraft nerves working.
What is there to say here? It's a magical girl show, of course everything is going to be colorful and pretty. The monster of the week designs are your basic silly dark designs, and there's really nothing too notable or revolutionary in my opinion.
Still, I really liked the Precures' costumes overall - When I gave other seasons a preview, the other Precures had struck me as having too overcharged or wild designs, and these ones, to me, managed to be just the right amount of magical! Some of the designs' aspects did tick me off, but it didn't end up a major issue.
Good use of sounds! I'm not quite sure what I can say here precisely, but I can definitely state that Hugtto deserves a high grade as I'd been anticipating a few of the songs from the later episodes to be released in OST format! Sound effects are also pretty fine, nothing feels out of place here.
Probably Hugtto's best selling point is the way it handles its characters. Their personalities are very well thought-out, and every main protag is given her chance to shine. I'd seen a few reviews from other seasons that stated that they'd been too "main protag-centric", but every episode manages to switch focus from one character to another, and give them relevant and relatable issues and challenges to face. Occasionally even brought a tear to my eye!
While on the last set of episodes, the focus does switch back to the main protag, there's been plenty of buildup and development on the other main characters prior, so in the end it likely passes off better! I also really appreciated the fact that the supporting cast also played a role in giving the Cures guidance and their own advice, but I wished the recurring supporting cast also got a bit more development!
How the villains were handled was also one of my most liked parts - While initially presented as your bread-and-butter bad guys, they turn out to be surprisingly complex people. Sometimes, however, the charcters' issues and challenges were handled in a clumsy manner and were slightly confusing as to how they were solved up, but this doesn't tarnish too much my opinion on character development as a whole.
Yeah, I really enjoyed it! It managed to keep me wanting more episodes every week, and the ending was also very satisfying in its own unexpected way! Hugtto definitely brought a smile to my face and is part of my more liked anime. Looking forward to Star Twinkle now!
Hun, if you read this, you're a nerd, but thanks for recommending me the series. I'd definitely recommend this season to people who like the magical girl genre, enjoy an easy watch while also wanting to be caught off guard by some surprising elements!
I wrote a preliminary review for this show about 6 months ago, but now that it's ended I would like to share my thoughts in full. To put it simply, I adore HUGtto Precure. It has brought me smiles and joy throughout the year, and truly makes me feel good about myself and the future. It holds a very, very special place in my heart, and I will be returning to it when I need its comfort. Is it perfect? No. But those flaws are made up for by heart. If I had to explain why I love this series, I'd say this: it makes
HUGtto Precure's premise is not the most groundbreaking or compelling, but I'd say it's more so than the other seasons of Precure I've seen so far. I love the trope of enemies becoming friends, and this show has lots of that. And that ending... it was to be expected, of course, but I find no embarrassment in admitting that I was a puddle of tears while falling asleep the night the show concluded. I will acknowledge the criticism about the pacing, and agree to some extent, but it never stuck out as rushed to me. There was a dip in quality in the middle, but I can forgive that, because the good episodes blew me away.
And oh, the cast. Hana is just wonderful, as are the rest of the characters. I could sing my praises for everyone, but I have to mention Henri and Masato in particular. Henri is an extremely feminine boy who unashamedly wears dresses on multiple occasions and is all but confirmed to be dating Masato, a guy who started out as a sexist jerk, realized he was being a sexist jerk, turned his mindset around, and came to support his loved ones where he used to put them down. I am so, so glad that little boys in Japan are seeing this.
The animation varies in quality, but when it's good, it's fantastic. The opening and endings are just decent, as is the soundtrack, but the main theme is beautiful and still in my head.
This is a very special show to me, and one that I will continue to think about for a long time. Thank you for everything, HUGtto Precure. I will miss you dearly.