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.
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!
For those of us who have seen a Precure before, that tagline is effectively TL;DR. We know what to expect. But honestly, there are very few of us, for reasons beyond the scope of this document. This is aimed at the rest of humanity ... who, for some reason, haunt underutilized sections of MAL.
Pretty Cure is, for better and for worse, a merchandise-driven show. On the plus side, it has steady returns that aren't based on BD/DVD sales figures. This means that it has a level of polish and craftsmanship that isn't usually seen in
TV anime. It also means that watching it involves being advertised to, since the show itself is an advertisement of a sort. How noticeable this is varies a lot.
Pretty Cure is also a single long-running series in a way. The seasons ostensibly start from scratch each time, but there are many similarities between, and there are crossover movies that somehow attempt to make them coexist. This entry, in particular, feels a lot like Go! Princess Precure. It's hardly surprising to find, then, that a lot of the people who worked on that also came back for this installment. Some of these are relative newcomers in the anime world.
That's why it's nice to see a veteran in the lineup. Namely, Junichi Satou. It was Ojamajo Doremi, another Toei magical girl show and thus a predecessor of sorts to Precure, that really launched his career. He went on to work on other magical girl shows, besides, so this is both a homecoming and a return to form for him.
To me, the main difference in this season is a tonal one. The first installment of Precure was poorly planned and tried to laugh off all the issues stemming from this. This season is well thought out, in a way I never expected from a Precure show. Plot developments have build up. Things flow naturally from what has come before. There's no excessive rush to build the core cast like there was in GoPri Precure. Characters have definable traits but have room to grow. The villains have a theme, but it's one that you might not expect in a kid's show. A young girl can hardly be expected to know about the corporate world, yet it makes the motivations of our starter villains, at least, comprehensible to those of us in the know.
Yet, none of this has sacrificed what makes Precure appealing to those of us who have watched it in the past. It's still fun. There's a lot of animation. A lot of that is good, and in different ways. Watch Homare ice skate, Hana flail about humorously, and all the Precures do battle. I think it's significant to note that the fight direction is a lot better than I've come to expect from this series. In early series, it seemed like they were trying to avoid things like impact, and clean lines of action, for some reason I never understood. Even in Go! Princess Precure, it seemed like these principles were only observed sometimes. Notably, those were the best episodes. Someone at Toei clearly noticed.
Thus we arrive at the present year. Pretty Cure has experimented in a lot of ways, and continues to do so, but in this season it shows that it hasn't forgotten what it's learned along the way. A big part of growing up is making mistakes and learning from them. That's why I say that Pretty Cure is grown up.
P.S. Due credit to youtuber ThePedanticRomantic, who is my source for some of this information. He really opened my eyes to how special this season is, and why. Watch his video on it! (It's the one with the really hyperbolic-sounding title. You'll know when you see it.)
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.
As someone who have watch every single series of Pretty Cure, I should say that HUGtto is one of the best. In my opinion, it has been a while since precure actually have a decent series where they use fist fights and does not too focused on the lead a.k.a pink cure.
The story keeps getting better and involves not only on Hana. I am very pleased that other cures also got man chances to shine. Not only one or two, but each also got their own "highlight" on the opening and ending. If you miss watching a precure series with some fist fights, not only
relying on magic, you will like this because it reminds me to the early precure series. The theme itself is very unique an fun. The most important part and my favorite highlight, romance. There are some hinted romance and I don't think I'm the only one who has been waiting for precure to bring back romance to their series. So the two things I really love about this series are the fist fights and romance. Because those are what makes precure fun and not boring.
There are still some elements that are similar with the other precure series. Some of it I do like it and some not. What I sort of dislike about this series is the attacks. The attacks are too similar with some previous series attacks and I was hoping they come up with something new.
The art style is somewhat similar with Yes! Precure 5 mixed with a bit of DokiDoki precure. But a bit more modernized.I can't say I'm a big fan of the cures design, but they are not that bad. As for characters, each are very unique and has their own place to shine. All cures are also each have some unexpected sides of their characters which is fun. Its pretty rare to see that in latest precure series. Overall, I really enjoy HUGtto precure and have high expectations for it.
From what I've gathered, fans consider Hugtto Precure to be Pretty Cures best installment. I haven't seen any other Precure Anime, nor am I an expert in the magical girl genre, but I think it's reasonable to say that Hugtto Precure is a generally good Anime on it's own. I especially liked its themes and characters and the values and life lessons it's trying to get across to its viewers.
One of Hugtto Precures strengths is it's simplicity. It doesn't try to be a deconstruction of its own genre like Madoka Magica, it doesn't try to be as edgy as Mahou Shoujo
Site nor does it try to have a complex world like Sailor Moon. Instead, Hugtto Precure focuses on everyday themes while also devoting a large part of every episode to slice of life arcs that focus on the development of our protagonists.
When reflecting Hugtto Precure critically, one mustn't forget that this is an Anime targeted at young girls. The structure of the story is therefore pretty straightforward and I'm sure everyone who has a bit of experience with the magical girl genre knows what to expect. At the same time I don't think that Hugtto Precure wants to be just some magical girl Anime. The surrounding story of Criasu Corporation stopping time to stop people from running into misery only serves as a child-friendly framework for the Anime to set up what it wants to bring across to its viewers. And this brings me to the Animes biggest strength: It's themes.
The themes and values in Hugtto Precure are diverse and presented in a manner that encourages young girls to follow their dreams. Themes include parenting, jobs, chasing dreams, heroism and looking for the future. The cures all have vastly different hobbies and interests and some of them stray far away from what society considers to be "typical" for a girl. Take a look at Saaya, who is interested in science. There is one episode where Hana, Saaya and Homare visit Hanas dads shop and as they enter, Saaya immediately walks to the aisle where the drilling machines are located because that's what she's interested in. Other episodes highlight different jobs like florists, midwifes or actors with a small discourse about the pros and cons of each job. The Anime further encourages its viewers to chase after their dreams, even if they have a lingering trauma from the past. We see this with Homare, who has been an ice figure skater as a child, but eventually stopped after injuring her leg. She was never able to cope with it and eventually just settled with the fact that she will never be able to skate on the ice again. It's only with the help of her friends that she is able to overcome her trauma and chase for what she wants the most: Being the best ice figure skater.
I like how Hugtto Precure reflects the changes in society in our modern world. We live in an age where LGBT+ characters in a kids show no longer cause as much uproar as it did many years ago. I remember the time when the dub of Sailor Moon was changed so that Michiru and Haruka don't come across as lesbians and I like that such things are becoming less of an issue as time progresses. Here in Hugtto Precure, we have Ruru and Emiru, both girls, saying multiple times "I love you" to each other. And we have Henri, a boy with feminine traits and a slightly feminine apperance who likes to crossdress, openly does so and stands up for it, causing one of the most critically acclaimed moments of the entire show with saying that "boys can wear dresses too".
As we can see from the inclusion of LGBT+ characters, the Anime isn't afraid of doing things that are unheard of when talking about a kids show. An example of this is Homare actually failing to become a Precure on her first try due to not being able to overcome her trauma. Another example would be the epilogue where ... one of the Precures gives birth to her daughter on screen (as far as I researched, this is apparently the first case of a Precure character doing so), although it's not too graphic. Let's hope this isn't going to frighten the little girls who are watching this Anime. Hugtto Precure also managed to sneak some mature concepts past the radar, but those are mostly centered around Criasu Corporation and their "employees". For adult viewers however, they may come off as a nice bonus.
The Precures all have a fair amount of character development, obviously within the realm of what kids are able to grasp. The most noticable development is definitely Ruru, who starts off as an emotionless antagonist, eventually developing into an empathic girl that knows how to smile or cry and becomes Emirus best friend. This is a theme that drags throughout the entire Anime: Antagonists become friends because this is one of the messages that Hugtto Precure wants to get across: Yesterday may have been bad, but that doesn't mean tomorrow will too. Character development is further noticable with Homare, Emiru and Saaya, who all have their reasonable share of it, obviously within reason.
The Anime has a multitude of strong emotional and heartwarming moments that are scattered throughout the episodes. An example of this would be episode 10, where Hana is feeling down because she thinks in contrast to her friends Homare and Saaya, she apparently has no special talent. It's her mother that hugs her and comforts her that everyone has their own special talent and there is no need to compare herself with her friends. Other examples would be Emiru standing for up for Ruru in front of Papple, telling her that Ruru has a heart or the ex-villains from Criasu apologizing to each other for the mistakes they made in the past.
All of what I've said above may sound overly positive, but Hugtto Precure is nowhere near a perfect Anime. I have hinted this at the beginning, but the story in Hugtto Precure is just ... not good. A lot of deus ex machina and plot holes is what drags throughout the episodes, but as I also said: I don't really weigh this too much as the story isn't the focus of the Anime. Another aspect that I found to be executed quite badly is the existence of magical girls in general. When Hana first becomes a Precure, she immediately knows all her moves and skills and basically just goes on and fights a big monster alone without even having to learn to use her powers. There is also low focus on the Precures having to keep their identity a secret and despite the action scenes being well animated, the usage of magic powers and the girls being magical girls feels more like a plot device for the narrative, rather than being crafted well into the flow of the story. Also, during the first couple episodes, there are some toy advertisements here and there. It's not much, but I can understand if this comes off as annoying.
Despite some offsetting flaws, I think Hugtto Precure is a solid Anime overall and I think your time watching this Anime will definitely not be wasted. However, I can imagine if you have already seen a bunch of other magical girl Anime, you will most likely not find many new concepts here that will enhance your experience.
This is an insult to not only fans of the series, but also an insult to the series itself. Sure, Doki Doki is a season that made us mad, but this season feels like a modern take on that. While Hana is better than Mana, they brought back physical fights, and had cute moments, but those aren't enough to save it for a few reasons.
The parenting theme is OK something that will make kids learn the responsibilities of parenting and working, but the time travel theme is a gimmick that is bound to leave more questions than answers, creating plotholes. Hana is the only best
character in Hugtto because she has more development as a character that she tries to be more mature than Saaya and Homare. I think Emiru and Ruru are OK, but they barely interact with Hana, Saaya, and Homare despite the duo having more episodes than the remaining three. The team felt like they are two separate teams. We don't have episodes like Homare improving her ice skating. Hugtan is an improvement over Ai from Doki Doki. She does grow and gets along with the main characters fine than Ai. The season also relies on crossover episodes where they brought back past Cures, which is fine and all, but it takes away the story. The villains aren't so great. George's plan doesn't make any sense like how he wanted to freeze time to keep people safe from harm. Again, time travel, where better decisions could've been made or just don't have time travel and just use a different motif. The fights don't connect to the story but they attempted to utilize punches and kicks.
Henri is the most unlikable character in the season that I ever had the displeasure of knowing him. He wants to wear dresses because "limiting yourself is a waste". That's not true. It's like he is saying "It's OK to be a tsundere." His existence doesn't bring character development nor story development. The reason he is created is just an excuse to bring that stupid political message to a kids cartoon to the point where he became a Pretty Cure, which is what I think is the biggest shark jumping moment in Pretty Cure history. That is not what Pretty Cure is all about. Only females can be a Pretty Cure, and boy fans are OK with that all-females only rule. Tarte from Fresh is a much better male Cure than Henri will ever be. Henri literally does two moves to the monster which is tripping and stunning the monster as a temporary Cure. So even if you want boys to become a Pretty Cure, you will not like Henri at all.
There are also scenes where a pregnant woman including adult Hana is giving birth to a baby. Yes. I am not kidding. They actually showed you the women going to the labor stage and screams the baby out that makes it look a hentai anime disguised itself as a kid show. This is unacceptable and should not be shown in a kid show no matter what country the show is from. Even Smile did a better job than this. The best way to have scenes like that is to just show the mother holding the baby, and that's it.
I do hear the series is made to sell, and that it's not meant to be art. That is no excuse because that requires quality too like knowing what you're selling to kids and understanding your product, or else it will fail as a kids advertising or kids entertainment, just like Henri and this season. The music is OK but forgettable. The last positive thing I'm going to say is the visuals are, as usual, OK so you can get the idea of the environmental tone and characters, but even that nice little Hana from inside Hana's mouth from HuPC32 like Hime from Happiness Charge isn't going to make me watch it nor take back what I said about it.
Overall, like Doki Doki, I do not recommend this season to be watched by any Pretty Cure fan. We can only hope that Star Twinkle will do a lot better than Hugtto with Star Twinkle's art and space theme where they would not try to pander audiences. Stay away from Hugtto.
This anime is nothing if not inconsistent, which is a shame given it has so much to offer the Magical Girl genre.
Like most Precure, this is where HUGTTO really shines. Each character goes through some serious troubles, and subsequent development. I very much enjoyed the way the 'relationship-but-not' and 'rejection' elements were handled. Each character is unique, without being too over exaggerated, and the friendships, while unconventional, seem very natural and believable.
The villain concept and plot is definitely unique, as is Hana's and Henri's character development. The pacing is decent, though it wouldn't have hurt to cut down on the
filler episodes. Unfortunately, Saaya's character falls between the cracks more often than not, and Ruru's arc just doesn't quite compare to previous similar ones, though it's decent enough.
Initially, you'll be treated to epic battles, genuinely creepy villains, and unique magical girl outfits. It's cute, it's kickass, and then... it drops the ball. The epic fight scenes seem to be only budgeted for some episodes, and those that miss out, fail hard-core. There's so many genius artistic moments that you can mostly - MOSTLY - overlook the small-but-regular failures.
There's two ED songs, they're both as enjoyable and fun as you'd expect. Being the Anniversary season, many of Futari Wa Precure's score is reused, but the reuse is smartly done. The voice acting unfortunately results to literal yelling at times, which, when they're already squeaky anime girls, is a bit of an earsore.