Kanon Town is filled with music. Hibiki Houjou and Kanade Minamino have grown up in this town and have known each other since they were children. However, they no longer get along.
One day the fairy Hummy from the land of music, Major Land, appears before them. The evil king Mephisto of Minor Land is planning to turn the legendary Melody of Happiness into the Melody of Misfortune. To prevent this from happening, Hibiki and Kanade transform themselves into Pretty Cure.
Kanade and Hibiki have to learn to work together to collect the scattered notes of the Melody of Happiness in order to recreate the score!
"Suite Precure" doesn't seem to have the best reputation in the Precure franchise. With weak starting episodes, silly conflict between the two main girls, and being the next installment after the highly successful and loved "Heartcatch Precure," expectations were both raised high for it and then shot down when it didn't deliver things similar to it's predecessors. Tag this along with the fact that it borrowed some used plotlines from previous seasons and people conjure up the idea that Suite is worst Precure season. With all of this on the table, is it safe to say that this is really the case?
I, for one,
can certainly say it's not.
Those who are familiar with the Precure franchises know that the plot definitely reused to an extent. Bad guy from another world gets sealed up, servants of said bad guy attempt to revive them by stealing emotions from the real world, and the legendary warriors Precure are called upon to protect these two worlds and eventually defeat the evil entity. Essentially, Suite follows this formula for it's main plot, but that's not the only thing that happens in this story.
Suite actually has a very strong arc, which thankfully, is the very first one that occurs in the series. The Siren arc, which is similar to Setsuna's villain redemption arc in Fresh is definitely the highest point in the series in terms of plot. The internal and external conflict with Siren and her own emotions is very intriguing and well-done. This also gives the show a stronger foot to work off of seeing as the beginning can be a turn-off for some people. (which I'll get to in a bit) The music theme in the show is also very well-played, and hell, even relatable. The messages that music has the ability to give people strength and make them stronger is definitely not an exaggeration. All throughout the show, that theme is very prevalent and never wasted, another big plus.
Although, a big flaw with the wonderful Siren arc is the fact that the other arcs seem to pale a bit in comparison to Siren's. For example, while the Cure Muse arc is shrouded around mystery, the interactions with Muse along with her development and acceptance with the other girls feels quite a bit rushed and not nearly as well written. The ending also seems to spin a bit around in circles in terms of trying to defeat the big-bad. Though I still see the ending as a very strong way to send off the series. Seeing the girls fight the bad guy and letting out their own past feelings and experiences, talking about and remembering how they were before and how happy they feel now that they've found each other was a very strong and powerful moment. The ending is able to get across its feelings of inner strength and happiness without resorting to melodrama or crying, just by speaking out their true feelings. And boy, does it work well.
If plot isn't Suite's biggest strength, than what is? Well, that's an easy answer -- the characters, their interactions, and most notably their development. I believe Suite had some of the best character development and growth in terms of Kanade and Hibiki. The two girls start off on bad terms after a (very silly and avoidable) misunderstanding a few years back. Due to their constant bickering after becoming Precure together, it's very easy to get aggravated and annoyed by all the fighting that goes on. Thankfully though, Suite does a marvelous job of putting in subtle development as these two girls learn and grow with each other.
As the episodes go on, you can see it. You can see Hibiki not doubting Kanade as much when she's being tricked by the villains to lose faith in her friend. You can see them beginning to understand each other more and start to help each other becoming better warriors and friends as opposed to bickering all the time. Watching the two girls learn from their past mistakes and becoming even closer than they were before is simply amazing, and something I heavily applaud Suite for. It definitely handles its two main girls well.
Though the great characters don't stop there. Siren's redemption is a very intriguing thing to watch. Seeing her own internal conflicts, even after becoming a Precure with the other girls just felt very realistic and was concluded in a beautiful way. While Cure Muse may not have as strong character development as the other girls, she too had a sympathetic and nicely played out arc, even if it was rushed and concluded in a very hasty way. Her own willpower and strength to get back what she lost is an admirable thing, especially for the young girls watching this.
Being a music themed season, the show definitely excels in its OST. The OP theme is especially refreshing since it has more of a rock feeling as opposed to the more J-Poppy feelings of the other seasons. The soundtracks played are well-fitting for both the slice of life moments in the show and the intense emotional battles that occur. The ED themes are a bit more generic and not as memorable, though aside from that the soundtrack and overall music in the show is solid. Artstyle and animation wise, to put it bluntly, looks gorgeous. The girls' designs are appealing to people who aren't a fan of the large round eyes that Precure is infamous for, and oh god, those transformation sequences. While not as dynamic as some may prefer, the backgrounds in them and the music that plays during them is simply breathtaking. Suite's transformations are the ones that you really dont' want to skip on, no matter how long they are. Fight scenes are pretty nice to watch too. Not too amazing but not that underwhelming (usually) either.
While I wouldn't call Suite the best Precure season, it definitely feels as they did put nearly as much effort in this one as they did in other well-received seasons such as Heartcatch or Fresh. It's hard NOT to come to that conclusion when you see all the time put into the characters and their personalities and development throughout the run of the show. While Suite definitely isn't without its flaws, like the reused plotlines, silly reason for conflict between the two main girls, and weaker arcs that occur after the first, its safe to say that its positives outweigh the negatives that it has.
"Suite Precure" is definitely one of the seasons that I would recommend to people who want to get into Precure, and overall is a very heartwarming and nicely written show for both the younger and older audience alike. Don't always listen to what the fanbases have to say. I know if I did, I would've missed out on a lovely and well-put together season, one that I definitely don't regret watching.
I think people tend to forget that Pretty Cure is intended for children, specifically, little girls. Yes, it appeals to a wider range of viewers, including adults, but, at its heart, it is intended for a very young audience. Sure, the situations where Seiren and Trio the Minor try to destroy Hibiki and Kanade's friendship might seem cheesy, over-the-top, or unnecessary, but that's how we see it from the perspective of an older viewer. When you're trying to make a point about friendship to a young audience, you can't necessarily be subtle about it. Also, could Hibiki and Kanade avoid 99% of their conflicts by
simply talking to each other? Yes, but then the show would have a lot less going on, and it would lose a lot of its appeal for its target audience.
The plot of Suite Precure is simple, but, again, it's a show for children. You can't really expect anything incredibly complex in a children's show. Basically, Hibiki and Kanade need to learn to trust each other and get along so they can fulfill their roles as Precure, and so they can collect all of the notes to complete the melody of happiness. Simple and straightforward. They have numerous run-ins with the bad guys (Trio the Minor and Seiren), who try to trick the girls and turn them against each other. In a lot of these situations, I wanted to say, "Come on, just talk about it!" but, while it seemed obvious to me that the solution was to talk about why they were upset, it probably doesn't seem as obvious to the younger viewers. It also wouldn't be as interesting to the target audience if the girls just talked about their problems and moved on.
I can understand why other people seem to have a problem with the whole "sad music vs. good music" theme in the show. Happy music isn't the only music that is good, and sad music can be just as enjoyable as happy music. However, do you really expect kids to get something like that? I'm sure older kids can understand that, but for the target audience, something like "happy vs. sad" is easiest to understand. As the children get older and listen to a wider variety of music, they'll come to that realization on their own, that happy music is not the only kind of music that people can enjoy.
I think the music is great, but I'd certainly expect an excellent soundtrack from a show that uses music as its main focus. There is a variety of background music that fits the scenes well, and the instrumentation is varied. The transformation music is really upbeat and catchy, and the background music for the attacks is great as well. I'll admit that I'm not experienced in critiquing music, but I've really been enjoying the music in Suite.
I really like Hibiki's and Kanade's characters. Hibiki is the tomboyish, sporty type, while Kanade is more studious and enjoys baking. Hibiki is goofy and silly at times, but serious when needed, and Kanade can be quite stubborn and assertive, especially when Hibiki is being particularly dense. The way they interact really reveals a lot about how close they are, even early on when they spend a lot of their time arguing with each other. As the story progresses, they argue less and are able to spend more time together as true friends. I've really enjoyed seeing them interact, from the time when they argued all the time to now, when they're getting along well. There have been many moments that have just made me go, "Awww! :D"
Hummy is dense. There's just no arguing that. I think she can be a bit annoying at times, but I think that has more to do with her ultra mega high-pitched voice than her actual character. I think she was purposely made extra dense in order to contrast with Seiren's calmer, more calculating personality. Hummy and Seiren play off of each other quite well; sometimes it almost feels like I'm watching a comedy routine. The mini-arc about their past together in Major Land, how they became friends, and how Seiren turned against Hummy, was rather well done, in my opinion.
Trio the Minor is basically your group of evil underlings who are actually just a bunch of derps. They're goofy, they sing when it's not really necessary, and their plans always fail. They make me laugh. Mephisto does too, as he's also goofy. I've read complaints from people, saying that they don't like Mephisto because he's not threatening at all, but I think that's the point. Considering what's happened in the past few episodes (29+), I don't think he's the "ultimate evil", so to speak. There's someone, or something, above him, and THAT's what's going to be truly threatening...or, as threatening as something can be in a children's show, anyway. I could be wrong, but that's just what I think.
I'd say my main problem is that I feel like the "mystery" of Cure Muse has gone on for long enough. Who is she? I don't know, just tell us already! I feel like they've already made her true identity very clear, but I'm saying that as an adult who can draw conclusions more quickly than the average child can. The younger viewers are probably still completely puzzled, and eagarly awaiting the moment when Cure Muse's true identity is officially revealed.
I like the bright, vibrant art style in Suite. Everything is colorful and eye-grabbing, even the bad guys. The transformation scenes are pretty, and, for those who are concerned that they're "too long", they do get cut down eventually. The attack scenes are also very impressive, visually. The animation generally feels smooth, and I haven't noticed too many "lol quality" scenes. The ending themes are really cool, too, with their 3D/CG animated dance sequences. I actually watch the ending each time, instead of just skipping past it like I usually do with most other series! It's definitely an interesting and different approach. (I know Suite wasn't the first Precure season to use 3D/CG animated endings, though.)
My overall enjoyment of Suite Precure is very high. Maybe I'm biased because this is the first Precure season I watched, but I love it, flaws and all. It's light-hearted and it makes me laugh. I really look forward to watching each week's episode. Suite may be unpopular with the general Precure fanbase, but I think it's great.
Suite Precure had two things going for it. The bitchin’ transformation sequences and the CGI dancing in the ending song. Seriously, those things are so goddam pretty and colourful. Combined with the epic musical score, the bitchin’ transformation sequences were the highlights of the episode. The CGI dancing ending was possibly even more awesome. Anime always needs more dancing, but those I’ve generally been presented with haven’t been up to scratch. I can understand that the obsession with the Haruhi ending dance is precisely because it’s so easy, but you can hardly call that a proper dance. That’s just a bit of hand waving. Suite
Precure is a proper dance. Anime still hasn’t quite got the hang of CGI mecha, but they’ve managed to get dancing magical girls look pretty damn awesome.
Problem is, these two scenes made up about 4 minutes of a typical episode. I was often tempted to simply fast-forward to them and call it a day. The series started off fairly well, albeit in an utterly bizarre sort of way. The opening 8 minutes of the first episode were like some bastard child of Rainbow Gate, Mazinkaizer and Jewelpet Twinkle. The alternate magical musical land and the preposterously ridiculous bad guys, I laughed the entire way through the scene. But nope, can’t be having that. This is a magical girl series. We need to have human teenage girls for the young female viewers to connect with and for the dirty otaku to pen dirtier doujins of. Which is a shame, because I would have so watched a series of that magical musical land, providing it too had CGI dancing ending songs and bitchin’ transformation sequences.
The main problem is the incredibly lame attempts at creating conflict between the main two characters. Hibiki and Kanade are our two heroines tasked with the responsibility of defeating massive cakes and violins who have been infected by ebul musical notes. To do this they have to dress in preposterously fanciful dresses and hairdos as PreCures and combine their powers as fighting machines. However to successfully combine their powers, they have to be as good friends as possible, to teach young girls about the importance of friendship and to give smelly middle-aged males a chance to don their yuri goggles. This would be fine and all if the methods they used to create conflict between the two weren’t so dumb. The reason the two had fallen out of friendship in the first place was because one of them stood under the wrong tree by accident. Which, while facepalm worthy in itself, the lead up to the reveal with two other little girls in the exact same position simply amplified the retardedness of the situation. The next few episodes all revolve around creating equally convenient obstacles for them becoming proper friends. None of them felt in the remotest way genuine and simply felt like Hibiki and Kanade being massive idiots.
Besides, I have a massive problem with the entire plot of the show. I can handle a cat from a magical musical dimension turning two unsuspecting teenage girls into fighting machines. I can equally handle the villains being a cat and a trio of goons who sing their responses, although I do believe the show missed a massive trick by not having them being a barbershop quartet. Nah, my main problem is the whole good music vs ebul music thing. What happens in the plot is the ebul bad guys sing sad songs that make everybody all depressed. The good guys only create happy music so everyone is joyful all the time. The show even goes out of its way to say quite blatantly that music is only there to make people feel happy. I can’t be the only one who has a problem with this, right? Sad music has every right to exist and has a highly important place in society. It’s a strange thing to complain about, and maybe the show changes its tune (har har har) later on in the show to reflect a more even opinion, but the entire show centres around music. So blatantly saying that sad music is ebul grates on my nerves. Sad music needs love too!
Don't you just hate it when fans of a franchise pour lots of hate on a show that in reality really doesn't deserve it, and for the stupidest reasons? Suite doesn't exactly have the best pedigree in the Pretty Cure franchise for a lot of really stupid reasons, the two most blatant are the fact that it came right after the most beloved Pretty Cure season, Heartcatch (which I admit is my all time favorite) and the fact that because of the March 11 earthquake in Japan in 2011, the producers were forced to change a lot of things to make it lighter and softer
for kids who may have been traumatized by the event. I didn't watch Suite during its run due to other obligations, but I think I'm glad I waited this long to watch it, because if I did watch it during its run, I probably would have joined the "Suite isn't as good as Heartcatch so let's hate on it" bandwagon. But just because one series isn't as good as another, it doesn't mean it's straight up bad, nor does it mean it doesn't have just as much good qualities that make it a great show in its own right. Suite isn't Heartcatch, but it doesn't need to be, as there's lots of good things about Suite that people really need to understand and acknowledge. Instead of focusing on the bad, we need to at least acknowledge the good things it has. Besides, how is it different from every other Pretty Cure series to warrant so much hate?
The story begins in a beautiful, musical world called Major Land, and the queen and her loyal subjects are about to hold a concert until a crazy man named Mephisto appears, steals the Melody of Happiness, and changes it to the Melody of Sorrow so he can make everybody sad. Aphrodite, fearing the worst, scatters all the notes onto Earth so he doesn't fulfill his goal, but as a precaution, she sends a cat, Hummy, and her friends, the Fairy Tones, to find warriors called the Pretty Cure, who might be able to defeat Mephisto and his goons and put the Melody of Happiness back together. But the thing is, the Pretty Cure turn out to be two girls named Hibiki and Kanade who used to be childhood friends, but due to a silly and avoidable misunderstanding, they do nothing but fight like cats and dogs. But when circumstances threaten everything they know and love, they're going to have to patch things up and put their grievances aside for the greater good.
Yeah, Suite Pretty Cure is basically the Sailor Moon SuperS of the Pretty Cure franchise, both for reasonable and unreasonable reasons. Some of the more reasonable reasons are that Hibiki and Kanade's catfights are caused by rather silly reasons and can easily be solved just by clearing things up and talking to each other. Normally, I tend to hate stuff like this, but Suite actually acknowledges that conflicts only get bigger if people just talk to each other and try to understand each other instead of jumping to conclusions and not listening (one of my favorite episodes, episode 6, is big on dropping this anvil), so I give it a pass. Plus, I like that it shows that friendships aren't always rock solid. Lots of friends get into fights over stupid reasons, and don't even talk to each other unless prompted. I found Suite's portrayal to be very true to life, and it just makes you feel warm and fuzzy when they fight and then grow closer and stronger than ever. Another reason people don't like it is that people expected it to be like Heartcatch: both light hearted and extremely dark, without pulling any punches. I loved Heartcatch for daring to go against common cliches corrupting kids' shows (in Japan, anyway. I wish it'd come to the US but God knows people might butcher it up the wazoo!), but Suite is generally rather light hearted and the stakes aren't as high as before. This disappointed a lot of people. I personally didn't mind the light hearted tone and less focus on dark themes, but it's not like the undertones are completely gone. Fun fact: the creators originally wanted to make it a lot like Heartcatch in terms of it being more serious and realistic in its conflicts, but the earthquake made the creators change the story a lot to make it what it is now. While it'd be interesting to know how Suite was going to turn out had it not been toned down, it's still a great show in its own right. Plus, really, wouldn't you rather have something like this to show your kids than, oh, I don't know, My Little Pony: Newborn Cuties?! Or Bratz?! Or all of those Barbie movies?! Or a huge majority of the gross-out comedy shows Cartoon Network keeps churning out like Clarence and Regular Show and Uncle Grandpa?!
Okay, now onto the good stuff: one thing I absolutely adore about this show is the setting, both on Earth and outside it. I LOVE the whole design and concept of Major Land. It's so wonderfully bizarre. I love the way the buildings are designed, the living instruments, their civilization, the citizens being both human and animal people (kind of like Escaflowne's word, Gaia, where it had both humans, half animal people, and straight up animal people), etc. Sure, it should have been developed a bit more, but I just love it! I also love the town Hibiki and Kanade live in, Kanon Town. It's basically a whole town that appreciates music to the point where they have piano sidewalks that make noise and have a cute little toy band playing on the clock tower. Those are really neat ideas! Plus, there isn't one scene in the whole series where someone isn't playing some kind of instrument. That shows that series about music don't always have to be about singers or pop stars.
Speaking of music, considering it's the show's motif, of course the soundtrack is all kinds of good. Instead of being peppy J-pop like most girls' kids shows are, it's a lot more rock and orchestra influenced. Plus it helps that the soundtrack was made by the guy who worked on Heartcatch's OST, which is always a plus. It always managed to set the mood and bring out the best in a scene. One little detail I really liked is the eye catch music. You know how eye catch music is only used for the eye catch and nothing else? Well, Suite actually expands on it and makes it into an actual piece of background music that's actually very well used! Kudos to you, Suite! However, I've heard that in recent times, the Pretty Cure series has developed a reputation for reusing music pieces from various series for unknown reasons. With Doki Doki and Happiness Charge, I've found that this is unfortunately true, and yes, it can be very jarring to hear something from another series in the current one. I actually heard pieces from Heartcatch play during Suite, but they're mostly BGMs that are used during quiet moments, not battles, which is fine with me. Plus, they weren't used too often, whereas in Happiness Charge Precure it keeps reusing battle pieces from Doki Doki for fifteen straight episodes, which I found very jarring and really needs to stop. NOW.
The animation in itself might lack the life, fluidity, and movement that Heartcatch had, but visually it's quite pleasing. The colors are extremely bright and stimulating to the senses, the CG for the transformation sequences is surprisingly good, the characters have some decent designs, and while the fights aren't as well animated as Heartcatch, they do their job when needed, especially during the hand to hand combat. But I have to admit, the facial hair on some of the villains looks extremely silly. God, they look like they came out of an eighties cartoon! Their beards and mustaches look strange!
The characters, while not the best thing about the show, are reasonably developed and fleshed out, especially Hibiki and Kanade considering how rocky their relationship is at the start. They do start off as familiar stereotypes, but they definitely grow into their own characters once the second half of the series comes around. While there are people who find their silly arguments over avoidable misunderstandings to be annoying and jarring, let's think about it for a moment: what person in real life DOESN'T get into a fight with someone over an avoidable misunderstanding? Not only that, it's always sweet to see them make up and grow closer than ever, prioritizing their friendship over silly misunderstandings. Plus some new characters add to their development even more. I particularly like one character whom everybody seems to hate for some reason. One character I'm not too fond of is Hummy. She is so ridiculously optimistic, dense, naive, and stupid it's not even funny! In one episode, she gets completely tricked by her ex-friend TWICE and not once does she get angry nor does she learn her lesson, and nobody calls her out on it! True, it gets lampshaded later on, but I'd be a bit more satisfied if the Pretty Cure got angry at Hummy or told her she shouldn't trust anyone so easily, as it results in stuff important to the story getting taken.
Now, time to address the many flaws of this series, and, I admit, there are a lot. There are even some that I agree with. One thing people don't like about Suite is its story. It's mostly about retrieving musical notes and defeating a guy who just wants to make everyone sad. I agree, there isn't much conflict in that. But someone on a Pretty Cure Livejournal community made a very interesting argument about said weak conflict: what if the villains make people sad so as to make it easier for them to take over the world? It's easier to mess with people who are sad and miserable than with people with aspirations, hopes, and dreams. In fact, this is what got me to check out Suite in the first place! Anyway, onto more flaws: the villain and his mooks aren't very threatening. They're just a bunch of goofy people who want to make everyone sad. But this doesn't last for long. Also, there are some things that bugged me more so than this. Suite has a really bad habit of introducing some things, then just completely giving them the shaft in favor of other things, and almost NEVER brings them up again until much later. For example, the Pretty Cure have a really good attack requiring them to get along called Passionato Harmony, but they completely do away with it in favor of magical sticks that they can use on their own, and they use those A LOT. They act like Passionato Harmony never existed, and they don't use it again until episode 28! They also don't explain some things, like why a character who was originally a cat isn't able to turn back to her cat form anymore. Also...what's with anime classmates loving a new transfer student just because they introduce themselves? Without giving away spoilers, a character transfers to Hibiki and Kanade's school and makes a complete fool of herself in front of a bunch of kids and they suddenly like her. This is exacerbated by the fact that she collapses and has to be taken to the nurse's office, and pretty much EVERYONE visits her out of concern. Uh...stuff like that does NOT happen in real life. If I came to a new school and said, "I'm looking forward to being friends with you all!" they'd laugh at me and tease me about it for the rest of my life! And I REALLY don't think an entire classroom would bother to visit a sick classmate just because. People just don't do that. I'm seeing this A LOT in anime. Is it some kind of wish fulfillment fantasy or do they do it to be polite? Regardless, that's not how school works. In another anime I saw called Sakamichi no Apollon, the main character transfers to a new school but is disliked and not thought much of. I actually liked that they took that approach, because reactions like that actually do happen in real life. I dunno, the way it was handled in Suite and a bunch of other anime just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Sorry. Had to address that elephant in the room. Anyway, another reason the series gets flack is because apparently the moral of the series is "happy music is good, sad music is bad," but I don't think it meant to come off that way. I took it as "don't use music as a means to cause pain or hurt people. All genres of music are meant to be appreciated." All flaws aside, I really don't understand why shows like this don't get shown in the US. I mean, seriously, this show would be absolutely the perfect thing to air on a channel like The Hub or Cartoon Network to attract a young female audience! It shows strong female characters who don't always get along but are still able to be friends, one character who is royalty yet defies every single princess stereotype known to man, and a relatively decent conflict as opposed to no conflict at all. Countries like America don't believe that cartoons for girls can ever be good for stupid reasons (which is thankfully starting to change thanks to the success of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), but Japan believes the opposite: shows for girls can be just as good and high quality as shows for boys or even shows for adults! They actually get it! We need to follow their example! America seems to believe girl shows always have to be about spoiled brats having tea, giggling over nothing, and gossiping, and lots of overly perfect role models who are absolutely great at everything as that's how they get by in life, but girls don't like that stuff anymore! Girls like stories with actual conflict, well developed characters who have flaws and imperfections, and overcoming adversaries and learning about trust, friendship, and teamwork! That's what made My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic such a big hit in America, and I think anime like this, if not butchered, edited, or bowdlerized up the wazoo, can achieve the exact same success if treated right! Japan gets it! Why shouldn't we?
It's not the best series in the franchise in the eyes of others, but for what it is, it's definitely one of my personal favorites, along with Heartcatch and Splash Star. Seriously, people! Stop bashing it for what it isn't, but appreciate and love it for what it is! It's not perfect, but no anime or media form ever is!