Mar 27, 2019
Garma (All reviews)
*This review contains spoilers.*

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.