Brief Impressions: Heartcatch Precure ~ Ep. 38



Whooaaa…not only am I majorly behind in blogging this week but an unexpected very late impressions for Heartcatch?!

Well, considering how much LOVE I have for Tsubomi, I just couldn’t help but want to talk about it. Yea, I’ll mention some things about the rest of the power-up episode, too, but seriously, Tsubomi needs more love just as the show needs more love from those outside the Precure fandom.

Aka IT’S PROMOTION TIME~!

YEA! xDDDD

I’ve been following Heartcatch Precure for half a year now and it still surprises me that I’d be this much into the series when I was initially so repulsed by the franchise. Maybe it’s the fact that I told myself not to be such a hater or not to judge it by it’s rather “sailor moon ripoff” cover but either way, I’ve moved from the narrow-eyed to being a little bit more open-minded.

The show is still as generic as ever, faithfully following the good ol’ traditional mahou shoujo formula while, like its fellow contemporaries, trying its best to insert more substance into its story, characters, etc, and perhaps, in some lucky god-I’m-too-lazy-to-care way come out a little more fresh than its predecessors.

I can’t say that I’ve found anything in Heartcatch so original that I have to point it out. In fact, there are probably so few that they come off as severely minor and are quickly forgotten. Still, Heartcatch has become the most popular season of the Precure franchise within the past year from what I’ve heard and I think it really does deserve its praise, regardless of anyone else’s opinion on whether it really surpasses past seasons or not. I haven’t watched them but I might plan to, so until then, try not to view this as bias. At least not until after the thoughts cut below. :P

Anyways…is it because of the art style? The themes? The different approach to the characters? Nana Mizuki? Ha, who knows but I can assure you it isn’t the last one even though Nana-sama is what got me watching this in the first place, lol.

The anime does suffer from usual flaws that plague a year-running mahou shoujo show including constant up-and-downs in the animation, boring, pointless fillers and perhaps, always in the shoujo sense, too much girlyness for comfort (not to mention the really weird toys that come with it, urk). But if you’re a person who can stomach all those down, than this is really worth taking a shot at.

I personally feel a small connection to the prime message of Heartcatch, which is (correct me if I’m wrong) to bring about change in yourself and so far, it hasn’t let me down in showing that in the development of the heroines. And yes, I have watched every single episode up-to-date so at least, you can trust me on that. *smug nod* x3;

So now I can finally say with confidence that if you’re suddenly in the mood for a mahou shoujo, I’d recommend Heartcatch. It’s not the best and you certainly have to watch it with a patient and open perspective but it can be enjoyable if you allow it to be. :)

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Thoughts



Onto the episode!

Possibly one of the best ones up to date and I’m not saying this because it’s the climax of the power-up arc… then again, you usually get the best of everything in the climax anyways but agh, that aside, it was an impressive one, nonetheless. The “fight” between Tsubomi and her shadow side easily makes Erika, Itsuki and Yuri’s tests look like fried shrimp.

Before you get mad at thinking I’m dissing the others for my bias, which I’m not, hear me out. It’s because those three have already faced similar trials before the Mirage thing I don’t care what it’s called, it’s a friggin’ pot mirror became an item issue. Like Erika’s jealousy case over her sister, Itsuki not being able to express her feminine side, and Yuri bottling up all her sadness and regret and coming off as cold to them. Those problems have already been solved…k? Very nicely done, too. They’ve had their own episodes surrounding their particular obstacles and have pretty much overcame them in those episodes. The final trial with the Heartcatch Mirage was just to bring it some final closure…and we all know that if there’s an opportunity to make darker versions of the girls, then Toei would do it. C’mon, it’s Toei. It’s not the first time they’ve done this. /P

So anyways, unlike them, Tsubomi had the more gradual change. She’s the shy, introverted one and is often overshadowed a lot by her friends because of that. Do I need to prove it? Why does majority of the fandom completely favor Erika? It’s not just because her color scheme is blue cuz nobody likes pink anymore, sheesh. It’s because her personality can be quite over-the-top and trust me, the audience loves characters like that.
Then there’s Itsuki, who gained some short fame because her debut was so fabulous *exaggerating*, they had to draw 50,000 more frames for her transformation sequence and then Yuri, who was guaranteed a good amount of the fans from the start for being tall, dark and bishoujo, older, more experienced and therefore, more “cool”…and of the moon. People are crazy about the moon, too. Know that.

Pretty much at that time, Tsubomi’s desire to change herself wasn’t as dire as their needs so it was shoved into the background a bit. But it was definitely there, progressing slowly along. Now we’re at episode 38 and FINALLY, we have some inner confrontation!

I try not to take this series too seriously and I really don’t. It’s just that I found Tsubomi’s trial to be more believable than the others, who had relatively less trouble (not “no trouble”, less) accepting their shadow selves because they have already confronted the darker part of themselves before. Tsubomi hasn’t had that significant of a chance until this ep, which was why her struggle took a little longer. But in the end, it was totally worth it. You can tell even as she was beginning to outgrow her shyness, her great reluctance and timidness was still present and sometimes held her back. That’s why this was such a huge step for her and I’m glad she got most of the episode to face her shortcomings head-on.

Ah, and right now I’ve been rambling too much about comparisons so I mind as well stop. The rest of the ep wasn’t so bad but I’ve seen it done so many times, it’s nothing new to me. Upgrade in costume, powers, monster-of-the-weeks, etc. Been there, done that. The animation was truly exceptional so hooray for that. The music was even better, especially the bgm during Tsubomi and Shadow!Tsubomi’s fight…along with the new transformation one.

…Yea, I definitely had more to say but I ran out of steam so let’s go to highlights. ^^;



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Highlights




Shadow!Tsubomi (or Dark!Tsubomi or whatever you want to call her) is so beautiful. Especially with her hair down. Now I kinda want Tsubomi to let her hair down more often as well. Hehe. ^^

Another reason why I liked Tsubomi’s fight a lot more than the other girls’ was because Tsubomi actually had the better opponent in terms of…well, everything.

Her appearance is by far the best of the shadows, imho, in that she doesn’t make the dark image of Tsubomi look like she just put some black clothing on just for the sake of it. But it’s not her or anyone else’s fault that the producers couldn’t come up with better variations on the costumes or that Shadow!Tsubomi had a cooler entrance. But hell, she could have worn something bright red and simply walked in and she’d still look badass…and her dress actually fits her figure nicely. Tsubomi has curves! Hot! 8D

…Pfft, don’t judge me. I can compliment physical features if I want. :P

Everybody else’s didn’t bother to stand out too differently from the true counterparts. Not really a bad thing but not much of an effort either. I mean, hello, is it news to me that Erika will probably never have her hair up and Itsuki wears pants? Shadow!Yuri looks like Baa-san wearing a dress that long, too. D/

Also, her voice didn’t need moderation when going into “shadow mode” so I got some variety in Nana-sama’s acting, yay. Really appreciated that. Hehe. ^^

Ehhh, what else? Her introduction wasn’t so much different from the other shadows except that it had more depth and there’s a ring of sadness that comes with it rather than overall frustration. That’s the impression I got when watching Marine and the others fight. All the shadows are based on the same concept: for their real selves not to throw the darker part of themselves away. For Tsubomi, it’s better emphasized since it will always be part of the portrayal of her character. For Marine, Sunshine, and Moonlight, theirs became more of a memory.

…ahh~, why am I being so mean to the others? I really don’t dislike them or anything, honest! Maybe I have been a little bitter about the better treatment they always got but it’s not like I hate them! Really!

…I’m sorry. *just loves Tsubomi too much* ^^;




It’s ironic how the shadow!Tsubomi can pack quite a punch against the real one, especially since she’s supposed to be the introverted part of herself that Tsubomi was trying her best to change away from.

But it goes to show that Tsubomi’s weakness has quite an effect on her. Meaning, because she has always been so timid and withdrawn that she easily gives into this side, and that’s probably what made shadow!Tsubomi so strong. Her desperateness to keep Tsubomi from changing is evidence of that.

Tsubomi’s own confusion over how she should handle her shadow…gahh, I couldn’t help but want to go and hug her! She looked so sad and almost helpless. Tsubomi~ ;____;

That being said, damn, shadow!Tsubomi attacks could almost be on par with Moonlight’s…maybe? I dunno. Sometimes I pay attention to the movements while other times I don’t. This was one of the few exceptions since it looked slightly brutal with perfect light and sound effects. Agh, why on my Tsubomi, though? T______T



“Blossom is hopeless without us!”


Psh, some best friend you are, Erika. -_-;

Ehh, it’s just out of great worry for Tsubomi and wanting to be by her side to support her and all but still…hrmph, I don’t like it. She’s not doing it in the cute “spoil you~” way. /P



Meanwhile, Dune sends his bad devil to earth to wreck havoc but who cares about that cuz we finally get to see face! AND HE IS BISHOUNEN! Hikaru Midorikawa-voiced BISHOUNEN! 8DD

…Phah, I already knew he was going to be the moment he made his first appearance. Apparently, villains in previous Precure seasons were always just ugly, evil monstrosities so it’ll be interesting to see how the girls will confront Dune since he appears more human, which might indicate there’s more to him than just playing the bad guy role here.

Of course, you kinda have to leave some room to believe that since…he’s a bishounen. No, I’m not joking this time because doing the “simply evil to the core” route will NOT be acceptable, Toei. *points threateningly at them* >:/



I mean, there’s got to be some reason how this guy can be this (left screencap) and that at the same time.

And why is he smiling in such an…innocently (?) evil way?

Maybe he has a baby face. I dunno. @.@;

Also, the big-eyed bug critter thing on his shoulder is kinda cute.



Back to Tsubomi, her shadow tries to persuade her to give up on changing since even if she becomes a Precure or chooses to run away from her, she’ll always be the same shy, weak person. And she adds on that there are people who already accept her for who she is so that should be enough.

Aww, I feel so sad seeing Tsubomi so sad but I can’t dislike shadow!Tsubomi either. Not just because I like her but I would agree on the latter part with her if the situation were different. You don’t need to drastically change yourself if there are those who are satisfied with who you are. Of course, that is only if you’re content with that yourself.



And Tsubomi, ever a good shoujo heroine, knows that’s not right because only through change can she grow stronger.

She says it was thanks to her friends and their support that she was able to change little by little and soon realizes that she was the one who was wrong for hating her weak self in the first place since that, too, is part of who she was.




Ah, I love this. Marine and the others pretty much passed their tests the same way by choosing not to fight their shadows and instead, embrace them instead.

Tsubomi’s determination to keep moving forward also makes me want to hug her and go “That’s my Tsubomi~!” <333



Though I guess they had shadow!Tsubomi say “I guess I’m not needed anymore, huh?” here and then cut off to the fighting to keep things from being repetitive in front of the younger viewers’ eyes.

Honestly, if I were like what? 6 or 8 years old watching this, I wouldn’t have gotten the message and just kept rewatching it because everything looked cool and pretty. Ahh, brings me back to my early days of my passion for anime. <D;



So yea, gang’s having trouble defeating this behemoth and it’s refreshing to see that Moonlight doesn’t PWN! everything single-handedly on her own. Yea, this monster is ten times bigger than the devils they usually fight but ya get what I mean.



Woohoo! Blossom finally arrives! Some awesome ass-kicking ensues.

…hmm, though I’m still half-half on Sunshine having so much power. The reason why I like it is because she represents the sun and I like sun-themed things so naturally, I don’t find anything strange about her having 10,000 more forte bullets up her tambourine why the f*ck is it a tambourine I will never know since the sun is one massive ball of hot energy. Individually, however…it’s just unfair that the other Precures have to work twice as hard to get her level of damage. -_-;



Bwuahaha! Moonlight and Sunshine finally do a fortissimo together but we get no special sequence for them. I was actually looking forward to a pair team-up but strange, I find that I’d rather not have one since it’ll only make Marine and Blossom’s look so poor in comparison. <– I hate this.

xP




Meh, I like Erika just fine but am not a huge fan of her. Especially after that line “Aww, Sunshine gets to do a fortissimo with Moonlight! No fair!” when she already had Blossom.

Blossom: “Eh…but we can do it, too, remember?”

Marine: “Oh, yea, I totally forgot! Let’s go!”

Blossom: “Yes, let’s!”

Wth? D/



And it will take me too long to go through every screencap for the Mirage/Super Silouette transformations and attacks so here’s a video of the whole thing instead. *lazy* :P

…ok, that’s it. I despise the Heartcatch Mirage cuz it’s just awkward as an item. If the girls were like elementary kids or something, I can definitely let that slide and think it’s cute but seriously, we have three middle schoolers and one high school student here. I dun care if this aimed towards little kids so they can buy your merchandise, GIVE ME BETTER TOYS, DAMMIT! >:(

*cough* Well, the transformations aren’t that big a deal either. You only get to see their accessories change and then everything cuts to the silhouettes of theirnew upgraded costumes. Yea, odd super form naming is odd. /P

I’m not so big on the clothes either. So what? They just got bleached and the hems of their skirts got trimmed to look like scissors. Don’t like the translucent wings either. They look weird…to me. Not like wings at all…more like carrying neon signs on their backs. Why can’t you just give me normal wings?! ;___;

And no change in the end pose either. I dislike Blossom’s and prefer her first one with Marine instead. Sunshine…her face has shrunk because all details went to sharpening her hair, wtf?! And there’s that huge air space above Marine’s head…Moonlight looks completely fine, though. Mehh…

“Precure Heartcatch Orchestra” makes me laugh. lol, wut? So you basically summon the supposed first Precure, Cure Ange, who appears as a giant and have her smash the monster with her big ass fist? And then follow it up with your usual “baton/tamborine SPINSPINSPIN~!!!”? Wait, is she holding that thing in her hands?! I thought she just smashed it! <– This has ceased to make sense.

What drugs are you on, Toei?! D/



Anyways, we go back to see that Tsubomi had successfully completed her trial after all since her statue is standing with all the other Precures who have passed their own.

Hmm, I wonder why they never asked Tsubomi’s grandma where her statue was. I would like to see what Cure Flower looked like when she was young. :)



Aaannnddd, we end it off with a flashback of Tsubomi telling her shadow self that she’ll still need her shy self around even as she continues to change. Cuz that part of her is what makes Tsubomi Tsubomi after all. Of course! That’s why I love her! My sweet, little Tsubomi~! <333

…Gehh, this was supposed to be a good, happy review but I ended up criticizing it more than I should have. *feels crappy* -_-;


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Preview



Next week, Marine-focused episode. She and Coffret get into a fight and he steals her Marine Tact only to have it fall into Boss Snackey’s hand.

Right, a filler and I see all the development of this arc going straight down the drain. The hell, stop making Erika so static and resetting her experience points. -_-;

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