Anime: Futari wa Pretty Cure
aka: Futari Wa Pretty Cure Max Heart
"The beautiful souls of Pretty Cure-"
"-shall crush your evil heart!"
The first series in what would become the Pretty Cure
franchise, Futari wa Pretty Cure
("The Two of Us Are Pretty Cure") is a Anime First Magical Girl
show done with a modern, self-aware approach to an old genre.
Nagisa Misumi and Honoka Yukishiro are two eighth-grade girls who normally would have never become anything more than passing acquaintances. Nagisa is an energetic jock
and ace of the lacrosse team, loved by all the girls
but secretly wishing for a male admirer straight from a romance novel. Honoka is the star pupil and class president, incredibly popular with all the guys but not too fussed about acting upon it.
That was until the day Nagisa made a wish on a shooting star and (violently) came into contact
with Mepple, a fairy on the run from the sinister agents of the Dusk Zone. Fleeing from the Dusk Zone's monsters, Nagisa runs into Honoka, who happens to have Mepple's partner (and lover) Mipple. To defend themselves, Nagisa and Honoka use the fairies' power to transform together into Cure Black and Cure White: the Emissaries Of Light, Pretty Cure.
After an initial awkward phase with involuntary catchphrases
and their new Super Strength
, Nagisa and Honoka learn about the seven Prism Stones
that protect the Garden of Light, Mepple and Mipple's homeworld. Dusk Zone has already captured five of the Prism Stones, and seek to consume both the Garden of Light and Earth once they have all seven. Mepple and Mipple have the remaining two, but need all seven
to repair the damage done to the Garden of Light. Thus, the stage is set for the conflict between Pretty Cure and Dusk Zone.Pretty Cure
was aimed at both young girls
and young male adults
, and the amount of Post Modernism
awareness of the Magical Girl
genre and Parental Bonuses
shows it. Nagisa in particular is flabbergasted by the silly clichés of the genre, reciting a prolonged post-transformation catchphrase
and then blurting out
, "Wait, what am I saying
bucks the formula in other ways. The girls are very physical when fighting
: leaping, punching and kicking their foes and reserving magical attacks for the final blow
. Both girls possess super-strength and agility
, making them far more formidable in hand-to-hand combat than the usual magical girl. It's worth noting at this point that the director of Pretty Cure
was Daisuke Nishio, whose resume also includes Dragonball Z
All their magical abilities come from teamwork
: they have no solo attacks and cannot even transform into their Pretty Cure forms unless they do so in unison. The show focuses heavily on the developing friendship
between Nagisa and Honoka, even throwing in some blatant yuri subtext
for the older audience. From an animation standpoint, the show seemed to have an aversion to Stock Footage
: if Nagisa and Honoka were in different clothes when they transformed, a new transformation sequence would be animated. All of this makes for one of the more unique Magical Girl
shows to come along in a long time.
The show proved so popular that a direct sequel, Futari wa Pretty Cure MaX Heart
, followed immediately afterwards. Following the finale of Futari wa
, the Queen of Light is forced to shatter her own essence and scatter the pieces to Earth. Nagisa and Honoka are recruited once more by the Garden of Light, given upgraded powers
and tasked with finding the twelve "Heartiels"
that make up the Queen's heart. Aiding them is a Mysterious Waif
called Hikari who transforms into Third Ranger
Shiny Luminous, and avoids the usual problem with new members
by acting as more of a Support Party Member
to Black and White. Opposing them are the remnants of the Dusk Zone, who are seeking a way to revive the Dark King.4Kids Entertainment
originally had the US license (in the same package deal rumored to also give them One Piece
and Magical Do Re Mi
), but they dropped the license before they did anything with it for unknown reasons (possibly due to the failures of DoReMi
and Mew Mew Power
then signed a deal with Toei to air the show in Canada in 2009 where the English dub (produced by Toei/YTV and Ocean Studios
) debuted. Additionally, it has aired in this form in Australia and New Zealand on Cartoon Network; and in the UK on PopGirl. And if you live in America, you can legally watch the subtitled version from Toei right here
, right now.
Compare to Mai-HiME
and its successor, Mai-Otome
Amusing tidbit—in interviews, Eiichiro Oda
mentioned his daughter enjoys this show over his own work
This program provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Cure Black and Cure White regularly kick monster butt on a weekly basis.
- All Your Colors Combined: A mixed example. The Marble Screw plays it straight as can be. But some of the later attacks (namely Rainbow Storm and Rainbow Healing) somehow make rainbows out of adding black and white.
- Alternate Continuity: The Pretty Cure universe started with this series, but aside from the All Stars movies they take place in different continuities.
- Alternate Reality Game: Garden of Dreams, which even spawned a comic.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The English opening is different from the Japanese version, although the dub does use some of the original songs.
- Androcles' Lion: In episode 6 of the first season, a bear cub rescued by Nagisa stands between the girls and its demon-possessed mother long enough for them to figure out a plan.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: As always, this trope is used to, basically, ensure that no matter what the heroines do, the evil (namely, the Evil King) is guaranteed to return to wreak more havoc.
- Barehanded Blade Block: Honoka at one point appears to do this to a Zakenna's gigantic sword... but there was also a tree holding it in place.
- Because Destiny Says So: Honoka and Nagisa of are fated to become Magical Girls, according to their mascots.
- Berserk Button:
- Nagisa's friends and her brother serve as her buttons: harm them, and your life is forfeit, as Gekidrago learned the hard way in episode 11.
- Later, in episode 42, when Honoka/Cure White is in serious danger, Nagisa/Cure Black (after initially panicking and crying) fights the bad guys on her own and shows of a LOT of power, especially considering she and Cure White are supposed to get their powers from teamwork.
- Big Bad: The Dark King is the ruler of the Dusk Zone, and all the villains do their evil deeds for him.
- Big Eater: Nagisa can scarf down lots of food in little time, sometimes taking Honoka's when she doesn't want it.
- Big Fancy House: Honoka's home is a traditional Japanese dwelling with a garden and walled yard, but is also located in the middle of a city; upon just seeing the gate Nagisa realizes that she's way out of her economic stratum.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: The Butler Zakenna have this dynamic. The big one is an idiot who often makes more of a mess than what he cleans while the little one tries to keep him and Hikaru under control.
- Brand X: Honoka has applied "PRE-Q BAN" brand adhesive bandages to at least two different people's minor wounds.
- Calling Your Attacks: Black and White always call out their attacks in the Stock Footage before using them. Shiny Luminous follows in their footsteps with her attacks.
- Cameo: Saki Shimizu from Berryz Kobo and Mari Yaguchi make a brief cameo in the second movie, but this might have been because Berryz Kobo did the film's ending theme and Yaguchi's song appears as a b-side on the single.
- Catch Phrase: Nagisa is fond of shouting "I can't believe this!" (Arienai!) It's even in the theme song. You can even make a Drinking Game out of it too.
- Clark Kenting: Subverted for the most part. Nagisa and Honoka have minimal physical changes, and the bad guys regularly attack them in civilian form. They don't fight in the open either, so they don't have to worry about being seen by civilians. Still, they aren't recognized the few times they are seen in Cure form, so it still applies to them occasionally.
- Conspicuous CG: The Queen of Light, the beginning of the Transformation Sequences, and Mepple's first appearance.
- Converging Stream Weapon: The "Pretty Cure Marble Screw" attack.
- Cross-Cast Role: Done twice by Nagisa and once by Honoka, each for a school play.
- Crossdresser: Nagisa in at least two episodes.
- Cross-Popping Veins: Nagisa sometimes gets these when she's angry, which isn't a rare occurrence.
- Cultural Translation: Notably with takoyaki becoming doughnuts...covered in "cheese" and herbs.
- Dancing Theme: The ending theme.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Dark King loses three times to the girls.
- Downer Ending: The first season has Mepple, Mipple, and Porun fall into an eternal sleep in order to stay with the girls, to their dismay. It gets reversed at the beginning of Max Heart.
- Down to the Last Play: Each season has about 3-4 Lacrosse matches, all of which are won by Nagisa at the last second.
- Except one match, which was won by Shiho at the last second.
- Do Wrong, Right: Episode 11 has an instance where Nagisa's dad catches her using a grappling move on her brother. Instead of scolding her for tormenting her Annoying Younger Sibling, he corrects her technique and goes on his way.
- The Dragon: Ilkbo in the first arc.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Kenta Hoshino makes a brief cameo during one episode of Max Heart.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The earlier episodes have the two demonstrating abilities like producing a barrier and the Rainbow Therapy that they never use again in the later episodes.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The Dusk Zone plans to annihilate Earth, and the heroes frequently get a glimpse of the ruins of what their world would be like if the Dusk Zone won.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: When she was pissed in episode 42, Cure Black's Battle Aura was the bolt in the differential necessary to destroy an entire subway car, making this one Every Subway Car Is A Pinto.
- Evil Counterpart: In one episode, two of the heroines' classmates- who loved Pretty Cure so much that they were cosplaying as them and putting on amateur stage shows for little kids- were Brainwashed to become evil counterparts. However, far from being equals their Brainwashed state made them sluggish and gave them no other superpowers save for Super Strength. The main obstacle came from Black and White trying not to accidentally cripple them.
- Evolving Credits: The ending changes partway through to showcase the new Quirky Miniboss Squad and Pollun.
- Evolving Music: The opening theme of MaX Heart is a remix of the original theme.
- Expy: Their Alternate Continuity successors are expies of them, and they themselves are expies of the Dirty Pair.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Even when not transformed, Nagisa shows off remarkable athletic ability and is able to fend for herself against the Dusk Zone before meeting up with Honoka.
- Face Doodling: In episode 16, this is how Cure Black solves the problem of telling a brainwashed classmate apart from the Zakennas that have taken on said classmate's appearance.
- Fighting Your Friend: The second movie has this happening between Cure Black and Cure White. It only took some Brainwashed and Crazy magic to make it happen.
- Frills of Justice:
- Frilly Upgrade: Just look at their outfits in the first season, then their outfits at Max Heart.
- Golden Super Mode: The Golden Power from the first movie comes with gold clothes and diamond jewelry.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Well, before they start raining hell on their opponents.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Used differently than in most series as Pretty Cure makes no real effort to collect the Heartiels near the end of the series it's revealed they never intended to revive The Queen and are in fact offended by the idea that they would be willing to sacrifice anyone.
- Gratuitous English: The Cure's names, transformation phrases, and attacks are all in English.
- Heel-Face Turn: Done twice, first by Kiriya and later, in part, by King Haaku, whose life makes the turn and splits from him.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Nagisa and Honoka.
- Human Shield: Pissard does this in episode 5 with the petrified museum goers. Forcing the Cures to hold back or risk causing Literally Shattered Lives.
- Ignored Enemy: In episode 8. Nagisa and Honoka are bickering while casually dodging Gekidrago's attacks, and when he demands they stop ignoring him, they shout "Be quiet! We're having a very important conversation here!" and blast him into orbit.
- Immediate Sequel: MaX Heart picks up where the original left off.
- In the Name of the Moon: Every time Nagisa and Honoka transform they say the same declarations automatically. The first time they do this, Nagisa responds by asking what the heck she is saying.
Cure Black: Say what!?
- Intertwined Fingers: The girls hold hands like this whenever they perform the Marble Screw.
- Invisible to Normals: Subverted most of the time. Whenever Mipple, Mepple or Pollun decide to pop out because they want to have fun along with Nagisa and Honoka, the girls have to cover up and pretend that they made whatever noise the mascots made.
- I Have the High Ground: The villains tend to take a high perch when they make their entrance and summon a Zakenna.
- Japanese Stock Phrases: You can make a Drinking Game out of it: Take a shot every time you hear someone say "Even if you say that..." and not finish the sentence, and you'll need a new liver in short order. (Take a shot every time it's clear what the speaker means, and... you'll die of thirst. There's such a thing as an overly literal translation, after all.) The series is also fond of This Is Unforgivable! before fight scenes, and "Don't say unnecessary things!" when someone has said... pretty much anything the other person doesn't like.
- Lampshade Hanging: So much of it going around due to Nagisa that it deserved having it as its own trope.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Honoka is very wealthy, but also somewhat isolated from her peers due to not being very social, though she does have friends in the Science Club, particularly Yuriko. When she befriends Nagisa, she also gets absorbed into her circle of friends.
- Love Letter:
- Nagisa and her female admirers.
- Nagisa decides to deliver one to her own crush, but eventually doesn't go through with it.
- Lovely Angels: Look at this picture, now look at this one. Note, jock and brain, note hair colors.
- Magical Girl Warrior: A lot more action based than the typical Magical Girl show.
- Magic Realism: Hints of it; for instance, the art gallery episode
- Malaproper: Nagisa, especially in the next episode previews where Honoka has to constantly correct her.
- Meta Guy
- Mid-Season Upgrade: The Pretty Cure Rainbow Bracelets.
- Mini Dress Of Power
- Modesty Shorts: Nagisa wears them both in her lacrosse uniform and as Cure Black.
- Monster of the Aesop
- Monster of the Week
- Motor Mouth: Shiho, who punctuates her verbal barrages with a stutter-like triple repeat of the occasional word.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal
- Never Say "Die": "Returning to the darkness"; Mipple and Mepple assure Honoka that they haven't really killed their enemies, but later on, the villains treat it as punishment and Kiriya once mentions it in a context that sounds like committing honourable suicide.
- This becomes a plot point later on when Kiriya manages to communicate with the girls through a rift in the darkness.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Mipple and Mepple
- Odd Couple: Honoka is a tidy, feminine intellectual from a rich family; Nagisa is a rough-and-tumble middle-class tomboy.
- Off Model Episode 11 of Max Heart is infamous for its fight scene.
- Pillar of Light
- Plot Tailored to the Party: Whenever Nagisa and Honoka goes on a trip, they are conveniently together by coincidence and or by intention.
- Post-Episode Trailer
- The Power of Friendship: Very important in the series, as the Cures' attacks are powered by their friendship.Even when they're arguing/yelling at each other, they can still manage to dodge all the enemy's attacks — in perfect sync — and pull together long enough to defeat it.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: The vice-principal, whose Establishing Character Moment is to change opinions immediately based on what the principal says. Even the principal calls him out on saying whatever he thinks the principal wants to hear.
- Pummel Duel: Baldez vs. Cure Black and Cure White at the same time at their last fight.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes
- Quirky Miniboss Squad
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Nagisa and Honoka respectively.
- Repeat Cut
- Reset Button: Not explicit, but there are a few cases, when all damage from immensely destructive battles disappears, and normals don't remember anything afterwards.
- Rope Bridge
- School Play: With added Les Yay, as the leads portray Romeo and Juliet.
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: Implied with Nagisa's admirers.
- Ship Tease: Possibly with the aforementioned School Play episode.
- Shorttank: Nagisa
- Shout-Out: Sailor Moon and other Magical Girl references, both straight and satirical.
- Significant Double Casting: Kenichi Ono plays Jaaku King and Baldez. The Grand Finale reveals that Baldez is the heir of Jaaku King's power. Baldez is Jaaku King.
- Sixth Ranger: Hikari's a Third Ranger.
- Slice of Life: When they're not fighting, this is basically what most of the episodes consists of.
- Slow Motion Pass By: Nagisa and Honoka in the intro.
- Snot Bubble: Mepple does this, sometimes with added drool.
- So Last Season: Zig-zagged. Once the Seeds of Evil show up, Pretty Cure seem to be helpless against them without the Pretty Cure Rainbow Bracelets. However, the regular old Marble Screw still works just fine against Zakenna, and eventually they can win against the Seeds without the bracelets as well.
- For that matter, the Marble Screw was already pretty much useless against Ilkubo several episodes before the Bracelets were introduced, forcing Pretty Cure to rely on luck and tactics to survive against him.
- Then when MaX Heart comes along, they use an upgraded version of Marble Screw, but that too is eventually outclassed by Extreme Luminario . . . and then Marble Screw is upgraded again.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Nagisa. In the first season her screentime is roughly equal to that of Honoka's, but in MaX Heart, she gets more episodes than Hikari and Honoka combined. The first Non-Serial Movie has Nagisa doing cool things while Honoka and Hikari are barely more than Living Props. Averted in the second movie, however. Saki and Hibiki are both expies of her and both do this too.
- Stock Footage: There's the usual stock footage (transformation, attacks), and some surprise ones, like Nagisa's lacrosse goal.
- Super Cell Reception: Played with. The protective forms that Mipple and Mepple have to take on during their stay on earth resemble girly cellphones, resulting in everyone assuming that Nagisa and Honoka already had cells and didn't need new ones. However, Mipple and Mepple only look like cellphones, and can't be used to communicate.
- The Sweat Drop
- Team Spirit
- Teen Genius: Honoka.
- Theme Tune Cameo: For some reason the Verone Choir Club chooses the ending song to sing in a choir competition in episode 45.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Honoka says something to that effect every single week.
- The Thing That Goes Doink: Part of the scenery at Honoka's house.
- Title Drop: Borderline example, and the dub every instance of Pretty Cure being uttered counts since the title is shortened to simply "Pretty Cure". The girls' In the Name of the Moon speech finishes with the exclamation of "Together We are Pretty Cure!", making this a Once an Episode occurrence.
- Tomboyish Name
- Too Dumb to Live: After about the tenth time weird things start happening around them and they don't immediately transform, but instead decide to investigate in their normal unpowered state, you start to wonder what is wrong with them. You have superpowers, girls. If everyone around suddenly gets turned to stone, you should probably USE THEM! Even Mepple starts calling them out on it by midpoint. They don't listen.
- Transformation Sequence
- Verbal Tic: Employed by the mascots.
- Visible Sigh
- Wave Motion Gun: Their signature attack, "Pretty Cure Marble Screw" (or "Pretty Cure Marble Twister"), greatly resembles one.
- Weasel Mascot: Mepple.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Zakenna butlers live through both seasons and are never shown being killed, yet their fate at the end of Max Heart is left unaddressed. They are last seen at the mansion.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: See Never Say "Die", above.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Mostly, used by Nagisa to punish her Annoying Younger Sibling.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Subverted. The infamous "You should be able to solve this◊" screencap (the equation resolves to 0=26) is taken from seconds before Honoka points out that the equation can't be solved—it's the in-universe math teacher who made a mistake, not the writers.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Though they left a day apart in their world, over a century passed between Mipple's arrival on Earth and Mepple's.