The Current Era: Sometimes known by names such as "the Refreshed Era" (calling back to the names of both Fresh and HappinessCharge) or "the Happiness Era" (as many of the leads in these seasons are obsessed with spreading happiness over the world). In order to increase ratings, Toei started to change up the tone of the series and discarded many of the older traditions. A number of new ones have emerged now: for example, the Christmas Episode is now always plot-important and off-worlders can now become Precure (Shiny Luminous and Milky Rose were specifically different kinds of magical girls and the Eleventh Hour Rangers of Splash Star were never acknowledged as Cures). "Precure", once only considered a Portmanteau Series Nickname (though sometimes it was distinguished in the script), is now the official name in every logo but that for Fresh. Based on what the series' live-action brotherfranchises did, a new era is likely to start after the Milestone Celebration series, HappinessCharge.
There is also a series of Pretty Cure All Starsmovies, teaming up characters from all series, as well as a short film and a video game that do the same. Together, these make up the Crossover Compilation.Furthermore, most seasons have at least one movie that makes no canonical sense (most of the time) but can't be thrown out because of something really awesome happening in it.The Franchise seems to have very good relations with Tokusatsu : it's produced by Toei, which also produces Super Sentai and Kamen Ridernote In fact, one of the Kamen Rider's actor said it will be cool if a crossover between both franchises could happen someday, albeit he knows that putting a live-action series along with an animated one could be difficult, and the three franchises are aired back to back in the appropriately named Super Hero Time block. The Pretty Cure and Super Sentai movies have been played as double bills, and Nagisa and Honoka teamed up with Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger characters in an audio drama, and later with Mahou Sentai Magiranger. Gundam has a less than amiable relation with Pretty Cure as those who had a role in Gundam went on to play villains for Pretty Cure.note The possible sole exceptions is Rie Tanaka, who played Hikari Kujou/Shiny Luminous about a year after playing Lacus Clyne and Naoko Matsui, better known for her roles as Roux Louka and Dorothy, who will take up the role of the mascot Ribbon.This franchise has a character sheet.There is also a manga for each series, going into depth in various ignored aspects, like Rin's crush on Nuts and Saki's little sister's life.The franchise is also known as Precure. While this is technically a more accurate transliteration of the title logo (which reads "purikyua") and appears in URLs and such, said logo (as well as much of the truly astonishing amount of merchandise) also explicitly spells out the title as "PRETTY CURE"...at least until HeartCatch Pretty Cure! and subsequent series, which say "PRECURE" instead.(Incidentially, Yes! Pretty Cure 5 has no caption). The pronunciations purikyua and puritii kyua are used interchangeably, both in theme songs ("1, 2, 3, 4, Purikyua 5! Puritii, kyu, kyu, kyu, kyua...") and in-universe (including one odd instance of a character hearing the name for the first time as purikyua and immediately questioning "Puritiikyua?"). There are two ways to deal with this: one is to directly translate, taking "Precure" as a commonly used short form and "Pretty Cure" as their less-used full title, and the other, used by both fansubs and the first season's official subs, is to use "Pretty Cure" for both. TV Tropes Wiki does the latter for reasons completely unrelated to "Pretty Cure" making a goodWiki Word.And in case you're wondering: yes, it's a Pun-Based Title. "Purikura", short for "Print Club", is the name given to those photo booths in Japan that print out stickers with your photo on them. (This is never brought up in the show, save for the Elder of the first continuity constantly calling Pretty Cure "Purikura", nor does it have any significance.)For individual series examples, go to their pages. More than one installment of this franchise provides examples of:
The Ace: Many individual main characters are top girls in sports or academics.
Futari wa Pretty Cure and its sequel has Nagisa who is The Ace (and later the captain) of the lacross team and she is very good in sports in general. Honoka is the best student in academics and she is specialized in science. Several students lampshades the relationship of two aces.
Yes! Pretty Cure 5 has Rin who is the ace in sports and she has finally decided to join the futsal team. Karen is the best student in academics.
Fresh Pretty Cure! has Setsuna who is very good in academics and sports. It's mentioned that Miki has also a good grades in school and is good in sports.
HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has Erika who is the best fashion designer in the fashion club, Itsuki who is the ace in martial arts, and Yuri who is the best student in academics. Furthermore, Tsubomi is specialized in botany.
Suite Pretty Cure ♪ has Hibiki who is like Nagisa and Rin the best sportsman, and Kanade who is the best student in academics. Subverted when they participate in contests for pianist and patissiers, respectively; both of them reach the second place.
Smile Pretty Cure! has the top volleyball player Akane, the top soccer player Nao, and the best academic student Reika who is also an ace in kyudo.
DokiDoki! Precure has Mana who is very good in sports and academics, but the best academic student is Rikka. Alice is an ace all-rounder, being good in ballroom dance, painting, playing piano, sports (especially martial arts) and some other stuff. And then there's an actual Cure Ace.
Anime Hair: Since Max Heart with Hikari, all main characters got unrealistic or odd hairstyles/hair colors. Itsuki/Cure Sunshine and Akane/Cure Sunny are the only exceptions, both of them have more realistic hairstyles/hair colors.
While Itsuki has brown hair, Akane has red hair despite being Japanese...
Big Bad: One for every season, but one for both seasons of the first continuity. Most of them want to destroy the world. Sometimes there will be an apparent Big Bad that is replaced by the Man Behind the Man.
Bishounen: Some love interests and older brothers of some Precures. Also, every male mascot in human form and some villains.
Becoming the Mask: If you masquerade as a student at the school your enemies go to like Kiriya or the Kiryuu twins did, or as a friend to someone who's supposed to be your enemy like Setsuna did, you've completed your first step toward a full-blown Heel-Face Turn.
Catchphrase: Every lead Cure and sometimes even every Cure of a team has one or two catchphrases. Also, the villains usually say "I won't forget this!" when they lose.
Color-Coded Secret Identity: The franchise takes this to ridiculous lengths since Yes! Pretty Cure 5 as they not only wear color-coded civilian clothes, most of them have color-coded hair. The only one defies this trope is Ako/Cure Muse of Suite Pretty Cure ♪, who wears pink and purple despite wearing black at first then going gold, and having a purple Fairy Tone through and through.
Cure Heart is a very odd example. In her civilian form she wears pink clothes and has pink hair, in keeping with her colour scheme as a cure. But, when she transforms, her hair turns blonde.
Conveniently Seated: Most of the lead characters sit in window seats. Though, only one of them sit in the infamous seat, the second seat from the back, along the side with the windows.
In Futari wa Pretty Cure and its sequel, Nagisa sits on the window seat of the third back row... the class seams to be bigger than other examples. The third main character Hikari sits in the infamous seat in her class.
In Yes! Pretty Cure 5 and its sequel, Nozomi and Rin sit in the second front row, so the camera can catch them and their teacher Kokoda/Coco. Sometimes, they sit near to the window - they sit on benches. However, the windows are too high and nobody can look out of the windows.
The Dragon: Every Big Bad has a Dragon, the most competent one of the underlings. Some Dragons are replaced by other Dragons, but these guys are the final Dragons who are the most loyal, often the most evil, most powerful, most dangerous, and most successful underlings.
Early-Installment Weirdness: While the elements of the series have stayed consistent for quite a while since the first season (Power of Friendship being a main theme, as well as hard hitting physical attacks, over the top action scenes and well done character drama), the first few seasons (Particularly the original, Max Heart, and Splash Star especially) got into quite a few dark and relatively down to earth themes compared to later seasons on a whole (With someexceptions). Fight scenes weren't quite as over the top and flashy compared to later seasons as well, preferring more straight forward grit and bone-crunching attacks, and the animation style and coloration feel a bit more gritty and realistic compared to the fanciful colors of later seasons. Hair and eye colors on a whole tended to be more realistic, even when a character transformed. The reasons for this is the result of Moral Guardians, who hounded on the original series for it's rather high level of violence for a show who's demographic was aimed at little girls at the time, as well as Nagisa's midriff baring outfit from the first season (This aspect has been eased up a bit since Yes! Pretty Cure 5).
The All-Stars movies hit this as well, seeing as they're made around the time they're starting up the new series. Thus, some characters end up acting completely different from how they are in-series.
Cure Bloom/Bright and Cure Egret/Windy are the only Precures with this ability, at least naturally. Several of the others can use this ability, but only if they have a certain upgrade or their fairy helps them.
Hair Decorations: All over the place. In fact, the only Cure in the franchise to have completely unadorned hair in Pretty Cure form is Cure Black (though Nagisa does wear a cute little heart bead when she plays lacrosse).
High Heel-Face Turn: In general, since this is a magical girl series, female characters seem quicker to make the switch than male ones. Also, as seen in the Smurfette Principle below, Desparaia was originally the only Big Bad who is redeemed in the end.
In a Single Bound: One too many Cures have this ability. In fact, there is one famous scene from the original Futari wa Pretty Cure opening (and copied a lot in the Pretty Cure All Stars movies) which involves Black leaping away from an explosion; Max Heart's opening featured a similar scene but with White added in.
Merchandise-Driven: How much varies from season to season, but it's usually obvious that at least one magical trinket per season was designed to be a toy first and an implement of magical ass-kicking second. The Transformation Trinkets are a relatively common example, as are the cheat code items that became a tradition from Fresh onwards.
Mid-Season Upgrade: The Precures get usually two or more upgrades per season. Some villains get upgrades, too.
Name's the Same: Several seasons tend to repeat names from previous continuities. So far the repeated names were Nozomi (Max Heart and Yes!5), Kaoru (Splash Star, Fresh, and — if it counts — Kaoruko from Heartcatch), Hayato (Fresh and Heartcatch), Kurumi (Yes!5 [given name], Heartcatch [surname]), Miyuki (Fresh and Smile), Akane (the original/Max Heart and Smile), Nao (Max Heart, Heartcatch and Smile), Reika (Fresh and Smile), Ayumi (Fresh, Heartcatch, All Stars New Stage and Doki Doki), Madoka (Yes!5 [given name], Doki Doki [surname]), and Megumi (Yes!5 and Happiness Charge).
No Export for You: The English dub of Futawi wa Pretty Cure only aired in Canada and the UK. None of the other seasons have been dubbed yet, although Cynopsis Kids has reported that Saban Brands will be making a new show called Gangnam Girls, whose synopsis sounds almost identical to Smile Precure.
This might be averted, though, as it has been revealed that Saban Brands has the worldwide distribution rights to the franchise and will probably be releasing it under the title "Glitter Force".
Not Allowed to Grow Up: As of 2008, the older Cures have been subjected to this. It's been years since Max Heart's end, but Nagisa, Honoka and Hikari don't look a day older than they were back then. Although it should be noted that this depends only on whether or not you count the All-Stars movies as canon.
Fresh Pretty Cure! is the only aversion of it, instead going for a minor Hotter and Sexier variant. Eas shows a modest bust and keeps the same when she becomes Setsuna. Also as seen in their transformed forms, the Fresh Cures' breasts were more visible, but not overly big. Hibiki, Kanade and Ellen of Suite Pretty Cure ♪ tends to bounce back and forth between Pettanko and Hotter and Sexier every other episode.
The Nakewamekes also do not do this after earlier episodes, but are reduced into this when they appear in Pretty Cure All Stars.
The Nakisakebes can't talk at all. They can only grunt.
There are a Hoshina, a Negatone and an Akanbe who can talk. All of them have quizmaster/gamemaster powers.
Post Modernism: One of the most unusual aspects for a mainstream Magical Girl series that isn't a full deconstruction of the genre.
Power Dyes Your Hair: It's usually downplayed, with a Cure's hair changing shades instead of color. Played straight with Cure Passion, Cure Melody and Cure Heart who get completely different hair colors - Cure Passion (from dark purple to rose), Cure Melody (from orange/brown to pink), and Cure Heart (from pink to blond).
The Power of Friendship: Unlike most series in the genre, where it's second to The Power of Love, friendship is the most important thing in Pretty Cure. Every episode focuses on the relationships between the girls, and no romantic subplot is ever completely resolved, whether between the Cures themselves or with a third party; Nozomi/Coco is the one exception, and even they are allowed far less PDA than other magical girl leads, only getting to kiss offscreen and in a movie. Most speeches are of the friendship variety, and the Cures' powers literally run on friendship — even the ones who can transform separately are stronger together, and, as seen in the case of Karen, powers can fail completely if they don't open up and act sincerely towards their True Companions.
If only one single Cure of the team is not avaible, the whole team cannot win against the Monster of the Week. If they gathered five members, they cannot win with four. If they gathered four members, they cannot win with three, etc. And you never win when you're alone unless you're Milky Rose or Cure Moonlight or Cure Ace or the lead Cure in episode 1. If you have a duel with a major villain, you'll still win with the Power of Friendship.
Red Herring: Since Fresh, there is usually at least one character initially hinted to be the Sixth Ranger, but turns out to be this trope. At the moment Smile is the only post-Fresh season that is the exception, as it lacks a Sixth Ranger character.
In Fresh Pretty Cure!, it was thought that the Cures' dancing mentor, Miyuki Chinnen, would become Cure Passion. It turned out to be Eas/Setsuna Higashi.
In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!... this trope is instead parodied. Chypre and Coffret went around asking Tsubomi's classmates if they could be the third Precure, even asking a boy, Kenji Ban, to be one (and he daydreamed himself becoming 'Cure Fire'). Turns out it's Itsuki Myoudouin.
In Suite Pretty Cure ♪, both Waon Nishijima and Seika Higashiyama, Hibiki and Kanade's friends in their respective specialties, were speculated to be the next Pretty Cures. The next Cures were actually Siren/Ellen Kurokawa (as Cure Beat) and Ako Shirabe (as Cure Muse).
Every new Cure has either a different transformation (+ Trinket) or (semi-)completely different powers or both. Cure Passion, Cure Sunshine, Cure Beat and Cure Muse have different powers than their teammates, Cure Moonlight has a shorter transformation (though, it's still basically the same) because she has a different Transformation Trinket, and Shiny Luminous, Milky Rose and Cure Ace fit both.
This also happens to the mascots from time to time. Milk is the only female of five mascots (Mailpo being counted), however, she is atleast a main character. Chypre is the only female mascot who is introduced in Heartcatch, considering that Potpourri's gender is unknown. And Hummy as well as the Crescendo Tone are the only female mascots in Suite while Siren was never a good mascot. Mipple was also the only female for a long time before Lulun was introduced.
Special Edition Title: Starting with Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO!, whenever a movie is close to being premiered the title sequence of the currently airing season is replaced by scenes from the movie itself (while the standard opening theme plays). This continues for a few weeks after the movie premiers.
Spoiler Opening: Sometimes, even some events of the Grand Finale are spoiled. Usually, the appearance of the Sixth Ranger is not shown in the credits, with four exceptions: Shiny Luminous, Milky Rose, Cure Moonlight, and Cure Muse. All four of them are subversions. Both Luminous and Rose were planned as new members before the series have even started and the Japanese viewers knew it beforehand. Cure Moonlight appeared in the first episode, so it was expected that she will eventuelly join the other Cures, especially after the appearance of Cure Sunshine (moon & sun theme). Cure Muse however was a masked Aloof Ally and the openings don't spoil her real identity.
Notably, DokiDoki! Precure is an aversion of this as well. Regina appears in the first title sequence, but as a silhouette only appearing in a split second flash of lightning.
Strictly Formula: Not just individual episodes, but the series themselves. Some of the formulae below only apply to pre-Fresh seasons and some only to Fresh and after, since that season discarded a lot of franchise traditions in favour of new ones.
This became particularly jarring from 2009 to 2011, which always had four-girl teams and a cheat code item appear at a late point to give the girls a new attack or set of costumes.
In all series, seasons, holidays, and school events (culture festival, sports meet, etc.) roughly line up with the real world according to episode airdates. This requires a little chronological fudging, as Pretty Cure series run from February to January but reflect the April to March Japanese school year.
Notable is that around episodes 20-24 (usually 23) something plot-related always happens, usually the appearance of a Sixth Ranger or the Mid-Season Upgrade.
Certain plots also may happen once per season, such as two of the Cures having a disagreement and nearly triggering the team's break-up. This one in particular is known as the "Episode 8 Curse" and is most common in the pre-Fresh seasons.
An episode will feature one member of the team getting a real or imagined opportunity in acting/modeling/music/etc., with implications that they'll leave the area and cease all Magical Girl activities. Never actually happens.
It also seems that, from Fresh onwards, the first villain in the group to appear is the one who does a Heel-Face Turn first. Ellen and Setsuna become Cures, while Sasorina gets purified first out of Heartcatch's villains. Smile seems to be the only exception, as there all three members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad are purified at the same time.
Doki Doki inverts this so far with Regina, who is the last villain to make an appearance. Also Inverted in that Regina is immediately brainwashed back to the side of evil afterwards...before finally joining as an Eleventh Hour Ranger.
There will be an episode/arc where the series' Fairy/Non-Human Sidekick get kidnapped and the Pretty Cures have to rescue them.
There will also be an episode or arc where the newest or youngest fairy runs away; sometimes it's combined with the above.
The 41st episode is often focused on a yellow character: Urara (plus Komachi), Inori, Fary, Yayoi, and Alice.
The first five seasons are the Early Stage: Each features a single team, with at most six members and no crossovers.
The first Pretty Cure All Stars movie heralds the Middle Stage: A Bat Family Crossover featuring characters from the six seasons screening up to that point (a total of 14 heroines). A new movie was made every year, incorporating the team from that season (and Sixth Rangers from the previous season who had not been introduced when the last movie was released). By the time of the fifth movie (coinciding with the tenth season, DokiDoki! Precure), there are 32 Precures, and at one point in Doki Doki Precure, one of the villains comments that at this rate it won't be long before there are a hundred.
Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart has the Four Guardians with Circulas, Uraganos and Viblis as the main trio who even dying together. The leader Baldez shows rarely up.
Yes! Pretty Cure 5 has Bunbee's three subordinates Girinma, Gamao and Arachnea. Though, they never work as a trio. After they are killed, they are replaced by Bunbee himself, Hadenya and Bloody. Those three are "led" by Kawarino.
Fresh Pretty Cure! has the three Labyrinth agents Eas, Westar and Soular, but none of them is the leader. Later, Eas is replaced by Northa who takes the leadership.
HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has the Desert Apostle Generals Sasorina, Kumojacky and Cobraja, with Sabaku as their superior.
Suite Pretty Cure ♪ has Trio the Minor, led by Siren. She is temporarily replaced by Bassdrum for a few episodes before returning as leader. After Siren's Heel-Face Turn, Bassdrum takes the leadership most of the time, Baritone becomes the leader for two episodes before being replaced by Bassdrum again, and finally Falsetto takes the final leadership.
Smile Pretty Cure! has the Bad End Generals Wolfrun, Akaoni and Majorina. Their superior is Joker.
In Futari wa Pretty Cure, Rainbow Storm is used very often, though, Marble Screw is sometimes used, too. In most cases, Marble Screw would be okay, but Rainbow Storm is just an overkill.
In Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, Marble Screw Max Spark is very unneccessary because the monsters are not that strong. We see Extreme Luminario sometimes, but Marble Screw Max is never seen again, despite it's enough for the monsters. And before Marble Screw Max Spark was introduced, Extreme Luminario was an overkill.
In Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO!, Rainbow Rose Explosion and Metal Blizzard are used too often. Sometimes justified, but any other attack would be enough.
In Fresh Pretty Cure!, we see all of the individual finishing moves at the same time, and later Lucky Clover Grande Finale too often. The latter is justified because the Sorewatase are much stronger than the Nakewameke.
In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, Heartcatch Orchestra is too much for the Desertrians, even for the empowered ones. This attack kills Desert Devils, but it's still used too often against Desertrians.
In Suite Pretty Cure ♪, there are Suite Session Ensemble and Suite Session Ensemble Crescendo against the black-boned Negatone. The other attacks would be enough, even if they are used together.
Justified in Smile Pretty Cure!, where the blue nosed Akanbe, Super Akanbe and Hyper Akanbe can only be killed by Rainbow Healing, Rainbow Burst and Royal Raibow Burst, respectively. It's still narming as we see that the new individual attacks are not enough against the Hyper Akanbe and we have to see Royal Rainbow Burst again.
In Doki Doki Pretty Cure, we have Lovely Force Arrow against Regina's Jikochuu and Leva and Gula's combined Jikochuus because they have No Sell to the individual attacks. Then we have Lovely Straight Flush against the Blood Ring Jikochuus, despite Ace Shot (and apparently Lovely Force Arrow) being enough.