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First Season: Strong Core, But Lacks Polish
Some series are well written enough that they have no clear singular protagonist. Despite its title, Futari Wa Pretty Cure is not one of these shows. That being said, the show otherwise follows up on its premise. Two normal girls, one a tomboy, the other a star student, are called upon by fairies from the Garden of Light to save the world. To do this, they turn into Pretty Cure, magical girls who punch the living daylights out of their enemies. Cure Black and Cure White get up close and personal to the giant monsters, reserving their special attacks for finishing blows. During the course of this, these two girls who would otherwise barely speak to each other become close friends.

For an episodic show like this, characters are the backbone of the show, and Nagisa and Honoka deliver this well. Popular with the girls, Nagisa is a sports ace, but otherwise lives a perfectly normal life with her family. Honoka is a genius and practically the idol of the school, yet she has quirks of her own. The two make a strong contrast with each other, coming from different backgrounds, and yet they slowly but surely become the best of friends. Their relationship is the backbone of the series, and it's done well without being rushed. Most of the show comes from Nagisa's perspective, since she's the more normal one, but Honoka gets plenty of development as well, and the show never treats one as more important than the other. The side characters, while not amazing, are usually fun enough and help build them up. The Fairy companions are either annoying or bland, but they grow on you eventually. The villains are mostly typical bad guys who create a Monster of the Week, but a few do stand out. All of them get the job as threats done though.

Compared to later seasons, Futari wa is rough around the edges, but also more grounded, eschewing fantastical plots in favor of following their everyday lives with an obligatory bad guy and fight thrown in. The fights vary in quality, but there's always energy put into even the weakest fights. The plot is simple even with the occasional twist, but it does allow for more focus on the lives of Nagisa and Honoka. Overall, while not the greatest series ever, it laid the foundation for the rest of the franchise and is a fun watch on its own merits if you want a light magical girl series with good action and characters.
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