Final Review: Smile Precure!

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless other noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Smile Precure! is the 9th anime series in the Precure franchise than began in 2004. It is an original series unrelated to the previous Precure titles. The series premiered in February 2012 and ran for 48 episodes. It is your typical run of the mill magical girl show primarily targeted at younger girl audiences. I’ll keep this short since I’m pretty sure not many people outside of Japan really care about Precure titles anyway.

Smile Precure! as said above is your standard magical girl title. Ordinary girls are suddenly bestowed magical powers to allow them to fight evil. Unlike last year’s Suite Precure, Smile Precure! returns to a familiar Precure root, that is Yes! Precure 5. With five characters, the character development is actually mixed up quite a bit allowing more variety despite being rather cheesy. The fact the show also has likable characters is a massive plus and makes the 48 episodes much easier to watch. Though I must admit that Yayoi’s love for mechs was incredibly amusing to watch. The Dark Precure was also a big plus in this series seeing as we haven’t really seen this since the Yes! Precure 5 movie. Heartcatch utilized the Dark Precure concept and tied it into the actual story but in a different manner. I still wished they stuck around for more than just an episode though. This show felt like it was running 2 episodes short. Conclusion was clearly rushed.

Art initially felt cheap in comparison to Suite Precure but it turns out it was actually much more detailed that I initially imagined. Character designs are fantastic and comparable to that of Heartcatch with a touch of Yes! Precure 5 nostalgia every now and then. Animation wise, it is great and didn’t utilize the CGI so much outside of the ED video sequences as that was an aspect I actually loathed in Suite Precure. When you compare the vast amount of shounen action titles that Toei works on, it’s actually funny how the shoujo/magical girl titles actually tend to receive the better end of the stick in terms of animation.

OP is solid as with most Precure titles as of late. ED1 is cute while ED2 felt a little odd at times. Background music is above average as are sound effects. Seiyuu is okay. Hisako Kanemoto easily stood out as Yayoi/Cure Peace while Chinami Nishimura was solid as Reika/Cure Beauty, the latter of which really needs more active roles. Of course, Marina Inoue also sticks out like a sore thumb as Nao/Cure March. Not really a fan of the others given how “annoying” they were. Personally, I didn’t like Candy despite how much of an airhead she is.

Enjoyment? While I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed all 48 episodes, I’m glad that Smile Precure! didn’t wait for the climax all in one go. The big confrontation in the middle of the series (around episode 22, I think?) was a really strong point for the series as it threw in a different level of excitement in the series, not to mention a more atypical set of episodes. Some of the character development episodes were really cheesy, others were boring, and of course there was a hilarious handful.

Overall, Smile Precure! is arguably one of the average titles in the franchise. It undoubtedly tops Yes! Precure 5 (series, not movie) as Smile Precure! does everything Yes! does but better. Whether it tops Heartcatch or Futari wa (as a whole) is really up to one’s opinion as Heartcatch really set a new bar for the franchise two years ago. Though I would say that Heartcatch is undoubtedly better by a long mile. At the end of the day, Smile Precure! is still just another title in the franchise and doesn’t do much groundbreaking. We’re still waiting for the day when Toei really busts something out and makes a 10/10 Precure title that can rival some of the classic Sailor Moon franchises. While DokiDoki Precure is set to premier this winter (today actually) and is the 10th anniversary title, it will likely face fierce competition with a new Sailor Moon series that is set to premier later this year.

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Standard magical girl stuff.
  • Character Personalities (1/1): Love it.
  • Character Development (2/2): This is Precure, meaning almost every episode is a character development of some sort.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (2/2): Small main cast, easy to remember.
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): A bit rushed at the end. Dark Precure could have used more screen time for a more interesting development. Joker’s “demise” felt cheap
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1.5/2): Nothing out of the ordinary.
  • Conclusion (0/1): Lots of crying for about 15 minutes. Ultimate Madoka look-alike? Rushed ending.
  • Total: 7/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Above average
  • Character Designs (2/2): Great.
  • Fluidity (2/2): Very very nice. A bit DBZ at times though.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Colorful and flashy. Happy Smile?
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1.5/2): One of Toei’s more beautiful titles as of late. If this same quality had the same consistency in their shounen action titles I think we would be better off.
  • Total: 9/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2/3): Good OP. ED1 was nice while ED2 wasn’t as good.
  • Background Music (1.5/2): Above average
  • Sound Effects (1.5/2): Above average
  • Seiyuu (2/3): Yayoi and Reika’s seiyuu were good. Marina Inoue is always a plus. The rest are annoying.
  • Total: 7/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (1.5/2): Yayoi really drives some of the moments in this series.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1/2): Outside of the climax battles, really few episodes really had me wanting to watch the next episode. In a series of weak seasons last year, this show stood out, however.
  • Presentation: (1/2): Episodic for the most part. Standard magical girl stuff
  • Re-watchable (0.5/1): Some
  • Recommendation (1.5/2): Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura obviously remain some of the dominant titles in typical magical girl shows (i.e. Madoka Magica does NOT count). Heartcatch continues to top this show intra-franchise.
  • Value (0.5/1): It managed to displace Yes! Precure 5 (series) in my book after so many years. So the “glory” might be short but does hold some short-term value. One of the better titles in 2012.
  • Total: 6/10

Preliminary Score: 7/10

Final Score: 7/10

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