Futari wa Pretty Cure

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    "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?!"

    Pretty Cure 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, avoiding 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.

    YTV signed a deal with Toei to air the show in Canada in 2009 where the English dub 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 right here, right now.

    Alternate Continuities came in later seasons with Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star, Yes! Pretty Cure 5, Fresh Pretty Cure, Heartcatch Pretty Cure, Suite Pretty Cure, and Smile Pretty Cure.

    Compare to My-HiME and its successor, Mai-Otome.

    Amusing tidbit: In interviews Eiichiro Oda mentioned his daughter enjoys this show over her father's work.

    Tropes used in Futari wa Pretty Cure include: