How do you solve a problem like Regina? Dokidoki! Precure, Sailor Stars, and Cast Dynamics.

“When I’m with her I’m confused,
Out of focus and bemused,
And I never know exactly where I am.
Unpredictable as weather, she’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling, she’s a demon, she’s a lamb.

She’ll out pester any pest, drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl.
She is gentle, she is wild, she’s a riddle, she’s a child.
She’s a headache, she’s an angel, she’s a girl.”

-“Maria (The Nuns),” The Sound of Music

It is often difficult for me to like Dokidoki! Precure.

The tenth iteration of the series, Dokidoki! is a milestone for the franchise. Perhaps producer Hirokai Shibata (Ayakashi, Digimon Data Squad) feels the need to live up to all Precure that has come before by fitting in as many references as possible; however, the series is all the more unsteady for it. Its insistence of stuffing as many different elements as it possibly can often makes the series frenetic at best and impenetrable at worst.

Coincidentally, my feelings about Dokidoki! are neatly summed up within the personality of Regina, one of the series’ more recent characters, but first, let’s travel back in time a bit, to a franchise that I have no small amount of nostalgia for: Sailor Moon.

My personal favorite iteration of Sailor Moon is Sailor Stars, the oft-contentious fifth, and final, series of the franchise. I discovered it following a resurgence in Sailor Moon marketing throughout the United States around the same time I was entering high school. My friends and I were nearing the conclusion of the Sailor Moon: SuperS on television – which we watched daily, going as far as to catalogue each and every episode in chronological order on VHS tapes – and were desperately hungry for more Sailor Moon. The end of SuperS‘ television run coincided nicely with our new-found ability to look up anything and everything on the internet, and it was in this fashion that we stumbled across a mysterious fifth Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars series that was unavailable to us. One day, we discovered a store in nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts that had tapes of Sailor Stars available (with English subtitles, no less!) and immediately made the trek to rent as many of them as possible. Eyes glued to the tiny television in my friend’s bedroom, we watched them together, often swapping various tapes if one of us wanted to go back and rewatch an earlier portion. Simply put, we were addicted.

To sum up Sailor Stars as succinctly and as clearly as possible, it’s a mess. It’s a wonderful, confused, and uncontrollable mess that is overrun with too many characters and plot developments. I love it dearly, but I rarely recommend it to people for the reasons mentioned above.

In spite of my inability to advocate that people to watch Sailor Stars, I do feel that the series has a great deal of merit outside of my own personal nostalgia. For example, the recent magical girl series Puella Magi Madoka Magica took nearly all of its blocking for its finale from the final conversation between Galaxia and Usagi in the finale of Sailor Stars. The conclusion of both series also offers an interesting ancillary comparison.

One would, or rather one definitely shouldn’t, watch a series like Sailor Stars without some proficiency of the Sailor Moon franchise as a whole. As is the nature with television series sequels, especially the fifth iteration of one, coming to a viewing with no previous awareness of the series’ history will only serve to leave one hopelessly confused and possibly angry. Each season in Sailor Moon is a direct chronological continuation of the one that came before, and expects the viewer to not only recognize this but bring their prior knowledge with them through the five separate series.

In comparison, Precure as a whole does not rely on an audience that knows all or anything about the previous history of the franchise. In ten years there have only been two direct sequels – Futari wa Pretty Cure to Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, and Yes! Precure 5 to Yes! Precure 5 GoGo! – while all other seasons stand alone as complete reboots with their own separate histories. This makes it easy for Precure‘s primary target demographic of young girls to easily pick up a Precure series for a year, and all of the toys that come with it, without having to have followed the franchise. Additionally, it makes it just as easy for them to drop the franchise once they grow older and move on to other things. Easter eggs are placed here and there in the later seasons, for fans who decide to continue with the series, and grow in number as Precure ages. Unlike Sailor Moon, which is asking its audience to grow with it, Precure offers its audience this option while also allowing for turnover. Each year is a new opportunity to market to a new generation of potential Precure fans.

Another reward, so to speak, or element of fanservice within Precure can be found in its compilation All Stars movies, which include all of the various cures from every season up to the date of the movie’s release. This is a way for Precure to recognize and continue to sell itself to an older audience. A larger amount of self-referencing is found within these movies and although they’re hardly impenetrable for the uninitiated, I can’t imagine that they would be particularly fun to watch without already participating in the franchise.

This brings us back to my initial subject, Dokidoki!, and how it isolates itself from previous Precure series. In its attempt to celebrate all that came before it, Dokidoki! is unfortunately trying to do too much at once. Although it is a standalone reboot of the franchise, it also purposefully reuses plot elements from Precures past. From a marketing standpoint it’s the first Precure series that has marketed equally, if not more, to its established older fan base as opposed to a brand new younger audience. In a way, it’s almost an All Stars movie (albeit chock full of elements from previous iterations instead of the well-known characters themselves) in a year-long television series. What began as a show that was tightly focused on the dynamics of its core ensemble has now ballooned into an attempt to give equal screen time to an unmanageable quantity of characters. Without giving its main cast room to breathe and develop their own dynamic, the addition of more people along with a grander scope to the story elements has turned the series into a bit of a schizophrenic mess. This is all too familiar to me, as it reminds me distinctly of Sailor Stars. Too many characters? Check. Too many plot elements? Check. Eschewing the fantastic dynamic of the original main cast in favor of newer, crazier characters? Check.

"A flibbetijibbit, a will 'o' the wisp, a clown?"

“A flibbetijibbit, a will ‘o’ the wisp, a clown?”

While hardly as obviously fascinating or controversial as the three Sailor Starlights, Regina’s arrival similarly heralds a shift in focus from the main cast that the audience is familiar with to previously secondary or supporting characters, along with the new addition of Regina herself. Regina steals the show from episode 13 on and DokiDoki! strains under the added weight. Trumpeting her title as the daughter of King Jikochu, who will presumably be the final “big bad,” she makes it a point to insert herself into Mana’s group of friends, in spite of knowing that they all are Precure, tasked with fighting against both her and her father.

Most interestingly, Regina has the power to instantly cause someone’s heart to fully give in to selfishness, creating a monster. Unlike her three peers who rely on trickery and opportunity to amplify an existing feeling (similar to the Desert Messengers in Heartcatch Precure), Regina forces her own way, adding another level of malevolence to the already violent transformation from human to “selfishness.” The cute giggling and sequence of hops that she performs while doing so only reiterates her innate sinister nature. In later episodes, when introduced to an artifact that the Precure are looking for she becomes more violent and unpredictable. Her obsession with lead cure Mana Aida/Cure Heart offers an interesting parallel to Rikka Hishikawa/Cure Diamond’s obsession with the same character and Makoto Kenzaki/Cure Sword’s obsession with her missing princess, Marie Ange. Additionally, there is enough wavering in her personality that could lead an astute audience to believe that she will eventually defect from the Jikochu (following the footsteps of Eas/Setsuna/Cure Passion in Fresh Pretty Cure or Siren/Ellen/Cure Beat in Suite Precure) and become a precure herself. On paper, Regina appears to be the most fascinating character in Dokidoki!.

While I don’t have a problem with Regina’s character, she feels completely shoehorned into the plot, due to the series’ pre-established four-girl character dynamic of Mana, Rikka, Alice Yotsuba/Cure Rosetta, and Cure Sword. Cure Sword already serves as an outlier to the group, having followed the Jikochu from her destroyed homeland, The Trump Kingdom. In its early episodes, Dokidoki! does a fantastic job of conveying the friction that occurs in a group of friends when another is added to a preexisting dynamic. However, following Regina’s arrival, the continued growing pains of the four girls are pushed aside in favor of Regina’s story and development. Much like in Sailor Stars where Sailor Moon, already burdened with the additional baggage of the Outer Senshi, ignores its primary group of Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon and the Inner Senshi in favor of the Sailor Starlights, Dokidoki! now labors with conveying how Regina will find her way within the story.

Additionally, Dokidoki!, in episodes 17 and 18, has solely concerned itself with the story of the fallen Trump Kingdom and its two remaining knights: Cure Sword and Joe Okada/Jonathan Klondike. With Regina occupying the transitionary episodes from assembling the four main cures to the meat of the Trump Kingdom story, Dokidoki! has failed to tie the two together in a way that makes me care about these events. Mana has already been established as a person who wholly gives to others, at cost to herself and those around her. Her fascination with saving the Trump Kingdom is equal to her fascination with anyone whom she wishes to help. Mana simply loves people. Similarly, Rikka and Alice’s interest in the fate of the Trump Kingdom stems from Mana’s interest and their love for Mana.

Again, to use the framework of Sailor Stars, Sailor Moon makes it a point to reiterate that Earth, as usual, is next on the chopping block for Galaxia and her lackeys. Like Mana, Usagi is someone who cares about others; however, even if she did not (and it’s important to note that the television series’ portrayal of Usagi through all five seasons is a far more self-centered one than that of it’s original source material), Usagi would be forced to fight due to the impending threat to her home. One hardly gets the same feeling from Dokidoki! and the connection between Earth and the Trump Kingdom is tenuous at best.

Princess Marie Ange and Jonathan Klondike are distant figures that I am supposed to care about as a viewer because one of the lead characters I care about (Mana) has a friend who cares about them (Cure Sword). I’d prefer to be shown by the series why I should care, or perhaps be allowed to continue to develop my own relationship with Cure Sword so I too can be passionate about the people she loves. Dokidoki! continues to reveal her character on the periphery of the series – in nuanced visual direction, no less – but it’s only enough to leave me wanting to learn more about her. Where Precure previously gave me the wonderful transition of Setsuna into the group of cures in Fresh, Dokidoki! is inconsistent with Cure Sword’s portrayal. Some episodes, it feels like she’s already assimilated herself into the group of friends, others, she still seems to struggle.

In trying to make me care about so many things, Dokidoki! has ensured that I care far less about each of them as a result of its inability to focus. While I don’t hate Regina, she is exemplary of these attention problems that the series possesses. Ultimately, Sailor Stars is a series that is redeemed through my eyes by the message that I took from its finale. The majority of the series is most definitely a mess that, in trying to broaden the scope and continue to market to its maturing audience, ended up isolating viewers instead. Admittedly, this is a personal connection, and the fact that I have an incredible amount of nostalgia for the Sailor Moon franchise certainly makes me more forgiving than most. For all I know, older Precure fans could be feeling similarly as they watch Dokidoki!‘s progress; however, I can’t help but be apprehensive of where the series seems to be headed.

20 comments

  1. As a fellow Precure fan, I also feel as though DokiDoki is trying to place too much on the table in such a short span of time. Compared to previous seasons, the pacing seems almost breakneck. While I can see some audiences appreciating the numerous plot developments, I feel as though this has come at the cost of the show’s subtler aspects, such as the Cures’ group dynamic. Like you mentioned, the sheer number of twists that the writers have thrown at us in recent episodes has forcibly caused other elements to take a backseat. For instance, Alice’s presence in the group is almost non-existent except when there’s an episode entirely dedicated to her. Makoto also functions as more of a lead into the Trump Kingdom now, and likewise her main interactions with the other girls is limited to her goal. In short, Rikka and Mana are really the only two with some actual chemistry, while the other two feel more like tag-alongs. And let’s not get started on the fairies either, who don’t even seem like they exist most of the time, except when it’s time for the girls to transform.

    Regarding Regina, I think most longtime Precure fans are estimating that she’ll follow a similar route as Eas in Fresh and Siren in Suite (and I suppose Kaoru and Michiru in Splash Star, even though Toei refuses to acknowledge those two as Cures). With that in mind, the increased focus on her seems appropriate if she’s going to be integrated into the group later on. However, I do feel that compared to her precursors, her gradual shift from the dark side seems rather rushed. This is primarily due to, as you’ve already mentioned, Regina only coming into the picture from episode 13, whereas Eas and Siren were present from the start. As such, I do believe the writers may face some difficulty integrating her into the group, since they’re already facing problems crafting a cohesive dynamic with the other four. In many respects, I feel DokiDoki’s shortcomings may play out like a more extreme version of Suite’s. To clarify, think of the first half of Suite where Hibiki and Kanade’s (yuri) dynamic was filled with them bickering at one another and working through their problems. The pair’s chemistry was humorous, realistic and just thoroughly entertaining to watch. Then when Ellen become a Precure, the overall dynamic became diluted and the three of them felt more like acquaintances fighting for a common cause. As much as I liked Ellen as a character, it was unfortunate what her presence did to the previous group dynamic, and I feel DokiDoki has already begun heading down that path with Regina.

    What you’ve said about all the recent developments surrounding the Trump Kingdom is spot on. It’s difficult to feel empathy when we’re simply told via a third party instead of shown the gravity of the situation and what it personally means to the other Cures. To me, there’s only so much selflessness a character should possess before they cross over into the Mary Sue/Gary Stu territory. Although DokiDoki has avoided this somewhat by bringing to light some of Mana’s character flaws, by and large she still has that characteristic “Pink Cure syndrome” of wanting to protect everyone and everything. It’s a flaw that many of the other seasons have had, as when inadequate attention is given to the Cures’ families and hometown, one cannot effectively emphasize with their tears and struggles to defend what is precious to them. To date, the only installments that I felt really nailed this were Splash Star and Heartcatch, and as a result, their emotional moments were quite powerful. With DokiDoki, this isn’t the sense I’m getting, and it’s unfortunate if the writers intend to pursue the Trump Kingdom as the main focus.

    With such a cluttered first half, it will be interesting to see what direction DokiDoki takes later on. Personally, I feel this is one of the weaker Precure seasons and that’s mostly a result of it trying to do so much at once. Regardless of whether DokiDoki was meant to act as a “celebration” of the franchise, allusions and references are pointless if they are unable to encapsulate what made some of its predecessors so charming.

    Anyway, I realize this was a rather long reply about a Precure show of all things. Your post certainly satisfied my craving for two of my passions in life (text walls and Precure), so kudos to you! I’ll look forward to reading more of your write-ups in the future!🙂

    1. First of all, thank you so much for this response. ^ ^

      “I feel as though this has come at the cost of the show’s subtler aspects, such as the Cure’s group dynamic.”

      I feel exactly the same way. Dokidoki! dangled a carrot in front of the viewer in flashes of brilliant group dynamics and individual character development only to eschew these in favor of a new character, Regina, and the grander stage of The Trump Kingdom. For me personally, episode 10 was the height of the series, and ties into a bit of what you say about Alice. I absolutely loved her in that episode, in spite of the fact that it was decidedly a “Rikka” episode on the surface. Naturally, as a supporting character (and I mean this in the way as one who offers support to others, not a secondary character) Alice will see less screen time as she shines most when she is helping out her friends. Episode 10 showed an amazing amount of her own personal demons along with Rikka’s, simply through her attempts to help Rikka through her jealousy.

      You also make an excellent point about the fairies. I especially loved the brief exchanges between Davie and Makoto. As they’ve known each other the longest, the series hints that they have a close relationship, but these exchanges too get pushed aside to accommodate other events.

      To build upon what you said in regards to Mana’s character flaws, I think that, again, Dokidoki! has hinted at an ability to focus on them; however, since it has only briefly touched upon them, it leaves Mana’s character a bit empty. Her major flaw is that, by attempting to help absolutely everyone and anyone, she is unwittingly inconsiderate to those who are closest to her. This is a flaw that can only be shown adequately if the series focuses on the Mana’s relationships with her three supposedly closest friends. Already we’ve seen this brushed aside when the group was in The Trump Kingdom, as Mana’s altruism once again gets her into trouble as she vows to help Makoto restore The Trump Kingdom. Rikka and the others end up saying something along the lines of, “Don’t mind, she’s just the happy prince and we’ll help out too!” This doesn’t go nearly far enough to show the difficult position that Mana’s friends are put in when she constantly runs off to help others, and leaves later episodes that attempt to address this, like episode 11 when Mana goes to fight Beel by herself, seem hollow.

      That being said, I’m still holding out hope for Dokidoki! and hope to be pleasantly surprised by the things it can do well. I absolutely love Precure, and it was a pleasure to write about it, and talk with you about it.

  2. @ajthefourth many doki doki precure watchers talking about the new cure ace and think it will be turn out to be regina if they will get her out of the crystal control but personally i dont think she can be pretty cure so early and it going to be somone else.what do you think are they going to make regina precure so early in the season or save it for later?becouse cure ace going to apear in july

    1. I dislike speculating on who will be what in the future, as I am usually wrong and half the fun is seeing how the show gets there instead of who the new cure will be. However, since you asked, here goes nothing! ^ ^

      Who I want to end up being Cure Ace: Princess Marie Ange. I think it would be interesting to have an older cure in the group – the princess of the kingdom the cures are tasked with saving, no less! – as it allows for a different dynamic, and additionally allows for the current dynamic of Heart, Diamond, Rosetta, and Sword to be focused on and develop separately from Ace.

      Who I think will end up being Cure Ace: Regina.

  3. @ajthefourth by the next episode titles it seems we will found out the princess in episode 20 and 21 and when it will happen we will know for sure if she is cure ace or not.

  4. I’ve been thinking about this some since we talked about it the other day, but I’m still not quite convinced that Doki Doki’s problem is that it attempted to do too much. The primary plotlines that Doki Doki has been working with (The Trump Kingdom, Makoto, and Regina) all seem within the show’s capacity to handle, but I too feel that Doki Doki has not been doing a very good job with them. As a result the show as a whole suffers and feels messy and it seems like the show is trying to do too much. However, as I think back to previous episodes (and especially as I watch Heartcatch) I have been leaning more towards the idea that Doki Doki’s issue is that it lacks commitment to what it is trying to do.

    Doki Doki lacks focus, but not because it has too many plotlines. I think the real problem is that there are a number of episodes that, while may be fine as standalone episodes, contribute nothing to these major storylines. Think about episode fourteen where Rikka briefly gets into competitive karuta. While the episode itself was great (and personally one of my favorites), did it actually accomplish anything overall? The Royal Crystals are a poor excuse for what is otherwise an isolated story. Rikka’s character is developed as a result of the episode’s activities, but it would be hardly true to say that an unrelated episode like that was needed in order to develop her in any meaningful way. In fact, I would say that episodes which are very focused on one character and their own story result in less interaction between the characters and less of that wonderful group dynamic that we all enjoy.

    Now let’s consider episode ten when Makoto goes to school with the girls. Not only is this episode relevant to the Trump Kingdom storyline because it explores Makoto position as an outlier to the group, but it also develops all of the characters and their relationships with each other. The episode initially seems to focus on Makoto, but then it becomes about Rikka dealing with her feelings of jealousy. Alice isn’t forgotten either (like she often has been) as we get to see her help Rikka and share her own feelings. It’s a supporting role to the bigger players in the episode, but that’s also when Alice really shines. And in the end, each character develops individually and so does their relationship as a group (Mana included, though to a limited extent). The episode accomplishes so much at one time, but it never felt like it was doing more than it could handle.

    Unfortunately, the Trump Kingdom story, and by extension Makoto’s narrative, suffer because episodes like the aforementioned karuta episode take the focus away. In some ways they also detract because as we have talked about before, Makoto’s position in the group seems to bounce back and forth to the point where I have a hard time telling how she feels about her place with the others. In the episodes about the Trump Kingdom she sometimes even seems like a completely different character.

    And then there’s Regina. At this point Regina is too much simply because Doki Doki hasn’t done a good job of dealing with what it does already have. But I still believe that the show could’ve worked with everything together had they played it differently from the start. Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now and hopefully that makes sense. ^ ^

    1. I agree with the majority of your points, but interpret them a bit differently in terms of Dokidoki!’s failings.

      You bring up the example of Rikka’s karuta episode. That episode primarily chooses to develop Rikka’s character (while also mildly relating to the Royal Crystals). It is an incredibly weak episode in terms of what Dokidoki! is capable of (which we can both identify as something along the lines of episode 10) specifically for the reasons you describe: it focuses too much on Rikka in lieu of further exploring her dynamic with the three other girls.

      However, in terms of Dokidoki!’s standalone episodes, I think the karuta episode is more of an outlier in terms of what the episode is attempting to focus on. When I look back at other focus episodes (Mana taking on an apprentice, Alice and the Rose Lady competition, and Makoto’s Snow White movie) they involve all four girls. As these episodes progress they end up shifting more and more away from the group dynamic and towards other plot developments: the crystals, The Trump Kingdom, Regina, etc.

      Episode 10 relates to The Trump Kingdom in a very tertiary way by addressing Makoto’s trouble fitting in while at school and balances it against Rikka struggling to come to terms with allowing yet another person become close to Mana. It doesn’t focus on the plot points directly involving The Trump Kingdom. Instead, it focuses on the plot points directly involving Makoto’s (and everyone else’s) emotions. I realize that we’re splitting hairs here, and I personally hate doing it, but in this case I think it makes a large difference in the results between the tenth episode and, say, episode seven (where the cures visit The Trump Kingdom).

      That being said, I definitely agree that a large part of the problem is the manner in which Dokidoki! is handling its elements. I stand by my point in saying that a large part of the problem is that there are too many of them at once. They’re all amazing elements on their own, but the amount of time that Dokidoki! has spent covering them is too short, and at this point each added piece is a detriment to the series’s impact on its viewers. Perhaps you’re right in that the series could have pulled it off if the various pieces were integrated better from the beginning.

      Thanks for this comment. ^ ^ I always enjoy talking with you, even if we’re arguing, hehe.

  5. Ooh, Hello only-other-person-who-thinks-Stars-is-the-best-season-of-Sailor-Moon. That’s an awfully long name you have, but I must commend you for your taste. Stars is also my personal favorite iteration of Sailor Moon. I can see why some would call it a mess, but I think it only seems that way when compared to the relatively static nature of previous seasons. Stars changes a lot of things and explores a plethora of new themes and ideas, but I never felt like they were rushing things or taking on too much. Everything fits. This is largely thanks to the previous seasons doing a wonderful job setting things up for Stars. The way Stars builds upon and even subverts previous characterization is only satisfying because of that build up.

    Dokidoki, however, doesn’t have that luxury. This certainly doesn’t excuse it being super rushed and messy, but it’s a bit unfair to compare the two when Stars had 150+ episodes to set it up. Of course Stars is going to have a more substantial relationship between its characters and its setting. I largely agree with you and Don Don Kun about Dokidoki’s problems otherwise, so I’ll leave it at that.

    About Regina though, I don’t really think she’s the problem, but a victim of the show’s larger, more widespread problems. Her abrupt inclusion into the series and the group dynamic isn’t terribly different from just about every other aspect of Dokidoki. The entire show is rushed and lacks cohesion. This can be seen in everything from the rough progression of the Selfish to the revelation of Klondike’s true identity and back story to Makoto’s erratic characterization. Dokidoki is trying to do too many things in too short a time. Regina is only a victim of this. I also think she’s by far the most entertaining villain in the series and I thoroughly enjoyed her interactions with Mana, as trite as they might be, so that helps.

    And she’s, like, adorable and stuff.

    That said, I’m really hoping the show slows down in the second half once Regina (inevitably) becomes a Cure. They seem to be setting up for a mid-season climax, and I estimate that’s when Regina will switch sides. To go back to the comparison, I’ve always felt that “filler” was one of the best parts of the Sailor Moon anime. That’s where the great character dynamics truly shined, and it allows a deeper, more natural connection with the audience when you have some breather room in between plot developments. So that’s what I’m hoping for out Dokidoki. They’ll almost need to, because once Regina becomes a cure, the focus will need to be on friendship and all that good stuff for the likely occasion of her wavering near the end to have impact.

    Anyway, this blog was a good read. I look forward to more. I apologize for the messiness of this post, but It’s actually a complex metaphor for Dokidoki’s messiness.

    1. Oh my goodness! You’re seriously the only other person, besides myself, that I’ve ever heard say that Sailor Stars was their favorite Sailor Moon season. This has made me so happy. ^ ^

      What you say in regards to the large amount of material that Sailor Stars has backing it up is completely true. In fact, one of the points I made in this post is that Sailor Stars is expecting the viewer to come with all of their prior knowledge of the Sailor Moon franchise. This includes the inners and their relationships with each other, the outers and their relationships with each other, and the relationships that have been forged between the two groups in the previous four iterations. Sailor Stars can be excused for not taking the time to necessarily reestablish the existing group dynamics because it has a built-in audience that is bringing all of that information with them from watching Sailor Moon. As an aside, a flaw of Sailor Stars is that it’s fairly impenetrable to someone who has not watched the previous four seasons; however, one wouldn’t expect many viewers to be jumping into Sailor Stars as their first Sailor Moon.

      I am less forgiving of Dokidoki! and its jumping from building a core character dynamic for us to follow because it doesn’t have the luxury of a built-in audience. As you said, it’s trying to far too much at once, and as it doesn’t have four previous seasons backing it up (in terms of its plot, characters, etc. not the Precure franchise as a whole). The series suffers as it moves away from developing its core cast, and their relationships with each other, because we haven’t had enough time to get to know them. Additionally, as the commenter above said, this could also be due to the fact that Dokidoki! has not integrated the relationships between the cure group of four with the plot elements of The Trump Kingdom, Marie Ange and Jonathan, and Regina with her Jikochu crew well.

      Regina was singled out because she represents the tipping point at which I began to clarify my thoughts on Dokidoki!’s failings. I actually really like the idea of her as a character. The fact that she has the power to absolutely corrupt people’s hearts, without persuasion, is especially intriguing.

      As another Sailor Stars fan, I’m certain you’ll understand what I’m about to say. My greatest wish for Dokidoki! would be if Regina takes the role of Galaxia and Ai takes the role of Chibi-chibi with the two of them being separate pieces of Princess Marie Ange. Marie Ange turns away from Makoto after they both jump in the mirror to escape. She could have done a similar thing to what Galaxia did before fighting Chaos and removed her unselfish heart (basically her star seed) which took the form of Ai.

      Seriously. A Galaxia ending with Marie Ange appearing as a combination of Ai and Regina. I would flip out. ^ ^

      Thank you so much for this comment (and your excellent taste ^ ~)

  6. Another great entry🙂 Answering the question: it’s impossible now.

    Unfortunately DokiDoki goes in a quite similar to Fresh – it has likable yet flawed characters, more mature characters, characteristic team of bad guys and having not enough time to develop properly all those themes. It didn’t work earlier and won’t now. Best (and worst in the same time) solution would be to make Regina new Precure, and push searching for Princess for later episode – I hate Regina but it could make it easier to control. Or just to go Splash Star on her but I’m not sure if they have guts to do it again, plus there wasn’t enough development to make this as touching as it was in SS.
    Problem isn’t in number of characters in my opinion but rather in fact that they are… boring? Maybe not the best word but compared to earlier series (heck even Smile or HeartCatch which I dislike) it’s hard to say something about the girls: Mana is nice, Rikka… smart and loves Mana? Alice is rich? With some more episodes they could develop and present them more but there is not enough time with all those plot lines (Fresh says hello, it had exactly the same issue). For this I like much more approach of Futari Wa Precure and, above all, Yes 5. There they didn’t go for complex characters, just some simple types mixed together and thrown into adventure – it’s not realistic or deep, but who cares as it simply works. It’s also easier to add some new characters to the band – with YPC5 we had 5 Cures, 2 plushies (ok 3 counting Milk) and bad guys who had some kind of personality shown. But they went for simplicity.
    For me biggest flaw of Precure so far (since HeartCatch but Fresh had traces of it) is that they have problems in reaching the audience. So instead of cool girls in frilly clothes blowing stuff up we are having cute girls doing cute things, which from time to time “fight”. Also they try to make characters more realistic – so they have some problems in life, are uncertain of what they want to do. It’s nice and all yet there is not enough time to show all those aspects in context of how typical Precure season looks like (I mean events that are bound to happen – like 23rd episode power up/new character, at least one power-up along the road and so on). I wonder how they will make it here, I suspect it will end up like Fresh with great potential but in the end wasted. And than hopefully they will go back to cool girls kicking and punching bad guys🙂

    1. I wrote this entire post and didn’t even answer my own question…hehe. Whoops. ^ ^ I do agree that there few outcomes that will help reign in Dokidoki’s messiness at this point (one of which I outlined in my comment response above, mind the Sailor Stars spoilers).

      It was difficult for me to respond to this comment, as we differ so much on our opinions of character dynamics in Fresh (which is actually my favorite Precure, hehe), as well as our interpretations of how the characters in Dokidoki! have been presented. Yes, I think the series has done a disservice to Mana, Rikka, Alice, and especially Makoto, by not developing them properly; however I do think that they’ve been established as more than Nice, Smart, Rich, Socially-inept. It’s the very fact that Dokidoki! has had brief flashes of good character development of these four that I am disappointed it hasn’t built it more.

      You bring up Futari wa, which I also love, and I find it incredibly interesting that you have seen these flaws in the Precure franchise as a whole since Fresh/Heartcatch. These were the two series that began marketing to an older audience/existing fanbase as well as a younger one. Perhaps, in trying to capture the hearts of both audiences, the series has actually isolated itself a bit. As for the transition from brute force to more magical prowess, I’d like to direct your attention to this wonderful little article here.

      Thanks for the comment. ^ ^

      1. I messed up here😀 I didn’t mean that girls in Fresh are flawed because they are badly written, it’s more about: Buki lack of confidence, some actions of Miki (there is a LOT here but for example how desperate she was about taking care of Chiffon – I really felt that she was struggling here). So its fact that they lack something – confidence, place to be or normal emotions. And in some way being Precure gave it to them. If I’m disappointed about something in Fresh it’s not focusing more on those girls, but than they gave Setsuna arc and Westar devious wig plan so I’m fine with it.

        About this character development in Doki, there is another thing that I’ve noticed: in some way both Rikka and Alice can be described not as “who they are” but “whom Mana is to them”. For example, Rikka is smart, loves her family… is jealous of Mana making friends, is provider of common sense to her, trust her and so on. It feels kind of weird or it might be some kind of illusion on my side. I would love to see some more of who they are when they are “alone” – and that’s why I do hope Princess will become Precure😀

        My fav scene from New Stage movie but seriously either Black or White would be able to do it on her own😛 it’s just a ship. But going away from my fanboying Black (which can be only beaten by how awesome Nozomi is)… I’ve read once article where creator of One Piece had faced a choice what to do next, should he try to develop series along his old audience or do what he was doing till this time and he supposedly chose second option. Now to the point: it seems to me that what they are trying to do is first option (combined with appeal to adult audience). So we get more plot-lines, complex characters, weird settings (I don’t know who created city in Suite but it was some madman/madwoman) – compared with this first series were simple: “Some ordinary situation –> Nozomi gets weird idea that makes no sense at all –> BAM bad guy appears and he’s gone –> Nozomi was right all along” (or Nagisa but she is Precure with most common sense in franchise to me, followed by Saki/Mai combo). It’s not a bad thing they just have problems with adding it to structure of Precure series – just like in DokiDoki, too many great stories to be told, characters to explore and worlds to save.
        Somehow I miss those ordinary girls with their common problems who just happened to meet magical plushy during their normal day.

  7. @ajthefourth finally after a while regina came back and more then that got the second legendary item which is belong to the queen so by this i think it pretty obvious she will become good if she have the queen spear

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