“First, you imagine what kind of human you want to become, and then you wish really hard for it.”
-Davie, to the other three precure fairies on transformation, Dokidoki! Precure, episode 29
Dokidoki! Precure and I have had our share of ups and downs. I had found my attention waning away from this series thanks, in large part, to its inconsistencies in addition to time constraints that had recently cropped up in my own life thanks to a new job. Dokidoki! is a series that when it’s on, it’s the best at what it does, and when it’s off becomes near unwatchable.
While recently making the effort to catch up, I stumbled upon a gem of an episode, episode 29, titled “Sharuru’s Big Transformation.”
Interestingly enough, episode 29 focuses on what are often – Tart in Fresh Pretty Cure! aside – the bane of a Precure viewer’s existence: the fairy partners to the legendary warriors. Precure as a franchise differs a bit from other magical girl series in the roles that the fairy partners play to their human counterparts. Instead of heralding a previously unseen evil’s arrival on Earth, the faires in Precure series actively bring the evil with them while escaping whatever homeland said evil has destroyed. In fact, in many Precure series one could make the argument that, had the fairies never shown up, there may have never been any otherworldly conflict at all (but then there would be no story, and that’s just not fun). Additionally, the fairies in Precure are physical vehicles of change, becoming cell phones, compacts, or other magical objects that allow for the transformation into Precure.
For comparison, Luna, from the Sailor Moon franchise, gives Usagi Tsukino the means to transform; however the evil entity was already threatening the jewelry store of her best friend, Naru Osaka. Additionally, Queen Beryl’s motives were always personal ones, aimed directly at Usagi and all she held dear. She would have arrived on Earth to wreck havoc regardless of Luna’s introduction. Likewise, Keroberos, of Cardcaptor Sakura fame, appears when Sakura Kinomoto accidentally releases the Clow Cards. Like Luna, he gives Sakura the power to transform – albeit his motives are far more selfish than Luna’s – and the series goes on to reveal that capturing the Clow Cards and the looming catastrophe are deeply personal to Sakura and her loved ones. The foretold disaster in Cardcaptor Sakura is something that Keroberos does not bring with him, in spite of giving Sakura the means to resolve the conflict.
In Dokidoki! Precure, the machinations of the Selfishness arrive thanks to Makoto Kenzaki and her fairy partner, Davie, who are fleeing the wreckage of their home, The Trump Kingdom. They actively bring the fight to Earth, which turns out to be a wonderful farm for selfish hearts. Immediately, Davie is established as a fairy partner who differs from others previously seen in Precure. She appears as the steadfast guardian of Makoto, taking the human form of the manager of Makoto’s idol career. Her physical appearance as a human is born of necessity, but also belies her role as a caretaker and additionally establishes her as one with power and experience. In episode 29, Davie is called upon to teach the remaining three Trump Kingdom fairies how to transform into humans, again exemplifying her role as a leader and motherly figure to not only Makoto but the other fairies.
“I want to become someone like Mana…”
-Sharuru, Dokidoki! Precure, episode 29
Upon their transformations, each of the fairies think to themselves of why they want to become human. Interestingly enough, these inner thoughts are ancillary, but not identical, to the reasons that they voice aloud to Davie while begging her to teach them. This is most obvious in Sharuru’s human form (pictured above) which looks almost exactly like her partner, Mana Aida. Initially, the catalyst for Sharuru’s transformation was the ability to help Mana with her duties as the student council president. However, as shown through Sharuru’s appearance, it becomes apparent to the viewer that what Sharuru really wants is to be just like Mana. As the episode progresses, Sharuru serves as another reminder of how, when others become caught up in Mana’s pace, they tend to overextend themselves. By acting exactly like Mana, in spite of the fact that her actions are born from good intentions, Sharuru ends up causing a mess that inadvertently affects others. This serves as a reminder for both Sharuru and Mana, in addition to cementing their relationship as friends instead of Precure and transformation vehicle.
Likewise, Raquel and Lance – Rikka Hishikawa and Alice Yotsuba’s fairy partners respectively – both express the desire to help their human counterparts with their human manifestations revealing a bit more about their personalities. Raquel thinks to himself that he wants to become a boy Rikka’s age, toeing the line of an unexpressed romantic interest in her; however, he appears a bit younger than he had expected. When he attempts to help Rikka as intended, he finds that this is easier said than done thanks to how diligent Rikka already is. Rikka assures him that how he can help her is by simply being around. This not only explains his slightly younger visual appearance – more of a younger brother than romantic interest – but a subconscious response to what Rikka really wants: a friend or family member that is simply present in her life, unlike her busy parents or her overwhelmingly active best friend, Mana. Rounding out the group is Lance, always the tag-along younger brother, who becomes exactly that physically. One of the sweeter moments in this episode is when Lance attempts to sing Alice to sleep, but ends up putting himself to sleep instead. This allows Alice to act the part of the older sister and caregiver, playing up her natural tendencies to support others.
Ultimately, I loved this episode of Dokidoki! because it focused on building the relationships between fairy and human, unlike previous series where such attempts often came off as overly dramatic and forced. Where one is made to have an interest in Mipple and Mepple of Futari wa Pretty Cure because they bring with them the reason that the Precure fight, Dokidoki! chooses to develop the fairies’ personalities as well as their friendships with those whom they help transform into legendary warriors. In this way, the fairies seem a lot closer to their human counterparts than in previous Precure series, similar to how Luna develops her own relationship with Usagi, and Keroberos develops his own relationship with Sakura. Regardless of how Dokidoki! continues its attempt to juggle its many plotlines and ever-growing cast of characters, I will look back on this episode fondly.