Watching Dokidoki! Precure is similar to revisiting Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars without the sepia-tinged glasses of nostalgia. When I was much younger and discovering anime through borrowing VHS tapes from a store in Boston, Sailor Stars was an experience. It was completely new to me and my friends – having only seen the North American dubbed seasons – and we ate it up. I often revisit Sailor Stars, in spite of its many issues and it’s place in my personal viewing history, as it has a lot to offer in the form of a magical girl template. A template that Dokidoki! was all too eager to follow.
By throwing in everything and anything, Dokidoki! diffuses a viewer’s focus enough to make them care about very little in the series, as there’s simply too much to care about. Additionally, it spins its wheels in the middling episodes, wasting the momentum gained from Cure Ace’s introduction along with pushing the character of Regina completely aside before reintroducing her as a key component of the series’ finale. I did struggle to watch at times, which naturally raises the question of why I bothered to finish it at all. Admittedly, much of this was driven by nostalgia, as one of my favorite series, Sailor Stars, drew a clear road map that Dokidoki! followed to both its benefit and detriment.
Mako-Pi and the Three Lights
An easy parallel can be drawn from the character of Makoto Kenzaki and the Sailor Starlights. Makoto comes from the Trump Kingdom searching for her princess, Marie Ange, whom she once served. Similarly, the Sailor Starlights come to Earth disguised as a group of male idol singers called the Three Lights. Both the Three Lights and Makoto – going by the nickname “Mako-Pi” while singing as an idol – sing their songs specifically to find their respective rulers. Just as King Selfishness claimed the Trump Kingdom as his own and destroyed it, the Starlights’ home planet of Kinmoku was taken over by Sailor Galaxia. The ruler of Kinmoku, Princess Kakyuu, narrowly escapes to Earth but remains in hiding until her eventual discovery much later in the series, much like Marie Ange.
In the beginning of their respective series, both Makoto and the Three Lights are very standoffish. Makoto does not initially want to fight alongside Mana Aida/Cure Heart, and the Sailor Starlights vehemently refuse to fight with Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon until she develops a relationship with Seiya Kou, who sees her as one similar to their beloved Princess Kakyuu.
Princess Marie Ange and Sailor Galaxia
Sailor Stars has the mysterious toddler Chibi-Chibi who appears to aid the sailor scouts, similar to how the baby Ai appears in Dokidoki! to assist the precure, eventually becoming Madoka Aguri’s partner, and allowing for Aguri’s transformation into Cure Ace. In both cases, nothing is known about either child until the final arc of their respective series. In Sailor Stars, there is speculation that Chibi-Chibi could be Sailor Moon’s daughter or the daughter of Chibi-usa, but these rumors are proven false when Chibi-Chibi’s true identity is revealed. Ai plays a role similar to Chibi-Chibi in Dokidoki!, while additionally providing similar focus episodes to Chiffon in Fresh Pretty Cure!.
As it turns out, Chibi-Chibi is the light of hope of the Sailor Stars world, the star seed of Sailor Galaxia that she sent away while on the verge of being taken over by the evil known as Chaos. With the “good” side of Sailor Galaxia hidden in the form of Chibi-Chibi, Galaxia was completely corrupted and began to overtake entire planets, like the aforementioned Kinmoku, before arriving on Earth to battle Sailor Moon.
Her corruption parallels that of Dokidoki!‘s Trump Kingdom, whose king selfishly releases a sealed evil, the Proto Selfishness, in order to cure his ill daughter, Marie Ange. His “goodness” is hidden deep within his alter ego of King Selfishness. The princess attempts to turn his heart, but is unable to fully commit to fighting him, due to the fact that he is her father. She ends up splitting her psyche – the Dokidoki! equivalent of the Sailor Stars‘ star seed – in two, with her “good” side becoming Madoka Aguri/Cure Ace, and her “selfish” side manifesting itself as Regina, the daughter of King Selfishness. The baby Ai becomes Marie Ange’s current form, and can be a force of good or selfishness, depending on influence.
Usagi Tsukino and Mana Aida
In Sailor Moon – more specifically in the manga than the anime but both are applicable – nearly everyone dies in each finale, and Sailor Stars is no different. Usagi finds herself the last one standing when all of her comrades have fallen. It’s important to note that Sailor Moon’s primary attacks are all of a healing nature, expelling whatever dark energy takes over a particular human body, rather than a combative one. In the Sailor Stars finale, she embraces the corrupted Galaxia, allowing them return Chaos in fragmented pieces to the galaxy. When Galaxia expresses concern over the fact that Chaos could return, Sailor Moon insists that they must believe in others’ ability to overcome their own darkness. Just as Chaos lies in the hearts of everyone, so does hope and love.
“As long as humans possess selfish hearts, I will revive again and again! That’s right, countless times!”
“I understand. Even I have a selfish heart. I may feel jealous and hate everything to the point of running away, but I think through pain and frustration humans grow stronger. Even if I lose my love, I have my friends here with me.”
-A conversation between the Proto-Selfishness and Mana Aida/Cure Heart, Dokidoki! Precure, episode 49
Mana is very similar to Usagi, although shown to be far more capable in school matters, in that she draws strength from her circle of friends and believes the best in everyone. In the final episode, she is briefly overtaken by the Proto-Selfishness, before reviving to defeat it. Her ending speech is nearly identical to Sailor Moon’s words to Galaxia, that selfishness and good lie in the hearts of everyone. While it may seem that Cure Heart single-handedly defeats the Proto-Selfishness, her power is both supplied and reinforced by the love from her friends.
The main problem with Dokidoki! lies not in the template it follows, but in its execution. Mana’s final form, and solitary fight, comes off as the series once again abandoning its supporting cast in favor of Mana. Sailor Stars had four seasons under its belt, allowing its audience to already know the lead sailor scouts prior to the series airing. In attempting to build a core series of relationships around the four main cures, followed by the introduction of Regina, followed by the complete banishment of Regina in favor of Cure Ace, and then attempting to tie it all together on a grand scale, Dokidoki! misses its mark, splitting audience focus in the worst way. That being said, I still enjoyed watching Dokidoki!, if only for the fact that it remembered love for one of my favorite series.