When we first meet Tohru of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, she is unmistakably a dragon. With green scales, yellow eyes, and a body that doesn’t even fit within the series itself — only parts of her are shown until she raises her head above the forest and takes off in flight — Tohru is massive and clearly strong.
Yet, for most of the series, Tohru appears as the young woman above — a cute, busty cosplayer with seemingly limitless energy. She appears as what she believes will be the most desirable physical representation to her soon-to-be employer, Miss Kobayashi.
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.
“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.”
In trick-oriented playing card games, a suit is sometimes nominated as a trump suit, elevating those cards above the remainder of the playable deck. Technically, they still operate within the overall rules of the game; however, as they are markedly noted as superior, their actions outrank those of the plain suits below them.
Adhering to its playing card motif, Dokidoki! Precure offers us Cure Ace, “the trump card of love.”
“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.