Superheroes find an easy outlet to both champion and denigrate them in the press.
“What kind of disaster? Could it be something really scary like the Earth splitting in half or something?”
“No, no. Nothing like that. Could be nothing, depends on the person. But on the other hand, it could be more painful than the Earth splitting in half.”
-A conversation between Sakura Kinomoto and Keroberos, Cardcaptor Sakura, Volume 2
Disasters come in many forms.
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.
“We don’t want them to regret anything because of us.”
-Ayumi Momozono, mother of Love Momozono, Fresh Pretty Cure! episode 45
The ending to Fresh Pretty Cure! is wonderfully weird. I would say that the series goes off the rails, so to speak, but that would be admitting that Fresh Pretty Cure! had strict rails to begin with. Instead, it bends, travelling to places both predictable and eccentric, but somehow, when the dust has settled, everything makes sense in the end. I attribute this to the fact that, in spite of its wackiness, Fresh Pretty Cure! never loses sight of the emotional story it wants to tell, specifically where its four leading ladies are concerned. It’s a series where donuts can save the world, your neighbor can be an international jack-of-all-trades, you can ride a tiger around a sinking cruise ship, and your father puts wigs on pets. Additionally, it knows when to be serious and is genuine in its emotional simplicity. One moment, two characters are having a heartfelt talk, the next they’re fighting a giant octopus, and its all brilliantly entertaining.
In light of recent themes addressed in Gatchaman Crowds, I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about heroes, superheroes, and their ilk, arriving at the realization that multiple anime series offer a specific personality drawn, quite literally, to dreams of being a superhero. A character who communicates more easily through visual arts than the spoken or written word all too often expresses themselves through dreams, and drawings, of heroism or saving others.
I personally love this idea – not coincidentally because it is near and dear to my heart – because it ties into ideas of how various people communicate in different ways. If one is unable to communicate properly through speaking or writing, they are often more likely to project their desires into visuals. It just so happens that, all too often, these visuals are ones of heroism or traditional superhero values. In asking the question, “Why?” it’s possible to set an interesting framework through which to view these more artistically-inclined personalities.