When you’re a hot-shot television producer but you forget your business cards so you just end up yelling.
Pour one out for Mamoru Chiba’s eye.
I’ve previously waxed poetic on why I love Sailor Stars despite it being a bit of a disjointed mess. I’ve also written about how it’s inspired other anime visually — like the blocking of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica finale. This post isn’t about that.
Instead, it’s about another facet of why Sailor Stars is my favorite Sailor Moon season. Outside of the typical factors we use when rating anime — sensible things like animation quality, production, narrative coherency, overarching themes and symbolism — the circumstances and context of how we watched it and who with frame our emotional attachment. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling, and no other anime season inspires it in me quite like Sailor Stars due to how ridiculously difficult it was for me to watch it.
It’s been a short while since we’ve seen Takuya Igarashi and Yoji Enokido together. The last time they teamed up as director and series composer/screenwriter respectively was 2014 Spring’s Captain Earth. Prior to that, the two worked together on Star Driver. Captain Earth started off strong — especially when it came to visuals and cinematography — but lacked Star Driver‘s self-awareness and over-the-top silliness while telling a similar story of adolescence and robots.
In fact, as a director and writer team, Igarashi and Enokido often seem more at home with comedic moments, or combining over-the-top comedy with a few poignant emotional narratives, than he does when attempting something wholly serious.
When Puella Magi Madoka Magica initially aired in 2011, watching it was an experience. Following up on my experience with Star Driver, Madoka was the second water cooler series that I participated in, eagerly vomiting my thoughts into the ether, and chatting with various people on Twitter about the show. When the final two episodes were released, I was one of the eager fans continuously refreshing their browser while waiting for translations. Watching the finale as soon as I possibly could following the fansubbed releases, I jumped into the fray that was unpacking the entire series with vigor.
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.