This Week in Anime
Pretty Pretty Precure

by Nicholas Dupree & Michelle Liu,

It happened. Hell froze over and Precure is legally streaming! Crunchyroll has introduced the larger anime community to the magical girls that diehards already knew were special. What makes Precure awesome? Nick and Micchy dive into the first six episodes of the most recent season to pick best girl and explain why Pegitan must be protected at all costs.

This series is currently streaming on Crunchyroll!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.

@Lossthief @Liuwdere @NickyEnchilada @vestenet

Nick, you know how kids' cartoons are all about the important life lessons? Hard work, perseverance, friendship, kindness, all the good stuff, all delivered with a healthy dose of pink sparkles or sweet explosions or whatever else the kids want. Well I'm happy to tell you that Precure is ahead of the curve in nailing the most topical of lessons: the importance of covering your dang mouth when you cough.
Gotta love 2020, where even innocent and escapist kids cartoons get dragged kicking and screaming into being topical.
Considering lead times I'm sure it's a coincidence that this year's installment of Pretty Cure centers on fighting back a magical infection, but I still want to believe somebody working on the show is a time traveler trying to warn the world of the trajectory 2020 would take. Not sure a glorified toy commercial would be the best medium for that, but hey, they tried.
So yeah, after 10,000 years, Precure is finally free from licensing hell and ready to conquer the world of English language anime streaming. We were originally planning to hit up Kira Kira A La Mode, since Crunchyroll put all of that up last week, but they also conveniently filled in the missing first 12 episodes of the latest series, so why not try to stay topical? So let's talk about Healin' Good Precure, or as I like to call it:
You know it's good because it has cute, relatable animal mascots. Just look at the penguin. It's got anxiety.
I've only known Pegitan for 6 episodes but if anything happens to him I will personally slap every employee at Toei.

Protect this adorable, socially anxious dork penguin. He's just trying to live his life but the world is a scary, virus-filled place.
So up front: My exposure to Precure is extremely minimal. I've seen like, half of the original Futari wa Pretty Cure, a handful of scattered episodes of other series, and I remember like 1 episode of Glitter Force where they talk about "Japanese Pizza" and nothing else.
The original series, you say?
Back in the days we only had TWO Pretty Cures to protect us from the ever encroaching forces of darkness, and we APPRECIATED IT.
If we're talking history with Precure, I can't say I have much more experience with the franchise than you do. Every year I tell myself THIS is the year I keep up with the Cures, and every year I fall behind a handful of episodes in. To date I still haven't seen a whole Precure beginning to end, not unless you count the Chinese knockoff series Balala the Fairies.
So just putting that up front. We're both neophytes to the Cures that are Pretty, and going into this mostly with our own experience with other kids' anime for context. So, I have to ask hardcore fans to cut us some slack if we miss some particular references or misinterpret some traditional parts of this newest entry. For instance, I have no idea if having a whole team of Mascot critters to go along with the main girls is a usual thing or not, but the Digimon-loving part of me very much appreciates that all the Pretty Cures are technically Biomerge Digivolutions this season.
The animals don't seem to be a constant? At least I seem to recall last season's dog princess equivalent being an awful baby. Either way it's just a matter of how many toys you can churn out of the show, when you get down to it.
All I know is I like these little squirts a lot more than Mipple and Mepple.
The dog queen is seriously out here trusting a trio of medical interns to protect the world from plague. Luckily they have even newer magical girl interns to shove all the hard work onto. They're not at the very bottom of the totem pole!
That's right, these stuffed animals have a license to practice medicine, magical though it may be. I can only imagine how their simulations went.
Really though, I dig this season's use of medical imagery for its theming. The over all "healing" aspect seems to have more of an environmentalist bent - they're healing the corrupted elements of the world like water, trees, etc - but the way they incorporate doctors coats into the transformation sequences is just aces.
Just the perfect thing to go with their sparkly pink stethoscopes and first aid kits that are most definitely available as toys that you can purchase for your 6-year-old daughter/niece/cousin. As much as I dig the creativity that goes into the series, it is really obviously a toy commercial.
Oh, it's absolutely a shameless advertisement for plastic, but the better toy vehicles are the ones that can build a likable cast and compelling story around the stuff designed to suck money out of parents' wallets. And from the episodes we checked out I'd say Healin' Good does a pretty good job of that.
Okay, let's just get this out of the way, Hinata is the best. Like the whole cast is a bunch of sweet lovable dorks but Hinata is just on another level.
Through osmosis I gather every season has at least 1 absolute doofus of a Cure, but Hinata really takes the cake- er wait, this isn't the Dessert themed series. She takes...something, alright?
I really like how her first reaction to finding a talking cat mascot critter isn't "why does the cat talk" but "HOLY CRAP A TALKING CAT." Also she makes terrible dad jokes and that's just quality.
Speaking of those jokes, I get the feeling the official translator is likely less fond of Hinata.
I mean I'm pretty sure Heybot! made all the same bad puns and more, but I can forgive somebody for not wanting to dig through Heybot! scripts for inspiration.
But yeah, girl's an absolute bundle of energy and excitement that runs head-on in whatever direction she happens to be facing. Which just so happens to be where the giant monster is.
She's not the brightest, no, but that's why we love her. And she's not even the main character of this thing!
I mean, she should be. She certainly has the most enthusiasm for this whole superhero shtick.
Not to throw too much shade at the actual main character. Nodoka's plenty sweet! She's just not as attention-catching as the two Cures who can run for more than two minutes at a time.
Jokes aside I actually really like Nodoka. She suffers a bit from having to be the mediator between dunkass Hinata and super-student Chiyo, but the way they tie her own past into both the superhero aspect of being a Pretty Cure, and specifically this series' focus on "healing" works really well.

She got endless support until she could recover from her mystery illness, and in turn she wants to offer "healing" to the world in any form she can. Nodoka knows how it feels to suffer and wants to make sure nobody else has to hurt like she did. To her, compassion is personal.
And that's a really strong, emotional way to set up our lead! I can easily imagine a shallower take where Nodoka wants to help because Helping Is Good and that's why she wants to be a doctor, but by giving her a more personal motivation, it both fleshes her out and makes any ensuing fights feel more weighty.
That's what keeps the show's themes of friendship and compassion feel genuine rather than like platitudes. The characters have a personal stake in doing the right thing; it's not "just because." In a time where compassion is more critical than ever before, that's an important lesson to get right.
And that's all I can really ask from a show aimed at 7-year-olds. It's polished to a candy-coated shine and every episode introduces a new toy, but if it can craft sincere and endearing characters then I can weather a lot of gaudy plastic accessories. It also helps that the mascot-partner system means the girls also each have a Digimon-esque foil to bounce off along with the other Cures. Heck, instead of immediately introducing our 2nd magical girl, episode 2 instead takes the time to flesh out Rabirin, and how she has second thoughts about basically drafting a recently chronically ill girl into their fight.
Leading to another important message: concern for another's well being is important, but so is respecting their wishes and judgment. Rabirin learned a very important lesson in communication that day and came out of it a better bunny.
It's a solid message for anyone, but especially kids. And it's a credit to the character writing so far that despite literally having Rabirin say the moral of the story out loud, it doesn't feel like it's talking down to the audience to get the point across.
It helps when you sandwich the morals between goofy shenanigans and magical girl kicks. The character writing is pretty strong, but we really mustn't discount the power of Cure Kicks.
They're good kicks. Healin' Good Kicks even.
There's one thing in this show that's not Healin' Good though. We gotta talk about Nyatoran real quick and how his damn face dredges up memories from like 2007.
Don't you dare besmirch my tiny cat son.
Look, Nyatoran still has it better than Pegitan imo. Nobody's harassing him for looking like he belongs in a gift shop.
Pegitan will be fine, he's got the one (1) responsible character in this show to look after him.
Speaking of Chiyo though, I really like that she's honestly looking out for Hinata rather than nagging just to nag. Rather than being an uppity perfectionist who looks down on other people for not living up to her standards she's just... a nice kid, if a bit of a worrier. Her conflict with Hinata isn't a clash of personalities so much as a simple miscommunication.
It hasn't been stated (in the episodes we watched anyway) but I get the impression Chiyo's a bit awkward when meeting new people. She's plenty comfortable helping them out, like meeting Nodoka, but when it's time to just chill and hang out she's unsure of how to handle herself.
I mean, she thinks Hinata's dad jokes are funny. There was no way she was ever going to be cool.
But yeah, I like how even in a cast of uniformly kind and generous personalities, there's still clashes and growing pains between these 3 kids who barely know each other and suddenly have to be sisters in arms. Plus I certainly relate to Chiyo worrying about Hinata considering she's...Hinata.
Who can blame her really?
Girl's first instinct is to throw hands with a virus demon, she needs at least one momfriend to bail her out of the consequences of her own actions.
If only to spot her some cash!
But yeah, Healin' Good is a real Feelin' Good time through these early episodes, and now that the whole series (so far) is out legally I'm def planning to catch up at some point. It's a genuinely engaging, well put together show and I encourage folks who haven't boarded the Precure train to give it a show. Just look at these adorable little twerps!

It's a cute little show for sure! I definitely come out of every episode feeling the healin'. It doesn't cut as deep as some other Precure series, but it's still plenty nice.

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