The 5 Phases of Precure New Season Hype

Now is the time of year when the Precure fandom starts looking forward to next season. Along with Toei, they have a predictable pattern of behaviors they go through each time. Some things have happened out of order this year because of COVID, but the hype train has left the station! All aboard!

Here’s what to expect when a new season of Precure is coming.

1. Toei files a trademark for the new season’s logo.

Whenever Toei (or any Japanese company) files a trademark, the information is made public. This is the kickoff moment. The Precure fandom starts speculating. What’s the theme of the season? How many Cures are there? What are their names? What are their colors? Will there finally be another legit green Cure?

The logo for the upcoming 18th season (good grief!) dropped this week. The season is called Tropical Rouge! Precure. Looks like the themes are makeup, mermaids, and the ocean.

While I don’t love the name, the logo is beautiful. I don’t know how I feel about the theme, though. The ocean and makeup don’t appeal to me, but mermaids are cool.

Oh, well. I cringed through Winx season five, the Sirenix season. Maybe I’ll get through this season — and even enjoy it.

Let’s guess some names. Cure Wave, Cure Sunset, and Cure Mermaid have already been done. (Fun fact: Cure Mermaid is also the name of a Yu-Gi-Oh! card.) How about Cure Coral, Cure Ocean, Cure Pearl, Cure Shimmer, or Cure Palm? Hmmm, these aren’t bad. I wonder if any of them are right.

2. Fake character designs flood the Internet.

Next, a bunch of fan artists draw fake Cures for the season and try to pass them off as official. This leads to countless Twitter threads, Amino posts, and YouTube videos with titles like, “OMG! Is this real?” It’s almost like a game to some fans. Who can fool the most people?

Some people think it’s funny; others think it’s annoying. Me? I don’t mind. They rarely ever fool me.

The only time it bothers me is if it’s malicious, as a way to insult the series. Something like that happened in the Winx Club fandom. A disgruntled fan made up a sweets-themed transformation called Candix and claimed it was the official season eight transformation. When they got caught, they said they did it because Winx Club has become so childish, a season about sweets is not out of the realm of possibility. (I disagree. Also, Precure beat them to it.)

But Precure fans don’t seem to be like that. They have gripes about the series, but it doesn’t seem like they take it that far. The fake leaks are just for fun.

On a funnier note, one of the fake leaks for Healin’ Good Precure was actually real — that is, it came from a real anime. My Hero Academia made up a Precure parody called More Let’s Preare (or something like that). The episode that featured it came out around the time the Precure fandom was expecting new season news, so they thought these designs were official. Oops!

3. The fandom finds the toy listings.

Usually, the toy listings reveal the real character designs, but they can be fake, too. Sometimes, a fan will take catalog pages from a previous season and photoshop their own Precure designs onto them. But when the real catalog comes out and the online listings are found, the jig is up.

4. Toei launches the new season’s website.

When the website for the new season goes live, the speculation train start to slow down. Eventually, we find out the names of the characters, the overall plot, the voice actors, the staff, the crew — everything a hardcore Precure fan would wanna know.

5. Promos for the new season appear in magazines and online.

I’m so jealous of the Precure fandom sometimes. Toei puts entire episode plots, with images, into a kids’ magazine called Fun Kindergarten (Tanoshii Youchien) every month! Precure fans consult these pages for news about the new season and for spoilers throughout the year as the season is airing.

Also, Toei uploads teaser videos on their official YouTube channel, as well as the annual baton pass between the leader in the outgoing season and the leader in the incoming season. Here’s the baton pass from Star Twinkle Precure‘s leader Cure Star to Healin’ Good Precure‘s leader Cure Grace.

Bonus: A fan hacks the toys and spoils the identit(y)(ies) of the Sixth Ranger(s).

Nine times out of ten, one or two new Cures join the group about mid-season. If those new Cures use the same transformation item as the other Cures, their voices will be recorded and programmed into the toys already. Fans know this, so they hack the toys, usually with toothpicks, to learn the name(s) of the future Cure(s) and who they might be.

Cure Ma Chérie and Cure Amour from HUGtto! Precure and Cure Earth from Healin’ Good Precure were leaked this way. What’s interesting in Cure Earth’s case is that she doesn’t use the Healing Stick to transform, yet that’s the toy that revealed her. She has some voice clips in it because her air, wind, and sound Healing Bottles, which hadn’t been released in the stores yet, work with Healing Stick toy.


That’s it — until next fall when the Precure fandom does it all again. So Precure fans, are you excited for Tropical Rouge! Precure? What are your predictions for the season?

“Hana no Iro” (trans. “The Color of a Flower”) — Hanasaku Iroha OP1

namida no ame ga hoo o tataku tabi ni utsukushiku

VERSE
kudaranai RUURU kara hamidasezu ni naite ita boyake sugita mirai chizu
surihetta KOKORO o umetakute atsumeta iranai MONO bakari

BAIBAI ano itoshiki hibi wa modori wa shinai kara

CHORUS
hiraite yuku chiisaku tojita KOKORO ga yoru no sumi de shizuka ni
irodzuiteku motto fukaku yasashiku asa no hikari o ukete

namida no ame ga hoo o tataku tabi ni utsukushiku


Source:

Notes:

Hanasaku Iroha can mean “The ABCs of Flower Blooming” or “The Blooming Colors”. The official English title of the anime is Hanasaku Iroha: Blossoms for Tomorrow.

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina: My Impressions So Far

Happy Halloween! Last year, I reviewed three “witchy” anime: Witch Craft Works, Flying Witch, and Ojamajo Doremi. Well, there’s a new witch on the small screen right now, and she’s…interesting. She’s Elaina, the hero of Majo no Tabitabi (The Witch’s Travels), a.k.a. Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina.

Just Do It, Like Niké

We open with Elaina as a child reading her favorite book: The Adventures of Niké, the diary of a witch who traveled the world. Elaina decides she wants to be a witch herself one day and embark on her own adventure. Her mom is almost too okay with it. (Side note: I think she’s Niké. We’re never told her name, so she could be, though she probably goes by something else to hide her identity.)

Elaina studies and practices until at 14 years old, she becomes the youngest person in the country of Robetta to pass the magic exams and become an apprentice. Apprentice witches wear porcelain flower brooches. I love those little worldbuilding details. 😊

This is where we find out her main flaw: arrogance. She loves being seen as a prodigy, and during her celebration dinner with her parents, she calls the other examinees “weak”. The poor things will be apprentices for years, but she’ll be a full-fledged witch in no time!

In order to become full-fledged, she has to train under another witch and earn her recognition. Surely, any witch would jump at the chance to train Robetta’s youngest apprentice ever, right?

Nope. Everyone turns her down.

While wondering what to do next, Elaina overhears her parents talking about someone called The Stardust Witch, who has recently moved into the nearby woods. She investigates and finds a witch shouting and flailing in front of a tree with purple butterflies dancing around her.

…Well, it’s not like she has other prospects. Elaina ignores her first impression and approaches the witch. Her name is Fran, and surprisingly, she knows who Elaina is and that she’s looking for a teacher. And she says yes!

Finally, Elaina’s training to become a full-fledged witch begins…

…Or not.

Fran’s Plan

For one month, Fran uses her as her servant. She makes her cook for her, wash her clothes, catch animals for her spells, kill spiders in her bathtub, and massage her shoulders. You’d think Elaina wouldn’t take it — that she’d grab her broom, fly out the door, and leave Fran to do her own chores. But no. She suffers through it, holding out for the day her teacher will finally decide to teach.

Now if you’ve watched enough anime, you probably realize, as I did, that Fran is up to something. I didn’t buy her airhead act. These types of mentors are always more clever and more powerful than they seem at first.

Just as Elaina reaches her limit, Fran decides it’s time for a test. A duel. Against her.

And she doesn’t hold back. She hurls energy beams, boulders, flames, and lightning bolts at Elaina. Eventually, she gains her composure and tries to fight back, but she’s no match for a seasoned witch. Fran knocks her to the ground over and over until she can’t stand anymore, then she holds her wand to her neck. Duel over.

Elaina bursts into tears. After awkwardly comforting her, Fran reveals that Elaina’s parents paid her to be her teacher. They wanted her to learn about setbacks and failures, so that in the future, when something didn’t come easy for her, she’d know how to handle it.

Unfortunately, this girl is too determined for her own good. She’ll endure anything to get what she wants…and that’s her weakness. It’s why Fran was able to exploit her for labor. She needs to learn to say no.

Interesting message. Most of the time, we think of cocky people as manipulators, not suckers. But having a big ego can make you easy to control, especially if you’re willing to do anything to gain approval or maintain your image.

Elaina takes the lesson to heart, and Fran finally starts teaching her. After one year, the apprentice blooms into a talented and powerful witch. Her training ends when she beats Fran at a duel for the first time. On graduation day, Fran replaces her flower brooch with an official witch’s badge and dubs her “The Ashen Witch” because of her white hair. (As for her name, “The Stardust Witch”, she chose it because it sounded cool.)

With her job done, Fran leaves Robetta. She’s actually from another country, and she came there to meet someone. Elaina asks if she did, but of course she doesn’t answer. Figures. Maybe she tell her when they meet again. (Spoiler alert: it happens early in the series.)

Now that Elaina is a witch, there’s only one thing left to do: begin her journey. Her father is one of those anime dads who doesn’t want his pwecious widdle baby to go, but again, her mother is 100 percent okay with it — on one condition. Well, three conditions. She makes Elaina promise:

  1. To run whenever she’s in danger
  2. To not think of herself as someone special
  3. To come home eventually and tell them about her adventures

Of course Elaina says yes (although she breaks the first two promises quickly). Her mother gives her a standard witch’s outfit, two hats (in case she loses one), and a diary to record her travels. So leaving her sobbing father in her mother’s care, the young witch takes to the skies.

“Who’s That Heartless Hero? That’s Right! It’s Me!”

The rest of the show is a bunch of episodic stories that take place in a random country Elaina is in. This is where things start to get weird.

After a lighthearted episode where she meets her future apprentice (I think) named Saya, the tone shifts dramatically. We’ve seen everything from curses and a slave to implied suicide and the genocide of an entire kingdom. It’s like watching a different show! This is not what I thought I signed up for!

The strangest part is Elaina doesn’t react to these situations the way you would think she would. I don’t mind cocky heroes. In fact, I like the contrast between their noble deeds and their big heads. It can make them more interesting than your typical virtuous knight or flawless superhero.

But even cocky heroes need to display some virtues like empathy and self-sacrifice. In other words, they should still be heroic. Elaina doesn’t feel that way to me. She’s not a horrible person — at least she cares about her parents, Fran, and Saya. But I don’t like that she rarely tries to help people in need, except in minor ways that don’t make a difference.

For example, in episode two, she finds a man in the midst of a curse taking over his body. What does she do? She backs up, jumps on her broom, and flies away without looking back. How admirable.

Oh, did I mention the curse is her fault? You’ll see what I mean when you watch the episode.

It ticked me off that she didn’t even try to help him. One viewer said there was nothing she could do, but I disagree. We see her turn back time in some scenes. Granted, as a young witch, I’m sure her magic has its limits, but I would have felt better if she had at least tried and failed instead of doing nothing at all.

So yeah, I don’t like Elaina yet. The most recent episode I watched helped me start to warm up to her, since she does act more selflessly and shows a sense of gratitude. But she has to do more to win me over.

I haven’t given up on her, though. Another reason I like cocky heroes is that they usually don’t stay that way. As I said in a post on my other blog (about a couple from Winx Club), flaws are tools for development. Characters have them so we can watch how they lose them.

I think this will happen to Elaina. After all, her mother made her promise not to think too highly of herself. She’s failing so far, but we still have seven episodes. Who knows what will happen?

Verdict

If you can tolerate Elaina’s arrogance and some darker moments — I doubt every episode will be like that — I recommend this show. And if nothing else, it’s gorgeously animated. Anime is not just entertainment. It’s art.

You can watch Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina on Funimation and Hulu.

Opening Theme: “Literature” by Reina Ueda

If Digimon Adventure 2020 Aired on Fox Kids

In the U.S., the first three seasons of Digimon aired on Fox Kids, which became FoxBox in 2002, then 4KidsTV in 2005. But what if Fox Kids still existed? And what if the Digimon Adventure reboot was airing there instead of on Crunchyroll?

Well, one fan created this alternate reality for us. They made a Fox Kids-style Digimon Adventure: theme song, and all I can say is I didn’t know how much I missed the Fox Kids era until now.

“Q?” — Digimon Adventure: ED2

I don’t post a lot of ending themes because I usually don’t listen to them. But this song is unskippable. It’s hard to believe it’s from a Digimon season!

Yes, the song is called “Q?” I think it means “Question?” because the singer, Reol, keeps asking “why” questions. (“Naze” [なぜ] means “why”.)


VERSE
naze ima kono te to te nigitte
tashikameta taion o
natsukashiku omou no ka
naze samidare no susabu shinen
hohoenda sono shisen ni
nakitaku naru
sono koe de boku o yonde kure

CHORUS
dare ni ienu kono yowasa ga
tsuyoku tatsu tame no jiku da to omoishiru
chigau kara itooshiku naru
tada wakaritai kimi to boku o
ikiru hodo kizu ga fuete iku
sore demo sagashiteru bokura no wake o
kasanete wa utsukushiku naru
ima wakaritai sakebi dashitai


Source:

5 Awesome Anime Songs Available in the U.S. iTunes Store

In case it wasn’t obvious, I love anime music. But getting it legally can be difficult…unless it happens to be in the U.S. iTunes store! Here are four anime songs I recently bought from there. If you love these songs, too, go get ’em!

1. “Saturday Night Question” — Recovery of an MMO Junkie

TV Edit iTunes Link: https://music.apple.com/us/album/netojyu-no-susume-original-soundtrack/1324475499

Full Version iTunes Link: https://music.apple.com/sg/album/saturday-night-question-single/1294670750

I recently binge-watched this anime on Crunchyroll. You might not be able to tell from the opening sequence, but it’s a geeky love story. The ending is predictable, but sweet.

Both the TV size and full version of “Saturday Night Question” are available on U.S. iTunes.

2. “True” — Dragon Drive

iTunes Link: https://music.apple.com/us/album/392-mikuni-shimokawa-best-selection/267296809

I watched a couple episodes of this anime forever ago. The only thing I remember about it is a cute white dragon and this theme song. Sorry, Dragon Drive. Maybe you’re better than I think you are. (I think I own all the manga. Why? 🤔)

3. “Koko Dake no Hanashi” (trans. “Just Between Us”) — Princess Jellyfish

iTunes Link: https://music.apple.com/us/album/awa-come-forever-edition/1086059513

I still love this anime. Too bad it only got one season. It had a live-action series that adapted the whole manga and a live-action film (that came out before the series), but I’m not interested in either. These characters look better in 2D, if you ask me.

4. “Aoi Honoo Syndrome” (trans. “Blue Flame Syndrome”) — Digimon Universe: Applimonsters

iTunes Link: https://music.apple.com/us/album/aoi-honou-syndrome-ep/1185128711

I usually skip ending themes. Not this one. I love it almost as much as the opening.

5. “Pop Team Epic” — Pop Team Epic

iTunes Link: https://music.apple.com/us/album/no-future-vacances/1417922989

Not gonna lie: this is one of my favorite anime opening themes ever. I’m not surprised it’s in the U.S. iTunes. After all, Pop Team Epic was pretty popular here, and it even aired on Toonami.

Masked Singer Season 4 Costumes Revealed, Premiere Date Set For Sept. 23

Fox started filming The Masked Singer season four last week (with COVID guidelines in place). Now we know the 14 characters (four less than last season) who will compete for the Golden Mask. They are:

  1. Gremlin
  2. Snow Owl
  3. Crocodile
  4. Giraffe
  5. Broccoli
  6. Popcorn
  7. Seahorse
  8. Jellyfish
  9. Mushroom
  10. Whatcha Macallit
  11. Squiggly Monster
  12. Dragon
  13. Baby Alien
  14. Sun

That’s…an eclectic lineup, as usual: more food, another monster (we’ve already had Monster and Miss Monster), and another alien. Plus, we’ve got another character who’s basically a monster, but since they can’t use that name, they called it some silly phrase that means “thing”. Two seasons ago, we had Thingamajig. I’m predicting Mabob and Whosit Whatsit later.

We already knew about Jellyfish because Tom Bergeron let it slip. He said by the time he joined last season, Jellyfish and Taco were the only costumes left. Obviously, he picked Taco.

Who chose the Jellyfish? We’ll find out soon! The Masked Singer season four premieres Wednesday, Sept. 23!

Crunchyroll Adds Kirakira Precure A La Mode

Kira Kira Pretty Cure a la Mode Poster with Official English Logo

Well, well, well. About two months after adding the current Precure season, Healin’ Good Precure, to their catalog, Crunchyroll has now added season 14: Kirakira Precure a la Mode (as Kira Kira Pretty Cure a la Mode). All 49 subbed episodes are already available.

This means Crunchyroll now has three out of 17 seasons. No, that’s not a lot, but are more on the way? I wouldn’t be surprised at this point.

Thanks, Crunchyroll. It’s about time this 16-year-old franchise gets more exposure. (Note to Winx fans: yes, Precure debuted the same year as Winx Club: 2004. In fact, they premiered less than a week apart.)

Kira Kira Pretty Cure a la Mode‘s Official English Description

I’m Usami Ichika, a second-year in middle school who loves, loves, LOVES sweets! When I heard that my mother was coming back from her job overseas, I decided to challenge myself by making a shortcake just for her! Just then, a fairy named Pekorin crashed in from the sky! It scared the heck out of me, but that was just the beginning! Cream explosions, cake thieves… all kinds of strange things started happening in our town! And as it turned out, there was a weird monster behind it! He’d been stealing the kirakiral energy that lives in sweets, turning all the sweets black!!

Going Green: Precure Fans Recolor Cure Earth

You’ve read my rant about how Toei Animation avoids green, which is why Cure Earth, who should obviously be a green Cure, is purple. Some fans have accepted her color, but others still wonder, “What if?” Well, thanks to their Precure fans, we have a decent answer.

YouTubers Lumina | Cure Eternity, Metamorphosis, and Ýukiberrii recolored Earth’s transformation sequence to turn her into a green Cure. Which version do you think looks best? Do you like Earth better in green or purple?

Lumina | Cure Eternity

Metamorphosis

Ýukiberrii

Healin’ Good Precure: Cure Earth’s Transformation

She’s here: the inexplicably-purple Sixth Ranger Cure Earth, the Precure of…Earth. Her Healing Animal partner is Latte, the pooch who’s served as an Earth-sickness alarm and radar since episode one.

Unlike the other Healing Animals, she doesn’t become a Healing Stick. Instead, Asumi places the Element Bottle of Wind on her collar to start the transformation. Clever way to get fans to buy the Talking Latte Doll. “You can’t become Cure Earth without her, kids!”

Jokes aside, here’s Asumi and Latte’s transformation sequence. It’s pretty.

“The Two Winds That Connect Through Time! Cure Earth!”