Healin’ Good Precure: Cure Fontaine’s Transformation

A new Precure has been born! Here’s Chiyu Sawaizumi with her Healing Animal partner Pegitan, as they become the Precure of Water, Cure Fontaine!

“The Two Intersecting Streams! Cure Fontaine!”

The Making of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!’s Opening

Here’s a cool video for all you animation lovers. Crunchyroll uploaded an interview with a man named Abel Gongora, who directed the viral opening to Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! Kinda appropriate, huh? After all, this is an anime about making anime, so why not peek at how it was made?

Healin’ Good Precure: Cure Grace’s Transformation

Healin’ Good Precure premiered yesterday (or today in Japan 😅). Toei uploaded the full first episode on the official Precure YouTube channel. I didn’t understand all of it, but I liked what I saw! This might be a good season!

Here’s the transformation sequence for the pink leader, Nodoka Hanadera, and her Healing Animal partner, Rabirin, who together become Cure Grace.

“The Two Overlapping Flowers! Cure Grace!”

10 Things You’ll See in Almost Every Precure Season

Another season of Precure (Pretty Cure) just ended. This Sunday, Toei will debut the 17th season: Healin’ Good Precure. (Cheesy name, but anything’s better than HUGtto! Precure. 😑) Its themes are nature, animals, and medicine.

As you know, I have a love-hate relationship with Precure. I get excited about new seasons and merchandise, but nine times out of ten, I get bored midway through a season and drop it. It happened again with Star Twinkle Precure.

The writing in this series ranges from awful to okay. It hits “good” and even “great” now and then, but don’t count on it. Yet I still come back for more each season. It’s like candy. You know it has no nutritional value and won’t curb your hunger, but you can’t resist it.

Anyway, I’ve watched enough Precure by now that I’ve picked up on the most common tropes and plot elements. So if you’re new to the series, here are 10 things to expect in almost every season. (Warning: some spoilers ahead!)

1.  The Pink Leader

Haruka Haruno, a.k.a. Cure Flora, from Go! Princess Precure

Who’s the team leader? Look for the girl who’s pretty (cure) in pink. She may even have pink hair and pink eyes, too, because screw your science teacher! This is anime!

75 percent of the plot will revolve around her. So if you don’t like her or she’s flat as tissue paper, get ready for 50 episodes of misery. (Star Twinkle’s leader, Hikaru Hoshina, made a lot of fans wanna beat their heads against a wall.)

The pink leader trend started in season four, Yes! Precure 5, with Nozomi Yumehara, a.k.a. Cure Dream. (The “5” stands for the number of Precure that season.) Before then, pink wasn’t a main color. The heroines of the first season, Futari wa Precure (The Two of Us are Precure), were Cure Black and Cure White. In the third season, Futari wa Precure Splash Star, Cure Bloom wore hot pink, but most leaders nowadays wear light pink.

2. A Magical Kingdom in Danger

An evildoer and their minions have attacked a peaceful kingdom on a magical planet. The ruler (usually a queen or princess) sends one or more fairies to Earth to find the Precure, the legendary heroes who can save their world.

Which season am I talking about? I don’t even know. Could be any of them. The details vary, but that’s the basic setup of most seasons.

3. Transformations Galore

Cure Blossom from HeartCatch Precure!

It’s a magical girl show. What did you expect? Usually, each Cure gets her own transformation sequence, but there have been exceptions. For example, the girls in Suite Precure transformed as a group most of the time.

Also, Precure duos are a thing:

Unless something happens to one of them, duos always transform together. Sometimes they have to because their powers only work when they’re together.

Kirakira Precure à la Mode: Ichika Usami uses her Sweets Pact to transform into Cure Whip

So how does a Precure transform? She needs a magic item. It could be a cellphone, a watch, a tablet, a bottle of perfume, a compact, a pendant, or like next season, a wand.

If a Precure joins the group later (usually after she changes sides — more on that shortly), she might have a different transformation item than her teammates. For example, Cure Fortune from HappinessCharge Precure! used something called the Fortune Piano.

In their Precure forms, most of the girls get longer, brighter-colored hair (or a dye job like brown to blonde); mini dresses; boots; lots of accessories; magic weapons; and, best of all, super-human strength.

Cure White judo throws a monster

The OG Precure, Cure Black and Cure White, focused on hand-to-hand combat. That’s what made Precure stand out from other magical girl series. Toei added magic wands and sparkly attacks later, but the newer Precure still punch, kick, and judo throw their way to victory from time to time.

4. Cute Little Fairies

Sorry, Winx fans. It’s not what you think. Fairies in Precure are cuddly little critters who serve as the seasons’ mascots. They have cutesy names that may be a verbal tic they say at the end of every sentence, like “~mepo” or “~fuwa”. (The Japanese call these “gobi”. We don’t have gobi in English, so these always translate weird in dubs.)

So think Kiko or the Fairy Pets from Winx season four, except for one difference: these guys are more helpful. Sometimes, they partner up with the Precure to help them fight. For example, in DokiDoki! Precure (Heart-pounding Precure), each Precure had a fairy who turned into the magic pads the girls used to transform.

Toei’s doing something similar in Healin’ Good Precure. The girls’ Healing Animal partners turn into the magic wands they use to transform and attack. And their paws are buttons.

That’s adorable. Admit it: you’re jealous.

5. Monster of the Week

Another staple of the magical girl genre, the Precure have to fight an evil abomination every episode. It may be a friend or randon townsperson transformed by dark magic, or it could be an object brought to life by the Big Bad’s henchmen. After a beat-down and a finisher (some kind of purification spell), the monster reverts to its true form. The Precure may get a MacGuffin drop as a reward. (More on those in a moment.)

The monster types each season tend to have punny names like:

  • Kowainas: “Kowai na” means “scary”
  • Akanbes: “Akanbe” is when you pull your eyelid down and stick your tongue out at someone (like this Musa Emojix, Winx fans)
  • Oshimaidas: “Oshimai da” means “it’s the end”

6. A Fetch Quest

To save the fallen kingdom, the Precure usually need to collect the x number of magical MacGuffins. Sometimes they’re alive like the Pinkies in Yes! Precure 5 or the notes in Suite Precure. But usually they’re super-powerful inanimate objects the villains may or may not be looking for, too.

Over the years, we’ve had seeds, keys, cards, pins (“Decos”), gems (“Linkles”), and pens (writing implements). Next season, it looks like it’ll be something called Element Bottles.

Go! Princess Precure: Cure Flora’s Rose Elegant Mode, triggered by the Rose Key

As a bonus, the Precure may use the MacGuffins as power-ups. In Go! Princess Precure, the keys gave the girls alternate forms with new dresses and new special finishers. Next season is shaping up to be the same way. The Precure need their basic bottles to transform, and additional bottles give them new powers.

Speaking of power-ups…

7. Power-ups

Talking to you again, Winx fans. Remember season four when the Winx had their Believix form, the three special wings (Speedix, Zoomix, Tracix), and their alternate forms Sophix and Lovix? And we all said, “That’s too much!”?

Well, that’s a normal season for Precure. Here’s an example from HappinessCharge Precure! Megumi Aino, the pink leader, had six forms:

  • Cure Lovely (her base form)
  • Lollipop Hip Hop (power-up)
  • Cherry Flamenco (power-up)
  • Innocent Form (the mid-season power-up for all the Cures)
  • Forever Lovely (her ultimate form at the end of the season)
  • Super Happiness Lovely (movie-only form)

I don’t know if that’s the record, but it’s a lot to keep track of.

8. A Sixth Ranger (Who Used to Be a Villain)

HUGtto! Precure: The evil android Ruru Amour becomes Cure Amour? Mechokku! 😱

Don’t get used to the number of Cures at the beginning of the season. Someone will join the team later, and they’ll probably be a former villain turned good. In fact, if there’s a girl around the Precures’ age in the villain squad, you can bet she’s a future Precure. It doesn’t matter if she’s human, a fairy who can turn into a human, or an android. All species are welcome.

9. Heel-Face Villains

Speaking of bad guys going good, most villains in Precure aren’t evil. They may just be unhappy, disillusioned, or overworked. After several fights and a lot of persuasion, they’ll change their ways and help the Precure take down the Big Bad at the end of the season.

Heck, sometimes even the Big Bad has a change of heart in the end! Who cares if they almost destroyed the universe? The Precure will show mercy and tell them even they deserve happiness. (Your mileage may vary on how satisfying these endings are.)

10. The Baton Pass

Cure Star of Star Twinkle Precure passes the baton to Cure Grace of Healin’ Good Precure

The final boss has been defeated (or redeemed), calamity has been avoided, and two worlds have been saved. But another magical kingdom will soon be in danger. Time for a new team of Precure to suit up!

To hype the new season, the new pink leader shows up in the final episode of the outgoing season. Then at the end, the outgoing season’s leader introduces us to her and asks us to support her and her friends.

Final Thoughts

There. Now you’re ready to watch Precure. Since most seasons are standalone, you can start almost anywhere you want. The exceptions are Futari wa Precure Max Heart and Yes! Precure 5 GoGo! Those are sequels, so you might wanna watch Futari wa Precure and Yes! Precure 5 first.

The three Cures of Healin’ Good — (left to right) Cure Fontaine, Cure Grace, and Cure Sparkle — and their Healing Animal friends Pegitan (penguin), Latte (dog), Rabirin (rabbit), and Nyatoran (cat)

Healin’ Good Precure premieres Sunday. I don’t know if I’m feelin’ good about it yet (sorry, I had to), but maybe it’ll surprise me. Will this be the first season I watch from beginning to end since HappinessCharge? We’ll see.

My Childhood: Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?

Last year, Netflix debuted a new Carmen Sandiego cartoon called…Carmen Sandiego. It has two seasons now. For today’s kids, this was their introduction to the iconic lady in red. I even met a DeviantArtist who drew the new Carmen, but didn’t know this character has been around in some form for decades.

Carmen Sandiego was my favorite teacher when I was a kid. The games, the game shows, the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, and the original cartoon (which I’ll talk about in a moment) effortlessly blended learning with action, humor, and mystery.

835D3352-4CD9-47C8-8B1B-C6960D21A7F2
Carmen from Netflix’s Carmen Sandiego (2019-)

Including the Netflix version, there are now three well-known versions of the lady thief. The new Carmen, voiced by Gina Rodriguez, has brown hair and blue eyes. Unlike her predecessors, she’s not a villainess. Instead, she steals back the artifacts taken by the Villains’ International League of Evil, a.k.a. V.I.L.E. But because stealing is still a crime, the police and the ACME Detective Agency pursue her anyway.

Confession: I hate this new Carmen. It feels like they dumbed her down because Netflix didn’t want an actual thief as a main character. We don’t want kids to think stealing is good! 😱 So let’s make Carmen a…good thief? A little contradictory, huh?

0A25C383-048E-401D-A549-69B40397E1D5
Carmen from the box for the PC game Carmen Sandiego’s ThinkQuick Challenge (1999)

Anyway, the Carmen Sandiego we 90’s kids remember best had brown hair and brown eyes. According to her standard backstory, she used to be ACME’s smartest, most successful detective. There was hardly a crook she couldn’t catch.

She was so good, she got bored with it. So she created V.I.L.E. to see if she could outfox her former co-workers instead. That’s right. Netflix’s Carmen is trying to stop V.I.L.E., but this Carmen founded it. With the help of her henchmen, she could steal literally anything: the Crown Jewels, the Taj Mahal, the Moon, and even human beings’ ability to speak.

Most of the Carmen Sandiego media and merchandise starred this Carmen. Parts of her design varied, but she usually kept her brown hair, brown eyes, and of course, signature red trench coat and fedora. Also, you’ll notice she looks more sinister than the other two Carmens. That’s because this Carmen was the traditional cackling super-villain you see in comic books.

Where on Earth?: The First Carmen Sandiego Cartoon

884F15CE-49F5-4330-B403-D741721AB154
Carmen from Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? (1994-1999)

But my favorite version is the one from the first cartoon: Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? This Carmen, voiced by Rita Morenohad blue eyes like the new Carmen, but black hair instead of the usual brown.

Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? followed Zack and Ivy, a pair of sibling sleuths from ACME. Supported by the Chief and the Player — literally a kid playing a Carmen Sandiego game — they chased Carmen and her V.I.L.E. henchmen. (Side note: there were multiple Players throughout the series, both male and female.) Yes, it was all happening inside a game, but once you got sucked into the story, you didn’t really care. Besides, no 90’s PC game could be that advanced!

You should recognize those character names if you’ve seen Netflix’s Carmen Sandiego. Zack, Ivy, and the Player exist, but they help Carmen on her mission to stop V.I.L.E. I don’t mind these three working with her. In fact, in Where on Earth?, Carmen teamed up a few times with Zack and Ivy (and by extension, the Player) to catch more dangerous criminals.

But it’s weird seeing these characters work for her in the Netflix show. They’re basically her henchmen now. 😕

Anyway, most of the Where on Earth? Carmen’s story matches that of the Carmen from the games. She used to be a top-notch ACME detective, she left for some reason (the show hints that she got bored), and she founded V.I.L.E. But integrity-wise, she shares more in common with the Netflix Carmen — at least later in the series. She started out as an evil mastermind like the PC game Carmen, but the writers evolved her into more of an anti-villain.

This Carmen didn’t steal for monetary gain, but for the challenge of it. Sometimes, she even stole for a good cause. I think in one episode, she returned an artifact to the social group it belonged to. (Sounds like the new Carmen, doesn’t it?) Other times, she stole for some geeky vanity project like playing chess on the world’s biggest chessboard.

Whatever her objective, she stuck to her moral code. For one thing, she tried not to steal anything society couldn’t survive without. She also tried not to put the ACME detectives’ lives in danger (though they were pros at doing that themselves). That’s another thing: Carmen genuinely cared about Zack and Ivy, so much so that some viewers thought she was their mother!

We also learned pieces of her backstory, just like with the new Carmen. I won’t give them away because they’re in some of the best episodes (in my opinion). But because of them, even though she was a criminal, you couldn’t help but admire her — and feel sorry for her.

Honestly, this Carmen is one of my favorite childhood characters. I know the Netflix Carmen is inspired by her, but she doesn’t appeal to me as much. I like that the Where on Earth? Carmen turned to a life of crime, not away from it, but by the time she regretted it, it was too late. She could never go back to her old life. It made the later discoveries about her past even more tragic.

Whether or not you like the Netflix show, I recommend you watch Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? at least once. There’s a reason it won an Emmy. I think a company called WildBrain is uploading it legally on YouTube. Check out their playlist here.

Opening Theme

“Easy Breezy” — Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! OP

Oh, look! An opening theme for a recent anime! This show premiered a couple weeks ago, and man, this theme song is catchy!

You can watch Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! on Crunchyroll! (No, I’m not getting paid for this. I just like Crunchyroll.)

EASY BREEZY (4X)

VERSE
hai hajimatta karamatta karakatta yatsura wa
dokka ni icchatta dare ni tanomareta wake demo nai no ni
tomaranee fude koko de wa daremo ga ousama na no ne

te ka nagatsuzuki suru ki ga shinai
toka sonna seikaku de nani ga warii
tada suki na mon wa suki gaiya wa wo damari
KIMI musekinin koko chikyuu ZERO GRAVITY

ussai naa JAMA shinaide ne
IPPATSU HADE ni yatte miyou ya
noumiso IMAJINEESHON
mita mon kiita mon sore zenbu chi ni naru
toberu tobe namesasetoke

ataman naka mou kanseikei mieta
ataman naka mou jiyuu jizai
kokoro no amime komakaku shite
saikyou no sekai dekichatteru UNKNOWN

EASY BREEZY (4X)

CHORUS
icchoura PARItto kikonde
sentou MOODO nan da korya
douse yaru nara mendokusaku narou ze
naru you ni suru no sa EASY BREEZY

ii mon sa kakugo kimeta nara
yattarya ii jan donna mon da
yaburekabure demo dou ni ka kou ni ka shiyou ze
naru you ni suru no sa EASY BREEZY

Source:

“Database” — Log Horizon OP

COUNTERACTION RISING
YEAH WE ARE READY FOR THE PUNCH LINE
THERE’S NO USE WITH ALL YOUR GIMMICKS
SO CHECK THIS OUT!

LOGIN YOU DAMNED ONE’S
CRUSH THE WONT YOU COMPROMISE
THE NOISE COMES WE ARE READY TO BOW
WHAT ABOUT THE ANTIDOTE FOR THE JAMMED AND HYPNOTIZED
REND THE LIE THAT COVERS
WHO’S THE REAL SUCKER NOW

VERSE
sakimidareta hana no you ni azayaka na itami daki 
tatazumu machi o nukete mayoi no SERIFU wa sute 
kaeranai koe yo hibike 
WE SAY WOW WOW WOW WOW

CHORUS
DATABASE DATABASE
JUST LIVING IN THE DATABASE WOW WOW
THE WALL OF PURE FICTION’S CRACKING IN MY HEAD
AND THE ADDICTION OF MY WORLD STILL SPREADS

IN THE DATABASE DATABASE
I’M STRUGGLING IN THE DATABASE WOW WOW
IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER IF THERE IS NO HOPE
AS THE MADNESS OF THE SYSTEM GROWS

DATABASE DATABASE
JUST LIVING IN THE DATABASE
DATABASE DATABASE
JUST SAY WOW WOW WOW WOW


Source:

Notes:

Most anime change their opening themes each season or even midway through a season. But Log Horizon kept this song for season two. (Click here to watch the second opening sequence.)

Also, as you can see, most of the song is in English.

“Yasashisa no Riyuu” (trans. “The Reason For Kindness”) — Hyouka OP1

taikutsu na madobe ni fukikomu kaze ni
kao o shikameta no wa terekusasa no uragaeshi

VERSE
aimai ni unazuku te no hira no kyou
egaiteru jibun wa sukoshi oogesa de
nanika kawarisou na ki ga shite iru yo
kokoro ni yobikakeru kimi no sei da ne

kumorizora nozoita yokan
te o nobasou itsu yori mo chikarazuyoi yuuki de

CHORUS
hikari mo kage mo mada tookute sore demo bokura wa
yasashisa no riyuu ga shiritai
ima wa dare no namae demo nai kagayaki no kanata e
zenbu kako ni naru mae ni mitsuke ni ikou


Source:

Notes:

“Hyouka” means “ice cream”. It’ll make sense if you watch the show, which I recommend you do. 😉

“Hajimari no Hi” (trans. “The Starting Day”) — Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee OP1

VERSE
dochira e ikeba mirai ni tsuzuiteru no ka
wakaranakute kimi to futari de tada hashitta n da

kikoetemasu ka sore demo seiippai dashita
koe wa itsumo karete shimau mo kimi ni mukatteru n da

natsu no bourei ga abaredasu mae ni
motteru dake no kibou o motta
sore wa FURASSHU RAITO no hikari no you ni mirai o terashita

CHORUS
nee doko e iku doko demo iku
nigirishimeta te to te 
boku ga ite kimi ga ita hajimari no hi 

* REPEAT CHORUS *


Source:

Notes:

“Hajimari” means “beginning”, so most people translate the song title as “The Day of Beginning(s)”. But that doesn’t make any sense to me. However, I don’t like how I translated it, either, so I might change it later.

7 Anime Openings I Love, Even Though I Haven’t Watched The Anime

Happy New Year! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to talk about Winx Club on this blog less often. That’s literally why I came back here. After a couple more posts, I’ll focus on other topics.

Today’s post is about anime openings again. I love ‘em. Last year, I made a list of openings that get me pumped up and calm me down. This is a list of anime openings I love to listen to, but I’ve watched little to none of the anime they’re from.

All of these are from older anime. I just wanna share stuff from my past. Here we go!

1. “Musouka” (trans. “Dreamer”) — Utawarerumono

I know nothing about this anime, except that it’s based on a game. That’s it. Where did I even hear this song? 🤔

(Utawarerumono roughly means “one who is sung about”.)

2. “Chain” — Air Gear

I watched one episode of this anime several years ago. That was more enough for me. It’s not my thing.

The theme song is awesome, though. Too bad it goes with the most boring opening sequence ever!

3. “Crawl” — Nabari no Ou (trans. The King of Nabari)

My sister introduced me to this show, but I couldn’t get into it. People compare it to Naruto a lot, since they’re both about ninja. (Nabari is the name of the secret world of ninja.)

4. “Catch You, Catch Me” — Card Captor Sakura

Because of all the excitement around the new season two years ago, I started watching the anime from the beginning. But I’m not that far into it right now. Yet I used to listen to this song all the time, and I’ve even memorized the lyrics! 😅

5. “Brand New Breeze” — La Corda d’Oro (trans. [Ita.] The Golden String)

In case the sequence doesn’t make it obvious, this is a reverse harem (or “male harem”) anime. One girl. Seven guys. Goody.

Love triangles are bad enough, but a love octagon? Hard pass.

6. “Shining Stars Bless” — Nanatsuiro Drops (trans. Seven-Colored Drops)

What the heck is this show? A guy drinks a soda and turns into a sheep plushie? Then his crush becomes a magical girl and collects star drops to change him back, but she doesn’t know it’s him? And some guy keeps whacking him across the sky with a bat? 

And it’s based on an eroge (erotic video game)?!

Nope. I’m out. Nice theme song, though. (By the way, the anime is adapted from the clean version of the story: Nanatsuiro Drops Pure!!)

7. “Almateria” — Tales of Symphonia: The Animation

I didn’t love the game Tales of Symphonia. Maybe I’d like the anime more, but I’ve never bothered to sit down and watch it. But this theme song is gorgeous!

By the way, there are no real lyrics to it. The only recognizable words are the names of the two planets in the story — Sylvarant and Tethe’alla — and “Almateria”. It’s not even clear what language this is, but it’s not Japanese. Some fans think it represents the angelic language mentioned in the game.