It’s fun to see how storyboarder’s and animator’s art reflects the girls’ personalities in the Precure transformation sequences. Let’s take a look at a few:This is our final look at Heartcatch Precure, the 7th series. Character designs are by Yoshihiko Umakoshi (he also worked on Berserk, Guyver, Mushishi, and My Hero Academia, so you can see he’s versatile. For Heartcatch, he returned to the expressive style of Ojamajo Doremi, even more extreme this time!
Our 4th Cure is Yuri /Cure Moonlight, a Purple/Silver Cure. Yuri is three years older than the other three, 17 and in high school, friends with Erika’s older sister. Yuri’s life is shadowed by tragedy.
When she was little, her father disappeared looking for the Heart Tree. She met the fairy Cologne and became Cure Moonlight. Cologne wanted to recruit another Cure to help in the fight, but Yuri refused.
She lost a battle with Dark Precure, Cologne blocked the killing shot and died. Her Heart Seed broke, her heart flower wilted, and she ended up at home, no longer a Cure.
Now she’s haunted by her failure and has repeated nightmares of her defeat. Through most of the series, we see her in the background, overcome with sadness. She knows that her overconfidence in not wanting a partner caused Cologne’s death. Her failure has put the Heart Tree and all life on Earth is in danger.
Tsubomi and Erika ask her for advice on how to become stronger and defeat the Desert Apostles. Yuri refuses, thinking they aren’t serious enough, and her advice would be worthless, coming from a failure.
Eventually the girls obtain a device that could allow her to become a Cure again. Initially she refuses, but when she sees that they’re about to be defeated she begs the Heart Tree to let her become a Cure again.
In her transformation, there’s none of the flailing of Tsubomi, or the delight of Erika and Itsuki. Moonlight finally has a chance to redeem herself. She’s deadly serious and resolute, and her placement of the Heart Seed is precise. Aya Hisakawa does a stellar job giving her a voice- she has to be one of the most experienced seiyū in the business. Here’s Yuri’s transformation:
Kaoruko/Cure Flower – As a bonus, Kaoruko is Tsubomi’s grandmother, 67 years old, and was formerly Cure Flower 50 years ago. She manages the town conservatory, taking care of all the plants, and gives Tsubomi and the others good advice about being Cures. In this episode, she transforms to grant a girl a Christmas wish to see a Cure, but ends up fighting the Desert Apostles. She doesn’t have the energy reserves she had when she was younger.
In general, the Precure series treat adult and elderly characters well, and Kaokuro is a good example of that.
Revisiting Heartcatch to find the photos and video excerpts reminds me of just how much I love this series! I also realized that a lot of the inspiration for this little series comes from the Sakuga Espresso column on Full Frontal.Moe. It’s worth looking at those little touches of masterful animation, even if they aren’t the big flashy effects that blow you out of your chair!
What do you think? I’d like to check some of the other Precure series, since they have different designers, key animators, and writers.