Posted by psgels on 30 January 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Heartcatch Precure




In the first year after I started this blog, I personally was a big fan of the mahou shoujo genre (heck, my favourite series is one). Over the years though, this fandom became less and less. This mostly had to do with the genre stagnating: the mahou shoujo that got released lacked creativity, were all just poorly executed and never really took advantage of their formula to show some great characters. Heartcatch Precure broke this trend, and how! From the outside, it looks like just another Sailor Moon Clone, but within its premise, it does just about everything right here.

To start off with the production values: this show has better fights that most shounen series out there. The battles in this series are consistently dynamic and despite a huge amount of transformation scenes they never get boring or repetitive. This show excels both in hand to hand and long-range combat, and it looks ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS in the process. The animation in this series is consistently of a high quality, and always interesting to look at. Combine this with an awesome soundtrack, and you’ve got a feast for the senses.

This show also sets itself apart with characters that just are good, right from the start. Tsubomi and Erika are immediately very likable characters, and the entire series just focuses on portraying them as down to earth girls whenever they’re not busy fighting monsters. The characters that join and meet them are also wonderfully written and subtly developed throughout the series. Just about every recurring character has his or her chance to shine in this series.

You should note that this series does follow the classic mahou shoujo format. There will be a lot of episodes that are just dedicated to the characters running into people who have a problem, or are worrying about someone. Even here this series delivers though, because it consistently manages to portray these characters well and makes their problems easily relatable. Hardly ever does this show go for cheap ways to solve these issues, and here too things are kept wonderfully down to earth.

The main flaw of this series is that in the end, it does follow a pretty predictable formula, so expect to see the surprises in this show more in the fine details than in the overall plot. Having said that though, this show proves that you can do amazing things with that formula, and for every mahou shoujo trope that this series adheres to, it also subverts another one.

Another thing that might get on your nerves here is that this series really likes to use a lot of transformation scenes. Most episodes have around two to three minutes of them in total. The good thing though is that these are the best transformation scenes that I have seen since Utena. The animation in the series is already good, but in these scenes it’s five times better. Some of them are a true visual orgasm.

Still, what it boils down to is this: if you have yet to see the classic shoujo oriented mahou shoujo, but are interested in why people are raving about them, there are two series that I recommend: Cardcaptor Sakura and this one. Heartcatch Precure was exactly what the mahou shoujo genre needed and it shows the great things that simply an excellent execution and cast of characters can do to such a simple premise.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Dynamic, fun, childish but consistently enjoyable.
Characters: 9/10 – Both the recurring and the minor characters are all wonderfully fleshed out.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous production values and soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – Simple, but well fleshed out.

Suggestions:
– Cardcaptor Sakura
Mahou Shoujotai
Otogi Juushi Akazukin (Note that I would rate this one a bit lower if I were to watch it now).

20 Responses

  1. Shirucha says:

    Oh man, I’m going to miss this show sooooo much TT^TT

  2. Kim says:

    I know I keep saying it but you really need to watch Princess Tutu. :)

  3. AnimeFan000 says:

    This series is a 90/100 for me; I really loved this series.

  4. Firechick says:

    @AnimeFanooo: Yeah, me too. It did everything that most of the other Precure series failed to do (though I never watched any of the other ones).

  5. Jeremy says:

    I’m surprised you only gave this series a 87.5 after all the praise you gave it during it’s run. Oh well, I didn’t watch the show so I can’t really say for myself xD

  6. DmonHiro says:

    The only thing I would have liked was some background on Dune. Other then that, it was fantastic.

  7. Shirencel says:

    So sad seeing it ending now … But it was a great ride. This series really managed to catch my heart. …*slaps herself for the pun*

    Since you liked the characterizations / character designs so much, I reaaally recommend you to watch Ojamajo Doremi. now. It may be even more childish in the beginning, but it gets better and better with every single season (art- and especially story-wise, the last season is just… wow.)

    Maybe you can try watching the OVA “Ojamajo Doremi Naisho” first, it consists of 13 episodes and takes place during the 3rd season (with no spoilers whatsoever), but you can absolutely watch it without knowing anything beforehand! And it’s top quality, too.

  8. c160 says:

    Wow I’m so gonna miss this show :( The awesome fights,the surprisingly moving stories, the very fun characters.. I’m quite sad that’s its over now,for the series really captured my heart(hihi). Now I can’t wait for the movie to come out!

  9. du5k says:

    Is it possible to watch this by itself? I have not watch other PreCure series…

  10. psgels psgels says:

    du5k: yes, it is. You don’t need to have watched the previous precures at all.

  11. hoiut says:

    There were 17 decently watchable anime last month? Wow! Certainly didn’t expect to see Madoka Magic on there. Is it similar to Precure? Magical girl type anime are really not my cup of tea (though I can appreciate them from afar just fine). Something seems to be a tad different about Madoka, though. You mentioned it was a “deconstruction” of the genre? What?

  12. hoiut says:

    Um, don’t know how that comment of mine wound up here. The first part was intended for the January roundup, and the rest was intended either for the same place or for Madoka. Herp derp…

  13. Firechick says:

    @hoiut: Yes, Madoka Magica IS a magical girl anime, but it’s absolutely NOTHING like Heartcatch Precure. In fact, try imagining a magical girl anime produced by Tim Burton on crack and a writer on narcotics. That’s Madoka Magica for you…well, that’s how I see it.

  14. hoiut says:

    Wow. Here I thought it was a troll when anidb tagged it (in no particular order):
    “Angst, Horror, Seinen, mind fuck, not for kids, psychological, some weird shit goin` on, twisted.”

  15. Kalandra says:

    “Deconstruction” of a genre means playing out a genre unrealistic parts as realistic as possible.

    Think what Evangelion did for the mecha genre.

  16. kayla davis says:

    i loved heartcatch precure,because of the music.

  17. gandalf8 says:

    I agree that Dune could have been fleshed out much better, especially his background. As it is, he really is a rather one dimensional villain who is filled with hatred and wants to destroy the world, but at least he plays the role with conviction. Heartcatch Precure has certainly whet my appetite for more mahou shoujo though. I think I’m gonna watch Princess Tutu next.

  18. Artic says:

    I’m surprised it got only a 87.5 despite how many times this series blew you away and surprised you.

    Sure the ending was a bit too fast, but I think the other parts of the shows and the epilogue make up for it.

    Makes Heartcatch’s ending actually endearing and heartwarming, rather than over the top with Madoka’s(who unashamedly copied and proceeded to run away with all the fame.)

  19. Bunny says:

    This anime should of at least gotten in the 90’s because it’s truly a gem! Loved it to bits

  20. Firechick says:

    I know for a fact that this anime is going in my top 25 favorite anime of all time! More magical girl anime should follow Heartcatch’s example!

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 11:46 AM)
    Wait, wait scratch that, that was an old article/rumour…feck…
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 11:39 AM)
    @Bam: I was quite fond of Gillian Andersons character.
    Apparently Laurence Fishburne wants to quit the show =<
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:44 AM)
    I really enjoyed Alana Bloom’s shadow transformation during the season two hypnotherapy sessions. I thought was visually stunning and thematically relevant. Bryan Fuller has managed to gather quite a bit of talent around himself in the recent years, but Mads is undeniably both the egg that holds this cake together as well the cherry that’s sitting on the top.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:37 AM)
    Word of mouth and good reception managed to raise the viewership near the tail end of the 2nd season, that and the aforementioned cosponsorship managed to pull a hallelujah and bring the show back from the verge of death. And I’m glad tha happened.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:32 AM)
    I also always felt that their screen chemistry was mesmerizing and am very surprised that some critics found that it was lacking in that very same department, but to each his own I guess. The budget is not all that low actually, and the reason the 3rd season was greenlit was in part due to a dedicated fanbase, as well as the fact that this is a joint effort between NBC and a European studio who undertakes portions of the expenses.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:08 AM)
    There is this…certain chemistry between Dancy and Mikelson in that show too.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:01 AM)
    *their
    As much as I love the inventiveness and creativity of the death/crime scenes I can see how someone would find them silly.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:54 AM)
    @Bam: I had heard there were alot of cancellation risks but that there series was cheap to make, if its true the budget is low, then they’ve worked around it effectively.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:27 AM)
    But everyone knows that this is Mads Mikkelsen’s show, and it’s really his magnetic charm and the series’ strong cinematography that sells the experience. I also think that the special effects are very well handled, and the whole show has a seriously disturbing edge while still managing to stay classy. Quite sophisticated if nothing else.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:22 AM)
    @Emma: I’ve been steadily enjoying Hannibal and am thrilled for the third season. A lot of people had a problem with Hugh Dancy as Graham since they believe that he doesn’t fit the novels or the earlier adaptations, but I take this show as as a whole new reimagining of the story so I don’t particularly mind him, and I do think that he’s mania is quite palpable.

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