This post is in response to Scamp, aka The Cart Driver’s review of Heartcatch Precure! It goes way into spoilers, so be warned. If you want to read something significantly less spoiler-heavy, I suggest yesterday’s review.
Anime blogger Scamp recently finished his tour through the Precure franchise, unable to complete a single show. His last stop was Heartcatch Precure, which he lasted longer than any other show, but ultimately could not finish the task. One of his complaints is that the mechanisms that are used to bring back Cure Moonlight are introduced too suddenly, and that it’s made far too obvious that it’s going to happen. But the way I see it is that the show did a lot to prepare for that moment, even before they introduced all of that stuff, and it has to do less with plot details and more the thematic flow of that particular narrative.
Throughout the show, the Cures fight the Desertrians, gathering Heart Seeds which represent hope and dreams and all that good stuff. Moonlight, however, had lost her hope. She was the previous generation, and in suffering loss (particularly that of her fairy Cologne), felt racked with guilt, giving up her role as protector. The task to defend the world had been passed onto a new generation, namely Blossom, Marine, and Sunshine, and as they collected the Heart Seeds, they laid the groundwork for Moonlight to redeem herself, to learn from her mistakes while also forgiving herself. So while the previous Cures provide the newer ones with advice and wisdom, Blossom, Marine, and Sunshine in turn give the idealism and energy of youth. Although Cure Moonlight’s return is telegraphed to a degree, for me it built anticipation, and by the time it happened, I felt satisfied that the show had reached a strong emotional point with a solid expression of how the feelings of each character, especially Moonlight, defined their actions.
As for her relationship with Dark Precure, and why Dark Precure didn’t just end it sooner, it’s clear from very early on that Dark Precure has something of a complex in regards to Cure Moonlight. If the question is why Dark Precure doesn’t act more intelligently, it’s because when it comes to Moonlight and what she represents (and in turn, what Dark Precure represents relative to Moonlight), logical thinking is the last thing on her mind.
That’s just one example, but I think it speaks of my approach the best. If I could describe what I see as the key difference between how I watched Heartcatch and how Scamp did, it is that Scamp looked more for actions culminating in narrative events, a rational logic, whereas I sought actions culminating in personal fulfillment for the characters, an emotional logic. Scamp, if you disagree, feel free to correct me, but I feel like this might be the monkey wrench which prevents you from getting into magical girl shows. Not to say that you are some kind of unfeeling robot, but these shows tend to heavily emphasize the latter, many times at the expense of the former.
Sometimes I wonder if Heartcatch is actually the story of Cure Moonlight. She’s by far the strongest of the individual Cures, and in her I see this path of personal redemption that extends across multiple generations (obviously not literal generations). I’m reminded of a comment from a live broadcast of manga and anime critics discussing the show, where they describe Cure Moonlight as a magical girl from the Sailor Moon generation and Blossom as a magical girl of the Doremi generation, and that the show itself is the merging of those two points.