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Old 2013-02-21, 15:54   Link #841
4Tran
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Episode 32

We continue where we left off with Joker stealing most of the Precures. Miyuki shows off how dumb she is by letting him do the same thing to her, and Candy doesn't want to be left out, so she joins them as well.

Overall, it's a pretty standard "break out from mind-control/amnesia" episode with a dose of "keep getting beat up until you finally win" thrown in. It's pretty pleasant overall, but I would have liked to see something more interesting than just Cure Happy doing all of the heavy lifting. The Phoenix doesn't really add a whole lot to the Precures' finisher - although it should be noted that these look a lot better than the ones in Dokidoki.

This episode also demonstrates how effective Joker is as a character. His role couldn't be authentically pulled off by any of the other generals. That scene in the imaginary classroom was executed pretty well - it managed to generate disquiet without having to use any overly heavy-handed techniques. I still think that I prefer the random fun episodes more, though.


Episode 33

This episode doesn't stand out enough to justify a new post. It's pretty much a bog standard "everyone's in a film" episode. The problem with these is that they tend to be too cheesy to maintain any versimillitude, so it ends up being a lot less fun than it could have been. Pop being cool, and Red Oni's love of Blue Oni were the best parts of the episode.

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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
HeartCatch's ending is the only ending I can say was good on a symbolic/conceptual level. The drama with Yuri's father leading up to it made that finale singularly defining. Dune also never wasted a whole bunch of time monologuing about pointless shit like why he could "never" be beaten. The only reason Smile beats out Heartcatch for me is because the regular episodes were more consistently entertaining, and the characters I liked (Erika in Heartcatch's case, versus Reika and Yayoi in Smile) didn't end up getting pushed completely into the background by the arrival of new Precure.
I've been watching a few episodes of Heartcatch, and I'm taken by how good the random episodes are. Everything from the animation to the choreography to the writing shows off how much care and effort was put into the show. I don't know if any future Precure shows are going to get showered with this much love again because it feels like they broke the bank in terms of budget.
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Last edited by 4Tran; 2013-02-22 at 11:57. Reason: Added episode 33 comment
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Old 2013-02-25, 02:05   Link #842
4Tran
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Episode 34

This is the customary school festival episode. The class decides to run a fashion show with the theme being fairy tale costumes. One of the boys, Toyoshima throws a tantrum because he wanted to have a band performance.

Anyone who has watched Heartcatch will be instantly struck by how this episode plays out almost exactly like that other school festival (episode 36 for those who are keeping score) - they even ended the same way. The difference being that the fashion show/concert at the end is nowhere nearly as good as the Heartcatch one. It looks like they only had 1/4 the budget for the scene.

It's sort of curious that the importance of conforming to the group's decision is played up here. There'd have been more real conflict had Toyoshima been less of an ass.

The costumes for the girls are:
Yayoi - Little Red Riding Hood
Akane - Princess Badroulbadour of Aladdin
Reika - Kaguyahime
Nao - Alice of Alice in Wonderland
Miyuki - Cinderella?


Episode 35

This is the one where Cure Happy gets turned into a giant robot. It's an awesome episode with lots of clever touches all over the place. The villains are way more entertaining when they work together. It's too bad that doesn't happen very often. Cure Peace demonstrates yet again why she's the best Cure (in this show)!
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Old 2013-03-05, 11:33   Link #843
4Tran
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Episode 36

This is the obligatory Precure romance episode, and the current victim subject is Akane. It looks like we're doing character focus episodes, and the mecha episode was Yayoi's.

Akane is a pretty decent character, but Precure isn't capable of pulling off romance episodes, so this one doesn't have that much going for it. Only halfway through the episode and Brian, the love interest, already has to leave forever. There's some decent artwork, but other than that, it's one of the more forgettable episodes. I wonder why Precure still insists on this kind of material.


Episode 37

Election time! Unfortunately, it's also a Reika episode, and Reika can be best characterized as "boring". It doesn't get any better here as her election platform is a lot more boring than that of the competition. She gets the regular "my friends are with me" boost, but really the other Cures come off better than she does. The ending with Wolfrun sticking around for the election even after his Hyper-Akanbe gets beaten is sort of neat though (he totally should have won). Reika's "inspirational speech" is really just uninspiring pap. I think that the creators were aware of how boring her character is, so they gave her some nifty combat abilities to make up for it. It's not quite enough.


Episode 38

Every once in a while, Smile Precure pulls off a special episode where everything clicks, and the show gets ridiculously fun. Episode 35 was like that, and so is this one.

Here, everyone - the Cures, Wolfrun and Red Oni get turned into little children (5 years old?). Candy gets turned into a baby, so we don't have any antics from her.

The Cures as children is loads of fun, and even Reika gets into the act by being not-boring! And since everyone acts like children instead of just looking like children, they end up playing together; even Wolfrun and Red Oni! They even redid all of the transformations and attacks for the Cures' child forms.

Even though this is technically Nao's character focus episode, everyone gets to shine. Wolfrun gets to show how cute he is, Peace gets to show how smart she is by not attacking the Hyper-Akanbe, and Sunny is adorably useless as she can't jump high enough to spike her attack. All in all, this episode was fantastic - it's way better than any of the Suite episodes I watched, and I'd be happy if Dokidoki can manage anywhere this much quality.
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Old 2013-03-06, 14:07   Link #844
Midonin
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gdgd delivers once again.
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Old 2013-03-06, 14:23   Link #845
Sol Falling
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gdgd delivers once again.
Oh wow.
That's pretty great.
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Seasonal enjoyment ratings:
HappinessCharge Precure 100/5 :: Stardust Crusaders 80/5 :: Mushishi S2 90/5 :: Akuma no Riddle: 15/5 :: Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san 24/5 :: GochiUsa 33/5 :: Soul Eater NOT! 18/5 :: Love Live! S2 80/5
Summer: Sailor Moon Crystal 24/5 :: Hanayamata 30/5 :: Locodol 30/5 :: Yama no Susume 100/5 :: Momo Kyun Sword 11/5
God-tier yuri oneshot mangaka: Minase Ruruu
Yuri Precure otaku manga: Shinozaki-san ki wo ota shika ni
Awesome shoujo manga: Last Game
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Old 2013-03-08, 00:28   Link #846
4Tran
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Episode 39

Miyuki's Turn! This time we finally go back to the original theme of fairy tales, and the theme for this episode is Cinderella. Miyuki as Cinderella and the generals as the step-family plays as expected, but Reika as the Prince is sort of neat. Yayoi is pretty awesome as the Fairy Godmother, and Nao and Akane got the short end of the stick as the mice and then horses.

It's a pretty fun episode all - I liked that we finally got back to a solo transformation and finisher.

I'd rank the focus episodes Yellow -> Green -> Pink -> Orange -> Blue.


Episode 40

Another Akane focus episode - does that mean that each of the Cures are getting another solo episode?

By the looks of things, this would seem like Wolfrun's finale. He goes out to duel Cure Sunny, and half the episode becomes an extended fight. There's some cool fight choreography here and Wolfrun looks more menacing than ever (we can see his gums and it's pretty intimidating). Sunny gets a new super finisher, but the team still has to go back to the Precure Royal Rainbow Burst to win.

Again, not a bad episode, although I'd like it more if the animators were able to put in a bit more effort to give Wolfrun the sending off he truly deserved. But if they have to make five episodes like this in a row, and still have something for the finale, I can see this being pretty hard to pull off.

On to the subject of Wolfrun - he's a pretty great character. Of the generals, he's the best regular one in Smile, and he's better than almost any of the others I've seen in the franchise. Great character design and lots of interesting stories whenever he's around.

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gdgd delivers once again.
They have good taste!
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Old 2013-03-13, 23:37   Link #847
Liddo-kun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
Miyuki's Turn! This time we finally go back to the original theme of fairy tales, and the theme for this episode is Cinderella. Miyuki as Cinderella and the generals as the step-family plays as expected, but Reika as the Prince is sort of neat. Yayoi is pretty awesome as the Fairy Godmother, and Nao and Akane got the short end of the stick as the mice and then horses.

It's a pretty fun episode all - I liked that we finally got back to a solo transformation and finisher.

I'd rank the focus episodes Yellow -> Green -> Pink -> Orange -> Blue.
I enjoyed the Cinderella episode as well.
Miyuki looks like she had a fun experience.

Just a few more episodes. You're near the end.
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Old 2013-03-19, 22:00   Link #848
4Tran
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Episode 41

It's a Yellow episode, so it's bound to be good, right?

- Yayoi has a beret? That's pretty awesome!
- I like how Miracle Peace is modelled after herself.
- They actually drew up yet another transformation?
- The fight against Red Oni is a lot better than the one last episode.
- Imagine how good it'd be if they used this kind of variety of attacks in previous episodes.
- Too bad they went back to the old group finisher. These episodes would be better if we skipped that attack.
- I love the yellow motif in this episode. The color sets it well apart from the other episodes. And they can still make this kind of shot:



All in all, this was a pretty kick ass episode. I think that the Yellow Cure favoritism is showing though.


Episode 42

Green episodes are always pretty good, aren't they?

- It looks like a family-themed episode as Nao is about to have another younger sibling. The family theme in Smile has a good record, so it looks promising.
- Nao going shopping with her siblings reminds me a lot of the shopping district in Tamako Market. It seems to be a fairly common story device.
- Nao is going to have to transform in front of the kids? That's different.
- March has always had the best transformation in Smile - the only thing that she does really differently is toss her hair back, but it's a pretty awesome hair toss.
- And. The. Fight. Is. Glorious!





What an exhilarating episode! The story is simple but very effective, and the animation is very good when it had to be. It even tops Nao's last focus episode in terms of being a great piece of entertainment.


I have no idea how people can say that Dokidoki is a better show when nothing there even comes close to just these two episodes. I'd be really happy if Dokidoki can improve to this level.
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Old 2013-03-21, 02:23   Link #849
4Tran
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Episode 43

A Blue episode? Blue usually isn't very good.

- It's the old "opportunity to study abroad" story. It doesn't really work here because Reika has never displayed any ambition in the show so far, so the conflict that this brings is pretty artificial.
- Hey, her grandfather's actually being useful.
- Joker's turn to fight? That bodes well for the action.
- There's some pretty nice group shot composition here:


Not only is there a nice contrast of light and shadow, but the characters are composed to make use of the space rather than placed in a flat plane. It's always pleasant to see the animators put in extra effort like this.
- Joker's demotivational speech is pretty good! Although he could have accomplished more by not even showing up.
- What do you know? They manage to justify false conflict by using the strong chemistry in the cast.
- And Cure Beauty finally uses her sword(s)! And bow! This fight scene might be even better than the ones in the last few focus episodes. This is Toei doing their best to match Heartcatch's visuals.
- Too bad they use the Precure Royal Rainbow Burst again.

Overall, this episode was a lot better than I expected. Reika is still a boring character, but the Cures have such strong chemistry that they still manage to overcome that. The fight scenes are sharp and fun, and the direction is strong.



Episode 44


Time for Pink. Miyuki isn't that great a character - she's okay in an ensemble, but she really doesn't have enough presence to pack much of a punch on her own. Luckily for her, Smile Precure is very much an ensemble show, and the chemistry of the characters make up for most weaknesses.

- Winter time, and it looks like Miyuki is going to have a more melancholy time this episode than usual.
- Wolfrun's still around? I wonder if he can still be an effective villain after the beating he took at the hands of Cure Sunny.
- Oh look, here's some background info we should have gotten forty episodes ago. Anne of Green Gables is too perfect as reading material.
- It looks like time for the story of how Miyuki got her Happy - a bit strange that it comes from her imaginary friend. Damn, it's really weird learning all this so late in the game. That bit in the OP is finally explained as well.
- Wolfrun makes his entrance and wastes no time laying the smackdown on Cure Happy. And for once, the Ultra Happy coming in to save the day is completely earned. It wouldn't work emotionally if we haven't seen the great interplay between the characters so far.
- The fight is pretty good, and Cure Happy's new finisher looks darned good. Too bad they still have to use the group finisher. It really does dampen the mood after the character in focus has just reached what should be their emotional epiphany.

This episode was another great entry in this last set of character focus episodes. The weakest aspect of it was that it introduced a character aspect of Miyuki that should have been display long beforehand. However the direction was really good, and the overall effect makes up for it. Curiously, I noticed a lot of extreme close-ups this episode. There seem to also be a lot of unusual camera angles and framing as well. These flourishes are used effectively though, so it's all good.


This set of episodes is overall better than the last set. The rating for this set would be Green -> Yellow -> Pink -> Blue -> Orange. However, they're still all pretty good. Given the quality so far, even if the rest of this show is just a loop of Miyuki saying "Ultra Happy!", I'd say that Smile Precure is a good show.
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Old 2013-04-12, 06:14   Link #850
ChibiGoku
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This... might not be good news for some people in here, if this turns out to be Smile:

Quote:
Who says superheroes are for boys only? Not Saban Brands, which will launch the new Gangnam Girls television series and brand later this year. Currently in development, the animated series will center on music and fashion, following five teenage girls chosen as magical superheroes to protect the earth and a fantastical land from classic fairytale villains. "Together, the Gangnam Girls prove that friendship, music, and girl power never go out of style" according to Saban.
Source: Cynopsis Media

Not sure how I feel about this, but I'm hoping it's an entirely different show all together.
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Old 2014-03-03, 23:34   Link #851
Random Wanderer
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So I'm watching this. I just watched episode 25, and I wanted to complain about it somewhere and it was either here or the thread for Happiness Charge, and here seemed more appropriate, even if this thread is old enough that I'm not sure anyone will read it, or reply if they do.

So, episode 25 is one of those "teammates get into a stupid rivalry/competition about something, carry it over into everything else they do going ridiculously overboard, and even end up deliberately interfering with each other in battle because of it, nearly getting everyone killed because the two of them are just plain stupid" kinds of plots. One can see them fairly regularly, and I'm never fond of them, but this one really rubbed me the wrong way. This is a Precure series: friendship and unity of heart are everything. This episode is more than halfway through the series, and these girls have been in the team since the beginning. They have no excuse by now for not knowing that everything only works when they work together. In fact they did know it (they used it to save Candy and defeat Pierrot a few episodes ago) until plot-induced-stupidity happened here.

This is especially irritating to me after having just watched through Suite Precure a few days ago. I realize not everyone thinks very highly of Suite as a series, but whatever else you say about it, the relationship Hibiki, Kanade, and Ellen formed with each other was solid. They would not fall prey to this sort of brainlessness this late in the series. Even when they disagreed with each other, by this point they wouldn't let it interfere with them in battle: their hearts were still in unity. I liked that about them. I liked it a heck of a lot more than watching Nao and Akane behave like idiot children when by this point they absolutely should have known better.
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Old 2014-03-04, 00:44   Link #852
Sol Falling
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Age: 25
Haha. Er, well, Smile is probably still on the whole my favourite season of Precure unless HappinessCharge manages to maintain its current sheer level of greatness all the way to the end of the season, so I will definitely be happy to read any impressions from new viewers, whatever they are.

As for that specific episode, though, I don't recall the threat/danger level reaching such a dire extent as you describe. Although certainly, Nao and Akane's teamwork should probably have been better I thought the episode came out well in the end as one of the best episodes highlighting Nao and Akane's relationship, as well as the first one (if I recall correctly) to feature a dual/combination finisher. From a fan perspective of an overview of the whole season, that episode is probably the most important one for establishing the basis of the Nissan Combi, i.e. the decently popular pairing focusing on Nao and Akane.
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Seasonal enjoyment ratings:
HappinessCharge Precure 100/5 :: Stardust Crusaders 80/5 :: Mushishi S2 90/5 :: Akuma no Riddle: 15/5 :: Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san 24/5 :: GochiUsa 33/5 :: Soul Eater NOT! 18/5 :: Love Live! S2 80/5
Summer: Sailor Moon Crystal 24/5 :: Hanayamata 30/5 :: Locodol 30/5 :: Yama no Susume 100/5 :: Momo Kyun Sword 11/5
God-tier yuri oneshot mangaka: Minase Ruruu
Yuri Precure otaku manga: Shinozaki-san ki wo ota shika ni
Awesome shoujo manga: Last Game
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Old 2014-03-04, 01:10   Link #853
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Three of the team trapped in ice and freezing to death, Nao and Akane outside in a blizzard freezing to death, all because the two of them not only rushed ahead to try to fight the super akanbe first, not only because they both refused to listen when Miyuki tried to tell them that they needed to use their princess forms to beat it, but because they were actively shoving each other out of the way to try to get to fight the thing first, just half a step short of fighting each other.

As for fan-pairings, sorry, but nothing here even touches the yuri subtext I could pick up from Suite. The Smile girls feel much... well... simpler. Less mature in their relationships with others, and their bonds with each other are weaker by far.

Quote:
as well as the first one (if I recall correctly) to feature a dual/combination finisher.
The girls have combined their special attacks before, that was just the first time where the combination in and of itself was specifically noted to have done something significant, rather than just being "we hit it with a bunch of attacks."

...Sorry if it sounds like I'm just complaining. The season seems ok enough on a whole, so far, and has had some specific moments that were quite good and unexpected. That episode just really rubbed me the wrong way.
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Old 2014-03-04, 20:09   Link #854
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Episode 43: Unlimited Icicle Works.

These individual battles have been pretty good so far. Pretty emotional.
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Old 2014-03-05, 00:26   Link #855
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Well, I finished the series. On a whole, I have to say my opinion hasn't really changed since my earlier posts. While there are several points throughout the series where it manages to be quite powerful, and points where it even does something unexpected, on a whole I still feel this series was weaker than Suite Precure. The overall story, the characters, and their relationships in Smile all felt like they had less depth in comparison. I realize one doesn't come to a Precure series looking for depth in the first place, and I'm certainly not trying to say that Suite is a deep series or anything of the sort, compared to anime that actually try to do such things. But in those areas I mentioned, Suite felt deeper (less shallow?), wheras in Smile those things felt simpler and more superficial.

Not that Smile is bad: as I said, there are a number of points throughout the series where I think it was quite powerful, and I found myself quite moved by what was on the screen. An early example is how they subverted the normal course of events in the sports festival in episode 18, where the girls all participated in the relay race. You spend the whole episode thinking it'll be about Yayoi training up and gaining the confidence to handle her part, and that once she manages that their team will pull off a win, or a close second (win being more likely, but either one can be done in these scenarios). When Nao instead tripped on the final sprint, causing them to come in last, it was... unbelievable. It broke every convention for that sort of story. It left me wide open for the emotions in the scene, and I found myself crying along with her when she broke down in tears after the race.

There are a number of things like that throughout the series: points that are individually powerful and moving. Their problem, I think, is that they are individual points: they don't link up and strengthen the series as a whole.

Meh. I'll stop trying to analyze things. I'm not really good at it. I'm just spouting stuff off the top of my head here. I still enjoyed the watch. Next comes DokiDoki.
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