All posts by Cure Kiyoku

About Cure Kiyoku

I am just a girl who has recently discovered the joys and excitement of some very wonderful Anime series and loves video games. Like all Senshi, my powers have come upon me by surprise, and I find new ones after my toughest battles.

Cure Ace and Regina-san

I finally saw episode 45 of DokiDoki Precure, and it was VERY exciting.  I have to admit I was a little naughty.  It took a while for the English subtitles to come out, and I got a little grumpy waiting.  I had to remember what Cure Dolly taught us about being grateful for things and not complaining.  It is really wonderful for us that there are people who translate Precure and give us subtitles, so that those of us who do not speak Japanese well enough can still watch.  I did watch it raw while I was waiting for the subtitles, but I really did not understand much.

Cure Ace vs Regina-san

Anyways, it turns out that Cure Ace and Regina-san ARE the Light and Dark sides of the Princess!  In Deanic/Filianic thealogy, we would call them the True and False Selves of the Princess.  I have noticed that this a rather common theme in Precure.  In Heartcatch Precure, Cure Moonlight had to battle Dark Precure, who was created by her father from her substance, specifically to be her enemy.  In addition, all of the girls had to do battle with their False Selves as a test before they could level up to be strong enough to face Dune.  In Smile Precure, there was an episode where the girls had to battle Dark versions of themselves as well.

Selfish MinionEven though this is a common theme in Precure, in DokiDoki, there are some interesting twists.  One of the twists was that the other Minions of Darkness were standing on the sidelines, and they were perfectly willing to attack Regina-san to steal the Dragon Glaive, even though she was supposedly on the same side as them.  The Dark is not very good at being loyal to its own, it seems.

Cure Heart protecting Regina-sanAnother interesting twist is that Regina-san does not seem completely Dark.  In Heartcatch Precure, we could feel some sympathy for Dark Precure, but she was still Dark.  Yet, Regina-san has her moments of being Light, and Mana-chan/Cure Heart has been working hard to try to redeem her.  Also, Cure Ace seems to think that she is supposed to annihilate Regina-san; however, Cure Heart protected Regina-san.  I have a strong suspicion that it is a lot more complicated than that.  I wonder if Cure Ace needs to embrace and love Regina-san.  That has happened before in Precure as well.

I wonder what is going to happen next.  It looks like there will not be a new episode this week, but the next episode will be a week from now.    It seems from the previews that we are going to learn what happened to Trump Kingdom.

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Carrots are Made With Love

I have to admit that the last episode of DokiDoki Precure, episode 37, touched on one of my faults.  See, I am a bit of a finicky eater.  I do not mean to be.  It is just that there are a lot of things I dislike.

Scary CarrotsOne of the things I have learned from Cure Dolly is that it seems that in Japan, being a finicky eater is not a good thing.  Cure Dolly was very brave when she was in Japan, eating raw egg and natto.  Cure Dolly also showed us a movie that teaches us how important vegetables are here.

In DokiDoki Precure, episode 37, Ai-chan will not eat carrots.  We have learned in previous episodes that it is dreftly important that Ai-chan continue to be a sweet baby, and not turn into a selfish one.  If Ai-chan turns selfish, the powers of Evil will get stronger, and she will lose her protections.  It seems that being a finicky eater is a way she can turn selfish <deep blush>.

Carrots are Filled with LoveWell also find out that Aguri-chan is also a finicky eater, or at least she does not like carrots either.  As Cure Ace, she has to learn to eat carrots in order to defeat the Selfishness, and to set a good example for Ai-chan.  Cure Ace is able to do so after learning about and thinking about the love of the people growing and cooking the carrots.  She conquers her dislike of carrots and learns to love carrots too.

Ai-chan and CarrotsI do not know that this will inspire me to get over some of my finicky-ness, but is it something to think about.

Oh yes, by the way, did you see the previews for next week?  It looks like Regina-san may be back.  Oh yes, I wonder if my theory about Cure Ace will turn out to be correct.  It is getting quite exciting, isn’t it?

The Curse Monster

I started watching the very first Pretty Cure series, or more accurately, I started watching it again.  See, I watched the first two episodes a few months back, and then I was curious about the name of the monsters.  I remembered that in Smile Precure, the name for the monsters, Akanbe, meant a rude face that is sometimes made by children.

I was quite shocked and surprised that the name for the monster in the first Pretty Cure series was a bad word in Japanese, a REALLY BAD WORD!  I will not repeat it, because it is a bad word.  I stopped watching the series because of it, and I went back to watching the later series, Heartcatch, Suite, Smile, and DokiDoki.

Last week, though, there was no DokiDoki Precure, and instead, the lastest All Stars Precure movie was aired.  Even though it was first aired a year ago, I had not seen that movie, so I decided to watch it.  It was really good, but really scary.  I found Fu-chan a bit creepy, but I am glad that it all worked out in the end.

Oh dear, I am going off on a tangent.  In Precure All Stars, you get to see all the Precures from all seasons, even though it seems that it is the most recent two sets of girls that are featured.  Most of the series involved the girls from Smile Precure and Suite Precure, which was fun.  Still, we did get to see all of the girls, all the way back to Cure Black, Cure White, and Cure Luminous from the first Pretty Cure.  So, I got curious.

vacuum-cleaner-monsterI started watching it again, and I think I can manage it if I think of the monsters as Curse Monsters, rather than their names.  I really do not know Japanese well at all, only a few words here and there, so it does not bother me as much as it would if it was an English curse word.  If you can get past the fact that the word is used, though, it really makes for an interesting moral and metaphysical statement.

In the world today, people seem to use curse words like they are just normal words.  It is strange.  Even nice people swear; even grandmothers swear nowadays.  People just seem to think it means nothing at all.  In Pretty Cure though, the Curse Monsters are really nasty, and they do a lot of damage.  I just finished watching episode 2, and the villain made a Curse Monster out of a vacuum cleaner.  The Curse Monster just sucked up all of the energy in the city to feed the side of Evil.  That seemed symbolic to me, and it is often how I feel when people are swearing around me.  It feels like all of the energy is being sucked up in the Aethyr to feed the side of Evil!

I did like something else though.  When the Pretty Cures purify the Curse Monsters, they stop saying the bad word, and instead say, “Gomenna,” which I think is an apology!  I like that the Curse Monsters apologize as they are being purified.  That seems very right too.

So, I guess I am going to keep watching the first Pretty Cure.  It is the only series that seems to be available on Hulu Plus, which I can get on my regular television.  That is rather convenient.  It is too bad that none of the others are available that way though.  Maybe someday!

See also:

Magic Girls are For Real

Pleasant Speech

The Image Sphere

________________________

Cure Dolly commented on my post, and I guess that I misunderstood.  I am a bit embarrassed that I had my information wrong, but maybe this is something good to have cleared up on the Internet somewhere.  Here is Cure Dolly’s response:

I think we need to clarify this, because there is a huge amount of disinformation on this subject on the Web. It is as if West Tellurians have a visceral need for everyone to have taboo words just like theirs. The idea that they don’t seems to worry them almost as deeply as questioning their Darwinist Creation Myth. No doubt this is a psychological reflection on the importance of verbal pollution to a decayed culture (and how it isn’t actually as casual as it sounds, but is a sort of inverted need), but it would take us too far afield to go into that right now.

So to get to the point:

The name of the monster in Futari wa Precure is ざっけなよ zakkenayo. It does not mean or remotely imply any bodily act or function, despite what a lot of people on the Internet confidently and stridently declare. Their declarations say more about them and the state of their culture than about the word.

Zakkenayo is actually a slangy contraction of ふざけるなよ fuzakeru na yo. Fuzakeru means to clown around, josh, fool about etc. Using the plain dictionary form with “na” is a rather rough, masculine way of saying “don’t” and yo is an emphasizer. So essentially a very abrupt way of telling someone to stop playing the fool, perhaps equivalent to “You! Quit clowning!”

Now this is very offensive and does break a taboo, because the Japanese are civilized people and this is not the way you should ever talk to anyone. If you do it will cause deep offense. In that sense only it could be compared to West Tellurian body-language (to coin a phrase). But the comparison is much more confusing than helpful, and the bald and confident (why are West Tellurians at their most confident when they have no idea what they are talking about?) statement that it refers to a bodily function or is a “taboo word” in the West Tellurian curse sense is just false.

It is clearly a word intended to show the fuwa or athamë (rejection of proper Harmony or Order) of the monster. This in itself is untranslatable, because in the West Tellurian mind the very concept of wa or thamë (proper harmony) no longer exists.

Who Is Cure Ace?

DokiDoki Precure is getting pretty exciting, isn’t it?  I am really, really interested in who Cure Ace may be.

Cure Ace

Here is my guess.  We may find out in a day or so, but I will begin my predictions now!  I have noticed that Regina-san does not have any memories, and I have been wondering all along if she is really King Selfish’s daughter.  The Princess is still asleep, as far as we know.

Regina-san 2

Anyways, I wonder if the Princess was split somehow when King Selfish took over the Trump Kingdom.   I wonder if, somehow, her good and bad parts became separated into Cure Ace and Regina-san.

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SPOILER ALERT (for Heartcatch Precure)

There is precedent for that in Precure, I believe.  If you remember Dark Precure was the other side (or sister) of Cure Moonlight.

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Anyways, I guess we will find out soon.

What do you think? Who IS Cure Ace? Give us your ideas and see more theories here:

Who is Cure Ace? The discussion continues!

Fyggs and Wishes

I have enjoyed playing video games for a long, long time.  Sometimes almost too much, I am afraid.  One of the interesting things I have learned is that most of the video games that I have liked over the years come from Japan.  One of the games that I really like is Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for the Nintendo DS.  This games has a number of wonderful features for us here at Senshi.  Aside from being an exciting adventure story game, it allows you to have an all girl team and to play dress up with one’s armor and equipment.  The armor and equipment shows in game play, so there are times when one has to choose between fashion and good statistics, which is often a difficult choice!

Fygg ScreenshotAmong many interesting things in this game are subplots that form the basis for a large part of the beginning of the game.  As part of the main plot, fyggs or fruits from a Celestrial Tree fall down below to the terrestrial plane.  These fyggs purport to be able to grant the desires of people that eat the fygg,  Yet, the granting of the desires turns out to be quite problematic.  The fygg turns the person into a monster, that as the heroine, one must defeat.  After the monster is defeated, we find that the original person was usually quite ordinary, with ordinary faults and failings.  These made for quite interesting and often moving subplots to the game.

Those of us who have been watching DokiDoki Precure will likely recognize this theme.  The villains from the Selfish Kingdom “grant the wish” of their victims by turning their heart black, stealing their hearts, and using these dark hearts to create a monster that creates havoc until the Precures come to defeat the Selfishness and return the cleansed hearts to the victims.

So, what is wrong with one’s wishes being granted?  That is a good question, and I think that the answer is a bit complex.  I think that one of the points in both the game and in DokiDoki Precure is that victims wishes are not really being granted.  I think that maybe the best way to explain is that these are the wishes of their False Self, or the part that we all have inside that is not aligned with Good, like the popular Western motif of the little devil on our shoulder.  Our True Self is that which is aligned with the little angel on our shoulder.  As you recall, in DokiDoki, the victim often resists the urge that the villain eventually uses to steal their hearts.

I think that there is an assumption in both Dragon Quest IX and in DokiDoki Precure, that most of us truly wish to be good, and that this wish trumps any self centered desires that we may have.  As the Dragon Quest game proceeds into the larger story line, we find that the fyggs are actually…oh oops…spoilers.  Well, I can say that the fyggs themselves are not evil either, and the wishes of the victims are not evil wishes, they were just corrupted.  In fact, we find out later in the game that fyggs are actually fruits from the Divine in Her Daughter form.  In the Dragon Quest game, after the victim of the corruption is purified, the energy from her wishes are also purified, and the entire town or village benefits.

As I am writing, I am having a really hard time being able to put into words the difference between the corrupt wishes and the purified wishes.  Even if I were to give spoilers and specifics, it would be hard.  I think I am realizing that it is because these concepts do not translate well into English.  I have started learning Japanese as well, but my studies have been cursory and quite basic, unlike the other authors of this site.  I was taught a Japanese term that may explain this somewhat.  There is a Japanese word wa that roughly translates to “harmony.”  I say roughly because harmony in English mostly refers to music, but there is a deeper harmony of life, society, and the cosmos that is reflected in earthly music (or it should be).  The term wa refers to this deeper harmony.  The opposite of wa is fuwa, or disharmony.

This may seem like an aside, but it really is not.  I have noticed that I have not necessarily got as involved in DokiDoki Precure as the other authors of this site.  I think I know the reason why.  It is because I need to watch it with English subtitles.  I have found that the DokiDoki dialogue seems rather strange and awkward in English.  In talking with Cure Dolly, who watches DokiDoki Precure with Japanese subtitles, she has mentioned that she  could imagine how difficult it would be for the translators.

One of the things that she explained was about the Selfish Kingdom and the monsters, “Selfishnesses.”  If I understand correctly, selfish is not really the precise term, but there is no equivalent in Japanese.  From what I have been told, in Japanese culture, there is an expectation that people will think of the group and community first, and to do otherwise is considered quite rude.  For example, it is my understanding that a statement that seems positive to a Western mind, “Do what you want to do,” is considered quite insulting in Japanese culture.  The closest translation to this concept is selfish, from what I have been told.

This takes me back to the premise of this article.  I think that in DokiDoki Precure and in DragonQuest IX, it is not the wishes themselves that are problematic.    We should have dreams and wishes.  What is problematic is when these wishes only relate to one’s own personal well-being without considering the group or the society.  When the wishes become fuwa, or they are granted in a way that is fuwa.  This actually prevents the wishes from being realized in a way that is wa, or in harmony with the group, society, and with the Music of the Spheres.

I have not finished the game DragonQuest IX, but it is getting quite interesting in a metaphysical sense as the story is progressing.  DokiDoki Precure is also getting quite interesting.  For example, it seems that Regina-san can turn people’s heart’s black without their specifically opening the door with “selfish” thoughts.  I wonder how that is possible.

So, I will leave these thoughts as they are at the moment, but there may be more as I get through the game, and as the DokiDoki Precure series progresses.

Is Innocence Safe?

hummy-yes“I am naive, that is why I get hurt so much.”  I do not know about anyone else, but I have heard that a lot.  One of the biggest arguments against being innocent is that it not safe.  People tend to accept the belief that innocence and naivety equate with vulnerability as true, without even questioning this.  Is this really true though?  Suite Precure has an answer to this question.  That answer is: No! It is not true at all.  In fact, it is the opposite that is true.  It is cynicism, not innocence, which leaves a person vulnerable!

****For those of you who have not seen Suite Precure, you may want to wait to read this article.  This is a BIG, BIG, BIG SPOILER!  Just to let you know, I am writing about episode 21 of Suite Precure***

Hummy's like that

In Suite Precure, the fairy that helps the girls out is Hummy.  She is a sweet little cat and songstress.  She is also quite innocent and naive.

On the side of evil is another cat and songstress, Seiren.  We find out in the series that Seiren used to be good, and her and Hummy used to be good friends.  Seiren was smart and quite cynical.  In the first episode, Seiren calls Hummy an “airhead,” and Hummy told her, “thank you.”  Seiren’s reply was that this was NOT a compliment.

Hummy and AphroditeHummy never stops believing in their friendship though.  She believes in it so much that she ends up handing over a big victory to the side of evil, when Seiren tricks her into believing that she turned good, when she had not.

This was not the end of the story, though.  With the approval of Queen Aphrodite, the Queen of the good land, Major Land, Hummy keeps believing in her friendship with Seiren anyways!

Hummy Keeps Believing

She does not give up on it, even when Seiren is about to sing the Melody of Sorrow for the side of evil.

No Matter What

Seiren TearsThis belief and love starts to break through to Seiren, and the Evil King Mephisto says, “Friendship? Love? Trust? It’s all useless.”

See, this is a lie, though, and even the evil people know this.

Earlier in the episode, King Mephisto was told, “This friendship that Hummy believes in is really quite dangerous.”  Dangerous to evil, that is!

As it turned out, Hummy’s love and friendship really did get through to Seiren.  She not only turned good, but she became a PRECURE!  She became Cure Beat!

Hummy and Cure Beat

 So, which is REALLY the safer course, cynicism or innocence?

Smile Precure Review

Smile Precure is a lot of fun to watch, and at first glance, seems to be for a rather younger audience than some of the other Precure shows, like Heartcatch Precure and Suite Precure.  This is a bit deceptive though.  Like all of the Precure shows, it is rich in metaphysics and moral wisdom.  It is quite wonderful show to watch for those of us reclaiming our innocence.  candy-in-book

The show starts off with a Middle School transfer student, Hoshizora Miyuki, walking to new school.  On the way to her new school, she meets Candy, who comes flying out of story book at her.   We later learn that Candy is a fairy from Marchenland, which is the land of fairy tales.  We also learn that Miyuki-chan really loves fairy tales, and likes them in particular because they always have happy endings.

This turns into the premise for the show, in that the Forces of Darkness in this show are the Bad Enders, who are trying to turn the world towards a Bad Ending.  It is the job of the Precures to restore the world to a Happy Ending.

Black InkTo a Western cynical mind, this may seem like Smile Precure is “fluffy” and light.  To us here at Musume Senshi, this is a very profound and relevant theme.  To begin with, fairy tales have deep metaphysical meaning and speak to Universal Truth (see The Symbolism of Fairy Tales).  The Happy Endings that are a part of fairy tales do not just speak to the Universal Truth of ultimate reunion with the Divine, but they also speak to what we need to hold on to in order to maintain our innocence.  Happy Endings are real and are inevitable.  The Modern world tries to tell us otherwise.  It tells us that a belief in fairy tales is naive, and that we need to accept a loss of innocence as we grow up. mirror-akanbe

 Interestingly enough, this is just the lie that the Bad Enders in Smile Precure try to get everyone to believe.  The tactic of the Bad Enders is to smear black ink on the blank story book pages.  They then create an Akanbe out of a nearby object.  The word, Akanbe, in Japanese, is a rude face made by children, pulling down their eyes and sticking out their tongues….and this is exactly what the Akanbe look like.  This is also quite symbolic for what the Modern world teaches us to do, deface beautiful things and make rude faces!

When the Bad Ender smears black ink on the story book, all of the people around fall down and become depressed, thinking that there is no point to all of their good efforts.  Isn’t that just what happens when we become cynical.  It is that cynicism that creates the Bad Ending, and is what gives energy to the Forces of Darkness.

cure-beauty-confronts-majorina

In order to defeat the Akanbe, the Precures must first realize the value of the efforts that the Bad Enders are mocking!

smile-precure-snow-white-story-telling

In addition to all of that, Smile Precure is quite bright and happy, with lively happy music at the beginning and end of the show.  This is a wonderful show to watch for us trying to restore our innocence.