Category Archives: Go! Princess

The Ideal Princess

vlcsnap-2015-06-05-11h38m57s333 Episode 20 of Go! Princess Precure has recently aired, and the story is starting to unfold. In Episode 18, we met the author of the book that inspired Haruka-chan’s dream of becoming a princess. The protagonist of this book was the Princess of Flowers, who was loved by everyone. One day, a bird became jealous of her popularity and betrayed her to an evil magic user who held her prisoner. During her time of captivity, the princess never became angry or bitter, but instead remained sweet and kind. The bird regretted betraying the princess and helped her get free. The bird apologized to the princess, who forgave the bird, and they all became good friends.

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Not only did this story inspire Haruka-chan’s dream, but it also inspired the dream of her roommate, Yui-chan, who wants to become an author of children’s books. We find out that the author of the story was inspired to create a character based on who she wanted her daughter to grow up to be.

vlcsnap-2015-06-25-20h04m09s952Aside from the Cure Princesses, there is another Princess on the side of evil, Princess Twilight. We discover, at the end of episode 20, that Princess Twilight is likely Princess Towa, the younger sister of Prince Kanata. There was a time when she shared the same dream as the Princess Precure, to become a Grand Princess. In order to become a Grand Princess, the girls must become 強い tsuyosi (“strong”), 優しい yasashii (“gentle”), and 美しい utsukushii (“beautiful”).

We discover that Princess Towa had been missing for some time, and that without her the Hope Kingdom became unable to resist Dyspear. When Prince Kanata and the Princess Precure find her in episode 20, she does not recognize Prince Kanata and she believes herself to be the daughter of Dyspear.

As Princess Twilight, she sees herself as the 唯一無二 yuiitsumuni (“one and only”) Princess and she describes herself as 気高い, kedakai (“noble”), 尊い toutoi (“precious, valuable”), and 麗しい  uruwashii (“beautiful”). It is interesting because these traits do not seem bad in and of themselves. Indeed, my Japanese is not at the level yet where I can understand the difference in meaning or nuance between the two words for beautiful, 美しい utsukushii and 麗しい uruwashii, except that 美しい utsukushii is a much more common word, from what I can tell. I learned 美しい utsukushii quite early on my studies, and hear and read it all of the time. I think that I learned 麗しい uruwashii from this series, and I do not know if I have seen it anywhere else as of yet.

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Yet, judging from the other two ideals, that may very well be the important difference in the two words for beautiful. Strength and gentleness are used to support other people. Being noble and precious can be forms of setting oneself apart from others. Another clue is that she refers to herself as the “one and only” Princess.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. It is highly likely that Princess Twilight will return to her true self as Princess Towa. Aside from things of this nature being common in Precure, her apparent theme seems to be that of the butterfly, the symbol of transformation. It will also be interesting to discover the true nature of Dyspear. Is she truly Princess Towa’s mother and the Queen of Hope Kingdom under a spell of a larger force of Evil?

I am looking forward to the coming episodes!

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Go! Princess Precure 4: Dreams, Ambitions and Harmony

Cure Twinkle
Cure Twinkle. What could her motif be?

A new Precure has made her entrance.

Cure Twinkle.

Her motif is very obvious.

Stars.

There are more star images and references than you can possibly shake one stick at. You would need to go to the forest and pick up several spares. Mere air friction would wear out one stick with all the shaking long before you got to the end of the anime.

Ahem. I think I am exaggerating again, aren’t I? But there are a bigly lot of such references.

Starting with the Precure name itself: “Twinkle” (what song does everyone associate that with?)

Her civilian name is 天ノ川きらら Amanogawa Kirara. The Japanese version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is Kira Kira Boshi.

Amanogawa literally means “River of Heaven” but the term actually means the Milky Way galaxy. Stars appear everywhere. From her costume to starry sky  backgrounds, shooting stars and the 星空 (Starry Sky) fashion show in which she is taking part.

What do stars signify? They can signify aspiration (follow your star). They can signify success (stardom). More traditionally they signify the Harmony of Heaven, the Music of the Spheres.

All these meanings are very important here.

As you know, the theme of the show – its fundamental conflict – is dreams vs despair. The villains attempt to imprison people’s dreams (dreams here in the sense of hopes and ambitions).

The monsters are called ゼツボーグ zetsubougu (katakana extender dash standing for the う). This is an interesting portmanteau name. 絶望 zetsubou means despair and 防具 bougu means armor, especially traditional samurai armor of the kind that is still used in modified form in kendo. So the name means something like armored despair.

These armored despair monsters are made from people’s imprisoned dreams, and when they are purified they return to their natural state, uttering the word “dreaming” (in katakana English).

Cure Twinkle is a dream‐chaser par excellence. Her every waking moment is devoted to her pursuit of modelling stardom. She thinks of nothing but her dream.

So it might seem that she is the perfect heroine for this series. But the truth is that she is far from perfect. She is rude. She is out of harmony. She is so rude that  Haruka‐chan and the other girls are deeply shocked at her offhand impoliteness to the revered seito kaichou.

cure Twinkle's rudeness
Reaction to Kirara’s rudeness

She has allowed her pursuit of her dream to override Harmony. And Harmony, as we know, is one of the most fundamental values of Precure as it is of Japanese culture as a whole.

Probably the three strongest Precure values are Ganbari (always doing your best), Love, and Harmony. Amanogawa Kirara is a ganbariyasan to the core, but she is letting that ganbari become the enemy of Love and Harmony.

This fault is so fundamental that it leads her to reject her destiny as a Precure.

Cure Twinkle is a shining star, but she is not yet a good star. Because stars do not only shine. The other very important thing about stars, as everyone familiar with traditional thought (and that includes Japanese‐educated people) is aware, is that they travel always in their appointed courses, dancing to the eternal Music of the Spheres.

And it is no accident that dance is a sub‐theme of this show.

The simple theme of the show is that dreams and ambitions are good and despair is bad. But the best Precure is never that simple. Dreams and ambitions also have dangers. They should be pursued tirelessly, but they should also be pursued with love and harmony.

This is the lesson Cure Twinkle has yet to learn.

It will be interesting to see how she learns it.