Category Archives: Suite

The Power of Song

DokiDoki Precure is really getting exciting, isn’t it?  I have just seen episode 40.  The girls have just tried to retrieve the Spear of Light and rescue Regina-san, but have failed.  She would not go along with them.  Isn’t it interesting, though?  Regina-san is the only one who could move the Spear of Light, one of the three Sacred Treasures.

In episode 30, the girls recover one of the Sacred Treasures, the Crystal Mirror.  In episode 31, the Minions of the Selfish Kingdom break the Crystal Mirror.  (I still shudder with anger at that scene, by the way.)  The girls keep fighting, and the five broken pieces become the Lovely Pad, which allows the girls to combine their powers.

Regina-san with SpearIn episode 39, we learn that the Spear of Light is hidden in the Selfish Kingdom’s headquarters.  It was stolen from the Princess of Trump Kingdom, who is still frozen.  When the girls try to recover it, they are unable to move it.  To everyone’s surprise, Regina-san was able to move it, and the Spear became Dark.  Cure Heart tries to reach Regina-san with her words and her feelings, but it does not work.

At the start of episode 40, the girls are in disagreement as to whether it is possible to reach Regina-san with love.  Aguri-chan says it is impossible, that she is King Selfish’s daughter and there is no love in her heart.  Mana-chan disagrees, and says that Regina-san loves her father, (see episode 22); therefore, she must have love in her heart.

We Will Steal Their Songs FirstMakoto-chan takes this to heart, and decides to write a song to reach her.  Soon, the rest of the girls join in to assist.  At the same time, Regina-san also decides to enter the battleground of song.  King Selfish has told her to go take over the world.  Regina-san tells him that humans are resilient, and they must weaken them first.  Regina-san decides that the way to weaken them is to steal their songs.

Songs are now the battlefield.  Why is that, and why are songs so powerful?  This past summer, Cure Tadashiku explained this to us in the article, Selfishness and Harmony.  Tadashiku-san taught us about the Japanese word, wa, which means harmony.  Wa is the harmony of music, but it is also the harmony of the heavens and the harmony of social relationships.  A previous series, Suite Precure, explored the the concept of wa in great depth.  In Suite Precure, we are shown that love is fundamental to harmony; Queen Aphrodite (Venus) is the Queen of Major Land.  In DokiDoki Precure, we are shown that harmony is fundamental to love.

As I was watching, I was very glad that, in episode 24, Makoto-chan made the decision to keep singing even after they found the Princess frozen.  Isn’t it exciting how all of the pieces are starting to come together?  I remember in that episode, Aguri-chan said that Makoto-chan’s songs would save the world, and now she is singing a song to directly fight a battle against the Selfish Kingdom.  This battle is for the heart of Regina-san and for the Spear of Light!

Regina-san vs MakoPi-chan

In the heat of the next battle, Makoto-chan sings her song.  It allows her to free herself from the clutches of the Selfishness that Regina-san created and to power up.  She does start to reach Regina-san, and Regina-san feels her heart ache again, as it did before, when Mana-chan’s love brought her around for a short while.  Although Regina-san gets away before the song can completely touch her, we know now that there is hope.

I wonder what will happen next?  Is Regina-san the Princess?  What about Ai-chan?  Remember, we learned in episode 34 and episode 38, that Ai-chan’s upbringing will determine whether she will be loving or selfish and that will determine the fate of the ultimate battle with the Selfish Kingdom.  What about Aguri-chan/Cure Ace?  Why does she have nostalgic feelings with respect to the Princess and Trump Kingdom?

See also:

Who Is Cure Ace?

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Family Loyalty

In the last episode of DokiDoki Precure, episode 22, we saw Regina-san torn between loyalty to her friends, the Precure, and loyalty to her father, King Selfish.  I thought that it was likely that she would be the next Precure, but it turns out that she wasn’t.  (As an aside, I wonder who Cure Ace is?)

Fathers working for the side of evil seems to be a recurring theme in recent Precure.  Of the last four Precure series, this is the third with a main character whose father is working for evil.  In Heartcatch Precure, near the end of the series, we find out that Professor Sabaaku (the apparent leader of the Desert Apostles) is the father of Yuri-san/Cure Moonlight.  Throughout the series, we know that Yuri-san’s father, Professor Tsukikage, was missing.  He was researching the Heart Tree, and he disappeared.  Cure Flower tells the other girls to keep Cure Moonlight from fighting Professor Sabaaku.  We then learn that Professor Sabaaku is Yuri-san’s father.

Don't Have Sabaaku and Moonlight fight

Professor Tsukikage is redeemed by the Precures, and then he sacrifices himself in their defense.  Cure Moonlight must come to terms with her feelings and her grief surrounding her father before she can become completely whole.

Cure Muse Protecting King MephistoIn the next series, Suite Precure, we meet the mysterious Cure Muse.  When we first meet Cure Muse, she is dressed in a dark costume.  At times, she assists the other Precures, but she tells them repeatedly that she is not their ally.  She further insists that she is not anyone’s ally.  After she protects King Mephisto (the ruler of the Evil Minor Land) from the other Precures, we learn that she is the daughter of Queen Aphrodite (the ruler of the Good Major Land) and King Mephisto.  King Mephisto used to be good, and when he turned to evil, she received her Precure powers.  Caught in between the battle between her mother and her father, she helped the Precure at times, but she did not ally herself with them.   She had to be taught that true loyalty to her father was helping him return to his former good self.

Regina-san Tea PartyIn the last episode of DokiDoki, Regina-san was torn between loyalty to her father, King Selfish, and loyalty to her new found friends.  One of the interesting things is that Mana-san did not even consider that Regina-san would fight her father, and she completely understood Regina-san’s love for and loyalty to her father.  She also seemed to believe that Regina-san’s love and loyalty could transform King Selfish.  In both Heartcatch Precure and Suite Precure, this indeed did happen.  Cure Moonlight’s love redeemed Professor Sabaaku and Cure Muse’s love redeemed King Mephisto.

Neither Professor Sabaaku nor King Mephisto were the ultimate Evil Boss.  Instead, they were pawns of the true Evil Boss.  In Heartcatch Precure, the ultimate Evil Boss was Dune, and in Suite Precure, it was Noise.  So far, it seems that King Selfish is the ultimate Evil Boss.  Of course, we may find out otherwise as the season progresses.

The One I Love is Papa

Sadly, after the last episode, Regina-san did go back to her father and to the side of Evil.  She did not become the new Precure.  I am interested in seeing how this story progresses.

Doki Doki Precure: Selfishness and Harmony

Selfish Crab: Doki Doki Precure Episode 1
Selfish Crab attacks order & harmony

In DokiDoki Precure the primary enemy is selfishness, embodied in a monster called King Jikochu (King Selfish) and its humanoid minions, the Selfish.

Each Precure series has a different enemy based on a different “theme”. Superficially these can be seen as so many arbitrary and colorful story elements, but if we look at them a little more closely we can see that there are in fact important connections between them.

In Suite Precure, the enemy is “Noise”. The fundamental conflict is between harmony and discord. The harmony (and the discord) are expressed musically, but we should note that 和 wa or harmony is a fundamental concept in Japanese life and in traditional metaphysics in general (it is an interesting side-note that the most literal battle between harmony and discord in serious music is one of the very few that have gone to the side of the angels in recent West Tellurian history). Wa is both social harmony and the “music of the spheres” — the harmony of all being.

That selfishness is also an opposite to this kind of harmony is clear enough. Self-centered behavior (literally 自己中 jikochuu 自己 jiko, self, 中 chuu, center) is anathema in Japan precisely because it destroys 和 wa. As it says in the Feminine Scriptures:

When each spoke assays to be the center, the wheel cannot turn.

In Heartcatch Precure the enemies are the Desert Apostles whose aim is to cause the withering of the great Heart Tree by exploiting the weaknesses of people’s individual Heart Flowers. Each individual Heart Flower (everyone has one) is connected to the great Heart Tree, and the health of the Heart Flowers and the Heart Tree are interdependent.

Heartcatch Precure: Great Heart Tree
The Great Heart Tree is linked to every individual heart

Perhaps we begin to see a pattern here! The connection of the individual with the Whole; the importance of wa or harmony; the enemies who seek to disrupt that harmony in the service of discord, selfishness, or a “bad end”.

In Smile Precure the theme is fairy tales, which, as most of us know, carry fundamental truths at their heart. The Happy Ending is precisely the defeat of discord and the restoration of divine Harmony. The enemies seek 最悪の結末 saiaku no ketsumatsu — “the worst possible ending” for the world. They mock friendship, trust, and amity as things they “don’t need” and continually preach against them.

Precure stories are always philosophical debates in this sense. A friend observed that a Magical Girl can rarely attack successfully without first stating the fundamental rightness of her cause. Very often in Precure battles the girls are at first defeated and the rallying point (while often depicted as a pretty new power) is actually heralded by a speech in which the wrongness of the villains’ cynical perspective and the rightness of amity and universal harmony is eloquently expounded.

Often these speeches will center around everyday things — the happiness of a Japanese omatsuri (festival); the reading of fairy tales to small children; food prepared with love and dedication. To some viewers these things may seem trivial or “childish”. In fact they are the everyday ways in which we express and reinforce wa or harmony.

That the villains sneer at these things while the heroines eloquently praise and defend them is a vital expression of the moral and metaphysical conflict that is taking place. That the villains’ point of view is often remarkably close to the cynicism popular in the current West is something most Japanese people are quite unaware of. They tend to believe that the West is a lot healthier than it actually is.

Someone recently said that English has no word for wa because the culture has no wa. While the metaphysical equivalence of social and cosmic harmony to music is profound, it does show a lack in the language that there is only a musical analogy to represent the concept. A member of the Daughters of Shining Harmony once told me that it would have been impossible simply to use “Daughters of Harmony” because it would sound like a vocal quartet, and there really is no word in English to express wa/harmony.

Major Land - Suite Precure
The Land of Harmony from Suite Precure

However that may be, the villains of the Precure series are fundamentally representatives of  fuwa (anti-wa — or in terms of feminine spirituality, athamë) which is essentially discord: the chaos that precedes cosmos in Greek thought, the opposite of the Music of the Spheres, and the principle of disharmony between people, which manifests as the harmony-destroying selfishness. When each spoke assays to be the center, the wheel cannot turn.

The Precures, by contrast, are the forces of wa. Their role is always to restore harmony and to reinstate the True Heart. As Cure Heart herself says in each episode [of course substituting whatever form the Selfish currently takes for “crab”]:

愛をなくした悲しいカニさんこのキュアハートがあなたのドキドキ取りもどしてみせる!

Ai wo nakushita kanashii kani-san kono kyua haato  ga anata no dokidoki torimodoshite miseru!

“Love-bereft, unhappy crab-san, I, Cure Heart will certainly restore your heartbeat.”

“Heartbeat” here is hard to translate. It is dokidoki , which can mean excitement or happiness but also refers to the heartbeat, and as I think must be clear by now, it refers equally to both these things at once — to the restoration of the True Heart as opposed to the isolated, fuwa, selfish heart. The heart has lost love by becoming selfish. Its self-seeking can only lead to unhappiness because it has left the dance of the Universal Music.

The job of the Precure is to restore the true heartbeat, that is at once harmony, happiness, and abundant life, to both the individual and the cosmos.
_____

See also:
The Philosophy of Doki Doki Precure: Overview
Precures, Sailors and Admirals: the Art of Transformation
Magical Girls are for Real

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?