Tag Archives: Go! Princess Precure

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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The Philosophy of Go! Princess Precure

久しぶりプリキャア!お帰りなさい。(“It has been a long time, Precure! Welcome back.”)

I have just watched the second episode of Go! Princess Precure.  I have to say at the very first episode, it was love at first sight, and after the second episode, I am truly enamored with this series.  As a part of my Japanese studies, I made myself get through Happiness Charge Precure, and I worried whether there would ever be a good Precure again.  (I actually found myself bored through the Happiness Charge finale, and I could not wait until it was over).  I am overjoyed that Go! Princess Precure seems to be the Precure that I know and love!

What is not to love….the clothes, the music, the dancing, the aisatsu* (“gokigenyou”), the Princess theme, the transformation scenes….even without deep meaning, I would be in love with this Precure!

Yet, to top it off, Go! Princess Precure does seem to have a deeper meaning, which was set forth by the second episode.  Interestingly enough, this apparent meaning is quite directly related to the very purpose of this blog.

vlcsnap-2015-02-10-12h27m12s152In the very first scene, we see Haruka-chan (who will be the Pink Precure of this series) being ridiculed for her dream of becoming a Princess.  This blog was written for girls such as her, who dream of beauty and innocence, but who are ridiculed by the Western world.  In the next scene, she meets Kanata-sama, who tells her never to give up on her dream.

As Cure Dolly  has previously written, the topic of this series was clearly set forth in the first episode…dreams and despair.  This is not a new topic for Precure.  Dreams and despair were previously addressed in Yes! Precure 5.  Interestingly enough, the Blue Precure of Go! Princess Precure, Cure Mermaid, is similar in type and temperament to the Blue Precure of Yes! Precure 5, Cure Aqua.  While the Pink Precure always represents the ganbari (doing one’s best, never giving up) of her particular sentai, the Blue (or White) Precure always represents its kangae (thinking and careful consideration).  In some groups, this Cure is stronger than others, but for the two centered on dreams, the Blue Precure is particularly strong and solid (not to mention kakkoii), the seitokaichou (Student Council President) and an ojousama (upper class daughter).  Like Cure Aqua, Cure Mermaid is also practical and down to earth, in contrast to Smile Precure’s Cure Beauty, who is intelligent, but not always very practical (she thinks the summit of Mount Fuji would make a fine Secret Base).

vlcsnap-2015-02-10-12h33m32s125In Precure, the side of Evil always turns either precious objects or people into monsters.  With the exception of Futari wa Precure, it is either precious objects or people, not both.  In Go! Princess Precure, the Evil side again uses people.  One of the difficulties with Happiness Charge Precure is that it was very unclear as to how the Evil Side was able to corrupt people and turn them into Saiaku.  At one point, I believe that Cure Fortune made a reference to a fault or a failure on the part of the victim, but what that fault or failure was was never clear.  From all appearances, the Evil Side could turn a person into a Saiaku willy-nilly, whenever it wanted to.  In contrast, in the sounder Precure, there was a clear “hook” for the Evil Side to use.  In Heartcatch Precure, the victim’s Heart Flower had withered, and in DokiDoki Precure, a seed of Selfishness had already begun to sprout.

In Go! Princess Precure, the Evil Side uses the victim’s dream.  This is quite interesting really, as dreaming in and of itself does not seem to be a fault.  Yet, Evil can twist even the purest of our traits to its own ends, as we saw in DokiDoki Precure.  When our dreams become locked or thwarted, they can become the source of deep despair, leading us to become cynical and bitter, turning us into Zetsubou (Hopelessnesses).  While all of this makes sense to me in my heart, I am afraid it would take someone wiser and more Enlightened than me to explain it in words.

Like Suite Precure, in this series the theme is directly related to its topic.  In Suite Precure, the theme was music, and it was an exploration of wa (the deeper harmony of the Spheres, society, and human relations) and fuwa (disharmony, chaos, and discord).  In Princess Precure, the theme of the Princess is directly related to Dreams and Despair.  In fairy tales and in metaphysics, the Princess represents the Axial Being, or the one with the power to choose between Good and Evil.  There have been several Precures (and fairies) who were Princesses, and each one of them has been central to the battle between Good and Evil on a very personal level.  Even in Happiness Charge Precure, it was Cure Princess that opened the box, Axial, and released the Evil that was rampaging the Blue Sky Kingdom and the Earth.  (With all of its problems, Happiness Charge Precure was not completely devoid of metaphysical wisdom).

In the second episode, we learn that the girls must become true Princesses in order to restore Hope Kingdom.  They are also the ones with the power to unlock the dreams of the victims.  How do they become true Princesses?  They must grow in tsuyosa (strength), yasashisa (gentleness/kindness), and utsukushisa (beauty).**  They must work towards good and beauty and work to become their best selves.  By doing this, they can restore the Hope Kingdom and unlock people’s dreams.  How perfect for us here at Musume Senshi!

Of course, it is still quite early to see if Go! Princess Precure will be another one of the great Precure, but it is off to a very promising start, I think.

Tanoshimi shimasu (I am looking forward to it).

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*the closest English translation for aisatsu is “greetings,” but aisatsu are the proper set phrases one says at the proper time.

**on a personal note, it seems rather magical that these are the names of two of us here, myself, Cure Yasashiku, and Cure Utsukushiku.

Go! Princess Precure: First Impressions

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The Triumphant Return of Precure?

Will Go! Princess Precure return the series to its astonishingly magnificent form? All of us here are really, really excited about the new Precure series.

We never made much secret of the fact that we weren’t too keen on Happiness Charge Precure. After a run of four of the most entertaining, warm‐hearted and metaphysically profound Magical Girl anime series ever made (Heartcatch to Doki Doki Precure), Happiness Charge dropped the ball.

It was nice enough. If it wasn’t being compared to such pure gold as the Great Four, we’d probably have quite liked it as a bit of lightweight entertainment. People who think that lightweight entertainment is all that Precure ever was did enjoy it, I believe. But Precure is a lot more than that.

Does Go! Princess Precure return the series to form? Might we soon be speaking of the Great Five instead of the Great Four? It’s a little early to say, but having seen the first episode (thank Meruhenland the Japanese subtitles came out immediately), the prognosis is pretty promising.

My first impression of Happiness Charge was chaos. I hoped it would improve over time and honestly I made several attempts to like it. But it remained chaotic and without real direction.

The first impression of Go! Princess Precure is one of order. In fact it is more immediately Ordered than any previous Precure, being set in a school a tiny bit reminiscent of Maria Sama ga MIteru. The standard aisatsu (greeting) is even gokigenyou, as in Marimite.

The moral lines are clear from the start. Hope vs Despair. After hearing the villain’s set‐piece on despair, Cure Flora gives a speech on the importance of hope and dreams. As we have discussed elsewhere, the Magical Girl genre is traditionally philosophical. The battles themselves are clashes of philosophy, true against false, and the great moments are heralded by speeches setting out the two sides. It is the superiority of the philosophy of good that leads to its victory.

The great theme of the show is dreams. Japanese yume, just like English “dream”, has three meanings.

1. The lunary visions we see while sleeping.

2. Something wonderful (“it was like a dream”).

3. A hope, wish or aspiration.

That these three are linked with the head‐meaning of a sleep‐vision is, I believe, fundamental to our human experience, which is why the three meanings are found linked across language families.

Vedic philosophy teaches that there are three states of being: the waking state, dreaming, and dreamless sleep. These are not just human states but cosmic actualities.

The waking state, of course, is what people are prone to think of as “reality”.

Dreams can be good or bad, but when used figuratively in human idioms the meaning is almost uniformly good. It is conceived, while not necessarily better than the waking state, as representing the best that the waking state can be. A very good waking experience is “like a dream”. A “dream” (in the sense of aspiration) is something one fervently wishes to achieve and make “real” (i.e., bring into the waking world).

Bad things also inhabit the dream‐world, but bad dreams tend to have a name of their own, other than just “dream”. English “nightmare”, Japanese akumu. As if the real dream world is the good one and the bad one some kind of aberration.

And naturally in this series that aberration is represented by the villains, while the Precure protect True Dream. How deep this will go is not yet clear, but already the ground is laid for something much deeper than Go! Princess Precure‘s precuredecessor (sorry!)

There are several very significant similarities in Go! Princess Precure to Heartcatch Precure, the first of the Great Four.

The zetsubou (despair) monsters are created by looking into a person’s heart and finding her dream and attempting to “close” it, just as Heartcatch they were made by finding her nayami (worry, unhappiness) inside her heart.

Doing the Cure Blossom Jump
Doing the Cure Blossom Jump

Importantly, this wasn’t just a theme. It was closely bound up with what made the series deeper than the ones that had gone before it.

The Precure henshin (transformation) uses perfume, as in Heartcatch, and Cure Flora’s very first experience of her new found power is jumping unbelievably high and getting (not surprisingly) scared by the height. This is a clear and direct reference to Cure Blossom’s first experience of her power in Heartcatch. It seems like a signal that we are moving back to the era that Heartcatch initiated.

If we are, I shall be so delighted to have my weekly serving of Truth, fun and pure magic back!

Doki doki!

Go! Princess Precure Language notes:

go‐princess‐precure‐kurozuSome of the names in Go! Princess Precure are interesting and I think do not come across in English.

In the first scene the heroine Haruka meets the Prince‐to‐her‐Princess, Kanata. Haruka means “far” while Kanata means “beyond”, or “the distance”. The two words are frequently found together as a pair in the expression haruka kanata (far in the distance). A couple from far, far away?

The first villain is クローズ Kurozu. The name is katakana for English “close”, and his phrase for transforming a person’s dream into a monster is クローズ ユア ドリーム!”Close your dream” (in katakana‐ized English). However, kuro also means “black” and this is certainly an intentional reference to the darkness of the character.