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.
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.
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”]:
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.