Tag Archives: Precure

The Happy Prince, Selflessness, and Ganbaru

I just watched episode 32 of DokiDoki Precure.  I know all of us here talk about how impressed we are with Precure, but I still am more and more amazed the more I watch.  These shows really present some complicated issues regarding innocence and love, and they give us such wonderful answers to these issues.

Mana-chan collapsesIn episode 32, we run into the dilemma of The Happy Prince.  A more familiar tale to the modern reader might be the Giving Tree.  The dilemma is one of selfless giving and whether there is a point where this can be taken too far.  In the episode, the school is having its cultural festival, and Mana-chan wears herself out to the point of getting sick working on the festival.  During the episode, it also becomes clear that the other students have likely been relying on Mana-chan too much.

After reading the story of The Happy Prince, Aguri-chan takes it upon herself to remedy the situation.  She orders Mana-chan to bed, and proceeds to do what she thinks is needed to bring everything in balance.  She takes it upon herself to chide the other students.  After she has done so, she accuses Mana-chan of pampering everyone, leaving them open to becoming Selfishnesses.  She says that they should all learn to stand up for themselves as individuals.

The Happy PrinceAguri-chan’s words are similar to Western conventional wisdom and notions of “tough love.”  Mana-chan had a very different answer to this problem.  She recognized that everyone did need to be as strong as they could be, but explained that everyone had things that they could and could not do.  Mana-chan also talked about the warm and exciting feeling of helping and being helped.

After this, we see that the other students took Aguri-chan’s words to heart.  They began to do their best, or ganbaru.  They work hard and solve problems themselves.  Aguri-chan sees all of this and learns a lesson herself, which is the lesson of what it means to love and to be loved.  With this lesson, she gains a new power as Cure Ace.  At the end of the episode, Mana-chan and Aguri-chan talk about a world where one can give selflessly safely, and Aguri-chan says that she would like a work towards such a world being possible.

This is a really complex issue, I think.  One of the reasons it is so complex in this day and age is that the concept of understood virtue and fault has been lost.  In the world today, particularly in the West, there is a utilitarian notion of right and wrong.  Right and wrong are often seen in a pragmatic light.  Things are good and bad depending on how they effect us, other people, and society.  This leads to some very strange practices, one of them being “blaming the victim.”  There is a belief that if one is being mistreated or taken advantage of, it is her job to stop it, and that if she allows it, she is “enabling” the other.  From a utilitarian standpoint, there may be truth to this, but it is quite topsy-turvy.  The reason I think we tend to blame the victim is that generally it is harder to get the wrongdoer to change her ways.

In a democratic society, there is also the notion of individual “rights,” and individuals are have the responsibility of protecting their own “rights.”   Taking this notion further creates the implication that if someone can not protect her “rights,” it is ok for others to trample upon her.

This episode has a much different analysis of this problem.  The issue is not about whether Mana-chan is “enabling” others, or whether she is giving more than everyone else.  The issue is one of virtue and fault.  Selfless giving is a virtue.  Not doing one’s best is a fault.  Aguri-chan takes on the role of Authority in pointing out the faults of the other students.  The students accept the reprimand from Aguri-chan, even though she is an elementary school student, and in general, she is not in a position to issue such a reprimand.  They accept the reprimand because they can see that she is speaking truth, and that she was pointing out a true fault of theirs.  They knew that they could not refute what she was saying.

Cheering the Precure onIn accepting the reprimand, the students were able to correct their fault, and they do ganbaru.  The answer was not Mana-chan holding back but was everyone else stepping up to the plate.  This is also the innocent answer to the problem of The Happy Prince, rather than the cynical one.  People can change.  People can respond to selfless love in a loving way, rather than in a selfish way.  This is the lesson that Aguri-chan learned, and it warmed her heart.

Make Dream RealityI think it is a lesson we can all learn as well.  Does this always happen?  No, of course not.  We all have faults, and we are all tempted by our False Self at times.  There are those from the Selfish Kingdom who will exploit those faults.  Yet, as Aguri-chan and Mana-chan said at the end of this episode, we can all work to create a world where it is safe to give and to love with all our hearts.  We do this by giving of ourselves, freely letting our virtues shine, and willingly accepting correction to help minimize our faults.  We can respond to love by loving in return.  This is what innocence is all about, I think.

 

The Seeds of Selfishness

I just watched the most recent DokiDoki Precure, which is episode 31, and I was very impressed with it.  Very impressed is quite the understatement actually.  This episode was as true a statement of the world we find ourselves in as I have ever seen.

Seed of SelfishnessIn the episode, minions of King Selfish launch a fearsome attempt to destroy the world.  They send out Seeds of Selfishness throughout the world.  These seeds worm their way into everyone’s hearts.  First the people become unconscious.  As the seeds spread and grow in their hearts, we learn that the people will turn into Selfishnesses and will destroy their own world.

That is quite a chilling image.  It is chilling in that this is exactly what this world is facing today.  The Seeds of Selfishness are an extremely accurate metaphor for the poisons of the Modern world, atomization, deracination, and deformation.  The term deracination can also be used to refer to all three of these poisons collective.  Deracination acts in the  exact manner as was depicted in this episode.  First, it render its victims unconscious.  While the Modern victims of deracination are not physically unconscious, they are psychically unconscious.  They do not know or understand what is happening to them for the most part.  In this unconscious state, the Seeds are sprouting, and the people are in danger of destroying their own world.

Happily Precure is not a post-Modern Western show, so the plans of the Selfish Kingdom fail.  The Precures are standing in their way.  Interestingly, two of the Precures, Cure Sword and Cure Ace are from different worlds, both of which were destroyed by King Selfish.  The manner in which the Precures prevail in this episode is truly fascinating as well.

Cure Heart picking up Lovely PadIn the previous episode, the girls retrieve a Lovely Pad.  This Pad is 10,000 years old, and has been guarded for all that time.  This Pad also holds the soul of the very first Precure, Cure Empress.  At first, the girls do not know what to do with the Lovely Pad, and none of the technology available to the girls through Alice-chan can help the girls in discovering what the Lovely Pad is or it can do.

During the battle with the minions of Evil, the 10,000 year old Lovely Pad is broken into 5 pieces.  This is an apt metaphor for deracination (the severing from our roots), I believe.  Cure Heart picks up the broken pieces while the Evil Minion taunts her about it.  Despite this, the girls are bullied to the point of what looks like sure defeat.  Cure Heart drops to the floor and cries, saying that she now understands the pain Cure Sword and Cure Ace went through when their own worlds were destroyed.

After a long and deep cry, Cure Heart gets back up on her feet and gets ready to fight again.  She begins with the Five Vows of the Precure, and each of the girls join in.  They realize that their feelings are strong enough to prevail no matter what.  As they get back up and decide to continue fighting, the broken pieces of the Ancient Pad form into a new Pad for each of the girls.  At this point, they can combine their powers, and they are able to defeat the Evil Minions.

All of this is a metaphor for the Senshi here, I believe.  We have decided that we will never give up or give in to the Forces of Darkness.  We know that we have a broken 10,000 year old Lovely Pad.  This is knowledge of Ancient Wisdom that has been lost to our world.  In our persistence and determination, we pick up these pieces and hold on to them, despite the taunts of the Modern World.  In our determination to keep fighting so long as we have breath, we give the broken pieces new life, and these give us the power to combine our forces to defeat the Minions of Darkness!

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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.