Smile PreCure! Episode 41: The Miracle of Peace

Do Your Best, Yayoi!

There’s nobody in this franchise that can hype me back into writing about Pretty Cure more than Yayoi Kise. A true fan of superheroes, it’s easy to draw the comparisons between her and the superhero that she becomes in Cure Peace, and it’s easy to forget that one of the primary raisons d’être behind the mythology of a magical girl is the empowerment in girls both on an emotional and spiritual level, brought out symbolically through their physical empowerment as legendary warriors.

It’s through episode 41’s spotlight of Yayoi’s potential as a manga artist that the ideals of a PreCure are discussed within the context of an episode’s plot, rather than explained in a preachy way like the recent All-Stars movie did with Ayumi’s awakening as the movie-exclusive PreCure, Cure Echo. Instead of being spoonfed the legacy of the PreCure valhalla,  the heroism of Yayoi Kise is inherent from youth, and is fully realized through her transformation into Cure Peace. Say what she will about idolizing her fictional manga character, Miracle Peace, but all of her positive contributions to the world around her as Cure Peace, protecting those she loves, supporting her friends, among others, is exactly the type of girl that she looks up to. The transformation from Yayoi to Peace is the example path that all girls that precede and proceed her take.

Children in Japan look up to Cure Peace, which is a miracle itself.

This other idealistic side of Peace is a complement to the enthusiasm that she exudes the previous spotlight episode. In Episode 35, I mentioned about how Yayoi’s unbound enthusiasm for superheroes captivates the audience, lending to her status as a flagship character for the franchise, and this quality of hers is given breadth through the idealism of this week. Throughout the series, Yayoi has always been a duality of sorts between different emotional gears, whether it be white lies spiraling out of control, memories of a deceased father, or super robot hijinx, this week fills out a nice niche within this spectrum really well, somewhere between the arguably melodramatic father’s day episode and her burgeoning debut in episode 3. I would like to talk about her evolution throughout the show, but I’ll be saving this for a series of posts for each character once this cycle of spotlight episodes (assuredly the last before the grand finale) is over. All I can say for now is that Cure Peace is a complete character, and will be remembered for years to come.

Obvious praise for Yayoi aside, there were plenty of other things to write enthusiastically about with this episode, one of them being the wonderful art showcased this week. I suppose it makes sense that an episode that spotlights a girl’s artistic talents would be reflected by a noticeable rise in visual quality in some of the episode’s sequences, namely the Miracle Peace imagine spot, and Cure Peace’s duel against Aka Oni.

Let’s take a look at the Miracle Peace sequence through a series of different shots:

This entire sequence has an interesting visual style known as “Ben-Day dot,” which incorporates the usage of differently sized and coloured dots to create the illusion of shading and colour. It was originally done as a way of saving costs in printing comics in newspaper, but has since then taken off as an elaborate and unique style. Smile PreCure utilizes Ben-Day to establish this scene as Yayoi’s imagine-spot (imagine-dot?), separate from the reality of the show.

Dots are used to create different effects in this particular section of the episode. Firstly, it does the standard job of creating colour and shade, particularly that of the wall behind Miracle Peace as it is illuminated by the villain’s Dr. Doom-esque finger laser (the laser itself represented by the lack of dots). Secondly, it marries the comic book effect with the magical girl transformation scene through whimsical twinkles and evocative, vibrant-yet-cost-effective backgrounds. Lastly, it differentiates the entire sequence as an imagine spot as compared to the dream sequence that Yayoi has later on with the same characters, who are then animated in the standard style.

All of these effects are created within a single 52-second animated sequence, and is one of the reasons why the art style of Smile PreCure is one of the best in the franchise. It doesn’t have a bluntly unique style like Umakoshi’s designs in Heartcatch PreCure, but there’s enough here and there for Smile to stand out on its own compared to the others.

The fight choreography and animation in this week’s episode features a really awesome battle between an empowered Cure Peace and Aka Oni’s hyper Akanbe, which thoughtfully takes the form of Miracle Peace’s opponent from Yayoi’s manga. While the visuals are on par with the splendid battle showcased last week between Cure Sunny and Wolfrun, there’s an added element of meaning to the fight, as the two square off in a brawl that parallels that of Miracle Peace and the Dr. Doom dude.

Two specific shots come to mind:

Yayoi is saved from a laser blast during her dream sequence…

…which is then recreated during her fight against Aka Oni later in the episode.

It takes similarities to highlight the things that are truly different, and not only does the above sequence highlight this within the episode, but the other four PreCure’s arrival at the scene highlight this between episodes as well. While the familiar scene of four energy blasts save Peace from certain death from an overpowering Hyper Akanbe (which can only be defeated with the PreCure Royal Rainbow Burst combination attack), the sequence that follows is executed in a much more badass style than it was during Akane’s rescue in episode 40. A wonderful pan across the screen captures Cure Happy and the others striking a pose after casting their saving attacks, but then proceed to spout one-liners while frozen in the same pose. It’s the little things like this that makes this show as amazing as it is, and it is easily the highlight of the episode.

Do yourself a favour and click the picture for a stitch of the entire camera pan. Simply amazing.

PreCure Power Rankings: Episode 41

1. Yayoi/Cure Peace – I mentioned the voicework of Hisako Kanemoto in episode 35. In episode 41, she cements what is essentially her greatest role to date.
2. Reika/Cure Beauty – Her post-blizzard pose is just perfect for the line she gave. She was also the most observant of Yayoi’s experiences prior to the battle.
3. Miyuki/Cure Happy – Miyuki leads the charge as always in driving the events for the spotlight character. She’s become quite competent at it.
4. Akane/Cure Sunny – While Cure Beauty had the best pose to go with her one-line above, Cure Sunny had the best executed line, spiced up by her Kansai dialect.
5. Nao/Cure March – She was mostly in the background this week, but her lines were indicative of her role as a major emotionally supporting character in this cast.

7 thoughts on “Smile PreCure! Episode 41: The Miracle of Peace

  1. Wow this episode was fantastic! Lots of great emotion from Hisako Kanemoto and agreed this is her greatest role so far in Smile Precure, but the action was surprisingly great especially the whole “Super Sayjin” like transformation complete with special lighting and was that heartcatch music playing in the background?! I had to watch that scene over and over again~

    Other than that it was great to see the other girls supporting Yayoi with her manga project and I really liked the whole Miracle Peace thing that was cool its like we got precure inside precure whoa! Mind blown…

    Nao/Cure March next week? I can’t wait!

    PS I guess each precure is getting attack upgrades? It seems like this is the final “training” arc before the final boss battle! Damn things are getting good…oh yes….

  2. Hisako kanemoto is easily the best thing to happen to this voice acting cast. I originally thought it was going to be Marina Inoue who was going to carry the load, talent-wise, but Hisako was just perfect this year, and Misato Fukuen (Miyuki/Happy) really came into her own with this show. Gotta give that girl credit as well.

    The Super-Saiyan thing was really cool, but since Cure Peace is blonde, does that make her naturally always Super-Saiyan? I’ve heard a few things around fandom that Miracle Peace was also voiced by Hisako Kanemoto, which just adds to the whole Inception aspect of PreCure dreaming. I’m just waiting for pixiv fanart of Yayoi/Cure Peace/Miracle Peace OT3!

    Cure March is going to be pretty great. Her mother is pregnant and expecting another child, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on the similarities and differences between this episode and Heartcatch’s episode that features a similar situation.

    The PreCure will defintely get their attack upgrades, as Sunny and Happy have already gotten theirs with Cinderella Happy Shower and Sunny Fire Burning (a nod to Rouge Burning from Yes 5!). For Nao and Reika, I’ll take a wild guess that it will be March Shoot Barrage and Beauty Blizzard Blast, or something corny like that, haha.

    1. Ohhh for sure! Misato Fukuen has done excellent work as Happy/Miyuki especially during the Cinderella episode? That was great and I am with you on Marina Inoue I figured she was the “main voice star” of the cast originally, but I think all of them have surprised me in their separate episodes~

      Ahahah I didn’t think about it that way but yeah I suppose she is a naturally “super” all the time! Yeah I can see the pictures now…and those three really are a great OT3!

      Yep! I was thinking the same thing like wait wasn’t that a part of heartcatch!? Really cool though I kind of like seeing what other series do with similar stories

      Nice! I liked cure Sunny’s new attack even though it made me think of G Gundam’s ERUPTING BURNING FINGER attack, but I think you are going to be right on Nao and Beauty’s attacks probably blast and barrage! I mean all the attacks so far have been sort of range sounding well all but Sunny’s which was more of a melee style power up xD

    1. Hell ya! I can see it now….

      Yayoi-“Have you seen this drawing of mine?!”

      bad guy-“NO!”

      Yayoi-“I guess I have to use that….”

      bad guy-“What?”

      Yayoi-“This hand of mine burns with a brilliant Sunshine!”

      bad guy-“Nooooooooooo!!”

      *big ass explosion in the background with Yayoi walking away very slowly looking badass*

  3. Forgive me if you planned on touching upon what I am about to say in your spotlight of Yayoi. I thought the first few moments of this episode portrayed brilliantly just how far Yayoi has evolved as a character thanks to her role as a precure. By showing that Yayoi was not only willing to display her drawings to her friends, but also to random classmates, never mind her desire to enter a manga competition really speaks to how her confidence has grown thanks to her friends. You speak of a duality between different emotional gears, and the one displayed in Episode 41 is one that is inherent to many artist types: the battle between the desire to create something amazing and the lack of self-confidence that can hold one back.

    Anyway, I won’t say anymore. I love Yayoi and am looking forward to your spotlight of her. ^ ^

    1. Yayoi has certainly come a long way from her shy roots in episode 3, and her confidence in her talents as an artist is definitely something to note. While I’m not too familiar with the mindset of a visual artist, I feel that sort of fear is the mark of most creators in general, whether that be in music, literature, dance, etc.

      Given that I won’t be talking about this in the Yayoi spotlight post, I figure that now is the perfect opportunity to bring it up, since you’ve oh so wonderfully steered this topic towards a more personal approach. When I was doing NaNoWriMo this year (and ultimately failed to pass the 50k mark), I felt those same creative doubts that occur when a deadline steadily approaches. The pressure of coming up wtih something earth-shattering within only a limited amount of time available piles on exponentially as the calendar adds yet another x to its grid.

      The way in which Yayoi succombed somewhat to that pressure was such a resonant depiction, hitting way too close to home as I had reached those final days of NaNo. I had burned out, and I couldn’t help but feel for her as she considered tossing that manuscript of hers into the trash. I wanted to cheer her on and to not give up, but at the same time, felt like she was doing what she thought was right, and would support her regardless of what she ended up doing. I guess I’m kind of glad that she kept at it. It’s such a simple lesson, but so hard in practice; it would take a resonant character like Yayoi to inspire the most conscious of artists.

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