I wouldn’t say that I am a super robot fan, at least, to the extent that some of my other blogger compatriates are, but I am more than capable of being entertained by many of the common elements of the genre, much in the same vein that I am entertained by the Pretty Cure formula. That said, I can’t really say with any sort of genre authority if Smile PreCure episode actually remembered love for the shows it was making reference to (if they were at all. I’m pretty sure they were, but I don’t want to come off as a robot poseur in this post).
That said, this particular iteration of Smile PreCure just felt like a robot show, or at least, a robot show parody or homage or whatever it is that this episode was trying to be. There were plenty of goofy antics afoot, whether it be from the comical reactions from the characters (namely, Cures March and Sunny), or the perfectly campy performance of Hisako Kanemoto as the robo-otaku Cure Peace. Even the bystanders of this very special Akanbe fight, namely Majorina and Candy, took on the same energy that the audience was getting. I can’t say with any particular supporting evidence whether or not the primary demographic picked up on the energy of the show, but a subset of the periphery will surely pick out this one episode as their favourite of the series, and perhaps the year.
The best moment of this fight between Happy-Robo and the Akanbe happened right after Cure Beauty took the reins with her absurdly fast learning of Happy-Robo’s controls. The resulting trump card shown by Wolfrun and Aka Oni’s Akanbe immediately brought me back to Gurren Lagann.
I’ve made baseless comparisons about how HeartCatch PreCure was the Gurren Laggan to Madoka Magica’s Evangelion, but for just one week, I could feel the magic behind the super robot genre, and regretted slightly that I wasn’t a bigger fan. I can’t even fathom how well this episode was received by the more hardcore fans. Either way, it’s definitely a noteworthy moment in the series, and has a spot somewhere amongst the best episodes overall this year.