It’s never too late to squeeze in a moment from a week-old episode to the 12 Days of Smile PreCure. If you hadn’t noticed, the posts stalled for a bit, and even though I postulate that this delay was due to this particular last-minute addition, that would just be lying. I do promise that I will finish the rest of these posts in time for Christmas. That said, given the recency of the Beauty spotlight episode, the fight in Episode 43 is my favourite moment of the series to date, and I would like to look into the fight a little bit closer.
What makes this fight all the more glorious is how in classic Yes 5 tradition, the show held back on the fifth Cure’s presence in the series, only to have said cure obtain some ridiculously overpowered ability. In Yes 5, we had Cure Aqua defending her mascot friend from a henchman of Nightmare by duelling her on horseback with an aqua sword. Smile responded similarly by dangling an ice sword in the show’s OP sequence, never appearing until her fight with Joker in the midseason climax of episode 23. However, it comes back with a frozen vengeance.
After Beauty is empowered by her realization of her true path, she gains complete control of Joker’s Big Top illusion world, covering everything in ice. She whips out her sword with absolute conviction and charges at Joker (who absorbed his Hyper Akanbe instead of vice-versa). Fireworks flourish, and Reika’s image song plays in the background. She breaks her sword against Joker’s mirror shield. She gets another. And another. The entire arena is her armory, much like that Meisai Tsuruga’s Sentouryuu-style from Katanagatari. Beauty flies around on a trapeze, relentlessly assaulting Joker with ice lances. She dual-wields ice swords and makes a final charge while declaring the paths that have been laid out to her, calligraphy cards flashing intermittently on screen, chanbara-style.
Blazing a new path.
Taking a side path.
Taking a roundabout path.
They are all paths.
Beauty lands a decisive strike on Joker’s lance, defeating him in armed combat. He retreats to a crowd of dopplegangers, who she singles out with her control over Joker’s domain, shining a path of spotlights towards him. In a fantastic shoutout to Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s, Beauty combines her ice swords to create a frozen bow, similar to how Signum combines her sword, Laevatein, with its sheath in episode 12 to create Bow Form.
Beauty fires a single arrow down the illuminated path and penetrates Joker’s mirror shield, thereby shattering his Illusionary Big Top world, revealing a bright, blue sky. All that is left is an empowered blue precure, and the rest of the team gaping in awe of her prowess.
Reika Aoki, now set on the right path to her hopes and dreams, is the most powerful girl in the series, and finds company with some of the most powerful precure in the franchise. She’s just the coolest.