12 Days of Smile PreCure #5: Youth Movement

Smile PreCure!

Even though the Pretty Cure franchise has a noticeable periphery demographic in older ages (mostly males, but many females as well), the overwhelming audience that makes up the fan base consists of girls in elementary school. It requires a special kind of multi-demographic appeal to get this kind of mix that Toei has cultivated. It is achieved through a nice blend of simple storytelling carrying a deceptive amount of substance, as well as a versatile brand of humour and inability to take oneself seriously.

This is perhaps best highlighted in episode 38, where Majorina turns the PreCure gang into little kids. Through one of her many ridiculous inventions (a primary example of the silliness exuded by this show and other iterations), the girls are once again in a tight bind, and even though they resolve to find Majorina and turn them back, they find themselves distracted by everything, especially the antics of a kid-ified Wolfrun and Aka Oni. The silliness culminates when they are forced to transform, only to find their powers ineffective in their childlike forms.

What makes this particular scene highly effective is that it’s not just a throwaway excuse plot to show the PreCure as cute kids. The production pays special attention to the minor details that execute this deceptively simple premise. The best example of this is essentially the conscious decision to play around with the transformation sequence. The flashy backgrounds are simplified to children’s colourings, yet the show’s characteristic thick line-art is keenly adapted. The audience’s familiarity with the PreCure girls’ catchphrases and recurring bits are played around with, particularly Cure Peace’s weekly jan-ken-pon segment, which further established that even as a kid, Peace is ostensibly unbeatable at her game.

Smile PreCure!

This particular episode was a brief reminder to Nao (it was technically her spotlight episode, despite everyone being affected by Majorina’s scheme) that she can remain a kid at heart, despite being the eldest in the household. In a way, it was a gentle and entertaining reminder to the periphery audience that it’s also okay to like this sort of thing, especially when it’s done as effectively as it was. There’s no shame in liking fun things. Fun things are fun, after all.

3 thoughts on “12 Days of Smile PreCure #5: Youth Movement

  1. The youth episode was really awesome! Many fans were excited to see it. As you said, the transformation sequence was great and also surprising because each of character did different ones as kinds precure.
    I think that Smile Precure has been doing great jobs not to make audience bored, for example, about transformation of Cure Peace, they introduced rock-paper-scissors. Introducing janknn into transformation of Precure prevents audience form getting bored because janken is different all the time. I think that such a device and idea are really great, so more and more fans like Smile Precure including men and women.

    1. You are absolutely right with making Smile changing things up from time to time to keep the audience interested. Cure Peace’s janken was the perfect example because she often likes to comment on her janken in a way that plays around with the fourth wall. Smile Precure plays with the audience a lot more than most other series in the franchise, for sure. I hope to see this sort of approach continue in Doki Doki.

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