Happy new year from the staff (of one!) at Cure Blogger! 2013 is shaping up to be a pretty interesting year, and Doki Doki! PreCure is less than two months away. In the meantime, Smile PreCure is about to get into its highly anticipated final arc, and we finally say goodbye to this final cycle of spotlight episodes. The hard part about character spotlight episodes is arbitrarily comparing all of them once the cycle is over.
With Miyuki’s power-up episode in the bag, we can finally see where her episode fits with the others. This particular cycle was really well-done, given the formulaic constraints that were issued for the sake of further driving the plot. Each girl had to bring out their inner-power in different ways, and Miyuki’s x-factor were not as urgent as Nao or Reika’s, but was probably as personally meaningful as Yayoi’s.
Most of the meat of the show comes from the story of Miyuki’s past, which hits a number of great points in its inclusion. There’s a backstory element that explains Miyuki’s search for happiness. There’s a supernatural element with the mirror and the mysterious girl that helps Miyuki break out of her shell. There’s a storytelling element that the Miyuki in the present shows off which is really interesting, too.
Miyuki’s younger self was adorably depicted, but still managed to remain more complex than just a cute kid doing cute things (a la episode 38). She had a story. She changed over time from a wilting wallflower to a fountain of curiosity. It set up a means of comparison between Miyuki now and Miyuki then. There was a very believable tension in Miyuki’s inability to speak with other people, and it hit home for a number of people who have had similar childhoods.
That said, the charm given to Miyuki by her grandma, Tae, is what allows her to break out of her shell; however, there’s a very strange folklore mythology permeating in this episode that’s unlike the usual magic bestowed upon PreCure that we’re used to.
This is a magical girl show, but there’s an extra layer of magic that’s relatively unknown to the girls, and the mysterious charm only adds to the effectiveness of this episode as well as episode 27, which also involves Tae and the youkai that protect her house. The girl in the mirror (tagged on pixiv as Smile-chan) adds to that mystique, but in this case, there’s a warmness through which she aided Miyuki. There’s a strange connection between the PreCure and Tae, but the fact that it remains unknown makes the connection all the more meaningful and interesting.
Regardless of how reliable Miyuki’s story is (having recalled a story from her formative childhood years), the story is still there, and it’s a wonderfully-told one at that, and it really brings out a different side to Smile’s main character. Not only does she love reading stories and fairy tales, but she’s also a fairly proficient storyteller herself. There’s wonder in a good story, whether it is read or written, and this other half completes Miyuki’s fascination with the medium. This episode essentially extends this concept to the other facets of her life, which in this case, primarily involved her backstory.
It’s through Miyuki’s storytelling that allows her to realize what truly makes her happy. The connection that she made with her friends was strengthened by the performer-audience dynamic formed during the episode, and it’s through her memories that the important things have become clear after a lifetime of searching for that happiness.
With this cycle of episodes drawing to a close, there exists a finality in every story involved, such that each of these girls have made the final stride necessary to become complete individuals (at least, within the context of their stage of development). They come to realizations that many adults don’t ever get until the later years, and it’s absolutely necessary for the girls to have them as part of their culminating strength as PreCure.
We could close the books on this show after this cycle because it’s as if there’s nothing else that could stop these girls from reaching their happy ending. However, Smile PreCure is so much better than that. Episode 46 is titled “Saiyaku no Ketsumatsu!? Baddo Endo Purikyua!!” which translates to “The Worst Possible Ending!? Bad End PreCure!!” My guess is that they will face one final test before facing Pierrot, and it will come in the form of their dark counterparts, in the same tradition as the Mirage PreCure from Heartcatch and the Dark Pretty Cure 5 from Yes 5. This is my favourite magical girl trope, so I’ll definitely be writing a separate post on this before the episode airs, so look out for it.
We’re in the final stretch of Smile PreCure. It’s been a fantastic ride, and it can only get more exciting from here!