In PreCure, the secondary Cure is a very interesting role that doesn’t get enough consideration. From White to Rouge to Marine, the unofficial second-in-command is unheralded to the point of invisibility within the context of the entire group. Look no further than Suite PreCure’s Kanade Minamino/Cure Rhythm and her figurative disappearance during the second half of the show’s run. While the past few episodes have excellently showcased Rikka and her role as Mana’s support in both civilian and PreCure form, there remains a chance based on past foibles that once Rosetta and Sword enter the fray, Diamond will fade to the background. It’s for this reason that the somewhat unresolved feeling of Diamond’s premiere is a good thing for her in the future.
After examining the Cure Lovies, Rikka and Mana decide to confront the mysterious stall proprietor at CloverTower. After Rikka drops off a letter to her father currently working overseas, they run into the man from the Tower, who happens to be opening up a shop in town. Despite pleading to stay away from her friend, Rikka is given a Cure Lovies of her own, and when a Jikochu is transformed from a nearby mailbox, Rikka finds herself having to transform into Cure Diamond in order to save Cure Heart from trouble.
Somehow, there’s a sense of dread that I’m feeling from Rikka’s awakening as Cure Diamond at this point of the PreCure franchise. After ten years of magical girl kickassery, I find myself having developed a healthy unease with regards to the secondary cures that probably stemmed from the third crossover movie.
In Pretty Cure All-Stars Deluxe 3, all of the girls are separated into three different worlds and are tasked with defeating monsters and villains past in order to escape and reunite. In the arctic shipwreck world, all of the blue-tone Cures (essentially, the secondary PreCure) are grouped together, and their initial miscues play off the fact that none of them are natural leaders. This naturally along the crossover rogues gallery’s plans, but the point where the cures come around and eventually escape stem from a realization of their roles and relationships to the lead cures.
Even Cure White, who gets the most proper screentime treatment by nature of Futari wa’s cast size, leads the fray with her reason for moving forward. Because Cure Black wouldn’t give up, she shouldn’t give up either. The sentiment is echoed by the other girls, including Marine, Berry, Melody, Egret, and Aqua/Mint. Seeing all of these “lesser” cures together raised an eyebrow with regards to their perceived importance in their respective shows.
With the addition of a skeptical, hesitant Cure Diamond, Doki provides an ample opportunity to examine the role of the second fiddle within the PreCure group. In the context of Doki’s cast in particular, Rikka serves an interesting role as the indebted best friend. Before she decides to become Cure Diamond, she flashes back to her first meeting with Mana, and we are shown a wallflower of sorts who can only break out of that role by simply being dragged ahead by someone more outgoing.
As a result, everything that Rikka has achieved on a social level is all thanks to Mana. She is indebted to her, which is why she transformed. She is depended upon for support, and she obliges out of kindness and selflessness, perhaps a stronger selflessness than how Mana is portrayed in relation to the rest of society. Given how clueless Mana is, it’s quite a task to get her out of trouble, especially with regards to recent developments in her awakening as a PreCure. It’s one of the reasons why she doesn’t want to become a PreCure to begin with. She has too much on her plate already, given her shy nature and tendency to live alone without the same kind of abundantly loving environment that her best friend has. And as much as she tries to support Mana in becoming Cure Heart, she naturally finds herself in a position to be dragged along into her war.
Give an inch, take a mile. Let’s put on our tinfoil hats and take a look at what this could mean for the story going forward, both at a contextual and metatextual level.
There’s a wavering heart still in Rikka. She doesn’t want to become a PreCure for the same reasons that those before her have. She’s in it not for herself, but for Mana’s sake. Here we have a girl with perceived weakness similar to Tsubomi and her introversion, but compensated for by depending on Mana to push her forward. We have Mana, the girl who is the sole reason for Rikka’s personality and development to this point, who, despite depending on Rikka for support, is quite a handful and has a developing connection with Makoto Kenzaki and Cure Sword on two different levels, and there’s opportunity for tension with the addition of more cures to the cast.
Now, with Cure Sword’s story and the Trump Kingdom in the background of all this, there really isn’t much time to resolve her aloofness towards Cure Heart as established in episodes 1 and 2. Promotional material for the next All-Stars movie features all four PreCure present, which means that Sword eventually joins the group at the time the movie comes out, which is around March. Given that Rosetta is confirmed to appear next week due to episode 4’s preview, there’s enough time to do two episodes to have Cure Sword join with her interesting backstory and fully explaining the premise of the show and the Selfish’s involvement with the TrumpKingdom’s princess.
With the Cure Sword/Trump Kingdom angle somewhat resolved early on, that leaves us without any particular storyline for the important midseason arc. Often, midseason arcs provide opportunity to add an additional PreCure to the cast. In Fresh and Suite, we’ve even seen villains turn good and become PreCure themselves. However, what we haven’t seen yet is an arc where the good girl becomes bad due to some sort of brainwashing scheme. Dark PreCure aren’t exactly a new thing, but neither is the brainwashed dark magical girl. In the live action Sailor Moon, the highlight arc of that series is the brainwashing of Sailor Mercury to become Dark Mercury.
It’s worth noting that Sailor Mercury is the second girl to become a sailor soldier.
Doki Doki! PreCure is the perfect opportunity to address the franchise’s problem with not giving the adequate focus and attention to the secondary girl in the wake of expanding from the two-girl format to the squad format. With the Selfish’s methods of summoning their monster-of-the-week relying on preying on the selfish hearts of civilians, their abilities seem primed to take on the girl in the main cast with the most wavering heart.
Cure Heart is the embodiment of her namesake. Cure Sword is strong and competent despite being (temporarily) aloof. Cure Rosetta is mysterious, and it’s hard for anyone to get a handle on her. That leaves us with the girl most likely to cross over to evil, even if unwillingly.
Dark Diamond. I can’t get enough of Dark PreCure, and neither do the fans, as far as fanart is concerned. This is the perfect opportunity for another one to show up amidst unique circumstances. If it doesn’t happen midway throughout the season, I won’t necessarily be disappointed, as I’m sure there will be something equally riveting in its stead. However, Toei would be crazy to not do this.
Rikka has proven to be a fascinating character, and yet everything that’s happened so far seems to hint at something more than what we’ve seen so far. There’s so much potential for further characterization, but it’s that potential that leaves an audience wanting more as the character continues to be awesome in their own way. With the introduction of Cure Rosetta next week, the cast dynamic is only going to be more intense. We’ll just have to see if everything can fit, because if it doesn’t at first, then all the more reason to try to shake things up with something crazy.
And if that crazy happens to be Dark Diamond? Just shut up and take my money already, Toei.