Doki Doki! PreCure Episode 5: MKP0048

Doki Doki! PreCure

Idol anime has been pretty great this year so far. From AKB0048 to Love Live to Aikatsu, there is a fairly wide variety of anime depicting idols across a broad range of settings and production styles. Whether you’re into the Macrucian tone of AKB0048, the overachieving premise executed by Aikatsu, or Nico’s various (and hilarious) facial expressions in Love Live, in each show exists the meaning of being on stage and performing. The uncomfortable nature of idol culture aside, the girls themselves are more often than not larger than life, and audiences can appreciate the hard work they put into being the entertaining personas that they exude. PreCure has its own share of celebrity Cures, and they span an interesting gamut of personality types, with Makoto Kenzaki as the recent spotlight example.

Synopsis

Mana, Rikka, and Alice visit a television station to speak with Makoto after learning that she may potentially be Cure Sword. Mana approaches Makoto in her dressing room, asking her to join forces with the other PreCure. Makoto snaps back, telling Mana that she is disrupting her busy schedule as an idol, effectively destroying any chance of her joining. As Makoto continues performing for a television show recording, another idol’s heart gets corrupted and turned into a star-shaped Selfish. The three other girls transform into PreCure, but the blinding disruption of the Selfish puts them in a tactical disadvantage. Makoto re-appears as Cure Sword, and vanquishes the Selfish with her Holy Sword attack.

Makoto is at first an odd mishmash of a number of character traits from other PreCure shows past. She shares her idol background with that of Urara Kasugano from Yes! Pretty Cure 5, but shares the aloofness of the civilian and cure forms of Yuri Tsukikage (Heartcatch PreCure) and Ako Shirabe (Suite PreCure) respectively. There’s a fine balance that needs to be taken with Makoto’s execution as a written character without feeling too lazily derived from cures past. Thankfully, she doesn’t fall anywhere close yet, and there’s still plenty more episodes to come to fully flesh her story and personality out.

Doki Doki! PreCure

This week’s episode initially reinforces what we’ve seen so far from Cure Sword in her appearances in episode 1 and 2: intensity, competency, and a healthy amount of hubris as a result of her refusal to join the other PreCure. It makes sense from a personality standpoint; when the weight of a ruined kingdom arises from one’s failures as a cure, it would make sense to want to shoulder that burden alone. Makoto feels a need to redeem herself in some sort of way through her actions and abilities as a Cure, while at the same time, refuses to drag anyone else into her problems. This is her way of being considerate to Heart and the others, despite their insistence on helping. The intention is probably there, but it doesn’t translate directly in person.

That said, Makoto’s intensity translates perfectly well to an idol lifestyle. Busy schedules and rigorous demands from fans and production staff keep her on her toes nearly every waking minute, which fits well with her other life as a PreCure. Despite scheduling conflicts that arise from the unshakable responsibilities as a superhero, Cure Sword cannot let up at all because of what is at stake on both sides. It’s this particular design choice that makes Makoto especially interesting, since she has a clear goal/dream in her civilian life that is on a similar level of intensity as her personal goal as Cure Sword.

That isn’t to belittle the life goals set by other Cures in the franchise, or the balancing act that they face between those goals and their lives as PreCure. Fresh Pretty Cure, in particular, does the best job at examining the costs of trying to pursue two dreams at once. For Love, Miki, and Inori, the physical demands of dance training takes a toll on their abilities as PreCure, which, compounded by Eas’s growing powers given to her by Labyrinth, effectively forces them to get by on hard work alone.

Doki Doki! PreCure

Yes 5 also places particular emphasis on people’s hopes of the future as well (the lead Cure is appropriately named Cure Dream). Instead of focusing on the intensity of balancing the double-life of being a PreCure and being an idol/author/athlete/etc, the focus is instead on the civilian lives of each of the girls involved, and the support that they provide each other in order to reach their respective dreams. On numerous occasions, the idol cure, Urara, is often faced with difficult situations, and her friends come to her support to help further her career as an aspiring actress. The PreCure battles with Kowaina essentially reinforce the values and beliefs set forth through the cures’ civilian actions.

In between these two sides of the spectrum, then, lie Makoto and her double-life as both MakoPi and Cure Sword. Both sides potentially are equally taxing because of the extent of her involvement with each. Unlike that of Fresh and Yes 5, she wants to achieve both of her goals without any help, which is the cornerstone of this initial arc that will eventually result in Cure Sword joining the team. Next week’s episode, which involves Makopi visiting Mana’s house, will surely bring them together, at least temporarily, as the All-Stars movie will debut a week later; however, the title for episode 7, “Close Battle! Farewell PreCure!!” suggests that someone will leave the group again, and odds are reasonable that the person leaving will probably be Cure Sword.

Doki Doki! PreCure

It’s a bit weird to have this come-and-go treatment for Cure Sword’s character arc, as it is clearly dictated by the marketing decision to have the story loosely coincide with the All-Stars movie. The timing of the movie’s release often comes at some sort of continuity cost for either side. In Pretty Cure All-Stars Deluxe 2 and 3, the respective focal PreCure series for those years did not have their full ensemble; DX2 only included Cures Blossom and Marine from Heartcatch, while Suite only featured Cures Melody and Rhythm. In contrast, due to the Smile’s cast coming completely together by episode 5, Pretty Cure All-Stars New Stage featured every single cure for every series to date, which fit well considering that Smile’s strengths did not focus on establishing a strong sense of story continuity; New Stage 2 will feature all four girls from Doki Doki, but at the expense of rushing Alice’s introduction and potentially disrupting the continuity of Cure Sword’s allegiance with the other PreCure.

Alternatively, assuming that all of the PreCure come together (and that the episode title for Episode 7 is misleading – not unheard of in the franchise!) and stay together after New Stage, I’m already excited to see how the relationship dynamics play out between all four of them at once. We’re already getting a hint of what to expect with regards to the interactions between Rikka and Alice in the first half of the episode. After Mana runs off to find Makoto, a brief awkward silence is shared between Rikka and Alice, and a whole lot is on display between the two of them.

Doki Doki! PreCure

Alice is more easygoing, but is more eager to go with the flow of a situation, whereas Rikka is more easily stressed out by situations and is a control freak. In relation to Mana after she gets scolded by Makoto, the two of them have a mother/father type of dynamic going on; Rikka lectures Mana for making rash decisions, and Alice pleads for Rikka to go easy on her. You can see which role Alice and Rikka play in Mana’s life, and it provides a neat supportive balance for Mana when she tries to develop further as a person and as a PreCure going forward in the show.

Where Makoto fits into all of this is yet to be seen; future episode titles serve too often as a red herring, and conclusions can’t be fully assured. Regardless, we saw a lot from Makoto this week, and next week will seek to showcase the other side of our aloof ally, hopefully alleviating concerns that she may be too uptight for the others to deal with. Reactions to similar characters like Ako/Cure Muse were mixed, and hopefully, Makoto will come off as more endearing than she lets on initially.

13 thoughts on “Doki Doki! PreCure Episode 5: MKP0048

  1. “Idol anime has been pretty great this year so far.”

    We’ll agree to disagree.

    I find it interesting that you didn’t mention Mana much, as she was the one with a character arc this episode.

    1. I suppose it’s worth mentioning here about Mana. Yes, she did have the character arc in the episode, and it was generally straightforward and pertains to parts of her personality that we already know about. While she’s touted as a selfless person, she is often unintentionally inconsiderate of consequences or others’ feelings. She was like this in Episode 2 when she was trying to push Rikka away from being involved with her PreCure life. In this episode, she’s instead asking Makoto to directly join, which resulted in Makoto’s backlash.

    2. While I agree that it added to her character, I disagree that it was needed. It was nice to have, since it further establishes her relationship with Makoto (the character who needed to be focused on this episode, given that she’d been absent since the first/second episode), but her characterization has been steady throughout the series through her relationships with the girls who have been added so far.

      As the lead character of a show that’s guaranteed to be at least 47 episodes, I honestly have no worries about the amount of meaningful screen time that she’ll get in the series; it’s the secondary characters that I worry about, given the history of the franchise.

  2. Oooooh this is a great post! I did not think about the whole balancing act for Makoto being a popular idol, Precure and her solo quest for her home world. I am waiting for the breakdown episode when she has to decide what is more important to her everyday life, but we all know she will choose the Precure route because I assume her idol status is just a cover for now…oh and I guess it is safe to say her manager = purple fairy xD

    I enjoy the interaction between Alice and Rikka and damn you are spot on for them acting as a “mother” and “father” towards Mana because that totally works! That said I was disappointed that this was their first team battle and they got owned so fast by that star, but they will have plenty of time to learn how to fight as a team as soon as Makoto/Cure sword joins them.

    Alice is my favorite so far, but it is a tough race between Mana, Rikka and Makoto as my favorites, but I am excited to see the next episode! It is going to be amazing and who knew that Makoto was terrible in the kitchen? I guess it is impossible to be a pro at EVERYTHING~

    1. Yep, chance are good that the manager is Dabi. The note that was left in the family restaurant was initialed DB, supposedly from the manager. The manager’s hair colour is also purple, which also matches the colour of the fairy. I’m starting to get around on fairies that can shape-shift to humans; the longer they stay in human form, the less time spent in their often-annoying mascot forms.

      This week’s Selfish was set up to duel with Sword at the end, so it was natural that the other three would get manhandled thoroughly. They are a lot better than they let on, and yes, future battles will probably give them more opportunities to shine more.

  3. Interesting post and even interesting comparisons with the other Precure series, it makes me want to check out the series i’ve missed. I like how you break it down it gives me a different perspective altogether. You said it best yourself about Makoto balancing both her civilian life and cure life, how they fit her character and keeping her toes, I’m waiting for the episode where she loses and end up having to team up with them, and how well they work together.

    Sadly i’ve been lazy with my episode post, I feel like I don’t really have anything to share really, besides how Alice has DNA that points them to cure sword identity and how she makes Mana reflect on her actions And yes..Fairies shape shifting into humans! much like Coppe from Heartcatch hehe, Magical boy!

    Next episode cooking with Makoto, it looks like a fun episode indeed

    1. I have a feeling that you’re onto something with regards to how she’ll end up having to team up with them; based on upcoming episode titles, episode 7 fits this description pretty well, with the ‘Close Battle!’ part.

      Shapeshifting fairies are pretty awesome. Coppe’s human form is quite hunky, possibly moreso than either of Coco/Nuts. What can I say? I love characters who wear glasses, hahaha

    2. Ako was cool for the most part, but she totally should have stayed as Batman!Muse. Her new costume was fine, but I was so attached to BatMuse and I didn’t want to let it go so soon lol

  4. I love your comparison with other Precure. At first, I thought that Makoto was like Urara because they were idols and Precures, but not similar at all. Urara welcame friends,Nozomi and Rin,whereas, Makoto rejected Mana.
    In the beginning of epi 1, Cure Sword fighting with Selfish was shown. I am curious about what relations with Card Kingdom Cure Sword has.

    Anyway, Dokidoki is getting interesting to me. Maybe, I am recovering from Precure Loss Syndorome.

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