Kingdoms rise and fall, and in the case of magical girl anime, this is not an uncommon occurrence. It serves as the preface for the main struggles of characters who wish to restore their kingdom, and it also establishes the urgency of the threats posed by the villains. The fall of the Trump Kingdom is similar to that of the Palmier Kingdom in Yes! Pretty Cure 5, the wilting of the Heart Tree in Heartcatch PreCure, Pierrot’s destruction of Marchenland in Smile PreCure, and not as severely impacted, Major Land’s loss of the Legendary Score in Suite PreCure. It is through these crises that the legendary warriors are sought out to right the wrongs wrought upon these kingdoms. For Cure Sword, however, an added element of emotional attachment is layered on top of the story, making for a more personal story that unfolds as the plot continues.
Mana and the others are banished to the Trump Kingdom and are separated as a group from their fairies. As the first three precure and their fairies observe the ruins, they are told the story of TrumpKingdom’s fall by Makoto and Daby, respectively. Makoto tells of her attachment to the kingdom’s princess, Marie-Ange, and how she was forced to separate as she escaped to the human world. The other girls vow to help Makoto find Ange, and when they meet up with the other fairies in the TrumpKingdom’s palace, they transform and fight Beel, narrowly escaping through the same portal originally used by Cure Sword and Ange after the Kingdom’s fall. Back on Earth, the four girls agree to work together to find Ange and prevent King Selfish from resurrecting.
This week’s episode further cements the relationship between Sword and the Trump Kingdom, particularly with regards to Princess Marie-Ange, and comfortably establishes the main premise of the series. Final particulars will come along with the introduction of the baby character, who bears strong resemblance to Marie-Ange. A probable hypothesis is that the baby (Ai-chan) is an infant form of Ange herself, the result of Ange’s power disappearing after sealing away King Selfish. Going by plot elements from Sailor Stars and Smile PreCure, Ai can also be a seed of power left behind by Ange, who is to be carefully raised and cultivated to become the ultimate weapon against King Selfish when he is eventually reborn.
As for Ange herself, her power and presence in the Trump Kingdom is more vividly depicted compared to that of other royal figures in other PreCure shows like Futari wa (Queen), Suite (Aphrodite), Smile (Royal Queen), and others. While these characters’ abilities are mentioned in passing to serve as the vehicle through which the main cures and mascots are bestowed power, Ange’s backstory feels more personal due to her connection with Cure Sword. The Takarazuka S-class vibes between Ange and Sword is brought out through the sempai/kouhai seniority between the two and Sword’s dual role as both guardian and songstress. Makoto’s characterization often slides back and forth across the lines of gender expectations, making her a suitable otokoyaku to Ange’s musumeyaku.
Even Ange’s duties as the princess of the Trump Kingdom defy expectations of royalty in PreCure established to date. She leads by direct example, fighting in the frontlines and making use of her strengths. The scene that depicts this shows her with a spear (which you could read into as yet another challenge to gender), fighting off waves of selfish, is reminiscent to that of a proto-precure, particularly that of the first PreCure in the storied history of PreCure in Heartcatch; in the Heartcatch movie, the first PreCure to defeat the Desert Messengers is named Cure Ange, and uses a spear as a weapon.
Another intriguing parallel with Marie-Ange is that of Princess Kakyuu from Sailor Stars. Her home planet, Kinmoku is destroyed by Sailor Galaxia, leaving her and a few others as the sole survivors of the attack. She travels to Earth and hides in an incense vessel protected by Chibichibi, a baby-like character that greatly resembles Ai-chan in story function. Kakyuu is shown in the manga to have her own “star seed” which allows her to transform into a sailor senshi; given the parallel, there’s no reason why Ange cannot do the same. Of particular note, one of Kakyuu’s senshi attacks is Starlights Royal Flush, which could serve as an attack to which this show could easily throwback, considering the strong suits theme.
“Everyone’s hearts as one! PreCure Royal Flush!”
Certainly sounds like a viable attack, though at this point my tinfoil hat is in full swing again. Though not as farfetched as my other ridiculous theory about Cure Diamond, this possibility is something that feels more certain, considering the strong connection between this show and both Sailor Stars and the Heartcatch movie. I don’t necessarily have much knowledge of Sailor Moon lore outside of what I’ve read in wikis and blogs, but the details are general enough that each passing episode of Doki make me want to revisit the franchise again, having only watched the original dubbed broadcast up to S and the absurdly dated-yet-awesome live-action series, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.
Despite all this, all that’s left of the destruction is Cure Sword, the last hope of the Trump Kingdom, and the trump card that seeks to bring justice to the Selfish. Her connection with Marie-Ange adds a layer of delicateness to her that we’ve seen in last week’s episode. Her dual-role as songstress and guardian makes for a fascinating balancing act that parallels her roles of idol and PreCure in the present. It provides great context through which her decision is made to officially join the other girls.
It’s a decision that’s re-affirmed in full due to having been previously interrupted by Beel’s banishment spell. While very little action takes place in this episode outside of the fight with Beel, the journey across the ravaged city is an awakening for the audience and for Mana and the others, due to the first-hand experience of the stakes involved with the war against the Selfish. It makes Makoto’s decision to join all the more meaningful, as it is more clearly-defined than what it would be if she had simply joined in episode 6 without Beel’s interruption.
Makoto/Sword’s presence in the cast fully connects the PreCure to the overall plot, allowing for the other girls to respond and react to the situation as it develops further into the year. How the other girls become involved remain to be seen, but I certainly am interested in Diamond and Rosetta’s role in all of this. The series proper has just begun, and the possibilities are just as unlimited as they were last week. Combined with great music, awesome art design, and the standard connections drawn with other PreCure shows, Dokidoki remains a pleasure to watch with every passing episode.