Dokidoki! PreCure Episode 7: The Last Guardian

With the Trump Kingdom in shambles, only Makoto remains.

With the Trump Kingdom in shambles, only Makoto remains.

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.

Synopsis

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.

King selfish, dormant and waiting.

King selfish, dormant and waiting.

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.

Cure Ange? Quite possibly.

Cure Ange? Quite possibly.

“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.

Ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha!

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.

8 thoughts on “Dokidoki! PreCure Episode 7: The Last Guardian

  1. I love what this episode did for Makoto’s character but that’s probably because I’m viewing it through the lens of Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars (a much-maligned entry into the Sailor Moon universe, but my personal favorite of the franchise).

    Although Makoto has joined forces with the new Precure, she’s obviously uncomfortable with teaming up. She continues to view the conflict through the framework of what happened to her kingdom, rather than the “greater good” as Mana does. In spite of the fact that the “will she/won’t she?” piece of their alliance has been solved, Makoto is driven by completely different things than Mana and Co.

    Above all, Makoto’s allegiance is to Princess Marie-Ange and her Princess Marie-Ange alone, putting her on par with Sailor Stars‘ three Sailor Starlights. Reeling from the destruction of their home planet, Kinmoku, the Sailor Starlights disguise themselves on Earth as a Jpop idol group (much like Makoto became an idol to sing and reach out to Marie-Ange) and sing to find their Princess Kakyuu. This leads to a great deal of tension between the original inner Sailor Scouts, the outer Sailor Scouts, and the Sailor Starlights, culminating in several fights where Usagi begs both sides to get along with each other and team up. The Sailor Starlights attempt to remain staunchly aloof (with the exception of Seiya) and focus only on finding their princess and attempting to rebuild their world, caring nothing for the imminent destruction of Earth. They are Princess Kakyuu’s retainers/guardians, and they live to serve and love her to a fault, as do the Sailor Scouts of Earth live to serve Usagi, their future queen.

    You bring up your interest to see Diamond/Rosetta’s role in all of this and –– in spite of the fact that Makoto has joined the Precure team –– I’d love to see some friction here. Mana/Cure Heart is much like Usagi in that she simply loves people. She loves seeing them happy, she loves helping them out, and she does nearly everything for the greater good and putting smiles on others’ faces. Rikka loves to protect/serve Mana, and Alice has been shown to be fiercely protective of her friends to the point of extreme violence. This would naturally put them at odds with Makoto who cares more for Marie-Ange than anything. Yes, Makoto/Cure Sword may have joined the group, but I’d still love it if there was some lingering tension between Mana’s two retainers and Makoto as both sides grapple with protecting what they care about the most.

    Here’s my tinfoil hat moment of the week: I’d love to see DokiDoki scale the ridiculous heights set in Sailor Stars, with not just a planetary takeover, but a galactic one. In previous iterations of Precure, the series have mostly (Fresh being a notable exception) been focused on protecting the Earth and another mysterious magical kingdom. DokiDoki‘s Trump Kingdom already seems so much more grounded than the storybook Marchenland (Smile) or Garden of Light (Futari wa) in that it appears to be just another world/planet within the same galaxy as Earth. I’d love to see some over-the-top craziness on par with the Sailor Scout’s final battle with Galaxia in Sailor Stars.

    Additionally, I’m also supposing that the mysterious baby we will be introduced to in the next episode will play a similar role as Chibi-Chibi in either being the Princess herself, or some sort of vessel for the Princess.

    1. I had several walls of text with which to respond to this one, but alas, Internet Explorer 6 is not a welcome bedfellow at work. I’ll try to be a bit more to the point in my response here, but I do apologize for not giving the proper response even after such a long time.

      First and foremost, Makoto’s motives as a PreCure are certainly unique in origin, which is quite different from most other girls in the franchise (save for Muse, though hers is also unique yet nonetheless equally interesting). The magical idol is not new in the genre, but the PreCure take on it, given this specific context (as opposed to Urara’s) is very interesting indeed, as the “archetype” for the magical girl idol lends particularly well to engaging drama, especially given the similarities between Doki and Stars.

      The friction between Diamond/Rosetta and Makoto might be downplayed somewhat as a result of the overal tone of the franchise, but it wouldn’t take away from the overall nuance behind their relationship. Fresh did a great job relating Setsuna with the other two girls, and I can see the same thing happen here. It’ll certainly shed more light on the differences between the dynamics in Doki compared to Fresh.

      The galactic finish a la Sailor Stars is certainly a lovely possibility for this show, though I personally would love to see this happen simply due to the connections between the two shows so far. We’ve had this sort of finale played out before in other shows like Madoka and Heartcatch PreCure, but while those two do a very good job at doing so, Dokidoki doing this at all would be significantly more meaningful due to the connections it shares with Sailor Stars at this point.

  2. I just saw the heartcatch move a few weekends ago and I thought the same thing when Princess Marie-Ange popped up and I wonder if she is a PreCure as welll? I could see that and the whole baby thing I can totally see that, but I still think the baby is the blonde guy that gave out those cure lavies? Either way works even though I think you are onto something with Princess Marie-Ange as that baby.

    The world of Doki Doki PreCure is a lot of fun right now and I think I said this last time, but I think this series has more of an overall story and feels less random like Smile Precure? I love how each episode flows right into the next and so far it works really well and I guess Cure Sword is still not 100% with joining the other cures quite yet, but she will come around eventually.

    Mana’s epic laugh was amazing!

    1. Commenting a week later certainly provides the clarity to some of your thoughts here. The baby is certainly not Joe Okada (the weird blonde guy), but given the similar hair colour, there certainly is a connection. But what, exactly? We’ll have to wait and see.

      Dokidoki certainly has a more set story so far than the other Precure series, but that’s mostly becuse its initial episodes are very story-centric, particularly involving Cure Sword’s arc. I’m sure they’ll just get that out of the way pretty quickly, but get into the swing of random episodes like everything else. This is a year-long series, there is no way that a kids’ show could be purely story-focused. The monster-of-the-week format is its bread and butter, much like most other magical girl shows.

      Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

  3. When I was little, I watched Sailor moon with my sister though I fogot about its story. But, through reading your comments, I could remember it a little.

    I have enjoyed watching Doki Doki in those days. I want to see how the mysterious Baby character will play a role in the following stories. Maybe, she is something important in Doki Doki such as Chiffon in Frech and Candy in Smile. By the way, that Mana takes care of the baby makes me remember an anime series: Magical Doremi♩ which were made by Toei animation before Futari wa Precure had begun.

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