In the world of animated media, time stands still. The real world, however, is fleeting, but in our minds we grasp what seems to be an eternal devotion of sorts. This is the nature of fandom, and honouring a timeless character on her birthday is a wonderful tradition that constantly reminds us as fans that we’ll keep growing older, but the things we love are always there to stand the test of time.
I first knew of Honoka when I was introduced to the Pretty Cure franchise when their freshman installment was broadcast in Canada under the name We Are Pretty Cure. Back then, she wasn’t known as Yukishiro Honoka, but rather as Hannah Whitehouse. There was some sort of charm in that sort of name given to a girl who was hardly North American in the slightest bit, but regardless, my taste in anime was still a rapidly burgeoning thing, rooted in my fondness of magical girls past, namely those from the Sailor Moon and Cardcaptors dubs that I loved oh so much, despite the medium label that I wasn’t even aware of at the time. Hannah Whitehouse was another character in this superheroine tradition. But amidst all of the similarities between these girls, ranging from their bright-eyed optimism, their unyielding support for their friends, and their strong beliefs in love and justice, Hannah stood out a tiny bit more.
She was an intelligent girl, especially at her age. She showed it was okay to be smart despite being a girl. In the world where sciences and math were the high school domain of boys, this girl dared to be something that was not expected of her. She was studious, self-assured, and confident in her understanding of the world. But mostly, she was curious. She wanted to more about the world around her, even if the answers weren’t so directly available. As the president of her science club, she displayed a passion for discovery and was loved by everyone for it, boy and girl.
Beyond that warm, approachable exterior, was a girl admirably coping with unique circumstances. She kept to herself. She kept a close circle of friends and family, and leaned on their love as her strength, even if there wasn’t that much to go around. The daughter of highly-regarded art traders, Hannah was alone for most of her life, only looked after by her loving grandmother while her parents traveled the world dealing with its finest luxuries, while at the same time aware of her own value as a priceless treasure. Looking back at this, I can’t help but marvel at her strength to truly embrace and see the value of her introversion, where others like Hanasaki Tsubomi simply accepted it.
Not only was she a perfect daughter and granddaughter, but a perfect friend as well. She was the yang to Natalie Blackstone’s yin, a girl who was cut slightly more traditional cloth as those I knew before. Hannah’s friendship with Natalie was so natural, so complementary, and it made the two of them even better people when they were together than they were otherwise. She was a support character in every sense of the word, but that strength became a wonderful defining feature for her that she would become her own person, rather than the girl that Natalie would save nearly every single time.
It wasn’t that Hannah wasn’t capable of taking care of herself, either. She had a sassy bite that simply brought people to their knees, Dark Zone denizen and regular human alike. She took shit from no man, not even the three ruffians who had the audacity to rob a jewelry store where she waited for her parents to attend to matters during the middle of her own birthday. She talked down to grown men, and set them straight, and while that may seem a little bit unlikely in real life, this is the kind of person that Honoka was. She was the strongest girl in every single aspect of her own humanity, even outside of the strength granted to her through magic.
She was pretty much perfect, and today, like all other April 4’s since Futari wa Pretty Cure’s broadcast run in Japan and elsewhere, fans of this wonderful girl recognize her wonderful traits. She has and will continue to set the standard for other girls who strive for quiet strength, unwavering support, and that intangible that her story would describe as magic.
Yukishiro Honoka, you inspire me to be a stronger person, to be a better friend and relative, and to put an effort into everything I do. You make me feel like it is truly possible to stand out even while standing in the shadows. You remind me that through your friendship with Nagisa, people who naturally complement one another other can find each other and be happy together.
Happy 24th birthday, Cure White. I wish you all the best that the fandom has to offer, and I wish that every other fictional character, precure or not, aim to be as great as you.