With every power-up in PreCure, there’s more often than not an associated item or weapon used to bring about that power. Whether that’s the initial transformation, which requires a trinket in the form of a pact, module, or cell phone variant, or an ultimate attack that requires a larger item like a music box or clock, the step up in power usually coincides with the step up in complexity of the toy that represents it (and by extension its retail price in stores). From a marketing standpoint, having the coolest, most buyable toys is one of the driving reasons to make anime to begin with, whether it’s in regards to giant robots or pink scepters with giant heart stickers going down the side.
PreCure’s lifeblood is its toys, and with this week’s episode, the appearance of the Love Heart Arrow accessory, new attacks were granted to the Dokidoki PreCure, as well as new toys. In the same vein of the Fresh Pretty Cure’s line of Cure Sticks, the Love Heart Arrows are homologous, such that they share the exact same appearance, but have differing functions and attacks. Fresh’s Cure Sticks consisted of a Peach Rod, Berry Sword, and Pine Flute, each of which were held in different ways by each cure, but only differed in appearance by a few recolorings here and there. Regardless, the resulting attacks used from each item (love sunshine, healing prayer, and espoir shower) were essentially the same.
Little kids don’t really care whether they’re the same or not. For all intents and purposes, a different colour and a different way of holding the item is good enough for them to choose which item they want to buy. And boy have these toys changed ever since my heyday with my collection of Power Ranger weapons (for a closer frame of comparison, the toys from the 90’s are lot less dynamic in functionality compared to contemporary merchandise from recent Kamen Rider and Super Sentai shows). These things have a billion different buttons, each with their own pre-recorded sound samples from the show (varying from magic blasts to precure catchphrases themselves), and will drain any battery just by a child’s willpower alone. And this is all coming from a measly-looking scepter-thingy. Dokidoki’s toys have a whole lot more going for them from a design and functionality standpoint.
Despite taking a step up in design complexity, Dokidoki’s Love Heart Arrows are still virtually the same item across each cure, although the toys are guaranteed to have different voiceovers for each one. There are a number of features on the weapons depicted in the series that allows for a number of different play features.
From top to bottom, the Love Heart Arrow is a step up in design in nearly every way from its Fresh predecessor. The crossbow-like design comes with hinged limbs and a centre heart setting where the Cure Lovies is placed, and also serves as the attachment point for the back handle. The main shaft is lined with buttons in the same manner as the cure sticks, but at the end is a pump-action mechanism that can be pushed in or pulled out like a drawstring. Each visible feature plays a part in allowing for different functionalities for the girls in the series to unleash their powerups, and for kids who own the toys to likewise mimic.
Cure Rosetta’s Love Heart Arrow activates the powered-up Rosetta Reflection by bending the limbs towards the body, pushing the pump in, and holding the handle like a shield. She draws a circle with the Love Heart Arrow, which forms a magical shield in front of her.
Cure Diamond’s Diamond Shower is similar in form, but is functionally more similar to Cure Sunshine’s shiny tambourine. She holds the item up in the air, and taps the center heart numerous times to unleash the attack, kind of like a tambourine.
Cure Sword’s Sparkle Sword is used more like a crossbow than an actual sword attack, further expanding on her usage of swords like spammable projectiles.
Cure Heart has the best-animated attack of the group, turning the Love Heart Arrow into an actual bow and arrow. She draws the pump back like a bowstring, gives perhaps the coolest wink in the entire franchise, and lets loose a giant heart projectile. It’s not as elegant as Sapphire Arrow, nor is it as novel as Beauty Blizzard Arrow, but there’s a nice lead cure quality to it, further establishing Cure Heart as the precure closer in her team.
It’s not too shabby for a line of identical toys, if you ask me, but as far as actual precure toys are concerned, nothing beats the multifunctionality of Suite PreCure’s Love Guitar Rod.
Holy shit, have you seen this thing? It’s a goddamn magical guitar, wielded by Cure Beat. It’s overpowered as fuck. Strum it one way, and it fires off Beat Sonic, a spam of energy notes in the same vein as Sparkle Sword, but Beat can use the guitar to control the intensity and direction and timing of the spam attack itself. Attach a fairy tone (a gemlike fairy) to the top of the guitar, and it allows the usage of Beat Barrier, which is essentially the same as Rosetta Reflection. Shift the guitar body upwards toward the head, and it becomes the Soul Rod.
In this mode, it can summon a Tone Ring projectile like the other two main Cures, Melody and Rhythm, but is fired off by pulling a trigger at the top of the rod. It’s a guitar and a rod and a gun in a single item. Simply unfair. You can hear the registers ringing in toy stores all over Japan.
While nothing can actually suprass the awesomeness of the Love Guitar Rod, the functional variation of the Love Heart Arrow makes it pretty interesting in practice. And because there’s four of them, it’s going to sell like hotcakes. Kudos, Toei, you glorious, dirty bastards.