Dokidoki! PreCure Episode 12: Toku no Hana (Flowers of Virtue)

Dokidoki! PreCure

When it comes to matters of the heart, Toei knows how to catch individual feelings and spin fantastic little moments and stories from them, all within the framework of a formula involving magical girls and flashy finishing moves. Heartcatch PreCure took on this concept and concocted a fantastic plot device in the form of the Heart Flower, which represents the feelings of individual people, capable of blooming and wilting based on the individual’s feelings. The Desert Messengers aim to make the world tree wilt by exploiting the negative feelings of people, making their heart flowers wilt, thus turning the world into a planetary desert.

With Dokidoki PreCure, we were subject to the possibility that this sort of idea would be touched upon once more; the feelings of particular characters are preyed upon by evildoers, and it is up to the pretty cure to protect the purity of people’s hearts. I predicted before the series’ debut that “Doki’s villains are probably going to attack positive feelings and turn them into negative ones…” based on the title by itself, but with the events of episode 12 wrapped up quite nicely, this particular idea is brought out in a different direction than in Heartcatch, putting a significant spotlight on the emotions (and by extension, doubts) of the pretty cure themselves.

What makes Heartcatch interesting is that the purity of the girls’ hearts while they are precure are hardly questioned. While Cure Moonlight’s burdens stem from her defeat at the hands of Dark PreCure (and thus serve as the exception to this rule), the other girls’ heart flowers were only vulnerable before they became PreCure. Erika Kurumi’s heart flower is stolen in the episode before she became Cure Marine, a result of her jealousy of her sister Momoka, whose success as a teen model overshadowed Erika’s genuine qualities and talents in the fashion world. Itsuki Myoudouin’s inability to reconcile her feelings about inheriting her dojo’s martial art style and her love for cute and girly things leads to her heart flower being stolen, long before she became Cure Sunshine. Cure Blossom, by nature of being the first awakened PreCure, never has her heart flower stolen.

Dokidoki! PreCure

In Dokidoki, however, the idea of the corruption of the feelings and emotions of other people hit much closer to home for the girls. In episode 10, we see Rikka’s heart unexpectedly waver out of jealousy for Makoto, who grows closer to Mana as a result of joining the team. Episode 12 is Mana’s turn to experience emotional resonance with the wavering-heart-of-the-week in the spotlight side-character, Jun, whose lack of self-confidence and tendency to put Mana on a pedestal results in a misguided motivation for self-improvement. With each passing day, we see him struggle with trying to become more like Mana, building up his own expectations that he could be as apparently perfect as her. His pure intentions led to impure action and motivations, and the hilariously cute (yet awkward) Selfish is ripped out of his heart.

The ensuing battle is typical PreCure fare, with the girls locked in combat with the monster of the week, citing their defense of the preyed-upon and weak like Jun. In most episodes of Heartcatch though, the girls’ speeches are often high and mighty, with nary a regard for their own self-reflection. They claim defense of those with weak hearts, and their untainted-by-default hearts make those particular messages fall slightly short in actual meaning; the brunt of the emotional impact comes from the inner-testimonial of the suffering individual. Dokidoki follows the trend in regards to the inner-testimonial, but an added layer of doubt allows us to see how fragile and weak these PreCure are, especially that of their hardy leader, Cure Heart.

Dokidoki! PreCure

When the other three girls take their turns citing their defense for the pureness of Jun’s heart by speaking their honest perception of how Mana became the seemingly perfect girl that she is, those words not backed up by the words of Cure Heart herself. She insists that the girls speak too highly of who she is now as well as how she got to where she is. This admission is a necessary step in putting the girls in their place about how much they actually know about themselves and about the reality of sacrifice and loss as roadblocks to their goals. They’re fledgling magical girls, barely weeks removed from forming an actual team together, and only an episode from getting their first power-up. They know a whole lot less about people and the world than they realize, and Heart keeps them and herself grounded.

This is what allows her to keep pushing forward the way she does without coming off as seemingly perfect. She’s not. She is in her position of strength based on hard work alone, and she bared her own weaknesses in front of the enemy to get that point across. She freely mentioned the potential weaknesses in her own heart, which she hides every day because of her brand of selflessness. It’s a timely source of self-depreciation that is often difficult to see in other PreCure shows, which makes this particular moment very special for the girls at this point in the series. By highlighting their weaknesses early on, the girls sow the seeds of maturity that push them towards self-improvement in the same vein as the very individuals that they save on a weekly basis.

Dokidoki! PreCure

In the case of Jun, the resolution is straightforward and pointed in its seemingly obvious truth about being oneself, and simply aiming to become the best version at that. He takes up gardening, and by extension, takes up the mantle of green-hearted guardian of his own feelings and dreams. The book-end that highlights this change is all sorts of wonderful, as it highlights the slight change in the world as well, from the first shot to the last. A small change such as the flowerbed in front of the girls’ school is a drop in the pond of the entire human race that they defend, but thanks to them, Jun has finally found a place in it.

What of the PreCure, though? They save the day once more, but at what of themselves? Their insecurities remain, and despite being fearless protectors, they are the most insecure group of heroines yet. As long as the tiniest doubt remains with them, their virtues are likely targets to be turned into vice. Not only will they battle the Selfish throughout the course of the season, but the creeping selfishness in their own hearts as well. To what extent these battles will rage remains to be seen, but the idea that the threat is real makes Dokidoki personal and weighty as a series in its own way compared to its emotional predecessors. Time will tell whether or heart flowers will bloom, wilt, or perhaps both.

Dokidoki! PreCure

10 thoughts on “Dokidoki! PreCure Episode 12: Toku no Hana (Flowers of Virtue)

  1. I totally was shipping Jun and Mana during this entire episode! I was like wait where is the confession? Just kidding though, because we all know Mana’s heart belongs to Rikka/Makoto right?

    When Jun was turned into the monster of the week I started to think about Heartcatch as well the baddies in that series seemed to always exploit the feelings of the targeted person, but I wonder if that is a common thing for anime? Because there is an early episode that I remember from Guilty Crown that reminded me of PreCure! They had a character’s mind trapped in one of their giant robots that was revealing his inner feelings while it screamed…yeah…good old Guilty Crown…anyway it was nice to see a different style of monster of the week by including Jun’s feelings xD

    I am curious to see what kind of emotional episode we get out of Doki Doki PreCure? I still feel those episodes stand out the most! I still remember the first Yayoi episode that dealt with the loss of a loved one, but there are plenty of emotional episodes in HeartCatch and recently I saw Fresh Precure 12 with the wigs! Sure that episode was mostly laughter; however the bit with Love and her father was a nice touch~

    Who is the new blond character at the end?! I assume she is part of the evil crew since that would make it 4 verse 4 just like Smile PreCure! I heard rumors that she is the other half of Ai aka queen Angie? Like the queen was divided into two or that she might be related to Joe? I could some of those working out or am I just crazy? Oh and the outfit she wears looks just like Cure Heart…

    1. Jun and Mana go really well together, but I really enjoyed their interactions more after the fight scene. With his heart saved, he found a part of himself that he liked the most, and it was when he was tending the garden that Mana was most impressed with his character. You have to love yourself before you love others, and I feel that this Jun is the best Jun for Mana. However, I still ship Mana with Rikka, hehe.

      You’re right about the internalized feelings being turned into a monster. It takes a bit of comedic self-awareness to make what would otherwise be cheesy as hell into something remarkably entertaining. Guilty Crown did it in this regard by embracing how bad the concept was, and Dokidoki did something similar by making its monster (and monsters before it) as ridiculous as possible. As far as entertainment is concerned, I feel Doki wins by a landslide just because of the Sheep monster alone, lol!

      As you said with the Fresh PreCure wig episode, the franchise is very good at shifting back and forth between emotional moods, and it knows exactly when to turn up the sappy at the right time when the audience is primed to resonate with the emotional message of the episode. Fresh PreCure was the master at this, being able to shift so drastically between the utterly insane and the utterly heartwarming, especially with regards to the interpersonal relationships between the PreCure girls with the rest of the town and with each other as well.

      The new girl is pretty mysterious! She could very well be part of some evil crew, but it’s not exactly a pressing issue, so her appearance really isn’t much of a cliffhanger or anything. PreCure is pretty good at keeping their episodes self-contained, but will definitely go out of their way when it ought to count the most. My theory is that she’s a rogue agent from the trump kingdom that caused it to fall. There is a possibility that she could be a fifth precure, but that would sort of upset the cast balance that the show has done so well to achieve up to this point. I like the theory that she’s a partial essence of the old Queen, which would draw some interesting comparisons with Futari wa Max Heart, which had an essence of the queen become a character, and a precure at that (Shiny Luminous).

      Thanks a bunch for the comment fosh, and I apologize for responding so late to the last one! I’ve been quite busy lately, hehe

    2. Ahaha no problem Krizzly! Life happens I am glad you are keeping up with this series so far, but I have taken the idea of doing video reviews for every 5th episode because I am already busy with the spring season haha

    3. This new season has been outstanding so far. A little bit of everything for everyone, but at the same time, it also means that each individual series isn’t for everyone. I’m currently watching Railgun S2, Yuyushiki, Majestic Prince, Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live and OreImo S2 out of the new ones appearing recently, and that’s on top of my usual lineup of Dokidoki PreCure and Aikatsu.

  2. Episode 14: A promise to dream! Rikka’s great sadness!

    Episode 15: I’m really busy! Makoto’s Idol Day!

    Episode 16: Regina’s atack! Mana is only mine!
    The daughter of King Selfish decides that she wants to become Mana’s best friend.

    Episode 17: Shock! The lost crystal!
    Following a clue to the Queen, the girls go to a museum. At that place, Regina appears.

    it sound like the new girl regina which apeard in the end wont be so evill after all and the yuri continue

    1. Hrmm, there are a number of ways to interpret those titles, especially considering that the character is supposedly the daughter of King Selfish. This girl cannot be trusted, and the fact that she wants Mana all to herself speaks of a misguided type of selfishness in itself. I’m interested to see where this goes.

  3. I love the comparison between the DokiDoki character narratives and the ones found in Heartcatch. As you say, the darkness in the hearts of the Heartcatch girls are barely questioned during their tenure as Precure. When Tsubomi, Itsuki, Erika, and Yuri (although her story was a bit more of its own separate thing) had their individual spotlight episodes, their emotions are resolved quickly (usually by the end of each episode). This allows three of the precure to immediately defeat their shadow selves in the heartcatch mirage episodes, showing that they bear no excess angst over their previously-established issues. The longest-running character narrative in Heartcatch is Tsubomi’s, which wraps up at her shadow self fight and is far more uplifting than what we’ve seen in DokiDoki thus far. It’s emotionally-resonant for sure, but less complex than what DokiDoki seems to be introducing in regard to the relationship dynamics between Mana and the people who naturally flock to her.

    Specifically, both Alice and Rikka still have mixed emotions about Makoto, how she fits in with their preexisting group of three, and how Mana constantly gives away so much of herself. Focusing in even further, one can pinpoint that Alice’s heart wavers at times when she sees how close Rikka is to Mana and Rikka has already shown herself to have difficulty dealing with the fact that Mana would rely on anyone but her. The undercurrent of emotion is still very uneasy within the DokiDoki setup and I can’t wait to see how the series continues to build this dynamic.

    1. As I’ve mentioned, Tsubomi is the only girl in the show that doesn’t have her heart flower stolen. What makes this a big deal in relation to the mirage arc in Heartcatch is that she never had a heart flower arc the way that Sunshine and Marine have, which makes the delay in bringing up her own character arc a poignant choice as far as series planning is concerned. Blossom’s reputation as the weakest PreCure ever is put to the test when she is needed by her teammates the most. It makes for a harrowing experience, especially considering that not all people are naturally fit to lead or carry a team. It’s a process, and it requires a great deal of reflection, and even practice. The frustration of not seeing Tsubomi pass the test the way her peers do is indicative of how hard it is to see the progress that she’s made over the course of the show, made even more heartbreaking because she made so much progress and seemingly did not have much to show for it at that point. I can see why she would be an exceptionally resonant character for many people ^ ^

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