“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa
The real value behind a supporting role is often overlooked, simply because not much is expected of them. Upon first glance of a particular unit of individuals striving towards a particular goal, whether it is to beat up on Selfish or otherwise, the eyes are almost always on the leader and their partner in crime. This 1-2 combination takes up the glory, and the relationship between the two determines a great deal the ceiling of what the unit can do together. Egos are checked at the door, and the hierarchy needs to be in place in order for people to carry out what is needed to succeed. Every Michael Jordan needs a Scottie Pippen. Every Heart needs a Diamond.
But when the focus is squarely on the first two important members of the group, the third gets overlooked because of the lessened demand on that character to make things work on the team. They serve singular purposes and provide utility to fill in the blanks that cover for the weaknesses that remain from the main pair. As minor as it sounds, it’s that shoring up of weaknesses that allow for the full potential of the team to come out. A supporting character makes the rest of the group so much better than it is without drawing attention to that character, simply because they don’t need that attention. A divine entity once said, “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”
That’s what makes Alice Yotsuba a remarkable character by herself (as opposed to the relationship dynamics that I’ve discussed at length between characters on this show). She hardly gets any screen time, which is a huge benefit for her character, because she is only asked to do what is needed within the team context, despite everything that she has available to offer to her team. With her martial arts upbringing and limitless wealth and resources, she is literally Bruce Wayne, but as a PreCure she is called to be a Batman in a team with Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern in it. The entire context changes. It doesn’t take away from what she is from an individual standpoint. This week’s episode highlights that, and is a firm reminder for those who weren’t sure whether Alice was doing anything up until this point.
Alice is always there, though she’s hardly ever seen. She attends a different school from Mana and the others, and she always shows up only to provide sagely advice or to provide a comforting presence to those who are weary. She is observant, and she knows everything that is going on with the others as well as within herself, which is why she was able to withstand the bullying tactics that Reina tried to employ throughout the Rose Lady contest. It’s very scary how much Alice has changed over the course of the series so far, on account of just being there with the team. Any character that plays within the necessary role of a team and grows into their own as a result is the perfect fit, and although she might be missing the “glue guy” attributes that a Nao Midorikawa has with Smile PreCure, she simply makes everyone better. But unlike Nao, who has always been that same person throughout the entire series, Alice is showing signs of change, right behind our very backs.
To bring back the Batman comparison, it feels a lot like something out a Justice League comic. In issues 43-46, the famous Tower of Babel arc (adapted into an animated film named JLA: Doom), the Dark Knight’s paranoia and mistrust is brought out into the fold, in which his unlimited resources and contingency plan against the rest of his teammates (should they ever go rogue) are used against the League, resulting in his expulsion from the group once upon the arc’s resolution. Playing off a previous theory I had regarding Rikka/Cure Diamond, I envision a similar probability of mistrust in Alice, despite the fact that her friendship with the other PreCure have resulted in her control of emotions. Control over emotions is one of the defining characteristics of the iconic Bat, and it is what leads to explorations of his character regarding his allegiance to the rest of the team.
I forsee the same approach with Alice in a situation where Diamond’s waivering heart is exploited by the Selfish. In order to deal with the immense pain of losing her closest friend (which Alice has, up until this point, recognizes as the source of her changing self), she has to control her emotions even further; her heart cannot be exploited at this point because she has closed it off entirely. This is the journey of reflection that Alice has to take while she tries to collaborate with the other Cures with regards to getting Rikka back.
It’s because of drastic possibilities like these, which Alice has probably already run through her head numerous times since joining the PreCure, that she must take on the support role in order to protect her friends. The fundamental difference between her and Bruce Wayne is that she recognizes early on that she does not want to be alone, nor does she want to work alone. She has the capability to be the lead PreCure in her own series, but she certainly doesn’t mind settling for a lesser role and executing it to perfection. She is highly aware of her usefulness towards the group, which allows her to do what she does without any particular dissent from opposing viewpoints. In the world of PreCure, their hearts are one, and that makes her a very formidable opponent.
At the end of the day, Alice, as Cure Rosetta, is an overqualified support hero who doesn’t mind accepting the way things are, and is simply content to see her friends happy, because they are the true heroes of the story in the hearts of the audience as well as her own. She won’t be the face of the team that saved the world, but she will tell her grandkids with pride that she worked with the very best, and made them even better. Maybe we don’t get to see much of what Alice does, but I’m quite sure that things are rosy on her end.