12 Days of Dokidoki PreCure #10: Yack PreCulture!

If there’s one thing that I will take away from watching Dokidoki PreCure, it’s that it certainly showcases a lot of qualities that make it PreCurian. As a nostalgia-based bottom-up production approach, a lot of those expected qualities stem from visual similarities, as well as simply having more similarities to precures past than others.

The challenge of designing a show based on nostalgia is the fine touch one has to put into making these nods to the past apparent without ripping it off entirely, and having an unoriginal show as a result. While the show spends a good chunk of its first half doing these shoutouts, it really comes to shine on its own in the second, with moments such as the song that Makoto sings in front of Regina in episode 40. Unsure as to how to snap Regina out of the control of King Selfish, Makoto takes matters into her own hands and sings a song for her; if she puts her heart into her song, then the feelings may reach Regina as a result.

During Makoto’s concert (a live event in which her new song would debut), the Selfish attack, and the PreCure are caught in a bind; Regina pins Cure Sword to the back wall of the stage while Heart and the others have their hands full with a monster of the week, Ira, and Mammo. Regina oversees the battle, on the opposite side of the field from Sword. Sword sees this as an opportunity to sing her song, and the PreCure hold off the enemy while an un-transformed Makoto slowly walks up to Regina, unharmed because of her friends’ defense.

Dokidoki PreCure!

The action is intense and continuous, contrasting with the deliberate pace of the ballad, leaving behind power in its melody and the lyrics that aim to save Regina (and by extension, the world).

PreCurian? More like Macrucian, am I right? This scene is PreCure’s version of Do You Remember Love, albeit not as grand of a scale. Makoto isn’t stopping a war with her song; she simply wants to rescue her friend. There’s no dramatic love triangle here, as Cure Sword has come a long way in reconciling her desire to save Princess Ange and the Trump Kingdom with Mana’s desire to save Regina from the Selfish. But she is an idol, and the way that Makoto uses her position as an idol reminds me a lot of the power that music plays in many of Shoji Kawamori’s works, including both Macross and even AKB0048.

Dokidoki PreCure!

When Makoto finally comes into musical kill range of Regina, she blocks the spear and transforms back into Sword, bringing the power of PreCure and music into one, perhaps in a more effective manner than Cures Melody, Rhythm, Beat, or Muse ever could.

Sorry, Suite, but despite your music-themed attacks and brilliant score from Yasuharu Takanashi don’t hold a candle to the power of music that Cure Sword displayed in this episode. It’s the musical magical girl that I’ve always dreamed of, save for Symphogear. Sometimes I wonder if Izumi Todo looked at how ridiculous Symphogear was and said to themselves, “yeah, if we want this to work, we have to make it as ridiculous as possible.”

Dokidoki PreCure!

Dokidoki’s second half was silly as all fuck, and I love them forever for it, but this one moment, as crazy as it was, hit all of the right notes.

 

5 thoughts on “12 Days of Dokidoki PreCure #10: Yack PreCulture!

  1. It’s the musical magical girl that I’ve always dreamed of, save for Symphogear. Sometimes I wonder if Izumi Todo looked at how ridiculous Symphogear was and said to themselves, “yeah, if we want this to work, we have to make it as ridiculous as possible.”

    ^^^ I was thinking the SAME thing while watching that episode! It really did feel like I was watching the ending of a long Symphogear arc and the animation with Makoto walking towards Regina while transforming into Cure Sword was great so props to the animation team <3

    1. The scene direction and blocking are quite great, but having looked through the individual frames of that scene, the charcters themselves aren’t drawn in as great detail as I would have liked; however, I would say it’s because of the size of those characters on screen that limit how detailed they’re going to be. That said, the movement of those characters during that one sequence is really cool and neatly choreographed. Everything happens in the background, and quickly too, while Makopi slowly walks up to Regina while singing her song. It’s wonderful :)

  2. I think it’s important to note that Makoto is an “idol.” Though I suppose you can call Hummy and Seiren idols too in a sense. The connotation of “idol” is that it’s largely trivial – it’s pop music. “Do You Remember Love” holds no greater significance than being simple love songs. The songs that AKB0048 sing in their war are similarly trivial considering their origin. But songs take on greater meaning depending on the listener, regardless of the source.

    But the score they seek in Suite is not *just* a pop song. The same goes for the songs that power the symphogear. “Amazing Grace” in Sora no Woto was chosen specifically for it’s historical and religious connotations.

    The “idol” bridges that gap. The “idol” adds something familiar. I’m thinking of the “new general elections” episode of AKB0048 (as I am wont to do) or the crazy fan reaction when Beyonce dropped her album this month.

    What Makoto does is no different than when singers walk to the edge of a stage to come as close as possible to their fans. Not just the “song,” but the proximity of someone you feel close to by simply listening to them sing on the radio or through headphones – that their songs had meaning either through lyrics or mood or musicality. Not just a song, but a song from someone that despite all the trivialities, the consumerism, the notion of fake personas – that despite all that, it’d still be cool to get closer to them.

    Of course, that song was written and sung *specifically* for Regina, so it makes it a bit more impactful for her probably =p

    1. Makoto’s song is no different from other songs and performances, but the context is different for each and every performance, not just for the artist themselves, but for the audience as well. The context in which this song is sung reminds me so much of the songs that Minmay/AKB/etc. sing. I mention idol in the japanese pop context here simply as a means of drawing the comparison between dokidoki’s world and the Macrosses and Symphogears, with Macross in particular because of the stage that was set and the backdrop in which that song was sung.

      I can truly appreciate the idea of pop idols serving as that bridge between music and fans. It sort of provides a face for an untangible entity such as music, which can only be felt. For Suite, I like the bridge betwen Hummy and Siren the most when it comes to the emotional impact of a song within the universe. Siren’s definitely the most affected by it, and she’s the one I’m reminded of when it comes to Regina, not Eas, like a lot of other viewers is wont to compare.

      Thanks a bunch for the comment!

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