Riko is a product of her upbringing, and her connection to the magical market is the basis of the passionate powers granted to her by the Ruby Linkle.
One of the limitations of a two-person cast for a PreCure show is the limited scope of meaning brought about by colour symbolism that a cast of PreCure can exhibit. With only two girls, character balance dictates that opposing characteristics (shy vs. outgoing, sporty vs. smart, etc.) is distributed between them both, whereas PreCure’s contemporary ensembles allow for a rainbow of personalities and ideals to exist in tandem. The multiple forms granted by the Linkle Stones provide opportunity to showcase the different facets of both Mirai and Riko; it is a benefit in the show’s design not found in the other two-girl shows such as Max Heart, Splash Star, and even Suite.
In the PreCure world, passion is represented visually by the colour red. In the franchise’s history, the red PreCure are largely guided by their feelings, and draw strength from their determination to protect the ideals that resonate with them emotionally. Whether that value is love, friendship, or even justice, the Red PreCure’s transformation is a fanning of their wild flames, granting them power to defeat the enemy.
Cure Rouge: The Original Flame of Passion
“What I’m really scared of…is losing Nozomi!”
Between Yes 5 and Smile, it makes perfect sense to have the Red Cure be the second girl to join the cast. As either a best friend (Rin) or a first friend (Akane), the power of friendship is the strongest force that draws them to the Pink leader before anyone else. Rin’s motherly protectiveness of her best friend Nozomi lights a figurative fire in her heart when she sees her threatened by the bad guys from Nightmare, and she awakens as Cure Rouge, the titular Red Flame of Passion.
Rin and her Smile counterpart Akane both find themselves engrossed in matters of the heart, not only showcasing their strong feelings about friendship, but with love as well. Both of them share a common spotlight episode where they experience unrequited love. Rin’s feelings are for naught because the boy of her interest is in a relationship with another girl. Akane accepts that her new friend and foreign exchange student, Brian, has to travel back to England. Their romantic pursuits are supported by the love given to them from their friends.
Whether it’s volleyball or crafting jewelry, Rouge and Sunny pursue their respective passions with zesty fervor, experiencing their own lives to the utmost capacity.
Cure Ace: Shot Through The Heart
“Seems you have found the love that you’ve lost. Now, let’s fight together!”
The initial DokiDoki! squad of Cure Heart, Cure Diamond, Cure Rosetta, and Cure Sword are a rounded group by themselves, but in a show that revolves around the concept of strong feelings and the duality of selfishness and selflessness, Cure Ace’s appearance is a logical fit. Lilke Shiny Luminous, Madoka’s existence is one half of the reincarnation of Princess Marie Ange, whose backstory involve an intense loving relationship with her fiancé, Johnathan Klondike.
Madoka/Cure Ace is drawn to her other half, the show’s major antagonist Regina. The two make up the two sides of Marie Ange’s heart, split into its selfless and selfish forms. Both Madoka and Regina are both intensely emotional, tied to their origins. Ace relentlessly pursues Regina in combat, trying to reconcile her existence with that of Marie Ange. The loving spirit of the Trump Kingdom’s ruler is what reunites the two, imbuing them with power that they otherwise could not obtain by themselves.
Cure Ace by herself is initially the strongest of the five PreCure, but her true power comes from being one with the others, even her enemy.
Cure Scarlet: Burning Guilt
“I shall shoulder these sins of mine once again and aim to become a Grand Princess!”
Go! Princess’s Cure Scarlet is a PreCure forged from the tradition of enemies turned allies. Alongside Suite’s Cure Beat and Fresh’s aptly named Cure Passion, Towa Akagi’s character arc is heavily saddled by her wrongdoings.
Spurred by Cure Flora’s moving words passed on from her brother Kanata, Towa remembers her dream to one day play the violin again with him. The act of playing the violin helps her recall Kanata’s advice, to take things step by step after making a mistake. Originally given as advice about learning music, Towa applies this to her past actions as Twilight and allows her to re-awaken as Cure Scarlet.
When Twilight plays her elegy on the violin, the melody carries a sorrowful tone by itself, but when played together with Flora’s part, the two fit into a single line with countermelody. Towa’s passion lies in her love for her brother and her kingdom. She plays her violin with the hopes and dreams of her family and her subjects. It gives her power both as a person and as a PreCure, through her various attacks with her weapon of choice, Scarlet Violin.
Like Passion and Beat who came before her, Cure Scarlet feels deeply for her greatest mistakes, but ultimately turns them into her greatest strengths.
Cure Magical: It Takes a Village
“This town is precious to me and the people in it!”
Riko’s trip to the magical market in Maho Girls! episode 3 is a welcome visit into her backstory. Training to become a powerful magician, Riko was aided by the market townsfolk throughout her entire childhood into the present. When she shows Mirai around, she opens up her entire world to her. Riko introduces her to the people who have helped her in her life, and who by extension will help Mirai as well. It is through these individual visits that she sees how each person’s contribution, however small, have added up to who she is and who she wants to become.
In meeting everyone, Mirai learns about Riko’s ambitions with magic, and further deepens her interest in the magical world as well as Riko herself. When Sparda threatens to destroy the town, she threatens Riko’s entire being by extension, as well as the safety of her new friend, who the townsfolk quickly accept as one of their own like Riko. It allows her to burst out with her honest feelings about the town and herself, surprising Mirai in the process. They discover the Ruby Linkle, hidden in the central statue of a lucky cat holding the legendary passion flame. It resonates with Riko, allowing the two of them to transform.
Maho Girls PreCure expertly weaves the legend of the Passion Flame into the mechanisms through which the girls discover their own passions. It is also supported by the franchise’s own rich history of passionate flames, giving more weight to their eventual transformations. The Ruby PreCure form is formidable, but just an aspect of their entire whole, showcasing the coloured symbolism of the ensemble cast within a two-girl dynamic. This episode was fantastic, and the show’s execution so far has never been hotter.