Maho Girls PreCure! Episode 5: Frigid Friendships

Mirai and Riko’s unspoken differences come to a boil when they have their first fight, spelling trouble for both of them.

The two-girl dynamic in a PreCure show doesn’t truly get going until their first disagreement. Unlike the ensemble setup, where each girl’s various strengths cover for each other’s weakness to the point of overlap, the burden of balance rests on far less people, greatly exposing those distinctions between them. Nagisa and Honoka’s relationship in Futari wa Pretty Cure develops amicably and naturally, yet the two of them fail to truly learn about each other until they end up fighting over a misunderstanding on Honoka’s part.

Nagisa might be the simpler of the two of them, she still feels incredibly strongly about that which she is passionate about, and is guided by her emotions. As a result, she has difficulty sorting through her own feelings, but is familiar enough with them to navigate through her own world. Honoka doesn’t realize this because of the initial distance between her and her partner; as an intellectually driven girl, she tries too hard to analyze Nagisa’s situation that she fails to see Nagisa herself. She ends up trying to introduce Nagisa to her crush Fujimura (who also happens to be Honoka’s childhood friend), but it fails spectacularly because of Nagisa’s shyness. Embarassment leads to resentment, and Honoka’s failure leads to thinking that she doesn’t deserve to be her PreCure partner.

It’s only through talking, even during a battle if necessary, that the two of them come to an understanding of their differences. Knowing each other that much more, they come to appreciate what the other brings, and it strengthens their friendship going forward.

The basis of Mirai and Riko’s argument is rooted in the same fundamental distance that Honoka and Nagisa shared. The two of them have been setting off in their own directions ever since Mirai entered the magical world; Mirai is eager to explore and pursue her newfound interests, but Riko is threatened by Mirai’s natural abilities and her own ineptitude with practical magic. Both are too preoccupied by their own hangups that they end neglecting and hurting each other this week.

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From Riko’s perspective, she’s too prideful to partake in any suggestion that Mirai brings up. Forced to cast a spell in the relentless cold, Mirai huddles up with her classmates to warm up, while Riko opts to whether the distraction through sheer determination alone. Mirai actually ends up interrupting Riko right as she’s about to cast, and shows her up entirely. Riko suffers the same embarrassment that Nagisa faces when she is forced to speak with Fujimura.

It’s all an unfortunate accident, but Riko’s internalized humiliation doesn’t come through to Mirai because she’s too preoccupied with her own accomplishments as a fledgling magician. They refuse to talk it out, and the mood is colder than the weather itself. Where Futari wa communicates the disconnect between the two PreCure through its visuals, Maho Girls utilizes its unique magical setting. The girls are tasked with braving through the snow-covered island in search of another linkle stone following their tiff, culminating in the moment when Mirai realizes her folly; she sees Riko’s frostbitten fingers and comes around to understanding not only her partner’s stubborn pride, but also the paramount role that magic plays in Riko’s life as well.

The two come to understand the roles they play in each other’s life. Mirai is the calming presence for Riko’s various struggles, while Riko is the embodiment of Mirai’s utter fascination with magic, and is the lens through which she can see and understand the Magical world that she is now a part of.

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Mirai and Riko need each other, and they finally recognize the value in each other, and their friendship. Riko addresses Mirai by her first name, encapsulating the moment of their friendship finally forming, much like the one at the end of Futari wa’s own episode.

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Maho Girls! PreCure is blazing its own trail with its whimsical world and endearing characters. Mirai and Riko are two of a kind, kindred spirits distinct from their predecessors, yet they are still PreCure through and through.

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