I have nothing against the PreCure series – in fact, I tried (and ultimately failed) to watch the first series Futari wa PreCure about two years ago. But I couldn’t finish it for the same reason that I’ll never be able to properly jump into Super Sentai and Kamen Rider series – there are so many different series and so many episodes. When I try to get into one series, another one takes it place. I get that’s how it works, but it’s discouraged enough to keep me from diving in…
I watched the first three episodes of the newest series,Kirakira☆Precure a la Mode, and I’ve got to say, I like what I see so far! The story focuses on Usami Ichika, who has loved sweets since she was a little girl (I have to admit, the beginning scene where she’s making shortcake with her mother is just freakin’ adorable). Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the same sweets-making ability that her mom has, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to make a lovely cake on the day her mother is scheduled to come home. Of course, it’s also the day that she discovers that she is more than an ordinary middle school sweets lover (obviously).
Kirakira☆Precure a la Mode has a lovely, adorable atmosphere to it, reminiscent of quaint European towns (or at least the ones you see on TV). The music is peppy, and the desserts are delicious. Speaking of sweets, this series is very serious about its sweets. The plot centers around “Kika-Kiraru” – the sweet energy that resides in sweets and how the antagonists want to harness it for their nefarious purposes. And when they get that energy, they GROW in strength.
No, literally, they GROW. Kinda like the effect Rita Repulsa’s wand had on her monsters in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Those suckers get BIG.
Of course, any magical girl series fan or even anyone familiar with the narrative knows what’s bound to happen after that. Ichika, with the help of cute bear Pekorin (the PreCure series have some of the cutest helper creatures) becomes Cure Whip, a legendary Pretty Cure patissière, blessed with the power of a Bunny that makes jumping up and down really high easy. The series goes on to introduce her teammates, who must thwart the Kikakiraru thieves from stealing all the sweets (so far).
You’ve got to hand it to Kirakira☆Precure a la Mode – it’s taken what is considered to be a “girly” activity (baking sweets) and weaponized it for girl empowerment. Sure, the naysayers will say that it’s either shallow or encourages girls to be, well, girls. But the PreCure series doesn’t mess around, marrying ass kicking with unapologetic femininity. You don’t have to be one or the other – you can do both. This is not to say that every girl in the series is what you call “girly”. The fact that every character is a different kind of girly only emphasizes the point. This is a series marketed to young girls after all – different personalities and gender fluidity are the norm.
Don’t believe me? Go look at the other PreCure series.
They definitely did it with Go! Princess Precure. (I’m a princess, but I will punch you into next week without ruining my dress.)
And they did it with Smile PreCure. (I’ll “Happily Ever After” you into next month [insert expletive here])
Maybe it’s because the series is made by Toei Animation. Maybe it’s because the series airs on TV Asahi, home of Super Sentai and Kamen Rider. But I can appreciate a series that gets behind young girls being strong and pretty, saving the day while being a normal kid. The series may not win awards for a brilliant plot and narrative innovation, but it doesn’t need to – especially since I’m pretty sure it’s created to sell toys.
And you know what? I’d buy those toys. Every single one. So I can be reminded of how powerful I am every day.
I may write a proper review of the series somewhere down the line, but for now, I’ll be watching and enjoying myself. In the meantime, allow me to head to the cooking store to buy a few baking supplies because I’m ready to try some of the recipes they feature at the end of the episode. They look pretty tasty!