Smile PreCure! Episode 15: Mama and Me
This week’s episode of Smile PreCure was a damn fine piece of work. It made use of its air date to create a topical episode surrounding Mother’s Day, much like it previously did with its April Fool’s Day episode, as well as Heartcatch PreCure’s Mother’s Day episode back in 2010. Not only was the warm relationship between Miyuki and her mother in show, but Toei’s great fight choreography as well.
Miyuki notices the other girls making presents for their mothers and realizes that she forgot that today is Mother’s Day. She discovers that she has no money to buy a present, so she tries to help her mother with chores around the house, but fails at most of her tasks. Later, she tries to make a necklace back at the secret base, but the end product turns out to be too plain, by her own standards. She visits a card store with the girls, only to run into Wolfrun, who casts Bad End on customers at a flower shop. He turns a carnation into a red-nosed akanbe, and the girls transform and fight it. Cure Happy saves Candy from an attack, but drops her mother’s present. Wolfrun takes Happy’s necklace and berates her for doing a crappy job in creating it. Cures Sunny and March come to her defence, engaging in combat with Wolfrun. Sunny knocks the necklace away, and Candy retrieves it. The rest of the PreCure go on the offensive after Happy comes to a realization about her feelings regarding her mother and Mother’s day. She uses Happy Shower to vanquish the Akanbe. After the battle, Miyuki gives the present to her mom, and they walk home together happily.
This week introduced us to Miyuki’s mom, who, like most other PreCure parents, are noticeably present in the girls’ lives as they grow and mature as PreCure. Let’s take a look at 4 other notable moms in the PreCure franchise.
Nanami’s mom, Heartcatch PreCure
Nanami’s mother is an interesting example in the PreCure franchise, most notably for the fact that Nanami is one of many side characters in that series, and by extension, not a PreCure. However, it is a fitting example, since Nanami is the focus of the franchise’s only other mother’s day episode. In Heartcatch, Nanami’s mother passed away long ago, and as a result, she is determined to fill in the motherly role in her younger sister, Rumi’s life.
However, Rumi has little memory of her mother, and weeps when she is only able to give a carnation to her as an offering. Nanami advises her to overcome her loneliness by always smiling (the line “Smile, smile!” was used in Heartcatch long before Miyuki used it in Smile). The two sisters end up fighting, and Rumi runs away. Nanami’s heart flower becomes a desertarian, and when Blossom and Marine save her, the two reconcile after Nanami remembers that her advice to always be smiling came from her own mother.
This Heartcatch episode still remains as emotionally gripping as it was when it aired, and it really touched upon the love that Nanami and Rumi have for their mother, which they show through their love for each other as well. It is only after the events of mother’s day that Nanami is able to move on in her life and become more than just a mother figure to Rumi. She joins Tsubomi and Erika’s fashion club, and becomes a mainstay in the show.
Love’s mom, Fresh Pretty Cure
Love’s mom, Ayumi Momozono, is probably my favourite mother figure in the entire PreCure franchise, and is one of my favourite mother characters in all of anime. She is very much involved in Love’s life as a mother would be, but she goes the extra mile in her duties. After Setsuna makes her heel-face turn and awakens as Cure Passion, she is left in a vulnerable position, all alone without a home. Love invites Setsuna to live with her parents, and becomes a part of the family, and Ayumi eventually accepts Setsuna as her own.
In episode 40, Ayumi plans to make a bracelet for Setsuna as a gift, but gets kidnapped by Northa, who uses her monster-of-the-week to impersonate Ayumi and infiltrate Love and Setsuna’s home. While Setsuna learns early on about the imposter, her accusations create a riff between her and Love, but eventually the two manage to come to an understanding and save Ayumi from Northa’s evil organization, Labyrinth.
A touching scene at the end of the episode has Ayumi admit directly to Setsuna that after her stay at the Momozono residence, she refers to her as her own daughter. Likewise, Setsuna responds by calling Ayumi “mom.” This episode serves as a wonderful message from PreCure that families come in all shapes and sizes, and even those who aren’t related by blood can be the family that they truly deserve. Setsuna, despite being a villainous person at the beginning of the episode, is finally able to make peace with herself, thanks to her new mother.
Nozomi’ and Rin’s moms, Yes! PreCure 5
Megumi Yumehara isn’t the most fleshed out character out of all the moms in Pretty Cure, but don’t tell that to her daughter, Nozomi (Cure Dream). Nozomi looks up to her mom so much, and does everything in her power to make her happy, even when her mother catches a cold in episode 15. Like Miyuki after her, Nozomi’s klutziness prevents her from being truly effective in assisting her mother. She spills water in the hallway in an attempt to bring a washcloth to Megumi’s room. She slips on said puddle repeatedly. She drops plates and glasses while washing them. She burns her own cooking. She overloads the laundry.
Potentially harmful despite Nozomi’s efforts, her friend and fellow PreCure, Rin Natsuki (Cure Rouge) takes it upon herself and her friends to come to Megumi’s rescue, knowing that Nozomi has a history with her friends of messing up terribly. However, it’s Rin’s mom, Kazuyo, who visits the Yumehara household to help Nozomi tend to her mother. It is her best friend’s mother who encourages her to persist, and that her efforts will be acknowledged. A single, genuine “thank you” from Megumi at the end of the episode is more than enough to brighten up Nozomi’s day, and her daughter’s happiness becomes that of the audience as well.
Not only is it really interesting to have this type of encouragement come from another adult, but the friendly relationship between Kazuyo and Megumi as adults serve as a really great parallel between Nozomi and Rin. The apple does not fall far from the tree, but in this case, these two particular apples are just as close as the trees from which they fell.
Hibiki’s mom, Suite PreCure
Maria Houjou, Hibiki’s mother, is a world-class violinist, and spends most of her time touring the world and performing on a grand stage. Unlike most PreCure parents (save for both of Honoka’s parents in Futari wa Pretty Cure), Maria is mostly absent from Hibiki’s life, but does make a brief appearance in episodes 16 and 17.
In episode 16, a small riff between the main characters Hibiki and Kanade results in a plot by their fairy companion, Hummy, to have the two girls change places and live at the other’s house and gain perspective on their partner’s lives. Kanade discovers via video call with Maria that, unlike her own family, Hibiki is often lonely due to her parents being out of the house. Kanade acknowledges Hibiki’s strength, and in a kind gesture, secretly arranges for Maria to see Hibiki’s piano recital. Hibiki accepts Kanade’s kindness, and the two gain a new Precure power, Music Rondo Super Quartet, when they fight the monster-of-the-week.
In episode 17, before she leaves for her tour again, Hibiki share a last moment with Maria at the top of a hill overlookingKanonTown. Both reveal that the hill is their favourite place in the entire town. Maria tells her daughter that she got her name from the wonderful sounds of everyday life that can be heard from the spot where they sit. Of all the one-on-one moments between mother and daughter in PreCure, this one was definitely the most heartwarming.
PreCure Power Rankings, Episode 15
1. Akane/Cure Sunny – despite not having too many lines throughout the episode, the way she stepped in and defended Miyuki made her stand out as a true bro.
2. Miyuki/Cure Happy – this week really showed that Miyuki can have her serious and heartwarming moments without having to chew the scenery with her overacting.
3. Nao/Cure March – following Sunny’s lead, March’s fight with Wolfrun was just as intense as her words with Wolfrun. Led by example.
4. Yayoi/Cure Peace – Using her PreCure power on wolfrun on the streetlight was quite shocking to say the least. I won at jan ken pon this week, it must be a sign!
5. Reika/Cure Beauty – She was mostly in the background, but she was strongly in-character throughout, especially regarding the porcelain teacup that she made for Mother’s Day.