If you follow me on twitter, then it’s not surprising to know that I am a ridiculously huge fan of the Pretty Cure (PreCure) franchise as a whole. I had my first hint of it when I was a year or so out of high school, and Futari Wa Pretty Cure was aired in Canada as Pretty Cure, in an attempt to recapture the massive commercial success of Sailor Moon when it aired when I was much younger. It was a pretty bad dub, and due to my nostalgia filter for Sailor Moon, I dismissed it rather quickly, but there was something about its style that I found appealing despite its seemingly misappropriated localisation. It felt like a ripoff of Sailor Moon, but had a lot more action to it, and at one point I imagined that it was some sort of conceptual mish-mash between Sailor Moon and Dragonball Z (half-correct, as Dragonball Z and Pretty Cure have the same director).
It wouldn’t be until a few years later that I would rediscover my fondness for the fighting magical girl genre as an effect of rediscovering anime in my university years, and with that I had run into Pretty Cure again late of last year, though this time, the franchise was well-milked by Toei animation, and the series had evolved in many ways, exploring different new aspects of production. With last year’s immensely popular Heartcatch, the PreCure legacy lent itself to the character designer of casshern sins, and key animation from the character designer of this year’s massive hit, Mawaru Penguindrum. It was filled to the brim with action, and character animation that rivaled many of last year’s more well-known shows.
For Suite PreCure, the tradition of hot-blooded magical girl action continues, but this time, its standout production feature is its music. This isn’t surprising at all, since the show is music-themed. Unlike any other cure before it, the music is thoroughly orchestrated, while at the same time is infused with a heavy dose of hot-blooded rock. Let’s take a look at a few of the songs from the first OST, Precure Sound Fantasia!!
La La La Suite PreCure
The opening song is perhaps the least complicated arrangement in the entire soundtrack, consisting only of instruments found in rock band units (guitar, drums, bass, keyboard), but the sound is a very driving pop rock reminiscent of the old days of upbeat rock. The drum beat is straightforward, but lays a nice backbone for the bassline, which walks like crazy throughout the pre-chorus and chorus. In the non-TV version, the guitar solo isn’t the greatest display of skill, but really fun to listen to. The melody is brainwashing, and has me earwormed even now.
Let’s Play! Pretty Cure Modulation!
When it comes to stock footage, nothing beats the transformation sequence of both magical girl and sentai shows. Due to the repetitive nature of stock footage usage, the production quality needs to be above and beyond, and the Pretty Cure Modulation sequence is amazingly well-done visually, but especially so with regards to audio. Transformation is empowerment, and the arrangement is powered by choir shots and flourishing brass. The energy comes from the shredding of electric guitar, which really drives the rest of the orchestration. When the string melody kicks in, winds playfully mingle along for a really pleasant, yet exciting sound. The song ends with glorious fanfare, as well as the girls declaring ther magnificent entrance as Suite Precure.
Minuet of Kanon Town
Kanon Town is where the story takes place, it’s a marvellous little city that revolves around music. People from far and wide come visit to take in the local arts. There’s always an ensemble playing in the town square. The school idols are virtuoso singers and masterful pianists. It’s a quaint little place, one that could probably be mistaken for a themed city from an RPG. Unsurprisingly, the town’s theme music follows this feeling, and it captures the mood of its inhabitants really well. It’s the ‘purest’ orchestration, in a sense that the instrumentation is more traditional, and doesn’t include the wild rock undertones from other tracks. The melody is catchy, and shows multitudes of variation depending on the mood. The eyecatch in between sections is a simplified arrangement of the theme, comprising only of strings and woodwinds. It’s pleasant to the ear, and very cultured.
Seiren is the primary henchman (henchwoman? henchcat?) of the evil Lord Mephisto, the big bad of the series. Before her heel-face-turn, which is a signature element of the PreCure franchise, she is well-known for her schemes for breaking up Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm. The mood here is very tense, and gives a sense of dread. Seiren is always up to no good, and the mistress of minor land is represented with appropriately minor melodic progressions.
Cure Muse is the mysterious fourth precure that shows up at random times to save the girls, but swears no allegiance to either side. Her appearances are always uneasy, since nobody really knows what her motivations are for her actions. However, whenever she’s around, there’s no doubt that she exhibits a power that dwarfs the other cures. Her theme is a mindblowing collusion of organ-chorded kickassery and the most violently heavy rock to grace the screen of a pretty cure show. It riles up my blood, and is easily my favourite track in the OST.
A Suite Tooth
I’ve come to appreciate a large number of OSTs from shows this year, particularly from Madoka Magica, Steins;Gate, and Nichijou. They each have their own amazing scores which establishes themselves as musically unique from the rest of the shows this year. Suite Precure is no different, and for a supposed cash-cow franchise, they did an excellent job of creating a varied soundtrack that perfectly encapsulates the philosophy and spirit of the Pretty Cure franchise legacy. Take one cup of girl power, one cup of friendship, and a
tiny pinch heaping spoonful of kick ass, and you have yourself a formula for not only an exciting series, but an equally exciting soundtrack.