Smile PreCure! Episode 12: Double Rainbow (Healing)!

Reika and Candy have a heart-to-heart talk, probably about sharing screentime.

This week’s episode saw the introduction of a new Akanbe, a new PreCure finishing move, and a little bit of spotlight shared between Reika and Candy. It was also the first episode in this year’s continuity that chronologically leads directly into the next episode. All that aside, however, I found this week’s installment of Smile PreCure quite disappointing in several regards. It’s mostly due to the absence of the antics that fans are used to seeing, which makes me wonder if this show is capable of being serious when it wants to be, and not come off as overly corny. It’ll have to try a few times throughout the show’s run to get it right.

Synopsis

The girls begin to make preparations to go on a class field trip toKyotoandOsaka. Candy is excited to join, but is told to stay home, much to her disappointment. She confides in her Pop in a conversation via the Cure Décor. When the girls continue to prepare for the class trip, Candy accidentally spills coffee on the guidebooks that they were assembling, further increasing tension between her and the other girls. She runs away and is sought after by Reika, who has a heart-to-heart talk with her. Afterward, Candy separates from the group, but is captured by Wolfrun who traps her inside a cage. Wolfrun appears in front of the girls, casts Bad End on nearby townsfolk, and summons a new blue-nosed Akanbe that is invulnerable to the girls’ finishing moves on it. They get trapped by the Akanbe’s bubble attacks, and Reika is forced to fight for her survival. Candy escapes her cage and meets with the cornered PreCure, who defend her from Wolfrun’s verbal attack. Candy’s feelings bring out a new power that allows the PreCure to escape from their bubble traps and use a new finishing move called Rainbow Healing to defeat the blue Akanbe.

As eventful as the above synopsis may be, there are a few nitpicks that I want to discuss.

1. Rainbow Healing is a pedestrian powerup as far as Pretty Cure goes. 

Rainbow Healing was a bit of a disappointment.

Leading up to this episode, I was reasonably hyped up for the appearance of the new precure group finishing move. The name of the finishing move, now known as Rainbow Healing, was known in fandom circles for a while due to advertising leaks, but it was only now that the audience was able to see it. Personally, it was a bit anticlimactic. The animation sequence of the powerup had some interesting elements to it, like the gesture of the girls to raise their free hand in the air, harkening back to the original Futari wa Pretty Cure team finishing move, Pretty Cure Marble Screw. Other than that, however, it was a bit weak compared to the group’s individual finishers. Not enough flashy effects, hardly any explosion, just a bright rainbow light that engulfs dissolves the Akanbe.

It doesn’t bother me too much, though, since this is just the first team finishing move that the girls have acquired. There’s still plenty of time and episodes for the girls to obtain necessary power-ups to defeat the steadily growing evil, as well as the appearance of Pierrot. For now, I’ll shrug whenever the precure use this move in their arsenal, but will wait eagerly for the upgraded version. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more girly explosions, right?

2. Reika got shafted big time with regards to spotlight episodes.

"Calm down, everyone. I'm sure Toei will make up for it when I get my Ice Sword."

A few weeks back, when leaked Smile episode titles were all we had, it was wildly speculated that there would be an imbalance of character exposure with a bias towards Miyuki, Akane, and Yayoi. This was due to the fact that the Rainbow Healing episode was assumed to be a general episode, and that the PreCure shrinking episode be the same as well. The previews at the end of Yayoi’s episode assured fans that Nao would get her spotlight, which led to assumptions that the Rainbow Healing episode would likely be Reika’s. It was an interesting plan by Toei to kill two birds with one stone, especially in Reika’s case.

However, Reika got shafted pretty hard, as the focus was on Candy this week, as it was during Miyuki’s switcheroo episode. The difference between the two, however, is that Miyuki is the leader of the group and will naturally get her lines in. Reika, being the 5th member of the group, is likely to be overlooked in cast balance, and it really showed this week. We didn’t learn too much about her in this episode, though she had her moments, especially in the screenshot above, when she clearly struggled to wrangle the class back into order. It was an interesting display of Reika’s tendencies to defer attention away from herself, despite taking on a large load of responsibility. This is further shown in her role as Cure Beauty during the Akanbe fights, which I will bring up in a later point in this post.

3. Candy’s drama was a bit of a drag on the episode, though it could have been much worse.

"It's okay-kuru. When I cheer up, you will all get special powers-kuru!"

I’m actually quite glad that I like Candy as much as I do, as far as PreCure mascots go. Her verbal tic isn’t quite as annoying as Hummy’s in Suite PreCure, and the timbre of her voice isn’t as grating as the earlier iterations of  mascots in the franchise. Candy does have a serious emotional side, as shown in her episode with Pop, but that development was more natural because of the way her relationship with her brother was shown in the episode.

Likewise, Candy’s drama with Miyuki was more acceptable because of the relationship dynamic that she has with Miyuki, on account of actually living with her. It was interesting that Smile attempted to show Candy’s relationship with the girls as a group, which didn’t have much to work with. It reminded me of Milk from Yes! Pretty Cure 5, whose relationship with the girls was rocky simply due to her own lack of likeability. Candy is much less annoying, which made her connection episode a bit less agonizing to watch. I did like the moment where the Smile PreCure girls defended Candy from Wolfrun’s verbal attack, which indicated what Candy means to each of the girls individually. It could have been done better, but there wasn’t really any other opportunity to do so other than during the Akanbe fight and right before the new finishing move happened. 

4. Cure Beauty is the most competent fighter in Smile PreCure.

Beauty is the backbone of the team. She's always bailing everyone out.

I only took notice this week, during Reika’s own spotlight episode, that Cure Beauty was my favourite PreCure in the series in regards to her fighting ability. She’s been actively involved in a number of Akanbe fights so far, and has had the most presence in battle despite only joining in episode 5. She saved March’s behind in March’s own episode last week, combined Beauty Blizzard with Sunny Fire to free Sunny from her syrupy snare in the episode prior, and even had the best fighting chance against the playground-themed Akanbe in the switcheroo episode before Cure Candy showed up. Quietly but surely, Cure Beauty has shown that she has been one of the more integral members of Smile PreCure, at least as far as combat is concerned.

And despite her quiet nature in civilian form, I can appreciate Reika’s quiet strength that seems to be kept in check. As the brains of the group, it makes sense for her to keep her emotions and opinions to herself. It allows her to let loose when she becomes Cure Beauty. This is a similar parallel to Cure Aqua in Yes 5, who got a lot of perks in combat, including an Aqua sword as well. In an episode featuring Karen (Cure Aqua) and her relationship to horses, she even battled on horseback and jousted with her Aqua sword against the monster-of-the-week. Now that is pretty damn badass. I expect no less from Cure Beauty this time around.

5. Joker’s presence in the show is unsettling in a very good way.

Looks like Joker has a case of blue balls.

In a timely manner, Joker finally makes another appearance in this week’s episode, and this time he has a new addition to the developing lensman arms race between the Bad End kingdom and legendary PreCure warriors. This is a very common trope in Pretty Cure, as the week-to-week formula of bad guy getting vanquished by the same finishing moves does get a bit stale. The deciding factor in not making this recurring element too tired is to make sure that the upgrades on both ends are sufficiently interesting. Rainbow Healing was a bit of a letdown as an answer to the new Akanbe, which clearly showed its invulnerability (in a rather straightforward and boring way, to be fair).

However, Joker himself is the wild card in all of this. He is yet to show his hand in regards to the actual plans surrounding the Bad End kingdom’s attempt to revive Pierrot. Pierrot himself is ominously waiting in the distance, with hype building week by week, but Joker’s abilities and powers are relatively unknown, which makes his eventual foray into combat all the more exciting to look out for. He strikes a really great balance of craftiness and a flaming fabulousness not seen since Moerumba from Pretty Cure Splash Star, who is flaming in every single meaning of the word. His presence in the group ensures that the dynamics of Bad End kingdom doesn’t stray too far into wacky-yet-incompetent territory.

PreCure Power Rankings, episode 12

1. Reika/Cure Beauty – She made the most of having to share her own episode with Candy. Boo, Candy!
2. Miyuki/Cure Happy – She’s really lucky that she’s the leader, otherwise she’d be invisible.
3. Akane/Cure Sunny – 3rd by default, but really, outside of Reika and Miyuki, the others were quite absent this week.
4. Nao/Cure March – I blame Candy for the girls’ lack of screen-time.
5. Yayoi/Cure Peace – It seems that whenever I lose at Jan-ken-pon, Yayoi always places low on the rankings. It can’t be helped, kuru.

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7 thoughts on “Smile PreCure! Episode 12: Double Rainbow (Healing)!”

  1. 1. I know that feel bro! All that amazing build up for something amazing for their new power up and it basically becomes a giant shock wave attack or maybe more of a AoE type of attack? Maybe it will look flashy in the next few episodes? I have a feeling it was short due to time? I would love to see them fire it like a beam attack just like their single target powers. Yep! I hope we they get more flashy attacks in the future ❤ I did like how Sunny, March and Peace did a triple combination attack so that was cooooool~

    2. Damn I totally thought this was going to be a Reika themed episode with that whole classroom scene when she tried to calm the class down, but yeah Candy stole the damn spotlight for this episode with her jealous rant about the school trip. I want to see Reika's ice sword already! Maybe that is her next power up?

    3. Candy is an alright mascot character I know I hated Hummy so damn much with every Nya comment, but now we have Candy who was struggling the entire time with discovering her place with the girls which is nice for die-o-rama! This usually happens a lot when you have any team based anime. I know from my limited precure experience I have seen similar things happen in Fairy Tail with Lucy feeling weak and helpless as a celestial mage and of course in One Piece with Usoppi discovering where he truly belongs on the crew with the other devil fruit users as a normal human! So that is always a great character development plot to use and it works nicely.

    4. Hahahah yes! Cure beauty is the brains and I often called her the "mom" of the team because you can easily tell she cares for everyone and wants to protect them, but as far as combat goes yep! She knows her stuff I guess her club plays a role in that? Id guess she was in archery class or is that kendo instead from the opening? Oh wow jousting?! LOL Awesome xD

    5. JOKER! WHY SO COOL AGAIN!? When he showed up I was like hmmmmm what sort of sneaky trap is he going to pull? And the new powered akanbe ball was kind of cool, but I took it as a scientist using the others in his experiment. Then again I think Joker has plans to use Candy to summon some item he needs? By using higher monsters I think he wants to force out some new weapon! Next time yellow balls? LOL Immune to rainbows and everything else?! Either way damn it Joker you need to fight the girls or is he more of a sidelines guy who lets the others do the dirty work fufufufu

    I TIED with Peace this week! Double paper for the win…*shake fist* ill get you next round Cure peace! Wuhahahaha.

    1. 1. AoE attack is an interesting way of putting it, but it doesn’t have much of an application here since the girls are only fighting one Akanbe at a time so far. However, a beam attack is something I would not want to see, since we get a lot of that from the girls’ individual finishers. I would have liked Rainbow Healing to be a charge/lunge attack like Floral Power Fortissimo from Heartcatch or Suite Session Ensemble from Suite.

      2. I hope she gets her ice sword soon, and I also hope she gets to use her ice sword more than once in the series. Considering that it appears in the OP, it would be a damn shame if she only got to use it once, like Cure Aqua in Yes 5.

      3. I think Candy is portrayed fairly well with regards to her juvenile nature. I can sort of appreciate that she has a bit more prominent of a role in the girls’ lives than most other mascots in Pretty Cure, without having to resort to uncomfortable positions like mascot/cure romance a la Yes 5. Ugh, Coco…

      4. I think Nao is definitely the mom of the team, due to her placing importance on family and justice and all that stuff. Reika is a lot like that to a lesser extent, which, combined with her brains (and combat brawn!), would probably make her the dad, lol!

      5. Joker is so cooooool. He’s definitely a lot smarter than he leads on, and a lot of his scheming in the background makes for some added tension with regards to the show’s overall plot. As if the countdown to Pierrot wasn’t suspenseful enough! He definitely has a hand in forcing the girls to adapt to new situations, combat-wise, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he added different types of monsters into the mix. Considering the colour theme in the show, it would be cool if there was a different type of Akanbe for each different type of PreCure colour. Yellow Akanbe would transform people instead of objects. Green Akanbe would be impervious to physical attacks. And so on. It’s a bit farfetched, but it’s not entirely out of the question.

      I will eventually win against Cure Peace again. I think I need to keep a running tally of my win-loss record. I’m on a losing streak right now!

  2. I definitely agree that Reika isn’t getting enough of the spotlight… I love Cure Beauty, especially for the reason that you brought up, since so far she seemed to be the only one thinking more strategically with her “final” move than the others do. I hope we see more of this (as well as combos like in Episode 10) from here on out. As well as a proper spotlight episode for Reika.

    1. In this episode, even though her finishing move didn’t actually vanquish the Akanbe, it was the best that Beauty could do in that situation. I love the approach that she takes to combat week after week. She definitely deserves the unique combat perks like the ice sword and whatnot. A proper spotlight episode would be nice, but for cast balance, maybe just another split episode to make up for the half that took up this week’s episode. I’d like to see an episode that features both Nao and Reika, since they have a pretty interesting dynamic together compared to Nao and Akane.

  3. @krizzlybear yes there will be new upgrade in later episodes which is a princess forsm and a new attack which connect to the princess form and i wonder what this miracle jewel joker was talking about i think this is the joker plan what do you think the miracle jewel is?

    1. Princess-theme upgrade makes sense here, due to the whole storytelling motif the show has. I presume that the miracle jewel is your typical macguffin in Pretty Cure; it has great power, either to grant wishes, or something related to the Queen of Marchenland. It’s probably what gives the PreCure the next powerup.

  4. 1. If only Rainbow Healing was the best move, I think it was amazing just for me.

    2. The quote from number two makes me LOL’ed. And here’s my own opinion on Reika’s calm down quote: Be better hold on to your girlfriends, cause she’s going to clean house!

    3. Oh Joker, why are you SOOOO fabulous when you hold these blue balls! (Seriously for me it was like some number two balls onto the pool table.)

    4. The heart-to-heart scene with Reika and Candy are excellent. Maybe a moral lesson that we can be learned for today’s episode.

    5. And finally, can’t wait for the field trip episode on the 29th (30th is my birthday).

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