This week’s episode of Smile PreCure brings us to the ancient capital of Kyoto, where the girls are on an adventurous field trip. This type of episode is hardly new, as other PreCure shows have field trip episodes of their own, including Max Heart (Kyoto, in episode 34), Fresh (Okinawa, in episode 39) and Heartcatch PreCure (France, in the movie). Smile brings a special spin to their version of the field trip, which is executed with resounding success. Healing Prayer has actually grown on me a bit since its somewhat anticlimactic introducion, but that’s the least of my praises for this week’s episode.
Miyuki and her friends arrive at Kyoto for a class field trip, but after accidentally falling into a koi pond, Miyuki suspects that she might have bad luck. Her fears are realized when she picks out a fortune that indicates that she will have terrible luck. She is befallen with misfortune throughout the first day of the trip, but after curfew, she connects with the others and is reassured that things will brighen up. Unfortunately, Miyuki’s luck gets even worse the next day, which is topped off by the appearance of Aka Oni, who comes to Kyoto after reading about the storied connection between demons and the ancient capital. He casts bad end on the PreCure’s classmates and summons a blue Akanbe in the form of Miyuki’s fortune reading. Its attacks are thwarted by the other PreCure, but end up indirectly hitting Cure Happy anyway. Cure Happy becomes fed up with her bad luck after dropping her smile pact into a nearby river. She jumps in to protect her friends, and the PreCure’s desire to support Cure Happy activates her missing pact. They ward off the Akanbe’s finishing blow and vanquish it with Rainbow Healing. After the battle, Miyuki comes to terms with her bad luck, and the girls are rewarded by having their picture taken with a pair of maiko.
Here are my thoughts on this simply fantastic episode!
Miyuki’s bad luck is played out during the entire episode, but remains fresh throughout.
It’s quite fitting that this week’s episode featuring Miyuki’s brush with misfortune would fall on the 13th iteration in the series, despite 13 being more of a western superstition. Regardless, Miyuki is stricken with one unlucky event after another throughout her excursion toKyoto. Let’s recap how bad she had it:
1) She fell into a koi pond, soaking her school uniform, and had to wear a gym uniform that day.
2) She received the worst fortune possible from her omikuji.
3) A bird pooped on her head.
4) Her camera ran out of batteries after numerous attempts to take a picture at Togetsukyo Bridge.
5) Little kids accidentally bump into her, causing her to get ice cream all over her face.
6) Her souvenir for her family broke.
7) She tripped and rolled down the slope of Kiyomizu temple.
8) She accidentally walked over a pond, got chased by a dog, had boxes fall on her.
It’s one bad event after another, which would have had anyone completely bummed out. Her bad luck even extends into her PreCure fight with the Akanbe, who even takes on the form of her omikuji. She gets a number of unlucky breaks during the fight, but overcomes it by simply accepting her luck and enjoying her experiences anyway. After defeating the Akanbe, she ends up keeping the omikuji as a souvenir. Her ability to turn her misfortunes into memories was a really great turnaround in the episode, and makes for a nice little lesson that everyone takes for granted sometimes: when life gives you lemons,
become Cure Lemonade make lemonade.
Miyuki was the focal character, but all the girls stood out strong this week.
Even though Miyuki was the individual who was the most affected by the “bizarre happening of the week,” all of the other girls were given great opportunities to really express themselves in this field trip.
Yayoi arguably had the fewest lines out of the five, but her inability to contain excitement throughout the trip made her really noticeable; her reaction to seeing the maikos at the end of the episode was hilarious, despite not saying anything at all. Nao contributed a lot to trying to alleviate Miyuki’s misfortune, and really looked out for her throughout the episode. She had a great “heroic aesop” line during the Akanbe fight as well.
Reika was in full trivia-queen mode, and was crazy-prepared during the trip. During the scene at the hotel, she really let loose, which was a great touch. Akane was probably the least present in the show, but she was highly entertained by the trip, but at she stepped up against the Akanbe and used Sunny Fire in a futile moment of glory. Candy stole the show with three great moments despite being otherwise absent: stealing Miyuki’s snacks on the train, pretending to be Princess Kaguya from the tale of the bamboo cutter, and using the lipstick décor to impersonate a maiko.
Despite all of these great appearances from the ensemble in a supporting role, Miyuki was in her usual hammy mode, and I’ve fully come around on her overacting ever since episode 1. When she has a great cast around her, Misato Fukuen does a fantastic job taking the lead role in such an comically nonsensical series.
As a field trip episode, Smile PreCure really brings out the sights and sounds of Kyoto.
Pretty Cure has a really good track record of bringing out the setting during class trip episodes, with Fresh PreCure’s depiction of Okinawa being particularly lovely. There were a wide number of locales in Kyoto that were referenced during the trip. Kyoto Tower was the first landmark seen, followed by a visit to Kinkaku-ji, where Reika dropped her trivia about the temple’s gold appearance. The girls repeatedly tried to take a picture at Togetsukyo Bridge. Miyuki tripped and almost rolled downhill to her demise at Kiyomizu-dera. They visited Gion during the second day, and ended up fighting the Akanbe somewhere nearby, and most likely, Cure Happy dropped her Pact into theShirakawaCanal.
Kyoto culture was also fully present in the episode, ranging from the Kansai dialect from shopkeepers, the appearance of maikos, as well as the episode’s central theme of bad luck taking place in what is arguably the fortune-telling capital of the world. Not to stray from the series’ overall theme of fairy tales, the tale of the bamboo cutter, which took place in bamboo forest, a ecological feature commonly found inKyoto. Everything about the city was displayed in full force in Smile PreCure, but the bad luck storyline took the forefront, allowing the scenery porn to make for a wonderful backdrop for the episode to happen. I can’t wait for next week’s episode, which takes place inOsaka.
Miyuki’s nighttime conversation about her secret crush revealed some really neat information about what the girls like in a boyfriend.
As much as the magical girl genre is heralded (and likewise lauded) for its romantic subplots, Pretty Cure has done a fairly good job with emphasizing the power of friendship, while still maintaining just enough of an undertone for shipping, whether that be het- or yuri-shipping. Smile PreCure’s late-night girl-talk during their field trip made for a pretty great spotlight into the girls’ tastes in the opposite sex.
Yayoi values a guy who’s bright and cheerful, which goes really well with her own peaceful disposition. Akane looks for someone who’s close to her, and is studious and popular. Her preference for an thoughtful boy contrasts really well with her passionate nature. Reika looks up to an older man like the student council president, but likes someone with heart. A passionate person contrasts well with her intelligence, essentially the inversion of Akane’s preference (by this point, yuri-shippers have discovered the wonders of Akane/Reika). Nao’s thoughtfulness makes her go for the less obvious candidates, indicating that her preference is very wide, and that she doesn’t go for superficial features.
As for Miyuki, her ideal mate is Peter Pan. Yeah…good luck there, Miyuki. I’ll be sure to ship Happy/Peter Pan from now on. As long as it’s not Happy/Wolfrun, I’m okay with this.
Smile PreCure has the craziest art style in all of Pretty Cure.
Instead of spending a few paragraphs explaining this point in detail, I’m just going to leave these screenshots Miyuki drawn with a fish-eye lens effect. That is all.
This show is the greatest thing ever.
Precure Power Rankings: Episode 13
1) Miyuki/Cure Happy – She was the focus of the episode, but didn’t steal the spotlight at all. Perfect episode from her.
2) Yayoi/Cure Peace – She had very little lines, but her presence was felt, especially at the end with the maiko. I won at jan-ken-pon this week, meaning SUPER LUCKY!
3) Nao/Cure March – She played a very good supporting role, and had quite a number of lines that Marina Inoue executed quite perfectly.
4) Reika/Cure Beauty – She didn’t have that many moments, but she was nicely in-character throughout, even during the Akanbe fight.
5) Akane/Cure Sunny – She was probably the odd one out, but didn’t really disappoint either. Someone had to be fifth this week, really.