All of my reviews contain spoilers for the reviewed material. This is your only warning. Some images in this review appear courtesy of The Pretty Cure Wiki There is a sentiment that the golden days of the mahou shoujo genre are long over. Its an idea that might even to some extent be true. But if it is theres one franchise that can be counted on to at the very least go down swinging and thats Pretty Cure. Precure in some ways feels like the last of its kind. Even something as great as say Symphogear or Revue Starlight is aimed squarely at adults. As far as shows to feed young imaginations via the example of a good old fashioned team of magical girls theres almost no one else holding this lane down anymore. Star Twinkle Precure is perhaps not the apex of the franchise it was always going to have big shoes to fill given the runaway acclaim heaped on 2018s Huggto Precure. Yet at the same time its hard not to admire the sheer determination involved simply in hanging on given the everinflux fortunes of the shows parent genre. Idol anime aimed at kids have in recent years eaten a good chunk of Precures lunch thats probably why theres so much singing in this entry and through the shows evident flawsfluctuating animation quality and no small amount of filler being the main offendersits still really hard to not root for this thing. 880 Thats admittedly a lot of lofty philosophizing to hang on something as humble as Star Twinkle so whats the show itself like? Well its defined by a couple things. Stylistically its humming the same tunebright colors limited animation with occasional moments of truly brilliant sakuga and eyecatching poppy designsas the rest of the franchise. That aesthetic is combined with a cheerful sugary sciencefantasy look that makes it stand out. Of particular note are its henshin sequences with Cure Cosmos in particular being one of the best the genres seen in years. On the writing side it has a surprising amount of emotional maturity for something still very much for kids. To wit our main cast all struggle with some kind of familial or social problem. Hikaru Cure Star our main character lives with her mother and grandparents. Her mom is a struggling mangaka and her father an oftenabsent cryptid hunter and she herself begins to feel stagnant as her friends develop later in the series having to come to terms with her own selfworth. Lala Cure Milky is a literal alien totally lost in the intricacies of Earth culture a fact that the series develops into a surprisingly onpoint metaphor for almost any kind of marginalized existence at a young age but most especially for neurodivergent kids. Madoka struggles with the problem of being a gifted child her governmentworker father pressuring her into excelling in academia archery and a number of other things. Elena helps take care of her large family and has problems being honest with her eternallybusy mother who is an interpreter and father a Mexican immigrant who owns a flower shop the latter also notably makes Elena the first POC Precure. 880 Lastly theres midshow addition Yuni another alien whose lost homeworld feels like a broad metaphor for any kind of childhood trauma that results in things people or places being left behind. To be clear all of this is very much still against the backdrop of traditional Precure cheesiness. The villains include a kappa man named Kappard and the mostlyoffscreen evil overlord is named Darknest of all things. 880 This is what villains should look like just for the record. But these are strengths not weaknesses. The series selfassured secure devotion to its wacky sugary aesthetic is what makes it scan as a genuine honest magical girl show as opposed to something trying too hard to be cool. It also means that when it tries to put forward more serious character arcs they feel sincere not forced. An example of the shows writing having a lot more muscle than one might expect comes near the end of its run. Theres an ongoing arc lasting several episodes about the conflict between Elena and Tenjou a tengulike alien woman and one Darknests minions. Over the course of the arc which begins with Tenjou infiltrating our heroes high school in an attempt to undermine them from within Elena comes to actually genuinely like and respect Tenjou. The reveal that shes actually the Precures enemy does not as it might in a lesser series simply cleanly sever those feelings. Tenjou gets under Elenas skin making her aware of her own chief flaws a tendency to hide her emotions beneath a cheerful mask when its convenient and a difficulty in conveying her real feelings to people. The arc could end here but it actually keeps going reflecting back on Tenjous own character and digging more deeply into the roots of Elenas issues. The writing remains kidfriendly lots of talk of smiles but something that manages to touch briefly on childhood anxiety the difficulty of conveying how you feel when youre young and even if only briefly and obliquely colorism which can be the root of these kinds of issues is worth lauding. Listing more examples would get tedious but suffice it to say that thats not the only one. The shows final episode is one of those famously messy severalyearsinthefuture Pretty Cure finales but its worth remembering who these shows are made for. Magical girls shine brightest for the young and the young at heart and Star Twinkle Precure no matter what flaws it may have is a star as bright of the rest of them. 880 If you enjoy my work you may wish to follow me on Twitter to get updates about my work and learn how you can support me. And if you liked this review why not check out some of my others here on Anilist?
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