I’ve looked at quite a few Precure works already. That list includes Splash Star, the first Max Heart film and the second. This film came out towards the end of 2006, while the anime was still going. I predict some les-yay and them going to some random kingdom because that’s been all the films thus far. Although one of them was considerably better at executing that vague premise than the other.
We open with Mai waiting for Saki. Oh, they have a date. That’s precious. Unfortunately for her, Saki is still at home sleeping. Well, we know who isn’t getting a goodbye kiss today. And yes, I know I could go with a more explicit joke but they are way too young for that. In any case, they encounter a strange man who looks like he came out of Vampire Hunter D. He asks for directions to a really old clock. And they oblige, being helpful young ladies, before hurrying on to the karaoke competition that they’re entering as a pair. Time freezes for everyone but them during the competition, and not in the figurative lovey dovey way.
The two find their way to the land of clocks where the man they saw earlier is trying to stop the clock for everyone but him. You know, so he can have time to read all the books. Until he breaks his reading glasses and there’s no one to fix them. Or maybe he wants to remodel all the buildings into coffee houses so he can sip coffee while doing readings of bad poetry and not get produce thrown at him, finally. Now they have to stop Sirloin and unfreeze time for everyone’s sake.
The only thing I can really criticise the film for, narratively, is that it’s got the same basic strokes as the other two. Which I did expect. But it is a bit lazy. And it doesn’t help that we all know these events will never be so much as referenced in the series proper.
There are quite a few things I like, though. The major conflict betwixt Saki and Mai, and the whole narrative surrounding it, is really good. It’s a fight that works for them, given their personalities and the arc of the whole thing ties into the film’s action really well. And the way they symbolically connect it with their initial meeting is really good.
Saki & Mai continue to be great characters with a strong dynamic. The film’s new characters are relatively simplistic. We have Hours and Minutes, two faeries from the land of clocks who are meant to parallel Saki and Mai in order to help them return to the proper path. Which is kind of interesting. There’s also Sirloin who doesn’t have the most developed motivations in the world, but has perfectly passable ones considering that it’s a film and that he’s a very minor Precure villain. Even Kabuki guy got more screen time than him.
The big difference betwixt the art in the film and the series proper is that stock footage isn’t an issue. The land of clocks has an interesting look and the time-based faeries are pretty nicely designed. I do like Sirloin’s design quite a bit. It has a nice, gothic aesthetic. I do like the imagery when Saki and Mai are going through their low phase. It’s nicely done.
Enomoto Atsuko & Kimoto Orie continue to be fantastic, but I’ll focus primarily on the new characters since I’ve talked about the main cast in detail. there are some really strong performances from Hayami Show, Tarako & Kikuchi Masami. Hayami Show in particular. Sato Naoki’s music is solid. Which isn’t a surprise. Although I don’t think there’s much in the OST that’s actually new. I’m relatively certain that the bulk of it, at least, was recycled from the series.
This film is the most heavily laden with ho-yay thus far. There’s some talk of Saki & Mai being the only possible partners for one another. They also have quite a long scene where they talk about forging the future together and how they’ll always be together. It sounds like they’re planning to get married at some point. And they probably are because this is Precure. I assume Moop & Fuup will carry the rings and flowers respectively. Is that one of the aims of the films, I wonder? To move the subtext into text. Because the second Max Heart film did the same kind of thing with Honoka & Nagisa, albeit to a smaller extent.
I have to admit, I really enjoyed that. More than I have any other film thus far this week. Not that it’s hard to be better than two of them. Honestly, I liked it better than the other Precure films I’ve reviewed too. So, I’m going to give it an 8/10. If you liked Splash Star and want to see a lot of concentrated gay for Saki & Mai, this film has got you. I promise this is the last Toei animation film for the week. I’ve looked at an absurd number already. Tomorrow, Mary to Majo no Hana.