The PreCure franchise is one I’ve talked about quite a bit. Oddly enough, I started with Doki Doki before going back to prior entries. The last series I reviewed was Yes PreCure 5, which was one of the weaker instalments. But in my ongoing quest to watch everything PreCure, I’ve got to review the films based on the more mediocre series too. Which is why we’re looking at the Yes PreCure 5 film today.
We open with a strange figure on a throne giving orders to some teddy bear looking dudes. They give him a shard of glass with Nozomi’s face on it. He transfers it into a crystal causing a shadowy figure to appear. We cut to our heroines who just watched their own show and are, naturally, feeling a bit bored. They decide to head down to a Princess theme park where all the guests dress up in cosplay for some fun. Which gets disrupted when Coco & Nuts are dragged into a mirror.
The biggest issue with the narrative is just that it’s not very interesting. Yes, all the PreCure films have been quite predictable and they’re all equally guilty of following the same pattern of having the heroines dragged into a fight to save some random magic kingdom. The others, however, had some strong character moments and interactions to make them worthwhile. Because PreCure 5 is made up of bland archetypes, it just makes the usual pattern all the more noticeable. And there aren’t a lot of fun sequences to distract from it.
The film tries to have the same sense of fun that makes the PreCure films, as a whole, entertaining in spite of their formulaic nature but it doesn’t work all that well. The sense of investment just isn’t there.
They’re still archetypes. It doesn’t help that the big draw of the film involves the PreCure fighting their dark versions. In some works, they make that cliché compelling by using the dark versions to tell you something about the characters. In this case, they pretty much all win because they draw strength from their friendship. This could have legitimately been an opportunity to add some depth to the heroines but it just doesn’t happen.
In terms of character interactions, about the best we get is a scene where Komachi, Karen & Urara are just joking around. And it is kind of a fun scene, to be fair, but there’s more focus on them participating in theme activities than there is in them actually spending time with each other.
There’s not much to say about the antagonist or the inhabitants of the mirror kingdom either. The antagonist is evil & the denizens are small, plush looking creatures that are easy to kick around.
The artwork is quite nice. The action sequences have a good amount of impact and the overall designs are nicely done. It does bother me that they spend so much time on transformation sequences when the film isn’t that long. Seriously, they have an abridged transformation scene and then one where they all transform one by one and it feels like they’re trying to pad out what is, ultimately, a fairly short film.
The acting is well done. One thing I can credit PreCure 5 with is that the acting has always been better than you’d anticipate given the lack of complexity in the characters. The Dark PreCure don’t have the same actresses as their counter parts which is an interesting decision. Nishimura Chinami, Minaguchi Yuko, Kugiyama Rie, Kiuchi Reiko & Nagasawa Miki do give pretty good performances as the dark versions. The music is decent. It’s pretty much the same thing you get from the series proper, like every PreCure film.
There really isn’t any.
Areas of Improvement:
- Make the victories over the dark versions more personalised. I get it, the theme of the importance of friendship and connections has to be represented. But you can still have the girls win over their dark forms in more varied ways besides just having them all rally because they have people they care about.
- Cut out the long transformation sequence. Just have the girls already transformed when they enter the mirror kingdom. We don’t need two transformation sequences in this short a period of time. It just wastes our time.
- Give us stronger character interactions. I know the characters are boring archetypes, but you can still provide some entertainment by giving them fun scenes. Like the aforementioned one with Komachi, Karen & Urara.
This film, ultimately, is not very good. The characters don’t have strong enough interactions or personalities to really carry it which just makes the old PreCure film formula very noticeable. I can’t say the film is bad. If you really like Yes PreCure 5, it’ll probably be a fun time for you. But for me, it was a sub-par offering. I give it a 4/10.