I’ve been steadily watching Heartcatch Precure, which is as good a first taste of the Precure franchise as any. It’s interesting how the franchise has its own share of grownup otaku fans–it actually boasts some high-quality action choreography and animation.
What caught my eye in Heartcatch Precure, though, is its fourth main character, Yuri Tsukikage/Cure Moonlight. Her Cure form is markedly different from the other Cures–she looks more at home in Casshern Sins (another show that Yoshihiko Umakoshi, the series’ character designer, worked on) than this show, and she’s markedly older than the other main characters.
Yuri’s role in the story is a stark contrast to the other girls, who show up and become Cures during the show. The show actually opens up with her climactic last stand and defeat, subsequently starting the events that led to the recruitment of new Cures.
At first, Yuri appears in Tsubomi and Erika’s dreams, then later in person. For a good part of the show she is a powerless teenager, unable to actively aid in the fighting. Despite this, she assumes a reluctant mentor role to the active Cures, while bits of her backstory get eventually revealed. Much later on, she does gets her powers back in a most glorious fashion.
Yuri is an older, more complex character compared to her fellow Cures. While the other three Cures can be described succinctly as “the shy girl who likes flowers”, “the loose cannon who likes fashion”, “the boyish girl who [secretly] likes cute things” respectively, Yuri is a harder nut to crack. With her tragic past, she’s a veteran soldier, the Tetsuya Tsurugi to Kouji Kabuto. Despite being kind and strong, she’s still someone who once screwed up and paid a high price for it.
I like the idea a lot. Yuri is special because she’s much older than her target audience–I’d think a kid-oriented magical girl show should have protagonists as old as its target audience, but Yuri works. She grows a whole lot throughout the show, which is saying something. Despite sharing the spotlight with three younger girls, she stands out by her own good points.