sábado, 4 de marzo de 2017

KIRAKIRA PRECURE À LA MODE 1ST IMPRESSIONS

Somehow I stopped reviewing Mahou Tsukai Precure due to oodles of things that came in between. It was actually a series I had a pair of gripes with, a pair of serious gripes... but thankfully this year's Cure series makes up A LOT for Mahou Tsukai's shortcomings.
Seriously, the even continuities in the Precure series by far surpass the odd ones, IMOHO. To cut a long story short, let's make a list of my faves so far: DokiDoki? Number 10. Go!Princess? Number 12. And now Kirakira? 14. Skip the odd seasons if you share my preferences!


We've got the HOTTEST-BLOODED CURE SO FAR, 

aside from a pair of Takarazuka-inspired Cures (onnayaku and otokoyaku, respectively), 

a country-esque townscape for the Real World location (I <3 MGW series set in Ruritanian settings, like Princess Tutu, Jewelpet Twinkle, and The Twin Princesses of Planet Fushigi!), 
bright colours all over the place, 

and an opening theme sprinkled with French (if it begins "bon bon c'est si bon..."). The whole title, furthermore, is Kirakira*Pretty Cure à la Mode... 
Long story short, I'm drunk on things that make a Magical Girl Warrior show catnip to yours truly.
All I can say is SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

So here we are reacting and squeeing to the beat of the show:

AOI
Let us begin with AOI FREAKING TATEGAMI. Why am I planning to replace Astrid with Aoi pretty soon as my avatar? Cuz I've found a new kindred spirit, that's why! Ok, maybe Astrid Kolfinnsdóttir has become my flagship and it's already too late to change avatar...
Not only is this 14-summer storm the hottest-blooded blue Cure in the canon (for once, an introverted yellow Cure and a hot-blooded blue Cure subvert the classical chromatic arrangement in this series), with blood boiling over like a Phlegethon through every vein and a blue star where her heart should throb...



Writing lyrics and concentrated a lot.

Trying to regain her lost muse.

Aoi is also a lyricist. Not only the vocalist for a hard rock quartet (WILD AZÜRE)... she writes lyrics, and she is hot-blooded... anything more we've got in common? Soon she'll be maybe writing lyrics for musical theatre and maybe even, if she expands her horizons even further, libretti!
The qualities she is associated with and defends as a Precure are, furthermore... FREEDOM AND PASSION (jiyú to jónetsu / 自由と情熱) Gawwwwds... a passionate free spirit with her heart upon her sleeve, who writes lyrics and is also a bloody loud talker (as a Precure, she can reach a bloody Castafiore frequency!)... It's the shouting, the large hams, the wicked smiles, the defense of freedom and passion, the lyrics she writes and just pours her heart, or the blue star in its place, into... all of that is what got me hooked!

Aoi's song (lyrics by herself): Blue Sky All Right:

Yes! Shippai nante osorezu Try Again
Ki ni shite cha hajiman'nai yo
Hito no me kara nigeru dake tte tsuman'nai

No! Genkai nante shiranai Anything
Jōshiki ni torawarenaide
I'm here I'm here koko kara

You say tada omou mama ni sōda sakebi wo agetara
You say doko ni itemo sō jibun rashiku nareru

Tokihanate Oh yeah atsuku nareru All Right
Todoku yō ni Woah oh woah oh
Jiyū habatakou yo
Ashita ni tobikomou yo



(In English)

Yes! Don't fear failure, instead maybe try again
If you keep on worrying it won't begin
as hiding from everyone here would just make you look lame

No! Forget the limits or maybe anything
Don't get all caught up in some stupid common sense
I'm here I'm here from now on

You say you won't be satisfied until it's fine to shout at the loudest volume!
You say that wherever you are, you can now finally be who you are!

Let yourself go! Oh yeah, light it up till it is all right
so we can reach it now! Woah oh! Woah oh!
Let's all fly to our freedom
and leap towards our new tomorrow!


Yuma Tsukumo is no longer the only one who high-fives the sky!!

Awkward in a frilly baker's apron...

A live concert, however, is her element.

Exhausted after several attempts at making creampuffs.

Flanked by Ryúta on the left and Kei on the right. Some otherworldly cream snowed down on her mic and Aoi just stands there in awe...

Holding her guitar right-handed.


Her theme: ice cream, and her powers: also revolving around cryogenesis. Not unusual for a blue Precure (or any other winter-themed female supernatural, like Elsa); the subversion is that the ice powers were given to the team ladette of all five. And how does she attack the enemy? WITH BOXING FREAKING GLOVES. Now that's more ladette-y. She just clenches her fists and ice layers quickly wrap them into those boxing gloves... and, though she has never boxed before, her Cure Gelato stunts are just what any skilled featherweight can muster. A right straight into a fire-themed cadre's maw at her debut in ep 3 (she's a rightie, as can be noticed when she holds her guitar and writes lyrics; that's one of the main differences between Aoi and me!). And her battle costume look with that badass aviator jacket and that wicked wild puffy sky blue lion mane is so Eighties (her usual muggle look is actually less outrageously 80s-ish but still in the same style) that I think she would not be out of place singing a duet with Jagger Stone if she ever makes it to her ambitions' fulfilment. I mean, it makes me think of how much I love 80s poprock...
Also, Aoi reminds me a lot of Rainbow Dash being a ladette whose theme colour is blue and those fuse is rather short when it comes to everything... and Rainbow Freaking Dash is part of my hitlist...




This stance is a bit like "meet my friends Lefty and Righty: I'm thinking we'll get along..."



RARGH!!!

As for backstory... well, she appears to have been a violinist from a privileged background... But then... let me explain it in lyrics as a tribute to Aoi herself:

Inside, she was longing for something to be a part of;
in fact, she was ready to beg, steal, borrow, or barter!
Then visual kei came, and on the stage it reigned,
our gal thought her caregivers' expectations were in vain...
Stood entranced and stopped to listen, connected into her brain,
and she wrote her first refrain, a testament to her pain...

Well, then word got round, three kids heard her, thought she's wicked!
Soon their vocalist and lyricist they had well pickéd!
Get our first rehearsal, don't forget from whence you came,
and the world's gonna know your name... what's your name?

Aoi Tategami...
my name is Aoi Tategami...
and there is so much out there asking me...
But just you wait, just you wait...

Sorry, was carried away by Hamilton once more and had to throw in a little filk since both of us write lyrics... PS. Totally imagining Akira as Burr in that AU. And the other members of Wild Azüre as the Sons of Liberty. Which leads us to meet the rest of the band:
Kei Sonobe, bassist. Looks like a clever and sensitive soul...
Ryúta Yokogawa, backup guitarist. Looks like a more mischievous lad than Kei.
Sara Asaka, drummer. As an aloof goth introvert, the last person I would see filling the drummer slot... but again, Kirakira à la Mode keeps on surprising us at every turn.


 Then there's Ayane Misaki, lead vocalist of GANACHE: the visual kei star who inspired Aoi to follow in her footsteps. 
Such presence, such charm, such an epic aura, that Aoi was inspired by listening to her and gave up her caregivers' expectations to become like Ayane. 

(She would totally be General Washington in that AU, I mean... she would nail it... Which means that, once we get enough characterisation for her bandmates of Wild Azüre, we'll see which one of the Sons of Liberty excluding Hamilton fits most of each of these three)
Aoi on an ice-cream high.
Her Precure comrades love that reaction to the ice they made for her, while her bandmates (left to right: Sara, Kei, Ryúta) cannot believe their eyes.





YUKARI AND AKIRA
I have long gone wished for Cures themed after otokoyaku and onnayaku archetypes. And somehow the Seven heard my wish as well! Furthermore, they are respectively voiced, Yukari by a renowned onnayaku (Saki Fujita) and Akira by a renowned otokoyaku (Nanako Mori)! So, without further ado, let's have a look at these Takarazuka Cures who will surely form a battle couple and an OTP...
Yukari Kotozume is a refined 17-year-old student and fashionista, an overachiever who succeeds at everything, whether foreign languages, sports, tea serving, even arcade games. She usually looks down on the initial three early-teens, including Aoi, with an aloof, haughty, emotionally detached look and a noblewoman laugh. Her intro episode (ep 5, out this Monday) even calls her きまぐれお姉さま "kimagure oneesama", the wistful/fickle oneesama (older sister figure). Her theme elements are macarons and some elegant breeds of aristocats like the Russian Blue (at least I think, due to her theme colour of lilac, that she looks like a Russian Blue to me). The qualities she is associated with are beauty and intense emotion (utsukushisa to tokimeki / 美しさとトキメキ). She looks and acts like a refined, dignified proper lady, which, coupled with her hairstyle, her signature colour being lilac, and her love of fashion (check out her both as a Cure and as a fashionista/student), makes me think of a human version (gijinka) of Rarity. 
The battle costume also gave me the vibes of a catgirl+Rarity+Renée Roberts (Zakuro Fujiwara) fusion with elements of macaron and French maiden. Her fighting style is yet to be seen... (maybe a ma-cat-ron yoyo, like a weaponized version of her ma-cat-ron transformation trinket that becomes a homage to Ladybug and Chat Noir?)
Akira Kenjó is a gentle, phlegmatic student of 17 summers as well, a classmate of Yukari's (and maybe something more?) with that typical otokoyaku boyish/gentlemanly appearance and an associated aura that makes every dashing, charming "women's ideal man" (whether bland perfection fiancé [Stuart Dunmire, Lon Hammond Junior], princely young man, or otokoyaku) have admirers of both sexes and all genders swooning left and right (including yours truly). Her academic and athletic achievements are hitherto unknown (wait a fortnight for her ep 6 debut and we'll see what she has in store), but we know she is a chocoholic who cares deeply for, among others, her terminally ill and bedridden little sister. 
Her theme elements as a Cure are otokoyaku costumes (a Victorian top hat and a Shakespearean doublet, with an eighteenth-century cravat? The colour scheme and flair of the battle costume makes one forget the historical hodgepodge and just REVEL in the suit itself, not to mention that quiff she grows), chocolate, and a spitz... fox... foxy spitz or spitzy fox... fluffy canids in general. Her transformation trinket looks like a spitz peering from a doghouse and her name is one letter away from Akita... yet her theme colour is scarlet and her Cure form ears and tail are a bit larger than a spitz's. The qualities she is associated with are strength and love (tsuyosa to ai / 強さと愛). Her fighting style is yet to be seen, but I'm thinking of a chocolate sword, preferently a rapier. Otokoyaku frequently play officers, princes, swashbucklers... swordsmen on stage, and her surname literally means Sword Castle. 

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Yukari's signature noblewoman laugh.

When the going gets tough, they (here, Cure Macaron) will get to use wands in battle. Then we will surely see the real cadres and this Beau Masqué character below...



CADRES BECOME MONSTERS OF THE WEEK?
So far (eps 1-4), this has been a rather original idea for a Precure series. Or are these redshirts sent as a vanguard to Earth before the going gets tough and the real cadres get going and we return to the usual MGW episode formula? Which leads us to the opening theme and the appearance of this

MYSTERY MASKED CHARACTER...

Is this masked warrior with the queue and the cravat a he or a she? A dark magical girl or a sinister prince of evil? Will they be a cool overachiever and/or leave the dark side to join the Cures?
And why is there a bunny with the same blue holly motif... pet and owner or the beast and their prince(ss) form?

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RANKO IS VIRAL

There was talk of Ranko Ichijo in this series as a popstar on everyone's lips at class... so will we see an adult Ranko, is this a shared universe with Go!Princess? And will Ranko's path cross with Aoi's someday? (I hope these two cross paths sooner or later!)

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