Naoko Takeuchi codified the genre and defined its defining characteristics in her Sailorverse (Sailor V, Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Crystal), which blended the classical magical girl tropes with some Super Sentai characteristics like a team of different heroines with balanced abilities and personalities. The result was a series simultaneously aimed toward and empowering to girls with large amounts of character building and storyline that still gave focus to the battles and allowed for fanservice. A virtually-unheard-of combination at that time, the series quickly attracted a rabid fanbase with a ridiculously-wide demographic. While many early anime of the genre which followed were accused of being (and often were, at the start) rip-offs of Sailor Moon trying to repeat its success by copying the formula, eventually they evolved into unique works and a novel hybrid genre, going From Clones to Genre.
Now this article is about anime in general, the term "arc" as used in this blog, and the equivalent Japanese term "cour" ("kuuru" in katakana).
Since Kirakira Precure à la Mode has reached its arc finale and segued into a new arc this week, I thought that the opportunity to talk about anime cours could not be missed. For each and every story arc of a Pretty Cure series fits exactly into a cour of the same series: now, to put KKPCàlM as an example, as the Winter Cour ends and the Springtime Cour begins, it has brought us the wrap-up of the Debut Queue arc and the first episode of the Giulio arc. The Debut Queue arc lasted all Winter Cour long, while the Giulio arc will encompass the whole Springtime Cour.
WHAT DOES COUR MEAN?
HOW IS A COUR DIFFERENT FROM A SEASON?
WHY ARE ANIME SERIES PRODUCED IN COURS?
WHERE DOES THE WORD COUR COME FROM?
4 COUR (50-54 EPISODES, CONTINUOUS, OR YEAR-LONG SERIES) EXAMPLES
The Pretty Cure franchise; each and every continuity is a 4-cour or year-long series, always beginning in midwinter and wrapping up around Christmas.
AND NOW FOR THE ISSUE TO WHICH ALL THIS EXPLANATION BOILS DOWN:
Since each cour of a Precure season contains one story arc within its 12-13 episodes, each narrative arc overlapping with a different cour (for instance, the Twilight arc of Go!Princess Pretty Cure overlaps exactly with the Springtime Cour of said series), the terms "cour" and "arc" can be used interchangeably, even though "cour" refers to the production and "arc" refers to the narrative of a batch of episodes.