jueves, 12 de julio de 2018

RENEWED SHALL BE THE STRINGS THAT WERE BROKEN

Hugtto Pretty Cure - Episode 22
My Own Belated Review

RENEWED SHALL BE THE STRINGS THAT WERE BROKEN


I like how Ma Chérie just goes up to these two legends and says ‘give me my Melody Sword’
We begin directly where the previous episode left off, with the arrival of the original generation Cures, Cure Black and Cure White. Cure Ma Chérie is convinced that they are angels sent from above to deliver new Melody Swords to them. Of course, Black and White themselves have no idea what has happened.



Team Hugtto were surprised by Cure Black and Cure White's appearance and suprised there are other Precures too. Cure Black was panicking like her usual self, while Cure White tried to think through logically. 


Cure Ma Chérie immediately rushed to her Senior (senpai) cures asking for a new power-up and it was very awkward for the two seniors (senpai-tachi).

The two senior cures reverted back to muggle form and gathered at Harry's place. Nagisa still enjoyed her takoyaki (octopus balls) and Honoka with her popcorn made by her juniors. Lulu blamed herself for destroying Emiru's guitar in the last battle but Emiru claimed it was all right but Lulu could not understand Emiru's reasoning and they got into a little argument.



Moving on, the girls all return to their normal forms and go over to Harry’s place. As Nagisa and Honoka eat some snacks, we see that Lulu is still feeling down after what happened to Emiru’s guitar.
Lulu feels responsible for what happened to Emiru’s guitar
Emiru tells her that it is fine, but Lulu doesn’t believe that to be the case. When she tries to get Emiru to tell her more, all Emiru says is that she doesn’t want to explain. This arguments happens in front of everybody else, including Nagisa and Honoka. Hugtan is upset, so Emiru volunteers to go and change her nappy.
When Emiru goes, the other girls tell Lulu that Emiru was telling a white lie because she didn’t want Lulu to worry about her.

Hugtan comforts Emiru
Hugtan comforts Emiru, and then Nagisa shows up as well. Nagisa tells her that it is fine to fight occasionally – being best friends is all about being honest with each other, after all.
After that, both Lulu and Emiru separately decide that they want to make gifts for each other to apologise.

Nagisa told Emiru that it is okay for friends to have arguments once a while as a way to understand each other better since Emiru is still a kid and Lulu is like that older sister who needs a holding hand once a while (Nagisa herself has a younger brother, so her own sibling experience plays a part).


After hearing her encouragement, Emiru decided to make friendship bracelets for herself and Lulu as a gift while at the same time, Lulu was making a new guitar for Emiru together with Honoka and Saaya with Lulu suggesting something more...


Papple discovers that her love is unrequited

Meanwhile, over at Cryasse HQ, Papple makes a discovery that shakes her to her very core. The love she felt towards a certain person is a love that will never be returned.


After failing for the last time and ridiculed by Daigan, Papple went to find George for comfort but instead saw Gelos in his room, making herself at home in the canopy bed. Gelos even quoted lines from the Crane Maiden (Tsuru no Ongaeshi) story about how an old couple found out that a girl who made beautiful cloth for them, and whom they overworked for profit, was secretly a crane whose broken wing they had healed, and the crane left the old couple, in avian form, as soon as she had to migrate after her identify was revealed. 

Much to Papple's dismay, Gelos has wrested her place in her absence and has made herself at home.


In this case, Papple found out that George has never loved her at all and it was her own fantasy to think that George even cared about her. George didn't even look back when she arrived and Papple fled in despair.



Papple now realised that her world is ruined and used a fistful of negative energy on herself, turning her into a crazed daikaiju One-Winged Angel like Charalit before...




Before the battle, Emiru and Lulu meet up while the other girls watched from afar. 


The two girls squabbled a bit but realised both of them really care for each other.



 Nagisa and Honoka felt nostalgic as these two girls also have their differences in the beginning and became good friends in the end. (I was hoping Toei might do some updates from Nagisa and Honoka's flashback instead of using old clips like how Dragonball Super did some updates when they do flashbacks in recent episodes)


Both Emiru and Lulu exchanged their gifts and both girls got each a friendship bracelet and a new guitar with which Lulu hoped to perform with Emiru together...




Emiru and Lulu give each other gifts
Moving on, Lulu and Emiru finally confront each other. They pretty much tell each other that they are irreplaceable, and that’s why they did and said the things they did. Nagisa and Honoka recall having a similar fight before, with a brief flashback to it.
In the end, though, everything is good with Lulu and Emiru. They even exchange gifts – matching bracelets and guitars. Both girls have a dream of performing together.
Papple turns herself into a theender
Things aren’t so good with Papple, though. She has decided to end it all after her discovery from earlier, which means becoming a theender. Naturally, that means that it is time for Pretty Cures to step up once again.







Papple proves to be a fearsome foe, even managing to fight off all five Hugtto Cures. Just as it seems like she will deliver the finishing blow, we are reminded that there are two more Cures present. 




Team Hugtto went into battle against Papple but she was too strong and knocked them to the ground. Before Papple could obliterate them, Nagisa and Honoka transformed into Cure Black and Cure White and show why the Futari wa pair are the Kamen Rider Ichigo and Nigo of Precure! They might not be the strongest but their hand to hand combat is probably the most badass among all Precures!





Cure Ma Chérie lets out an excited squeal upon seeing those two transform, and honestly, I might have just done the same thing. You don’t get to be a PreCure for as long as those two do without learning how to kick an arse or two, and Cure Black and Cure White do it in truly spectacular style.



After receiving a thorough beatdown from Black and White, the theender begins to cry. Amour realises that it is Papple, and she asks to be allowed to go to her. Ma Chérie asks if they can both go, and they get the blessing of the other Cures.


Cure Amour detected that the monster is Papple and decided to help her together with Cure Ma Chérie. The pair entered Papple's physical body and saw Papple crying in despair and throwing a tantrum.






You know, they looked like a family together...

The pair told Papple that she can start all over again as long you love yourself and take the first step for a better future. A heart icon appeared on Papple's chest and the two girls gave a hug to her, telling her everything is going to be okay. 

Papple's failure is similar to how people react after an economic crisis when their world crumbles down. But as long as you don't give up and care for people you really love (not koi, but ai; not eros, but agape), the future is all right. 



Amour and Ma Chérie hug it out with Papple

Amour and Ma Chérie go inside the theender, where they find Papple. Papple is convinced that it is all over, but the Cures tell her otherwise. Her love may be unrequited, but that doesn’t mean that things have to end. The three hug it out, and then Amour and Ma Chérie return to the outside world.








Aishiteru! (I <3 u!)


Thank you! (In English in the source text)


The pair reappeared out of Papple's body and their Future Crystals created the Twin Love Guitars! With them, the pair used their attack -Twin Love Rock Beat- to purify Papple and save her soul. 







Twin Love Guitars
Cure Amour and Cure Ma Chérie gain a new power up upon their return, and it is absolutely perfect for them: the Twin Love Guitars. They unleash a new finishing move, Twin Love Rock Beat, and that allows Papple to come to terms with her feelings.




With their foe defeated, it is time to say goodbye to Nagisa and Honoka. Hugtan returns them to where they originally came from.
Honoka’s pretty composed, as opposed to Nagisa


The others wave Nagisa and Honoka off. Once they have been returned, there is a brief discussion about how Hugtan managed to summon them, but nobody really knows for sure.



After the battle, Nagisa and Honoka congrats the pair and Hug-tan used her powers to send Nagisa and Honoka back to their timeline. Although everyone is still confused on how Hug-tan could create such power, Emiru and Lulu finally established their friendship together... I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU WIFE AND WIFE...


Emiru and Ruru are now a matching pair
The episode ends here, and gives us a very special ending theme.
This episode… it touched upon the theme of suicide, didn’t it? Papple’s actions after discovering that the person she loved does not care for her, and the way she said it was ending it all… It’s easy to forget that this is a kids’ show, meant for a middle-grade central demographic, sometimes.
Of course, it ended on a happy note because this is PreCure, and Cure Amour and Cure Ma Chérie were there to talk it out with her. Still, there has been some pretty drastic happenings during this season.
The fight against Papple has been the best fight so far of this entire season, particularly with Cure Black and Cure White joining the fray. The instrumental version of their opening theme made an already awesome scene even better.
I am so glad that Hugtto! brought back the hard-hitting physical hand-to-hand combat after KiraKira PreCure à la Mode, as there was no way that Black and White’s cameo appearance here would have worked without it.
Nagisa and Honoka’s appearance here was wonderful, particularly as their mascot yousei were nowhere to be seen. The first few seasons of PreCure had some pretty annoying pixies – in fact, it wasn’t until Fresh that they actually introduced a mentor mascot I actually like.
If you would like to see more from Cure Black and Cure White, you could always check out the first two seasons of PreCure (ie Futari wa). If you don’t have the time to commit to those, you could always watch the Max Heart films – one of them features what might just be one of the most brutal fights in PreCure‘s history.
It’s amazing how Emiru and Lulu continue to be the stars of the show, even with the legendary duo that started it all showing up. Black and White got their moment to shine, but this episode didn’t stop being about our the two best characters. They exchanged gifts and got blessings from Cure Black and Cure White… yep, they’re practically married now.
Their new finishing move might just be the greatest one in PreCure history, but perhaps I’m a little biased because it involves guitars.
It looks like we have come to the end of the focus on Lulu and Emiru for now, and what a ride it has been! These past few weeks of Hugtto! PreCure have been the strongest I have ever seen the franchise, and I’ve loved every moment of it.

Next time, the Cures will be meeting one of Cryasse’s Corporation's big shots. Or rather two of them, an old and a new acquaintance.

What a conclusion as we come to the end of Emiru and Lulu's arc! This is probably one of the better heel turned head from the Precure multiverse and a heartwarming story about forgiveness and redemption.

Lulu, Emiru and even Papple all have their fair share in this arc which truly developed their characters for the better. Lulu started off as an emotionless gynoid whose sole purpose is to destroy the Cures however after alll the traps she created to and all the interactions with the girls, her alliance was shaken which finally lead to her "reboot" and joining the girls.

Lulu still suffered from guilt for all the things she did until Emiru opened her eyes. Emiru herself went through a character change. From Miss Overreacting in her debut episode until she wants to become a Precure so that she can help people, Emiru also learn something about herself especially her interactions with Lulu and Emiru's eccentric family.

Emiru learned how to stand up for herself from her brother's dated mindset, teaching Lulu like a surrogate sister, and learning the true meaning of being a shero. All these including the pros and cons of friendship in this episode, make Emiru and Lulu one of my favourite pairings in the Precure saga.

Papple though minimum also went through an arc of her own. She started off as an over-confident general but after many failures, was ridiculed by everyone including Gelos who is her junior (kouhai). She also became complacent with her relationship with George which seriously, I never find their romance to be believable. 

It was until she saw Gelos in George's room and realised George has never loved her at all. Her world crumbled and decided to take the last straw and go all berserker mode. But thanks to Cure Ma Chérie and Cure Amour's words of hope, Papple finally make peace with herself.  (Will we see her again like Charalit?) I really do want Papple to at least stay and joined Team Hugtto since seeing the three girls hugging together felt like a family.

How about our two guest stars-Nagisa and Honoka? It was nice to see them again and given something to do rather than a cameo like the All-Stars movies. Although short, Nagisa and Honoka gave some good advices to their juniors. Of course, their kickass battle with Papple might be short but it is what recent Precure seasons is lacking in the action department-awesome hand to hand fight scenes, flashy and gimmick items should only be used as a final attack.




MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION
Fare thee well, Papple. (One minute of silence, please...)

Speaking of Futari wa, the first Pretty Cure series ever, it was revolutionary. Not only because the two ur-Cures were more adept at hand-to-hand combat than at magical spells, but also because it did completely away with the Stock Shoujo Heroine pink lead (who usually has an easy-to-spell-out in katakana English alias like Flora, Whip, Yell, Peach, or -the codifier, the one who started it all- Moon; to reflect her academic and athletic ineptitude); Futari wa, sweeping the Idiot Heroine completely under the rug, gave us a Two-Person Band consisting only of a Smart Girl in White and a Big Girl in Black, the former an only child of rank and the latter a middle-class older sister. Neither one nor the other was simple-minded/book-dumb, since one of them was an ace student and chemistry scientist; while the other was an ace athlete and team leader. Not to mention that this was a Battle Couple of protagonists, instead of the usual West Coast Team role that Battle Couples had to play since the Infinity (or S) arc of a show that was not precisely titled Pretty Guardians Sailor Uranus & Neptune. Sadly, this formula would be carried on only for one more continuity of Pretty Cure series (Splash Star). Though, time and again, there was an exception to the book-dumb Stock Shoujo Heroine relatable character in pink, as a way to connect from those usual subversive roots (the pink Cure in Heartcatch, Tsubomi Hanasaki, was clearly the Smart Girl, spectacles and all, her character flaw being the common shyness/introversion and poor self-esteem of fictional bookworms in general; while DokiDoki gave us the Ace and Academic Athlete Mana Aida, clearly Nagisa and Honoka rolled into one, whose flaws were basically being too impulsive and tone deaf, and Mana is also the pink Cure who so far gives off the most leadership vibes -even though both the character and the series are loathed by the fanbase, generally uttering the words "MARY SUE" as a complaint). Still for today, I am thinking of the possibility of another Precure series without a Moon expy, and where the Battle Couple are not the West Coast Team/auxiliary, or ancillary, heroes.


That threesome hug between Amour, Ma Chérie, and Papple is heartwarming, and seeing the dethroned baroness in tears only ups the factor.

The Crane Maiden tale quoted by Gelos at Papple is definitely a cathartic moment (sucker for fairytale motifs as I am). And Papple's scenario reminded me of the Swedish turn-of-the-century literary fairytale Svanhamnen (The Swan Maiden's Wings) by feminist Helena Nyblom, an author who uses folkloric motifs (the Nordic variant of the motifs also found in Tsuru no Ongaeshi) to comment masterfully on gender roles: like in the usual accounts, we have a single young noble who steals a swan maiden's wings and forces her into marriage. As she watches the swans migrate south every autumn from her alcove window, she feels even more cooped up than now that she is as a married lady of rank. In the end, looking all over the castle and helped by her mother-in-law, who cannot bear to see her suffer, the swan maiden finds her wings and takes to the sky in the absence of her husband. The wings, and avian form, in this retelling are a metaphor for female agency, for female emancipation, and the husband controls the wife by concealing her "wings" in a secret place.
So, the negative emotion of the week is unrequited love, such a dead horse and such a powerful motivation, whether it be a man or a woman scorned, that it would take me a whole doorstopper to list all occurrences of this catalyst in fiction (let's see: Medea, Roderigo, Othello, Kriemhilde, Éponine, Scrooge, Snape, most recently Noir/Elysio... and I'm just scratching the tip of the iceberg!).
So we got a redoubtable One-Winged Angel form as the final boss of this cour, just in time when Pride Month has given way to KaiJuly...

Oooof…. it didn’t take long before I realized that I am actually done with Lulu’s and Emiru’s arc, and with the whole springtime cour; luckily we will be jumping straight into the plot in next week’s episode! As suspected, George is going to make his move and the enemy is going to make their move to finally capture Hugtan. About bloody time if I say so myself.
Thankfully Cure Black and White’s appearance was merely a cameo, and were virtually nonexistent in this episode, with the exception of doing their part in the fight. In fact, besides being part of the movie promotion and the anniversary event, and providing a parallel to Emiru’s and Lulu’s conflict, there was little point of them being there at all.
This episode was a bit of a weird one in terms of what went down. For starters, I wasn’t expecting Papple to experience the heartbreak, and I felt really bad for her because it certainly does look like George has cast her aside. She had hoped he would chase after her, but he has efficiently replaced her with Gelos. What a douchebag. Papple’s unrequited love pushes her to transform into the upgraded monster, but she was not nearly as tough as Charalit was. Frankly, I was so unimpressed with how her fight ended up playing out, that it felt like Emiru and Lulu were handed that power-up on a silver platter. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth not only because this was literally their third battle, but Emiru kept on obnoxiously demanding for the magical rod.
I don’t have really more to add, so let’s jump into the next episode, where shit is finally getting real!

So far, this cour finale was the perfect coda for our OTP in this continuity. Lulu Amour, Emiru Aizaki, I now pronounce you wife and wife. The Good Ship Emilu is finally declared seaworthy!

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