In Volume 1 of Futari ha PreCure Splash Star , Saki is a the pitcher of her middle school softball team, Mai is a member of the art club, and neither of them are particularly special in any way, we are told.
Saki is a star pitcher and Mai is a brilliant artist but neither of them are *special*? Nice.
So anyway, these two exceptionally talented, but in no way special, young ladies see each other for the first time and something happens – they feel instantly as if they know each other.
Saki seeks Mai out, finding her at this big ole tree Saki also likes to hang out at and, as they talk, two things happen to these unspecial girls. One – the tree attacks them, morphing into an evil being and two, happy glittery lights start surrounding them, eventually resolving into two hideously cute stuffed-animal like creatures named Floppy and Choppy, who give Saki and Mai the ability – nay, the charge – to transform into PreCure Bloom and PreCure Egret and save them (namely, Floppy and Choppy.)
Oh, *now* they’re special.
The rest of the story follows the traditional mahou shoujo pattern, with Monster of the Day attacking and PreCure defeating, but that is not at all the story. The story is the surprisingly intense relationship devoping between Saki and Mai. You can put your Yuri goggles on low for this round of manga, let me tell you. Where in the original PreCure, Nagisa wasn’t all that interested in Honoka, who has a massive crush on her (well, duh! It’s *obvious*! lol) in Splash Star both Saki and Mai, each in their own way, want to become closer – quickly.
Saki comes running in to school with a list of questions – what’s you birthday, your favorite/ least favorite food, your favorite band, your type (“Well, I like them to be on the softball team, energetic, and be a magical girl on the side,”) etc, etc. Mai is initially taken aback, but eventually they do take that step forward. On Mai’s side, she’s always drawing in a sketchbook, but won’t let Saki see the contents. When, because of a magical attack the contents are scattered, no one reading the book is surprised to find that ALL the pictures are of Saki. Every last one.
Oh, and the bad guys? They get POUNDED by one, when they hit the other. lol They are otherwise completely disposable until the evil twin sisters arrive. Actually – this was a really fun bit of the book. Kaoru and Michiru are better at everything Saki and Mai do. But because Saki and Mai are nice girls, they are impressed, rather than jealous, which drive the evil twins *crazy*. There’s a scene where the entire class gets together for a welcome party for them and they are looking at everyone like, “What is WRONG with you people? We’re arrogant, nasty and elitist – you are supposed to hate us!”
Of course they are saved by friendship and in return save PreCure Bloom and Egret, taking one on the chin for their new friends.
The art for this manga is interesting – chances are you will either like it, or hate it. It’s not Sailor Moon -esque, with long-limbed beauties, and it’s not Kami-chan Karin, with hyper cuteness. The pages are full of movement and energy, with great swirls of lines and bodies in slightly weird, but very action-filled positions. Whether it’s Saki throwing the winning pitch, or PreCure defeating the MotD, the theme is ‘action.” I quite liked it, myself.
On the downside, the naming sense that gives us cute little creatures in PreCure, Mipple and Mepple and now, in PreCure Splash Star, Floppy and Choppy, makes Erica Crabby and Stabby. But on the upside, Floppy and Choppy hardly speak comparatively to their predecessors and don’t get in the way of the story much.
Obviously, nothing explicit is going to be happening in a manga like this. But for all that, the Yuri is, really, quite “obvious.” Which means it’s totally open to interpretation as all things are. I choose to interprate this iteration as Yuri. ;-)
Art – 8
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Yuri – 4
Service – 1
Overall – 7
Many, many thanks to today’s sponsor, Okazu hero Komatsu-san for all he’s done for Okazu, for PreCure and for Yuri!
(A few people have noted that I do not link the picture or title above to the Amazon JP entry for this series. That is because there *is* no entry on Amazon JP for any of the manga for this series. Looks like PreCure 5 Go! Go! is all that’s available these days. So, if you really want this volume, you’ll need to find another source. Sorry.)