It’s been a long time since I first watched Sailor Moon and found my heart stolen away by fictitious, 2-dimensional magical girls. Over a decade, in fact. And in that time, I have become far more cynical about anime and manga. It’s impossible to not become cynical when you’re watching wave after wave of fetishism come and go and the same three plots used over and over. But. Every once in a while, I like to reexamine my “roots” if you will, and take a look once again at some mahou shoujo that is actually made for girls.
PreCure Splash Star: Chikuwaku Kiki Ippatsu! feels very much like a “movie” manga. It’s a single volume, self-contained story, with a superficial bad guy, a passel o’creatures and a simple plot. Rocket science it is not. :-) If you remember the Sailor Moon movies, the Card Captor Sakura movies, or pretty much any magical girl series movies, you know the drill.
Saki and Mai have a big date coming up. They are supposed to be meeting early but Saki, as usual, is running late. Mai wonders if her watch is broken, so she checks at a creepy clock shop. (All clock shops are creepy, really. All that ticking…) When Saki arrives, there’s no Mai, and in the way of such things, they fight about whose responsibility it is that they are now very late.
Out of sorts and out of synch with each other, they arrive very late to the big singing contest they’ve been practicing for. They are allowed in but, as they are in the process of – quite literally – falling on their faces, time stops. The bad guy whisks them into a world where a giant clock has ceased to function, throwing the inhabitants (mostly cute abstract shapes and creatures) into disarray. Our plucky victims who have come to get help are, in fact, the long and short hands of the clock. They are cleverly named Hour and Minutes. ^_^
Saki and Mai transform, but they are still peeved at each other, so their powers are insufficient. They are defeated and separated. Each wanders alone through Dali- and Escher-esque landscapes, worried about the other and rethinking their fight of earlier in the day. They also realize that their hearts have to be open or their powers will not be at maximum. With this revelation, they are reunited to their mutual delight, they defeat the bad guy, restore the clock and are returned to our world where, holding hands and in perfect synch, they sing their hearts out at the contest.
As I say – not rocket science. But there are some genuine positives in this manga. For one thing, Hour and Minutes are more likable than you’d expect. :-) The irritating little fluffballs that are Saki and Mai’s sidekicks are joined by more irritating little fluffballs, but as this is a manga I don’t have to actually *hear* them say “Floppy~!” and “Choppy~!” over and over.
And, most of all, this story is about how much Saki and Mai need each other – not just to be PreCure, but because they, well, *need* each other. They can handle anything, they say confidently, as long as they are together. Right after Mai swears to be together with Saki, forever. Oh, yes. Mai is totally besotted and Saki will be so very surprised the day she kisses her….ok, that’s just in my imagination. lol
Negatives – the utterly stock bad guy turning a raging horse demon thing. I blame Hottie Shinz for the images stuck in my head in reference to anthropomorphic horses. Anyway – that was kinda icky, but PreCure wins with the power of girl’s love, so yay! ^_^
Art – 7
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Yuri – 4
Service – 1
Overall – 7
It is once again my sincere pleasure to thank Okazu Hero Komatsu-san for his sponsorship of today’s review and for this chance to once again remember that for magical girls, their love for each other always saves the day. ^_^