What’s it about? Meet Harewataru Sora, a member of the kingdom of Skyland and a wannabe hero. Her life is great: that is, until the evil Underg Empire abducts Princess Ellee for their nefarious, no-good, ne’er-do-well deeds! However, during the princess’ abduction, Sora and Ellee find themselves flung into another world, where they find strange new abilities and a way to take down the Underg Empire once and for all…
Pretty Cure is one of those series that I’ve started to look forward to annually. It’s the kind of upbeat, wholly enjoyable, and incredibly empowering feminine-targeted series that appeals to me in the same way early seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and MLP: Equestria Girls did and does. That’s the energy I took into watching the premiere of Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure, a new entry in the franchise that I was really eager to watch and am eager to spend time with this year.
I feel like it’s prudent to note that there’s secondary appeal here as well, such as Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure (hereafter Soaring PreCure) is the first series in the entire franchise to include a cis boy as a main Pretty Cure (the first ever being a somewhat minor character in Hugtto! PreCure). The reveal of this–as well as a future 18-year-old Cure–has really amped the show in general and made it quite the exciting debut: but it’s also added this interesting pressure to the show. How will they handle a boy being a part of the titular Pretty Cure team? How will he affect masculinity for young male viewers? And most importantly, how can he open doors to this happening again? Is there a future for an all-male Pretty Cure spinoff? I certainly hope so, but first…episode 1 of Soaring PreCure.
Episode 1, “I’m a Hero Girl? Cure Sky to the Rescue!” kicks off with self-proclaimed hero Hanewataru Sora heading to Skyland, a mythical realm that exists high above in the clouds. Specifically, Sora’s heading to the main city for a celebration for the princess’s birthday. It’s here that we get a taste of our villain, Kabaton, a bucktooth, pig-like purple baddie who immediately ruins Princess Ellee of the Skyland’s birthday. And of course, it’s up Sora to rescue her. And she does, but it leads to a huge change of place–literally–to invoke our first cure transformation and really kick the story into high gear.
Really, this is the story of Sora going from self-proclaimed hero to actual hero: a bit of a zero to hero-esque glow-up that sets the entire tone for the rest of the story. Of course, there’s some hijinks on the path to heroism, and they all start here.
First things first: I love how many birds are in this premiere: they add this really good, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Swordish vibe to Skyland, a realm high above in the clouds with avians aplenty. In fact, I love all the creatures in this world, including villain, Kabaton who is, er, hamming it up constantly. It’s great and really adds a pleasantly cartoonish flavor to his character: he’s over the top in the same way beloved baddies Jessie and James of Pokemon fame are. I sense that viewers will likely come to be really into him.
And of course, I love the transformation sequence we get: there’s the briefest focus on Sora’s thighs when she gets her new tights, but it’s not at all sexualized. Honestly? Cure Sky looks adorable! It’s such a fantastic outfit with a CAPE, and we all know capes add that special oomph that all outfit need. I’m really eager to see the cohesion of the future cures in this series: I hope they all have capes because…capes.
The biggest weakness here comes with really just one joke: it’s Kabuton farting in Sora’s face. Maybe it’s because I’m not a child, maybe it’s because of my smell sensitivity, but I hate fart jokes. I can always “smell” them, even if they’re just on TV, and they make my skin itch. Plus…they’re cheap humor that leans on grossing you out for a shocked laugh. Granted, this is like, a very minor personal thing: I figure if this is my biggest complaint, this premiere is probably doing pretty well, right?
(Side note: homeboy says “Welcome to Heaven” before ass blasting this poor child, and that got me more than an actual toot ever will.)
There’s something so enjoyable about this new entry to the storied Pretty Cure franchise. It’s got a lot of good energy up front, has a beautiful pastel color palette with rich colors, a banger OP and ED, and honestly, stands to be a new fan favorite. It’s Winx Club transformations meets MLP:FiM levels of friendship meets really beautiful animation. It’s all of these magical girl shows from every bit of the world combined with the skillful storytelling imbued in the entire Pretty Cure franchise. It’s good: it’s so good, and it’s so optimistic, and I think it’s going to be a series that shows young folks how to be brave, even when you’re afraid or not sure of how to be a hero.
If you’re someone who’s been wanting to try out Precure for a while, then please: consider making Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure your first. It’s fresh, it’s charming, and with its inclusion of the first male cure in history, is setting new standards for what to expect children’s media to do in terms of showing different facets of femininity and masculinity and how they’re all a spectrum that can be used to empower and help people be the best version of themselves.
Now, some might find Sora’s energy a bit much–or even a little over the top and irritating–but I implore you to remember that you are an adult and this show is aimed at a younger demographic. Also, that’s it important for young girls (cis, trans, and really anyone who was raised AFAB) to be a bit silly and slapstick. It’s something so often denied to girls in lieu of encouraging quiet, prim behavior.
But I think if you go into this premiere with an open mind, you’ll find that it’s a solid opener to a wider world and a series full of potential. I know, for myself, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this series excels and wows me. Is this the most exciting of all of Winter 2023’s offerings? No, but that doesn’t mean it’s not really good as well. It’s foundational: Soaring PreCure is setting us up for so much more. I really hope that people will stick around to see this gem of a show shine.
Overall, I gotta say: Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure is definitely worth going on your watch list as soon as possible, just for the Sunday morning cartoon vibes.