Pretty Cure

Pretty Cure

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Updated Feb 11, 2023 at 10:25AM EST by Calwings.

Added Nov 25, 2016 at 08:52PM EST by Calwings.

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Pretty Cure, or Precure for short, is a popular magical girl anime franchise that was created by Izumi Todo and adapted by Toei Animation. It has spawned (as of 2023) 20 different series, as well as multiple movies and video game spin-offs and a long line of toys. While mostly marketed to young girls with its magical girl cuteness, the franchise also has a large fanbase of older viewers.

Precure is notable for being one of the very few current magical girl anime that play the genre straight. Rather than be a deconstruction of the genre like Madoka Magica and other recent series, Precure sticks to a similar 'bad guy of the week' format that was popular among classic magical girl shows such as Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura. Precure is also notable for having battle scenes that are much more based on hand-to-hand combat rather than colorful magical abilities. This has led to Precure to be compared to "what would happen if Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z had a baby" and has earned the franchise a cult following among older male viewers outside the target audience.


The Pretty Cure franchise was created by Toei Animation, a famous Japanese animation studio who also worked on popular anime franchises such as Dragon Ball, Super Sentai, Digimon, One Piece, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Sailor Moon. Drawing much inspiration from Sailor Moon and other classic magical girl shows, the Precure franchise made its debut in 2004 with the first series, Futari wa Pretty Cure. This series was met with critical acclaim, and eventually received a second season titled Futari wa Pretty Cure: Max Heart. Most future Precure series after the initial two would be standalone series unrelated to each other, with entirely new casts of Precure girls and villains each time.

List of Precure Media

There have been a total of 20 main Precure series, two of which are considered sequels to the preceding series.

  • Futari Wa Pretty Cure -- The debut outing of the franchise. One of only two to receive a second season, titled Futari Wa Pretty Cure Max Heart, and one of only three to receive an English dub.
  • Futari wa Precure Splash Star -- The 3rd series in the franchise. The first to debut a new cast.
  • Yes! Precure 5 -- The 4th series in the franchise. The only one to get a second season besides the original, it was followed by its sequel season Yes! Precure 5 GoGo!
  • Fresh Precure! -- The 6th series in the franchise. The first to use CG-animated ending credits, which would become a staple of the franchise going forward.
  • HeartCatch Precure! -- The 7th series in the franchise. Widely considered one of the best Precure series, both in terms of quality and for introducing new viewers to the Precure franchise. Also notable for having the first high schooler to become a main Precure (Cure Moonlight).
  • Suite Precure -- The 8th series in the franchise.
  • Smile Precure! -- The 9th series in the franchise. The second to be dubbed into English, localized and under the alternate title Glitter Force.
  • DokiDoki! Precure -- The 10th series in the franchise. The third to be dubbed into English, localized and under the alternate title Glitter Force Doki Doki.
  • HappinessCharge Precure! -- The 11th series in the franchise. It was the first to utilize CG-animation within the show itself and not just in the ending credits.
  • Go! Princess Precure -- The 12th series in the franchise.
  • Maho Girls Precure! -- The 13th series in the franchise. The characters of this series (and the three series that followed it) were used in promotional material announcing and promoting the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo, along with other famous anime series such as Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Pokémon.
  • Kira Kira Precure A La Mode -- The 14th series in the franchise. Notable for being the first with a significant portion of the Precure as high schoolers (Cure Macaron and Cure Chocolat) rather than middle schoolers.
  • Hugtto Precure -- The 15th series in the franchise. It was the first to feature canon in-series appearances of Precure from previous series (outside of the All-Stars movies) and also the first to feature a male character transforming into a Precure, though only for one episode.
  • Star Twinkle Precure -- The 16th series in the franchise. It was the first series to feature the characters going into space and an alien girl becoming a Precure.
  • Healin' Good Precure -- The 17th series in the franchise. It was the first to be picked up by Crunchyroll for a legal simulcast outside of Japan, the first to have an adult character become a main Precure (Cure Earth), and the first to have a hiatus in the middle of the series due to the global impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Tropical-Rouge Precure -- The 18th series in the franchise. It was the first to be legally simulcast on Crunchyroll from the beginning and the first to have its starting date delayed from the usual first week of February due to the aforementioned hiatus that Healin' Good Precure had to take.
  • Delicious Party Precure -- The 19th series in the franchise.
  • Soaring Sky Precure -- The 20th and recently premiered series in the franchise.

In addition to these main series, there have been over two dozen different Precure movies released. Some of them are tie-ins to the main series, while the Precure All Stars movies combine the casts of many previous Precure series, with the cast of the most recent Precure series being the stars of the movie. One recent film, Hugtto! Precure ♡ Futari wa Precure All Stars Memories, featured the largest cast in the franchise's history and was even awarded a Guinness World Record for "Most magical warriors in an anime film."[5]

Pretty Cure All-Stars!

As with any TV show primarily marketed towards younger viewers, an extensive line of toys is also available, including dolls of the characters and props of the various magical items used in the show. There have also been over a dozen spin-off video games produced by Bandai, which were only released in Japan and are mostly for Nintendo's family of handheld systems. In February 2023, Japanese record company Marvelous announced that over 790 songs from the Precure franchise would be made available on major subscription music services such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify.

Cultural Impact and Fandom

The Pretty Cure franchise is widely considered one of the premier anime franchises in Japan, up in the same tier as legendary shows such as Dragon Ball, One Piece, and even Pokémon. However, it isn't nearly as popular outside of Japan (due to the lack of official worldwide releases for most of the series) but has still gained a cult following. Crunchyroll's simulcasts and promotion of the most recent series have helped bolster its popularity in the west a bit.

Regular discussion threads about Precure pop up on 4Chan's /a/ board and many other anime-based discussion sites. Fanart and cosplay of the characters in the Precure franchise is also popular, with Pixiv hosting over 137,000 images under the "プリキュア" tag (the title of the franchise in Japanese) and Deviantart hosting over 65,000 images under the "precure" tag.

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