After more than 500 episodes the franchise of Pretty Cure has produced some truly great episodes. Here are what I find to be the 15 best non-plot important episodes. These are just the normal, weekly episodes that make up the bulk of any season, any plot relevance they have is very minor or basically inconsequential. If you want to know the best each season can get then look no further.
15. Doki Doki Precure Episode 26
Being the best character from Doki it’s no surprise that Rikka gets the best focus episodes. Even her earlier one dealing with her love for Karuta was much better than the surrounding episodes but this one is even better. The episode simply gives a good and fun story of Ira becoming amnesiac and falling into Rikka’s care and through the events of the episode Rikka becomes determined to go for her dream of becoming a doctor, something she had been struggling with previously, it also gives us a pretty good fight by Doki standards and the small relationship developed between Rikka and Ira is fun. Doki unfortunately doesn’t follow up on this near well enough but that doesn’t make the episode itself worse at all.
14. Yes! Precure 5 Episode 34
This isn’t the best episode of Yes5 but it’s quite possibly the most memorable. Nothing like this had ever happened before in Pretty Cure. A horseback sword battle? Can’t go wrong with that. It’s also a great episode for setting up the stronger relationship Milk and Karen will develop as well as giving more foundation to Karen’s dream of becoming a doctor. Blue Cures apparently like to become doctors.
13. Smile Precure Episode 36
Smile’s strength lied in its individual episodes, it had loads of really fun mostly standalone episodes like this one. Happy Robo, the relay race, meeting Miyuki’s grandmother, all very good episodes. This one in particular gives us a very poignant tale of Akane’s first love, the trouble she has with realizing and admitting it herself and her having to deal with the fact that because Brian is an exchange student he’s going to be gone soon. At the same time because this is Smile the episode manages to be completely hilarious with Miyuki and the rest of the girls antics to try and get Akane to confess. Also, Akane makes a sword of fire in the fight.
12. Suite Precure Episode 33
Hibiki’s journey of finding her love for music and playing piano again as well as reconnecting with her father over the course of the show comes to a head here. It’s a great episode that manages to wrap up this part of her character arc perfectly. The side plots involving Kanade and her cooking competition and Ellen at first realizing she has no dream like the two of them but then making up her mind to protect the dreams of her closest friends both support and help the main plot. It essentially works as an episode for all three girls without forgetting that Hibiki’s story is the main one and giving the correct amount of time and focus to all three. Hibiki’s brief attempt at disguising herself when she’s embarrassed about her father judging her piano contest is also quite funny.
11. Fresh Precure Episode 12
Ah, the wigs. There’s not even really much to say about this episode. It’s just an incredibly funny episode that has Westar at his incompetent best with some rather nice animation and action for Fresh as well. Highlights include the Cure White wig and Peach and Pine’s hilarious inability to catch a falling Berry.
10. Smile Precure Episode 29
This episode and one other that is higher up on the list epitomize what Smile Precure is about. An episode of pure comedy from start to finish where everyone but Reika reaps what they sow from not having done their summer homework. What’s even funnier is that they freaked out at the end of last episode after realizing this only for episode 29 to start with them messing around in a park. It’s also just the little things that make this episode great, from the scoreboard Akanbe breaking itself in half, to March head-butting her attack instead of kicking it as usual, to Wolfrun clearly dog-paddling in his swimming contest against Beauty. It’s these little things that Smile always excelled at and no episode shows that off better than this one.
9. Yes! Precure 5 Episode 35
While the horseback sword battle might be more memorable, this episode featuring Komachi and Nutts is the superior one. First of all it’s a great follow up to a previous episode where Komachi sought out Nutts advice on her novel, it’s impossible to completely convey how well these episodes tie together here and how the words he gave to her then help Komachi reassure him now when he’s reminded of how he allowed the Palmier Kingdom to be destroyed and is even further driven to despair when he realizes the same might happen to Komachi, the others, and their world. Komachi’s burgeoning love for Nutts further develops in this episode and it’s part of the reason why it and Komachi become so great in the second half of the season.
8. Fresh Precure Episode 40
The relationship between Love, Setsuna, and Love’s mother is the best developed familial relationship in any season of Pretty Cure. Love’s mother is a great character and it’s simply beautiful to see Setsuna coming to love her as a mother after having lived with her for some time. Also featured in the episode is Northa’s only time where she directly creates a Sorewatase after her debut and makes it into a clone of Love’s mother while abducting the real one, firmly cementing her place as one very creepy and evil villain.
7. Heartcatch Precure Episode 14
I am not a fan of the victim of the week format. For any show. But this is the victim of the week format at its best. The story is a fair bit more mature than one is used to seeing in Pretty Cure and simply executed very well. It’s a heartfelt story that has sad parts but is ultimately hopeful and happy. It makes one think that this is what Heartcatch should always be trying to do, this is what it’s trying to make us feel by giving us a character every week to empathize with.
6. Pretty Cure Splash Star Episode 15
As the ace pitcher of her softball team Saki’s not used to failure, when she suddenly starts being unable to pitch well anymore it hits her very hard. Why is it that family episodes like this one are so good? What is it about her mother’s reassuring words that hit home so well? A villain’s simple plan to cause turmoil in Saki’s mind leads us to one of the most touching moments of the season.
5. Yes! Precure 5 GoGo Episodes 36 and 37
The only two parter on the list, the Five de Chance gameshow is easily GoGo at it’s best. The rigged competitions the girls go through are hilarious and the episode even works as a nice bonding experience for the Cures and Milk. Karen’s joy at winning the coin toss is so great that she practically forgets where she is as she cries out in happiness. The silly faces are out in full force for this one.
4. Smile Precure Episode 39
Miyuki gets sucked into the world of Cinderella. And she couldn’t be happier. This is just a great episode from start to finish, funny, cute, and surprisingly clever. The episode messes with the fairy tale in the best ways at every opportunity, Yayoi’s capture being one of the standout moments to me, but what’s also great is how it stays with the rules and story of Cinderella the whole way through. Yayoi and Miyuki get rescued by Akane and Nao as the mice and Miyuki having to defeat the Glass slipper Akanbe and leave it for Prince Reika all by the stroke of midnight. Once more Smile just excels at the little things and this episode is no slouch. The perfect use of the fairy tale theme in the show.
3. Heartcatch Precure Episode 36
The big fashion show is here! The culmination of Tsubomi’s development from a shy introvert into someone who can assuredly walk down the runway in front of her schoolmates and family in clothes she made herself. It’s another touching and sweet episode from Heartcatch, as a character Tsubomi probably develops the most out of all 4 of the Cures but even Itsuki’s appearance here is meaningful as well. She’s able to fully embrace her girly side now and isn’t worried about anything anymore. Erika gets to see her dream fashion show come true and even Yuri is able to join in with her new found friends. It’s just a great and important episode for the girls.
2. Pretty Cure Splash Star Episode 35
Apparently the combination of Saki and softball makes for a great episode. It’s the finals of the tournament and her team is counting on her, Saki is the backbone of the team just like she is as Cure Bloom. And yet… she fails. It’s very touching and sad to see it happen, but Saki loses it for the team. As I said before Saki isn’t used to failure. But at this point she had already failed once before in the season, failing to save Michiru and Kaoru from Akudaikaan. She’s the ace! She’s not supposed to lose! It’s obvious she feels this way and letting anyone down again just brings back bad memories for her. No one’s angry with or holds it against her but it doesn’t stop Saki from beating herself up over it. Saki Hyuga, Cure Bloom, they aren’t supposed to lose. But they did. And it kills her.
1. Futari Wa Pretty Cure Episode 42
THE episode. Over the course of the season Nagisa and Honoka go from being people who barely know each other to comrades to friends to super duper best friends forever who would risk their own lives for each other. Featuring great action, great emotion and the strong bonds between these girls, If I could only select one episode from any season to show someone what Pretty Cure is about it would be this episode. This episode IS Pretty Cure.