Mid-season climax, finale, powerups, how can you not love them? Featured in this list are the best plot important episodes of the franchise. There are quite a few two parters on this list because for some it’s just unfair to not include the whole story, and if they were divided this list would have to be much longer. Enjoy the best parts of when Pretty Cure gets serious. Spoilers abound of course so be wary if you haven’t seen every season.
15. Smile Precure Episode 23
Pure awesomeness condensed into one episode. The reason I didn’t include episode 22 in this is because of the stark difference in tone and content between the two episodes. Episode 23 of Smile is all about the action and boy does it do great at that. While it doesn’t reach the emotional heights of a few others in the show it makes up for it by giving us the best fights of the entire season as well as the first use of the greatest group attack in the franchise. The individual battles are great and do a good job of setting up future episodes and the rivalries between the Cures and Bad End Generals as well. And when Cure Beauty finally pulls out that Ice Sword…
14. Happiness Charge Precure Episode 43
Although I don’t think the true finale of HapCha is bad it still can’t compare to the showdown between Lovely and Mirage in episode 43. It’s a very pretty and stylish looking episode, and the fight is excellent and brutal. Lovely truly wants to save Mirage even though she loves Blue as well, the emotion and weight of the fight as well as the words thrown at each other can’t be understated. While HapCha’s ending had a few problems this episode was perfect.
13. Smile Precure Episode 44
Before the finale Smile gave us a slew of character centric episodes for each Cure. While all of them are great episode 44 stands out for several reasons. Rather than just being about a problem Miyuki is facing or something she’s trying to figure out about herself Smile also uses this episode to focus on the greater themes of the entire show and set up a great deal of what happens in the next episode with the Bad End Generals and give more perspective on what Miyuki is feeling throughout the finale. The episode also ties up what Miyuki has been trying to find since episode 1, what it truly means to be Ultra Happy. It’s simply a very sweet and kind of beautiful episode in a way that manages to expand on Miyuki’s character just a little bit before sending her into the final conflict of the show.
12. Yes! Precure 5 Episodes 47 and 48
The finale of Yes5 is not the best but the two episodes in the middle dealing with Kawarino are excellent. Despite Despariah being the “true” final villain Kawarino had so much more time with the Cures throughout the season and was much more despicable and sadistic. There are some really touching moments in episode 48 as Coco and Nutts find out the truth of what happened to the citizens of Palmier and Milk leads everyone in cheering on Pretty Cure to victory. The girls use the convictions of wanting to achieve their dreams that they’ve all found over the course of the show to conquer despair, it couldn’t have been handled any better.
11. Fresh Precure Episode 48
The final fight against Northa turns badly rather quick for the Fresh team as Klein joins in as well and soon we’re gifted with the best fight of the season. But the part of the episode that lands it on this list is what happens after the fighting is over. Fresh is to me still the only season where it feels like the finale has it’s own individual story that’s not also wrapped into defeating the villain. Precure’s appearance in Labyrinth has an effect on its people and at the end of this episode they come out to help Fresh Precure and something amazing happens through the power of the hearts that Peach and everyone and donuts were able to awaken.
10. Fresh Precure Episode 22
I can’t count the entire mid-season climax of Fresh in one spot since it essentially goes for 5 episodes so I picked the best episode of it. Yes, not the episode where Eas “dies” and becomes Passion but the one right before it. Love finally discovers the truth about Setsuna here and the scene is amazing, culminating in Eas crushing her 4-leaf clover necklace. The Nakisakebe card also has fully affected Eas at this point causing her immense pain and it’s really startling to see her go through this out of her love for Moebius. Earlier in the episode she wakes up in the hospital to find Love watching over her, the inner conflict she goes through regarding her feelings of friendship towards Love and her loyalty to Moebius tear both her and the viewer apart.
9. Smile Precure Episode 32
The reason I didn’t include episode 31 with this is because 32 is on another level entirely. This episode expands on everything previously learned by the girls back in the mid-season climax and similar to episode 44 does a great job at setting up future events and giving a foundation for certain lines and actions in the finale. This episode is very emotional and powerful and even features Joker being great as he’s prone to be. The music used as well is great, each track compliments the scene it’s used in perfectly. Happy’s one on one fight is intense and hopeless but she doesn’t give up and through this is able to save everyone. It’s just a wonderful scene when she finally snaps everyone else out of the Neglect Ball’s hypnosis and Candy comes to her aid despite knowing full well that they’re both about to be killed.
8. Yes! Precure 5 Episodes 23 and 24
You can call this the original and longer version of episode 32 of Smile. There are actually a couple of problems in this two-parter, it’s just that the positives completely outweigh the negatives. Yes5 was a completely character focused season for its first half and the show wisely spends a good amount of time with each girls individual nightmare and what they’re struggling with after getting in a big argument with each other at the beginning of episode 23. Episode 24 is simply a great character piece for Nozomi and Coco as well, the power of their budding relationship shines through here and Nozomi’s power to give her friends hope and snap them out of the despair they’ve sunk into is shown well. At this point she still doesn’t really have a dream of her own but she loves her friends and will do anything to save them.
7. Suite Precure Episode 48
Suite is the only season to devote its entire final episode to being an epilogue. And it was a really great choice. The first half of the episode is simply a very sweet and heartwarming scene of the girls trying to wake Hummy, stuck in a deep slumber from Noise’s power, all four of the Cures singing together to wake her is great and when Hummy sings the Melody of Happiness to revert the effects of Noise’s power we’re treated to a nice reunion between the girls and their loved ones. The power of music indeed.
6. Heartcatch Precure Episodes 37 and 38
A Cure being forced to deal with her inner demons quite often makes for a great episode. Heartcatch decides to give us a two-parter where all four girls must fight their “evil twins” in order to gain the power necessary to fight Dune. Blossom’s struggle unsurprisingly is the best and longest part but everything else is done very well too. From the action, to the meaning and emotion and even the music. It’s simply a great experience.
5. Suite Precure Episode 47
The fight with Noise isn’t the best fight in the franchise or even particularly well animated compared to many big fights in other seasons but it is used to give us the most convincing and well done redemption of any major villain in Pretty Cure ever. This episode gives Noise so much more personality and complexity than most villains and even a good reasoning for what he’s doing and understanding of the results. The realization of what he is drives Melody to help him and she and the rest of the Cures fight to save him and convince him that there is hope. Sorrow can be conquered and happiness has meaning even if it’s fleeting.
4. Pretty Cure Splash Star Episodes 22 and 23
Michiru and Kaoru come to love Saki, Mai, and the beautiful Land of Greenery. But they also love their father Akudaikaan. Meanwhile Mai struggles with learning that Michiru and Kaoru are warriors of Dark Fall and how she can tell Saki the truth. This leads us to a sad and heartrending mid-season climax where all 4 girls are torn between differing ideals and feelings. Saki and Mai are able to convince them that they truly love the Land of Greenery and even if Akudaikaan wants them too, they can’t bring themselves to destroy it or fight Pretty Cure any longer. Unfortunately Gohyaan is spying on them and drags them into Dark Fall. The first confrontation Saki and Mai have with Akudaikaan ends with disaster as they’re far to weak to do anything and Michiru and Kaoru sacrifice themselves to save them. To this day it’s the only mid-season climax to end on a sad note and it’s still one of the most powerful couple of episodes the franchise has produced.
3. Fresh Precure Episode 45
Even with something like Miki’s brother disappearing for large patches of episodes I still think Fresh has the best developed relationships between the Cures and their families, friends, and the community. When the girls realize that they need to go to Labyrinth to save Chiffon and all of the parallel worlds they know they have to tell everyone the truth about them being Pretty Cure. If something happens to them it’s only fair that their loved ones should know what happened. It’s very hard on their parents who now know that their daughters are about to embark on a life or death mission and they struggle with whether or not to accept it at all. Fresh was the first season that had the Cures really be more of public figures and starting off the finale with them revealing their identities to the people who mattered the most to them was amazing.
2. Pretty Cure Max Heart Episode 47
The final episode of Max Heart is so good that if you only watched it it would make you think Max Heart was the best season in the franchise.
1. Pretty Cure Splash Star Episodes 48 and 49
The finale of Splash Star is perfect. Simple as that. It is the most downright satisfying finale of any season featuring the greatest fight against the greatest villain in the franchise with a beautiful and heartwarming epilogue to boot. Episodes 46 and 47 are very good too, but the final two episodes blow everything else out of the water. The episodes are highly tense and emotional and the end of episode 48 makes a good case for greatest Pretty Cure moment of all time. The themes of the show are delivered perfectly and having all 4 girls fight together to defend the world couldn’t be better. To top it all of we’re gifted with a nice little ending montage