Yes Pretty Cure 5!

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Yes5. A huge change in the franchise. Gone is the original signature duo format and in its place is a more standard Sailor Moon/Super Sentai style squad. I don’t know if it’s the only reason but a large part of the change has to be because of how poorly Splash Star performed. Yes5 decides to then take the franchise in a completely different direction. It’s a much more character driven season than most others and one of only two to have a real focus and importance on romance along with Happiness Charge. The purpose and use of the fairies is also vastly different and groundbreaking for the franchise and a huge improvement over the previous, and really all later, seasons. It feels like it might be more standard magical girl than Futari Wa and Splash Star, and it definitely has more shoujo elements in it but it’s still a season of Pretty Cure and a good entry into the franchise. Yes5 has never been one of my favorites or least favorites at any point I’ve been a Pretty Cure fan but I’ve always enjoyed and liked it.

The Intro – Episodes 1 through 7

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The first seven episodes of the show are the intro. Gathering the five Cures and introducing us to all the important characters and the premise of the show. Nightmare, led by the evil Despariah, has destroyed the Palmier Kingdom and is trying to get the Dream Collet to grant her wish of eternal youth and immortality. And she also wants to drown the rest of the world in despair because she’s just evil like that. To get the Dream Collet to grant a wish one must gather the 55 Pinkies and return them to it. Coco, one of the Prince’s of the Palmier Kingdom, has traveled to Earth to find the Pinkies and Pretty Cure so he can use the Dream Collet to revive the Palmier Kingdom.

Episode one starts us off with Nozomi Yumehara running to catch the bus to school (it took me a long time to put 2 and 2 together but the Cure’s school is an all girls one, a first for the franchise), the city she lives in looks distinctly un-Japanese and more European but whatever. However a sparkling pink butterfly catches her eye and she goes chasing after it only to bump into Coco. She seems pretty much instantly infatuated with him and romantic music even plays at their encounter. But he quickly leaves after sensing an agent of Nightmare nearby. The first episode also gives us quick introductions to the other 4 girls that will become Cures. Rin, Urara, Komachi (my personal favorite), and Karen. We just get a few simple and natural scenes with Nozomi meeting all of them, Rin is already her best friend and the others she comes across by chance. It’s a good first episode. Standard but good. Nozomi sees Coco enter her schools library and goes after him, they find the Dream Collet inside of some random glowing book and after a bit of a struggle between them Coco accidentally reverts to his fairy form in a puff of smoke. The first villain from Nightmare, Girinma then arrives, he mocks Coco’s dream of wanting to revive the Palmier Kingdom and this angers Nozomi. The pink butterfly reappears and turns into a wristwatch like thing on her, allowing her to transform into the Pretty Cure of Hope – Cure Dream. A short fight later against Girinma’s Kowaina and Dream emerges victorious, driving the villain off. The first Pretty Cure has appeared but Coco tells her there are still 4 more to go.

Nozomi is an excellent main character. She’s possibly dumber than Nagisa  but also a very kind and energetic girl. She does not seem to get sarcasm at all and unlike the previous leads is bad at sports too. She also has no dream of her own at the start of the show, making her feel left out compared to other people who seem to be a lot more sure of themselves. However after becoming Dream she makes her goal to be succeeding as Pretty Cure and helping Coco revive the Palmier Kingdom. Nozomi has a very nice character arc over the course of the season as she falls deeper in love with Coco and also starts to discover a real dream of her own to accomplish. Nozomi seems quite into Coco from the beginning while Coco takes a bit longer to reciprocate her feelings.

Episode 2 is the birth of Cure Rouge. It introduces us to Bunbee as well who is one of the greatest villains the franchise has produced. He’s a really fun guy through the whole show who starts out intimidating and then becomes… not. And he’s always funny. I guess Toei really liked what his VA did with Uraganos. Also we see in episode 2 that Coco is Nozomi and Rin’s teacher at school. Somehow. It’s never explained in the slightest. We learn that Coco’s best friend Nutts is the guardian of the Dream Collet and currently asleep inside it. They can wake him up when all of the Cures are gathered. Nozomi wants Rin to be a Cure but Rin is not particularly interested, we get to see how they’ve been friends for a long time and how much Rin cares about her (and also how Rin is actually a big scaredy-cat) and after Rin sees Nozomi in danger fighting against Girinma the power of friendship she has for her draws one of those sparkling butterflies to her and she transforms. The Cure of Passion, Cure Rouge.

Rin is a great straight-man to the stupidity and obliviousness of Nozomi and later to the general weirdness of Urara and Komachi as well. I wouldn’t say Rin particularly gets a lot of development, as in change, but more that we learn a good deal about her. She also gets a unique relationship with Karen as the two of them have a “friendly” rivalry with each other and don’t exactly get along well through most of the season. This is the first time you’d have Cures who really argue and aren’t super fond of each other for more than just one episode or so. Rin is also very sporty and is hounded by all the clubs at their school to help them out but she isn’t really sure what sports she’s really interested in herself yet.

Episode 3 is Urara’s. And the introduction of the silliest cure name ever. Urara is still just a fledgling celebrity and her work has caused her to think she doesn’t have time for friends as she’s always trying hard to become a more prominent actress. So until she meets Nozomi she’s always been alone. But Nozomi’s sheer earnestness and friendliness wins her over. Also introduced this episode is the next Nightmare villain Gamao, who is boring and obnoxious. Dream and Rouge fight him but the two end up in trouble and so Urara ends up transforming into Cure Lemonade to save them. Yes. Cure Lemonade. Of Effervescence too. It just gets better and better. Lemonade Flash is also a really bad attack.

Urara has a nice character arc as she becomes a more popular performer and we learn about her mother and the kinds of troubles she might face when trying to accomplish her dreams. She’s also a year younger than Nozomi and Rin. Urara would end up becoming something of the favorite character among the creators in GoGo but in Yes5 she still feels pretty even with the rest of the cast.

Episode 4 is Komachi’s. I really like Komachi, I think she’s funny, awesome, sweet, and has some of the best episodes and development of any character in the season. Her debut episode is kind of crappy though. The episode is similar to Urara’s where Komachi knows that she wants to become a novelist but isn’t sure how to really get to a professional level and is kind of worried over it. Episode also introduces Arachnea and everyone fights in a giant sewer under the school. Komachi becomes Cure Mint and uses her shield powers to save the day. One Cure to go.

Komachi is great and in the second half especially gets some of the best episodes and practically becomes the second main character after Nozomi due to her budding romance with Nutts. The relationship between them is one of my favorite parts of Yes5 and it develops much more slowly than Nozomi and Coco do. She also gets almost special treatment in some episodes, and gets to do some unique things later on. For being the Cure of Tranquility Komachi also has quite a few not so tranquil moments, she is probably the most badass of any Yes5 Cure. She also has somewhat weird interests and tastes in things and is a really fun character.

Episodes 5 and 6 are Karen’s duo of episodes to become Cure Aqua, the Pretty Cure of Intelligence. Also where Bunbee comes to fight directly for the first time. The reason Karen has two episodes is because she fails to transform at the end of episode 5. The butterfly rejects her because her feelings aren’t in the right place. She thinks she can only rely on herself and thinks she’s the only one who can do anything and feels forced to become a Cure to save the others, not because she wants to. The lack of friendship and pure thoughts makes her transformation a failure. And so Bunbee gets away with a Pinky. Next episode Karen struggles with her feelings and Nozomi is still dead set on her being the fifth Cure. After Nozomi talks with her she actually gets Karen to loosen up a bit and start liking her. Bunbee then comes back to get the Dream Collet and he also makes the Pinky he got into a Kowaina. Which is cool but silly since it means he loses the Pinky when they defeat it. Other villains do this too and it’s kind of dumb you’d think they’d just take them back to Nightmare. Anyways now that Karen’s feelings are more honest and she actually cares about Nozomi and the others she’s able to become Cure Aqua and the five of them fight as a good team with Karen giving them a battle plan.

Karen’s a good character and her development is well done. She starts off appropriately icy and standoff-ish before opening up to everyone else. She eventually has her rivalry with Rin and grows a unique friendship with Milk down the road too. Karen was also lonely like Urara at first and besides Komachi didn’t have someone to talk to about her feelings and everything before Nozomi showed up. Karen’s parents are musicians who are always away, ever since she was a kid, and it affected her. Also we never see her parents once. Karen’s a nice character to watch grow over the course of the season.

Episode 7 is the end of the first story arc and the introduction of important characters for now. Both Nuts and Kawarino appear for the first time in this one. With all five of the girls together now they can release Nuts from the Dream Collet, they also realize that the five of them need a place they can hang out together in private. Kawarino criticizes Bunbee for his failures and we learn Bunbee is really just a flunky, who’d a thunk it. Also the girls all decide on Nozomi being their leader since she’s the one who brought them together but Nuts doesn’t trust them even if they are Pretty Cure. The girls learn that Nuts accidentally allowed the Palmier Kingdom to be destroyed because while he was guarding the gates into the kingdom he was tricked by a fake injured Pinky into opening the gates and letting Nightmare in, something he agonizes over for the rest of the season. When they save Nuts from Girinma in a fight he starts to warm up to them all. And the group finds an old storehouse owned by Karen’s family to use as their “base” and convert it into Nuts House where they sell accessories from. They then learn that Nuts’ human form is actually a pretty hot guy too.

Nuts is a good character and his seriousness and straightforward nature contrasts to Coco’s more carefree one.

 

Nightmare

Nightmare was a really different group of villains coming after the Dark Zone and Dark Fall. Which is good since it would’ve been really lame if they were just another group like that. I like Dark Zone and Dark Fall but it’s good Yes5 moved away from the generic. Being an evil business is kind of funny too. Like what do they even do really when they aren’t destroying random worlds and stuff? It’s so different from every other seasons group of villains except for it’s own sequel. Some downsides though obviously are that the scale and real threat of the villains never feels nearly as big as others. And frankly the themes are just random. Despariah is a completely human like villain who’s all about despair. Meanwhile all the minor villains have human forms and then also their “true” animal/bug forms. It just has no relation to anything, it feels like a theme for the sake of having a theme which I dislike. I’d rather the theme be relevant or them not have a theme at all than something like this. Pretty Cure have the butterfly thing so I guess that’s the basis for having the villains be animals and bugs but then Despariah should at least be some kind of creature too. Here are the early Nightmare villains:

 

Girinma the praying mantis, Gamao the frog, Arachnea the spider and Bunbee the bee. The first three are boring sucky villains overall who I never cared about nor was particularly entertained by ever. Nightmare is such a mixed bag when it comes to villains. You’ve got awful and great and one or two good. I’ll talk more extensively about the other villains down the road. It’s also weird to think that Nightmare apparently has no way to actually put the Pinkies in the Dream Collet to make it work. They don’t really seem to have an actual plan. And something very disappointing with the villains is they never team up or fight together at any point. Ever. There’s still a good deal of banter and commingling going on between them but I really like to see villains fight together. Another thing about the Nightmare villains is that Pretty Cure never refer to them by their individual names and appear to never even learn them aside from Despariah’s. They always just say “Nightmare!” when they see them.

The monsters of the week in Yes5 are the Kowainaa. Made from a mask that is thrown onto some object they’re pretty dull monsters. There are good designs on a lot of them but the problem is how random they are. Too often are they made out of something that has nothing to do with anything else in the episode or anything at all really. It’s a step backwards from the Uzainaa. The Kowainaa are just mediocre random monsters again. In the second half the villain Bloody uses them in an interesting way though, turning rooms or entire areas into a Kowainaa and sprouting ghostly purple arms from everything.

Themes

Finding and achieving ones dreams and Hope vs. Despair are the two biggest themes of the season. Nozomi embodies both of them perfectly. They are pretty much ever present throughout the season. Never giving up on ones dreams is also stressed as well and ties into hope vs. despair since obviously giving up on your dreams in a show like this would mean falling into despair. Romance is big in Yes5 and later on the fact that Coco will have to return to his world and leave Nozomi behind really hurts him. Also friendship is big in Yes5 like every other season but because there are more girls maybe it feels more prominent. What your friends can do for you and the different relationships you can have in a group of friends is evident. And relating to the butterflies that became the girls Pinky Catch wristwatch things they all say “Metamorphose” to transform.

Then there are the cure names. Nozomi being the Pretty Cure of Hope Cure Dream is obvious and ties into a lot of other things about her character and story arc. Rin being the Cure of Passion Cure Rouge is less relevant but at least the color red and fire are things that have always been connected with passion. Urara being the Cure of Effervescence Cure Lemonade is uh… yeah. Komachi the Cure of Tranquility Cure Mint fits her but what does Mint and Tranquility have to do with each other? Anything? And lastly Karen the Cure of Intelligence Cure Aqua. Obviously the intelligence part fits but what is it with water and intelligence? What does that have to do with anything? Nozomi’s cure name and everything is really the only one that has a greater meaning and ties into other themes in the series. The rest are pretty weak. Years later Smile Precure would have things very similar but improves on it slightly by at least having the Cure names being relevant to something else about the girls.

And of course one has to note that although friendship is as big and maybe even bigger theme than ever this is the season that started the ability for Cures to transform on their own and have their own purifying attacks. Bright and Windy had individual abilities but not ones that could kill Uzainaa.

The Animation, Stock Footage, and Music

Anyone with eyes can see that Yes5 is not the best looking season. It has a lot of off model stuff and the animation and art style in general is nothing special. It has some great stuff to be sure but is definitely in the bottom half of seasons in this department. And the stock footage. It’s awful. All of it. The transformations suck, the attacks suck, it all sucks. Lemonades attack in particular always feels so light and pointless. Yes5 has the worst stock footage of any season. It is no contest. The Cures outfits as well are very dull. The music however is excellent. Yes5 and GoGo easily have one of the best soundtracks in the franchise. Like Splash Star Yes5 also reuses music from the previous seasons, giving it probably the strongest library of music any season could hope to have. The opening and first ending are cute but nothing special, there’s a lot of stock footage used in the opening too. The second ending is a new Yes5 version of Ganbalance de Dance. it’s good but not as good as the original or the GoGo version.

Coco and Nuts

Coco and Nuts are the first fairies who feel like equals to the Cures in personality and development. Helped by them having human forms  and the fact that they aren’t the transformation items like previous fairies makes them feel like they exist on the same level as the girls. Coco and Nuts are like real people and not many other fairies can make this claim. Unfortunately the way their personalities and attitudes can somewhat change when they switch between human and fairy forms can make them a little difficult to take seriously. And the fact that Nozomi and Coco fall in love with each other when he’s actually a little squirrel is odd to think about. Nozomi’s attitude to Coco also changes depending on what form he’s in which is jarring and kind of sullies the seriousness of their relationship.

The Action

The signature part of any season of Pretty Cure. How is the action? Well, kind of mediocre. Not the worst and not the best. It’s hampered of course by the generally poor animation and while there are some really cool and a couple well animated fights it’s overall still just a meh season on this front. I’d say it’s better on average than Futari Wa and Splash Star but doesn’t hit the heights of Splash Star for sure and the action can at least be cool to see the individual uses of the girls abilities. Yes5 and GoGo also has this weird obsession with having the girls get bound/tied up/caught by the villains in some way. It happens all the time. Still Yes5 does have to offer a different sort of dynamic in the fights compared to previous seasons simply because there are always more people fighting. A lot of the time though it feels like the action is super detached from everything else in the episode. It just doesn’t feel important.

The Plot

Yes5 is the least plot intensive season of them all. Yes, even less than Smile. This is not really a bad thing though since it focuses well on the characters and they all get a good character arc and development. But there’s also just some problems with the plot development because of how little the season devotes to it. The build up to the finale is poor, as it was in Futari Wa and Max Heart,  and the Pinky gathering in general is very random. Yes5 really wanted to distance itself from Splash Star but instead of just doing things differently it decided to ignore everything Splash Star did, including the good stuff. So that means the good plot development and steady progression goes flying out the window. It’s also why Yes5 takes a step backwards in other areas like the villain and cure theming as well. They just don’t care about everything Splash Star improved on and forget about it. In the second half and towards the end there’s at least some intrigue with the villains and what Kawarino is doing but his villainous plan ends up being so dumb. And the lack of a real final arc is also disappointing. And of course this low focus on plot affects the main villain Despariah as well, who just doesn’t get the development or time spent on her that she sorely needed to make the finale work.

One last thing to mention about Yes5 before getting into more episodes is that it’s the first season where I feel the humor gets especially silly and wacky at times. It feels like it has the same type of silly humor that Fresh and Smile would run with, only those two would take it even further.

Well, moving on.

Part 2 – Episodes 8 through 20

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What happens next in Yes5 is 13 episodes with absolutely nothing plot relevant occurring. It is the longest stretch of episodes in any season where nothing happens. Plot wise. Character wise there’s a lot of important stuff going on. Some really important development takes place in these episodes for all of the main characters. And we’re introduced to Masukomika, who wants to find out about Pretty Cure but gets sidetracked by Nuts all the time. There’s really no point going over these episodes one at time so instead I’ll be summarizing the specific development each of our heroines get along with some things that occur with other characters.

After doing absolutely abysmal on a test everyone decides to help Nozomi study, but her lack of interest in studying causes them to react harshly to her to try tog et her to take it more seriously. Nozomi has always been a little slow and the show treats this a bit more seriously than it did the dumbness of Nagisa and Saki. Coco though knows that what’s needed is for Nozomi to care about what she’s studying, he tells her that what she learns is important for her dreams too and that if she finds a dream for herself she should go for it instead of just trying to fulfill Coco’s. Nozomi just falls further and further in love with him. And what he says does help her a bit as she does better on the tests now that she cares more.

Rin and Karen start their little feuding right off the bat after the introductory arc ends. They find they can’t agree on anything and have barely any common ground. But they find that while fighting they work well together because neither wants to get shown up by the other, their stubbornness and competitiveness is some of their only similarities. And of course they both love the rest of their friends a lot. I love how the two of them don’t just get along super well after just one episode and they continue to snipe at each other, they aren’t antagonistic to each other anymore really but the heat is still there. Other seasons unfortunately bring up and resolve drama like this in one episode but thankfully Yes5 doesn’t do that. Rin also becomes more interested in Futsal in these episodes. She puts more focus in it compared to other sports she’s asked to participate in. her attack in GoGo even ends up being her kicking a ball of fire. Rin’s forced to make a decision between Futsal and the other sports, something she never had to do before. Lastly with Rin in these episodes is another important interest of hers is developed. Her interest in accessories. She has a crush on a local guy so wants to make some nice looking accessories for herself and him. Unfortunately the guy has a girlfriend and Rin would forever be unloved. Pretty much. But this would start the beginning of her character arc revolving around accessories.

Urara gets a couple episodes centered around moving her career forward and her family history. She’s asked to mc a stage show so she can get more exposure and from this show a producer sees her and asks her to make a singing debut. But she’s been focusing on acting and isn’t so sure about it, writing her own song proves pretty difficult for her as well. But she’s supported by her friends and at least decides to make the song and sing once, she wants to spread her feelings to other people and make them happy. We also learn that her mother died when she was younger and meet her father and grandfather. Urara wanted to cook like her mother and make everyone happy like how she remembered her family being when her mother was still around. This was making her a little anxious and somewhat like Karen Urara learns to be a bit more open with her feelings when it comes to her friends and loved ones.

Komachi… Komachi is just sort of “there” right now. She has the least amount of episodes pertaining directly to her. However she is still fun right now and well developed by the episode she gets. Komachi wants to write a novel and she gets Nuts to read what she’s got so far because apparently he was something of a literature buff back in the Palmier Kingdom. He is particularly critical of it. Everyone else praises her and Nuts is giving his honest opinion as well but it’s just that it’s very negative. This gets Komachi really down in the dumps and she almost gives up on it completely. But realizing he might’ve been too harsh (well sort of, he still doesn’t feel he did anything wrong) he talks to Komachi and tells her not to give up on her dream. He asks if she cared about it so little that she can just throw it away like that. It’s important to her right? This dialogue gets flipped back around later on in the season, when Komachi is trying to snap Nuts out of his self-loathing. Komachi and Nuts have a special bond after this episode, although romantic feelings on Komachi’s side don’t actually blossom until later. Nuts protecting the Dream Collet in this episode and seeing him fight so hard even in danger to protect his dream gets Komachi to fully come back and start going for her dream again.

With Karen there’s not a ton of new things going on with her. I already talked about her relationship with Rin and the other stuff that happens in this stretch of episodes is that her newfound belief in her friends and the power of working together gets reaffirmed. And the strong relationship between her and Komachi is shown off well. Later Masukomika wants to interview Karen at her house and everyone else decides to mess with Karen during the interview to try and get her to not be so high strung all the time. Karen mentions she still feels worried over things she feels like she’s obligated to do and if she doesn’t do them the consequences worry her. But her butler mentions how much Karen has brightened up ever since becoming friends with the others and she’s able to just live now.

As for other stuff going on we see Despariah for the first time. Despariah who seems completely oblivious to basically anything. She doesn’t understand hope and dreams the same way Akudaikaan didn’t understand life. But whenever she prattles off about something she sounds less like a psychopath and more like a crazy old lady. Kawarino as well is basically Gohyaan right now. Whenever he shows up it’s to mock Bunbee and be a creep. Girinma also at this point feels like he’s constantly at the end of his rope. In fact episode 12 really feels like his final episode, the stage show fight comes off as way bigger and more important than anything before and the whole episode is set up in a way that says Girinma is going to die. But then he doesn’t. The last episode with him in this arc similarly has him quite desperate. Besides our villains there isn’t a ton of development concerning Coco and only a little for Nuts, mostly in Komachi’s episode, they’re important and they help out the others but haven’t had their moments in the sun yet. We also learn that Otaka the lunchlady is actually also the chairwoman of the school. And speaking of the school it’s important to note that Yes5 does not feel especially insular around the core cast yet. A lot of time is spent at school and with side characters. This would change quite a bit in GoGo. But it is obvious that the family of our core cast is less prominent now. Which makes sense since there are just more Cures to deal with. But although we do meet Komachi’s sister, who reappears once or twice, we never see her parents ever. And despite everyone but Karen at least having their family members appear once none of them will have near the screentime or importance as family members from seasons past. It’s hard to say if Yes5 family members are the least important of any season since none of the seasons after Suite do good on this account either but if you take GoGo into consideration that’s two seasons of low family use in one.

Arrival of Milk and the Mid-Season Climax – Episodes 21 through 24

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Well after a bunch of nothing here’s something. Milk arrives! She is a thoroughly awful person and the first fairy to be intentionally written to be a rude and unlikable bitch. At least at first. Milk stays a bitch for the entire series basically. I don’t really have a problem with that since it’s very different for a fairy and pretty amusing, and I like her a lot in GoGo too. But my problems with Milk’s character arc is that it constantly flip flops and goes back and forth between her actually accepting and liking Nozomi and not. It repeats things more than once which is slightly annoying. She comes to accept the rest of the girls in general as Pretty Cure easily enough though. It’s just that with Nozomi right from the beginning the two of them don’t get along, and since Milk also loves Coco it creates a new obstacle for Nozomi and another source of drama for the season. Which is good. The problem is the back and forth development with Milk regarding Nozomi.

Anyways another thing going on is that Girinma continues to be pressured by Bunbee, it’s quite obvious something important is going to happen with him soon. And Milk after meeting everyone then spills the beans to the girls that Coco and Nuts happen to be the princes of the Palmier Kingdom. Which brings up multitude of questions about the Palmier Kingdom’s hierarchy and method succession which I will not even attempt to figure out. The first episode with Milk is also kind of like when they met Nuts and had to prove to him that they were capable as Pretty Cure. Basically the same thing happens again, even Milk proving herself to Pretty Cure that she’ll do whatever is necessary to protect Coco and Nuts. She is supposed to be some sort of caretaker to them and takes her job seriously. After this episode it’s really only Nozomi who is still contentious towards Milk, for obvious reasons though as Milk does her best to insult Nozomi.

Milk in the next episode feels useless around the store though. Because she is. And starts causing problems in it. Because that’s just what she does. I can’t remember if I liked or disliked Milk when I first watched Yes5, now I like her but that’s because I know everything about her and have the experience of watching her in GoGo too. For someone first watching Yes5 I wonder if they’d dislike Milk or maybe just appreciate the fact that she’s intentionally written to be annoying and a genuinely bad person for now. Sometimes it’s unfortunate though because it will seem like she gains some humility or compassion only for it to instantly go away, this too happens several times.

And this all brings us to a quite excellent two-parter. Milk, being Milk, causes Nozomi to accidentally break an ornament all of the girls had been working on for the last few days. This starts off a massive argument. It honestly feels a bit too sudden, like the girls friendship really wasn’t this fickle. But whatever they get into a fight. Funnily enough it’s Rin and Karen who both seem to agree on things and are being harsh on Nozomi. This causes Rin to get pissed off at Urara when Urara tries to defend Nozomi and then Komachi gets upset at Karen after Karen snaps at her for not being decisive enough. This causes everyone to just not get along for a little while.

Meanwhile at Nightmare Girinma has finally been given an ultimatum. Kawarino has sent him the “Black Paper”. It turns into a black Kowainaa mask that the minions put on themselves. This turns them into a powerful, but completely mindless, monster. Girinma realizes that either way he’s at the end of his rope and uses the paper. Kawarino plans to use the girls insecurities to get them to despair and break Pretty Cure apart. He has Girinma beat up Rin, Urara, Komachi and Karen and sends the four of them into their own individual nightmares. Karen is mocked as being alone, saying that she has no true friends and is distant from everyone. Komachi is told to just abandon her friends if they’re going to be mean to her. Rin is faced with her feelings of annoyance towards Nozomi and exasperation at all the problems Nozomi causes and the crap she drags Rin into. Urara is forced to consider that maybe being Pretty Cure and friends with everyone is getting in the way of her dream of being an actress. While the girls are in these nightmares Kawarino places special masks of despair on all of them. He then goes to Nuts’ House and asks for the Dream Collet. But Nozomi refuses to surrender it so easily so Kawarino brings them all to Nightmare’s headquarters where Nozomi is confronted with the fate of her friends and also meets Despariah for the first time.

Episode 24 starts off with Nozomi transforming but being held back by her masked teammates. Kawarino makes her despair by telling her that her comrades are lost forever and places a mask on her. He then drops them all into a pit beneath Nightmare that is apparently the depths of despair or something like that. Nozomi and the others wake up in a fantasy land where they’re all just happily eating together. They’ve forgotten sad reality. This doesn’t really work too well. Despariah should want them to be experiencing constant sadness and despair, even though this isn’t “real” happiness and they’ve failed as Pretty Cure if things remain like this it still doesn’t actually fit what Despariah wants. I think it would’ve been better without this fake happiness part and instead was a continuation of their nightmares or something like that. But then I guess they couldn’t have had the whole “Accepting reality and what’s happened” thing that goes on in a bit. Coco followed into the pit after the girls and helps snap Dream out of the illusion. Her love of him really helped her here and he gets her to remember that she still has a dream to accomplish. Dream then gets everyone to accept that what they’re living in isn’t real and to face reality. They have to get over their fears and worries, the five of them together can do it as long as they’re friends. They make up for the arguing and become even stronger friends than before and escape from the pit and continue to chase their dreams. Through the power of hand holding I might add. Every season needs at least some hand holding.

Kawarino is pissed about this, I mean he probably could’ve done something more to stop it instead of just standing around but whatever, and he transports them to a special battle arena where he pits them all against Girinma. They fight well together but Girinma is still too strong. However Milk is so moved by their resolve and friendship that it causes a new power to appear! Lights shoot out of the little suitcase she’s always dragging along and combine into a giant butterfly scepter that Pretty Cure all ride right into Girinma’s. Blasting him to pieces in a rather graphic way. Girinma wasn’t some construct of the Dark King or some collection of darkness or anything like that. He was evil but he was a living “person” too and it’s a surprise to see him just obliterated like that. But that’s what you get for being an evil monster I suppose. The girls all then fly away back to home on the new thing. Which then breaks apart back into 5 pieces of energy that implant themselves into each Cure. With all this done the girls then complete the ornament they had been working on before. And while this was a really great mid-season climax that displayed the themes of the series and the friendship of the girls really well everything that has to do with their new attack, Yes5 Explosion by the way, is pretty bad.

First off it’s just a weird as hell attack. They ride a butterfly shaped scepter that rams into the enemy and causes a massive blast of energy to erupt out of them. And the way it’s gained is so random, out of nowhere and legitimately non-sensical. Coco and Nuts say it must’ve been born because of Milk’s strong feelings but this is just silly since the fairies are never shown to really have any sort of power themselves. Unlike in the previous seasons they aren’t transformation or power up devices at all. But then the lights just shoot out of her suitcase and I’m sitting here going “Huh?”. It makes no sense and it’s honestly one of the worst ways a powerup has ever been gained in the franchise. Probably only Hibiki getting her Beltier and the first powerup in Doki Doki are worse. And maybe Rainbow Healing in Smile too. Pretty Cure in Yes5 gained the ability to transform from the five lights of Palmier that turned into those butterflies and found the girls. So what the hell are those energy blasts that came out of Milk’s suitcase? Leftovers?

New Powers! – Episodes 25 through 30

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So now we’re in a group of summer episodes where everyone needs to gain their new powers that were implanted in them after the mid-season climax. A lot of seasons will have less plot going on in their summer episodes but it’s the opposite for Yes5. In the first episode of summer Nozomi wants everyone to go on a trip together, they eventually settle on a small island owned by Karen’s family and get ready. Bunbee has become full comic relief by this point and is totally regarded as useless by Kawarino and the others now as well. During the fight against Arachnea this episode Dream’s desire to see her friends persevere through anything and wanting to save them from anything like what happened to them the last couple episodes, and seeing the love her friends have for her and how much she’s positively affected them causes her new power to be born. Pretty Cure Crystal Shoot. She uses it with the new wand thing that comes out of the butterfly emblem on her chest for the first time. This happens with all the girls.

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Komachi’s episode is up next. Everyone is at Karen’s resort now, including Gamao who just randomly washed up on shore. Like really, he had no idea they were there he just turns up. Komachi fully realizes her feelings for Nuts this episode. As for how long it takes Nuts to recognize his feelings, if indeed he ever does, that’s fairly up for grabs. Karen and Milk also become a little closer this episode. They have a conversation on their own and it’s kind of the first stepping stone towards their closer friendship. Coco and Nozomi as well have a romantic night gazing at the stars and even dance for a little while. They might have even kissed if they weren’t interrupted by Milk. Coco now definitely likes Nozomi but he’s not as obvious about it as she is. In the fight Komachi’s desire to protect the island and everyone gives birth to her new power “Mint Shield”. The shield is gigantic and she bashes it against the Kowainaa and destroys it. It’s the first time Komachi shows off her badass side and how strong she can really be. It’s definitely not the last time she gets to show off though.

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Rin’s episode is next. Everyone goes ghost hunting in the old school building after Komachi tells them a ghost story about it. Rin of course though is a scaredy cats who’s terrified of ghosts. Matsukomika is also there for a little. Another thing to note is that the ghosts name is Count Rosett. Combined with the European look of the town and the fact their school is named Cinq Lumiere’s it practically feels like Yes5 exists in an alternate universe where France and Japan collided into one. This episode doesn’t have the emotional power of the previous two but the animation is above average and it does at least still tie into Rin being “Passion” and her interest in romance bringing out her new power. Rouge Burning.

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Karen’s episode had some nice stuff but was easily the weakest of this part of the show. Everyone is going to be working on a stall for Komachi’s store at the summer festival. We do get some nice flashbacks to how Karen and Komachi first became friends and why the festival is important to Karen at least. Her feelings for Komachi and the festival stall everyone worked hard on is what allows her to gain her new power, Aqua Tornado.

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Urara’s episode and the last of the individual powerups. It’s also quite a funny episode and has Bunbee as the villain. Urara invites Nozomi to come follow along while she’s working so maybe Nozomi can find out a theme for her summer research project. Nozomi ends up helping out Urara quite a bit and all of the girls find themselves at a Jidaigeki studio. The episode has a nice joke about how useless Coco and Nuts are in a fight, they’re no Tuxedo Mask. And the action in general is pretty good while it lasts and Bunbee hams it up just like Uraganos did while he was parodying Jidaigeki stuff back in Max Heart. Urara’s feelings for her friends who worked so hard to help her job brings out her new power, Lemonade Shining. Nozomi ends up using all the notes she took while following Urara to be the basis of her summer research project.

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All the new individual attacks aside from Crystal Shoot are visually almost exactly the same as the old ones. So the stock footage still sucks.

Episode 30 is another somewhat big development. Milk is being a bitch to Nozomi again and tells her she has no dreams of her own and thus is unfit to be a Pretty Cure. This causes Nozomi to sulk at home alone for a while. Meanwhile Arachnea is annoyed at at her inability to do anything and asks for the same Black Paper from Kawarino that he gave to Girinma. For her pride she’s willing to give up her mind and free will. Karen has another talk with Milk and helps give her some perspective on Nozomi but Arachnea attacks soon after. She has the four girls on the ropes and the Dream Collet in hand but Nozomi shows up to save the day. Seeing Arachnea about to win and everything gets Nozomi back into action. She reaffirms that even if she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life and doesn’t have a personal dream of her own yet she’ll still do anything to revive the Palmier Kingdom. Milk wants to help too and transforms into some compact thing that attaches to Nozomi’s arm, again this is pretty out of nowhere and doesn’t make any sense really, and they use 5 Explosion to kill Arachnea.

It seems like Nozomi and Milk’s relationship might finally improve but that doesn’t really happen. We do get to see inside Milk’s thought process while she talks with Karen and it seems like it might lead to some character development but in the end it doesn’t really happen like that. Pretty much just ends up with Milk flip flopping and reverting again.

New Villains and Despariah – Episodes 31 through 39

With Arachnea now dead we get introduced to two new villains as the Nightmare headquarters undergoes a little employee restructuring. Hadenya and Bloody are both good villains and bring more fun to the season than Girinma and them, they’re also the strongest employees of Nightmare after Kawarino. Hadenya is a big jerk and Bloody is a more calm and heartless villain. But there’s really no excuse or explanation as to what the two of them were doing before this, it’s never really implied that Nightmare is doing anything other than look for the Dream Collet. The Kowainaa masks now used from this point on also have a different color scheme and are supposedly more powerful than the ones before. I dislike this because they just come from nowhere, it’s better when there’s really something behind why the new monsters are stronger. And Bunbee is now being mistreated worse than anyone before him by Hadenya. It’s pretty funny. Also in this group of episodes we get to the second ending song, which is a different version of Ganbalance de Dance. It’s good but not as good as the original or GoGo version.

To start us off episode 31 has Nozomi seeing a girl give a love letter to Coco. She then learns that both Coco and Nuts receive a ton of love letters. This upsets Nozomi because Coco was keeping it a secret from her. Jealousy. Hadenya comes to fight them and we learn that she was the one who beat up Nuts and caused him to rest in the Dream Collet and also is responsible for scattering the Pinkies inside it in the first place. Obviously that was an accident though since Nightmare wants the Pinkies. Not that you could tell from the way they operated but whatever. After the fight Coco makes up with Nozomi by writing a “love letter” for her. Things are starting to heat up over here.

The next couple of episodes are pretty simplistic without much to talk about. In 32 Rin is asked to design a tiara for a wedding dress that one of Komachi’s sisters friends is going to be wearing for her wedding. There’s some funny stuff as every girl fantasizes about their ideal wedding but that’s about it. In 33 Rin is upset at Masukomika for her faulty and lazy reporting of a Futsal game, freaking tabloids, and we learn that Masukomika’s obsession with the news and paper drove the other club members away and she resorted to just printing out fanciful stories to grab peoples attention. So after the girls fight with Bunbee, which was a really good fight I might add, this episode they decide to give Masuko an exclusive interview as Pretty Cure. The interview gets Masuko to try and get her old friends and club members back.

So next episode brings us to the quite popular horseback sword battle. But more importantly this is the episode where Karen’s dream to become a doctor starts to form after she takes care of a sick Milk. The episode has a great fight and it’s just really cool in general, the furthering of Milk and Karen’s friendship is good too. It’s also funny to see how Hadenya even disturbs Kawarino. But I wish that other Cures got to use their powers in special ways like Aqua. Aside from sort of one moment with Mint later no one uses their powers differently like this.

The episode after that one is one of my personal favorites and the one that made Komachi my favorite Cure from this season. Komachi has Nuts read her story again and this time he likes it a lot more. When everyone takes a trip to a mall Komachi and Nuts are attacked by Bloody. This is the first time Bloody comes out to attack and unlike the other villains he doesn’t immediately transform into his true form, we don’t see that until later, Bloody is a cool villain and he really doesn’t like Kawarino. Kawarino used to be a subordinate of his and Bloody has a lot of problems with the way Kawarino runs things, we get more on this later. So Bloody almost gets Nuts to give up the Dream Collet by berating him and playing to his guilt over the destruction of the Palmier Kingdom. He tells Nuts that by not giving it up now all he’s doing is putting Komachi and everyone else in danger when they should’ve never been involved in the first place. He really makes Nuts despair over the possibility of what happened to Palmier happening to this world too. Bloody was apparently responsible for the plan and mission that resulted in the destruction of the kingdom too. However Komachi gets to show off her badass side again, which is bad news for any villain. She throws back the words that Nuts used on her back in episode 16, asking if his dream is so fickle and unimportant that he could just throw it away so quickly. She gets him to hold onto the Dream Collet, reassuring him that he’s the rightful one to use it and not worry about Pretty Cure. With the timely arrival of the rest of the team the two of them get saved and Komachi resolves to do anything she can to help Nuts now.

And episode 36 brings us to Gamao’s final episode. About time. Kawarino gives him the black paper but doesn’t tell him about the side-effects. So when Gamao tricks the girls into getting lost during a marathon and fight him he pulls out the mask without realizing what will happen. Shortly afterwards he’s killed. There’s not a lot to say about this episode aside from the fact that Kawarino is now intentionally killing his coworkers.

After that we get to an episode where Coco has become fat from eating too many cream puffs. That’s about it. After that one we get to the fun Cinderella episode. It’s not as good as the Cinderella episode Smile would do later but it’s still good and very funny. Milk wanted to write her own story and uses Cinderella for inspiration, while doing that she decides to change some things in Cinderella and fantasizes about everyone else fulfilling the roles in the story. Nozomi is a klutzy Cinderella and Rin and Karen get to be evil step-sisters. Milk is not particularly favorable to everyone. But when it comes to the ball we see that apparently Milk ships Nuts and Komachi together as she writes down the two of them dancing together. Anyways Bunbee shows up and does the same thing Arachnea did back in episode 16 and sends everyone inside of the story, the fight is pretty good.

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And with that we come to Despariah. Despariah personally comes out to confront Pretty Cure this episode. Coco, Nozomi, and Nuts all hang out together for a little bit while Nuts House is closed. Coco has to confront the fact that when the Palmier Kingdom is revived he’ll have to leave Nozomi behind. Nuts leaves the two of them to be alone and comes across Komachi and they head back to Nuts House together. This is a pretty romantic episode for Coco and Nozomi but soon enough Despariah appears in the town and attacks the two of them, Despariah doesn’t fight herself but summons these shadowy blob figures from everywhere. Despariah sees how Dream still has hope and is completely sure of herself. The fight escalates when everyone else arrives and Despariah gets some one on one time with Dream. Dream tells Despariah everything that Coco has taught her and how valuable all the memories she has of him are, how much she treasures him and everything they’ve done together. Coco also feels the same way with how much Dream has helped him. Despariah is still perplexed by the power of hope and how these girls are able to overcome despair and is startled by Dream’s strong feelings. The girls end up using Yes5 Explosion and drive her off for now, when she’s back in Nightmare she commands Kawarino to get her the Dream Collet as soon as possible.

While Despariah is definitely stronger than the other villains in Yes5 she still feels relatively weak and Dream is even able to wound her here. I’d say that overall she’s easily the weakest of any main villain. Physically speaking. Although due to her lack of development she’s not a good villain in any other way either really. She’s an excellent foil to Nozomi and that’s pretty much her only positive, as well as being the only female main villain for a long time I suppose, besides that she just doesn’t have the development necessary to make her compelling nor is she particularly entertaining or awesome. The lack of any real backstory or history on her causes problems down the road in the finale with what Yes5 attempts to do with her. It’s not as bad as what happens with Dune in Heartcatch but it’s very lacking. There are hints I suppose to her true nature of just being a sad old woman and not someone irredeemably evil but she just changes her attitude so fast.

Last Leg – Episodes 40 through 45

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So no one knows who the principal of the school is and Karen wants to find out. This is something I don’t really like about Yes5. We just had that really big episode and now we get this. If the two were switched around it wouldn’t change anything except making the flow of the episodes better. This is just like what Futari Wa does. An important, different type of episode and then right back to normalcy instead of a better developed final arc. It has important development and changes in the next few episodes but compared to a true final arc like the one Splash Star has the difference is very apparent. Anyways the girls find out in the end that Otaka is the principal but promise to keep it a secret.

What happens next is Bloody’s return as the villain. Komachi is struggling with writers block on her new story and Urara has an audition for a drama where she needs to figure out some of her own lines. Urara has everyone help her but doesn’t seem satisfied with what she came up with. The drama is a love story and the circumstances of it mirror what Komachi is feeling and dealing with towards Nuts, so she can’t adequately help Urara because she’s struggling with the same thing in her life and in the book she’s writing. The two of them meet in the school auditorium and share the mutual problems they’re having in regards to writing things and a heroine who has trouble expressing her feelings. The Urara and Komachi stuff this episode sets up some stuff between the two of them later. As they figure things out together Nozomi comes by and Bloody attacks. He entraps the three of them inside his Kowainaa while Rouge and Aqua try to break in from the outside. Komachi then does some random as hell thing where here Mint Shield ability lets her send out beams of light to direct everyone where to focus their attacks. This seriously comes out of nowhere. And so everyone sends their attacks to the necessary spots, breaking the Kowainaa and forcing Bloody to flee. Episodes like this make Komachi feel really special. The first two episodes with Bloody were both Komachi focused so I always thought they were trying to play up a rivalry thing and inevitable final showdown between the two of them too.

After getting a Komachi and Urara we then get a Karen and Rin one. This is also the last episode Bunbee fights in the season. Bunbee who has been relegated to giving Hadenya shoulder massages. He’s also become really worried about the state of Nightmare lately. At Nuts house everyone is getting ready for the Christmas sale and Rin and Karen are put on flower duty for decorating. Surprisingly enough they manage to get along fairly well as they both really like and know a good deal about flowers. As the two of them talk the topic shifts to if Rin will become a florist or not. Rin isn’t sure and Karen isn’t sure about what she wants to be either. Unlike Komachi and Urara who have their dreams this pair is still looking for theirs. But the two promise to each other that when they do find their dreams they’ll tell each other first. Bunbee then attacks the two of them and insults them for their lack of dreams but the others come to their rescue in the nick of time . Rouge and Aqua get a second wind and defeat Bunbee, also thinking that maybe through the ordeals they’ve just been through that maybe they’ve made some progress on finding their dreams.

Episode 43 has Komachi still struggling with her story. Especially since she can’t talk to Nuts about it since it’s based on her feelings for him. This episode is pretty awesome. As expected of Komachi. At Nightmare Kawarino has a slip of the Black Paper to give to Hadenya. But she refuses it and storms off angrily to go fight Pretty Cure without it. She ends up coming across a Pinkie and plans to use it as a Kowainaa. Komachi is agonizing over her feelings regarding Nuts, she wants to help his dream come true but is troubled by how he’ll have to leave her behind if it does. This is impeding her writing. Komachi and Nuts have an important talk together. About her novel, her feelings, how all her friends feel about her, and that even though the future can be scary you gotta face it. Hadenya then attacks and I’ve gotta add that this episode is also very funny. There’s tons of silly stuff in it. Mint and Aqua fight Hadenya while the others take care of the Pinkie Kowainaa. After getting knocked down Mint worries about being useless to Nuts. But the strength and will of Dream of the others causes Mint to awaken. She effortlessly beats back Hadenya and pulls a massive amount of power out of her Mint Shield device thingy. In fact some weird green butterfly thing even appears above her and it sparkles and stuff. For some reason. Honestly it’s all kind of weird. Like if you think this is foreshadowing for a new power or literally anything that’ll happen later you’d be dead wrong. So she uses this power and creates a massive energy blast that slams into Hadenya and forces her to fly off. So very random. But also awesome. Although Komachi is feeling better now she still isn’t totally sure about what to do with her feelings for Nuts though.

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Hadenya didn’t return to Nightmare after failing last episode so Kawarino seeks her out. At the same time she prepares for a final fight against Pretty Cure.

Meanwhile Milk is feeling useless again. Because she is. She wants to know how to be a better caretaker and what it really means and ends up getting advice from everyone except for Nozomi. All of the girls tell her about a certain someone who helps them out a lot and is just perfect for what Milk wants but Milk doesn’t get what they’re talking about. Everyone is praising Nozomi but Milk just doesn’t realize how highly they all think of her and it takes Karen to spell it out for Milk to get it. But even then Milk doesn’t accept how supposedly great Nozomi is. Hadenya then attacks Coco and Nuts but the girls show up before she can really do anything to them. As Hadenya starts to lose the fight Kawarino shows up and forces the Black Mask onto her. Once more willingly and happily getting rid of his coworkers. It’s still all for naught though as Milk refuses to give up the Dream Collet to him and buys enough time for Pretty Cure to fight off Hadenya momentarily, giving Milk the opportunity to jump in and help them. They use Five Explosion and finish Hadenya off for good. At the end of the episode Milk then decides to be extra strict to Coco and Nuts and starts ranting at them about everything.

Which brings us to the final episode before the finale really starts. Although it doesn’t really feel like the finale of Yes5 starts until like the last five minutes of episode 46 but whatever. Here’s episode 45.

It’s the Christmas episode. We learn that there’s only one Pinkie remaining to capture. While everyone is hanging out together Milk wonders whether it’ll be Coco or Nuts who become king when they get back the Palmier Kingdom. Both of them think the other one’ll be it. And finally it comes out into the open that when the kingdom is back Coco and Nuts aren’t really going to be able to see Nozomi and the others anymore. They’ll be busy considering how important they are. They’ll have to say a real goodbye to each other soon. Nozomi now gets heavily conflicted this episode because achieving Coco’s dream will make her unhappy. His dream coming true means losing her love. Meanwhile at Nightmare Bloody vents about how much Nightmare has changed ever since Kawarino became Despariah’s number two. He wonders what Kawarino is thinking by killing off Hadenya and the others but decides to still go out and defeat Pretty Cure on his own terms. Bunbee through all this is becoming increasingly concerned about his future.

Coco is also really upset about this whole affair but before he can really say anything to Nozomi Bloody attacks them and transforms Nuts’ House into a Kowainaa. He also transforms into his true form of a bat monster for the first time. During the fight Dream’s conflicting feelings cause trouble for her as Bloody singles her out, he comments on her hesitation and knows that her two desires are at odds with each other. But the other girls overcome his Kowainaa and help Dream. This episode reminds me of episode 45 of Splash Star. Where the teammate who is normally the backbone gets helped out and supported by the others this time around. They get her to fight on and defeat Bloody and reestablish that she needs to help Coco’s dream come true no matter what. Back at Nightmare Kawarino reports to Despariah that only one Pinkie is left. Seems he has something suspicious planned. Later that night Coco and Nozomi take a walk together through the town as it snows. They talk about how even when they separate they’ll still have their memories but Nozomi still can’t help crying over it. Coco tells her about all the help he’s given her and the hope she’s filled him with since meeting her and everything she means to him. It’s a sweet scene. They want to stay together but know they can’t. However, they accept this.

The Finale – Episodes 46 through 49

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Bunbee is considering quitting but Kawarino doesn’t take too kindly to that idea. He takes Bunbee up to the roof of the Nightmare building and blasts him right off it. Bunbee actually found a little courage at the end to stand up to Kawarino but it quickly dissipated.

Meanwhile our group of protagonists just got done with the first shrine visit of the new year and they happen to randomly stumble across the final Pinkie and catch it. Bloody has been watching them though and swoops in to attack. It’s a great final fight for him and is also definitely the best fight so far in the season with animation well above average too. Another thing I like about this fight is it really shows that the Yes5 team is a strong and competent group of Cures. It’s not to the level of Splash Star but Yes5 does at least make it feel like the girls can handle any of the villains this season, even Kawarino and Despariah, they feel strong enough to fight them without needing some outside bs. During the fight against Bloody a Black Mask materializes on his person, apparently Kawarino planted it on him, but he resists its power and retreats back to Nightmare after being defeated by Pretty Cure in the fight. When he arrives he fully calls out Kawarino on his selfish nature but when he reveals that the final Pinkie has been captured Kawarino tells him he’s lost all usefulness and forces the Black Mask onto him while also dropping him into the depths of despair.

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The house has been cleaned. Kawarino always wanted to be the only one for Despariah, I believe he’s in love for her and wants to be her sole agent, the only person around her.

At Nuts house everyone is excited about using the Dream Collet finally but before Nozomi can put the final Pinkie in they hear someone enter the store. Coco goes down to check it out but is surprised and knocked out by Kawarino, who takes his appearance. When Nozomi puts the final Pinkie in he asks to be given the Dream Collet, everyone is actually suspicious about him cause he’s acting a little funny but Milk happily hands it over to him. Kawarino then simply laughs at them and insults their stupidity and takes the Dream Collet back to Nightmare.

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And he’s right. They are stupid. But so is he. His entire “master plan” relied on coincidences he had no control over and every other character being an idiot. It’s such a dumb way to do things. He succeeds through sheer luck. What if Bloody got killed or didn’t come back? What if they had already used the Collet before he got there? What if they saw through his deception sooner? Another dumb thing is Nuts and Milk should’ve sensed Kawarino, yeah they can’t just sense the villains when they aren’t doing anything evil but Kawarino jsut attacked Coco. They should’ve noticed that. It’s so dumb, it’s the dumbest way to start the grand important finale revolving around the Dream Collet’s capture. Kawarino killed all his former comrades and then just hoped everything would happen exactly as he needed it to. And then if you factor in the movie this is even more grating cause a theme of the movie is Nozomi will always be able to tell the real Coco from a fake.

Well episode 47 then begins with 2 minutes straight of recap. Kind of excessive. After that Kawarino presents the Dream Collet to Despariah. She tells him how she wants to be the only one to have her wish fulfilled and be happy while everyone else in the world despairs. But she says that it’s not the right time for her to make her wish, Pretty Cure must be defeated first and shown despair. Only then will it be the perfect moment to use the Dream Collet.

At Nuts House the others have found Coco and he wakes up to find the Dream Collet gone. Nozomi refuses to give up though. She gets everyone to go looking for the Dream Collet, knowing that there’s still hope for them. Milk is feeling really guilty right now for being the one to hand Kawarino the Dream Collet. Wait, Milk is owning up to something? Shocking. Anyways as the girls go out searching Kawarino actually does appear before them and takes them all back to the Nightmare Coliseum to fight.

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Despariah watches them all from a throne and the spectator seats are filled up with those weird masked people we’ve seen all season in the Nightmare building. As the girls transform Kawarino also changes into his true form of some sort of chameleon lizard monster and the fight begins.

Kawarino just absorbs and uses the power of their own attacks against them. He’s too tough and simply beats them all down. While mocking them Kawarino mentions that he was the disguised Pinkie that Nuts opened up the gates of the Palmier Kingdom for. Everything that’s happened is his fault. Which is another reason why Kawarino is so much more of the real villain in Yes5. And why the fight with him is so much better and more emotional than the one against Despariah. I guess the taking of the Palmier Kingdom was Bloody’s plan but Kawarino actually did the ground work or something. Kawarino then grabs Milk and prepares to put a Mask of Despair on her, she tries to stop him but when he thanks her for handing him the Dream Collet she falters and lets the mask be put on her. Despariah then finally sees this as the perfect time to make her wish and there’s nothing Pretty Cure can do to stop her. She wishes for eternal youth and immortality on the Dream Collet, turning it to stone and causing all of the Pinkies inside it to fly free, the mask she wears shatters as her body is energized and her face is revealed as everyone else can only look on in despair.

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I gotta say that this surprised the hell out of me when I first watched the finale. Despariah actually gets her wish and there’s no reset button that just lets the Dream Collet be sued again or anything like that. It’s truly shocking. Through all the speeches everyone gave about the importance of the Collet, and using it to revive the kingdom, and all the effort used to protect it, for it to actually end up being used for evil was pretty amazing. If I was to come up with a list of biggest Pretty Cure plot twists this would probably be number one.

And before going on into episode 48 I have to say that although Yes5’s finale isn’t bad I really prefer finales that end on Earth. I just like it more when the heroes are fighting on Earth, and usually in the city the show takes place in compared to fighting in the villains domain. It feels more important and serious. In fact it wont be until Heartcatch where the final fight is at least “around” Earth. GoGo and Fresh’s finale both take place in other locations far away from our heroines homes just like Yes5’s.

So onto episode 48 and Despariah feels absolutely great. It looks like Pretty Cure has completely failed and cant do anything anymore. But Dream still refuses to give up and they all continue to fight against Kawarino briefly. However he continue to beats them all down again, Coco and Nuts try to stop him but of course they can’t do anything. Kawarino uses the Black Paper to cover Pretty Cure in despair, trying to drop them into the depths of despair just like he did to Bloody, and make them suffer in darkness for eternity. Dream does hold the power off briefly but is still too weak to stop it completely. But just as it seems they might all be finished for good Nozomi sees something. It’s a bracelet that Rin had made earlier and had with her, apparently it got knocked loose from the fighting. When Nozomi asks about it Rin mentions how she finally found her dream of wanting to make people happy through her accessories. Karen then perks up and says how she wants to help and protect everyone and how taking care of Milk made her realize she wants to become a doctor. Urara says how everyone’s support of her singing made her find another goal for herself as well as being an actress. Komachi says how the story she submitted in a contest actually won a smalla ward, and that when the next story she writes becomes a drama she wants Urara to act in it.

No one has actually given up on the future yet and they repel the power of despair. Their hearts are connected, they can accomplish anything and achieve their dreams and bring back the Palmier Kingdom. They fight Kawarino again and now his despair powers have no effect on them whatsoever. As a last resort he reveals that all the masked people in the coliseum we’ve seen are actually the citizens of the Palmier Kingdom who gave into despair after they were attacked. He says this to try and show there’s no hope to getting them and things back to normal.

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This backfires spectacularly though as Nuts and Coco cry from sheer happiness. All this time they thought they were dead, Nuts had blamed himself for ages but seeing them all still “okay” is a huge relief. Coco and Nuts shout to the masked citizens and tell them how they’re sorry they couldn’t protect them, and telling them everything that’s happened, all of the things Pretty Cure have done for the. How they’ve learned to never give up and that now if all the people are still alive they can rebuild the Palmier Kingdom even without the Dream Collet. All of this causes Milk’s mask of despair to shatter, returning her to normal.

Kawarino then freaks out and threatens to destroy everything. But Pretty Cure fight against him, with Milk leading a cheer during the fight and shouting to the citizens of Palmier about how Pretty Cure has helped her as well. They and her are trying their hardest to turn despair into hope. Kawarino is totally outmatched now and after a quick use of attacks ends up with a blast of Crystal Shoot in the face and all of the masks of despair break apart, returning the citizens to normal.

Pretty Cure then use 5 Explosion and seemingly kill Kawarino. But it’s not over yet as Despariah is still around. She summons her shadow warriors and the final fight begins.

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It’s the second worst final fight in the franchise. Worst still goes to the Dark King in Futari Wa. The animation for the final episode took a dive too. It’s not just the action that’s bad about the fight either but the abrupt nature of, well… everything that happens in the next 11 minutes.

Despariah’s power is limitless and the shadow warriors she summoned can’t be killed. But Dream and the girls continue to fight on. Seeing they won’t be giving up anytime soon like this Despariah tries to overcome Dream with an illusion of Coco telling her to stop. But Dream isn’t swayed by this, she knows what the real Coco wants and after hearing him yell out to her she breaks free of the illusion. The love between her and Coco shines through and Dream tells Coco she loves him.

Despariah can’t understand how Dream can have hope when she doesn’t understand it at all. She doesn’t get how they can all be happy and she can be unhappy when her dream was fulfilled. It’s shown that Despariah herself is in despair and her dream of eternal youth has still left her unable to conquer her own sadness and worries. She wonders how Pretty Cure can have hope when they’ll one day grow old and lose everything, why aren’t they afraid of that like she is?

Dream realizes how messed up Despariah really is and willingly cancels her transformation. I really like this part, definitely the nicest moment of the last episode. Nozomi wants to talk now, not fight, she says that she and Despariah are the same. The both of them are just people with hearts. She tells Despariah that the reason she can overcome her fear is because she has friends. Something Despariah never had. Everyone else detransforms too to show that there’s no more reason to fight. They’re all together and standing by Nozomi. Despariah seems to get that it’s not that Nozomi and the others never felt despair and fear, but that because everyone else was around to support and help them that they can overcome it.

As it seems they might’ve finally reached an accord Kawarino reappears and is about to kill Nozomi. But Despariah actually swats him away. Kawarino doesn’t understand what she’s doing, she tells him that she wants to learn more about friendship and hope and what Nozomi has to offer. Kawarino has a slight breakdown over Despariah abandoning her desire to drown the rest of the world in despair and apparently seeing her own wish as pointless now. He killed his own comrades for her and now she says it’s all been meaningless?

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And then karma comes knocking for him. Kawarino starts to fall into the depths of despair himself because of all this  and is then suddenly grabbed by a gigantic hand. Bloody has apparently kept his mind intact through his hatred of Kawarino and drags him down into the darkness. You know I think Kawarino might’ve actually followed Despariah to the good side if he had the chance. Kawarino was not “completely” evil or irredeemable. It sounds kind of silly to say that I know but he’s not like Gohyaan or Joker, in the end he did what he did out of love and when he realized that all the stuff he did was for no reason now it doesn’t make him angry it makes him sad. That’s why the depths of despair open beneath him. He wants to please Despariah. He’s a bad person so of course he wanted her to continue on with her initial dream and just ignore Pretty Cure but with time I believe he could’ve come over with her, probably at best ending up as a grumpy jerk but still.

Despariah then completely loses control of her own powers. Because… hm. Because she’s no longer evil? Because she went back on the wish she made? Because she’s given up on desiring to spread despair through the world? Well whatever. Anyways she asks Pretty Cure to seal her and the dimension away so nothing else can be endangered. They do it and Despariah sincerely apologizes for everything she’s done and caused.

Nightmare has now been taken care of and all the citizens of Palmier rescued so they all decide to have a huge party at Karen’s house. Coco and Nuts talk about how they plan to rebuild the kingdom. Milk then says how both Coco and Nuts should be king and no one really has a problem with it so two new kings for Palmier it is. Works for me. Komachi thanks Nuts for everything and he returns the favor, Nozomi and Coco talk and he promises to invite her to come visit when the kingdom is rebuilt. Everyone has their final goodbyes and the tears start to come out a little bit. But they say they’ll surely meet again.

Before they leave Nozomi says she’s found her dream. She wants to be a teacher because of Coco. The girls then return the power that made them Pretty Cure. Their catches become the butterflies again which open up the portal to the world where the Palmier Kingdom was and everyone returns.

The season ends with everyone joyfully working towards their dreams. And of course how they’ll always be friends and be there for each other.

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And the first season of Yes5 ends. And just like Futari Wa a lot of that stuff and emotion is undone instantly due to the existence of GoGo. The last episode of Yes5 is so hectic. Fighting, sudden illusion, suddenly Despariah spills her heart out, Kawarino’s back and dead in the span of two minutes, Despariah’s power goes out of control for no reason. It’s a fairly awkwardly paced episode, not the worst in Pretty Cure, not even the worst last episode in Pretty Cure but not good either. There really was not enough done with Despariah. She had so little presence or focus throughout the season and was not an interesting villain even when she was front and center. This really hurts the entire finale. Which already had a couple issues due to Kawarino’s plan being retarded and then the fighting doesn’t even start until halfway through episode 47 so there’s just not really a ton of actual “finale” stuff going on.

Still Yes5 is a good season. Pretty much middle of the pack for me, it’s not as good as Splash Star or Fresh but it aint bad at all either even with the obvious and numerous problems it has. Now onto GoGo. A season with basically the exact opposite problems.

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