In two words? It’s fine. Smile is my second favorite season of Pretty Cure and Glitter Force is a new and fun version of it. It should definitely not be viewed as one would normally view a dub or adaptation nor should you have any expectations of it to match the original. It’s more like a season of Power Rangers than a normal dub nowadays. Which makes sense considering it’s Saban that made it.
There are complaints I have to be sure but there’s plenty to like about Glitter Force as well. I would have definitely preferred a completely normal and straightforward dub but I like what Saban has done as well in that they’ve basically made it a whole new experience. It’s not a half-assed dub, although there are obvious moments of laziness Saban had in making it which I’ll get to later, but a fully new show where all the name changes and everything aren’t really negatives anymore because of how different the whole product is. I was at first very peeved about Happy changing to Lucky because “Happy” and happiness were a big part of Miyuki and Smile. But with all the other changes to Glitter Force it really isn’t an issue anymore. And Lucky is kind of a funny name for Miyuki/Emily as well considering just how unlucky of a person she is.
It’s really a nostalgic experience in a way for anyone who grew up with the old dubs like Sailor Moon as well. You just don’t really see these kinds of things anymore so it’s pretty interesting that Saban chose to go this way. Guess that’s just the company they are.
The voice acting is generally good. Sometimes the girls voices can feel a bit off the mark and because Lily’s voice is so different from Yayoi’s it’s really hard to get used to. But the villains are all voiced excellently, I gotta give them credit for that. There’s also so much more dialogue crammed into every episode and Glitter Force has a lot more silly/jokey lines in it as well. There’s some good and funny lines in this show.
It really is even sillier and more childish than Smile. No small accomplishment there. I don’t mean childish as an insult but that it clearly is not targeting the older demographic that seasons of Pretty Cure also target in addition to their primary demographic of young girls. Glitter Force is aimed squarely at the young girls. Which I think is a smart move by Saban. I think it was smart by Saban in general to completely do their own thing with Glitter Force and not have any care about the western fans of Pretty Cure. First off there are hardly any and we wouldn’t be the ones to make the show profitable, we’d be pirating it the moment it came out and watching it that way and hardly any would buy the merchandise if there is any. There are a fair amount of western fans who buy Pretty Cure merchandise but not enough to take into any serious consideration. So Saban aimed squarely at getting a new audience of young American girls, the right choice in my view from a business perspective. They did not make Glitter Force for Pretty Cure fans.
The new original soundtrack is not bad but also not nearly as good as the soundtrack Yasuharu Takanashi produced for Smile. It’s sad cause some scenes really aren’t as impactful without that great music backing them up.
Then there’s the complete coverup of basically any Japanese culture. Par for the course for this type of adaptation but still pretty weird seeing nowadays. The laziness I mentioned earlier comes from there still being 22 spaces on the countdown clock as well as the same amount of Decor/Glitter Charms when there aren’t as many episodes originally. They edit some other stuff so couldn’t they have edited the Decor box and clock so it doesn’t suddenly hop from 9 to 11? Kids will notice that you know?
And of course that brings me to the only truly unforgivable thing with Glitter Force, the removal of several episodes. Maybe they had to trim it down to 20 for some reason or figured the episodes were too “Japanese” or had something like that making it hard to adapt. I can’t exactly blame them for not wanting episode 17 with the manzai duo but still. It’s also really bad because two of the episodes removed were Akane/Kelsey episodes, leaving her completely shafted compared to the other girls.
That being said the final two episodes were done very well, the only serious parts of Smile at this point, which were the most important parts. They handled Joker’s/Rascal’s scene of getting everyone to despair well as well as the serious soul-searching the girls had to do afterwards. There’s no censorship of the action either since it’s completely bloodless so we get all the action Smile had. Not like there was a ton outside of a few select episodes but the point still stands. The last episode fighting, Pierrot/Nogo, Rainbow Burst, everything was really good. I could definitely see kids being really excited and liking it.
The last thing to say about Glitter Force and the best thing I can say about it is that it has the same energy and spirit that Smile had. That same feeling of it just trying to be as fun and exciting as possible and just trying to get you to enjoy yourself for the next twenty minutes whenever you sit down to watch an episode. It captured that same positive energy Smile had. So kudos to Saban and Glitter Force. I hope part 2 is just as good.