A new era of Precure movies! That got sandwiched between two eras of Precure. The New Stage movies are drastically different from the DX and the latest two All Stars movies but the first of them still came out while the franchise was still in the “DX” era, Smile was the last season of the second age of the franchise and because of this it and New Stage 1 occupy a pretty unique place. It’s like the crossroads. By the end of Suite and with Smile’s start there are simply too many Cures now to do a crossover movie in the same style of the DX ones. So although every Cure still appears not every one, or team, is voiced or has a meaningful part in the movie.
New Stage 1 is kind of the final sendoff to the old DX movies and that age since it for one: occurred before the switch in producers and such that came around with Doki and two: because it uses Fusion as the villain… except it’s not really Fusion. Fusion was the villain from DX1 and New Stage 1 is essentially an alternate continuity of that. Using the first villain of the crossover movies as a tribute to them. In the opening credits you see the fight all the teams from Futari Wa to Suite have against Fusion, it’s vastly different from the fight in DX1 (and although he’s made of the same liquid metal looking stuff he’s using a big dinosaur like form in New Stage 1 instead of his old form), and then the rest of the movie takes place with them trying to clean up the last pieces of him that they missed. After this although New Stage 2 references the other DX movies there isn’t really any more crossover between DX and New Stage.
And then Smile as the new season is also put in a strange space as it essentially bridges all three eras together. I’ll get into this more in my actual Smile review but just as New Stage 1 is the final sendoff to DX Smile is the sendoff to all the other seasons before it. DX3 was like that too but Smile does some more things to be the “tribute” season and also uses DX3’s ending to bring everything full circle.
So as I said the movie opens with the fight against Fusion. We only really see tidbits of it though. Ordinary citizens see and seem to recognize the Precure as warriors of justice. Tarte breaks the 4th wall and explains the Miracle Lights to the audience while this is all happening too and then the new opening theme song plays. It’s pretty good but it lacks the punch and excitement of the DX theme. The credits also show off each pre-Smile Cure’s face and name in lieu of the typical roll-call.
Fusion is defeated quickly but bits and pieces of him fall all over the city. And I’ll just say this now but New Stage 1 definitely has the best story of any crossover movie, it feels like a real movie and has a well developed lead. But as far as a crossover goes it’s a failure since it only really focuses on the Suite and Smile teams and the rest are left in the dust. It’s like the opposite of DX1. Probably has the weakest action of any All Stars movie as well.
Later a girl is watching a news broadcast go over all of this. Her name is Ayumi and she wishes she could be a cool Precure too. Her mom tells her she has to go to school but Ayumi doesn’t like it since they just moved here and she doesn’t have any friends. More than that she just has trouble talking to the other girls.
Meanwhile the fairies of the Fresh-Suite seasons are all having a party together but it’s interrupted by a small piece of Fusion. Chiffon captures it in a bottle but this means there must be other pieces of Fusion still out there so the fairies have to tell the girls to go find them.
Ayumi ends up coming across a piece and names it Fu-chan after the noise it makes. Also around these parts you can see a bunch of cameos of side characters from past seasons. NOT MICHIRU AND KAORU THOUGH CAUSE APPARENTLY THEY AREN’T EVEN WORTH THAT ANYMORE.
We’re then introduced to the Smile team who are also looking for Fusion. They’re not doing too good a job at it though.
Miyuki then bumps into Ayumi who quickly apologizes and then runs off… only to see Miyuki chasing after her. The Suite team at this point is also looking for Fusion and after Ayumi bumps into Hibiki she starts chasing after her as well. And then klutzy Miyuki ends up running head first into Hibiki. The two of them apologize to Ayumi and seem to get along well with her for a little bit before they go their separate ways.
On her way home a dog scares Ayumi and Fu-chan tries to protect her but he’s still so small that Ayumi just grabs him away. Wanting to protect her Fu-chan decides he has to grow bigger and he starts calling on the other pieces of Fusion to come to him. Fu-chan has seemingly lost all the malevolence of Fusion and really just wants to help Ayumi.
Hibiki and Miyuki start talking… not knowing that the other is Cure yet. But then they both notice Hummy and Candy happily chatting away. A piece of Fusion flies through the sky and they chase after it, a few more pieces also come join it. The other Suite girls meet up with Hibiki and Miyuki and the 4 of them transform much to Miyuki’s surprise. She then transforms into Happy as well and the 5 of them go off to defeat the pieces of Fusion.
Considering this takes place very early into Smile Happy is a terrible fighter, but she gets off a nice headbutt.
The girls purify the pieces of Fusion and the other Smile girls come by and meet up with Happy. The Suite team goes off to take out the rest of the Fusion globs. And because the pieces he called forth get stopped Fu-chan does something different to grow and get more powerful. He eats the dog that barked at Ayumi. Well absorbed is more accurate but still. Kind of horrifying for Precure. The next day Ayumi hangs out with him some more.
Ayumi’s mom though gets annoyed at her playing videogames too long and so Ayumi runs out of the house saying she hates her mom… not just because of videogames. Ayumi didn’t want to move or change schools, she hates her mom and the whole city for all of this. She wants it to all go away. And Fu-chan seems to have heard her wish.
Miyuki and Ayumi meet again but when Ayumi sees that Miyuki has other friends she gets upset and Fu-chan attacks Miyuki for making Ayumi sad.
The girls transform and fight it. Similar to DX1 he can absorb their attacks and become more powerful. The Smile girls try to avoid this by attacking him when he’s knocked down or attacking him from behind but Fu-chan is able to move his head anywhere on his body and suck up their attacks. There’s not much else the Smile team can do so they had to just try and defeat him with their normal attacks even when it was ending poorly for them. This fight scene is pretty good too, the best in New Stage 1.
The Suite team arrives but before the fight can continue Ayumi runs between them and Fu-chan, she gets him to stop but refuses to give him up to the Precure.
When they return home Fu-chan absorbs Ayumi’s mom. You know, to protect her. Fu-chan will get rid of everything Ayumi said she hated and Ayumi realizes what she’s done and the dangers of her new friend. Huge globs of Fusion start springing up around the city, some buildings get absorbed and it all gathers to a big tower in the city. Fu-chan still isn’t evil in the same way Fusion was but he’s destroying the city so Ayumi wont be sad anymore.
Ayumi runs to the center of the city to stop him while the Suite and Smile teams do what they can to destroy the pieces of Fusion. Ayumi runs in to them and tells them it’s all her fault that this stuff is happening. Miyuki says she needs to tell Fu-chan what she really wants and to stop all of this. Ayumi says she can’t do that but everyone reassures her, she can be strong just like them, she just needs to speak what’s in her heart and help her friend. The girls then fight through the army of Fusion globs. Through running with them Ayumi sees that the Precure are really just normal girls like her too.
When the girls are having trouble getting through them all the Heartcatch and Fresh teams show up to help. They don’t do much but they at least get to speak unlike the older teams. We also get their back to back group transformations. Yay. I guess. And then their individual attacks so a lot of stock footage is crammed into this scene. Apparently the Fresh team was late because Love got them lost.
Still things are a little out of hand so Tarte and the other fairies use the Miracle Lights to show the way for the older Cure teams.
The three teams get to come in and kick ass now. Although Black and White are really the only ones who do anything cool. Naturally right when the old teams come in is when the theme song starts playing too.
Ayumi and the Smile team are pretty amazed by how many Cures there are and how awesome they all are. While running to Fu-chan at the tower a piece of Fusion tries to absorb Miyuki but Ayumi pushes her out of the way and gets swallowed instead.
But her desire to protect Fu-chan and tell him her true feelings causes a miracle to occur and Ayumi transforms into Cure Echo. She doesn’t have a real transformation scene, she just changes all at once. It’s a nice outfit though. Obviously this is the first time this has happened in the franchise. First movie original, non-canon I guess, Cure.
Echo is able to make it through Fusion’s darkness with the help of the fairies and the Miracle Lights and she gets to Fu-chan. She’s able to get her feelings to reach him and make him understand that she doesn’t really want everything destroyed. This causes most of the darkness and parts of Fusion to dissipate. Echo also detransforms into Ayumi.
But the evil parts of what’s left of Fusion try to absorb Ayumi and Fu-chan, Happy and the Smile team defend them but Fu-chan sacrifices himself to give the girls the power to destroy Fusion for good. Fu-chan tells Ayumi he’ll always be part of the city and her friend, always watching over her.
New Stage 1 does not attempt to have an epic finish like the previous DX movies and Happy doesn’t try to top Melody’s awesome scream at the climax of DX3 either.
Ayumi now is a lot happier and has an easier time making friends at school. All the Cures hang out together, not that we actually get to see this though, it’s the same as DX1 where you don’t really get to see them just having fun as girls together and the movie ends. Finally everyone dances to Smile’s first ending song in the credits.
Definitely has the best storyline of a New Stage movie. New Stage was bigger on the plot than DX and 2 and 3 follow suit in that style. It’s still not really what an All Stars movie should be in my opinion because of how only two teams really do anything but the movie still stands on its own.
You know before New Stage came out there were some “spoilers” about it that said Echo was Miyuki’s time-traveling daughter from the future. I don’t know if that was really the original plan for the movie or if someone was just messing around but I can’t help but think of that when I watch the movie.
Like Smile is a bridge between different eras of Precure Echo is kind of one as well because of her appearances in later movies. She’s now the movie world Cure.