The movie opens like several others, with the girls and Candy explaining how and when to use the Miracle Lights and just sort of teaching the audience proper movie theater etiquette as well.
This is one of the best Precure movies.
The movie proper begins with a flashback to Miyuki’s childhood in kindergarten. She has no friends and is real shy, she has trouble talking to the other kids at all. A feather then lands on her head and blows to a book left in a bin for any of the kids to pick up and read. Miyuki sees it and starts to read it, but sees that the last pages were ripped out and it has no ending. Still though while she reads it the words of the main character, Nico, have a big effect on her, you should always smile. While she reads the book her silly reactions are noticed by some other girls and they start to talk with her, Miyuki makes some friends for the first time because of Nico. Later at her house Miyuki says she’ll now create an ending for the book.
We then cut to the present. The girls are all going to a picture book festival, Miyuki is especially excited. The opening credits then play and we get to see everyone having fun at the festival, which is practically a little fair, but unbeknownst to them they’re being stalked by a small shadow creature the whole time. After the credits finish they end up going into a tent that will supposedly play a movie. In the movie they see Kinkaku and Ginkaku chasing a mysterious girl holding the same book from Miyuki’s past. The shadow creature then emits a strange light and the characters jump out of the movie into the real world. The girl lands right on Miyuki of course.
The KinGin bros attack them and suck the girl up into one of their gourds and the girls transform and fight them. It’s a pretty good fight that shows off the girls teamwork and elemental powers pretty well. Kin and Gin get sucked up by their own gourd and the girls drag out the other girl.
It’s Nico. However even when she says her name and shows Miyuki the old book Miyuki doesn’t recognize her. She only vaguely seems to remember something. Some more of those mysterious shadow things come out of the gourd that Kin and Gin were in and then they disappear.
Nico says she’s from the World of Picture Books and offers to transport them all there. Obviously the girls are all over this and it’s a pretty cool scene as they travel across dimensions to Nico’s world. This movie in general is very good looking, pretty, and stylish. Unfortunately there are two full transformations in it, like they really needed to do it twice, but whatever. Candy also had no idea the World of Picture Books existed even though it’s rather similar to Marchenland. We even see a big bad wolf at one point.
Nico says you can become the main character in your favorite Fairy Tale, Miyuki chooses to be Cinderella, Akane the 1-inch Samurai, Yayoi becomes Sun Wukong, Nao Urashima Taro, and Reika Momotaro. Mostly Japanese tales which makes sense considering the target audience after all.
Nico puts them all in the stories… and then says Miyuki forgot her promise, calling her a liar as some sort of phantom bird like shadow comes from her.
The girls all have a lot of fun in their stories at first, the movie has a similar format to the Fresh movie except done much better, and they all look pretty cute. But watching over them all Nico starts to do something to their Fairy Tales.
Things start getting screwed up, like the real Momotaro appearing in Cinderella (holding a pumpkin which is pretty damn hilarious). All the fairy tales get mixed up and the stories can’t really start or go anywhere. Nao is most upset when she sees that Sun Wukong and his friends have already eaten all the food in Ryuugujou.
Shortly after this all the normal protagonists get taken over by those shadow things, turning them evil and making them attack the girls.
The girls run from then and end up meeting together, when some unexpected help comes to the rescue.
The villains from Journey to the West, 1-inch Samurai, and Momotaro come help them. Because the stories got screwed up these guys got annoyed because now without the stories going the right way they’ll never get to appear. I think this is a pretty clever idea for the movie to pull. The “heroes” respond by saying that they don’t care about continuing the stories anymore, there won’t be any happy or bad endings now. There will be no ending.
The girls transform and fight, Sunny is actually still tiny because of the role she took in the story and Cinderella is gigantic because of the prior mishaps. But then the 1-inch Samurai uses his hammer and turns them both back to normal on accident, this causes Cinderella to turn good again and the little shadow thing leaves her body and flies over to Nico. Yes, Nico is here to confront the Precure.
She says she’s the one behind everything but that they should really blame Miyuki. She shows her the book with the torn out pages and reminds her of the promise she broke. She hates Miyuki now and wants to ruin all the stories she loves. She then retreats into her bird shadow thing and the “villains” let the Precure escape while they hold off the “heroes”.
The Precure find themselves in Nico’s story world. Miyuki tells them about it and Nico. Nico is the girl who always smiles and helps people, but one day the Demon King stole her away to his castle and all the people started fighting again… and that’s it, the rest of the story was ripped out. Miyuki did try to draw and write her own ending but she didn’t like anything she made and gave up. Miyuki now starts blaming herself for all of this.
But Akane reminds her of her own words and to keep smiling. Miyuki should stay the same optimistic headstrong girl as always. Miyuki decides that she wants to apologize to Nico and get her to smile again.
We see in a brief flashback how Nico slowly gave up hope that Miyuki would write an ending to her story and how the Demon King nurtured her hate so he could become stronger. He’s the phantom shadow bird thing.
Happy and the others reach the castle that’s covered in a mass of thorns and Happy apologizes but Nico doesn’t accept it, she still hates Miyuki. The “villains” and “heroes” are then brought to the castle by Nico and a fight breaks out again. The action is okay, best part is Beauty getting into a sword fight with Momotaro, they fight their fairy tale counterparts. Happy tries to get to Nico but the thorns swat her away.
Nico says that the others should hate Miyuki too for causing this but of course the others disagree, they love Miyuki.
Happy jumps to Nico and makes it through the thorns. She tells Nico she learned the importance of smiling through her, it was because of Nico that she was able to first make friends with other people. Nico’s words helped make the Miyuki we all know today. Happy thanks her and hugs her. She’s so sorry for not being able to help Nico. Nico begins to cry and you can see that she wants to forgive Miyuki and her book starts to glow… but then the Demon King acts.
Trapping Nico in a cage of thorns and drawing up all his power around the castle, he rises from the ruins as some sort of massive birdlike monster. The Demon King questions Nico on what happened to her hate? He wants to use her hate to take over the world, he’ll create a world without endings or smiles, a world of pure hatred. He creates shadowy dragon like tendrils and attacks the Precure while Nico watches. Candy and the villains try to rescue Nico but they can’t get her out. After all that’s happened Nico’s struggling with her true feelings, does she still hate Miyuki? Does she still want to do this?
As she begins to think positively her book glows again but the Demon King notices this and attacks everyone. Happy still tries to save Nico through all of this and Nico realizes she needs to save herself too and get out of this because-
Her book glows even brighter and she’s freed from the thorn cage, not only that but the torn out pages have regenerated as blank pages. The Demon King tells Nico to come back to him but the Precure tell him how important smiles are and he shouldn’t destroy them. But he just gathers a massive ball of energy in preparation for an attack.
In return the girls use Royal Rainbow Burst. I love huge clashes of attacks like this and there’s also some really great animation for it too.
However the Demon King actually completely overpowers Royal Rainbow Burst and the girls, while still in their Princess Forms, are severely weakened.
The Demon King spreads his thorns and power across the entire World of Picture Books. Nico asks him to stop, she says she was wrong to hate Miyuki, she should’ve tried to make everyone smile. What she really wants is a world full of smiles. But the Demon King merely says he doesn’t need her anymore if she wont hate and he fires a blast of energy at her… that Happy is just barely able to block, although it knocks her out completely. He then gathers all his power into a massive energy ball and holds it above the picture book world, preparing to make everything disappear.
Nico asks everyone to give the Precure the power of their smiles, and her book generates Miracle Lights for everyone.
Every Fairy Tale character starts waving them around for the Precure.
And Nico? She has something important to tell Miyuki.
After everything it might be a little difficult but still.
She really doesn’t hate Miyuki but in fact she-
The feelings from Nico and the power granted by everyone and the Miracle Lights gather around Miyuki, allowing her to transform in the greatest scene from any Precure movie.
She becomes Ultra Cure Happy, a sublime and godlike being that instantly dispels the orb of dark energy from the Demon King and returns the sky and World of Picture Books to normal, while also causing a field of flowers to grow and spread from her as she touches down on the earth again. The other girls and Nico come to her, Nico asks her to save the Demon King.
They use a new ability and envelop him in feathers while Ultra Cure Happy talks to him, saying that the world is too beautiful to destroy and that it’s a world that wants him in it too. And she purifies him just like that, changing him into a smaller harmless form. Hugging him she takes him down to Nico.
Nico says she wants a world with him smiling more than anything, and he seems to be quite smitten with her. Nico makes up with the other fairy tale characters too. She shows the girls the book with the blank pages and says she’ll create her own story now, kind of like what the Precure are doing in the main series. And lastly-
Tells Miyuki that she really loves her, which makes Miyuki start to cry like an idiot.
An original ending theme then plays and we see Nico and all the other stories getting back on track, at the end we see that the girls and Candy have been reading Nico’s new story. Finally as the main movie ends the last part is the girls talking to the audience again and explaining to the kids how to dance along with the second ending theme.
A truly excellent Precure movie, just behind Heartcatch which still wins for being the one that feels the most like an actual movie. This movie has a lot of “pink privilege” like most others do but the Smile movie really takes it a whole nother level. This is Miyuki the movie from start to finish. Luckily Miyuki is a strong character, as are the movie originals, and that scene at the beginning is really good at setting the stage for everything.
Something about this movie that is kind of weird is that it’s explicitly an AU from the main series. It’s difficult to explain without going into a lot of detail but episode 44 of Smile is essentially an alternate version of Miyuki’s past. So the movie and main series really have two different canons that can’t actually be reconciled. Some movies are completely non-canon for other reasons but this is the first to really give a completely different version of something that happens in the series proper. There are other things too like the Royal Clock being used but the hands not moving or anything like that. The movie has nothing to do with the season, which is kind of funny when the girls at the very beginning suspect the Bad End Kingdom might be up to something when they first fight Kinkaku and Ginkaku.
The last thing to mention about the Smile movie is how much it utilized Fairy Tales in comparison to the main series. It’s almost like they saved up their fairy tale quota just for this movie. A lot of people said that the way the movie uses fairy tales and messing with the stories is how all of Smile should’ve been, I can’t entirely disagree but at least the main series uses them for some things. And it still gives us an absolutely superb Cinderella episode. It was certainly nice that the whole movie revolved around this though.