Doki Doki Precure

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I hate this show.

Figured I should get that out of the way right from the beginning. It’s not just Doki that’s bad though it’s this whole third era of Precure that’s problematic, the true Dark Age of the franchise. Happiness Charge and Go Princess aren’t terrible, and Go Princess is easily the best of the three, but none of them are great. At least Happiness and Princess started out strong though, which is more than I can say for Doki. After Smile the composer changed again and we got a new production team, this did not go good places. Doki is basically the exact opposite of Smile in nearly every way, tons of focus on the plot, every character is really special and smart, art and animation is not very good, it feels like it’s intentionally trying to be as different from Smile as possible. Doki is such a haphazard and uneven show where Smile was very consistent too. Doki has a lot of slapstick and comedy in otherwise serious episodes while Smile always separated the two. Smile was like a celebration of all the Precure that came before it and its ideals whereas Doki is like a slap in the face to the spirit of Precure.

A lot of the problem with Doki comes from the man who was in charge. Ryota Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi was in charge of Sailor Stars, the final season of the original Sailor Moon anime. And boy does it show. Doki takes a ton of influence from Sailor Stars. Unfortunately while Sailor Stars had problems it also had a lot of good points, Doki however only has the negatives of Stars and none of its positives. One of the biggest problems you’ll see in Doki down the road is poor character focus, this happened in Stars too with the original Senshi not really getting to do much. However because there were 150 episodes prior to Stars the Senshi already had plenty of development, so while it was sad to see them so underutilized in the final season it’s not like anything was really lost for them. They already had plenty of time and focus in previous seasons. Doki does not have this luxury. Certain characters just horribly overshadow others, it’s not even like this is a sequel like GoGo either where you’d expect the new characters to get a lot of focus over the older ones. Poor Cure Sword.

Doki is just not what a season of Pretty Cure should be and there is no greater example of this than with the main character Mana, Cure Heart. Mana is everything wrong with Doki Doki Precure. A perfect Mary Sue and unrealistic role-model for kids. Mana hardly ever comes off as human or real, the movie is one of the only instances where she does. Mana is just… the worst. Mana does not grow or develop, Mana does not have flaws, everyone completely fawns over her throughout the entire show, the show bends over backwards to make things revolve around her even when they shouldn’t, everything not having to do with Mana is given less care than Hentai dub voice actors give to their lines. It’s truly Mana Mana Precure. But you know even if it wasn’t a season of Precure, if it was just some random magical girl anime, it would still be bad because of the numerous plot holes, missed opportunities and really stupid coincidences and randomness that drives it. For a show that builds itself around its plot (and it has the greatest focus on plot of any season of Precure easily) it’s shocking that it’s so badly done and poorly thought out.

All that being said I get sort of a weird perverse enjoyment out of watching it, I’m never bored, I guess it’s the whole trainwreck thing. And I did say back in Futari Wa that being boring is the worst thing these shows can ever be, and Doki is definitely not boring if anything. Honestly the season I was looking forward to rewatching the least is actually Happiness Charge because I have no strong feelings towards it in any way. And for all Doki’s flaws there are a few gems to be had, a couple great episodes, a couple good characters, and even though it’s a bad show by any measure at least as far as kids franchises go it’s not as bad as like Kamen Rider Decade or Digimon Adventure 02. No season of Precure will ever be as incompetently made as those shows were.

Well it’s time to get to episode 1.

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The episode starts off with a lone Precure fighting animal like monsters in a devastated world. She’s able to beat the monsters that attack her but there’s still this gigantic stone statue looking devil thing in the middle of the city. Ominous. The Precure cries and laments on how she wasn’t able to protect her world. Reminiscent of how Heartcatch begins.

The opening theme song then plays. It’s pretty good, more of an actual song than just going “Smile smile smile smile” you know?

And after the theme song the episode brings us to Earth where a class of middle school kids is having a field trip to something called the Clover Tower, an absolutely gigantic radio tower, the largest in the world. It’s a big landmark of the city. And then finally, we’re introduced to HER.

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Aida Mana. Yes, that is the face of evil.

She’s the student council president and she’s busy running around helping everyone and solving everyone’s problems on the field trip.

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Her friend Rikka is also there, trying to prevent her from overextending herself . Everything she says falls on deaf ears though. Mana just needs to help everyone. The girls then see that the idol Makopi is at the Clover Tower as well, she’s a new idol who’s been getting popular lately. Mana likes her quite a bit. Mana sees her drop something so she goes to return it and briefly meets her.

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Yeah, I’d say that’s cute enough to be an idol.

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We then see these three fairies that are also at the tower, they sense some kind of evil called the Jikochu (or Selfish or Selfishness or who cares) nearby.

Mana then comes across a vendor at the tower selling jewelry and accessories. One thing instantly catches her eye because it looks like the thing that Makopi dropped. The guy who owns the stuff calls it a Cure Lovies. It seems to react to Mana and some sort of light goes into her heart, the vendor says she can have the Lovies for free now too.

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And no it’s not just you, this guy is creepy and suspicious at this point.

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And then some rich girl arrives at the Clover Tower. And if it feels like I’m just going back and forth and back and forth between a bunch of quick scenes that all make a jumbled mess of an episode well you’re crazy. Anyways rich girl apparently owns the tower, guess we’re at Karen levels of silly wealth here. She also seems to know Mana and refers to her as her precious friend but the two of them don’t meet up this episode.

And while everyone is waiting in line to go to the observation deck of the tower…

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Some guy has selfish thoughts about wanting to cut in line so he can get up there faster, however he realizes it’s wrong to think that way, it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else. But then some voice whispers in his ear, telling him to forget all that and just be selfish, and his heart turns black and the villain uses his power to make it burst from his chest.

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He then turns the heart into a crab monster that starts “cutting” in line and it goes to the top of the tower to cause more havoc. Mana follows it up to stop it and save the people there, she actually starts lecturing the monster on how bad it’s being. I will give it to Mana that she’s at least different.

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The pink fairy Sharuru sees her talking to the monster like that and thinks she would be the perfect Cure so she goes up to her and tells her she’s from the Trump Kingdom (or Card Kingdom or who cares) and that they can transform and fight. Mana is thoroughly unsurprised apparently to see a fairy. Like it’s an every day event for her and she just greets Sharuru like a normal person.

But when Mana tries to transform she’s unable to for some reason. Sharuru turned into her little cell phone form so they don’t know what’s missing. But then the Precure from the beginning of the episode comes in and defeats the crab, purifying it with her attack Holy Sword and the guy gets his heart back.

The villain who made the crab monster then comes in and calls the purple Cure Cure Sword, and then a second crab monster breaks through the ceiling and grabs her.

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There was a second villain here the whole time. A first for Precure. She made the other crab monster out of another person who was tired of standing in line. This woman asks Cure Sword where the “Princess” is. Whoever that might be.

Mana sees all this going on and she really wants to help. Her feelings activate the Cure Lovies and the power inside her and she’s able to transform with Sharuru.

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The transformation is pretty boring, Doki’s stock footage in general is bad, the transformations only being a step above the ones from Yes5 really. But the actual outfit and hair are nice looking. Glad to not have pink on pink again and instead getting a color scheme more like Peach’s.

Anyways here she is. Cure Heart. The vendor guy who gave her the Lovies seems to have realized what just happened and says he’s glad that she’s finally awakened. Alright. I’ll just say right now that nothing involving this guy makes any sense in the long run when we learn about him but whatever.

And so the episode ends there. Doki Doki starts with a two-parter and the first episode is a hectic uneven mess. The ending song is meh. I never really cared for it.

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Heart is already a strong and competent fighter and she shows this off in the beginning of episode two… or maybe the villains Ira and Mammo are just weak. Either way she makes them look like clowns and pretty much dances around them. Who is she, Tendo?

Heart and Sword both fight the second crab monster together. Heart sees that the Jikochu is just someone’s heart forced into this form, so resolves to save them and uses her attack. Afterwards some magical light bathes the whole area and fixes all the damage, people still remember what happened though. Sword also refuses to be Mana’s friend or anything like that after the fight. She tells her fairy, Davi, that she doesn’t need any friends.

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Later that day when everyone is going home Mana and Rikka are talking together. Rikka calls Mana the Happy Prince and tells her about his story. Oh and just some advice but don’t expect anything actually meaningful or important about the Happy Prince to be used as a lesson in Doki or whatever. Rikka just says she’s similar and that she shouldn’t overexert herself for others all the time. She can also tell something is wrong but when Mana tells her about being a Precure and fairies and all that she obviously doesn’t believe her. Rikka is funny, my favorite girl from Doki.

We also see Mana’s family this episode, they are completely irrelevant but her dad looks a bit like Hibiki’s dad. By the way be sure to keep in mind just how irrelevant Mana’s family is, that’s important for the end of the show.

Sharuru, and the two other fairies Raquel (Blue) and Lance (Yellow/Orange), meet up with Mana again. Sharuru tells her she can’t tell anyone about being a Precure but Mana really wants to tell Rikka everything. There’s some good comedy this episode.

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The next day while school is starting some kid is late. He wishes he could change the traffic lights so he wouldn’t be… and that’s apparently selfish enough or whatever for Ira to use him to create a monster. Yeah okay. He becomes a stoplight monster. So no more animals? All the ones we saw in the first episode were animals. I suppose the reason for the change is… I have no idea. Fuck consistency.

Anyways the monster can freeze people by using its “stop” sign.

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When it attacks the school and Mana goes to stop it Rikka says she wants to help Mana, she says Mana cant just do everything herself all the time. They try to work together against it but Mana realizes she needs to transform, much to Sharuru’s annoyance she does it right in front of Rikka because she trusts her and they’ve been friends for so long. Rikka after this even helps in the fight by pressing the button on the monster that changes the light from stop to go so it unfreezes everything. It’s nice when the properties of whatever a monster is made from get used like this. The action for the first two episodes has been a little above average for what you normally see in the first two episodes of a Precure season. THAT GOES AWAY QUICKLY.

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At the end of the episode Rikka is happy Mana told her the truth about everything but Sharuru is worried about her getting caught up in everything now. The second episode is a big improvement over the first but still not great.

So at the beginning of the third episode Rikka is looking at the Cure Lovies under a microscope at school. She can tell it isn’t made from anything on Earth. Kind of cool to have a character like actually scientifically researching Cure stuff and their powers. Rikka and Mana ask the fairies about what’s going on and everything but in true Candy fashion they are less than helpful.

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Unbeknownst to them they accidentally leave a sleeping Lance behind at school when they go home and don’t realize this for a good while. Rikka wants to find the guy who gave Mana her Lovies.

After being around her for a while and seeing how smart and nice she is Raquel asks her to become his Precure partner. Rikka doesn’t think she’s up for it though, she’s not athletic and determined like Mana is. But Mana says Rikka has always supported her. We learn that Rikka’s father is often traveling and her mother works nights a lot so Rikka is pretty independent.

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We then also get to see the villains hideout. It’s a bowling alley. Just because. Not sure if it’s actually in the Trump Kingdom or whatever. A third villain called Bel shows up but he doesn’t do anything right now and Ira just goes out to fight again.

Rikka and Mana then run into the Lovies guy.

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He’s opening up a new shop in town. Rikka is rightfully suspicious of him but he just plays dumb about everything and continues to act fairly weird. He gives Rikka her own Lovies too and it reacts to her in the same way Mana’s did.

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Meanwhile some guy is having selfish thoughts when he sees two girls mailing a love letter. He’s annoyed because he’s unpopular and no one sends him a letter like that. Like always though he tries to not dwell on his selfish thoughts but Ira is there to draw them out, this gets very old very quick. Anyways Ira transforms his heart into… what we’re doing hybrids now? Okay. And it’s also a Baphomet reference I think. None of this makes any sense or means anything. It starts eating peoples letters but it could’ve just been a shredder for that, or just a plain goat. WHY IS IT A GOAT AND A MAILBOX?

Ira is kind of annoyed because it isn’t listening to him (a lot of his Jikochu don’t listen to him) and just eating letters. The girls come across it and Mana transforms. Heart tries to protect the letters from getting eaten so she isn’t fighting back against it. Rikka sees this and realizes Mana needs her.

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She flashes back to when she first met Mana and when she became President. Mana says she’s always needed Rikka and can do so much more if she’s with her. Seeing morals and such like this in Doki is kind of painful. Especially when it just gets more and more hypocritical down the road.

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The Lovies react to Rikka again and she’s able to transform with Raquel into Cure Diamond. She uses her attack Twinkle Diamond to purify the monster. Yeah there really isn’t a fight this episode. Heart is bumped once by the monster but the Jikochu isn’t hit or anything, Diamond just purifies it instantly when she transforms. Which is really lame and dumb and takes away any threat these monsters are supposed to have. 3 episodes in.

And in another dumb event because everything just turns back to normal when the monster is defeated it means Heart getting all concerned over the letters was just random stupidity because she knows if she just purified the Jikochu the healing light would turn everything back to normal.

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Finally at the end of the episode the girls and the two fairies realize Lance has been missing this whole time. That’s when the rich girl from episode 1 and her butler pull up to them. They both know her and are surprised to see her. Alice is her name.

So next episode we learn that Mana and Rikka have both known Alice from a young age, she didn’t go to any fancy school for rich kids. Her butler is straight up called Sebastian by the way.

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By chance Alice found Lance last night, wandering through the city wondering where Sharuru and Raquel were. She almost hit him with her car. Doki sure loves random coincidences. Anyways though Alice actually knew about the Precure already because when Mana transformed and fought in episode 1 she was caught on film by the Clover Tower security cameras. Alice and Sebastian made sure no one else found out about this though.

The fairies then sense a Jikochu, and Sebastian can tell them exactly where it is because the Yotsuba Group is omnipotent and omniscient. Ira made a headphone/ipod monster (and we don’t even learn what the victim of the weeks deal was this time) but its battery power runs out in the middle of the fight and so Heart and Diamond easily dispatch it. As Lance learns after seeing Alice not attempt to help out in the fight Alice has no plans to become a Cure, she merely wishes to support them from the sidelines. Lance is upset because he really wanted her to be his partner.We learn that Alice also already has a Cure Lovies, the same mysterious vendor guy gave her one on the same day Mana got hers at the Clover Tower.

Mana and Rikka tell the fairies why they think Alice doesn’t want to become a Cure. We get a flashback (Alice is developed entirely through flashbacks as you’ll see in later episodes) to when they were kids and Alice beat the crap out of some bullies that were mean to her, Mana and Rikka. Alice is actually really strong and skilled in martial arts. But hurting those kids scared her and she decided to give up martial arts for fear of losing control again. Mana and Rikka think she doesn’t want the power of a Cure because it would be too dangerous and she might hurt someone again.

The fairies then sense another Jikochu but Lance goes to talk to Alice some more to convince her to become a Precure.

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Sebastian talks with Alice and he can tell that she really does want to become a Precure and join Mana and Rikka. But Alice tells him she’s scared of hurting others. But then Lance comes in and tells her that the Precure’s powers are about protecting people. And we get another flashback to Alice’s grandfather (who taught her all her martial arts) telling her the same thing. She remembers this now and comes to an understanding. The Lovies now reacts to her too.

At this time Ira created a boombox monster that actually plugs in to an outlet so it wont run out of power like the last one… yeah. And Heart and Diamond have a bit of trouble with it but luckily Alice is here now to save the day.

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She transforms into Cure Rosetta and dear god that is an awful pose. It’s just like Sailor Mercury’s.

And as expected of a Cure that practices martial arts Rosetta is very strong and she also uses shields, which is her “attack” called Rosetta Wall. Hm. She’s yellow, she’s rich, she practices martial arts, and she uses shields. Hi Sunshine. Her transformation phrase even uses the word sunshine…

Well whatever, she blocks the Jikochu’s attack and uses noise cancelling by banging her shields together to stop it from attacking further and then Heart purifies it. At least sometimes Doki can have some smart fights.

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Mana then mentions finding out about Cure Sword and Alice says she believes that Cure Sword is actually the idol Makopi because she was caught on the Clover Tower’s security cameras too. This surprises Mana a lot.

So to put it simply I do not like Alice. I find her to be a boring plot-device character with a contradictory backstory. More on that in later episodes. Also episodes revolving around her always use flashbacks for some reason. I think every Alice focus episode has a flashback. She is boring and annoying.

That all brings us to episode 5.

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For those who don’t know Makoto’s VA happens to be Kanako Miyamoto. She did the first ending songs to Yes5 and GoGo. And uh… as anyone who has listened to those songs can tell she has a rather distinct singing voice… and I’ll just leave it at that.

So the girls research Makopi and Mana is super happy that she happens to be Cure Sword. Meanwhile the villains talk about the Cures and even though Mammo wanted to find more clues about the Princess before defeating the Cures she decides to go out and fight them anyways because more of them keep showing up. Our heroines then go to a studio where Makopi is performing for a commercial or whatever the hell. Her full assumed name is Makoto Kenzaki. So Mana just barges in on her while she’s in her room backstage and starts fangirling out over her and bothering her with Cure Sword stuff. Makopi just chews her out for coming in and annoying her, she’s about to record something so she makes Mana leave.

Makopi’s manager Davi tells the girls that she takes her job very seriously and wants to make all her fans smile so Mana bothering her here really annoyed her. But there’s also another idol at the studio and when she sees Makopi’s performance and how popular she is she starts thinking selfish thoughts and her heart gets turned into a Jikochu by Mammo.

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There’s some alright action this episode. The 3 other girls transform to fight it because Makopi doesn’t want to transform in front of them. The monster is tough for them to beat but Heart doesn’t want it to destroy the studio that’s important to Makopi. While the monster is occupied with the 3 of them Makoto secretly transforms off-screen, we still don’t get to see her transformation this episode. And she then beats up the Jikochu and purifies it with her attack.

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Sword still doesn’t become friends with them or anything and she just walks away, but later a letter arrives at Mana’s house that was delivered by Davi (who can become a human as well) inviting Mana to a handshaking event where she can apologize to Makopi. She gets there and they make up and she also tells Makopi that she wants to protect everyone’s smiles.

Episode 6 then has Makopi come to Mana’s families restaurant as a promotional thing. She needs to cook for it but she has no idea how to, she doesn’t even know what eggs are.

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The opening now shows some clips from New Stage 2. It’s a pretty uneventful episode and mostly just comedic but we learn some important things. Makopi is singing and became an idol and famous to reach a specific person, hoping they would notice her. She’s also completely oblivious about anything in this world not related to singing or being an idol.

Mana and everyone else help Makoto learn how to cook better while the third villain, Bel, says “King Jikochu” is unhappy with how slowly things are progressing and so he decides to act now. Thanks to the other girls help Makoto is able to cook appropriately and do the show, she even gets along well with the other girls now after they helped her. She thinks how she used to sing for her special person.

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For their smile.But because she hasn’t been able to reach them she hasn’t been singing with her heart lately. But maybe now she can again after getting to feel the friendship from the other girls.

Ira then shows up and turns one of the television crew members into a pig Jikochu, so the other 3 girls transform. This time Makoto transforms in front of the other girls, fully admitting that she is Cure Sword.

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There is no action here, like episode 3 the girls defeat it without throwing a single physical attack. Sword just transforms and purifies it. Finished off without them doing anything to it beforehand. LAME.

But anyways they defeat it and Sword now accepts Hearts friendship too. But before they can actually shake hands or anything Bel comes in.

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He uses his power to transport them all to the Trump Kingdom at once. He then says some things about Selfishness taking over this world too and whatever but it doesn’t really matter, Bel tries to be cool and intimidating but it reeeeally doesn’t last.

At the start of episode 7 the girls have detransformed and been separated from their fairies… uh, somehow? And then they see the giant thing from the first episode.

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Makopi tells them it’s king Jikochu but he’s in stasis. She also tells them that she’s the last warrior of the Trump Kingdom… even though nothing is ever mentioned of any other Cures the Trump Kingdom might’ve had.

Meanwhile the 3 fairies walk through the city and then meet Davi. The city is crawling with Jikochu and because the 3 young fairies were just born they don’t really know anything about the old Trump Kingdom so they ask Davi. I like Davi a lot, probably one of my favorite fairies. Davi tells them about the Kingdom while they go to the castle because it’s the most distinct place around. Davi tells them about how the Kingdom was peacefully ruled by Princess Ange, yes just the Princess, there is no mention of any King or Queen. Remember that for later.

But then suddenly…

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One day they were attacked by the Selfishness. Ange fought them with her spear and sealed King Jikochu away but she used up all her power doing this and it weakened her. She created the 3 fairies just then and sent them to Earth to look for the Precure. But when Sword and Ange then tried going to Earth Bel attacked and separated them. And that’s the last anyone saw of Ange. They use these special inter-dimensional mirrors to go between worlds. Door mirrors.

Even with King Jikochu sealed the rest of his forces still conquered the Trump Kingdom and turned all the citizens into Jikochu. And so when Makoto arrived on Earth she decided to become an idol singer to try and find Ange, hoping her voice would reach her because Ange loved her singing and concerts. So far it hasn’t worked though, Mana then says to Makoto that they should all look for her together.

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Makoto also tells the other girls that besides just looking for the Princess the villains are gathering selfish energy each time they make a Jikochu and it’s bringing King Jikochu closer and closer to reviving. And then the 4 of them are attacked by a swarm of frog Jikochu. All the monsters in the Trump Kingdom are animals and they don’t really follow the same kind of theming of other Jikochu. Maybe they could just make generic ones with the power of King Jikochu behind them, I dunno. Meanwhile at this point Bel decides to also go back to the Trump Kingdom to make sure the girls are dealt with.

Mana, Rikka and Alice’s determination to save the Trump Kingdom despite not even being from there really surprises Makoto. She tells them about the door mirrors and they go off to the castle. But when they get there Bel is already waiting for them and he breaks the mirror in front of them. Of course something as simple as this isn’t going to stop Mana.

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Mana has correctly noticed how Bel can freely travel between worlds and says they’ll just force him to send them back to Earth. This might seem pretty smart of her but Mana’s intelligence and observational skills have absolutely no consistency. Either way Bel is pretty incredulous about this but then the 4 fairies come in and all the girls transform together.

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Doki Doki Precure group pose time!

The instrumental version of the opening plays during the fight, it’s a nice theme. It’s also a tough fight for the girls as Bel is clearly stronger than them but luckily he isn’t very smart and they easily work together and out-strategize him, easily landing their attacks on him. For the first time Diamond shows the ability to make ice with her attack as well. Bel is weakened but not dead and although he doesn’t want to let them leave the mirror is not completely broken and it still has the power to get the girls back to Earth so they jump in. They were in a tough spot this episode but they pulled through, good job.

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The 4 of them then all resolve to find the Princess and save the Trump Kingdom too.

This episode isn’t bad or anything but it kind of sets up a weird timeline in Doki, Ange sends out the fairies to Earth before Makoto even arrives there. And although the fairies are clearly in an incubating period how long could it have been from then until the first episode? How long was Makoto on Earth and how long did it take her to become that famous? Why didn’t the villains get to Earth faster? This timeline doesn’t make any sense. And besides that stuff with Bel looking like a fool it kind of ruins his ability to be an actual threatening villain like Kawarino/Northa later. To just be so utterly defeated so early on and the first time he directly fights them. The episode is kind of cool though because you don’t usually get a plot like this in Precure where they’ll travel to the villains territory until like the mid-season climax. So it’s pretty special at this point.

And that’s the first part of Doki. It’s not really bad or anything but it has noticeable problems and it’s certainly not great either. Even the animation/action are mediocre too so there really is nothing stand out 7 episodes in. Aside from Mana. But that’s being stand out in a bad way. Although to be fair she isn’t really bad yet. Soon though. And of course this being Doki there is no time to just rest or have some fun episodes or even just one or two focusing on the characters and their relationships. Nope, it’s time to immediately get into a big new plot point. Doki has no brakes.

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This is a funny episode, the best one in Doki so far. Although I was complaining about the lack of an episode dedicated to character/group development Makoto does at least feel nervous because she isn’t as close as the other girls are to each other in this one.

Mana is super happy to be Makopi’s friend and the girls decide to take Makoto to the guy who gave them their Lovies. He isn’t at his shop but inside it he has a case with a bunch of random Lovies in it, there’s also a big egg on a table in the back. Which promptly hatches in front of the 4 girls. Out comes some weird baby fairy thing. Rikka is the only one who is appropriately freaked out. She’s like the Rin or Akane and Nao of the season.

The baby has a Cure Lovies with it so the fairies think it might be related to the Trump Kingdom. And as one would expect from a show like this the Lovies is used to feed the baby by transforming into a bottle. The guy then shows up, and he’s pointlessly mysterious as always, he says they should name the baby so the girls settle on Ai-chan. And he also tells them his name is Joe.

While the girls are out taking care of Ai-chan we come to learn that Mana has a terrible singing voice when she tries to sing a lullaby. Pretty funny. Mammo then comes around and turns this tired guy who wants to sleep into a Jikochu… it’s a bunch of sheep jumping over a fence that makes all the girls tired and fall asleep. Pretty weird but I like it. Some good animation this episode too.

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Ai-chan though has some special power and she cries out and wakes up the girls, she’s also immune to the Jikochu’s effects. The girls now defeat the Jikochu. It was a fun fight. And taking care of the baby together with everyone makes Makoto feel closer to the girls and Mana especially.

As for Ai-chan herself I don’t hate her but she’s still the bad kind of fairy with random powers and is basically a walking plot device for a majority of the show. Big step down compared to similar fairies like Candy and Chiffon.

Next episode Joe runs into Mana and Rikka while they’re going to school and he pawns off Ai on them so he can go travel for work. They have to take her to school now. Sharuru and Raquel offer to help and even call Lance to come help them (Alice goes to a different school). This episode is pretty uneventful but it does show how everyone at school completely relies on Mana. Also during the fight it looks like it’ll just be Heart and Diamond but then Rosetta and Sword appear, despite Alice having no way to know that a Jikochu even appeared. And in the fight Ai-chan uses her random powers to speed up all the girls, this never happens again.

And then we get to episode 10 which is pretty bad in nearly every way.

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This episode added a lot of fuel to the yuri-shipping in the show. So anyways at this point in Doki Rikka’s entire character revolves around Mana and Raquel even says that Rikka is like Mana’s wife. And then Makoto transfers into their school. She wants to understand the world better… and be closer to the two other girls. Like we saw in episode 6 Makopi is bad at everything not having to do with singing, and that extends to school stuff. She has her own little fan club though (not made of school kids but older guys) that keeps other people from interfering in her private life.

Rikka though starts getting kind of jealous over how much Mana likes her and talks about her and how well they’re getting along. Bel also shows up again, all bandaged up from his fight in episode 7, but he doesn’t go out to fight this time, Mammo does.

The next day Rikka still feels jealous of how well Makoto and Mana are getting along but Alice tells her this is normal because she’s always been Mana’s closest friend and she wants to stay like that. One of Makoto’s fan club guys meanwhile is having selfish thoughts about wanting to be closer to Makoto and be friends with her in her private life, and so Mammo turns him into a Jikochu. The action in the fight this episode is terrible. And something weird about it is that while Mana and Makoto aren’t around right when the Jikochu is made, only Alice and Rikka are, for some reason Alice doesn’t transform at the same time as Rikka. She just stands there and lets Rikka fight on her own for a bit and then transforms with Mana and Makoto when they arrive. After the fight Sword reveals that she felt the same way as Rikka… except not really, she was just nervous about coming into their group because she hasn’t known them as long and isn’t as close. But she wants to be best friends with everyone. Rikka smiles and says they’re already best friends. And, um, okay. Rikka was worried about something else entirely. WHATEVER. The end of the episode essentially glosses over what Rikka was personally feeling by saying that everyone was worried about “something”. Alice felt this too apparently. It’s just the worst character/inter-group drama.

So next up is episode 11. The worst episode ever. Even when I watched it raw without subtitles I could tell how bad it was.

It starts with Mana getting asked by some girls on the softball team to fill in for their injured pitcher. Rikka tells her she doesn’t always have to help people like this but the girls say it’s a really important match coming up so Mana happily agrees. And of course Mana is a super amazingly good pitcher and she spends the rest of her time at practice going around helping people who can’t help themselves, she even does the laundry of all the teams jersey’s and fires up the first year girls with a pep talk. Jesus. Now Rikka tells Mana that her busy-bodyness has caused problems for her and for Makoto, because they’re still looking for the Princess, but Makoto is really just awed at how Mana can happily help anyone. Yes, Cure Sword, the famous idol and veteran Cure starts idolizing Mana at this point.

Meanwhile Bel is still pissed off at being defeated by the girls and Cure Heart especially.

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Mana later runs into Joe and Ai after practice. Joe gives Mana a new Lovies just for fun but Ai really likes it so they affix it to her instead. Bel then attacks. Mana and Sharuru don’t want to transform because of Joe… even though both of them willingly showed off to Rikka when the situation called for it back in episode 2. In fact Mana being hesitant here makes even less sense because of how little she cared earlier. But then Mana says one of the most shockingly obnoxious and stupid things ever said in any season of Precure. She says she has no reason to fight Bel. Now, Doki is trying to say Mana is doing this because she doesn’t want to get Joe involved and she doesn’t like pointless fighting, she says defeating Bel wont bring the Trump Kingdom back to normal. Which is true. However there are several reasons why this is retarded.

  1. He is directly threatening her and a (to her knowledge) civilian acquaintance
  2. He is also looking for the Princess
  3. He is an agent of evil actively turning people into monsters and using that evil energy to revive the great King Jikochu

And yet Mana has no reason to fight him. Joe’s actions, or lack thereof, in this scene are also retarded and nonsensical as we’ll learn later too. And because of Mana’s random stupidity and sudden character trait from nowhere Joe gets injured when she doesn’t transform and Bel abducts Ai-chan. He says to come meet him alone the next day, which is also when the softball game will be.

So of course the next day comes and Mana goes to fight Bel one on one. The softball team doesn’t know where she is but because Mana is Superman she inspired all of the girls and one of the first years in particular has the courage to fill in for her as pitcher. Hooray. Also the fight has shit animation the whole way through.

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The other girls figure out Mana is in danger and go to save her with the help of Sebastian. With all 4 of them here now Bel decides to go into Beast Mode. He swallows a black heart he got from some random dude and… yeah. This comes out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly in 4 episodes, never to be spoken of again. Beast Mode is retarded. At least the girls are appropriately flummoxed by the stupid appearance of it.

Well anyways the Cures attacks aren’t powerful enough to defeat it. Bel then plans to kill Ai-chan because the other girls interfered with his one on one fight but Mana’s feelings to protect Ai and Ai’s love of Mana connect and a new power if born from the Lovies Joe brought that got put on her. The one Lovies becomes 4, one for each girl, and they get new powered up attacks.

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The one good thing about this episode is that Heart’s new attack is really cool looking. Hers is the only one though. Of course. The others, Rosetta Reflection, Diamond Shower, Sparkle Sword, are basically just “bigger” versions of their old attacks and only used in a supportive way. Heart’s attack is always the finisher at this point in the show. Something I’m wondering though is that while Ai had her own powers if she didn’t have that Lovies from Joe would they have gotten this powerup? That random Lovies being the catalyst for this is such a crappy coincidence. And again it’s Doki rushing things as everything about the episode and the scene where they get their new weapons screams that it should be specifically for Mana and the other girls should get bonding episodes with Ai to unlock their new powers on their own. But instead everyone gets it at once.

At the end of the episode the softball team unsurprisingly wins their game. And Doki tries giving us a very standard and cliche Precure moral to wrap things up but dear god I just can’t, it’s so hypocritical when Doki tries to do something like this. It falls completely flat, Makoto is just left in awe of how great Mana is. Kill me.

There you go. The worst episode of Precure ever. This is the episode that started to get me to really hate Mana. Not just dislike her but hate her. I hate Cure Heart. It’s like this:

Cure Heart >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Next least liked Cure

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I’ve lost my love.

Onto the next episode. Which is also terrible. At least it’s the first episode with a good and good looking fight. But having this episode right after the last one is just… kill me.

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Mana has a fanboy, shocking I know, he wants to be her disciple so he can become strong and amazing like her. Yes this is an actual episode plot. Rikka even mentions this isn’t the first time someone has wanted to do this. Mana is happy to let him be her disciple so he follows her around trying to emulate her. This is just such a drag of an episode though coming right after 11, it’s just Mana Mana Mana so amazing! Kill me.

When they’re hanging out at Joe’s shop (he’s completely fine after last episode) he gives the kid, Jun, a Lovies as a good luck charm. Remember this because it causes some confusion in two episodes.

With our villains this episode Bel convinces Ira and Mammo that they need to use Beast Mode too, even though it hurts them when they’re hit by the Cures attacks while using it. Later in the episode Jun starts feeling more and more inferior to Mana, thinking he can never be like her because he’s short, weak and slow. His desire to be taller and stronger and better than Mana apparently make his heart ripe for becoming a Jikochu. Which is kind of weird, he didn’t have straightforward selfish desires like other victims did he? Maybe because he wanted to take a shortcut or because he was primarily thinking of himself being better and not becoming stronger to help people? At least he had a real problem he was struggling with, even if it doesn’t match well with what’s been shown in Doki previously as grounds for becoming a Jikochu.

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So Ira eats his heart and becomes an elephant. Okay. While fighting the girls try to reach Jun’s heart by saying things like how Mana wasn’t always amazing, and you don’t need to be big and strong on the outside it’s the inside that counts, Mana’s heart is what makes her amazing. Sword also reminds him that he wanted to be like Mana to help other people originally. And then Heart chimes in and says everyone is praising her too much and that she’s failed too, she’s totally not that great guys really. BLEH. Heart being all humble here feels like a joke. Especially later on in the show when it bends over backwards for her and we learn other things about her. Kill me. Mana “totally not a Mary Sue guys” Aida.

Anyways this all does reach Jun’s heart, maybe because of the Lovies maybe not, and he fights back against Ira. The girls then defeat Ira with actual good strategy and teamwork, easily the best part of the episode. After this all Jun decides to not try and emulate Mana anymore, he’s going to focus on gardening (which he really loves) and trying to make people happy and smile through taking care of the flowerbeds at school. Jun is not a bad character, he was just stuck in a bad episode.

You know even though 11-12 were terrible, terrible, episodes they weren’t show ruining ones. Despite my hate of them they didn’t do anything like bring up a horrible new plot point/plot device (at least not too bad of one) or introduce a terrible new character that fucks everything up, Doki has a ton of problems at this point but 11 and 12 were only bad episodes, not show killers, just bumps really that Doki could easily move on from. Yes I will even posit that Doki still could’ve been a good show at this point, it had the ingredients it just needed to use them well. Fixing some things about the character focus and Mana and Doki could easily still become a good show by this point. Yep, nothing to irreversibly ruin the show has happened, nothing that a few good episodes in their own right couldn’t-

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Fuck.

At the very end of episode 12 we see a strange girl looking down on our heroines. She seems to know they’re the Precure and remarks that they’ll be fun to play with. Kill me.

In 4 episodes Doki makes an irreversible decision that stops it from ever having the potential to be a good show.

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So episode 13 is important for two reasons. One is that we’re introduced to the worst, most inconsistent, plot-device in Doki. And the other is that the girls meet the mysterious blonde. This episode is also just in general a bad episode and a hallmark of the problems with the way Doki does its victim of the week format. Before I get to that though let’s just go over the episode. So we learn that Alice apparently makes a lot of decisions in her family’s company and while everyone is having a tea party at her house Makoto starts to get upset because they haven’t learned anything about the Princess. Looking for any possible clue she mentions that the Princess loved roses and so Sebastian shows them a flier for a contest where the prize is a brand new species of rose, Makoto recognizes the rose as one that should only exist in her world.

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While walking through a rose garden the girls meet the blonde shorty, she thinks Ai is cute and Ai also seems to really like her right away. But then she just causes a bunch of roses on a bush to wither casually… and no one seems weirded out by this. Like the roses just suddenly died around her and none of the other girls seem to think this is out of the ordinary. This new girl comes off as a very selfish and self-centered brat. And then she just ditches them.

Later on at the contest the girls meet an old “rival” of Alice’s.

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This girl Reina starts pestering Alice and trying to get her to react angrily but Alice just turns the other cheek the whole time. Alice has apparently grown up and changed because of Mana and the others. This sudden declaration of hers comes out of nowhere though really because Alice hasn’t really done or been used for anything since her debut. She’s basically been in the background until this episode. Alice did sorely need an episode but this isn’t a good one and what happens with Alice in it feels like something that should come in a later episode about her. Maybe if in between episode 4 and this one we actually saw more of Alice or how she used to be back when she lost her temper it would work. But it doesn’t.

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Mammo then comes and turns Reina into a Jikochu after she lost the contest (and uses Beast Mode). One good thing happens in this fight when Rosetta shoots her shield into Mammo’s face. And in a continuation of this episodes stupid “development” for Alice she goes on about all the stuff she’s been through since becoming a Cure with everyone? Really? You haven’t been a Cure for that long and this is your first focus episode since. Again this just falls flat cause of how little she’s done in the show since episode 4. Anyways they defeat the Jikochu and Reina is back to normal… but we don’t see anything of her after the fight has ended.

This is the best example I can think of of Doki’s problem with the way it does victim of the week. Reina was a mean selfish brat and there is no indication that she would stop being one, there is no talk or help given to her like there would normally be in Heartcatch. As far as anyone can tell Reina is still prime Jikochu fodder. And then she just disappears for nearly 30 episodes too, with not so much as a mention. NO ONE IS BEING HELPED IN DOKI. NO ONE IS ACTUALLY LEARNING TO CONTROL THEIR SELFISHNESS OR BE BETTER.

Except Jun.

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At the end of the episode the girls get the yellow rose but then Ai-chan touches it and it causes the rose to turn into a normal red rose while a yellow crystal comes out of it. What could this possibly be? What happened here has absolutely no consistency with what will happen in the next few episodes with the crystals.

And then finally the mysterious girl shows up at the villains hideout, asking who the hell she is she tells them that her name is Regina and she’s King Jikochu’s daughter.

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Episode 14 is at least finally a good and fun one after 4 really shit ones in a row. It’s a Rikka episode and with it she finally no longer completely revolves around Mana. We learn new non-Mana related things about her! In fact not only do we learn that she’s wanted to be a doctor since she was a kid (just like her mom) but that recently she’s really gotten into Karuta. However her recent love and practice of Karuta is starting to impair her school work, something that she feels she’s always needed to be perfect at if she was going to become a doctor. Doctor or Karuta? The decision is difficult for Rikka.

Anyways Makoto is looking at the crystal they got and Davi says it must be one of the legendary Royal Crystals from the Trump Kingdom that were supposedly stored within the castle. There are 5 of them and if all are gathered apparently something amazing will happen. I’ll just say it right now but nothing is ever adequately explained about these crystals and nothing really makes sense about them either. They’re just an awful plot-device.

Oh and so apparently Karuta is played in the Trump Kingdom too and the Princess liked it so the girls think Karuta might be a clue to where the Princess is like the rose was last episode… at least Alice comments on the absurdity of this. Regina is bossing around the other villains but Ira slinks out to go fight the girls, he turns the Karuta Queen into a Jikochu. It’s a fun fight as Ira can’t control his Jikochu at all and she just forces the girls to play a violent brand of Karuta. This is the last time Beast Mode is ever used, after this episode it disappears without a trace. Also the “heart” of the Queen being able to fight back against Ira calls into question what happened in episode 12, where the episode seems to set up that the Lovies Joe gave Jun might have allowed him to fight Ira’s control. But this episode implies it’s just because Ira sucks.

After the girls defeat the Jikochu the Queen gives Rikka her old Karuta deck.

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Ai-chan touches it and out comes a blue crystal… but unlike the rose which went from being yellow to a normal red rose the Karuta deck doesn’t change at all. Are the crystals actually “inside” these objects or is Ai-chan creating them herself and touching the objects is the catalyst? Is something else entirely going on? Next episode seems to imply that Ai-chan really has nothing to do with it at all. DESPITE THAT MAKING NO SENSE.

Rikka’s mom then comes by, she saw that Rikks has really gotten into Karuta, and she’s happy that Rikka’s found something she loves so much. She says Rikka is just a kid so she has the freedom to discover whatever she wants to do, just as long as she gives it her all.

Next episode is also a good one but it lays the foundation for the disastrous episode 16. Let’s get to it.

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Makoto is going to be in a movie of Snow White. She’s exhausted though because after rehearsal she’s been going out searching for the Princess every night. You know, even though they all decided to look for her together. Makoto’s worries over the Princess cause her acting to suffer and an older actress is disappointed in her. Makoto really wants to win her approval so she starts trying harder while the other girls look for the Princess in her stead. At this point Regina has gotten completely bored of Bel and the others (possibly a sentiment the audience shares) and she goes to Earth.

At the studio the girls run into Joe and Ai-chan, Joe is delivering props for Makoto’s movie so at least he has real reason to be there and it isn’t just totally random.

Regina crashes the movie shoot right as Makoto has impressed the actress, and even though the other actress doesn’t have any selfish thoughts or feelings right now Regina is able to fire a beam of evil energy into her and she clouds her heart with selfishness, pulling it out and making a Jikochu. She says every human has selfishness inside of them, even if it’s buried. The girls transform and fight it but Regina’s Jikochu is much stronger than a normal one. Their new attacks don’t work against it either. This always kind of annoyed me just a little bit because I feel that on principle a Jikochu that’s forced out shouldn’t be as strong as a more voluntary one but whatever. None of them are ever completely voluntary because of the way Doki does things. And the girls just gained their new attacks 4 episodes ago, am I watching Suite again?

Sword still rallies the girls though, saying they just need to combine their power. And that’s when Ai-chan randomly comes flying in. Perfect timing I guess.

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Ai does her usual thing and cries out and 4 new Lovies are made from her power, giving the girls their first group attack. Precure Lovely Force Arrow. It’s not a bad attack. But then… in episode 11 the new Lovies came from the one that Ai already had given to her by Joe and Mana, but in this episode they just come from nothing. Was that Lovies in episode 11 actually pointless? Or did they just not care? Is Ai growing up and getting stronger? The world may never know.

So Regina isn’t even angry or anything that they beat her Jikochu, in fact she thinks it’s cool that they won. She then tells them that she’s King Jikochu’s daughter and leaves. The movie then finishes shooting without a hitch and Makoto gets the approval of the actress, she then leaves her script with Makoto and out of it pops another crystal. Despite the fact that Ai didn’t touch it and she isn’t even around. OKAY. Yeah you know just fuck a coherent narrative, who gives a shit about that. Also in episodes 13 and 14 there was this strange blue bird watching over the girls both times they got the crystals, that’s gone too but there is at least an explanation of what it was in a couple episodes. Like the other girls say something along the lines of “The crystals were calling out to each other” but that still just ignores everything involving Ai-chan we saw in episodes 13 and 14… kill me.

Now we get to episode 16. Where Doki throws away any possibility it had of still being a good show.

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Regina is thinking of how amazing and intersting Cure Heart was-

Wait, that can’t be right. That must be some sort of typo or mistake.

Cause that just doesn’t make any sense? Last episode was all about Sword, she even made the rousing speech that seemed to get Regina’s attention. She did all the special stuff. Regina must actually be interested in Sword. Why would she care about Cure Heart at all.

OH.

THAT’S RIGHT. THIS IS MANA MANA PRECURE.

Everything about last episode should’ve made Sword the one Regina is interested in. It makes so much more sense in every way, and even more sense later when we learn everything about Regina. But for some fucking reason Regina is all goo goo-eyed over Mana. Doki Doki bends over backwards to make things revolve around Mana even when they really shouldn’t. This is the point of no return. This was the decision Doki Doki made that ruined it and made it incapable of becoming a good show ever. God damn it. After this episode Sword just starts to become less and less relevant, she’s completely left out to dry despite being such a special character and something like Regina wanting to be her friend and being crazy over her would’ve been the perfect fix.

Anyways Regina shows up and just asks Mana to be her friend. Makoto is pissed off and almost attacks her because she’s allied with the people that destroyed the Trump Kingdom. And Makoto totally has the right to be pissed off. But Mana doesn’t want to fight and she just right then and there agrees to be Regina’s friend. You know despite what she did last episode and King Jikochu being a horrible world destroying monster. Makoto is totally 100% right to be pissed off at Mana’s actions and she storms away.

Now Regina doesn’t seem to have an ulterior motive but she’s completely selfish and causes problems by barging into Mana’s school and such. Regina is just totally obsessed with Mana and wants to play with her. FOR SOME REASON. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?!

Ai and Regina do really like each other and get along well for some reason, what could it mean?

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Mana wants to make up with Makopi, even though Regina is allied with the people who destroyed Trump Kingdom Mana doesn’t think she’s personally does anything bad, and why can’t enemies become friends? Regina though thinks she should be Mana’s only friend and she goes out to erase the other three since Mana keeps talking about them.

While talking to Makoto, Alice and Rikka essentially tell her to just believe in Mana despite Makoto being totally in the right at this point. BUT MANA IS SUPERWOMAN.

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Regina then comes before the three and makes a Jikochu. Mana comes in later and gets mad at Regina for attacking her friends. She says the other girls will always be her friends and tries to get Regina to see what she’s done wrong. Her earnest feelings reach Sword at least who also tries to get Regina to listen to Mana now. Yes, Sword quickly comes around to the Mana side as well. They then defeat the Jikochu with Lovely Force Arrow.

Mana asks Regina if she wants to become real friends with her and not just be a selfish brat who treats everyone that isn’t Mana like living garbage (paraphrased) but Regina doesn’t get it at all and just leaves. Mana tells Makoto at the end that she still wants to be friends with Regina, especially after seeing the honest smile she had when playing with Ai. Makoto wont forgive Regina but she’ll still be Mana’s friend at least, something which makes our Pink very happy.

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Lastly Regina muses on what a real friend is.

I didn’t realize the importance of this episode when I watched Doki as it aired. It only became apparent later. I was always kind of confused over her interest in Mana but only later on did I realize how damaging this episode is. It’s like the Alien 3 of Doki. Technically Alien 4 is a worse movie (like how episodes 11 and 12 are worse episodes) but Alien 3 does far more damage to the franchise just like episode 16 does more damage to the season. All hope for Doki is now gone.

So for episode 17 a couple of stupid and important things that don’t really make any sense happen.

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The girls visit an outdoor sculpture museum because the Princess loved sculptures. Makoto reminisces though about how she always seemed to look sad when she looked at them. Regina shows up to pester them at the place, she says she’s become a good girl because she wants to be friends with Mana but she hasn’t really reflected on her actions. Mana says she should do her best to become everyone’s friend. Makoto though says they shouldn’t tell Regina about the crystals or that they’re searching for the Princess.

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Makoto suddenly sees a statue that she feels called out to her. It looks just like the Princess. And then Joe suddenly shows up with Ai-chan. Makoto is suspicious of why he’s here and then remembers that there was a statue in the Trump Kingdom that looked just like him but he runs off before she can question him.

There’s a red crystal embedded in the chest of the statue and Regina decides to get it for Mana… by shattering the statue. The crystal isn’t a Royal Crystal though. The guy who made the statue isn’t upset that it got broke either, he says it’s like he wasn’t even sculpting it, like a sudden “inspiration” took control of him. Suspicious. The 4 good girls clean up after Regina’s mess and Regina is actually kind of moved seeing them do this when they didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. Regina says now that she wants to become everyone’s friend. Mana just smiles and says she already is… even Makoto doesn’t have a problem with this it seems.

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And then in her hand the red crystal from the sculpture changes into a Royal Crystal. Looking upon Regina’s eyes suddenly turn red and her personality changes. She now desires the Royal Crystals and wants to take the other ones from the girls. She becomes more selfish and meaner than she was before and also gets totally obsessed with the Royal Crystals. She turns the old sculptor into a Jikochu that can petrify the girls. Heart asks what’s happened to her but Regina just laughs at her.

When the other Cures have already been petrified and Heart is about to be hit with it too a new hero comes to her rescue!

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Well actually it’s just Joe with a sword and armor. This gives Heart the opening to un-petrify her friends with her Heart Shoot attack. And then they defeat the Jikochu together with Lovely Force Arrow. Joe asks Regina to return the red crystal but she just leaves, Makoto recognizes his armor as that of a warriors from the Trump Kingdom and asks who the hell he is. He says his name is Jonathan Klondike and-

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So, few things to mention with this episode. The first is that if your name is Rikka or Alice prepare to be irrelevant for the next six episodes or so. It’s now the Mana and Regina show featuring Makoto. Secondly is that the brainwashing that Regina undergoes literally makes no sense and is given no explanation, brainwashing is a terrible plot-device in general and this is even worse than when Suite did it. There is a non-explanation given near the end of the show but it doesn’t make any sense. And then there’s Joe, uhhh where to begin? Well there was no reason for him to remain this secretive for so long, it seriously doesn’t make any sense foe why he didn’t just reveal himself earlier. And why did this guy have the Lovies? We get some questions answered next episode but not all of them. Some never get answered. The conflict in episode 11 could even be blamed on Joe too, it’s just stupid why he didn’t do anything. He’s even able to block an attack from Regina for a bit with his sword, he can definitely handle himself against weaker opponents. Fuck it.

Episode 18 is quite a bit better. The girls ask Joe all sorts of questions and he answers to the best of his ability. Makoto though is upset because Ange never mentioned anything about a fiancee. He knows about the Royal Crystals because he’s seen them in the Palace before and he’s certain the ones they have now are the real ones. Also that blue bird was his, he had it spying on the girls. However he doesn’t know anything about Ai-chan. He found her egg floating in the river nearby. RANDOM COINCIDENCE OR FATE? YOU BE THE JUDGE.

Joe says how that when the Royal Crystals are all gather together something called Miracle Cards will appear, he doesn’t know what exactly those are but he knows the crystals are the key to saving the Trump Kingdom. Oh this is all bullshit though, yeah everything he says about the Royal Crystals is retconned or just ignored/forgotten.

Joe then says that the last crystal might have something to do with an old steam locomotive you can right outside the city. Ange loved trains. She had a lot of tastes.

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Joe tells Mana about how he met Ange and how they fell in love. It’s pretty sweet. But then he was away guarding the border when King Jikochu attacked and he couldn’t make it back to the city in time. Eventually he found the mirror in the palace and made his way to Earth, just shortly after Sword did apparently. Hearing his story Makoto warms up to him and they both resolve to find Ange.

Regina then shows up and turns a bratty kid into a train Jikochu. The animation isn’t special but the fight still has some cool stuff. Joe handles Regina while the girls stop the Jikochu, it’s over pretty quickly.

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The last crystal then comes out of the real train and all they need now is to get the red crystal back from Regina.

Episode 19 is a fun episode. It’s a games episode in the same vein as the ones from GoGo and Smile. It’s not as fun as those but it’s still good. It does enough to differentiate itself too, although I wish it could’ve used some different games, we get bowling and soccer again. So to kick off the plot of the episode Regina and the Selfish Trio comes by and challenges all the girls to a series of games, winner gets all the Royal Crystals. Mana is happy to agree to this because it means they don’t have to fight.

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Yeah, fun stuff. Both the girls and villains win some, the villains naturally try cheating a lot, but in the end the girls prevail because of the villains shitty teamwork and how much they all dislike each other. As a side-note Ai-chan speaks her first word this episode.

Regina doesn’t want to give up the crystal after losing though. She doesn’t want to break her promise with Mana either but the other villains convince her to just take the other crystals by force and a short fight breaks out. After this Regina has all 5 crystals but when they’re brought together they suddenly react and fly off into the sky.

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Now I suppose is where the mid-season climax really starts.

At the start of next episode everyone goes chasing after the crystals. Sebastian is able to track them with Yotsuba Corporation satellites. Sure why not. The crystals stop on a snowy mountain so the girls travel to it using a Yotsuba helicopter. Mana tells all the other girls not to be upset at Regina for breaking her promise but the rest of them are living in reality. They all climb the mountain to look for the crystals.

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The villains show up to fight them. Regina still plans to take all the crystals for herself and Mana is disturbed by the way she’s acting. Their fighting causes a chasm to open up and Regina falls in and Heart does too after trying to grab her, this is basically a plot hole because REGINA CAN FLY. And somehow falling down into the cavern in the mountain caused Mana to lose her transformation and Sharuru to be separated from her. HOW?!

All the crystals are down there and they fly towards Regina, when she grabs them a powerful light is emitted, revealing-

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The body of the Princess encased in ice, or crystal, whatever. Seeing her causes Regina’s eyes to go back to blue and the brainwashing is suddenly gone. Sure. Mana is very happy about this, she can instantly tell Regina is back to normal. Regina even gives Mana the crystals and apologizes for breaking her promise.

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Mana tries to tell Regina that they should get King Jikochu to turn the Trump Kingdom back to normal so they don’t have to fight anymore. Regina says her dad is scary but Mana wants everyone to get along. Regina then tries using her powers to fly them out of the cavern but her powers aren’t working anymore for some reason. Mana says that when the other girls get here they can apologize together and make them understand. Regina cries for betraying Mana before, she really likes her.

The others arrive and Sword and Joe see the Princess’s body. But then the selfish trio drop in with a Jikochu, the girls defeat it but it gives Bel the opportunity to grab the Princess and Ira and Mammo also grab Regina and leave for the Trump Kingdom.

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Alright, episode 21 is a big one. It starts with Ira and Mammo trying to break out the Princess (some slapstick comedy here that doesn’t really fit) but the ice or whatever seems unbreakable. Bel also notices that Regina is worried over things and clearly isn’t feeling “evil” like normal.

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The girls don’t know how to get to the Trump Kingdom but the Royal Crystals open up a doorway. Because they can. The girls transform mid journey.

Meanwhile the villains present the Princess to King Jikochu.

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He’s awake now. He criticizes them for being so damn slow. King Jikochu has a hammier and more human voice than one would expect, he’s voiced by Hochu Otsuka who’s probably most known for being Jiraiya on Naruto. He also did Deneb in Kamen Rider Den-O among other things.

However when he tries to break the Princess out with a red energy bolt he finds that it’s useless, even he can’t break the ice she’s inside. Bel says they should just attack the human world and make it like the Trump Kingdom instead. This worries Regina but King Jikochu says something like that is only the beginning, he wants all of space and all the dark energy within it. Regina feels a sudden pain in her heart, Bel notices this and tells her she should just learn to say goodbye to Mana and the Precure and everyone in the human world. He says she isn’t being herself and he gets her to brazenly ask King Jikochu to not attack the human world.

This does not go over well. He says she’s no longer his daughter for proposing such a thing and knocks her out with one of his lightning bolts. The girls and Joe then arrive in the Trump Kingdom. They fight through Ira, Mammo and a bunch of Jikochu to give Heart an opening to run to the Princess.

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Heart sees Regina and wakes her up but then Bel has a big spider Jikochu open a pit beneath them, at the bottom of which is lava. The spider lets out a string for them to grab on to but it’s too weak for two people to climb up at once. Regina still has no powers so she can’t just fly them out. Bel says one of them has to fall. One can be selfish and sacrifice the other or they can be best friends and die together. He says love is a weakness because he knows neither of them could give up the other, that’s why being selfish is best. Bel secretly wishes they’ll both fall because he wants Regina out of the way, he wants to become King Jikochu’s number two and then eventually take over completely. And of course if Regina does fall he’ll just cut the string so Heart goes down too.

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Regina thinks about everything Mana has done for her, she wonders what these feelings inside of her are and Mana tells her that it’s the proof she cares about other people. It’s love. Regina accepts this and tells Mana she loves her and then decides to drop into the lava so Mana can live.

But Cure Heart aint having none of that shit.

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She grabs Regina with her legs, telling her not to give up, this is nothing! Mana is stronger than anyone and they’ll get out of this no problem!

Regina’s acceptance of Mana’s sheer determination and awesomeness cause her heart to beat stronger and she regains her powers, flying the both of them out of the pit. Maybe she just needed to be honest and aware of her feelings to regain her powers? It’s not exactly clear why she loses them and how she regains them. Whatevs, it’s a cool scene, I’ll give them that, the opening theme song (the normal version with lyrics not instrumental) plays when it happens too. Ira and Mammo see all this and call Bel useless.

Regina then grabs the spider Jikochu and throws it into the sky while the Precure use Lovely Force Arrow to obliterate all the other Jikochu around them. Joe them grabs the Princess out from under King Jikochu and they all flee back to the portal.

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King Jikochu shoots lightning bolts at them and calls for Regina, yelling at her for betraying him and helping the Precure. But all of them are able to escape from him, Regina takes Heart’s hand and they leave through the portal and go safely back to Earth. Yeah this was a good episode.

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At the start of episode 22 the girls try to get the Princess out of the ice but nothing works. The Princess put herself in there to protect herself so they can’t break it. Joe says he’ll take her somewhere secret and safe. And he does so and they both disappear for over 20 episodes. Okay. Ai-chan also leaves with him but she comes back quickly.

Now the girls try to figure out what to do with Regina, who’s worried after running away, she still loves her father after everything. All of the girls now accept Regina into their group though. They say they can feel her love. Mana takes her to her house and asks her family to let Regina stay with them for now. They approve.

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So Regina now gets to see what a loving family is like. She wants to happily get along with her father too. Her heart feels warm when she sees Mana’s family getting along and everything but it also hurts for some reason. Later that night when talking with Mana Regina says she can’t remember anything when she tries to think of her past with King Jikochu, it just gets all fuzzy. Mysterious. Mana says that’s okay and she can just create new happy memories with him.

Meanwhile King Jikochu has sent the Selfish Trio out to get Regina back. The next day the girls all go to the beach (still no swimsuits of course) and the trio attacks them there. They’re pretty tough for the girls to take on like this, Bel is pretty strong after all and I guess the girls aren’t really used to this kind of fight. When Regina sees the girls in danger her heart starts to hurt again. She doesn’t understand why but then she hears her fathers voice and a projection of him appears on Earth.

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The illusion sucks her up and starts speaking to her, saying that because she’s felt love she’s in pain now. She should throw away all that painful emotion and come back to him. When one feels for another person it hurts to see them in pain. However I’m not entirely sure how this fits with when Regina felt the pain while eating with Mana’s family, maybe it hurt her there because she knew she didn’t have the same thing with her father.

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King Jikochu does honestly love his daughter and doesn’t want to give her up. Regina still loves Mana and everyone though and she doesn’t want to lose them, she doesn’t want to betray them, so King Jikochu forces dark energy into her. He wants to stop her pain and make her loyal to him again. She tries to fight back against it but his power and his words are too much for her.

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Her love for the others gets overwritten and she becomes a slave to her father. Only feeling love for him now. So she’s brainwashed into evil again. Regina gets brainwashed, unbrainwashed, and then brainwashed again in the span of five episodes. She gets a new purple color scheme now too and her eyes are red again. She’s also a lot stronger and she blasts the Cures with huge energy beams. Sword can tell that King Jikochu filled her full of dark energy. Heart and the others try to reach her… heart, but it doesn’t work. Regina doesn’t care about them at all anymore.

Sword says that using Lovely Force Arrow on her might purge her of the selfishness in her but when they’re about to use it Heart can’t pull the trigger. She can’t attack Regina. Regina blasts them and knocks them out of their transformations. The Doki girls lose their transformations really easily. She prepares for a final blast to kill them when suddenly!

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A new red Precure, Cure Ace the Trump Card of Love, appears and dissipates Regina’s blast, saving the girls.

WHO THE FUCK IS CURE ACE?!

That was pretty much the reaction to the end of this episode when it aired. It was not a very welcome twists to put it bluntly. A fifth Cure out of nowhere, everyone was expecting the 5th Cure to be Regina for a while. I don’t mind Toei doing something different but Ace just comes from nowhere, this isn’t Kamen Rider or Super Sentai. Precure’s new Cures don’t just come out of nowhere. Also when Ace appears we hear Ai-chan do her normal cry so she must be nearby and we also see the Royal Crystals fly into Ace’s transformation device. So yeah, the Royal Crystals do that too.

Episode 23!

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No one knows who the hell Ace is and Regina says her heart hurts just looking at her. We then get some nice action for Doki as Ace completely stomps Regina and hits her with her attack, Ace Shot Boom, severely injuring her. Mana is worried about Regina when she sees this but Bel just picks Regina up and they leave for the Trump Kingdom, but not before Regina curses the Precure and says she’ll never forgive them. Obviously this hurts Mana deeply.

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Ace says Mana is weak for not being able to attack Regina and getting all upset about her now. She says there are five oaths a Precure must always follow, the first is to always look to the future, and that by crying over Regina Mana can’t do what needs to be done and get stronger. Mana says it’s hopeless and she can’t get any stronger now so Ace takes away her Lovies and leaves. Despite the others protests Mana just cries some more and says she doesn’t even deserve to be a Cure after what just happened.

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In the Trump Kingdom King Jikochu puts Regina into a deep sleep so she can recuperate. He asks who Ace is but Bel has no idea, and that’s when two new villains come in. Leva and Gula. Gula was tragically born without a personality but Leva is pretty good. And he looks like a cross between a transvestite and Charlie Chaplin. None of our previous villains like them, Bel especially is annoyed by Leva mocking him. But the two of them have apparently already conquered three worlds for King Jikochu so he sends them to Earth to deal with the Precure.

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The next day Mana is still feeling really down about Regina, she thinks about all the fun stuff they did together… which must’ve only occurred over the course of a day. Ai-chan then comes back to Mana’s house, with Joe gone Ai will be living with Mana now. And much like Hikari did back in Max Heart Ai used her magic to brainwash Mana’s family into thinking she’s part of theirs. Ai-chan can also speak English alright now and she tries to cheer up Mana too.

Mana decides to go outside where she meets a mysterious young girl.

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Ai-chan really likes this girl and flies right over to her. The girl tells Mana to stop sulking and being down or she’ll lose what’s really important to her.

Leva and Gula attack the city then and make two Jikochu, they’re tough and Diamond, Rosetta and Sword certainly can’t beat them by themselves. Mana goes to help them even though she can’t transform, she thanks the girl for reminding her that above all else she needs to protect everyone’s smiles. Mana fights the two Jikochu untransformed… and does better against them than her teammates did, she is Mana after all. I’m surprised she isn’t weaker when she transforms.

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Because Mana has gotten her spirit as a Precure back and follows the first oath of being a Precure to look towards the future Ace comes and acknowledges her and gives her her Lovies back. The two of them then transform together. Ai-chan is Ace’s fairy by the way, she needs her to transform.

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After Mana transforms she gets this brief pink aura around her. I’m not sure if this should be classified as a powerup, it’s not consistently used at all and it disappears for a long time. It’s not a permanent one time thing like the aura powerups in Suite were either. The girls get them in the next few episodes when they follow the oaths of being a Precure that Ace has lain out. It’s just kind of a random thing that it feels like the writers forgot about or couldn’t figure out a way to use well.

Anyways we also get to see Ace’s full transformation and it’s possibly the best solo transformation in the whole Pretty Cure franchise. It’s a million times better than any other Doki Doki stock footage. The two useful Cures then defeat the Jikochu and Leva and Gula leave, the other girls are happy Mana is back to normal but Ace says they can’t relax yet as they all need to get stronger and get on her level. Their training has just begun!

Mid-season climax end.

Boy, where to begin. So first off while Cure Ace’s introduction was incredibly clunky it still ushers in the part of Doki where it actually starts to improve and feels more like a normal season of Precure. It stops just being the Mana show and we finally get back to developing other characters. Sword still ends up being pushed into irrelevancy though. The part of Doki where Regina is gone is the best part of the show, I’m not a huge fan of Ace but I don’t hate her, she might not make the show better herself but her era is better. And she’s voiced by Rie Kugimiya, one of my favorite VA’s. Which actually kind of pisses me off because I wish Rie was voicing a Cure in a season I liked. And for the love of god I hope Aki Toyosaki will voice a Cure soon.

So time to go over some general things in Doki before moving on to the next episodes. For one it’s bad. I think I’ve made that apparent enough. But we’ll talk about some of the good stuff first, the music is good. Like every season of Precure Doki has great music. I don’t like the new composer as much as Takanashi or Sato but they’re still good. None of the fairies are annoying and Davi is very good. None of the villains are bad but some are just underutilized/used incorrectly. King Jikochu is a great villain but it’s not until later that we get the full story on him so I’ll just leave it at that for now. There are a lot of creative monsters and fights in Doki, but at the same time it feels like this is the kind of stuff that would be better in Fresh or Smile.

And the bad. The art and animation is only passable and there is a severe lack of good fighting animation. A big step down from how good Smile looked. The theming of the villains is not done particularly, the seven deadly sins being used for them is very basic and it usually just at best amounts to a one note character trait or at worst not really having anything to do with them at all. Ira is definitely the angriest villain but I feel Bel and Mammo are completely interchangeable (sloth and greed). Another thing is their names. Ira is literally the word for anger but Bel and Mammo and Leva are named after the demons that represent the sins. So there’s a weird lack of consistency. Although to be fair the demon that represents Wrath is Satan and having a minor villain named Satan would be kind of weird. There’s more problems with this seven deadly sins theme but I’ll get to that later.

As I’ve extensively covered already there are a ton of plot-holes and just general randomness and stupid coincidences in Doki. It’s just not a well put together show like Splash Star and Smile were. The characters are poor too. Not just Mana but Alice as well I dislike for how much her extreme wealth is used as a plot device. Karen in Yes5 was super rich too but her money was only ever used for non-plot related things or to just allow the girls to mess around on a fun episode. Alice and her corporation though are extremely tied into the plot and she and Sebastian are basically used as tools for the show to progress. Alice is just boring too. Rikka is good but she just hasn’t gotten to do enough, she hasn’t even gotten any real fun lines or anything in a while. Makoto is a fine character but she ends up being overshadowed at first by Mana and now by Ace. And everything that made her special is gone. Another problem with these girls are how special all of them are, none of them are just normal girls. It makes something that happens in the finale really annoying. We have Mana Sue, one of the smartest girls in Japan, a super rich company heiress, a famous idol singer from another world who was already a Cure, and now Ace who is super special for a variety of reasons. Why isn’t anyone just normal like Nagisa, or Komachi, or Love or Miyuki? None of the Doki Doki girls have a catchphrase either, guess Doki Doki is too cool for that.

The action is bad. Definitely lower half of the seasons although it gets better in the second half. It also annoys me how their first attacks don’t have “Pretty Cure” in front of them, it’s just “Holy Sword” or whatever. Guess Doki Doki is too cool for that too. Heart’s first attack looks almost exactly like Peach’s too. The victim of the week format Doki uses is terrible for reasons I’ve already explained. Doki Doki has a lot of interesting and different elements for Precure but the show is just so bad. If only it was handled more competently and also didn’t do a bunch of things that are just blatantly against the spirit of the franchise.

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At the start of episode 24 Makoto is wondering if she should even sing anymore. She only became an idol on Earth to find the Princess, and that didn’t even help so she wonders what the point of continuing to sing is. Meanwhile the girls are all hanging out together and wondering who Cure Ace is, she looked younger than them when not transformed too. And that’s when Ace comes right to them and tells them she’s in 4th grade and her name is Madoka Aguri. She has some cake Sebastian made and instantly falls in love with it, she has a gigantic sweet tooth.

She then tells Makopi that she had heard a song of hers on the radio and was disappointed in it. She didn’t hear any love from the song, only doubt. She says Makoto isn’t giving it her all as a Precure either, none of them are strong enough. They’re no match for King Jikochu. Hard to tell if she’s actually mentoring Makoto or just being rude. Anyways she leaves after this and Makoto thinks she’s right, she tells the others that she’s giving up singing. She can’t do it with the mixed feelings she has.

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Mana tries some harebrained schemes to get her to not quit. Pretty funny stuff. Leva and Gula tell the Selfish Trio to go search for the Princess and Leva gets the idea to attack Makopi’s concert that she’s putting on the next day. Yes she has one concert left to do and then she’s announcing her retirement. But she’s having trouble even finding the desire to go to it. Leva creates a microphone Jikochu out of a reporter at the concert and attacks the crowd with it, when the other three Cures try to stop it it asks them silly questions and then attacks them when they give an unsatisfactory answer.

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Ai-chan then finds Makoto and gives her a new Lovies that when Makoto uses it it creates a mirror that the Princess’s spirit can speak to her through. Uhhh, this is actually kind of a plot-hole but whatever. The Princess can do like literally anything, which is kind of annoying to me because it’s not like she’s someone like the Royal Queen or Queen of Light etc.

So whatever, the Princess tells Makoto that her singing did in fact reach her when she was frozen, it’s in fact the only thing that kept her going when she was hidden away and almost giving up hope. Makoto’s songs and feelings reached her in that darkness. She says that she’s fine now with Joe by her side and tells Makoto that she should just sing for herself, like in the past when she was having fun. Just sing because you love to sing and you want to make people happy with your songs. With this Makopi regains her desire to sing.

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She goes to help the girls and tells everyone that she’s going to sing for everyone who wants to hear her and for herself, and she gets the same aura that Heart had. Aguri then shows up, apparently she was just waiting in the wings for this. She says another one of the 5 oaths of being a Precure is to give people your love and that’s just what Makopi has done with her songs.

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She transforms and uses a different version of her attack that’s purple colored, it immobilizes the Jikochu and allows Sword to finish it off. Makopi then happily performs at her concert.

So next episode is fun. It’s an Alice episode but honestly the best parts of it are just Sebastian and Mammo being funny.

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After Rosetta’s shield breaks in a fight again Ace tells her she needs to get stronger. Alice has realized this herself, she must work even harder. Sebastian wants to help her so he makes an artificial commune using Yotsuba corp. technology. He has some fun in it but then loses it and Mammo picks it up. The Selfish Trio have been having no luck finding the Princess.

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So Mammo uses the device to transform and calls herself Cutie Madam. She interferes in a fight Gula is having with the Precure and actually “helps” the girls. She’s having a lot of fun just messing around and being silly. Everyone is weirded out by her and then she goes around helping people in the city… of course she does this by causing problems first and then fixing them. Sebastian tries getting the commune back but she just beats him up. Alice has realized what’s happened and says that she’ll take care of things. Sebastian always looked after her when she was younger so now it’s her turn to protect him.

Rosetta fights Cutie Madam later to get the commune back for Sebastian’s sake.

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She gets her aura powerup. Alice needed to feel that strong desire to protect someone again. I mean… not like she ever lost it… but whatever. Ace shows up and says that’s another Precure Oath, to protect those you love. She uses a yellow version of her attack and binds Cutie Madam with it, all her alternate attacks are just used for immobilization. Rosetta destroys the commune then and Mammo leaves.

Sebastian is cool.

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In episode 26 everyone in Mana’s class is talking about their dreams. Mana wants to become the prime minister. Rikka is wondering if she really wants to be a doctor just cause her mom is one or if there’s another reason. Aguri later says she needs to find out what’s really in her heart. Meanwhile Ira is pissed off and when he’s flying around Earth he gets hit by a lightning bolt.

Rikka finds him washed up on the beach the next day while thinking about what she really wants to do. Even though he’s an enemy she takes care of him and brings him to her home because he’s so hurt. When he wakes up he can’t remember anything, he’s got amnesia.

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He’s rather nice to Rikka like this and seems to be kind of smitten with her after she takes care of him. They get into typical romantic situations. Raquel is kind of annoyed at all this and how much she’s fawning over him. Lance and Sharuru then come by and see Ira so Rikka has to tell everyone about him. Makoto says it’s too dangerous to keep him around and Aguri comes by and transforms, ready to finish Ira here and now before his memories come back. Rikka stands in her way though. If someone is suffering she wants to help them. These are her true feelings, the other girls side with her too.

Gula then randomly comes and attacks the girls. They all transform.

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Ira starts to regain his memory when he sees the girls transform. When Gula attacks the girls he steps in and does a fake sort of attack to knock the girls away and actually help them, under the guise of him wanting to beat the girls himself. Seeing him back to normal actually makes Diamond glad, because it means he’s all better. She gets her aura because of this and Ira leaves.

Ace comes in and says that staying true to oneself and not regretting your actions is the next oath to being a Precure. And Diamond certainly followed that. Ace did everything she did earlier to get Diamond to realize her true feelings. Diamond then fights Gula and we get some cool action, Ace does another immobilizing attack and Diamond “defeats” him by feeding her attack into his mouth and giving him brain-freeze. After this is over Ace congratulates her but tells her not to go soft on Ira next time.

Rikka is now sure of her desire to become a doctor in the future. Oh and any sort of romance or development or arc or ANYTHING having to do with Rikka and Ira doesn’t happen. The events of this episode are “mentioned” but irrelevant and don’t go anywhere.

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Next episode the girls accidentally stumble across Aguri’s home, no more mystery now. They find out she lives with her grandmother.

As for our two new villains, Leva and Gula decide to team up to take out the Precure. You know, like they did back in episode 23. But they act like they’ve never done something like this before. And it makes what happens in episode 31 kind of weird, like how close are these two? They aren’t friends but they get along better than the other villains. They’re kind of like Yadokan and Isogin from GoGo but not as extreme.

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Aguri invites the girls to an outdoor tea ceremony thingamajig that her grandma is doing or something. I dunno it’s some Japanese thing. And she tells them all that the final Precure oath is that the Precure must be proper ladies! This episode is pretty nice and in the beginning the girls get to enjoy some nice normal time with Aguri, no Precure stuff involved. Aguri also apologizes to them for being so strict, but she just wanted them to get stronger.

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Aguri tells them about herself. She’s a Precure born on Earth who fought King Jikochu in the past and was defeated. When this happened Ai-chan turned into an egg and was separated from her. Then one day Ai came back to her and led her to the girls. Now if this screams bullshit to you then good job. Because Aguri’s backstory clearly doesn’t make sense and is contradictory with what we already know in Doki. HOWEVER. This is actually not a plot hole. This has a real explanation later on that makes sense.

She also tells them that the sheer power of her feelings allows her to grow older when she transforms. She’s just that strong in heart and soul apparently. She says that she and everyone else needs to get stronger now if they want to beat King Jikochu.

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Leva and Gula come then and create a super Jikochu by combining their powers and taking the heart out of a person together. They call it a combo Jikochu. All 5 of the girls transform and fight it together. It’s able to power through some of their attacks though and Ace gets worried because the fight is dragging on so long. Leva and Gula luckily are not a perfect team and Gula’s hunger leads him and the Jikochu away from the fight, but towards Aguri’s grandmother. Ace goes to stop them but then we learn that Cure Ace has a big weakness.

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She can only stay transformed for five minutes and her transformation cuts out in the middle of the fight. Yeah don’t expect this 5 minute time limit to be very consistent. It’s not horribly misused but it isn’t perfect either, not to levels of Freiza though. Unluckily for our heroines Leva overhears Aguri mention her weakness, but the other 4 girls are still able to fight and they activate the aura’s they got in the previous episodes and beat the crap out of Leva, Gula and the Jikochu. The feelings of gratitude they all have to Aguri for helping them allowed them to aura up again.

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They then use a powered up Lovely Force Arrow to defeat the Jikochu. Aguri apologizes for her weakness but they all say she’s great and Mana asks her to teach them many new things. The 5 of them have become an actual group of friends now, Aguri is no longer an outsider. At the end of the episode the second ending plays for the first time, it’s okay. Oh and if you thought this meant that those aura powerups would be used consistently from here on out and actually appear a lot again well you’re wrong.

Episode 28

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The girls are undergoing a lot of physical training with Aguri. We meet a girl named Eru who’s in Aguri’s class, she really likes and admires Aguri and wants to become friends with her. There isn’t really that much to be said about this episode. Aguri loosens up.

Leva and Gula try to capitalize on Ace’s 5 minute time limit but fail. And no one ever really tries to do anything about it again.

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Ace gets her own aura out of her desire to protect her new precious friends. She has people close to her and their thoughts and feelings and love make her stronger. Also the monster in this episode uses a ring toss ring and binds the girls with it just like the Akanbe did in the festival episode of Smile.

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Episode 29 is another just fun episode with not much to say about it. The fight is garbage though, the monster just randomly is perfect to screw over the girls for what’s happened in the episode.Anyways so the other fairies want to learn to become humans like Davi so they can help out their partners more. Sharuru’s human form is adorable. The end of the episode then leads right into the next with Aguri telling the girls that because they’ve strengthened their relationships with their fairies she has a final task for them.

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At the start of episode 30 all the girls are flying to an island. Aguri tells them they’re going to obtain the crystal mirror/Magical Lovely Pad that’s one of the 3 legendary treasures of the original Precure from 10,000 years ago. Ages ago when evil ruled all the 3 Precure appeared and with the Miracle Dragon Glaive, Magical Lovely Pad, and Eternal Golden Crown they defeated the enemy. Makoto recognizes that the Miracle Dragon Glaive is what Princess Ange had, she used its power to seal away King Jikochu. However, getting the mirror aint so easy.

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It’s guarded by a dragon who is also a fairy. Or the other way around. Their name is Melan and they were the partner of one of the original Precure. The girls are only allowed to get the mirror if they beat her in a fight but Melan is very strong and has a powerful shield that can easily block their attacks, so the girls handily lose to her. There’s good action in the fights this episode.

Mana refuses to give up after losing just once though.

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We then learn from Aguri that she came to this island once before, led by a mysterious power, but Melan turned her away because she wasn’t a Precure yet. She needed to achieve true power. And Aguri thinks that she’s gotten that now with the Doki Doki Precure and becoming comrades with them.

Although after losing Melan told them to leave Mana clearly refuses to do so and when Melan learns of her determination she allows the girls to fight her again the next day.

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The fight starts poorly again but the girls have the bright idea to use a “Lovely Force Reflection” and throw all their power into Rosetta and have her shield smash into Melan’s and cancelling it out. But just as Ace prepares to attack the defenseless Melan her transformation runs out and Melan attacks them.

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Heart still fights back, wanting to do anything it takes to save Regina. Sword as well wants to save the Trump Kingdom. All of them keep on fighting against Melan.

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Heart activates her aura and jumps at Melan, but Melan hits her dead on with a huge blast of fire. But seeing her like this, her determination and powerful will reminds Melan of Cure Empress, her old partner. Heart fails to land a punch on Melan and falls unconscious but this has moved not only Melan but also cause the Crystal Mirror to react. Cure Empress, in the past when all hope seemed lost also said she would never give up. Just like Mana.

Melan decides to bestow the mirror to the girls, much to their delight, it’s implied that she’ll die shortly after this as her duty is fulfilled and she’s lived 10,000 years. But it’s now time for the new generation of Precure to defeat the evil.

This brings us to episode 31. Which in a better season would be a two-parter. It’s just so rushed.

It starts with Bel telling Leva and Gula they should be worried for failing so much but the two of them have something special in motion, and we see on Earth that these black orbs are entering peoples bodies and causing them to fall asleep and slowly turn their hearts black. Meanwhile our silly heroines are trying to figure out how the hell the crystal mirror is supposed to work and become the Magical Lovely Pad or whatever.

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The girls go to Mana’s place for lunch. Rikka’s mom and Aguri’s grandmother are there too. They see on the news that people are falling into comas when these little black spores enter them, some fly in and infect their families but the Lovies protect the Precure. I feel like this plot would be better in Fresh or Suite, which were actually more about families and developed them more. Not like Doki is the worst at that, not even close, but it’s not the best. And this all happens so fast, like fuck it would be so much better if there was more time at the beginning where they just casually hung out together.

And so Leva then appears on their tv screen and takes credit for what has happened. He apparently made this tree which releases all these spores. They put someone into a coma and slowly turn their heart black and when it’s completed a Jikochu will be born. When all those Jikochu are born at once the dark energy will be enough to instantly revive King Jikochu and the world will end. Umm, how the fuck did they make something like this? this comes out of fuck nowhere. No other villain shows any remotely similar capability, Leva and Gula do not show any inkling of having this kind of power or ability. What the fuck is this tree?

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Leva tells them the only way to stop this is to come fight them… why? WHy would you tell the girls anything? They had no fucking idea what was going on or where you were. You would’ve won when the Jikochu were born, WHY GIVE THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO FIGHT YOU? It’s not like these guys are honorable like Kintolesky or Kumojacky either.

The girls go to where they are and the two of them combine and transform into this big monster. Also completely random. Diamond tells Aguri to not transform yet because of her time limit… uh what? That’s the exact reason why she should transform with you. Why split your power? You should all take them on together. But because Aguri doesn’t fight with them at first Lela is able to take all their attacks and thrash the 5 of them. For some reason in this episode Ace Shot Boom is purple, I’m not sure if that was an animation mistake or not, there’s no reason why she’d be using the purple version of her attack and not her normal red one.

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So after beating them Lela sees that they have the crystal mirror. He recognizes it as one of the legendary treasures and decides to break it. Ace refuses to give up even after this but her transformation gives out and Lela leave the group to suffer and wait for the apocalypse when all the Jikochu are born.

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Heart apologizes to Sword, now she knows what’s it like to lose your world. She cries out… and then slaps herself back into action. No sense being down now, they have to do something. Aida Mana doesn’t fall apart so easily. What? Did you think this was Smile or something and there’d be crying for ten minutes? Heart just needed to let it out for a bit.

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With the mirror broken they clearly can’t win she says. So they just have to get stronger right now some other way. Aguri grows up when she transforms because of her convictions so Heart says their strong convictions will be their fuel. They’ll never give in to the Selfishness and they wont let Earth fall. The girls have made it to the next stage of being Precure.

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And the new 6th Oath. As long as they combine their powers nothing is impossible.

They go to fight Lela again and despite the great gap in power, despite Aguri still being untransformed they fight back with all their might and their strong hearts unlock the power of the shattered crystal mirror, each of the 5 pieces transforming into a Lovely Pad.

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It’s definitely different from the normal powerup items you see in Precure. Not as thematically great or important as Smile’s Royal Clock though. Aguri is able to transform into Cure Ace again and the 5 Doki Doki Precure are able to use their new power and attack on Lela. Ai-chan also creates new Lovies to use with it.

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“We grant our powers to Cure Heart!” Yes, Heart is now more special than Ace. Just like Sword before her. Lovely Straight Flush is an okay looking attack, besides it being a great example of Mana Mana Precure I don’t have a problem with it.

Lela is blasted with it and they’re forced to retreat, losing their super form in the process and being severely weakened, the tree is also destroyed and everything goes back to normal.

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Having retreated to their hideout Leva and Gula are surprise attacked by Bel, he sucks out all their evil energy, taking it for himself and killing them. Goodbye Leva and Gula. This is pretty refreshing in a way since for the last 4 years villains haven’t died at this point in a season. Leva and Gula were also interesting for coming into the show when they did however they were never fully realized, Gula especially. They were only in a 9 episode span of the show and didn’t even appear or do anything in all of those. Leva was good while he lasted but their poor shelf life and lack of good episodes, and the fact that they went out in a really rushed episode that should’ve had two parts, makes them both pretty forgettable. They were just such a… speed bump. And now the next part of Doki Doki begins.

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So episode 32 is the school festival episode and we get to see how helpless everyone else at school is when Mana is sick. Bel has also turned Leva and Gula’s energy into Blood Rings and gives them to Ira and Mammo, and then tells them that he’s in charge now. When they try to disobey him he can shock them with the rings and they can’t take them off either. So Bel “takes over” for now.

This episode is essentially about Aguri learning how awesome Mana is and trying to get people to stop relying on her as much. Mana tells her she just wants to help when she can, it’s not like she can do everything and she asks for help when she needs to. Yeah sure.

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Ira comes in and creates a powered up Jikochu out of a kid at the festival. Rikka chastises him for still doing stuff like this but he just tells her to mind her own business. At least the events of episode 26 get mentioned.

The action is pretty good this episode. 32 also starts an “arc” where the girls each get a new attack. These new attacks are all pointless and sucky.

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Ace gains her attack due to her appreciation and feelings for Mana. The students who care about Mana and Ace’s desire to protect them as well. Aguri also essentially states that Mana is even better than the Happy Prince because the help she gives people goes farther and gets them to help themselves.

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Her new attack is called Ace Mirror Flash and it’s… stupid. And shit. It’s just another support move and Ace already had 3 of those. It’s slow looking and bland too. And I cant help but laugh how she gained the attack because of realizing how awesome Mana is. Dear god. All the new attacks are terrible, they barely get used, and they look like crap. And they’re all support type moves that their old attacks were already essentially used for the same purpose.

So anyways she blinds the Jikochu with this and the girls finish it with Lovely Straight Flush.

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Mana thanks Aguri for all her help today and Aguri comes around to Mana’s way of thinking and doing things. Because of course she does.

Episode 33 next up is a good one but still has a few problems because after all this is Doki we’re watching.

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The girls are all having a sleepover at Alice’s mansion when her father comes home after being away for a few months. He’s a cool dude now. The episode also has the best action in Doki so far.

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Later Alice tells the girls that her dream is to put smiles on people around the world, reminds me of Yayoi wanting world peace, and that she realized this dream because of Mana. We then get treated to yet another flashback for Alice. Please for the love of god can’t they come up with a different device for her?

We learn that Alice was weak and sickly as a child… which doesn’t exactly mesh well with what we already knew about her but okay whatever. She first met Mana and Rikka one day and even though her father used to be fiercely overprotective of her Sebastian let her outside the manor to go play with her new friends. She hung out with them a lot but then got a fever one day and her father learned about how she’d been going out recently.

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Her father forbids her from going out again and plans to move her to someplace healthier for her. But Sebastian lets Mana and Rikka in to see her and they try running away and hiding in the mansion after Alice tells them she really wants to stay with them. Sebastian also helps out some more and there’s some good wacky comedy in this sequence.

When her father sees how much she’s running and everything she’s doing to stay with her friends he’s amazed at how much healthier she’s gotten.

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Alice says she’s felt better ever since meeting Mana and Rikka. Her father is so happy for her and thinks this is just what she really needed. He asks Mana and Rikka to take care of her from now on. Mana says it’s only natural to help a friend who needs it, and also…

Right as we’re about to learn what else Mana said that affected Alice and got her to start dreaming of putting smiles on everyone’s faces Mammo attacks and creates a Jikochu that puts Alice’s father in danger.

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Alice transforms and rescues her father (who might seem to recognize her) and then goes back to kick the Jikochu’s ass all on her own. This sequence has great animation and music. She thinks back on what Mana said to her father and how that shaped her life, she wants to become someone just like Mana and gets her new attack from these feelings.

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Rosetta’s new attack is Rosetta Balloon. And oh dear god where to even start with this. First off it’s incredibly stupid and random, butterflies come out of it and surround the Jikochu, and then of course there’s what Rosetta says at the end, that something new will come out each time and to look forward to it.

REMEMBER THAT.

It’s also kind of lame how the new powered up Jikochu got its ass kicked by a single Precure so quickly, they just debuted last episode. That balloon will haunt my dreams for years.

Episode 34 is up next, Rikka’s episode. But not only that it also starts a new arc revolving around Ai-chan.

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Ai for some reason has started crying and being grumpy I suppose. When she cries and is upset the negative feelings power up the villains and Jikochu. Despite this not happening in previous episodes where she was upset…

Technically it makes sense, and even moreso when we learn just what Ai really is, that when Ai is happy the positive feelings power up the Precure and when unhappy the negative feelings power up the feelings. But it’s just not consistent. The girls try to get Ai to stop but they don’t know what’s up. Rikka’s mom says that Rikka cried a bunch as a kid while Mana was apparently super special and amazing already. Mana’s mom tells her to always smile in front of Ai-chan to not worry her. And Rikka’s mom tells her that the experiences they had together while she was raising Rikka are what made them mother and daughter. Rikka now, wanting to help Ai the same way her mother did when she was a baby, tries to take care of Ai and get her to stop crying.

Bel meanwhile tells Ira and Mammo to figure out the secret of Ai-chan’s power and so Ira goes to Earth and tries to make her upset during the fight this episode.

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Ai is still in a positive enough mood to let Aguri transform into Ace at least. And there’s honestly no point in taking a screenshot of either Diamond or Sword’s new attacks so whatever. Diamond’s new attack is Diamond Swirl and she gets it by helping Ai-chan and saving her from Ira, the strong feelings she has for Ai not only bring out her attack but also get Ai to stop crying cause she can tell how strongly Rikka is trying to reach her.

Wait, what? Ace and Rosetta got their new attacks because of their feelings for Mana and how she impacted them. You can’t just change how new attacks are gained midway through that’s terrible writing and arbitrary bullshit!

Blah blah blah they defeat the Jikochu and then the girls get contacted by Princess Ange through the mirror like she did with Makoto back in episode 24.

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At the start of episode 35 the Princess tells the girls that Ai has two purposes, to power up the girls through the fairies and to act as a shield against evil. But with Ai now in her rebellious phase if she starts feeling selfish or behaving badly herself that power will vanish and she’ll instead power up the villains. It is the Precure’s duty now to make sure Ai doesn’t grow up into a selfish child. Princess Ange tells them that Ai-chan is the final hope that can save the world.

That’s kind of an exaggeration though, Ai is never really that important. Not like Candy or even Porun or Chiffon. And wasn’t she just supposed to be Ace’s fairy?

Rikka also notices that Ai is growing teeth and might become even more grumpy because of it. Makoto then realizes she has a cavity because she has no idea what brushing your teeth is. Makoto hasn’t done anything for ten episodes. This is a really fun episode at least.

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Makoto gets her powerup when she’s reminded of her dream and mission to save the Trump Kingdom. Aguri chastises her when she’s almost too afraid to act in the fight this episode and Makoto briefly sees an image of the Princess over her. Hm. Anyways Swords new attack is Sword Hurricane and who the hell cares about it.

At the end of the episode Aguri also says that when she saw the Princess in the mirror she felt like she already knew her, what could this all mean?

We then get to episode 36 which is another good one. Raquel gets a crush on a girl at Mana and Rikka’s school. It’s a fun episode, there’s not much to say about it other than that. Lots of good comedy. Movie scenes also start appearing in the opening. Unfortunately for Raquel the girl already has a boyfriend, NTR’d just like Rin. Raquel still loves Rikka though.

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Next up is another really wacky episode. Ai doesn’t want to eat her carrots and we learn that Aguri also doesn’t like carrots. The always trying to be mature and ladylike Aguri is picky about her food, what a kid. The other girls tell Aguri she needs to set a good example for Ai, otherwise Ai will become more selfish. They go to a carrot farm and after a day of helping around there Aguri gets a new found respect for carrots and she teaches Ai-chan to love them too. Hooray!

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And at the very end of the episode… well, best not to speak about that yet.

Up next is episode 38, without a doubt the best episode of Doki Doki Precure. I love it, as much as I dislike Doki I love this next episode. Because this is still Doki Doki we’re talking about it has a couple problems but it’s still what I would consider a 5-star episode. Yonemura wrote it too and it has some really nice animation to boot.

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Bel puts his master plan into action. Recently the girls have succeeded at getting Ai to be good and she isn’t throwing tantrums or being selfish anymore. But Bel is going to turn Ai into a Jikochu by luring her out at night with Ira and Mammo and playing with her and teaching her mean things and selfish manners. And of course they return her before morning so Mana doesn’t find out, although Sharuru gets suspicious.

Ai starts reverting to how she could be a few episodes ago, and only caring about herself and her own happiness. Ai’s heart starts to darken all the way because of this. Bel is thinking how smoothly his plan is going, the guy still has delusions of grandeur on how he can overtake King Jikochu. The next day he sends a letter to the girls, saying he has Ai and that if they want her they should come to this old abandoned factory and fight.

There the girls are surprised to see Ai willingly with the villains. Sharuru realizes that they’ve been taken her out every night and messing with her. When the girls say Ai-chan can’t be selfish and do bad things Bel tells her how the girls are trying to take away Ai’s fun and Ai’s selfish feelings power up the villains. The Precure transform, except for Aguri of course, and fight Ira and Mammo.

Eventually Ai can tell that what’s happening is hurting the girls she still loves but her sadness still just powers up the villains. Eventually her power starts going on overload and wrecking the factory and she and Heart get trapped in a fallen smokestack together.

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Heart apologizes for not realizing what was happening to Ai-chan, but says she still believes in Ai because her smile has always filled them with so much joy. She tells Ai to remember all the things they’ve been through recently, everything they’ve taught her and how they tried to support and raise her and the hopes they have that she’ll become a good girl. How she cheered up Mana after what happened with Regina too, all the brightness she’s brought to everyone’s life. Mana says that she was supported by her mom and everyone as a child so now she wants to do the same for Ai. Everyone cares so much about Ai.

And Ai-chan regains her love.

The villains enhanced power disappears but Bel tells Ira and Mammo to max out their Blood Rings, they prepare to blow away the girls and so Aguri transforms. She uses a massively powered up Ace Shot Boom to blow away Ira and Mammo. Those Blood Rings can’t stand up to an Ai filled with love.

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Bel takes both the Blood Rings and transforms into Super Bel. But even he can’t stand up to the girls and their Lovely Straight Flush. He gets blasted away, the Blood Rings get destroyed, and Ira and Mammo grab him, and call him an idiot, and retreat.

The girls think that maybe now they can defeat King Jikochu and Mana wonders if they can meet Regina again.

What a great episode. Only big problem was that I wish there was more focus on Aguri and Ai instead of just Mana, I mean Ai is supposed to be her fairy after all. And it was kind of rushed, again this might’ve worked better as a two part episode. I don’t think it would’ve been too difficult for Aguri to be in that smokestack with them and also trying to get Ai to come back to normal, especially after last episode. That being said it was still a good cap off to this arc, the last 15-ish episodes of Doki have actually been good. The show has felt more like Precure and really did a good job of actually developing other characters and things even if they don’t have a lot of closure in the end. If Doki could keep up this momentum for the rest of its run and finale it could actually be, dare I say it? Good? It certainly showed a big improvement in overall quality once Regina was gone and maybe-

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FUCK

So yeah, at the end of episode 37 we saw that Regina was waking up and at the end of episode 38 she wakes up completely and reveals herself to the Selfish Trio again after their defeat. Kill me.

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So for episode 39 Bel is back to being Regina’s flunky, he tells her about the Magical Lovely Pad so she asks about the other legendary items. The Miracle Dragon Glaive is stuck below the palace but the selfish can’t remove it and use it.

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Bel disguises himself as Joe in a bid to get the Precure to come to the Trump Kingdom and remove the spear for them. The girls at this time were just thinking about a way to get to the Trump Kingdom so they could fight King Jikochu… uh, I guess they can’t use the Royal Crystals anymore? Whatever. They actually see through Bel’s disguise pretty quickly but go along with it anyways, he tells them about the Dragon Glaive and how it might be able to free the Princess. So they all just let him transport them to the Kingdom.

Aguri feels pretty nostalgic when they get to the Trump Kingdom for some reason. Ai uses the Magical Lovely Pad when they get there to make a map to the spear. Because it can do that. Sure why not. When the girls get to the spear they quickly round on Bel and tell him how easily they saw through his disguise but used him to bring them to the Trump Kingdom and spear. They want to talk to King Jikochu and get him to return the Kingdom to normal and never hurt Regina again.

Bel brings out a Jikochu and the girls transform and fight. While Ace handles it the other girls try to take the spear but none of them can remove it from where it rests. Take note that Ace never tries removing it though. And then Regina appears.

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Heart is so happy to see her that she jumps up and hugs Regina. Because that totally isn’t an absurd and stupid thing to do. Regina still tells her that her father is the only one she cares about and vice versa but Heart and the other girls aren’t having any of that. They all try to tell Regina that Heart cares about her and has always been thinking about her. Ace tells Regina that Heart will always come for her, because of her love.

Regina tries blasting the girls but they’re all much stronger now. Heart tries to get her back to normal but Regina still rejects feelings of love and friendship. Her selfish power grows, she was happiest with her father back when she didn’t have to worry about anything.

Heart gets her new attack, Heart Dynamite, from her feelings of wanting to save Regina. Again who cares about it, another pointless attack that’s barely used and doesn’t look good. The girls defeat the Jikochu Bel brought and Regina gets angry from everything they’ve said.

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She’s able to pull out the Miracle Dragon Glaive. Everyone is shocked and Bel wonders if the spear chose her. She attacks the girls with it and they’re only barely able to withstand its power, luckily Ai-chan does something with the Magical Lovely Pad again and creates a mirror door back to Earth. Because it can do that too. Why not. The girls escape but Regina says they wont get away next time.

And so Regina is back and the main focus again. Hooray.

Episode 40 next is a pretty good episode with only a couple minor problems.

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Bel wonders if Regina is really a Selfish since she can use the spear. Mana says she refuses to fight Regina because she knows she’s being controlled, the fact she loves her father proves she has love in her heart. Well, she’s not wrong I guess. At this point Regina plans to weaken the hearts of the humans of Earth by messing with their songs and music, at the same time Makoto is making a new song that she wants to use to relay her and everyone elses feelings to Regina. It isn’t going well at first so everyone helps her out, Aguri gets to listen to Mana sing for the first time which is pretty funny.

Makoto finishes the song with their help and gets ready to ship it. But at the announcement for the new song Regina attacks and creates a CD Jikochu. Makoto is there alone at first to fight her.

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Regina uses her power to pin Sword against a wall and then the other girls come in, but Regina brings in Ira and Mammo to keep them from interfering. Heart tells Regina that she made a new song expressly for her but Regina doesn’t care.

While the others fight Sword detransforms and has Davi put on the music for the song, Makoto decides to sing it for Regina right here and now in the middle of the fight. The song instantly affects Regina, causing her heart to pound again and the bonds on Makoto break.

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Regina orders Ira and Mammo to stop Makoto but the other girls fight them and make sure Makoto can continue singing. She slowly walks towards Regina, who continues to freak out over the song and then attacks her with her spear. But Makoto simply grabs it and sings and sings for Regina, transforming piece by piece and relaying all the love and feelings she has for her. Regina is clearly affected and even smiles before shaking it off.

She prepares to blast the girls with the spear but everyone combined feelings for her give birth to a new set of Lovies and draw out new power from the Magical Lovely Pad.

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They use their new attack called Precure Royal Lovely Straight Flush and defeat the Jikochu with it, Regina then flees with Ira and Mammo. Makoto says her song couldn’t reach Regina but Aguri says it definitely did, she has a heart full of love.

There was some really nice animation and pretty good action this episode. Makoto’s song and slow transformation were great. I don’t really like the Magical Lovely Pad transforming and having even more power though, none of the other legendary items are like that. The girls get wings from this new power that they can use to fly with even outside of stock footage. The new attack is okay, best thing about it is that it’s no longer centered around Mana. Still I feel them getting a new attack like this was kind of just unnecessary in general. And the name annoys the hell out of me. YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE ROYAL AND STRAIGHT TOGETHER. A royal flush is already a straight flush. Kamen Rider Blade did the same thing. So annoying.

Episode 41 is next. It’s an Alice episode. Something to mention with it and 40 is that they’re kind of like a little mini-arc where both Makoto and Alice individually tried relaying their love and feelings to Regina. You might think Doki was doing something like Smile did at the end and give each girl their own episode for this but nope. It’s like they came up with an idea for an arc and then in the middle of it decided to do something different. So right after episode 41 things change up again.

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So for episode 41 itself Reina comes back after almost 30 episodes. We learn that Alice wanted to open a flower shop as a kid but now plans to inherit her fathers business. Honestly there’s kind of a lot that goes on in this episode but it’s all pretty pointless, doesn’t develop Alice anymore than she already was and we just get the same thing again with Regina as last episode. I wish we had learned earlier or really seen more of Alice’s apparent love for flowers. Alice and Reina become real friends this episode but I can’t bring myself to care about that. Can anyone? There’s a good deal of wackiness this episode too that feels like it would be more in place in Fresh. The girls go into space but it’s not the first time Precure has done that. The only other thing to mention is this throwaway line of Ace’s that if Rosetta overexerts herself she’ll die. Okay, since when do the Cures powers run on lifeforce, nothing before has implied this and it’s not brought up again. It’s just random. Obviously it takes “energy” for the girls to use their powers and fight and stuff but the idea that they could die if they go too far is out of left field.

Alice at the end says that she wants to use the power of love to protect peoples smiles. Good for her.

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Episode 42 starts with Aguri having a dream about Ange fighting King Jikochu. She doesn’t understand why she’s having dreams like this. The other girls learn that Aguri doesn’t know what day her birthday is because she was adopted, her “grandmother” isn’t her real grandmother she just took her in when she had no one else. We also learn that Makoto’s parents died when she was young but it doesn’t really bother her because the Princess was there for her. Still I feel like this is something we should’ve learned about earlier with Makoto and spent more time on… I mean after this no one really brings it up. Guess no one cares enough about Makoto. Yeah they say that “some things are so important/personal you don’t even want to tell your friends about it” or something like that but considering the themes and ideas Doki ends up bringing up in its finale this is really something that should’ve been explored more.

Mana decides they’ll hold a birthday party for Aguri tomorrow. Regina meanwhile is bothered by the events of the last two episodes and goes to cause more problems on Earth.

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Aguri dreams some more and we kind of see what King Jikochu looks like unsealed but it’s not the clearest. Aguri talks with her grandmother and says she never wants to leave her but her grandmother says that’s just an inevitable thing one of these days as she grows up. The next day Regina attacks everyone at the party, she gets annoyed at the happy party they’re having and Heart tries to tell her that birthdays are a thing to be celebrated. The girls fight back against Regina and defeat her and everyone enjoys the rest of the party.

Next up is episode 43 which is a big one for revelations and explains the plot holes of Aguri’s backstory from episode 27.

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It’s Parent’s Day at Aguri’s school tomorrow but while the girls are fighting a Jikochu Aguri’s grandmother witnesses Aguri detransform from Ace. She’s been found out, what now? At home her grandmother reveals that she’s always known Aguri was special and she tells her what she knows. Aguri can’t remember the day they met, it was one year ago when her grandmother saw something fall from the sky and went to it. It was a baby. A bird Jikochu then attacked them but a bright light came from the baby and destroyed it, at the same time it transformed the baby into a young girl and Aguri’s grandmother heard a voice speak to her. Saying the girl was Cure Ace and asking her to please watch over her.

Aguri runs out of her house crying, she runs to Mana and the other girls to tell them everything. They don’t actually find it too surprising, guess they’re used to weird stuff by now. Aguri wonders about her old memories, when she lost to the Selfishness, what really happened? When did that happen? She doesn’t have any memories before it either. What is she? She tells the girls about the dreams she’s been having too and everyone tries to figure out what’s up.

Aguri ran from her grandmother because she doesn’t want to be a problem for her but Mana says she doesn’t think she’s a burden. The girls all tell her that her grandmother clearly loves her. And Aguri really doesn’t want to leave her.

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The next day is Parent’s Day at Aguri’s school and Aguri meets her grandmother there. Regina attacks the school though. While fighting her Ace’s grandmother comes to comfort her and tells her she knows how much Ace loves her and the love emanating from them harms Regina and the girls all defeat her Jikochu. Ace tells her she still wants to be with her and she’s sorry for running away last night.

These were a good couple of episodes. Next up is episode 44 and things finally begin to move into endgame.

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It’s Christmas time and King Jikochu is nearing revival. Regina has a plan to defeat the Precure by first removing Mana so the other 4 will be easy to defeat. Ira and Mammo disguise themselves as student council presidents from other schools and con Mana into thinking there’s a speech contest to decide who’s the best president. Mammo is currently channeling her inner Ms. Shitataare. And somehoe none of the girls can see through their disguises despite easily seeing through Bel’s back in episode 39.

The supposed contest is on Christmas Eve though and Mana and the girls planned to partake in a parade but the other girls convince Mana to go to the contest and they’ll take care of everything, including all the schoolwork Mana normally does at this time of the year. Ira and Mammor lure Mana to the fake contest and trap her in a cage, uh-oh. Meanwhile Rikka and Makoto are kind of overwhelmed by all the work they have to do but Mana left them a bunch of notes and memos and even snacks to help them. Because she’s perfect after all.

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Mana transforms into Heart but cant break out of the cage because it’s magic. Regina and the Selfish Trio attack the other girls but find that even without Mana they’re very strong and Diamond asks Regina to give Mana back. And then Heart gets rescued by an old friend.

Not like it matters cause the other girls are still winning the fight anyways.

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The girls are still connected even when separated after all. It doesn’t matter that Mana isn’t here with them they’re always thinking about her and vice versa. “Our hearts are always together”. Diamond says it’s the same for Regina, she’s always thinking about Mana and Mana is always thinking about her. Mana is in Regina’s heart too. This… this is all so gay.

Regina’s heart hurts again and her Jikochu weakens so Diamond asks her the million dollar question.

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Gaaaaaaaaaaaay.

So Regina does admit she loves Mana too just like Mana loves her. And she gets super embarrassed about it, especially when Heart turns out to be right there and heard her. Regina starts blushing like crazy and refusing to admit what she just said. The girls defeat her Jikochu and Regina begins to retreat but Heart calls out to her, asking her to stay.

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Regina’s eyes actually briefly turn blue, she says she does love Mana but she loves her King Jikochu too and she’s the only thing he has. Mana still has everyone else. These conflicting feelings hurt her again like they did in episode 22 but then King Jikochu calls for her and her eyes return to being red and she goes back to him.

The girls are asking if Mana’s okay and she says she is and then she tells them that she got rescued by Joe and he reveals himself to them all. So Joe is back, left at episode 22 and returned at episode 44. He has hardly been mentioned since. It’s kind of weird to think he was gone for as long as he first appeared. And then he’s back so suddenly without any warning. What could possibly be the reason?

Episode 45 I suppose is where you could say the finale really begins although the actual final battles don’t begin until 47.

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So the girls chew Joe out for being gone so long. He tells them that Ange is still sleeping but in the meantime he found the Eternal Golden Crown. Yes it was right when Ai left to go find Aguri, Ange’s spirit spoke to Joe and told him to go find the Crown. So yeah, Joe’s been gone for ages and comes back suddenly with a big plot device. As expected of Doki. Mana tries wearing the crown but it doesn’t do anything, apparently the crown possesses all knowledge but will only work for someone who meets its requirements or whatever. And that’s when Aguri touches it. She is bombarded with images and memories and falls unconscious.

When she wakes up she’s being comforted by her grandmother. But this isn’t the old Aguri, the crown told her everything. She knows exactly who and what she is now and what her fate is. She has a mission.

Aguri later invites Joe and Makoto to talk privately. When she’s alone with them she shatters the princess encased in ice to reveal… nothing. It was a fake, an illusion to distract the Selfishness from the truth. The crown revealed all of this to Aguri, she then tells Makoto and Joe what she knows although we the audience do not get to learn just yet. We then skip ahead to Aguri planning to fight Regina in the Trump Kingdom, Makoto and Joe are shocked by what she’s told them, and she’s bringing the two of them along if they wish to come. She wont tell Mana because Mana will try to stop it but Aguri knows she and Regina have to fight, there is no other way. Aguri, Makoto, Joe and Ai go to the Trump Kingdom the next day. Mana and the other two irrelevant girls learn something is wrong the next day when they’re all missing.

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Aguri attacks Regina in the Trump Kingdom, showing her the Eternal Golden Crown and challenging Regina to a duel. She transforms into Ace and the fight begins. It’s one of the better fights in Doki, good action and a lot of nice animation. Ace has also powered up with the Crown and is no longer constrained by the 5 minute time limit, not like that has been relevant in a while anyways though.

Makoto watches them fight and sees the destruction being brought to the Kingdom, she wishes they would stop, not wanting to lose either of them. That’s when Bel comes in, he’s planning to take both of the Legendary Items from the girls (he still has delusions of being Number One) and so he orders his Jikochu to first attack Ace, interrupting the duel between her and Regina.

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That spider Jikochu back from episode 21 reappears. Seeing all this happen sends Sword over the edge, she doesn’t want this, she screams for Mana to come and save everything. And only Mana of course. I mean, that’s just Mana’s business isn’t it?

And right as she screams for her Heart and those other two arrive courtesy of the Magical Lovely Pad. The 5 Precure collected together destroy the Jikochu attacking them and Bel flees. Ace however is still prepared to finish off Regina, but Heart steps between them.

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Ace tells her that it’s their fate to do this and decides to tell them all what the Crown told her. She says that she and Regina came from Marie Ange, they are her light and shadow respectively. And at the very end of the episode King Jikochu begins to break free.

So what does this all mean? Well at the start of episode 46 Ace uses the Crown to bring everyone to the past and show them what happened, what led to them being born and the series of events that shaped Doki Doki Precure. Ace shows Regina too.

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It’s the day Ange was born. We see the King of the Trump Kingdom, someone not once mentioned or even implied to exist until now, although the fairies act like they’ve always known him. Whatever. We see that Ange’s mother died shortly after giving birth to her. The King loves his new daughter dearly and she grew up happy.

But one day she suddenly fell ill. From a piece of darkness entering her body.

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The King was distraught, first his wife and now his beloved daughter. No one could do anything… however. The Eternal Golden Crown, that possesses all the knowledge of the world could be used to save her. But there was a problem. The Crown was being used to seal away the darkness that the Precure defeated 10,000 years ago. If it was removed the darkness would escape. The seal weakening in the first place allowed the darkness to strike Ange ill. What will the King do?

Could he sacrifice the world for Ange? Sacrifice the peaceful lives of everyone for Ange? Could he do something so selfish? Ange wouldn’t be happy if he did do it… but Ange’s death is the same as the death of the world for him. Nothing else matters but saving Ange!

He takes the Crown from its resting spot and allows the evil to be unleashed upon the world. Using the Crown Ange’s life is saved but…

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The unsealed Darkness consumes the King and turns him into King Jikochu. The battle at the beginning of Doki… begins… and we see the “seven” minions of King Jikochu fight in the Trump Kingdom as well. So now we see everything that happened at the start of the series. Ange could’ve defeated King Jikochu with the power of the Dragon Glaive but instead chose to seal him because she couldn’t bear killing her father. Then we see what happened to her after she got separated from Makoto in the mirror doorway world.

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Bel followed her and begins to tell her off for her actions and her fathers. She could’ve defeated King Jikochu and saved her people but decided not to. Just like her father she sacrificed her people for her own selfish personal feelings. She’s the most selfish of all!

Her heart begins to darken and Bel prepares to turn her into a Jikochu when-

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The Princess rips out her own heart and breaks it in half.

Yikes.

The dark half is the love of her father and the light is the love to protect everyone’s smiles. Marie Ange can’t come to a decision on her own, she can’t conquer the divided feelings within herself so she pulled them out and left it up to the future. The dark half lands at the feet of King Jikochu and becomes Regina while the light half became Ace. Her body then turned into an egg and eventually became Ai-chan. She knows one day the two halves of her will have to fight and is sorry for that fate.

When the girls learn of this Doki tries to use it as an explanation for why Regina got brainwashed by the Royal Crystals. But that still doesn’t actually make any sense. The crystals were for Ace and Ace is Regina’s other half and yadda yadda yadda whatever.

And the girls realize that because of all this the Princess can never truly come back. Sad.

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So they get out of the world of memories after seeing all this. Mana says she understands now but still can’t let Ace and Regina fight. But Regina just cries, happily, saying how amazed she is at what her father was willing to do for her, how much love he gave her. She goes back to her old red coloring instead of purple and her eyes go back to blue as well. She’s no longer controlled. No, now she will willingly 100% fight for her father.

She will fight for King Jikochu who sacrificed everything for her and she flies to him right as he revives fully. She uses her spear to tear a portal to Earth open and the two of them leave to conquer it just like the Trump Kingdom. Aguri says there’s no other way, they must be stopped or the Trump Kingdom will never be revived either but Makoto asks her if that’s really okay. Mana says that regardless of everything else they still need to go to Earth and stop them for now.

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The final battle begins with King Jikochu walking through the ocean towards the city and the girls travel back to Earth with the Magical Lovely Pad, landing on top of the Clover Tower. Transforming, they prepare to protect the world.

Oh god. So much to talk about with this episode. Well first off all King Jikochu’s revival has no real buildup to it, it just happens. It’s the end of the show so yep, time for the main villain to revive. Doki has a really short feeling finale too because episode 46 is almost entirely a flashback, it doesn’t feel like the finale starts until episode 47. Kind of similar to how it didn’t really feel like Yes5’s finale really begun until the very end of episode 46. And then there’s the silhouettes of the missing two sins from the Jikochu villains. Yeah no explanations there. THEY DIDNT THINK THAT THROUGH.

And why can Ange do all that stuff? She’s not a Precure but she can use all the treasures, the Royal Crystals were basically her toys, she was able to rip out her heart and separate it and it grew into two different powerful people, her body became Ai-chan which can do all kinds of things and then apparently her leftover spirit made that ice illusion and could still talk to everyone through the mirror/etc. What? Really? This just doesn’t work for me. Ange, her father, these aren’t people like the Queen of Light or Royal Queen, why is Ange so powerful? And how could Bel not put two and two together after seeing all that shit happen when he confronted her in the mirror world? How could this guy not have any sort of ideas on that or think something was weird earlier?

There’s just so much poorly explained or blatantly unexplained crap in Doki. And it’s not that the writers didn’t care, it’s not, Smile often got that accusation while it aired. That the writers and makers and whatever didn’t give a shit about it but that wasn’t true and it’s not true for Doki either. You see Doki’s problem isn’t that they didn’t care, it’s that they only cared about one thing. Mana. And so everything not having directly to do with Mana gets a second or third rate job done. This is why Makoto fades away, this is why nothing is done with Rikka and Ira, this is why everything revolving around Ange and her father and the villains has such a thin premise.

It’s not Doki Doki Precure. It’s Mana Mana Precure. Onto episode 47.

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The people of Earth are shocked and terrified to see King Jikochu approaching. Bel, Ira and Mammo go to cause havoc in the city. Although Ira doesn’t seem especially enthusiastic about any of this and he also tells Regina that it’s clear that she isn’t really happy with any of this either.

Everyone then sees the Precure flying through the sky to face King Jikochu and his army of beast Jikochu brought over from the Trump Kingdom. The people see them on tv as they use their powerful moves to mop up the enemies on the way towards King Jikochu, their families, friends, fellow students, random people etc. all watch this. The students at school also recognize the girls back from episode 32.

Ace and Heart go to King Jikochu while the others deal with the Selfish Trio. Diamond fights against Ira and she tells him they can’t give up. You know Mammo hardly feels like a villain anymore though.

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Heart and Ace confront Regina, Heart says together they’ll talk to her father. Just like they promised long ago. But when Heart tries to speak to him he just yells for silence and swats the two Cures out of the air and then steps on them.

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But Heart and Ace are strong. They’re actually able to push back against King Jikochu and make him stumble. They say they’ll protect everyone’s smiles and that includes the smiles of Regina and her father too.

Bel says that this is all pointless though and explains why:

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In the Trump Kingdom, even though everyone was happy and peaceful, when the invasion happened peoples fear changed them and they started fighting amongst themselves while running away, not caring about anyone but themselves they became prime targets to be turned into more Jikochu and the invasion was over in a flash because of that. Bel says the same thing is happening on Earth right now. The people will meet the same fate as those of the Trump Kingdom.

Heart though says that wont happen. The power of love beats everything.

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Heart can hear the hearts of the good people that will help others in this turmoil. That wont just abandon everything and just try to save their own skin. We see all the victims of the week, big and small. from past episodes. Because they were touched and influenced by the Doki Doki Precure they help people in need and keep others from falling into Selfishness too. The Cures families and Sebastian help out as well.

Okay. This is a great idea and I love it. But it doesn’t work very well in Doki Doki because most of the time the girls weren’t really helping or fixing the problems of people turned into Jikochu. And often we didn’t know anything about these people or see them afterwards. This is something that would’ve worked better in a season like Heartcatch. In Doki Doki it kind of falls flat. And so what about the people in the Trump Kingdom? Were they just jerks or something? They had the Princess, they had Cure Sword, why were they all such a bunch of assholes apparently?

Anyways King Jikochu says he’ll get rid of all this crap then and he fires a beam at the Clover Tower. Rosetta is barely able to deflect some of it but it still causes the tower to be blown in two. King Jikochu tells them everything is pointless but the Cures say that because he’s Regina’s father they’ll come to an understanding and stop him.

Regina then attacks Cure Heart.

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Heart fights her one on one while the others fight the Selfish Trio. Heart tries to get her to stop and doesn’t fight back against her. She says it’s because they’re friends and she’ll keep the promise she made with her. Regina says they aren’t friends but Heart says that Regina doesn’t need to cry and hurt anymore. She knows Regina doesn’t want to do this. Regina asks why she’s going so far for her and Heart replies that it’s simply because she loves her.

Gaaaaaaaaay.

And because Regina loves her father she wants to come to love him too. She wants to get all this fighting to stop so one day they can all live happily.

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King Jikochu yells at Heart to not mislead his beloved daughter and he fires another beam at her. But Regina dispels it with her spear. King Jikochu asks what she’s doing, is love blossoming in her heart again? Regina replies that she always had love in her heart, the love she had for him, but now she loves Mana too and she can’t choose between them.

The other girls say how they love everyone too. There’s nothing wrong with it like King Jikochu thinks, wanting Regina all to himself is bad.

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Ace says she wants to love King Jikochu too, just like Regina. Not fight him anymore. He’s still her father.

And when King Jikochu hears this and looks at her he sees Ange, the precious daughter of the King that King Jikochu was made from. And his heart beats.

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That small amount of love rises up from inside him. The love from the King before he was swallowed by darkness. King Jikochu howls in rage and pain and says he;ll destroy love and everything again and he punches at the girls.

And that’s actually right where the episode ends. Episode 48 opens with him punching the Clover Tower into the ground but all the Precure and Regina are okay. You know episode 47 was pretty good but it would’ve been better if… well, if Doki was just generally better. And Regina becomes good again so quickly.

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At the start of episode 48 Heart uses the Magical Lovely Pad to see inside King Jikochu and find where the King is. They see him frozen in the huge black heart of King Jikochu. Heart plans to go inside and rescue him. The others are kind of incredulous about this but it’s Mana after all so they’re not too surprised with her.

Of course because after all she can do anything. She is-

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She screams it out loudly and because they’re on tv the whole world hears. So much for secret identities. None of the fairies seem to mind though. Their families, friends and everyone else begin to cheer the Precure on. It’s like the Miracle Lights.

Again this is a really great idea that I like a lot but it’s something that would’ve again been better in Fresh, Heartcatch or Suite. Fresh’s reveal, even though it was on a much smaller scale, was so much better. Although Doki is hardly the most insular of seasons this doesn’t draw out as much emotion as it should. Still a nice scene though.

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The sound of all that cheering pisses King Jikochu off.

To get inside of him Rosetta decides to make a distraction.

Yeah…

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Rosetta calls forth a massive Rosetta Balloon and out pops a gigantic Lance doll.

Yeah.

BE SURE TO LOOK FORWARD TO IT! I mean seriously, that ability disappeared after episode 33 and now a massive version of it unleashes something completely different than before. I mean what the fuck is this? It’s played for comedy too as King Jikochu starts biting its ears. Doki’s uneven nature is back in full force. Too much silliness when otherwise serious events are taking place.

Regina, Ace, Sword, Heart and Ai-chan go into King Jikochu’s body while Diamond blocks the mouth so more beast Jikochu cant follow them in, but there are still a ton of Jikochu already inside him so Sword offers to stall those while the rest make it to his heart. They make it to the heart but a bunch of new enemies composed of dark energy appeared called Selfish Cells. There’s some good animation here and they pose a tough fight for the girls while the other Precure slowly run out of energy/lose. Sword’s fight also has parallels to her fight at the beginning of episode 1.

You know this whole situation kind of reminds me of when Goku and Vegeta went inside Buu…

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Diamond, Sword and Rosetta all pull out as much energy as possible and their aura powerups reappear after being mia for a while. Diamond and Rosetta use up all their power to stall while Sword seems on the brink of defeat. However Rosetta in a final move drops the Lance doll on King Jikochu’s head and temporarily stops him from causing anymore destruction outside.

At the heart the Selfish Cells say that the King gave up his soul to the darkness when he saved his daughter at the cost of the world. It will never reawaken.

But when the cells attack Ace and Regina and hurt them the King’s heart does awaken.

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Seeing his family harmed awakens the love inside of him. The Cells says he’s still responsible for every bad thing that’s happened, he’s the most selfish person in the world!

But Heart says that what he did isn’t selfish at all. It’s only natural for a father to care for his family. It isn’t selfish to love. Her power overflows and her aura appears and she blows away almost all of the Selfish Cells, allowing Regina, Ace and Ai to reach the King.

The last bits of the Cells converge, asking Heart if she thinks the people of the Trump Kingdom will forgive him for sacrificing them for his daughter? They’re about to swallow Heart when-

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Sword comes in and destroys the last bit of Cells while rescuing Heart and telling the darkness off for twisting and manipulating the King and his love for their benefit. The art and animation when Sword swooped in was pretty.

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The 3 parts of Marie Ange reach the King and pull him free of the heart. King Jikochu is no more.

The effect when King Jikochu disappears is really bad looking though. Like someone made it in flash.

Ira and Mammo are totally shocked to see this. Regina thanks Mana for everything and then a bunch of friends and families arrive and everyone is having a good time. The King is totally okay too and obviously is happy to reunite with his, er, daughters now I guess. Happy end!

Oh wait.

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Bel appears before them all, holding the last tiny bit of Selfishness from King Jikochu, it must’ve been a part of the original darkness that broke free when the King removed the crown. He then swallows it himself, still planning on becoming number one. As everyone looks on the episode ends.

Man, the events of episode 49 are so detached from the previous two episodes. Doki’s finale is just so weird. And the final episode is just… bad. And has a lot of dumb stuff and lines and ideas in it.

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Bel gets pretty much instantly taken over right as the final episode begins. He just gets consumed by the much more powerful dark energy that he tried to control. Ira and Mammo even comment on the patheticness of this. Sorry Bel but your last chance to be awesome was episode 38. Out of the dark energy comes the true and original evil ruler from 10,000 years ago who even the first Precure couldn’t defeat entirely. Proto-Jikochu.

Um… why? Why does this happen now and not just when the King of the Trump Kingdom got taken over? He didn’t need a human host, and Bel like the other minions originally came from him in the first place soooo? What?

Well whatever. Now he says he’ll take everything over again so the girls transform and fight him, with Regina too of course

So the fight begins and why the hell is this guy so strong? The selfishness Bel ate was reduced to a tiny bites worth. And the girls just defeated King Jikochu and they have the legendary weapons (one of which was stated to be strong enough to defeat King Jikochu if they really wanted to use it for that) and yet he just powers through all their attacks and effortlessly overcomes them. How? THIS DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

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Proto-Jikochu beats them down and says he’ll erase everyone soon, the universe belongs to him and him alone!

But Heart points out the problem with that. If no one else is around he can’t really be selfish or cause problems for anyone. Cant even jaywalk anymore. It’s fine if he wants to rule but if everyone else is gone the point of selfishness goes with it. This was kind of an interesting scene and gave the final episode a different feeling than others. But it was just weird too.

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Proto-Jikochu says not to lecture him, he says she’s really the selfish one and he attacks Heart, pummeling her through a building and then forcibly ripping out her heart and turning it black with his evil energy.

So Heart is really selfish? Okay.

That’s news to me because pretty much immediately after he rips out her heart it turns back to pink all on its own and overcomes all of the selfish energy he tries to put into it. Yep, Heart’s heart just beats Proto-Jikochu’s power on its own and flies back to her body, turning her back to normal and waking her up. Mana Mana Precure.

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And then, because the other girls realize how useless and pathetic they are compared to Mana, they send their powers and the legendary items to Cure Heart allowing her to transform into Cure Heart Parthenon Mode. Yep, Doki decides to do something really annoying by only giving the Pink a super form. I thought I was watching Precure? Guess not. The actual form is fine looking, no complaints there. But it’s always been kind of odd that it’s called Parthenon mode. Is it supposed to be that Mana is like Athena? I mean I know there were other uses of the Parthenon but wouldn’t Pantheon Mode make more sense? I still think Pantheon Mode would be better and I honestly wonder if maybe they just accidentally mixed up the two.

But now the fight turns around completely and Parthenon Mode just beats the shit out of Proto-Jikochu. Yeah there’s some cool stuff that happens but it’s disappointing that it just goes from stomp to stomp. Heart kicks Proto-Jikochu into space and then kicks him again back down to Earth while Joe rambles on about how anyone with the right convictions and feelings can become a Precure?

What? That’s practically an insult when a season like Doki says something like that. And he says it while the most super special mary sue Cure ever is fighting after her “teammates” just gave her all their power. Kill me.

When Proto-Jikochu lands he realizes that Cure Heart reminds him of Cure Empress who he fought long ago and never gave up either.

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Heart bombards him with positive energy, trying to cleanse him. And Doki basically does the same thing Suite did with Noise here, Proto-Jikochu tells her that as long as humans exist selfishness will too and he’ll always come back. But Heart tells him that she knows this, she has a selfish heart too (HAHA, WHAT?) and that sometimes she just wants to cry and run away (SERIOUSLY WHAT?) but that those painful and frustrating times help people grow. And even then she has her friends by her side and they can always help her (YES THEY CAN BE YOUR TOOLS AGAIN) and together they can do anything (HAHAHAHAHA THIS IS AN INSULT, THE SHOW IS ACTUALLY INSULTING US). Proto-Jikochu is finally purified after hearing this and the battle is truly over. Just kill me now.

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We see all the people of the Trump Kingdom wake up as if they were just lying in the streets. Even though we never saw anything like that.

The world is saved but the Princess isn’t back. Her spirit talks to everyone. Regina and Aguri promise to carry on her love and Joe and Makoto will take care of Ai, the Princesses will lives on in Ai-chan. Ai has been so unimportant since episode 38. Ange thanks Makoto for everything but Makoto just wanted to be happy together with the Princess, so Ange has to tell her to move on and be happy with her friends. And then her spirit passes on completely.

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We then see that Bel has become a small mouse but Ira and Mammo are still fine. The Selfish Trio then go off and do whatever. Maybe sleep for 10,000 more years, maybe just get lunch. Who cares anyways amirite?

Life then returns to normal.

Aside from the giant gaping hole between dimensions that’s still there and allows Earth and the Trump Kingdom to be permanently connected. The King retires from being King and he moves to Earth with Regina who enrolls in Mana’s school. Joe is the first President of the new Trump Republic. Everyone else is pretty much going for their dreams, Rikka is studying to be a doctor while playing Karuta still and Alice opens up trade with the Trump Republic. Makopi has become an even more famous idol after everyone learned she was from the Trump Kingdom. Mana is at one of her concerts when she suddenly gets a call from the Prime Minister.

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A satellite has fallen out of orbit and they need the Precure’s help to stop it. The Doki Doki Precure (and Regina) have essentially become regular superheroes now. All 6 of them meet up at the Clover Tower and fly off to stop the satellite. The End.

What a haphazard and schizophrenic final episode. It’s almost like Yes5’s that just tried to do way too much. And every little idea and theme it brought up was so annoying and dumb because it’s Doki saying these things.

I need a drink. At least I’m finally done with the worst season of Precure. Technically nowhere to go but up, even though the next two seasons aren’t exactly favorites of mine either. This whole damn era man…

Pretty much every problem with Doki can be traced back to either Mana or Regina. It was such an ambitious season but so poorly thought out and constructed. It’s actually a pretty unpopular opinion that I have where I say the best part of the show were the 15ish episodes where Regina was gone and Ace appeared etc., that part of Doki felt the most like real Precure. Most people seem to like Regina but I can’t stand her for ruining the show almost as badly as Mana herself. And Doki is the only season where I wouldn’t be surprised if Toei came out with some official statement that says how gay all the girls are for each other. However the only thing I will say in Mana’s defense is that at least she’s different and interesting, even if for not always the best reasons, Mana is not your typical pink. We hardly ever hear Mana’s thoughts or see things from her perspective either like we do other Cures. Watch Doki and then watch another season to see how little of Mana’s inner monologue we get compared to another pink.

Other problems not having to do with Regina or Mana is that it was just a substandard looking show coming after Smile. Same with how poorly Suite looked coming after Heartcatch. Although Doki did have a lot more good animation than Suite. The villains were never more than okay either. King Jikochu was only kind of interesting and different. It feels like Rikka, Alice and Makoto stop having a character arc about half/two-thirds of the way into the season.

So before I move on to watching a season that I’m thoroughly apathetic about I have some questions about Doki Doki Precure that I’d just like to muse on.

Why did they make a big deal about Sword being the last Precure if they weren’t ever going to show any other Cures in flashbacks or even imply they existed? Why was Marie Ange able to do any of the stuff she did, why could she make a fake body encased in ice and still communicate with her spirit when her spirit technically became Aguri and Regina? Why did Regina become interested in Mana anyways? If she was part of Ange shouldn’t that be even more reason for her to like Makoto? Why did the black goo need a host when it got unsealed? Why couldn’t it just become Proto-Jikochu right then and there? If the Miracle Dragon Glaive could defeat King Jikochu why was it useless against Proto-Jikochu who should be weaker anyways? Why did the Magical Lovely Pad have two different forms? Why would you make a Pretty Cure show about how everyone just loves the main character? Why would you set things up with Ira and then have no closure on them? Why wasn’t Bel named Mammo when he’s far more greedy than he is slothful? Why would you give the villains a 7 deadly sins theme but then not have the foresight to include all of the sins? Why bother giving Ace all those different versions of her attack if they do the same thing and will almost never be used afterwards? Why did the auras disappear for so long only to reappear in one episode in the finale? How was a propeller plane able to get out of Earth’s atmosphere in episode 41? Why did the intelligence and awareness of the girls constantly fluctuate, why didn’t they see anything strange about a bunch of roses suddenly dying around Regina? Why make Sword such a big deal and then have everything unique and important about her be irrelevant later? Why did no one mention a King before the finale? Was anyone wondering about what happened to him? Did Makoto never meet him?

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Why was Mammo so irrelevant? What happened to those worlds Leva and Gula conquered? What was up with that tree Leva and Gula somehow made? Why did the show keep doing the same “victim has selfish though, victim overcomes it, villain draws out the selfish thought and turns victim into Jikochu” thing even after Regina was back and could simply force people into becoming monsters? Why did they make a big deal out of Rosetta Balloon when it appeared? Why was Rosetta Balloon only used one more time? Why did Joe have the Lovies he had at the beginning of the series? Why did the Royal Crystals merely become part of Ace’s ability to transform? Why did Regina get brainwashed by one but then seeing the fake Marie Ange unbrainwashed her? Why were the Crystals on Earth in the first place? Why was Ai so irrelevant in the last ten episodes? Why was she able to make Lovies when she was just Princess Ange’s body? Why was Ai able to do anything she did? Why was Ai so bubbly and happy from the beginning when logically she should’ve been more of a blank slate? Why was Ai being unhappy in episode 38 still powering up the villains when she wasn’t being selfish because she was unhappy from seeing Mana and the others in danger? Why would you include a moral like any girl can become a Precure when you have Mana as the main character? Why make friendship a big part of what “overcame” Proto-Jikochu in the end when earlier everyone just gave their powers to Heart and let her do everything? Why make familial love such a huge theme in the end but not have the Cures families be a bigger deal or more important than most other seasons? Why did Yamaguchi think taking a bunch of old stuff he did in Sailor Stars would be good in a season of Precure? Why was the show tonally such a mess whenever it tried to be serious? Why was everything that happened so random and contrived?

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11 thoughts on “Doki Doki Precure

  1. My god.

    This review is so full of black hatred and I love it.
    You typed the words straight out of my mind. However, for some reason, I really like this season. Even though I agree with every word on here, I just look past all the problems it has and still even after I finished it however long ago, keep coming back.
    The three key words you can use for the season is Contrived, Inconsistent, and Potential. Potential being the characters that could’ve been, a story that could’ve been pretty deep just to tell the moral, “Don’t be an asshole”.
    It relied soley on Mana and Contr-Aived-chan.

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    • Well, I suppose my feelings are kind of strong when it comes to Doki Doki. Yes Doki is pretty much just a mess of… everything. Still though I as well at least enjoy some things about it and because I hate it so much I think about it a lot. Which is more than I can say for some seasons that I’m pretty indifferent towards.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Despite the problems, DokiDoki remains my most favourite Precure season and Mana my favorite Precure character.

    Besides perhaps Fresh and Futari wa Pretty Cure, DokiDoki is the only season to feature complex notions like ambivalence, selflessness or jealousy and deal with them on a more than superficial level. DokiDoki seems harmless, but repeatedly takes on intricate subjects and fares quite well. It is the only series with a non-trivial central theme – selfishness and by extension a human heart. In that regard, all the other seasons are rather childish in comparison, mostly glossing over the real issues. It is easy to call hypocrites, when the rest of the franchise did not even try.

    Major portion of DokiDoki and all of Mana’s character is about acceptance and emotional intelligence. Everything else is sugar. People complaining about plot holes, hating on Regina or Mana getting all of the cake may have a point, but are completely wasting their efforts. And a lot of it was wasted here. I’d rather see you talking about what was it that made Makoto come around to see Regina as a friend to save, about how Regina couldn’t deal with her only friend splitting her love among other friends, how their group faced an impossible problem when friend of a friend didn’t want to be a friend or about how loving or helping someone isnt just the benefits.

    I also like other things about DokiDoki, I prefer its music and character art over any other season too. The music captured the show like no other did (even Yasuharu Takanashi’s Precure music only sort of brings out the moments, not the show). I love pointy designs (chin, nose, etc) and those slick and sexy Cure designs, totally dig Diamond’s innocent protector Cure form or Sword’s fabulous hair or Heart’s champion of justice look. She has long blonde hair in Cure form, not sure why, but I love it! I’m also tired of incapable (pink) leads fooling around pulling everyone in for absolutely no reason and of indecisive characters in general. All of DokiDoki girls know what they want (even their career path!) and stand by it. As a Cure Mana brims with confidence, Ace at least doesn’t waste around, Makoto also mostly wears her serious mode on, Alice doesn’t have a screw loose (unlike most yellows) and Rikka is level-headed – exactly the type of character I generally like the most in a show. The mascots arent insufferable and villains aren’t weird-looking monsters. I also like the Hollow heart idea and when the hearts flutter defenselessly back to their owner. The story is also the most focused on from all the seasons. What else, ah yes, voice acting. Makoto-great, Rikka-perfect, Mana- voiced by one of my personal favorite seeyiuus. Do I even need to mention Ira, Maamo, Bell and Kingdom’s King? Most of the Precure seasons has great voice acting, but DokiDoki does not lag behind.

    I don’t know. Each series is best in being itself, each has some unique flavor and has something no other has. DokiDoki is eccentric, but the girls are actually smart and their group is the most cohesive, much more so than even Yes’ in fact. If I had to chose one Precure group to be part of, I would definitely pick DokiDoki’s. They are on mind-reading level.

    Well, good to see you continue this blog. Ive been reading. Precure needs more love.

    Like

    • I’ll agree to your first point of Doki featuring more complex notions or ideas. But a lot of my problems with the show are to it’s nature in general and not just the way it does things, which I’ll also admit is kind of unfair to the show but that’s just how it is. If it wasn’t a season of Precure I’d probably have less negative feelings towards it because it would be more like a general Sailor Moon or Tokyo Mew Mew type of show.

      I think it’s perfectly fair of me though to critique it for Mana and Regina. But Mana is also certainly unique and it’s not like I can’t see why someone wouldn’t like her, I just don’t. If I felt Doki handled some things better I would’ve given more attention to it but I just don’t think the show did.

      As for things like character art, music, etc. none of it is bad and I really like Doki’s music too but I don’t personally view any of it as the best of any season. I think Heartcatch and Yes5 have the best soundtracks. And the voice acting too, every season of Precure has really great voice acting so Doki doesn’t really stand out in that area to me, that’s something that I think Smile was really outstanding in.

      The group dynamic like you mentioned is unique as well. I do like how all the girls are smart and capable, and I as well am tired of that cliche pink type nowadays. I’d rather see another Nagisa or something. But I can’t say I personally really love the group due to not caring for Mana or Alice either. Rikka is possibly one of my top 5 favorite Cures though.

      And yeah each series is its own thing but I still don’t want a season to stray too much from “Precure” because then it’s like, why not just watch Sailor Moon or something? And I feel Doki strayed too far.

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  3. No problem, its all so subjective anyway. Doki does well things I find important or seek, thus I overlook the things it sucks at. We are different, so our opinions of the show are different. And because Doki rises and falls with Mana, the difference can be dramatic. But you do feel the Rikka love, so you cant be a bad person.

    I don’t understand your “if it wasn’t a Precure show” standpoint. What does it matter? You appear to have an image of what a Precure show should be. Is there something wrong with Precure being more like Sailor Moon? I dont even see the similarity.

    I have to agree about the new generation of Precure shows. I actually enjoyed HapCha quite a lot, but I do not hold it very dear. Same with PrincessGo, and for Mahou… I put that on hold. These shows are a bit more style over substance. They are trying, and its good, but then you put the show next to the older ones and its like the soul is not there. Too much Barbie. Just look at the lipstick trend, when HapCha pulled that out on me I was literally scared. Wasnt it Ace who started it? Damn you Ace! Do something useful! Or people will really blame Doki for the fall of Precure.
    As for Doki going too far, sure. But then Smile was also quite far off. Suite was too fancy (though I love it) and Heartcatch is an aberration, sticking out the most. Arent we down to like Futari wa, Splash and Yes? Fresh tried the idol-thing (before it was cool, for a Precure), but has the proper spirit so lets include it too. Either way, the modernization trend can be traced to the very beginning, so not sure if there is any hope for the franchise, which have gone so far as this.

    Yes, another Nagisa leader would be really good. But the times have changed, nobody cares about Nagisas and Honokas. Lets just make more dancing videos.

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    • Well there are just certain things that annoy me when a Precure show does them because the franchise should be more team/friendship oriented, that’s what was so special about it from the beginning. It’s like how I mentioned in my Heartcatch review that Cure Flower not having any partners herself really bothered me. Because that’s just so anti-Precure to me. And Doki is too centered around Mana for my tastes.

      Happiness Charge I too enjoyed, especially the first half, but then I feel it lost all its steam and I just cared less and less about it. GoPrincess I have mixed feelings on and Maho I actually really like but it definitely has a lot of shortcomings at the same time.

      And lol, we could always use more dance videos. I’m still waiting for a season to just be full idol themed with cgi dance numbers and songs. Haha…

      I hope KiraKira is a lot of fun.

      Like

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