From a franchise with so many different seasons and so many great episodes, characters and moments there are some that just really standout as exceptionally powerful. Here are to me the 30 most emotional moments in the franchise. Whether they be sad, uplifting, heartwarming, sobering, these are the best.
Spoilers abound of course.
#30. The Fight for Cure Tender
Starting off is the fight in Happiness Charge Precure between our heroines and the brainwashed Cure Tender. This fight really has everything you want and hits all the right notes. The only downside to it is the suddenness of it and how it’s all resolved relatively quickly. Iona is especially great in the episode and it’s really sweet to see her do everything she can to save her sister.
#29. Haa-chan Disappears
At the end of the mid-season climax to Maho Precure Haa becomes Felice and uses her powers to help defeat Dokuroxy. And then she disappears into light, leading Mirai and Liko to think she’s died. It’s sad as they go calling out her name, hoping for her to pop up again. Luckily Mofurun can sense that she’s still “alive” or that they’ll at least see her again in some way to soften the blow. Still a really emotional moment.
#28. Lovely vs. Seiji
Similar set-up to the Cure Tender fight since it deals with saving someone brainwashed but because the one brainwashed is a much better developed character this is even better. Through the whole show we’ve watched Seiji and felt for him as the girl he likes falls for Blue, and now he’s been forced to fight that girl. Lovely is great this episode too as she bares her feelings for Seiji, they aren’t exactly feelings of romantic love but it’s still clear that Seiji means more to her than anyone.
#27. Syrup Opens Up His Heart
Syrup started out GoGo as a sort of standoffish and rude guy. But it could somewhat be forgiven as he was really hurting inside and just wanted to remember who he was and what the Cure Rose Garden was. In the finale, after everything he’s been through with the girls, he finally casts off his old self completely and tells them all just what they mean to him and everything they taught him. His feelings poured into Flora’s seed helps the girls recover and they go to save the world.
#26. Ai-chan Turns Evil
Despite my… misgivings towards Doki Doki it also still has some great moments. All the girls really love Ai-chan and it was really sad seeing them agonize over Bel turning her selfish and them trying to save her. The scene with Ai and Mana together is great as Mana gets her to remember all the happy times they had and how they raised her to be a good person.
#25. Cure Flora Returns
After Kanata told her to give up on her dream of being a princess Haruka fell into a depressed state, unable to even transform into a Precure anymore. Wanting to help her friends fight but unable to Haruka wonders about why she even wanted to become a princess. She goes on an introspective journey and it’s really awesome as she realizes that she doesn’t need anyone elses approval to go for her dream and become a princess. No one can take that dream away from her. She will be her ideal princess and she regains her ability to become a Precure, fighting off Close and the others.
#24. Nao Trips
It’s such a simple thing. But it’s probably the most relateable thing on this list. The relay race in Smile occurs after the fight, everything “important” is taken care of. Nao’s running as hard as she can and she’s just about to take first place when she trips over her own feet, causing her team and class to come in last place. Nao begins to cry after having let everyone down. She’s the one who dragged her friends into the race in the first place cause she wanted to run with her friends, she wanted to help give Yayoi confidence but it ended in failure. Still although it’s sad it’s also heartwarming when all the girls come in to hug her and praise her for how hard she worked and how she never gave up.
#23. Saki’s Softball Game
Again in the same vein as the above but better. Splash Star doesn’t have as many softball games as Futari Wa had lacrosse but it still had a better culmination of that story. Saki is such a sweet girl and right from the beginning she’s feeling bad cause she isn’t playing to her best. But it’s not until after losing in the final inning does Saki breakdown, feeling she failed her team and the senpai she admires. It’s a sad but touching scene.
#22. Mother’s Day
All you could want and more from a victim of the week. The best standard episode of Heartcatch with the saddest story. A poor girl forced to become an adult and take care of her younger sister, never acknowledging her own feelings until she’s forced to.
#21. Regina’s Turn and Return
After Mana finally reaches Regina and gets her to become good it’s all undone when she gets brainwashed by her father into turning evil again. When Mana first met Regina she wanted to become her friend and it seemed like she was getting through to her, only for the crystals to muck that up. But after several more episodes and when things are finally looking up it’s all snatched away. Mana falls into a depression and for the only time in the show is really indecisive about what to do.
#20. Nao Thinks Her Siblings are Killed
I like Nao if that wasn’t apparent. When Nao fights Majorina and it looks like some of her beloved siblings have been blow away Nao just loses it. She’s crushed, not angry or anything, she’s just dead. You can see her soul just break. It’s one of the most extreme things in Precure. After defeating Majorina and knowing everyone is safe Nao completely breakdowns again, crying in Miyuki’s arms about how scared she was.
#19. The Neglect Ball
It starts with Joker breaking the spirits of the other 4 girls and ends with Miyuki giving one of her best speeches to bring them all back to normal and break free of Joker’s Neglect Ball. It’s not just Miyuki’s speech that’s super uplifting and moving but Candy going to stand and fight with her even though she knows she’ll just be killed. And when Akane and the others come in to save them it’s just perfect.
#18. Love Loses her Mom
One of the earliest episodes in Fresh and it really doesn’t pull any punches. Soular creates a Nakewameke that erases things that make kids happy. Eventually erasing all of their moms. Love had gotten in an argument with her mother earlier so she’s even more crushed when she realizes what’s happened. Fresh really knew how to hit hard when it came to families, there’s another excellent later episode where Northa abducts Love’s mom but I decided to go with this earlier episode.
#17. Moonlight Returns / Says Goodbye to Cologne
Yuri becoming Moonlight again is one of the most awesome moments in Precure, finally coming to peace with what happened to Cologne and fighting alongside her new allies. After her fight with Dark Precure she gives a final goodbye to Cologne’s spirit. It’s sweet but very sad as he dies for good this time, becoming one with the Heart Tree.
#16. The Song for Hummy
Even after Noise is defeated in the finale of Suite Hummy is left comatose. The girls don’t know what to do, so they decide to sing for Hummy to wake her up. It’s a show of gratitude for that silly little cat fairy. Just a sweet way to end the show as they all sing for her to wake her up.
#15. Super Silhouettes Gained
Everything about this two-parter works really well. First the girls are worried about the great power of Dune and then we get great fights with the girls fighting against their inner selves and insecurities. Naturally Blossom’s fight is the centerpiece and is the most emotional and important. Even afterwards is great as Blossom joins all the girls, having finally conquered and accepted her past self and they all fight together and use Heartcatch Orchestra for the first time.
#14. The Truth Revealed and Regina’s Pain
What really sells this is Regina’s immediate reaction to learning the truth about herself, as well as the Trump Kingdom and Ace. That she’ll side with him because he loves her enough to doom the whole world even though she doesn’t want to really hurt anyone, especially not Mana. The agony she goes through in the next episode as this all comes to a head is really great. Regina’s backed into a corner, not sure what to do, she loves her Papa but does she really want him to destroy everything?
#13. Muse Confronts Mephisto
Speaking of fathers. Up till this point we thought Mephisto was just some evil guy, and seeing him react to Ako and the struggle he goes through with the evil power of Noise controlling him is really sad. But it’s Ako’s struggle that’s really central to these episodes. Her difficulty in dealing with her father and reluctance to harm him. It leads to an excellent climax and one of the best episodes of Suite.
#12. The Fashion Show
The culmination of Tsubomi’s and sort of Erika and Itsuki’s character arcs. The fashion show is a great moment in Heartcatch and it even shows Yuri lightening up and partaking too. Combine that with an excellent insert song and you have one of the most satisfying moments in Precure. Not everything needs to be sad or directly plot relevant to be great!
#11. Cry Festival Finale
Oh boy does the final episode of Smile have a lot of crying. It’s just so sad as everything they fought for gets turned against them. These are 5 teenage girls who really don’t do well with separation. What saved them from despair last episode now causes them despair as they have to make a decision they never thought they’d have to. The music is really on point too.
#10. Truth of the Palmier Citizens Revealed
After thinking that all their friends and fellow citizens of the Palmier Kingdom were dead, and Nuts especially being upset cause of all the guilt he felt at opening up the gates, to learn that the citizens have just been brainwashed into despair is a happy thing. As Coco and Nuts say, even without the Dream Collet as long as the people are still alive the Kingdom can be rebuilt.
#9. Cure Angel Transformation
In Fresh’s grand finale it’s not just the transformation into the super form that’s great but how the girls have managed to affect the people of Labyrinth, getting them all to cheer for them and using the power of their feelings to power up. Westar and Soular also make a triumphant return, now as good guys. The girls were on the edge of defeat and giving up when help arrives and saves the day. Hooray for donuts!
#8. Splash Star Mid-season Climax
Really everything that happens in this two-parter is super emotional. From Michiru and Kaoru’s struggle between their loyalty to Akudaikaan and their love for Saki and Mai, to Saki and Mai’s discovery of who they are and the fight with them and then of course the confrontation with Akudaikaan leading to the sacrifice of Michiru and Kaoru. It’s all so perfectly done and highly emotional the whole way through. My favorite moments have to be when they’re all at the Sky Tree and you see Michiru and Kaoru smiling, filled up with positive emotions. Their reflection of what life was like in the desolate Fountain. And Saki and Mai convincing them to finally stop fighting.
#7. Are You Talking About Honoka?!
Naturally this makes the list, by far the best part of the first season. It’s not just Nagisa’s intense anger that’s great but her exasperated reaction when she finally gets to Honoka and telling her how worried she was. This episode is also one of the few occasions where the girls refer to each other as Nagisa and Honoka when transformed instead of calling each other black and White. The bond these two have developed since becoming Pretty Cure is very special.
#6. The Fresh Girls Reveal Themselves
Having the best developed families and a great sidecast works wonders when you do something like this. Not only is the reveal itself great but how their parents struggle with accepting that the girls are about to go fight to try and save the world. Daisuke also has to deal with knowing he accidentally confessed to the girl he likes. Oops. Parents learning that their daughters are about to do something so dangerous is really powerful.
#5. Eas’s Turn to Passion
Although I consider episode 45 of Fresh to be the seasons single best episode overall the mid-season climax and story arc of Eas turning good and becoming Passion is the best and most emotional part of the show. It takes place over the course of like 5 episodes and it’s all really highly emotional and moving. Eas is so well-developed and the agony she goes through with the Nakisakebe and wanting to prove herself to Moebius is great, as well as the struggle with her feelings of friendship towards Love. This all comes to a head when the two fight and Eas “dies” in a really big tearjerker.
#4. Max Heart Finale
It’s all just so good. When the two are crying together, unable to even move, and then when they see the visions of their loved ones, fighting Baldez while the theme song plays, Hikari’s decision, fighting Baldez some more. Everything is at the highest emotional level.
#3. Dark Precure’s Death
Her death was the best part of Heartcatch’s finale. It was so sad and yet so sweet as she finally found peace and died in her fathers arms. Funny how I have less to say the higher we get on the list.
#2. The Final Transformation
At the end of episode 48 of Splash Star the girls are almost on the brink of giving up. Gohyaan has destroyed the Fountain of the Sun and turned Earth into a world of ruin. But the ground is still there, so is the sky, the wind is still blowing and the moon is there behind the clouds. Saki, Mai, Michiru and Kaoru, realize the power of the spirits is still alive and even more than that they want to see everyone they love again. The 4 of them transform for the final time to defeat Gohyaan.
For the longest time I considered the end of episode 48 of Splash Star to be the greatest scene in Pretty Cure. But something better happened recently. Something even more emotional, sincere and moving than anything that’s happened in Pretty Cure before it.
#1. Cure Up Rapapa! I Want to See You Again!
Mirai’s anguished chants as she wishes she could see her dear friend Liko again after so many years is just too much. Haa is gone, Mofurun has become a normal teddy bear again, Mirai just wants so badly to see her friends again. But Liko most of all. As she gets increasingly distraught from nothing happening, tears running down her cheeks, it’s the best and most emotional moment in Precure.