I’ve been keeping up with Suite Precure since it began last February, and while it isn’t quite the masterpiece that Heartcatch Precure! is, it’s still enjoyable enough. We’ve hit roughly the middle point of Suite Precure, and quite a few things have happened along the way, including the reveal of a new Cure or two.
I’m going to discuss some of my feelings on these current episodes (as well as previous Precure series), so if you don’t want to be spoiled, turn away.
In episode 21, Seiren, aka Kurokawa Ellen, transforms into Cure Beat and switches sides. It’s not the first time a villain has turned into a Cure, nor is it the first time that one has betrayed evil, but the change felt good. Based on her behavior throughout the series, her turn seemed inevitable, though not necessarily her transformation into a Cure. Their double fake-out with Cure Muse was effective, making the viewer think that Siren might be Cure Muse, only to make it explicit that the two are separate entities, and then using that as a smokescreen to disguise the fact that Siren would become Cure Beat.
Cure Beat herself is a nice design, and I like the electric guitar motif.
Both the immediate arc that turned Seiren into Cure Beat and the long-term development she’s received since Suite Precure began have done a pretty good job at showing her path through villainy and then into heroism, and doing so while expanding upon her character. The most notable instance for me is when she disguises herself as a schoolgirl named “Houjou Sakura” to become Hibiki’s best friend and ruin Hibiki and Kanade’s own friendship, only to forget the second part of her mission. Though she was still decidedly antagonistic towards the Cures at this point, it showed a gentler, possibly more vulnerable side to her stemming from loneliness.
Before Seiren transformed, she had a good deal of conflicting emotions, and it made for an interesting personality. Not a particularly complex one, but that’s okay. After her transformation though, I’ve become a bit worried about Seiren’s character, because it seems like the creators of Suite Precure were too eager to establish Cure Beat as a heroine and rushed it. Again, the work up to Cure Beat was fairly solid, it’s the aftermath that concerns me.
The portrayal of the now-good Kurokawa Ellen feels inconsistent with how she was in prior episodes. Her emotional outbursts and desire to do good seem too sudden from how she was previously. Her unusual crush on Ouji seems to have been forgotten entirely, as if to prevent a love triangle from forming in a Precure series. Even her time as Houjou Sakura isn’t really touched on. I think her character is fine as it is, but the change seems too abrupt after the fairly gradual development she received previously. One thing that was clear about Seiren was that both bad and good existed in her, and at the end of episode 23, she mentions that her feelings of jealousy towards Hummy were why she became an agent of Minor Land. This makes sense given her character, but the entire episode should have been devoted to this point, instead of having it just stated in the last five minutes. Just one episode to directly address her mixed feelings would have been enough.
I know what you might be saying. “It’s just a kid’s show,” or “You’re comparing it unfairly to Heartcatch.” I really am thinking about the show on its own merits though. Seiren’s development in the series, though shaky at times, felt good on its own, independent of how previous series have done it. My concern is mainly that Suite Precure feels like it might have thrown out a lot of what made Seiren a character in the first place in the interest of making it clear that she’s now a Good Guy. I’m fine with her reaching that point, it’s just the transition itself that I question.
Though I never watched much past the halfway point of Fresh Pretty Cure, I’ve heard that Eas’s change into Cure Passion had a similar problem in that she seemed to lose what made her an appealing character to fans in the first place. Hopefully that doesn’t quite happen here.