Posted by: Leek | December 20, 2013

7 Anime related features to get you ready for Christmas Eve: Number 5

Another day, another option to watch something that I recommend to you. Well, today is special. For the good little girls and boys that have been watching a great series, you get another special present later today. Be sure to look forward to it as I most likely won’t do something like it ever again. But it’s not quite time to open that just yet (just be happy you’re getting it before Christmas) so let’s learn what the feature of today is.

Bet you didn’t see this coming

Background and Reasoning
So, what’s the deal? War in the Pocket was something that was fathomable at six episodes. But now I’m expecting you to just go ahead and watch the 44th episode in the Doki PreCure series? Well I can’t make any excuses this time. I can’t say that you could get everything (or any of the real impact) out of this episode if you haven’t been following the series. I mean, it still teaches a good lesson but there’s so much more to it than a sweet lesson at the end of the rainbow.

When it comes to series that span over the year, you’re usually guaranteed a Christmas episode once the holiday season comes. PreCure is definitely no exception and this year’s came just last week for everyone to enjoy. As we slowly continue towards the climax it was odd to fathom how they’d work in a heartfelt Christmas story. And the overall story is not too far from a story you’d see elsewhere. Mana, being the main heroine she is, decides to throw herself at a random competition that leaves her unavailable to spend Christmas Eve with the others. You know. Christmas Eve. The “most romantic day” in the holiday calendar for Japan. This leads to a lesson that builds around the real meaning of uh…”friendship”, even if your friend isn’t right at your side 24/7. It’s a rather sweet concept and turns into that “I’ll Be Home For the Holidays” sort of motif.

So why pick this episode of all the long running series that might have had Christmas dedicated episodes? Like I said, this is an episode that’s taking place just as the series enters it’s climax. The staff has little episodes to work with and this is a “last chance” they have to loosen the mood before things spiral into chaos (granted the series was sort of at that point already). It’s that “Christmas leverage” that I was talking about in my previous posts. When you write anything based around Christmas you have a lot of leverage in how you use the holiday to direct the episode. In the context of everything, the DokiPre staff hit it out of the park in the late innings. Not only that, but they threw some wild curve balls on the mound in the next inning to make sure you couldn’t tie up the game. The staff has turned this long series into a great but dirty game with some real cheap shots.

So go ahead and check it out if you haven’t. If you’ve been one of the great people who’s seen Dokidoki Precure Episode 44 already or just got through watching it, then feel free to read more about my thoughts on it below.

Happy Go Lucky Christmas Special, right?

All the Rest (aka spoilers)
So was DokiPre’s Christmas episode really what I expected?

Are you kidding? Staff boggled with my mind with how courageous they are (in more ways then one). It’s been pretty obvious that staff is aware of the fandom. They’re easily browsing Pixiv tags and seeing what kind of pitching the fans are going to throw up on the mound. And with all the scouting done they felt necessary, they stepped up to bat and put a lot of moxie into this week’s swing. Maybe I just say this because I think Mana x Rikka is perfect. But at this point, why wouldn’t you? It’s like staff decided to have every other girl keep it in their pants just so they could fully advance the Christmas love special that was Mana and Rikka trying to spend Christmas together. And then Rikka, oh so determined, just goes out and says it (albeit not to Mana’s face). Yeah, she spills everything like it’s no problem. That swallow just spread her wings and flew right into that broad horizon.

But let’s not just talk about the creep factor. Let me compliment that the base lesson of the episode was something cute and fitting for a Christmas special. It could have easily been an episode where Regina and the other Jikochu just decide to steal Aguri’s presents from under her tree. With the past few episodes it appeared they were in full force to develop Regina and Aguri as a pair until the final episodes. Heck, we’re returning to it come next week. But no. Just for this short miracle of an episode staff decided not to make another simple, “Aguri’s first ____!” sort of story. No, it actually went back to spotlight the original two from the first few episodes. And the two play the Christmas couple forced to spend the holiday apart well. It’s hard to spend big holidays (Christmas Eve and Day especially) away from your loved ones. But it does happen and there are freak accidents. So it’s cute to have a story that spotlights someone getting over that hump. That whole “Mana memo” scene was adorable and you know it.

Did they just do that? Goddamn.

And that’s just Rikka. Now let’s just finish it out with the last few scenes. That’s right, this is the episode they use for Regina to finally be fully converted back to her old self. How great was it to have a Christmas episode at this point in the series? This is exactly what’s beautiful about Christmas leverage. Having Regina confess to Mana (sure it turned a little goofy) and her eyes returning to normal briefly was easily a jaw dropper for a lot of viewers. The confession alone, I know, had a lot of people mind fucked already.

It wasn’t a happy ending though and it actually, after all was said and done, weighed really heavy on the heart. You finally saw that Regina (even in her evil state) has been in fact still been acting out of love. While it had been pretty obvious it wasn’t just brainwashing at this point, this was the final nail in the coffin. But, it’s not only that. It established that the staff could no longer (or had no plans to) kill King Jikochu. This was the episode where they truly put immunity on him as if they allowed him to die after this it would be pretty damn cruel. And it’s not something I really mind. Honestly any deaths in the series would feel gravely out of place with the overall concept in mind. So, in general, it just made me look forward to the kind of ending they’ll plan on writing. I have said it elsewhere but I think at this point staff is in such good position they just need to write an ending. As long as they can do that, then DokiPre has really set itself in stone as a great series.

So the DokiPre Christmas Episode (44) was just a roller coaster…in a dark tunnel. It was a wild ride and there was too much of it that you couldn’t have expected to actually get thrown around by. And that’s just what made it great. While I love the fun and goofy Christmas episodes that you can get elsewhere, DokiPre really used it’s story, story position, characters, and just let it rock. The staff tackled it with no fear and I think it’s that part of this staff (their courage) that I’ve come to really respect.


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