With its action-packed fighting and positive, powerful heroines, the titanic Precure franchise has stood at the top of all shoujo anime for the past 14 years. The series has featured themes including music and badass princesses, and now “baking” can be added to that list.
Toei Animation, the studio behind Precure, recently announced the 14th and latest iteration: Kira Kira Precure A La Mode. The official slogan is “Cook ! Eat! Fight!” The show intends to appeal to a primarily young female audience by targeting their love of sweets and pastries.
Precure (also known as Pretty Cure) began in 2004, differentiating itself from other magical girl anime through its well-animated and elaborately choreographed fight scenes. Unlike older series like Sailor Moon, almost every sequel has introduced a new cast of characters, similar to tokusatsu shows such as Super Sentai (aka Power Rangers) and Kamen Rider. Each generation brings different approaches to the table, with a greater focus on comedy in some series and more heartfelt character exploration in others. This prevents any one series from wearing out its welcome or growing stagnant, and encourages each series (even weaker ones) to end on a high note rather than hold back.
Another note that Precure takes from the tokusatsu playbook is the tendency to take what was successful in the previous series and build off of it in sequels. The current Precure series airing on Japanese television, Maho Girls Precure, features girls who transform using different gems. In their topaz forms (pictured above), the two heroines transform into outfits with dessert motifs. While I can’t say how popular those uniforms are compared to the other ones, the fact that they’re building an entirely new series around sweets and baked goods implies to me that the Topaz forms are a success.
Although there are only limited details, I’m very much looking forward to what Kira Kira Precure A La Mode has to offer with its cooking premise. I’m aware that the importance of visual theme in Precure can vary tremendously, so there’s no telling how much of a role food will play in this new series. However, my hope is that, even if the series does not necessarily turn into a “food anime” akin to Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma or Yumeiro Patisserie, it will at least showcase the joy of cooking and eating. And if we can get some more amazing snack-based magical girl outfits out of the show, it’ll be even better.