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GENRE: Anime ORIGINAL AIR DATES: February 5, 2012 January 27, 2013
// review by Matt

Is it Pretty Cure, or Pretty Snore?

Much like Saban's Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers or the legendary animated show Sailor Moon, sometimes when a series is localized, the constituent parts are modified to make the show more palatable for the different audience. It could be a marketing decision, or it could be a chance for the studio to flex their creative muscle, but these changes are not always welcomed.

Take, for instance, Glitter Force, an adaptation of the Japanese show Smile Precure, the tale of five schoolgirls who obtain magical powers. The show is, according to someone I know who watches Pretty Cure, one of the best shows in the franchise. Thanks to Netflix, the show is available in English under the name Glitter Force, but great liberties were taken in the show's construction and content.

Glitter Force tells the story of the, well, Glitter Force. A team of schoolgirls who inherit magical powers, and use said powers to defeat the forces of evil. Their mission is to rescue Queen Euphoria from her imprisonment by the evil Emperor Nogo. The show focuses on the girls' development, and we get to see them grow stronger and become a sturdy team unit as the overall story progresses. Emily, the pink-haired klutz and dopey fairytale obsessed girl, one day finds herself in possession of a magic book. Sounds like something ripped out of Cardcaptor Sakura. A creature appears from the book, a pixie named Candy, who bestows upon her magic powers. As the show carries on, Candy hires four others: Kelsey, Lily, April, and Chloe. Together, they make up the Glitter Force.

Each girl has a transformation, where they become powerful and their appearance changes. For example, Emily becomes Glitter Lucky. In their powered up form, they fight Emperor Nogo's minions — Ulric the Werewolf, Brute the Troll, Brooha the Witch and Rascal the Jester. Some liberties were taken with Brute, as he is really an Oni (a Japanese mythical creature), but calling him a troll makes things easier for the intended audience to digest.

This adaptation is far too sugary for my liking. Ugly pink text for episode titles, grotesquely overused sparkle effects, and insert songs that sound like Rebecca Black's "Friday" appear at the end of each episode with some quite ugly 3D animation that looks completely out of place. Creative methods are used to get around Japanese imagery and symbolism, like the girls going to visit a Japan Expo instead of going to a trip to Kyoto. Why not just admit it is set in Japan? It insults the intelligence of the viewer.

That theme song though... catchy! While I feel only about half of the voices are good, I must admit the quality of the voice acting is impressive. Such is to be expected with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn behind the voice direction, someone whose work I've become quite familiar with thanks to the Silent Hill series.

While I find myself mostly disappointed with Glitter Force as a whole, the existence of it can only be considered a good thing. Another show that would have been left in Japan, but can now be enjoyed across the world in five different dubbed languages. It is your typical magical girl anime, but in a "kiddiefied" form. Don't expect something authentic to the source material, but do expect cheesy stupid fun.


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