Seasonal First Impressions: The Wild Blue Yonder of SOARING SKY! PRETTY CURE

Seasonal First Impressions is a column where I detail my thoughts, however brief or long, about a currently-airing anime’s first episode or so.

Sometimes, my job is a bit hard. Not because writing about anime is physically difficult or anything, but because sometimes it’s hard to articulate when something manages to tap into a pure, raw, and very basic emotion. I can hardly contain my kiddish giddiness. On the one hand, what is there to say? New year, new Precure season. This makes Jane happy; we’ve been here before. On the other, this is possibly the strongest Pretty Cure premiere I’ve ever personally been here for. 24 minutes of high-flying, rollicking action, a white-hot streak cut through the blazing blue sky.

Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure, the first entry in the series to use the full “Pretty Cure” title instead of the shorter “Precure” in English since the original Pretty Cure, opens with our heroine, Sora Harewataaru (Akira Sekine) atop a giant, talking bird, arriving in a floating sky city for some reason or another just as—wouldn’t you know it?—an evil pig man shows up to kidnap the local king’s daughter.

Sora, as we very quickly find out, is not the sort of person to simply sit idly by and let that happen without comment. She rushes headlong into trouble, pulling off a pretty damn impressive little bit of parkour a full 15 show-minutes before she ever gets her powers.

She tries to part this villain from his ill-gotten gain and, whoops, falls into the portals he uses to teleport around. Soon, she finds herself falling out of the sky over a strange city that is wholly unfamiliar to her, the infant princess Ellee (Aoi Koga, yes, they got Kaguya to voice the baby) in hand, a literal bolt from the blue.

That city would be pretty familiar to anyone reading this. Because where she ends up is Earth. Yes, the latest Pretty Cure series is a reverse isekai. And it slaps.

You know the drill if you’re even passingly familiar with this franchise, but how this all goes down might surprise some. Sora joins the rarefied tier of Pretty Cure protagonists who have done a fair bit of heroism even before getting their magic, and the sheer determination on display here, even through Sora’s obvious jitters at facing down an opponent who is, with her not yet powered, way above her level. When she actually gets those powers, via Ellee (the baby princess is this season’s fairy, you see), she stomps the monster that our pig friend summons flat in only a few minutes. To top it off, her transformation sequence is one of the most elaborate that the franchise has ever produced, complete with an image stage—an imaginary ‘platform’ on which the transformation takes place—that itself shifts and changes as she does.

All of this serves to make Sora seem incredibly cool, on a very elemental, hard-to-quantify level. Her personality has layers even this early on, and the little pocket diary she keeps on her, and the motivational doodles within, imply a level of deliberate building of her own confidence. This is someone who is earning her reputation as a hero, from episode 1, minute 1. She has a cape. What else could I possibly tell you? Of course this character is the first blue lead Pretty Cure. How could she not be? There’s no way someone with this big of a personality was ever going to settle for second banana.

Per the end of the episode, Sora, now Cure Sky, is trapped on Earth with no way to return herself or Ellee home, providing an obvious (and promising!) driver for the series’ first main storyline. Time will tell precisely how co-lead Mashiro Nijigaoka (Ai Kakuma) factors in, although even this early on she’s already an effective foil for Sora. The future is bright for this one, there’s nothing more to say.

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6 thoughts on “Seasonal First Impressions: The Wild Blue Yonder of SOARING SKY! PRETTY CURE

  1. Pingback: Anime and Manga Blog Posts That Caught My Eye This Week (February 10, 2023) – Lesley's Anime and Manga Corner

  2. @Fred Paul is right, yeah. It’s an artifact of the original “Purikyua” title, it has no particular meaning at this point, beyond being the franchise’s particular term for its magical girls.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with you, this is a FANTASTIC opening with so many things going for it. I was worried that the franchise was beginning to circle the drain, but they’ve brought it back in a spectacular way.
    I like Slice of Life and Iyashikei series, but I don’t think Precure can survive as one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They originally used “Purikyua”, which is the name for those photo booths in arcades and train stations. I think giving the sense of “friends getting together”. From there it morphed into Pretty Cure. Though they’re usually fixing problems that threaten the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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