Ongoing Investigations: Case #117

While not revolutionary HeartCatch PreCure! was one of the best crafted magical girls series I have seen in quite a while. In many ways, Suite Precure the newest entry in the Pretty Cure franchise, has impossible shoes to fill. I have already seen some negative reactions to this series which I think is slightly unfair. With any series this long you are going to have your ups and downs and some parts are going to be so great that you could show them to anyone, some are going to be watchable only by super fans, but most will be in the middle.  Suite Precure is a simple show where evil bad guys want to capture magical notes to the ultimate song to plunge the world into despair. Hibiki and Kanade are two friends who are recruited by a talking cat to become magical girls and use the notes to make beautiful music together. To enjoy Suite Precure you must go in with reasonable expectations about it. If you are predisposed to magical girls shows I think that Suite Precure is enjoyable. The fights have the energy and fisticuffs the Precure series is famous for which is always very welcome. The main characters are simple but fun. On the other hand other than that it is all very formula and anyone who does not like or is burnt out on magical girl shows is not going to find much to be hooked on. I am curious to see if they will have the plot take any major turns. The series should run about 50 episodes so they have plenty of time to throw in a few curve balls if they want. If nothing else I am curious to see if they add any new girls as the show progresses. There is already a masked girl in the opening who looks like she could easily be a third Precure.

The first three episodes of Suite Precure are fairly typical magical girl fare done very straight-forward. Since I haven’t seen HeartCatch Precure, I don’t have any over-high expectations going into this new series. The world is all music-themed as should have been easy to guess, but it makes for some rather silly names throughout (i.e. the animosity between Major and Minor land). I was led to believe these Precures would be more like rivals and I imaged perhaps some face-offs and competition when trying to collect the notes that have been scattered across the land. But that is not the case, though I do find their strained friendship a little refreshing and not as generally displayed in these series but nevertheless important and true. I really enjoy that they have to transform together and attack in harmony. You can really see the push for understanding each other more so than normal through Suite Precure. At the moment Suite Precure is a good magical girl show, but not excelling in any direction yet. Though with a long run series that can sometimes come a bit later on.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #063

And so ends Kim Dong Hwa’s Color series with the Color of Heaven. The series proves itself to be a classic Shakespearean Comedy despite the fact that it is not an Elizabethan play. That means that it ends on a positive note with a wedding of a couple that has been separated. We begin with Duksam having to leave the village after the events in the last book. Now Ehwa must, like her mother, wait patiently for the man she loves to return to her. It is also her mother’s turn to support her daughter. But all is well that ends well. Ehwa resolves any lingering feelings she has for past loves before her wedding and we end with a consummation scene that is mostly symbolic but does not shy away from being tastefully graphic. Overall the series has been consistently solid. The Color trilogy has maintained its highbrow feel while still having a graceful humanity. With its relatively short but substantial length and its more mature narrative the Color series is a manhwa to show to people who might not necessarily give your standard manga a chance.

The beginning of The Color of Heaven starts very somberly as Ehwa is separated from Duksam and knows not when he will return. The first two book build up to this point of falling truly in love, so the third has a lot of quiet moments of introspection and realization. Also about half of the book involves waiting and waiting. However, that isn’t to say it is boring, much to the credit of the author, the growth between mother and daughter is subtle and beautiful. Ehwa’s mother is a woman who knows through maturity the power of longing and waiting and she imparts many important lessons on Ehwa in this final volume. In fact, much of this concluding story seems to be as much about her mother as it is about Ehwa. But perhaps even more telling is Ehwa’s ability to understand these lessons while still maintaining a hint of her naivete when it comes to the relationships between man and woman unlike her moments in the first two book. What becomes increasingly obvious through various conversations with her friend and mother is Ehwa’s ability to emotionally understand herself and her love but not to physically understand the relationships between the sexes. The finally moments of the book play out between Ehwa and Duksam while being interspersed with her mother and the picture man and also a set of neighbors. And you feel her education while not complete has finally gotten to a new plateau. The Color series has been both artistically unique and calmly enthralling and as such is a series that needs to be read and experienced.

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