Wow, a sporadic update! I simply haven’t had time to write during the semester, and on top of that, my laptop is out of order for the moment. Since it contains to-be-watched episodes as well as almost-completed entries (more reviews), it makes this whole blogging-thing kind of hard. I don’t want to put a whole bunch of stuff on the laptop I’m now borrowing, but I figured I could watch DVDs.
So, here’s Pretear. I seem to be the one of the few people who didn’t absolutely love it. Read on to find out why. Spoilers within, of course.
To begin with a short introduction, Pretear is a magical girl series about a high school girl named Himeno who moves in with her super-rich-and-fancy-and-mean step relatives after her widowed father marries a widow. Far off in the world of Leafenia live the Leafe Knights (Who comes up with these names?) who protect the Leafe, or life force. Unfortunately, the previously sealed away Princess of Disaster, also known as Fenrir, has broken loose, and they must find the Pretear so that they can save the world with her help. Himeno is that Pretear.
If that sounds sort of silly, rest assured: it is.
There’s also some strange tie-in to Snow White, since the full title translates to “The New Legend of Snow White Pretear” and there are seven Leafe Knights. Aside from Hayate, one of the knights, kissing awake Himeno close to the end in true fairy-tale fashion, I didn’t notice any further references.
Speaking of the Leafe Knights, they’re basically a horde of bishounen. One of them looks like a woman and three are little kids, but that still leaves three potential love interests. It would be a full-on reverse-harem if one of them didn’t establish themselves as the main love interest after a few episodes. Then, there’s something to up the innuendo and the weirdness-scale all at once: to fight, Himeno and one of the knights “pret.” Essentially, the guy goes, well, inside of her in the form of a glowing orb. The first time, many “What he’s going inside of me how embarrassing” jokes are made, and it’s quite wrong the entire time.
The story is somewhat predictable. It was obvious that the Fenrir was the previous Pretear by episode 5 or so, at least an episode before the official revelation was made. It was also obvious that Himeno was not going to stay unconscious. The only thing that was not obvious was Sasame’s revival, because resurrecting an already-dead character is a pretty lame plot twist.
The “serious” bits all appear to have been written by a teenager. Particularly Mawata, one of Himeno’s step-sisters, seems to be fuelled solely by teenage angst, as is Fenrir. Fenrir is worse because she’s the evil villain, but her only motivation is “Wah, I loved this guy and he rejected me!”
I was once an immature teenager, too, but I’m glad it’s in the past and see no reason to derive joy from watching characters act the same. When I was still 15, I’m sure I would’ve found this to be the most emotionally deep story in the whole entire world, but it’s not. It’s often trite, shallow, and unrealistic.
On a similar note, the “Oh no I’m not strong enough I can’t do anything at all” arc was also really annoying after about one episode. Himeno appears to be written as a super strong female character, but that’s only sugar coating. Without outside help in the form of Hayate, she can’t get anywhere on her own. Up until the very last episode, she’s fully dependent on at least the knights to be able to fight at all.
However, all of that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! The jokes made me laugh, because I guess my sense of humor hasn’t grown up much at all, and the story is just fine when it’s not taking itself completely seriously. For some reason, I have an affinity for seeing girls in silly dresses and high heels fighting weird monsters; it’s ridiculous and, as I’ve said a million times, fun. It’s something to make you smile and let your brain rest for a while. At this is fully succeeds.
The final point I’d like to make is that Hayate and Himeno are an adorable couple. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, but I always fall for super-cute unrequited romance, and Hayate and Himeno make me smile inside.
I would consider this slightly above average for a TV show, but, as the episodes flow by, there are certainly a few places where the artwork gets a bit wonkey. The backgrounds stood out, too, as they’re done with a watercolor effect that looks quite nice. There’s some CG that sticks out, but thankfully it doesn’t appear too often.
I thought long and hard about where to mention this, but the knights’ outfits annoy me a bunch. Of course some sort of fantasy get-up is fine for a show like this, but making the Leafe Knights wear outlandish outfits that have no similarities at all is kind of ridiculous. Character designers, what where you thinking?
I must admit that I didn’t really pay attention to the music. Rather, the music didn’t grab me and force me to pay attention to it, aside from two exceptions. One is the OP melody, which is quite catchy and always jumps out at me. Two is the horrible jazzesque music that plays during Sasame’s radio show but also elsewhere. It sounds like what I imagine soft porn music to sound like and always makes me expect that all the characters on-screen are going to rip off their clothes and get it on with each other or something similarly horrifying.
The DVDs were quite solid. I didn’t notice any typos, which have stood out glaringly and annoyingly in the last DVDs I watched. The menu is pleasant to look at for the most part, but the CG flowers can get a bit tiring after some time. Extras are the usual; there’s the generic text-free OP and ED along with previews and maybe some production sketches. The only thing of substance is some segments with voice actors. Actually, I couldn’t even tell you if they are voice actors because I didn’t watch these, but they’re certainly from the American side of things (which I don’t care about).
Pretear is quite fun but gets annoying when the storyline tries to get deeper or even just explains characters’ motivations. The happy fluff is great and the story does get engaging in the last few episodes, but much is tiring and almost hard to sit through.
I loved the good parts, but since I can’t ignore the bad ones, this gets a 6.5/10.