My Thoughts: Smile Precure! Ep 43

By VIR on January 05, 2013

1 Comments

This week’s episode of Smile Precure! – entitled Reika’s Path! I am Studying Abroad!! – starts off with Reika being approached by one of her teachers. This teacher tells Reika that she has been chosen to study abroad in Great Britain!

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This greatly surprises Reika as well as her friends. She will be leaving in one month and will be gone for one year to study. Her friends – though surprised – want Reika to follow her dream, so they do not act sad and tell her to go and do what she feels is right. Reika also seeks advice from her Grandfather, who tells her that there are many paths to take in life and that you should pick the one that fits you best.

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We switch over to the Bad End Kingdom. Joker is seen mulling over the other Bad Enders, saying that they were “useless all the way to the end.” He then decides to attack Reika – the brains of the group – to help destroy the Precure.

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Reika is whisked away to Joker’s Room and the final fight begins. But not any regular fight; you see, Joker is glad that Reika is thinking of moving away. He begins to congratulate her on her choice to move away. When Reika tells Joker that he is wrong, he begins to poke and prod at her psyche, saying things like “would you really turn your back on everyone’s expectations of you” and “will you lets your dreams slip away?” This mind game goes to extreme lengths to break Reika, even hallucinations. Joker believes he has won and is about to give the final strike to Reika when…

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The rest of the Precure show up! Joker tells then that Reika has chosen to go away from them, that she will never come back to them. This makes the rest of the Precure begin to cry; they never wanted Reika to go away, and are devastated that she is leaving.

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Reika, hearing their cries, comes to her senses! She doesn’t want to leave either! Joker laughs as this show of emotion erupts, retorting that he will just kill them all. Reika – having now chosen her path – henshins and fights Joker to save her friends. A fight filled with determination breaks out, and Reika saves the day!

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The episode ends with Reika confiding in her friends that she will stay here and treasure her moments with her friends, something that takes more precedence than studying abroad.

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Smile has done it again!
Here we have another greatly written and developed episode! And one that strays from the path of the previous ones, too!

What starts off as a clichéd and expected episode for the “smart” character quickly turns into a smart and tear-jerking episode that pushes its own bounds to tell a great story. What quickly made me love this episode was Joker. There wasn’t a main fight in this episode; it was a giant mind game filled with treachery, lies, and hate. Joker was able to destroy the most stalwart mind in Smile by his poison-teaming fibs. These falsehoods were sown deep into Reika’s mind, and it worked very well; how else to hurt the smart one than to attack the mind?

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The atmosphere of the episode was also great, and it really drove home the lies, hate, and sadness. The majority of the episode taking place in “Joker’s Room” gave a total sense of loss, defeat, and – for Joker – control. It was a dank and dark place, so the feeling of despair was tangible.

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Another interesting Joker scene was in this episode, before we leave him. As stated before, we see him sitting about and saying that the Bad Enders were “useless all the way to the end.” They are not referenced again.
What happened to the Bad Enders?
Did they meet their fate at the hands of Joker?
Have the run away from their fate?
Will they come back, or are they DEAD?
Who knows. All I know is, Joker’s either done something to them or he soon will.

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This episode was surprising emotionally taxing, though somewhat for the wrong reasons. Reika – having been so placid and singularly driven – hasn’t really made me care for her character this whole time; however, everyone else in the show cares for her, so when they start crying, no weeping for Reika not to leave, well… it really got to me. The writing and directing for the two scenes where this happens really got to me; I shared their grief as it was overwhelming.

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This was written and acted so powerfully, especially when Candy finds out what is going on. She was oblivious that Reika was leaving and was playing along – unknowingly – with everyone’s façade of happiness. When it is explained that Reika is leaving, Candy loses it, shouting that she does not want Reika to leave. Everyone shares in her sentiments, and the tears flow.

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Also, Heartcatch-sad-music makes EVERYTHING the most distraught possible.

One cool thing that happened in this episode was a new Akanbe evolution. Not only was a Hyper Akanbe made, and not only did Joker get inside it to control it, he then “ate” it to control it. Now the Akanbe was actually him.
Very interesting that Joker could do this. Maybe he has control over the Akanbe that no one else possesses? Also, this fight was very well choreographed; it was dynamic, interesting, and very well animated.

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Dat’s some freaky stuff.

If there was one thing that was odd about this episode, it was this: when the heck did Reika get a brother? I have no recollection of her ever having any siblings…
Well, being Smile, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he was never introduced before now or – if he were – it was once in passing thirty episodes ago.

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Overall, what an outstanding episode. The past two end-game episodes were a little lacking, but this one got top marks. I cared about what was going on, the fight was great, the episode was different than the previous ones, and all was done well.

Stay tuned for more as we wrap up soon!

dapperfex - January 28, 2013 8:32pm

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This episode hit me on a very personal level, as you may be aware, seeing as I've had a best friend move away from me and I've moved out of state three times in my life. The emotions were captured quite well.

A couple things I do have to note were that Joker shows not just AN aptitude for Akanbe control but an EXTREME aptitude for it. He summoned a Hyper Akanbe that was fully functional and yet he actually DIDN'T get inside of it. It was singularly autonomous. And secondly while the other bad enders were shown their lack of control of hyper akanbes by getting smacked aside by them as they rampaged towards the pretty cure, this never happened to Joker. They completely obey, respect, and most likely fear him. He's quite clearly the general of these operations.

Also, dat fight choreography. Reika gets the best fights mechanically speaking. Very dynamic actions and fluid movements are executed when she's forced to get serious.

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