BHS Blogress Report: 2021, February – Healin’ Goodbye

February, 2021 – Healin’ Goodbye

Apologies, I really should have posted this last week… but due to being wiped out, I didn’t actually see the final episode of Healin’ Good Precure until last Sunday.

HGPC has come to an end, and I think that while it was a generally solid entry with characters that I loved, I’d put it as “above-average” at best. However, I don’t think a lot of the faults the show had were necessarily its fault. HGPC is always going to be remembered as the series that had the terrible luck to air during the COVID pandemic, and that probably affected it more than we’ll ever know. It got dealt a bad hand, plain and simple: not only were the themes of the show a lot harder to watch given the real-life circumstances, but they had to scrap a lot of what they originally planned thanks to the ten-week hiatus. Tragically, my girl Hinata got the brunt of the damage, with the show’s production staff confirming that her intended character arc was one of the casualties. I wish I knew why the yellow Cures so often seem to end up being neglected…

The season had a number of high points: Hinata was one, and Pegitan is one of my favorite mascots in recent memory because ANXIOUS PENGUIN. He’s basically anime Opus! Nodoka’s development was strong, and there was her amazing shutdown of Daruizen at the end, refusing to let him take advantage of her kindness. That’s a message that absolutely needs to be pushed, especially nowadays. Daruizen was a more complex and compelling villain than I ever expected him to be, a worthy foe and a truly nasty piece of work… all the villains were, really, and I applaud the writers for not resurrecting them or granting them unearned and undeserved redemption arcs as they did with Star Twinkle and a few other series. As usual, the voice work was on point, especially Madoka Magica’s Aoi Yuuki as Nodoka and O Maidens in Your Savage Season’s Hiyori Kouno as Hinata. There was solid humor and action throughout, and most of the things the series did, it did well… it just didn’t shine like some of the others have. Nodoka’s rejection of Daruizen was the only absolutely indelible moment of the show, I think… and that saddens me. It’s a good show, but it could have been so much more.

Today, of course, was the premiere of the next Precure series, Tropical-Rouge Precure! As the first ever Precure premiere to be simulcast to overseas audiences, it was a historic occasion for the franchise. I hosted a live stream of it on my Discord server… a live stream which was slightly hampered because while Crunchyroll loaded the episode on time, the English subtitles were missing for over half an hour. Despite that, we all had a rollicking good time.

First impressions: this is definitely going to be a lighter and sillier series than its predecessor, and that’s perfectly okay! 2020 was rough for everybody, a more comedic series is just what we need. They did this with Smile after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and Smile gave us one of the greatest casts of characters and some of the best comedy in the franchise’s history… not to mention the best villain. Anyway! Manatsu, our new leader, gives off amazing gremlin energy, but hers feels distinct and different than that of Hana, the last gremlin type. Her meme faces are already amazing, and she’s goofy and likeable enough to carry the series easily. I love how physical she is, doing cartwheels and backflips and charging around even out of her Cure form, and that sets her apart from her predecessor. Laura the mermaid, the second of the main cast to be introduced, is a very different character than I expected. From her character bio, I expected someone along the lines of Towa from Go! Princess: a sweet, demure ingenue lost in the human world, a fish (well, half-fish) out of water. Instead, my first impression of Laura is… she’s kind of a brat, really, and I like it! I like it a lot! Precure doesn’t have enough (initially) abrasive personalities among its main cast members, which is a shame because being difficult to be friends with is such a great tool for character development. People who are just instantly best friends with each other with little to no difficulties (*cough*the Mahou and StarTwi teams*cough*) are boring to watch, as a general rule. Laura’s monologue gloating about how “Human children are sacrificial pawns for me!” was flat-out hilarious, and a perfect indicator of her personality. Her meme faces only came in behind Manatsu’s because Manatsu had so many spectacular examples, and the dynamic between them has caught my interest right out of the gate. We’ve got our physical fight scenes, we’ve got our Chekov’s Guns for the overarching plot, and we’ve got gorgeous animation, so I’d say we’re off to a very good start!

In personal news: after a long time struggling with one particular scene, Chapter 50 of Shattered Skies is now one-third done. I’m gonna try to put in as much work on it as I can tomorrow. I dunno if I’ll hit my goal of getting it posted before the month is over, but I’ll give it my best shot.

And there’s another thing that impacted me… but considering that it’s a downer and I really don’t want to finish on that, I’ll save it for next time. It’s not going anywhere.

Onward to March…

-BHS

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BHS Blogress Report: 2020, Week 26 – Healin’ Good Again

Week 26 – Healin’ Good Again

We Precure fans are having, one might say, a bomb-ass week.

Several weeks ago, official word came out that Healin’ Good would come back from its COVID-induced hiatus this weekend. Reason enough to celebrate, after ten weeks off the air… but then a few days ago, the unbelievable, nay, impossible was announced.

https://www.crunchyroll.com/healin-good-pretty-cure

Precure. Simulcasting and streaming legally, subbed and unedited, on a major English-language platform, for the first time ever. To say that the fandom went nuts is an understatement.

So shout-out to all the devoted fans who have been screaming at Crunchyroll for years to pick up the license, because you finally did it. I of course am 1000% in favor of this development, and not only have I re-upped my CR subscription in preparation, but I’m planning on rewatching the whole series on there once the episodes are up, just so Toei can see those viewing metrics… I encourage anyone else reading this to do the same if you can. Anything to ensure that this experiment is a success and isn’t a one-off thing. Just the possibility of being able to watch Heartcatch, Go! Princess, or Hugtto again through legal means gives me shivers.

Yeah, I’m in a happy place this week. And I’m gonna try to capitalize on that to get a head start on Chapter 49 of Shattered Skies… I did have to cut the rest of the fight in 48 due to length, after all. Wish me luck.

– BHS

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BHS Blogress Report: 2020, Week 7 – Home Again, At Last

Week 7 – Home Again, At Last

After three-and-a-half weeksmuch of it spent miserableI’m finally back in my own house, at my own PC.  The renovation still isn’t quite finished yet, but I’m not gonna lie: just being here has brought down my stress levels. Why, a couple more days and I might actually get back to writing. Imagine that!

Big Lick Comic Con was a lot of fun. I only wish that I could have stayed longer… or, you know, that I had more money and space for souvenirs, but that’s the case for every con. Obviously, one of the highlights was meeting and shaking hands with one of the icons of my childhood…

That is indeed Jason David Frank, not just any Power Ranger but the Power Ranger. I was lucky enough to find that Green/White Ranger Legacy Morpher at one of the vendors, so now I’ll be able to say for the rest of my life that I held it first and JDF held it second. (The morpher I’m holding comes courtesy of ChaosCroc, who was generous enough to let me borrow it for the occasion. Thanks, buddy!)

My other photos from the con can be found on my Instagram here, which I’m trying to use more often since it’s apparently the place for photographers now. Speaking of photography: just before I left, I put together an anniversary photo for Heartcatch Precure’s 10th birthday and Go! Princess’s fifth, which you can see below.

Ten and Five by bhsdesk

I’m afraid this might be one of the last figure shoots I take with my faithful Olympus camera, sadly. While in the process of taking this one, I discovered that the current minimum respectable number of megapixels on a decent camera is 20 MP or more, and mine’s only got 16. I knew it wasn’t top of the line anymore, but that still frustrates me… and it explains why so many of my pics lately have looked so terribly blurry. So that’s going to be the next big upgrade I invest in… hopefully the jobs I have coming up will cover that.

Anyway. I’m gonna try to actually have some stuff up next week, whether it be progress on Skies or thoughts on Magia Record and Healin’ Good Precure. We’ll see.

– BHS

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BHS Blogress Report: 2020, Week 2 – More Magical Girl Stuff

Week 2 – More Magical Girl Stuff

There’s a reason I’ve barely talked about the current Precure over the past year: Star Twinkle has been one of the weakest seasons, in my opinion. It doesn’t manage to constantly infuriate me with its blandness like Mahou Tsukai did, but that’s one of the only things keeping it above the bottom of my ranking. Look, just because something is made for little kids doesn’t mean it has to be dull, sloppy, and generally badly-written. Hugtto had an astonishing level of depth and complexity for a show of its demographic, and it was a financial success as well. It’s rare and hard to pull off, but you can do both.

I don’t really ask for much from Precure, all things considered. Strong character writing and great fight scenes are the two most important points for me, and I’m sorry, but Star Twinkle has failed the first one, and it’s not that great at the second either. It doesn’t feel like the signature Precure elements are tacked on as an afterthought, like Mahou did, but it does feel like the bare minimum of effort has been expended here. They’ve even squandered the one thing I thought was legitimately cool when I first saw it, the true identity of its main villain. I wrestled with whether or not to warn of spoilers just now, but ultimately, why bother? There’s been as little effort put into said villain’s motivations as there is anything else.

At least we’re about to start a new series, with Madoka herself voicing our new leader, Nodoka Hanadera, aka Cure Grace. Healin’ Good seems to be bringing in some fresh talent for its production, and it looks like it’s sorely needed.

Speaking of Madoka… Magia Record’s anime finally premiered on Saturday. I think it was a really solid premiere, setting up what it needed to and reintroducing the world of PMMM to the audience. Having played the game since the launch of the English version, I’m curious to see as to exactly how they’re modifying the story to keep us on our toes. There’s already been one important plot point that I think the English version hasn’t gotten to yet, not to mention the presence of the anime-exclusive character Kuroe to shake things up. And of course, there’s that brief shot of all five of the Holy Quintet in the OP, which promises that they’ll indeed be guest starring in the anime as well as the game… the premiere was great, but I’m far more excited for what the future of the show holds.

Far more excited, that is, than what my own immediate future holds. I’m afraid it’s going to be next month before things even approach normal around my neck of the woods. In fact, I’ll be spending the last two weeks of January out of my house while renovations are done, which means putting all my projects on further hold. I want to at least get the photo thing done before I go… I just need one day mostly free of interruptions to get around to actually taking it. Wish me luck.

– BHS

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