REVIEW: ‘Tropical-Rouge PreCure,’ Episode 1 – “Tropica-shine! Motivation to the Max! Cure Summer!”

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Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 1

Anime fans, it’s summertime! Time to hit the beach! Well… at least it feels like summertime, especially with our newest Winter 2021 anime, Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure. Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cute (hereafter Tropical-Rouge Precure) is a latecomer to the Winter 2021 lineup, shining its bright rays on a season full of heartwarming series. 

As with all of the PreCure titles, this magical girl series is being produced by Toei Animation, a studio who needs no introduction. However, for fans who might not know much about Toei, let me give you some titles to get your attention. Toei was the studio behind the anime versions of Sailor Moon, One Piece, and Dragon Ball, and that’s not even some of their most famous titles in and out of Japan. You can check out a full list of all their productions on their Anime News Network page.

Tropical-Rouge Precure is being directed by Tsuchida Yutaka, known for his work on multiple entries in the PreCure franchise. Tsuchida is also credited for Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1’s storyboard and direction. Yokotani Masahiro (Free -Iwatobi Swim Club-) is handling series composition. He’s also handling the script for the show. 

Additionally, Terada Shiho (Inazuma Eleven GO) will be handling the music for Tropical-Rouge Precure. Nakatani Yukiko (Go! Princess PreCure) doing character design with Imai Miki (My Hero Academia the Movie -Heroes: Rising-) on art. Ueno Ken (Glitter Force) will be handling animation direction. Lastly, Todo Izumi will be handing the original concept and design. However, Todo Izumi is a collective pseudonym for the Toei Animation staff.

Here’s the plot for the newest PreCure entry. Tropical-Rouge Precure follows Natsuumi Manatsu, a first year middle school student who has moved from Minamino Island to Aozora City. Her life there is just getting started when she encounters a strange “person” named Laura. 

“Person” should be used loosely because Laura’s no human. Actually, she’s a mermaid princess from a place called the Grand Ocean, the homeland of all mermaids. This princess isn’t a damsel in distress: rather, she’s looking for warriors to fight against the Witch of Delays. Thankfully, Manatsu is exactly the kind of girl she needs in her fight against the witch..

I, myself, am a newcomer to the PreCure series.  I’ve been interested in it for a while, but up until Winter 2020’s Healin’ Good ♥ Pretty Cure, there were few ways to legally and supportively access the series. Now, with Tropical-Rouge Precure, curious fans like myself can get in from jump. That being said, let’s dive into this newest entry into the long-running, incredibly fun PreCure series! Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1, “Tropica-shine! Motivation to the Max! Cure Summer!” starts off with sunny -and acrobatic- protagonist Natsuumi Manatsu packing for her family’s move to Aozora City. This move is largely due to her mother taking on work at a brand new aquarium. Simple, but effective enough to get us into the plot.

Immediately, Manatsu is an incredibly cheerful, perky character. Essentially, she the “genki girl” trope in one tweenager. For some viewers, this might not be their thing. However, I found her quite likable and upbeat. She also struck me as incredibly friendly as well. Truthfully, I think she’s a great role model for young girls, which is the target audience of the PreCure franchise. I hope lots of kids and young girls find themselves in Manatsu’s sunshiny personality.

Post-OP, viewers dive deep into the ocean to the Grand Ocean, home to all mermaids. It should be a peaceful place, but… something is amiss. Instead of being an active realm, everyone is sleeping and laying about. It quickly becomes apparent that the Witch of Delays is up to no good.  Naturally, it’s up to Princess Laura to find the right human for a job.  However, Laura is a bit reluctant to seek out human aid. In fact, you could say she’s kind of anti-human. Really, Laura clearly finds merfolk to be vastly superior to those land-loving two-leggers she needs help from. Still, Laura’s gonna have to let some of her bias go if she’s going to save her homeland. 

Just like Manatsu, Laura is an immensely hilarious character. Honestly, she might be my series favorite. She’s super sassy, quite blunt, and has the best expressions. Laura has some of the best lines in Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1, and is sure to be a crowd favorite. Honestly, iIf there’s Laura merch out there, then I want it. She’s definitely the best character in the entire series, and this is only Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1

It’s here that I’d like to mention the animation, which is really, really good. It’s stylish, with lots of bright, tropical colors like pink, yellow, orange, and sky blue. Overall, the palette for this show is so slick and distinct that I found myself really, really loving it. I really look forward to seeing what the other Pretty Cure members will look like, especially when they transform. 

When the sakuga kicks in, the show is gorgeous, with smoothly animated sequences that had me grinning. Some sequences alternate between a nice CGI and the show’s usual 2D style, though the former doesn’t occur frequently, at least not in Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1. Words can’t express how floored I was by Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1. It’s just that good.

Here’s my verdict. Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1 slaps. There’s not much else to say.  This episode is just really, really good. It’s one of the strongest premiere’s this season, and that’s saying something because there’s shows like Wonder Egg Priority to compete against. Yet I think the reason why Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1 hit just right is because of the characters.

Laura and Manatsu are delightful characters. Their back and forth is comedic gold, especially on Laura’s end. She’s flat-out funny, and has all the best emotive reactions. Additionally, I’d really like to see Laura in action, though I’m not sure if she’ll be a magical girl too. Even if she’s on the sidelines, I sense that Laura will remain incredibly hilarious from start to finish.

While PreCure is definitely aimed at young girls, I do think there’s a lot that’s enjoyable for older viewers such as myself. When you mix in the stylish art, bright colors, stellar voice acting, and those super cool transformations, you have a show with wide appeal. Definitely consider adding Tropical-Rouge Precure to your watchlist, especially as most Winter 2021 shows are nearing their end. Tropical-Rouge Precure has some very intense Saturday morning cartoon vibes: consider waking up early on Sundays to catch it.

Overall, Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1 is a very heartfelt and downright cheerful first episode. I found very little to complain about. I suppose that’s a mark of how polished the PreCure series is. You can tell a lot of hard work went into this series, especially Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1. It’s safe to say that I’m hype about following Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure until it ends.

Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

 

Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 1 - "Tropica-shine! Motivation to the Max! Cure Summer!"
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TL;DR

Overall, Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1 is a very heartfelt and downright cheerful first episode. I found very little to complain about. I suppose that’s a mark of how polished the PreCure series is. You can tell a lot of hard work went into this series, especially Tropical-Rouge Precure Episode 1. It’s safe to say that I’m hype about following Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure until it ends.