REVIEW: ‘Tropical-Rouge PreCure,’ Episode 2 – “Manatsu and Laura! What’s More Important?”

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Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 2

Last episode, viewers met Natsuumi Manatsu, a cheerful, upbeat girl who recently moved to sunny Aozora City. It’s there that Manatsu encounters Laura Apollodoros Hyginus La Mer, or just Laura, a mermaid from the Grand Ocean. Laura has come to the realm of humans searching for the Legendary Warriors, the only people who can fight against the Witch of Delays. Naturally, lead girl, Manatsu is one of the warriors, taking on the magical form of Cure Summer, the rainbow-colored warrior with some pretty cool lipstick! In Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 2, “Manatsu and Laura! What’s More Important?”, viewers follow Manatsu on her first day of school in Aozora City. Just like most middle schoolers, she dreams of having a fun school life and making friends. However, things aren’t going to go that smoothly for newcomer Manatsu. In fact, viewers can expect hijinks to ensure!

Very quickly, viewers get introduced to Suzumura Sango, a girl who openly admits to loving fashion and makeup. A lot of this comes from the fact that she’s the daughter of a cosmetic shop owner. Naturally, Sango and Manatsu are fast friends, deciding to join a club together on the first day. It’s a cute start to a cute friendship!

Once again, I have to take a moment to gush about Manatsu. Manatsu is honestly one of my favorite characters in anime this season. She’s so energetic and unashamedly feminine. She likes makeup, she likes fashion, and she enjoys being herself. While there’s certainly discourse to be had around emphasizing makeup for a younger audience, I also think there’s an important message about makeup being fun. 

So often, young girls are taught to be ashamed of being feminine. They’re encouraged to be “not like other girls,” which can often extend to belittling the use of makeup or being feminine. It’s a strange double standard: if you’re a girl, you need to be feminine. However, to be feminine is to be considered weak, emotional, and a slew of pejorative adjectives. Yet Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 2, and the series as a whole, seem to be pushing that narrative in a different direction. 

I, myself, don’t wear makeup and can find it off-putting to wear it. However, I can also see the value in naturalizing finding your own style and make-up. After all, for a lot of people, make-up is a natural way of expressing themselves. While makeup isn’t interesting to me, I think that young girls should be encouraged to find their own self-worth. If that happens to include makeup, I don’t think that’s bad. 

And so far, it looks like Tropical-Rouge PreCure is leaning more towards a message of body positivity than “makeup makes you pretty.”  I don’t know if that will always be the case, but it would certainly be refreshing to see an anime offering up a body-positive message for young girls.

Messages aside, Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 2 is an enjoyable episode with, as I said, lots of hijinks. The bulk of those hijinks focus on Manatsu and Laura. Even though they’re friends, Laura and Manatsy are still learning how to be friends. They have a pretty tenuous relationship. This only grows tenser when Manatsu has to focus on school and not just being a Pretty Cure. From Laura’s perpsective, she should be all Pretty Cure, all the time. However, Manatsu is still a kid and a teenager at that: she wants to have fun!

In the end, Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 2 was just as good as the premiere. In fact, I liked it better than the first episode, in large part because we get a bit of conflict between Laura and Manatsu. We also introduce the second member of the Legendary Warriors, though viewers will easily know who she is based on the OP. Still, it’s a nice hint of what’s hopefully to come in the next episode.

There’s definitely a conversation that viewers can have about the series’ use of makeup, especially considering the target audience. This only becomes more important when you consider the country of origin. After all, Japan is known for having rather severe beauty standards for women. And while there’s lots of important pushback by Japanese women, there’s still a heck of a lot of sexism in the country. I, myself, experienced that during the four years I lived in Japan.

Still, I find a lot of value in a series where makeup can be used to positively empower its young audience. I really hope that Toei and Tropical-Rouge PreCure will offer a message of “be yourself” and “makeup can be fun if you want to use it” versus a message of makeup is necessary.

Additionally, Laura remains the funniest character in Tropical-Rouge PreCure. Her facial expressions are comical, her attitude is genuinely funny, and her desire to become the next Queen of the Grand Ocean feels simultaneously ambitious and absolutely in character. She also gets a bit of growth in Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 2, though she’s still the same sassy, slightly self-centered mermaid we came to know in episode 1.

I’m telling you, dear reader, don’t sleep on Tropical-Rouge PreCure. Doubly so if you’ve been looking for a legal, supportive way to jump into the series, it’s shaping up to be a real gem of a series. Not only are the characters incredibly likable, but the animation is also beautiful as well. Plus, there’s wonderful music, great designs, and awesome magical girl transformations. I really think Tropical-Rouge PreCure is going to be something special!

Tropical-Rouge! PreCure is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

 

 

Tropical-Rouge PreCure Episode 2
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    Rating - 10/10
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TL;DR

I’m telling you, dear reader, don’t sleep on Tropical-Rouge PreCure. Doubly so if you’ve been looking for a legal, supportive way to jump into the series, it’s shaping up to be a real gem of a series. Not only are the characters incredibly likable, but the animation is also beautiful as well. Plus, there’s wonderful music, great designs, and awesome magical girl transformations. I really think Tropical-Rouge PreCure is going to be something special!