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July 2005

Pretty Cure

Pretty Cure (©ABC•Toei Animation Co.)

Japan is the birthplace of anime, and the latest animated TV series to become a hit among young girls is Futari wa Puricure (Pretty Cure). The secrets to the anime's popularity are its super cute heroines and bold action scenes, in which the heroines coolly battle evil.

Pretty Cure is a TV anime series that was shown throughout Japan from February 2004 to January 2005. A sequel, Futari wa Puricure Max Heart, is currently being broadcast. And in April 2005, a feature-length movie version was also released.

The main characters are two junior high school girls with completely opposite personalities. Using power given to them by two cute visitors from another dimension, the girls transform themselves into the black warrior Cure Black and the white warrior Cure White.

Pretty Cure is seen as the first anime mega-hit since Sailor Moon became a smash in the 1990s. While the two series are similar in that they both feature heroines transforming themselves to fight evil, one big difference is in the colors used. Until now, pink and blue have been the colors of choice for most anime made for girls. In Pretty Cure, however, the heroines' costumes are black and white. (In the second series a warrior dressed in a pink outfit also appears.) What's more, the heroines battle evil with kicks and punches as well as magic, meaning that the series has even more rousing action than many boys' anime shows.

According to a questionnaire released by toy maker Bandai, when children were asked, "If you could become anything for just one day, what would it be?" their number one response was "Pretty Cure." The anime was most popular among young elementary school girls. In answer to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" meanwhile, in 2004 the number one answer was Pretty Cure character goods. And many younger elementary school girls did receive Pretty Cure goods for Christmas.

Many Pretty Cure goods, including replica costumes, are being sold. Among the most popular are toy cell phones that allow users to "communicate" with the beings from another dimension, just like the main characters in the series do.

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