Image source: 映画プリキュアドリームスターズ on Twitter
The new anime film Eiga Pretty Cure Dream Stars is a fun mix of character crossover shenanigans and fourth wall-breaking humor tied together with a message of friendship.
Each spring, there is a crossover film featuring both current and previous Pretty Cures. This features the heroines from Kirakira Pretty Cure a la Mode (2017), Maho Tsukai Pretty Cure (2016), and Go! Princess Pretty Cure (2015) helping a mysterious girl, Sakura, save her friends and home from the evil clutches of the villainous Karasu-tengu.
One of the major factors of the crossover Pretty Cure movies is seeing the different Pretty Cure teams interact with each other. The diverse cast of personalities always brings out the best of the characters and it is no different in Eiga Pretty Cure Dream Stars. But, to make the interactions far more entertaining, rather than have all the teams meet and do the standard, “Oh! You’re Pretty Cure too?” the members of Kirakira Pretty Cure a la Mode are split into two groups to meet the other two teams. While I’m a man who opines “never split up the party,” in this instance, it was actually very comical.
When Yukari Kotozume (Cure Macron) and Akira Kenjo (Cure Chocolate) from Kirakira Pretty Cure a la Mode first met the members and friends of Go! Princess Pretty Cure, we had Akira mistaken as an older boy trying to pick up one of the friends of Princess Pretty Cure, with Yukari taking great pleasure in watching the entire scene. This harkens back to when Akira was first introduced in Kirakira Pretty Cure a la Mode. But, seeing it played out again with the double act of Akira and Yukari with a character from a different Pretty Cure series brought a smile to my face.
While the meeting of the different Pretty Cure teams is standard fare for the crossover movies, Eiga Pretty Cure Dream Stars did introduce a different element into the story to keep it engaging for the target audience—children—by having Sakura break the fourth wall. Every so often, she leaves the story, asking the viewers where she needs to go or where the Pretty Cure teams are or, in one case, plotting against the villain, Karasu-tengu.
It’s rare to see a movie do something like this, and it served an important purpose, keeping the children engaged throughout the movie and making them feel as if they were affecting the plot. And for a children’s movie, keeping them engaged is an important aspect of the viewing experience.
However, in the case of a Pretty Cure movie, the most important aspect is subtly instilling Japanese social mores or life lessons into children. Eiga Pretty Cure Dream Stars is no different: Even through difficult times, friendship will overcome all.
Simplistic as it may be, this is a good message to tell children. It also makes the story compelling to watch. Even as an adult, I was genuinely curious to find out how Sakura would reconcile the loss of her friend, Shizuku. And the third act reveal—though easily telegraphed—brought the character arc and message to a satisfying close.
Eiga Pretty Cure Dream Stars is fun. That’s really all that needs to be said. But, the entertainment value lies in different places for adults and children. For children, it’s the story and character interactions, and for adults, it definitely the craft—specifically the breaking of the fourth wall. But, in the end Eiga Pretty Cure Dream Stars is a movie for children first and foremost. If you have the ability to watch it with your children, I highly recommend it.
Eiga Pretty Cure Dream Stars premiered in Japan on March 18, 2017. There is no word on an English release. Kirakira Pretty Cure a la Mode is currently not being streamed.