Futari Max X 10: Honoka proves that she can pull off the giant mustache way better than Uragaros (whose jealously should have had him in the latest Shiho production), then debates her future post-Cure duties when her parents offer her a home in Paris (at least this isn't HeartCatch then...); meanwhile, Nagisa's perfect winning streak is finally put to the test in her lacrosse finale (not really, we just like to think it is), and discovers that maybe her little brother may have the sports gene in him after all (if you call hitting floating birdies with a racket a sport compared to her nitty gritty).
Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart: Ep. 37: Nagisa Flies! Honoka Dances! All of Shiho's Power on Stage!
Really it's been 37 episodes before we finally get Verone's Principal and Vice-Principal back together again? And I thought waiting for more Natsuko and Kyoko was harsh.
The idea of Shiho wanting to be a director more or less stems from the infamous Romeo & Juliet episode from last season; so has she learned anything since that disaster? Well...that sort of what this episode is about: with another Verone Festival upon them, Shiho decides to direct another play once again, this time around a bigger action spectacle about Ushiwakamaru, particularly his encounter with the infamous Benkei. And, once again, Nagisa and Honoka are the main characters, the former being Ushiwakamaru and the latter...wearing a huge mustache (that really should have stayed on her as Cure White). But with the bigger ambitions of Shiho, Nagisa has something new to worry about this time: wire-fu effects to simulate the flying like effects of the infamous swordsman. We get a bit on them in this episode but somehow it's a rather dull process, more or less just sort of going over and over "it's safe, we've been doing it for centuries so don't worry about it". But of course with it being Nagisa's first time performing in Wire Fu, it doesn't go the way anyone expects...until of course it does but that's the end. Really I don't mind we get a follow-up with Shiho and her own ambitions, but at the same time it really ends up being a duller episode, probably because it isn't as comedically chaotic as last time and with the lessening of comedy in Max Heart compared to Futari. Case in point, the really stupid way that Uragaros just appears out of nowhere to be the Benkei for Nagisa to practice on before the weird ending where she performs the trick...with the other girls all pulling the wire fu since the people behind it were dismissed with the earlier failures. There's no set-up and it isn't even like last season where at least we get comedy of Juna's Zakenna army becoming the enemies in the Romeo and Juliet adaptation; the sky darkens, everyone sleeps and bam, Uragaros. (seriously if he wants to be Benkei, then let him at least pretend to be Benkei before pulling the Zakenna fight out!) Really for an episode that should have been about Shiho's dream and focused on someone that isn't a Cure, it really did feel like a real disaster...and not a fake one.
Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart: Ep. 38: Goodbye, Honoka!? Our Bonds will be Strong Forever!
I never knew Yuriko thought "that way" about Honoka...I guess this takes that relationship to a different level, huh?
Remember that episode of Smile Pretty Cure when Reika nearly goes away for a potential educational opportunity...yet decides not to because screw actually having a means to meet up with the other girls and fight as a Cure in Japan despite going elsewhere due to MAGIC LIBRARY!?!?!? (yeah, still one of the stupidest moments of Smile even now) Luckily, Futari is a bit more subdued about the same style of story, though it still of course has similar elements to it in a way. In this case, it's Honoka who is asked to potentially leave Japan: simply put, her mother admits that she and her father may have to stay in Paris in a while for their job with rare artifacts; which means that if they are settling down, it would be nice to be a family again even if in another country. This of course is forced to make Honoka make a decision she isn't willing to make that easily: should she go or not? Obviously with Cure duties it is a problem if she does, but she does admit that eventually the battles will end and she may have to figure out what her priorities are and where she will have to go with her life from there. Nagisa obviously doesn't know the answer herself; she just wants Honoka there forever but wants to have her make the right decision that can better her own future. It is an interesting episode and at least does feel more realistic with what Honoka's concepts and what she may or may not want are reflected with: she wants whats best for her future but doesn't want to leave everything behind like this. We even get a nice little sequence of catch between the two with the lacrosse sticks that show that Nagisa knows she has to let Honoka make her own decision but she can still ease her mind to make the right choice. Heck, Yuriko is probably a stronger case for leading to Honoka not going, considering she wants her to go, but then flip-flops by the ending leading to the decision to not. I wanted to not like the episode but it did at least approach things in a mature matter, even if the concept's still cliche.
Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart: Ep. 39: Burn out! The Youth Lacrosse Finals!!
Sorry, Happynen, but you don't go back into the Chairlect until everyone is "ULTRA" Happy! Seriously, Miyuki told me so.
Oh goody, yet another lacrosse episode for Nagisa to crush her opponents and preserve Verone Academy's UConn-esque unstoppable winning streak because they can. Lucky for me, this is the FINAL lacrosse episode of the season and possibly ever: with Nagisa being a senior, she's graduating and thus this is her last lacrosse game (as is Shiho and Rina) and considering the directions the franchise will go in beyond this, we're not really going to concern ourselves with unstoppable sports elements from here on out (well there will still be sports...but I think I've had enough lacrosse for a lifetime with Verone's streak) Luckily, this episode at least tries to make an interesting story out of the trite plot point, this time with the championship against a longtime Verone rival who claims to have a strategy in dealing with them....and if another team failed with brawn, this one tries strategizing and planning and pushing a path that basically allows for them to work like a precise machine, lead by a leader who was a benchwarmer back when Nagisa was playing in her first year! (and she tries to be modest about her success when obviously she was going tob e on there regardless) This is actually an interesting element of someone who wants to use brains and planning vs someone like Nagisa who just plays by instinct and knows what she's doing because...well, she's Nagisa. It actually does lead to probably the best possible game we can get for the finals, where the teams seem even and at least we get a lesson about just letting loose instead of just being so tightly wound up and playing for the sake of winning. But of course Circulas ruins it with the whole element that somehow he keeps teleporting Nagisa (and Honoka and Hikari) to another dimension whenever he attacks a lacrosse field and thus allows for the other team to have a chance so that Nagisa can score the winning goal in the end. Really, if the Guardians (or any Dusk Zone denzien) wants to stop Nagisa, just tie her up and prevent her from ever playing lacrosse from minute 1 to the final second...then again it's too late for that now so...
Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart: Ep. 40: We're the Best! Nagisa and Ryouta at Full Throttle!!
Yeah I noticed a difference in the boy: considering he didn't want to go outside when staring out the window, playing with the swings again is definitely progress.
It really should come to no surprise that a family with a jock girl like Nagisa would have both siblings be into sports in some way or another. Ryouta didn't have a sport until now...except suddenly he's actually improved in badminton, to the point that he's won his school's tournament and been asked to watch over a sports club and their own badminton trials to see whether or not he's got what it takes to join their club. I find it a bit abrupt he does this, but at the same time it does give an excuse for one more Nagisa/Ryouta episode before the end...then again the inclusion of Honoka and Hikari just don't make it any better considering it merely seems like they have to be attached to the hip to each other in order to get anything done according to the story. Likewise not helping: the old "let's pause the game to make things better" bit, where Ryouta and Nagisa have a chat when he just tries too hard just like what we got with the lacrosse team earlier in the season only to just end up improving him...luckily not to the point of winning but what can you say when your sister is on a team that just won't lose and you just finally found a sport of interest. Of more interest is the current situation of "the boy": Vilblis has noticed something isn't right with him and that he isn't changing into the incarnation of the Dark King as he probably is supposed to, and of course wants to take it out on Hikari since she somehow is causing a "bad influence" on him (when really it's a good influence...but they're bad guys so...) We get a really intense fight with her (sent to the "post-apocalyptic world", which probably explains the occasional dimensional slips but really makes no sense how they keep going into the future...heck at least when Ilkubo did it, he sort of simulated it in the real world) but it's stopped by two factors: Hikari nearly being attacked that force the boy to "stop her", and then Baldez showing up to tell her that things are going as planned and that somehow Hikari, the enemy, needs to remain around for whatever he has up his sleeve. It does feel confusing but if Shiny Luminous is still important to him and to the boy, then it probably is important to keep her around. (despite her fights turning her into a scared chicken whenever she faces down a Guardian)