The Pretty Cures learn of an urban myth, the Eternal Tree. Supposedly, if you make a vow with your friends near the tree, your friendships will last forever. Unfortunately, the girls quickly learn that the three has met its end during a recent storm. The one informing them of this is an old man named Tetsuya who made the vow with his friends, Fumi and Hideo, but hasn’t seen them in decades due to a feud he had with Hideo over their respective feelings towards Fumi and Hideo and Fumi having married each other. When the Cures learn of this from the Eternal Tree’s spirit (you know, it never occurred to me that they could just do that before any fighting occurs), they decide to help the elders reconnect as well as hold a festival to honor the tree before it gets cut down.
To be frank, I don’t think the episode does anything substantial with its guest characters. The resolution to the rift is Tetsuya trying to defend the tree from the monster of the week and Fumi and Hideo making him flee away with them once the Cures enter the ring. After that, they just decide to chill at their favorite cafe and invite the Cures to come along (which to be fair, is a nice gesture). I suppose a life or death situation will make bygones be bygones but I would’ve liked to see more of these characters talk things over and reconcile with each other.
I’m a little surprised at how involved the Element is in this episode. Usually, these spirits get held hostage and then thank the Cures for the hard work, occasionally giving them a power-up to boot. That this one Element inhabiting the dead tree asks the Cures to help Tetsuya reconcile with his friends adds a bit of character to it. It gets all the more sadder when the show has you thinking it dies in the end; as though it’s been sticking around to see a loose end get addressed. Granted, you find out that there’s a new tree sprouting where the dead one lies and it’s implied the spirit is now inhabiting that one but it’s still pretty daring of Healin’ Good to have almost gone there.
While not really focused on any particular Cure, there is one standout moment with Nodoka (this girl has seriously been on a roll lately). When the team is initially unable to convince the three elders to reunite, Nodoka expresses her fear that the same rift might one day befall her, Chiyu, and Hinata. However likely that may be, that really gets you thinking about what Nodoka has been through. She’s spent so much of her childhood hospitalized so she must’ve had few chances to make friends. So for her to express such fear, it’s completely understandable. She’s grown so close to Chiyu and Hinata as well as all the Healing Animals and deep down, she’s a little afraid she might lose those bonds one day. The subsequent vow made by the three Cures offers some peace of mind. Even with the tree dead and however legitimate the legend surrounding it is, the girls affirm their resolve and that’s what matters.
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