I imagine the reveal at the end is the big talking point but before diving into that, let’s first talk about Rate as this episode is really about her.
Poor Rate has been a bit of a conundrum for me. On one hand, we have an adorable puppy as our mascot character. On the other, we have to watch her get sick every episode because this is how the Cures know there’s a monster of the week to beat up. I suppose this works in getting me invested but darn it, let the poor dog take a break!
This episode actually makes that plot detail as part of Rate’s arc. When Rate catches a cold (which we all know is the deadliest disease in anime), she confesses to her protectors that she hates that all she’s done so far is get sick and feels powerless as a result. Nodoka tries to cheer her up by pointing that it’s thanks to her that the Cures can stay on alert but this episode even makes that a moot point as Rate’s cold prevents her from detecting the monster of the week, allowing it time to grow more powerful. Suffice to say, Rate feels even worse about herself.
There’s a couple of moments that speak to Rate’s desire to overcome her weakness. She convinces Nodoka to take her to the monster to see what her cold has caused and what the Cures generally do thanks to her assistance. When the Cures get defeated (far too easily might I add), Rate goes as far as trying to fight the monster herself despite lacking the Cures’ powers, let alone being in a healthy state to do so. Naturally, she loses but it’s nevertheless harrowing to watch her get defeated so utterly and quickly. Worse is when Batetemoda brainstorms on ways to kill her.
Which brings us to the resolution.
Episode 19 is in fact where we are introduced to the fourth Cure, Cure Earth (Suzuko Mimori). It’s a bit of a deus ex machina actually as the character just so happens to appear in the nick of time due to Queen Teatine praying to the Earth (at least I think it’s the Earth) to save Rate. And according to the animal partners, this girl is actually the first Cure that was mentioned a couple of episodes ago. Not a descendant of any kind but the one who teamed up with Teatine eons ago. Maybe there’s time travel involved (which would seriously complicate this story). Maybe Cure Earth was somehow sealed away in some sort of suspended animation (honestly more likely). We’ll learn how this is possible in the next episode. Regardless, this introduction is oddly put together, being as perplexing as it is exciting.
Also, is it just me or is Cure Earth overpowered? The original team of three have struggled a lot when MegaByogen increase in size but Cure Earth easily beats this episode’s monster like it’s no problem. She does let Grace, Fontaine, and Sparkle deal the final blow but that honestly comes across as patronizing, like she’s giving them a free hit. And if that isn’t enough, Earth reveals that she can create elemental bottles all on her own, saving the team the trouble of asking for another to cure Rate. I guess if she’s the first Pretty Cure in this canon, who partnered with the queen of Healing Animals no less, it makes sense that Earth is this strong. Maybe the gap in power can make for a compelling plot point too. Still, it’s a little concerning. The last thing you want in this kind of story is make the team of characters we’ve been following since the beginning become obsolete.
Thanks for reading!
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