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This week I agree with the bad guys. We’re still not entirely sure what Bell’s deal is. However, it seems certain that it involves a general disappointment in humanity, but up to this point, she’s been fairly random (or perhaps egalitarian) with her targets. This time, however, she specifically goes after a group of real estate developers who plan to not only build in a remote forested location but also to cut down a tree that has been standing for centuries for the views of high-end housing. Even if we discount the fact that building there will cause a lot of damage to the wooded area as roads and other infrastructure are built, to even consider destroying a tree that’s so beloved that it has, unless I miss my guess, a shrine next to it, showing how important it is to the locals, is appalling. And because this is a Pretty Cure series for adults, there’s not even any guarantee that saving the developers will change their minds.
Prior to this week, the Shadows we’ve seen have all been humanoid with prominent broken hearts on their chests. Bell herself has also seemed sad as if she’s doing what she feels she has to, even if she’s not sure she likes it. This time the Shadows are different – not only are they dog-shaped, but they lack broken hearts. Instead, they have spiky red hackles down their backs, and I don’t think that’s a random design choice. (Especially not with the design aspect of Rin’s character arc.) Dogs raise their hackles when they feel threatened or angry, and the spiky appearance and red color here also give an impression of fury. The canine Shadows mark a different emotion from Bell – she’s sad when humans act selfishly or ignore the world around them. She’s angry when they actively plan to destroy nature.
Rin’s hesitation when she first sees the canid Shadow feels significant in this context. She knows that following the Shadow is probably the thing that she ought to do, and in Yes 5 and Go Go, that’s exactly what she’d have done. But she’s not fourteen anymore and she feels that her job takes precedence – what she has to do versus what she wants to do. It may not be a coincidence that the two Cures who have transformed up to this point (and I’m not counting Kurumi because she’s a fairy and already has a facility with transformation) both work with children – Nozomi as a teacher and Karen as a doctor. The others are all in primarily adult environments, and that may shape their views of the world; I can tell you that it’s hard to work with kids and not absorb at least a little of how they see things. Rin is actively making choices that prioritize “should” over “want to,” so she’s leaning hard into society’s view of adulthood, and it takes remembering that she loves having a finger in every pie to facilitate her transformation.
It’s interesting to think of this in the context of the time flowers. Natts is concerned that they’re ominous and dangerous, and he may be right – after all, time isn’t supposed to flow backward, and Bell’s lamentation of that fact seems to be a partial motive in her actions. But what if temporary reversals of time’s laws allow the Cures to regain something emotionally, which will then negate the need for an actual rollback of years? The flowers, like any medication, may be harmful if overused, but helpful in the short term. And everyone can use a mental reset sometimes. Just look at Coco, who has convinced himself that things won’t work out between him and Nozomi without even talking to her about it. He may be right, and a percentage of the fandom would be happy with that, but the more salient point is that he’s decided it’ll fail without even trying, and that’s symptomatic of what we’ve seen from the people Bell has attacked.
Urara looks like she’ll get her turn next week, which marks the return of Syrup’s human form. I’m not loving his adult look so far, but I’m still looking forward to their dynamic and to seeing how Urara’s faltering dream affects her present and her future.
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