“Smile Pretty Cure”… my thoughts

8 May

My sweet 4-year old has graduated from Japanese shows like Inai Inai Baa/いないいないば〜 and Okaasantoissho/おかあさんといっしょ (cry!). She’ll tolerate Anpanman/アンパンマン. Most recently (due to influences from friends at Japanese school), she is really into the Pretty Cure/プリキュア series. Have you heard of the show? If not, check out the info on Wikipedia. (Official websites here and here). It is all the rage among Japanese preschoolers!

My daughter, getting sucked into the Pretty Cure section at a toy store in Japan.

As her mother, I am not sure what to think of this show.  The problems I have with Pretty Cure are:

1) It’s not very educational. Sure, watching the show might help improve my daughter’s Japanese a little bit, but they also often use made-up words and spend a lot of time transforming.

2) The girls don’t dress very modestly (short short skirts, bare midriffs, etc). Plus, I don’t really want my daughter idolizing “14-year old” girls who don’t represent reality at all (huge sparkly eyes, super-skinny, colored hair, etc.). Why are the main characters of a show geared toward really young girls teenagers, anyway? **I noticed that in the most recent season, Smile Precure, all the girls are wearing shorts under their short skirts and there’s no bare midriffs. I wonder if a lot of parents complained about the outfits from the past few seasons (in the very beginning, they wore shorts as well)? It’s a good change!**

3) The show is a huge marketing tool (like the Disney Princesses). It is obvious they are using the show to sell their products.

4) I know people obsessed with anime/Japanese girls watch shows like these and the thought grosses me out.

Those things being said, I don’t think watching the show occasionally is going to ruin my daughter. I think it does teach things like the importance of being a good friend, and to not give up. I read a few manga series as a young girl myself (like Sailor Moon and RayEarth) and I turned out fine (haha). One of my motherhood/life mantras is “all things in moderation”, and I think that may apply in this situation as well. I’m fine with her watching Smile PreCure with friends but I’m not going to give in to her obsession and let her watch it every day.

her favorite preschool magazine features the PreCure characters

The show has actually given me opportunities to teach my young girl about reality vs fantasy. Just the other day, she looked at me with big eyes and said, “Mom, are my eyes sparkly, like the PreCure girls?” and “I wish my hair was a different color.” I told her that she is beautiful the way she is, and that the characters on PreCure are not real. It is impossible to look like them. I need to talk to her about the importance of dressing modestly too, soon.

We need to tell our daughters that they are beautiful, every day (same goes for sons). Even at this young age, the “world”‘s influence on them is so powerful. We need to tell them they are beautiful, powerful, intelligent, and can be happy and successful in this life without superpowers and sparkly eyes :).

Do you have any thoughts? Do you let your kids watch/read anime, like Pokemon or Pretty Cure?

Here’s the “Group Transformation Scene” from Smile PreCure. Can you see why little girls love it? :) It is pretty entertaining.

P.S. One of my blog-friends is having a giveaway at her blog, Little Japan Mama! Hurry over and enter!

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21 Responses to ““Smile Pretty Cure”… my thoughts”

  1. Az May 8, 2012 at 4:28 PM #

    I agree with you most of the part. Little kids do not need to watch battling.

    But I found the one good part. My girls learned so many Kata-kana from Pre-cure. maybe, Poke-mon will work the same roll for boys. Unfortunately, Hoshu-ko ( not
    only JLSC) do not have enough time to teach Kata-kana. The kids will learn
    Hiragana at Nen-cho class but not Kata-kana.

    That was the only part I can accept this show. So I had used Pre-cure as their
    prize of daily routine. ( My mom- in low said you needed some “dessert” for
    leaning. I understood.)

    • Hiragana Mama May 8, 2012 at 9:02 PM #

      Those are all good thoughts! I didn’t realize the Japanese schools don’t teach Katakana. I guess I better start teaching that very soon!

  2. kmaruyam May 16, 2012 at 2:05 PM #

    My daughter also loves Puri Kyua! I have mixed feelings about the nature of the program, too, but I am also of the mind that a little bit is okay. The funny thing is she has introduced Puri Kyua to some of her friends from school as part of their play. Cute!

  3. ********** May 25, 2012 at 5:43 AM #

    I understand your feelings that it is too fictional but it it also pretty fun watching it
    I´m a 13 soon 14 year old swedish girl and I grew up with pokemon and now I am following pretty cure and I love it so I don´t think its soo bad but I do agree that transforming and such are a little bit too fictional

  4. ********** May 25, 2012 at 6:16 AM #

    I forgot to say that I am in no way related to japan and I have only 1 japanese friend
    but with the help of anime I could learn and improve my japanese
    it was anime that got me into japanese when I was 10-11 years old and I improved only by using anime I did not have a teacher or anything like that
    and now I have currently watched 198 anime series including pretty cure
    So I think pretty cure is really good and fun if you want to both enjoy the series and learn more japanese

    • Hiragana Mama May 25, 2012 at 11:17 AM #

      I didn’t realize I had any teenage readers :) Thanks for your comments, whatever motivates you to learn Japanese in a fun way is great! (198 anime series is a lot though, wow!)

  5. Aino June 6, 2012 at 2:49 PM #

    I think it’s as you said- you watched Sailor Moon and you turned out just fine. I’m not a mother, but I am a family person, and an aunt of two. I purchased a PreCure toy to help my niece with Japanese (I’m not Japanese, but I am learning to speak it and want my niece to be able to speak it as well).
    While I agree, you must teach your children the difference between fantasy and reality, I personally believe in a healthy imagination. Its ok to dream and create, perhaps it will be one of your daughter’s talents.

  6. akane June 25, 2012 at 7:30 AM #

    You are abit overreacting.

    I think you are doing the right thing by telling her about reality vs fantasy.

    I understand you want the best for your girl. But this is a cute show not violent. There is fighting but the precure always win. And I think the bad guys will turn good later on perhaps. It also have a message of friendship.

    The girls wear skirts and have colored hair but that is with like 99% of anime in Japan.
    I mean come on. That is like such a 90 years comment. Girls are girls shouldn’t they be allowed to dress feminine?

    If you don’t like precure just don’t let her watch it. But I think it’s abit sad for her.

    But you watched Sailor Moon. So I don’t think that is fair to her. And Sailor Moon got colored hair as well.
    And that show was made by a women.

    It’s an anime where the girls where cute outfits and skirts. Naturally guys like it as well. I don’t see a problem with that.
    And from what I know the show is also deliberatelly geared towards boys. Girls watch boy shows as well.

    It’s not nice to call girls hookers like that in Japan. Only because of how they dress. They may be really nice and kind to you
    if you actually talked to them.

    • Hiragana Mama June 25, 2012 at 7:54 AM #

      I think you missed the jist of my post, but thanks for your comment!

  7. Melinda July 30, 2012 at 7:47 PM #

    I don’t know the show you are referring to. I used to let my kids watch disney channel but they became addicted to it . NHK programs the eigo de asobo is entertaining but not logical or educational.
    The idea of having childrens shows is great as they are only on for 2 hours in the morning .I intend to buy a heap of dvds in Australia. My kids love playschool and the wotwots.

  8. 7 Flounders of the World August 3, 2012 at 6:48 PM #

    I think you might be overreacting. As a 31 year old father of two, I don’t find this show as alarming as you put it.

    >>1) It’s not very educational. Sure, watching the show might help improve my daughter’s >>Japanese a little bit, but they also often use made-up words and spend a lot of time >>transforming.

    Nothing on TV is educational. But this show stands out from the rest because its entertaining for both kids and adults. I painfully begged my kids to not watch this show (when I was home), but as I watched more and more episodes I started to actually like it. Its very tongue-in-cheek, and is self-aware for a cartoon show. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and the comedy is universally funny (much like the hugely popular Avatar the Last Airbender show on Nickelodeon).

    >>2) The girls don’t dress very modestly (short short skirts, bare midriffs, etc). Plus, I don’t >>really want my daughter idolizing “14-year old” girls who don’t represent reality at all
    >>(huge sparkly eyes, super-skinny, colored hair, etc.). Why are the main characters of a >>show geared toward really young girls teenagers, anyway? **I noticed that in the most >>recent season, Smile Precure, all the girls are wearing shorts under their short skirts >>and there’s no bare midriffs. I wonder if a lot of parents complained about the outfits >>from the past few seasons (in the very beginning, they wore shorts as well)? It’s a good >>change!**

    I think the colored hair is so the kids can differentiate between the characters. Everyone I know has always complained/kvetched about how anime character hair colors do not represent reality. True, but this is a cartoon and it would be a lot harder to differentiate the characters if they had the same hair color.

    >>3) The show is a huge marketing tool (like the Disney Princesses). It is obvious they are >>using the show to sell their products.

    True. But its not even close to being as bad as Yugioh. That show really cost some parents a fortune. I don’t mind, especially since I find the Candy doll to be adorable.

    >>4) I know Otaku (men obsessed with anime/Japanese girls) watch shows like these and >>the thought grosses me out.

    This was uncalled for. I remember a time (almost two decades ago) when people said the same thing about Otaku and Sailor Moon. There seems to be two stereotypes that persist over time: (1) The new generation of kids are out of control & (2) otakus are creepy, introverted dorks who get aroused by cartoon girls.

    The funny thing is, most of the Japanese otaku I’ve met in my life have been some of the most stable people I’ve met. They knew they liked watching anime and were comfortable with it. They were friends with people who accepted them for who they were and were in stable, understanding relationships. On the other hand I’ve met many Japanese people who were almost violently vocal about their hatred of anime. They treated the act of watching anime as if it were a psychological problem. I found a lot of these people to be depraved. Several of these people had issues with their confidence and their sexuality. I even knew one person who thought she was in love with a man who was already married. Last time I checked facebook, these people still seem to be single, bitter, and thankfully not around me.

    So, what is my point. Don’t stereotype people. Otakus are normal human being just like you and me. I even have some Japanese girlfriends from college who are gonna cosplay as the Precure girls this summer at anime events in Japan. These are grown women who have graduated college, have jobs, have boyfriends, have husbands and have children. I’ve never thought of these people as being sick or depraved.

    Sorry for the long post, but I found the last point to be a bit close minded. You’ll be surprised how more mainstream and accepted the otaku culture has become in the last decade.

    • Hiragana Mama August 3, 2012 at 8:18 PM #

      Hello! I don’t agree with all your points either, but thanks for expressing your opinion! I think if you read through my post again, you’ll see that in conclusion, I didn’t think the show is bad. Just not the best way for my kids to spend their time. I apologize for the misuse of the word “otaku”. I know great people who love anime!

  9. makayla September 2, 2012 at 9:29 AM #

    i think that it is cute but like you said we still need to teach our kids about reality and fantasy. and we will still be strog without super powers or bright colored hair!

  10. makayla September 2, 2012 at 9:35 AM #

    i think precure is ok for a little girl to watch as long as they know that it is not real and never to kick or punch or physicly hurt someone. but i dont think anyone would ever do that

    • Hiragana Mama September 2, 2012 at 12:30 PM #

      Thanks for visiting! My kids actually started kicking and hitting each other after they watched Pretty Cure ;)

      • makayla September 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM #

        i love japan i have been there 3 times!!!! how mant times have you been?

  11. 15 year old swedish girl who loves anime and japanese October 22, 2013 at 5:49 AM #

    If your kids love precure then I have a really good children anime to recomend
    it’s called Shugo Chara and it is also a transformation series but it’s not violent at all and
    it conveys that you should never give up and to believe in your would be self
    it has teached me many things about believing in oneself
    I really recomend it

  12. yasminbe March 2, 2014 at 12:20 PM #

    Hi i think your all taking this show at the wrong perspective . I am a 9 year old girl i love pretty cure it makes you realise that there are bad people in the world and it is a sort of role model for girls about the power of friendship.

  13. Prince April 1, 2014 at 11:38 PM #

    As an american child, when I was only 8 (I am 22 now), my mom introduced me to the Japanese with english version of Sailor Moon. I grew up loving it and luckily never became one of those anime obsessed people. *shudder* but Sailor Moon is a big part of my life. point is, it did help me become a better person and also taught me Japanese since childhood (helped anyway). I say this because I would have LOVED pretty cure if it was big back then and I knew about it. Well, as you said with the concerns of your daughter idolizing unrealistic immodestly dressed girls, that’s a very good point. Growing up on Sailor Moon really confused me with my sexuality LOL (the lesbians were my fav as a little kid) and I also gained an eating disorder I still battle due to the unrealistic standards I always set myself with image. My unrealistic image idealations probably stem back to growing up on magical girl Japanese anime. BUT there’s much worse out there your daughter could be watching and I could have been. But it did mess me up a bit, yet still had many pros. I’m glad that you made sure to teach your daughter and make sure to balance the reality and unreality of the series. She’s a lucky daughter to have such an intelligent and caring mother! (Sorry this is so sloppy and disoriented, I have a migrane and don’t feel like fixing my comment..)

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