Prétear is certainly a strange series, and one that I’ve come to really enjoy. Despite it’s appearance as a sappy ‘magical girl’ show, Prétear continues to surprise me with both it’s deep, conflicted characters and a rather mature story line; taking as many cues from Evangelion as it does Sailor Moon.
Volume 3 (episodes 8-10) is no different in this respect. While Himeno struggles with her confidence as a ‘Prétear’, Mawata is slowly becoming consumed by her inner demons – all of this while the ‘Princess of Disaster’ continues to gain strength and threaten the ‘Leafe Knights’.
It’s commendable how Prétear handles sticky issues like isolation and depression. For a series that seemed to be confined by the conventions of its ‘magical girl’ genre, Prétear’s ‘lynch-pin’ characters are both realistic and likable. As the story continues to twist and turn, you can’t help but feel empathy towards the many broken hearts we’re being treated to.
I find it interesting how the ‘Princess of Disaster’ is not just a standard ‘evil’ villain.
As you witness her story unfold and realize how conflicted her mind has become, you can’t help but feel even she has a heart.
Towards the end of the disc, we see a stake driven through the heart of the Leafe Knights and hope is all but lost.
While I found this particular twist rather predictable (like most of the story really), the impact and the sheer sadness behind the character in question makes it compulsive viewing. Given the Leafe Knights seemed like a reliable, happy bunch; it’s pretty gut-wrenching to see them strung out in such a way.
My only real complaints about this volume are with the cliché moments inherited from the likes of ‘Sailor Moon’; I find it strange that the prét transformation takes up more screen time than the actual fight to be won– that and the annoying little kids are still hanging around, adding virtually nothing to the story except looking cute.
Sound-wise, the Prétear musical score has been impressive throughout; deftly adding depth and importance to the more emotional and serious scenes. It’s never too cheesy and helps place real emphasis on the latest revelations.
These 3 episodes are as consistent and involving as their predecessors, while also upping the ante in terms of life/death situations; perfectly setting up the concluding volume for a dramatic finale.
For what looks like a cliché ‘magical girl’ anime series, Prétear has surprisingly matured into an engrossing adult drama, complete with believable characters that suffer from real, everyday problems in life. Really recommended.