Continuing my slow and meandering trip through older Precure series this year I watched the franchise’s second entry, Max Heart. A rare direct sequel (I believe there’s one more a few entries on) Max Heart has something of a mixed reputation, with most of what I’d heard about it beforehand leaning towards the negative. Honestly though I liked it a fair bit, while it dragged a bit early on it more than redeemed itself in the second half. I liked Hikari, I liked (most of, Baldez sucks) the new villains, and I particularly liked what it did with Porun. Porun honestly didn’t get a lot to do in the original. He was mostly just there to yell and activate a finishing attack for the Cures each episode, and occasionally facilitate an episode’s plotline by throwing a tantrum or getting lost. As the latecomer among the series three mascots he was already at a disadvantage compared to the more established Mepple and Mipple, it doesn’t help that he’s, in a word, obnoxious. Loud, temperamental and generally obtrusive Porun consistently acts in incredibly childish ways and displays very little self-control. On the other hand at least he actually is a child. Porun may be overbearing at times but at least he has that excuse, unlike Mepple; who manages to be every bit as self-centered and noisy, and rarely manages to offer Nagisa any meaningful support. While Mepple may be worse in a lot of ways it’s hard to dispute that Futari Wa’s Porun is at best tolerable but superfluous, mostly existing as a vehicle for power ups.
And then came Max Heart. With Porun promoted to a similar role to Mepple and Mipple, helping Hikari transform into Shiny Luminous he became a lot less superfluous. More than that though his teaming up with Hikari gives him room to do something neither of the other two ever really do, grow up. Porun is a child but in a lot of ways so is Hikari. While she seems to have some inate understanding of the world around her she’s still a newcomer to the world, and her naivete matches Porun’s in a lot of ways. Because of this they’re able to grow together. Whereas Mepple’s relationship with Nagisa at times feels pretty strained and Mipple (and eventually Lulun) are kind of just there, Hikari and Porun clearly value each other a lot, their similarities allow them to support each other on a level the others don’t quite reach.
While he remains a noisy, obnoxious child to the end he still becomes noticeably more self-aware, trying to rein in his excesses to better support his friends. While he’s still limited in what he can do he wants to do what he can and goes out of his way to be the voice of encouragement Hikari so often needs as she struggles to find her place in the world.
Porun is good actually-popo.