My many rambling trip through the early Precure entries continued this year (I really need to start getting through more than one per year or I won’t be caught up till 2028) with the third series, Splash Star. Which is my favourite yet. A lot of that rests on the strength of its villains, in particular the two we’ll be looking at today.
Splash Star’s cast of villains are a delight, where the antagonists in the first two series had their moments they just as often felt superfluous and I kind of wished at points that they’d just skip the obligatory monster fight and spend more time on the episode’s wider plot. This time around they were just consistently great and I looked forward to seeing them each episode. While mostly this was because they were fun comedic villains Michiru and Kaoru stood out as the emotional core of the show.
Introduced alongside another villain a little way into the series, Michiru and Kaoru’s plotline was initially more or less an itteration on Kiriya from Futari Wa, agents of the enemy acting as infiltrators to figure out the Precure’s weaknesses, they follow a fairly similar trajectory throughout their first arc, coming to apreciate the protagonists’ kindness and empathy and eventually turning on their master to protect their new friends. While hitting a lot of the same broad beats as Kiriya’s storyline theirs is a lot more fleshed out, and their conflicts more interesting.
Where the villains in Futari Wa were motivated primarily by survival, as the Dark King would destroy his own creations when they failed him consistently, and therefore were willing to betray him when given the chance, Michiru and Kaoru are genuinely loyal to their creator. For all that Akudaikan is a monstrous being interested only in destruction the fact remains that he gave them life, they can’t just turn on him. Instead they try to convince him to abandon his quest to destroy the world, having lived within it they can no longer see the sense in destroying it. They fail and are seemingly killed for their betrayal, erased from the memories of everyone except Saki and Mai.
Eventually it’s discovered that they’re being kept alive and Mai and the Precure are able to mount a rescue mission. While reunited they continue to struggle with the reality of their position. They want to help the Precure fight against Dark Fall but doing so will inevitably kill them for real this time, as beings created from Akudaikan’s power of destruction, if he is defeated they’ll go down with him. By fighting to help their friends they’re knowingly working towards a future where they have to leave them again, so soon after their reunion. They’re also forced to confront the other newly revived denizens of Dark Fall, people who remain devoted to bringing about the end of the world but who are also the closest thing Michiru and Kaoru ever had to a family, fellow creations of Akudaikan. But still they chose to fight. Even if it means opposing their family, even if it means hurting their friends, they conclude that it’s worth it to protect the world those friends live in.
In the end they survive Akudaikan’s defeat and get to live on in the world they helped save. Michiru and Kaoru’s story might have been ground the franchise had touched on previously but it’s a path they walked with aplomb, and became one of the highlights of not just Splash Star but Precure as a whole.
Thus far I’ve tried to have each sequential post lead in this year’s 12 days series have some kind of thematic connection to the previous day. There’s a link to be found between this post and tomorrow’s as well but saying any more today would give the Game away.