Title: Shin Shirayuki-hime Densetsu Pretear
Alternate Titles: Pretear: The New Legend of Snow White, 新白雪姫伝説プリーティア
Aired: April 04, 2001 to June 21, 2001
Director: Kiyoko Sayama
Studio: Hal Film Maker, Kadokawa Shoten, Rondo Robe
Voice Actor(s): Sayuri Yoshida as Himeno Awayuki
OP: “White Destiny” by Yoko Ishida
ED: “Lucky Star” by Yoshida Sayuri
A sixteen year old girl is struggling to adjust to a new step-family when seven guys appear on the scene revealing that she possesses a special magical power. Shying away from the strange group, she later joins them when a monster places her friend’s life in jeopardy. Without training, she must prove herself capable to take up the sacred duty of the Pretear. They must resolve their differences and work together to defeat the evil princess intent on destruction. All information comes from My Anime List. Everything after the cut spoils the entire series. Please don’t read unless you’ve seen the anime.
This anime was based off of a manga written from May 30, 2000 to July 18, 2001, originally by Junichi Sato. It was illustrated by Kaori Naruse, published by Kadokawa Shoten, and translated by ADV Manga. There were only four (4) volumes.
From the first impressions I had about this series, it seemed like it’d be a simple magical girl anime about magic and something about fairy tales. It didn’t seem that it would go that deep and the art itself seems like it’d be a typical shoujo-slash-magical girl anime. I remember I came across the OP during my Internet travels and liking a lot because it’s by Yoko Ishida, one of the more well-known singers for anime.
The first episode introduced a lot of the elements to the series, more specifically, something exactly we’re going to get. There might have been attempts at being deeper while introducing Himeno’s feelings from taking care of her drunk novelist dad to sudden immediate comfort and her needs being met. Not only that, there seemed to be some tension between the sisters, Mawata and Mayune, and Himeno because of her previous status in life. This is where Himeno meets the guys, or rather, the Leafe Knights.
Leafe is the life force that everyone and everything has and it has been disturbed because the Princess of Disaster’s seal has been destroyed by someone. The Leafe Knights are those who, well, protect those. The Pretear is someone who helps protect the Leafe and do things that the Knights could not (after merging with her). After they found Himeno, they start training her (or rather, she trains herself) to the power that she apparently had dormant.
The anime is exactly what it says on the tin although it does try to be a little deeper. The question that resides most in this anime seemed to be: What happens when the Leafe Knights are done with the Pretear and everything is done? But this question doesn’t come up till a little more than halfway through the series.
If anything, the focus is more on the slapstick and the family element Himeno and Mawata are suffering through. And even then the slapstick takes the focus away (even between the Leafe Knights and the kids versus Go)from the main plot elements. We don’t really know what’s going in anyone’s head until they actually tell us which defeats the purpose of the visual media.
The art, at times, is really bad and shows its age. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s going on until the characters tell us what just happened. It seemed that most of the budget went towards the transformation sequences (which is a cool idea in itself – the Knights becoming her power and changing various outfits and elements) and the battle scenes.
Musically, it’s also pretty nice although sometimes there’s a random insert song that one of the voice actors sang for it that’s a little distracting from what’s going on. Granted, it doesn’t seem that the production team had a lot of music to choose from (mostly the instrumentals of the opening and ending songs as well as musical box versions of it) but, in general, the music does fit with the tones nicely (although sometimes it comes in a little too early or a little too late at times).
But for the themes itself, it’s a little clumsy on what it wants to focus on. There’s the element of family, adjusting to new life, and then there’s the thought: what happens to the Pretear after she’s done being useful? In Takako’s case, she fell in love with one of the knights and he rejected her – she didn’t realize the other guy loved her until sixteen years later.
As for the family elements, as mentioned before, it’s very clumsy. Mawata’s story is more of coping with loss many years ago and dealing with new family members, Himeno’s deal is adjusting from poor to rich life (as well as not understanding why rich people do what they do), and Mayune’s way of dealing with someone like Himeno who’s suddenly thrust into her world.
You would think, based on the focus on Mawata’s background about her feelings, this story is about her and not Himeno. It’s understandable that people would think her quiet and demure would mean she’s perfectly emotionally equipped to deal with all sorts of things on her own. She does very much care about her family but she’s carrying a huge burden that she hasn’t been able to release for whatever reason.
With Mayune, her bullying is actually most of the slapstick. In the first episode, you’d think that maybe there’d be a focus about bullying within the family but it never goes beyond slapstick comedy. She doesn’t make it clear, other than Himeno’s previous status, on why she’s even bothering to do it in the first place. And then she makes a personality twist that she suddenly cares about Himeno? This would have been more believable had there been a serious focus on Mayune instead of just laughing at her attempts to thwart Himeno and seduce one of the Leafe Knights.
Himeno, though, doesn’t really focus too hard on anything. There’s a forced romance between her and the main Leafe Knight, again, halfway through the series and there didn’t seem to be any chemistry (although more synergy since she needs him to use his powers). She doesn’t really interact with her parents unless it’s forced or they’re at the dinner table. The step-mother isn’t cruel or anything but she always tries to help Himeno into becoming a proper young lady of her status. The anime tries really had to make us believe that there’s a sort of tension between her and the step-mother but there really isn’t. If anything, Himeno is reacting like how any teenager would. Was that the point?
Despite these problems, though, the anime does try hard to focus on the “What happens to the magical girl after she’s done being useful?” It’s an important conversation to have though – especially in a situation where the Knights have to bond with her in order to give her her powers. For Takako, there was love and, eventually, despair.
For Himeno, life goes back to normal although she’s still really close to them. Try as they might, they want the viewer to believe so hard that the couple could become a couple but it seems that she’s a little closer to her family than ever. We wouldn’t know what was going on until Himeno told the viewer.
For what this series is, it’s exactly what it says on the tin. The transformation sequences are really cool and actually interesting (not enough time to see all the outfits in a battle though) but everything else is pretty basic and normal. It’s good that Himeno is more focused on her family than falling in love and worried that much over rejection.
This series is a decent start into the magical girl series that won’t ask a lot of questions right away and instead tries to entertain the viewer with some slapstick comedy mostly, instead of focusing in too much with what’s going in the actual plot.