Retro Play: PreTear
The magical girl genre is one that either makes people happy or makes them cringe. The fluffy-to-the-max storylines are geared toward fans who love flowery transformation sequences, love themed stories, and hearing the word “love” repeated over and over.
They remind us that there is always hope to be found in family, friends, lovers, and within ourselves. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to magical girl fans when we say that PreTear is basically the retro anime with all the cliches intact.
While this wouldn’t be forgivable in modern day anime, PreTear gets a pass because the magical girl genre was arguably still getting its footing during their time. Watching PreTear is like gazing into the past and that’s just fine with us.
PreTear follows a girl named Himeno who is in high school. She moves into her super rich and super fancy and super mean stepmother’s house after her father marries the rich widow.
Comparatively we have the other narrative strand of the world of Leafenia where there lives Leafe Knights. They protect Leafe, which is the story’s lore for explaining what the Life force of the universe is.
In “bad things happen” fashion, the Prince of Disaster, or Fenrir, has broken out of his prison and this leads them on a quest to find the PreTear who can help save the world. Himeno of course is the PreTear.
The premise feels very much like a Cinderella story, as you have the evil stepsisters and stepmother, alongside the hardworking but greatly underappreciated female protagonist who is destined for something grand.
This familiar footing is like walking down a well worn path, and if you’re able to forgive it for its clichéd narratives, perhaps you’ll find this to be a strength of the anime. A strength in the sense that it pays homage to classic storytelling and magical girl narratives.
PreTear is also very lighthearted, which keeps things from getting too melodramatic, which is usually one of the story elements that bogs down a magical girl anime.
There is an element of reverse harem within the narrative as well. The boys are what you’d expect – bishounen. But this is a very light element as you eventually do get the main love interest. Of course it’s pretty easy to tell who it will be as the pairing reeks of tsundere undertones.
The boys are also whom she gets her power from. It’s a bit eyebrow raising how it happens. Essentially one of the boys go inside of her and then a glowing orb is formed that’ll ignite into a transformation. The lore discusses the combined powers of male and female dynamics. And yes there are jokes made of them going inside her. Anime at its best folks.
Much like Sailor Moon and Tokyo Mew Mew, there will be a point in which the plot does get a bit more serious and slightly darker. We hesitate to use the term darker because it never does reach the destination of either of the aforementioned anime.
This will make PreTear more of a nice short watch as well. It wasn’t given the same amount of time to shine as both Sailor Moon and Tokyo Mew Mew.
All in all, you’re signing up for a retro magical girl series. If you’re a fan of the genre you’ll love it and its only twelve episodes so you can easily knock it out within a weekend. Don’t expect it to change any minds about the genre though. It’s comfortable being more of a classic example then a path maker.