Hello everyone, and welcome the heck back to Wrong Every Time. Today I am delighted to be returning to Hugtto! Precure, where we most recently accompanied Saaya on a trip to her mother’s TV production studio. It was a classic character-building installment, as Saaya gained more confidence in her professional decisions, while the rest of us were gifted a generous array of gently painted compositions. I’ve always admired Hugtto’s softly textured background art, so it was nice seeing the show’s intricate, almost cut-paper background textures take center stage. And now, with Saaya’s confidence reaffirmed, I must admit I have no idea where we’re going next.
The last three episodes were “pool party” into “Harry’s history” into “Saaya spotlight,” so it’s not like there’s any pattern to draw on. Emiru and Lulu were kinda central to the pool party, and Homare got second billing in Harry’s episode, so maybe it’s a Hana adventure? Although personally, I’d love to get back to Harry’s drama, and maybe meet the rest of his notorious hamster gang. Or maybe it’s time for some George backstory? Regardless of what the future holds, I’m sure Hugtto will execute it with the same warmth and aesthetic distinction it brings to all its stories. Let’s get back to Hugtto Precure!
Right after Hana’s introduction, we jump into a scene with HUG MAN! Holy shit, Hug Man is back, call the papers. God he is large
Oh my god. Even other adults are terrified by him. And he naturally does that “how not to talk to short people” pose when he’s talking to anyone, since he looms over literally everybody
Even with her hair triangles, Lulu barely pokes above his shoulder. He is a true titan of a man
Alright, I’ll stop singing the song of Hug Man now
Ahaha, right, this guy is Hana’s teacher. So now he knows if he ever makes Hana unhappy, he’ll be compressed into the size and shape of a pringles can
Excellent scornful Lulu face for their teacher consoling a bag of fertilizer that he knocked over
Another couple are consoling their crying child, and Baby Whisperer Hug Man comes over with the perfect advice for them. His vast size is matched only by his kindness and intellect
“Can I become a great father, too!?” Along with generally presenting more examples of fundamentally decent adults than teen-oriented anime, children’s anime can also demonstrate the relatable, human fallibility of parents as well. There’s no sense of ego about rebelling against your parents; absent the adolescent need to champion independence, children’s anime can demonstrate the sympathetic ways that our parents are just as confused as we are. Some of Ojamajo Doremi’s all-time best material is all about that, as Aiko and her father both demonstrate incredible vulnerability and compassion in the wake of familial separation
“Sensei Learns to be a Daddy! Hi There, Baby!”
“I can feel how ready my wife is for motherhood. But me… I’m not sure what to do to be a father.” Yeah, this is precisely the sort of refreshing, adult-oriented conflict that you’d paradoxically never see in slightly older-audience-aimed anime. Parents are still your trusted allies at this age, and thus framing them as vulnerable to the same anxieties as you is a comforting thought. In contrast, escapism for teenagers generally frames parents as malevolent at worst or inept/absent at best, echoing the feelings of its audience. That’s another reason I like Toradora!, which frames Ryuuji’s mom as a messy person who’s still trying to do right by her son
Of course Hana interprets this guy praising her father’s parenting as a compliment to her instead
“Meet me here before we open.” Oh my god, Hug Man is going to be his fatherhood drill sergeant. I had not dreamt of such a generous concept
Hana imagines all of Sensei’s training taking place under a waterfall, because that’s how training works. Bless her quasi-functioning brain
There’s a whole bunch of playful, exaggerated comedic acting in this episodic, along with a generous array of expressions. After the focused stillness of last episode, it’s a nice change of pace, and an appropriate shift for a much more farcical episode
“Let’s move boxes for your soon-to-be baby!” Goddamnit, did Hug Man just conscript their teacher into manual labor
Oh god. Becoming an influencer has made Charalit at least three times as annoying, as you’d expect
“Charalit and Harry compete over who’s prettier.” This episode feels like a collage of the writers’ most out-there shower thoughts, and it is beautiful
Hugtan being carried in Hug Man’s arms is like a gorilla with a pet gerbil
“He’s always dancing, so his back and posture are solid. That stability probably puts Hugtan at ease.” Damn, Hug Man’s dispensing some genuinely valuable baby advice here! We’ll make a father out of Sensei yet
“If you stay scared forever, you’ll never get started.” Obviously Hugtto’s core audience don’t need advice on baby-raising, but this lesson here is universal, and applicable to all of Hugtto’s various conflicts
Hug Man states that caring for a baby is a lot like having a customer service job, a terrifying thought
“You’re allowed to be worried. Mom and your baby will be, too.” What a good teacher Hug Man has turned out to be! As gentle with his lessons as he is with his powerful arms
And he better be ready, because his baby’s being born RIGHT GODDAMN NOW
“If only Papple were here.” Even the villains acknowledge she’s the most competent among them
Oh my god, the hospital’s design is so much. Apparently this is purely the baby-delivery hospital, as the building is adorned with a massive stork dropping off a baby, as well as frontal motifs in the form of pacifiers and baby bottles
Saaya’s help here is leading me to the unfortunate realization that her default look is “maternity wear”
Sensei attempts to dazzle his mid-labor wife with all the new tips he picked up, and she rightly tells him to shut the fuck up and just hold her hand
A soft glow illuminates the waiting room, with this color-rich pan exemplifying Hugtto’s distinct mix of traditional-looking aesthetic tools like pencil and watercolor backgrounds, combined with its sharper, more modernized shading effects. The overall effect creates something like a digital storybook page, like a traditional illustration is being lit from within
“It’s hard work. But this job is the best!” The doctor who delivered the baby embodies Hugtto’s greatest hope: finding your purpose as an adult, and being fulfilled by your daily job
Seen in that light, I actually appreciate how Hug Man doesn’t have a traditionally “prestigious” career. You don’t have to win at capitalism, you just have to love what you do
What the fuck, the mad scientist guy is going to summon a giant monster right here at the delivery hospital. Dude, I don’t know what generous terrorism laws allow you folks to get away with your usual nonsense, but if you start killing babies you’re going to reap the whirlwind
His target of unhappiness is… this one lady who’s mad there’s no parking. Really an off day for the villains altogether
Just realized these transformations all look so fluid because they’re animated on 1s. I think watching and rewatching One Piece is really helping me notice drawing count shifts, to the point where this transition really stands out
Love Saaya telling even her teammates to shut up so the babies can sleep
In deference to Saaya, the scientist keeps his drill attack from spinning to keep the noise down. This is fantastic
And now both sides are actively whispering their taunts at each other. Incredible gimmick
Oh shit, apparently this guy is basically Lulu’s father. We’ve got some interesting drama ahead!
That was terrific! I didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t that, with its wonderful mix of Hug Man heroism and baby drama. Hugtto now possesses more than enough secondary characters to dazzle with unexpected mixes like this, where Hug Man, Sensei, and Chardalit of all people come together for a collective adventure. Hugtto is refreshingly generous to its adult cast members, and when their journeys are combined with insanely good gimmicks like battling without waking up a bunch of babies, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. A delightfully off-kilter episode.
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