Magical girl anime event in Japan fails to include its only male protagonist in program, leaving a little boy heartbroken
A Japanese mom’s post has recently been gaining attention from users for the heartbreaking story it conveys about her son being unable to participate in a Pretty Cure event’s dress up activity. The mother tells of how her son was left feeling disappointed and soon brought to tears as there was no option to dress up as the anime’s only male protagonist. Users expressed anger at the lack of consideration for the feelings of young boys and wondered why such a thing could happen.
An event for the Japanese magical girl anime series Pretty Cure was held in Tokyo, Japan on August 4. The event included a dress-up corner, where kids could “transform” into their favorite characters. A mother who attended the PreCure event with her son took to social media to write about their disappointing experience in a post that now has over 26k reposts.
The mother explains that her son is an adoring fan of the Pretty Cure series, but was reluctant to attend the event as the franchise is widely regarded as being for girls. She mentions encouraging him to go by reminding him that his favorite character, Cure Wing, is also a boy and that he has nothing to worry about. But then, as the boy noticed that the dress-up corner excluded Cure Wing, the only male character’s costume, he burst into tears and left the event disappointed. In a following post, the mother goes on to mention that, before the dress up activity, during the costume live show, there were other boys watching the show, which raised her son’s spirits. However, the mother says, the boy’s hopes were raised only for him to be let down by the cosplay corner.
The Pretty Cure franchise has been very popular with children in Japan since its initial airing in 2004. In the anime, normal everyday girls are able to transform into magical warriors called PreCures (Pretty Cures) to fight monsters and save Earth. Like many children’s anime, toys, costumes, and other goods relating to the anime are popular with the young audience. This year, the PreCure franchise has decided to add its first ever main male Precure, Cure Wing, to the latest installment of the series, Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure.
Soaring Sky! Pretty Cure’s character Yuunagi Tsubasa aka Cure Wing, is the first time a male main character has gotten the chance to be a PreCure. This is only the second time in all of the franchise that there has been a male PreCure, so it’s nice to see that male, as well as female fans of the show can feel represented.
Many young fans attending the Soaring Sky! PreCure event anticipated wearing the same costumes as the characters in the anime, however, it seems as though Cure Wing’s outfit, the only male costume, was missing, even though Cure Wing is one of the main characters of the series. Unfortunately, this left male children without a single option, making them feel left out from the fun, and possibly, the franchise as a whole.
The mother’s sad story about her son’s troubling experience caught the attention of many online users, the majority of which wondered how this incident came to be. One user criticized the organizers, saying “This is so frustrating…I understand that the creators of PreCure are also running a business, but before anything else, it’s a work intended for children. Refraining from producing dress-up merch based on character popularity or lack thereof seems dishonest to the primary audience, the children themselves…” Another user expressed their disapproval, “Excuse me, if you marketed a male PreCure in the show and an episode where the little boy aspires to be a PreCure one day, then where the heck is the Cure Wing costume for kids? Even the doll line doesn’t feature Wing. It’s a really bad move since the show got little boys hyped.”
Additionally, many users reported having a difficult time finding Wing’s costume in general, even at popular toy stores that have other character’s costumes available. One user shares, “My son also can’t accept the fact that there are no Wing costumes. Every time we go to Toys “R” Us, he keeps saying it’s not there and gets angry. Lately, he’s even started thinking, “There’s no Wing again. Could it just be that he’s so popular that his costume always gets sold out before I can get to it…?” He’s being too optimistic. Give us the Wing costume too.”
Encount reached out to a representative of the Soaring Sky! PreCure event’s committee, who explained that the choice was not in the event organizer’s hands, as they simply used the costumes which have been made available commercially, and Cure Wing’s was not included among them. The representative continued by stating “Additionally, the costumes used in the cosplay photo studio are purchased commercially rather than provided, so there’s nothing we can do about it. Of course, we will also communicate the feedback received from customers to Bandai, our special sponsor.”
In a turn of events, earlier today, the Pretty Cure Store’s official X account announced the release of Cure Wing’s costume on September 15.
Although the Pretty Cure franchise attempted to take their series in a more inclusive direction, it seems that a lack of careful consideration of the feelings of their young viewers led to some fans feeling hurt and unwelcomed. With Cure Wing being a new character to the franchise, it’s understandable that his popularity and the demand for his costume may have been underestimated. Fortunately, the Pretty Cure creators were quick in their response to the issue, so Cure Wing’s youngest fans will finally have their long-awaited fun transforming into the franchise’s first male protagonist. Hopefully, planning committees for future Pretty Cure events can use this oversight as a lesson on how to avoid future disappointment from their young, increasingly diverse audience.