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Pretear
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 12/31/2001

Synopsis:
When Himeno Awayuki's father marries an extremely rich and beautiful widow, her once ordinary life changes drastically. Himeno now lives in a huge, sprawling mansion with maids to take care of her every need. She also gains two stepsisters -- the haughty Mayune, and the quiet and reserved Mawata. Himeno is having difficulty adjusting, and it doesn't help that some of her schoolmates are gossiping about how "unfit" she is for her new family. However, a chance encounter with a handsome young man named Hayate reveals that Himeno is no ordinary girl. She is a Pretear, a girl who's destined to save the world from impending doom...
 
Review:
The moment I saw and heard Pretear's magical opening sequence, I knew I was in for a real treat. I had the same feeling about "The Vision of Escaflowne" and "Fushigi Yuugi" some years back, and they turned out to be two of the best anime series I'd ever seen. Pretear is no exception.
 
Pretear is the story of a teenage girl named Himeno. Himeno's mother died when she was very young. Her father remarries an ultra-wealthy woman some years later, which results in a totally new lifestyle for both father and daughter. Unlike Cinderella however, Himeno's stepmom treats her like a real daughter and her two stepsisters don't really abuse her. Mayune is content pulling pranks on Himeno, and Mawata mostly keeps to herself.
 
Himeno finds her purpose in life when she is approached by seven mystical young men who call themselves Leafe Knights. It is the Leafe Knights' duty to protect and safeguard Leafe, which is the essence of all life. But, in order to do so, they need the help of a Pretear -- a special young woman who can "merge" with the Leafe Knights and gain the neccessary powers needed to dispel various evils that threaten the Leafe. Himeno is a Pretear. Thus, Himeno spends her days practicing and training to be a Pretear. The knights warn her that eventually she will be facing off with the Disaster Queen Fenryl, who wants to drain all the Leafe the world possesses to bring about the end of everything. It's not as simple as it seems though, for there are many more secrets that Himeno must unearth. What's more, Himeno finds herself gradually falling for the Leafe Knight of wind Hayate.
 
The art and animation are consistently lovely. Attractive character designs, exciting battles, and backgrounds that seem rendered with watercolors make up the whole series. It's also the first time I actually looked forward to watching transformation sequences, because Himeno gets a new look and new set of powers every time she merges with a different Leafe Knight. For example, if Himeno merges with the Leafe Knight of ice, she gets a cool fur-trimmed winter style costume and ice-based attack powers. The songs are also worth mentioning, I especially liked the enthralling and tingly opening theme.
 
Spanning thirteen episodes, Pretear is an enchanting, exhilarating, and romantic series. It made me laugh, and even cry a little... I was so taken with it that I watched the last eight or nine episodes in one sitting. There's even an epilogue that shows what happens to the characters after everything is over. Definitely a must-see, definitely a must-have.
 
Miscellanies:
This series has already been released in the US, but I got the official Asian release.

Screenshots
Pretear
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Review Title:
Pretear
Alternative Titles:
Shin Shirayuki Hime Densetsu Pretear
Type:
TV
Episodes:
13
Duration:
325 Minutes
General Rating:
5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
2001
Suitable For:
Teens
Genres:
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy,
Magic, Romance, Shoujo
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