Pretty Cure (partially found various English pilot dubs of anime franchise; 2000s)
Japanese DVD cover for the first entry in the franchise, Futari wa Pretty Cure.
Status: Partially Found / Lost / Existence Unconfirmed
Pretty Cure is a magical-girl anime franchise by Toei Animation and Bandai which initially launched in 2004 with Futari wa Pretty Cure. The ongoing property has since inspired countless followup seasons, spinoffs, and theatrical adaptations.
The franchise has spawned two notable English versions: first in 2009, when Toei Animation's US division commissioned an English dub of the first series produced by the Vancouver based Ocean Productions, with voice recording outsourced to their Calgary studio. Then, in 2015, Saban Brands launched an adaptation of 2012/2013's Smile Pretty Cure! as Glitter Force. This moniker was later used for the followup series, Dokidoki! Pretty Cure, which Toei Animation USA launched internationally in 2017 as Glitter Force: Doki Doki. Both of these productions used voice actors from the Los Angeles area.
However, these are far from the only attempts to bring the franchise to the English speaking world. Toei Animation has attempted to sell Pretty Cure globally since shortly after the property's debut. Multiple pilots for multiple different series have been produced.
In September 2005, German broadcaster RTL2 aired an English pilot for the original series. This came as a result of the German dub not yet being finished despite the broadcaster's eagerness to run the show. Footage from this broadcast surfaced online, with commentators identifying it as a Los Angeles based production. Stephanie Sheh played Honoka/Cure White and Mepple, Lara Cody was Nagisa/Cure Black, with Doug Stone as the villains.
The next month, Toei Animation USA launched an English language online portal to sell Pretty Cure abroad. The website hosted three videos, which were allegedly the same production used in the German broadcast. Both the rips of the German broadcast and the videos hosted on Toei's site have gone offline.
At Anime Expo 2007, Toei Animation USA intended to screen a dubbed episode of the 2004/2005 entry Pretty Cure: Max Heart. However, the company ended up screening episodes 30 and 31 of the original series. While there was some speculation the dub used for the event was the Singaporean one, an attendee claimed to have heard Stephanie Sheh as Nagisa. The same person also stated that Toei was showcasing an English dubbed version of the 2006/2007 series Pretty Cure: Splash Stars, but did not specify whether it was an episode or a trailer.
In 2009, Toei Animation Europe began streaming an English trailer for the first series. It features an unknown cast separate to that of the Ocean Productions dub with non-localized names. It's not known if this trailer has any relation to the earlier pilots.
Around the time the company worked on the first television series, Toei Animation USA commissioned Ocean Productions to create a promotional video for Pretty Cure: Splash Stars. The promo was recorded at Bluewater Studios, the company's Calgary office. An English dubbed trailer for this series is available on Toei Animation Europe's website, though it's not known if this is the one Ocean created. If it is, the company likely also did work on the 2007/2008 entry Yes! Pretty Cure 5 as an English trailer for that series is available on Toei Europe's website, with the same unidentified narrator. It's not known if Ocean's involvement in later Pretty Cure series was limited solely to promotional trailers. Nor is it known if their work was showcased at Anime Expo 2007.
William Winckler Productions
In 2011, Toei Animation Japan commissioned the Los Angeles-based William Winckler Productions to create three English language pilots of 2007/2008's Yes! Pretty Cure 5. The dubs featured, among others, Aurelia Scheppers, Laura Siegel, Alexa Kahn, and Marieve Herington. These pilots have not surfaced in any form.
New York-based 4Kids Entertainment announced that they had acquired the license to the original Pretty Cure series at the 2006 New York Comic-Con. At the event, the company confirmed the series would air on their FOX 4KidsTV Saturday morning block in the fall of that year. However, that never came to pass. In 2008, the company officially relinquished the rights to the series back to Toei. Shortly after, Toei sold Pretty Cure to the Canadian broadcaster YTV, which resulted in the Ocean Productions dub of the first series.
4Kids never publicly stated why they dropped the series, though it's been speculated the poor performance of the company's other magical girl anime, Mew Mew Power and Magical Do-Re-Mi may have dissuaded them from continuing forward with Pretty Cure. It has also been speculated but never confirmed, that the company produced an internal pilot dub for the series.
To this day, no footage or audio of 4Kids' English dub of the series has been released to the public, and it's unknown if there was any work done on the dub in the first place.
Prior to launching the Glitter Force adaptation, Saban Brands had sold their version of the Smile Pretty Cure! series as Gangnam Girls in 2013. It's not known if the company commissioned any production work for the series when it was under this title.
- Pretty Cure and Pretty Cure: Max Heart - The first two entries in the franchise received a complete English dub produced exclusively for the South East Asian market. No footage of it has surfaced.
- An IMDb cast/crew page on Pretty Cure 5. Retrieved 30 Oct '17.
- A Precure fan website that talked about the Toei English pilot. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- A Kid Screen article on RTL2's decision to run the English pilot. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- A comment left on the Crystal Acids site that talks about the Pretty Cure Toei dub (Note: The comment lists pseudonyms for the first two actors). Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- An archive of one section from the official Pretty Cure site, for business opportunities. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- An archive of a section of the official Pretty Cure website that features the three videos. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- An Anime Nation forum thread on Toei Animation's problems. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- A post from the fansite Precure about the Toei dub being premiered at Anime Expo. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- A post from the fansite Precure about the Toei dub being premiered at Anime Expo.] Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- An archive of the Toei Animation Europe website wherein its catalog features Pretty Cure. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- The official website for Bluewater Studios Calgary (Note: To view the source, click on "Production" and then "Pilots/Promos"). Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- The Toei Animation Europe catalog page on Pretty Cure Splash Star. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- Yes! The Toei Animation Europe catalog page on Pretty Cure 5. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- A thread on William Winckler Productions website about the pilot dub for oXros Wars. Retrieved 30 Oct '17.
- An ICV2 news article on 4KIDS licensing the Pretty Cure anime series. Retrieved 30 Oct '17.
- An ICV2 article on 4KIDS dropping the Pretty Cure anime. Retrieved 30 Oct '17.
- A Kid Screen article about Toei Animations selling Pretty Cure to Canadian broadcaster YTV. Retrieved 30 Oct '17.
- An Anime Nation article on what happened to the American release of Pretty Cure. Retrieved 31 Oct '17.
- A License Magazine article about how Saban Brands plans a new superhero series. Retrieved 30 Oct '17.