Which do you think costs more, the most expensive taco in the world or the entire video and musical anthology of magical girl anime franchise Pretty Cure?

The anime Pretty Cure is set to celebrate its 15th anniversary on Japanese TV screens next year. One of the secrets of the series’ longevity is a technique borrowed from tokusatsu hits like Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and Super Sentai (Power Rangers), in that it constantly and rapidly reinvents itself.

▼ Pretty Cure has had 55 main characters to date, who often cross over in theatrical releases.

The overarching premise of two to six girls, aged 12 to 19, being gifted magical powers to battle evil through the power of friendship remains the same. However, every year or so the entire cast is replaced, stylistic changes are made, and the story begins anew – as does the opportunity to merchandise it.

This marketing helps Toei Animation to keep it fresh as new generations of young girls grow up through the shows target ages and buy up as much of their costumes and weapons as their parents are willing to pay for.

▼ If you ever need help marketing plastic sticks, I can’t think of a better place to go.

However, amidst all this, there’s another demographic that the producers may or may not have accounted for when creating the show: adult men. Unlike their younger female counterparts, these guys are in it for the long haul and often have the disposable income to keep buying the annual waves of merch.

Case in point: The following Twitter user and Pretty Cure fan, Shota (@shota_), has graciously showed off his collection of DVDs covering every iteration of the entire franchise.

And the cost for all this? According to Shota, every Pretty Cure DVD, as of May 2018, will run you 2.33 million yen (US$21,000).

Any fan will tell you, a big part of the series is its collection of catchy theme songs and other musical numbers that appear throughout. Of course, all of those songs were released on CD, and of course Shota was there to buy those too.

Those CDs came to a total of 660,000 yen ($6,000) for Shota, bringing his grand total to nearly three million yen ($27,000). To answer the question at the top of this article, that would just beat out the cost the most expensive taco ever made, valued at $25,000.

While that comparison probably makes the Pretty Cure collection a sensible choice, such money could also be used for a new car or down payment on a house. Nevertheless, online comments were overwhelmingly supportive of Shota’s dedication to the franchise.

“Great! Just wonderful.”
“That’s hardcore. I’m going to try and do that too.”
“I love Pretty Cure, but I still haven’t even been able to rent it all.”
“I hereby designate your shelves a national cultural heritage site.”
“You could compete with Tsutaya [major chain of video rental stores].”
“Even if you sold it all, you’d still probably only get 100,000 yen for it.”
“PreCure (Pretty Cure) or a Puriasu (Prius)? The choice is obvious.”
“Why didn’t he just tape it off TV?”

Even after 15 years, there still appears to be a lot of goodwill for Pretty Cure among a seemingly large majority of anime otaku of the Internet. Though the producers may not have planned it from the outset, many believe they are adapting to it by subtly adding in mature yuri (girl love) themes.

With all this consumption and targeted marketing going on, its easy to get a bad impression for Pretty Cure. However, the makers compensate by clearly putting a lot of effort into its production, as the animation, voice acting, and music are all consistently strong.

You can accuse the show of many things but they never seem to phone it in. Perhaps that is why notoriously finicky anime otaku have stuck with this ever-changing series so long too.

Source: Twitter/@shota_, Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube/CinematoClass