Cure Infini has something 55 of his predecessors never possessed: a Y chromosome.

This year marked the 15th anniversary of the magical girl warrior series Pretty Cure. In honor of this milestone they recently released Hugtto Pretty Cure Futari Pretty Cure All Stars Memories, featuring the entire cast of all previous reboots of the series for a Guinness World Record-winning total of 55.

And with only a few more weeks left in the year, it looks like the producers had one more trick up their sleeves. On the 2 December episode of Hugtto Pretty Cure, the first ever male Cure was revealed. Cure Infini (exact English spelling yet to be determined) is the magical warrior persona of aspiring figure skater Henri Wakamiya, a recurring character this season.

Henri has already established himself to be a gender fluid character. He caused a bit of a stir earlier this year by showing that “boys can be princesses too” and made a resort chain reconsider their own gender-biased policies and apologize. This, combined with his skating background, made him a natural to pull off the Cure look.

Such a radical change to the Pretty Cure formula was sure to spark controversy, but not because Cure Infini was male. Pretty Cure fans are pretty open minded about that kind of stuff.

“He’s pretty.”
“He looks all right.”
“So, like, when he transforms, does he transform all the way? You know what I’m saying?”

The controversy around Cure Infini is whether he truly is the “first” male Cure. Hardcore fans of the series remember the brief appearance of Cure Gorilla from Smile Pretty Cure.

In episode 17 of that season the real-life comedy duo Fujiwara made a guest appearance and at one point Toshifumi Fujimoto turns to his partner Takayuki Haranishi and asks him if he can transform too. Although, Haranishi’s body doesn’t technically change form, the standard transformation background and sound effects occur.

Whether or not this qualifies as an actual Pretty Cure transformation has been debated among scholars for years and casts some doubt on the full significance of Cure Infini’s appearance.

▼ The producers certainly didn’t overlook Cure Gorilla’s existence and even put him in the audience when Cure Infini debuted (bottom right).

First or not, his addition to the full time Hugtto Pretty Cure line-up is important and certainly opens the door for more future male characters. This might lead to an interesting evolution of the highly popular series over its next 15 years.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Feature image: Twitter/@chan_shiori