Hugtto! PreCure’s final episode has aired, and only truly draws to a close after we see the protagonist as an adult screaming in labor pain.

PreCure, a short and cutesy amalgamation of the franchise’s official title Pretty Cure, has had an intense year. Every year brings with it a new iteration of sugary, shimmery heroines who save the day and still struggle with their middle school homework: but this year’s version, Hugtto! PreCure, has been pushing envelopes since the show started.

The series’ catch phrase is the eternally optimistic “You can do anything! You can BE anything!” with an equal focus between all manner of jobs and also child-raising occupations. While these messages of youthful hope can wear a little thin on adult fans of the series, fans have praised the show’s takes on gender roles: the series even now features an (official) male PreCure.

But that’s not all! Hugtto! has also gone above and beyond in another unexpected area. Since mascot for the series is a baby (chubby-cheeked, angelic Hug-tan) there are many allusions to future motherhood, and the final episode for Hugtto!, which contained a montage showing all of the girls as adults, included protagonist Hana Nono, now fully grown, on a hospital bed, as seen here.

That’s right: in the season finale, child viewers are treated to footage of their plucky heroine screaming in agony for roughly two full minutes while she delivers a baby that is heavily implied to be Hug-tan herself (you’d have to watch the whole series to really sort out the plot).

“I already know what I’m going to call her!” “Hagumi!” (Hagu-mi = Hagu-tan = Hug-tan).

▼ In an earlier mid-season episode, the magical girls also waited around while the wife of Hana’s teacher give birth, with her husband in the delivery room.

You may be wondering . It’s rare for pregnancy scenes to be shown in Japanese media at all, and when they are it’s often painless and overwhelmingly sentimental. So a children’s anime to showing its protagonist dealing with the physical trial of bringing a new life into the world, labor screams and all, definitely grabs fans’ attention, and many fans praised the direction of the scene even while others were scratching their heads.

“I love the bit where she HUG-ged the baby.”
“This PreCure season was incredible… A male PreCure, now a child birth in the finale. I’m not complaining, though.”
“Why is the baby blonde even though Hana has pink hair?”[1]

[1] By the way, her implied husband doesn’t have blonde hair either.

More than one commenter was ready to leap into moral panic mode, seeing how Hana looks almost identical as an adult to her junior high school self.

“What?! How old is this character…? Aren’t they in junior high?!”
“Aren’t PreCure supposed to be high school girls? And they’re giving birth now? That’s…a fresh direction.”
“So this is what PreCure is doing these days, huh? This isn’t the PreCure I know and love.”

But perhaps the greatest comment of all was this one:

“Two and a half hours after the broadcast of the final Hugtto PreCure episode, Japan is divided into three factions:

– People wondering “Don’t they use epidurals for pregnancy in 2030 [when the scene is set]”?
– People thinking “Ah, maybe they gave Hana a choice and she chose not to get an epidural. Or she did get an epidural and still had to strain anyway”
– People who take the super sentai route and think shrieking “I’m GIVING BIIIIIIIIRTH!” is a painkiller in itself

Our nation is divided in chaos!”

This new chapter in Hana’s life marks the end of Hugtto PreCure. The new series, Star Twinkle PreCure, is set to air on February 3, with its tie-in collaborative movie showing in cinemas from March 16. Will it shatter the existing Guinness World Record set by Hugtto’s movie? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Source: My Game News Flash
Featured image: Twitter/@dominass