Pretty Cure’s Baton Pass Has Toei Tokusatsu Roots

As Healin' Good Pretty Cure comes to an end, Toei Animation uploaded a special video to their YouTube channel. This video, "A Message for Passing the Baton from Cure Grace to Cure Summer," features Healin' Good's protagonist, Cure Grace introducing Cure Summer. Cure Summer is the protagonist of the upcoming Tropical-Rouge! PreCure series. This baton pass holds a special place in both PreCure and Toei history as all three of Toei's Sunday morning tokusatsu offerings (PreCure, Super Sentai and Kamen Rider) have their own unique variant of the tradition.

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PreCure Baton Pass

The tradition started in Super Sentai's 2004 installment Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. After the final episode's credits rolled, fans were treated to a shot of Dekaranger's leader, DekaRed, in a dark room. Then, MagiRed, the leader of the next show, Mahō Sentai Magiranger, appeared. The two red rangers gave each other a high-five, and the tradition was born. Since then, every Super Sentai installment has ended with a scene like this, with the red rangers from the old and new show interacting for a moment. These scenes play out slightly differently each time, often giving fans a taste of the new team's gimmick.

In 2015, PreCure started their version of the tradition when Cure Lovely from HappinessCharge PreCure! passed the baton to Cure Flora from Go! Princess Pretty Cure. Unlike Super Sentai's post-credit stings, these passes tend to be videos posted to the Toei Animation YouTube channel. While the baton pass for Super Sentai tends to be silent, the PreCure ones are longer and tend to feature messages from both the new and old protagonists. In the newest one, the outgoing Cure Grace thanks fans for their support, while the new Cure Summer promises to do her best and try her hardest in the year ahead.

Sentai Handoff

Kamen Rider was both early and late to the tradition. In 2004, a video was shot showing a baton pass from Faiz from Kamen Rider 555 to Blade from the then-upcoming Kamen Rider Blade. However, it was never actually released. Its existence was only confirmed by a small set of screenshots found in a magazine. But this changed in 2016 when a baton passing ceremony was held with Kamen Rider Ex-Aid's lead actor Hiroki Iijima handing off to Kamen Rider Build's lead actor Atsuhiro Inukai, starting the tradition of the Kamen Rider baton pass. This ceremony involves a physical baton painted in both the old and new rider's signature colors. Unlike the Super Sentai and PreCure baton passes, this version tends to feature the actors rather than the characters performing the ceremony.

PreCure's baton pass is a cute tradition that helps link all the PreCure shows despite their ever-changing casts and storylines. All three of Toei's tokusatsu series performing a unique version of the baton pass shows just how intertwined the shows are. It is also a nice moment for fans, giving them a chance to say goodbye to their favorite heroes and have a chance to get excited for what is to come in the future.

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