(Against a scrolling red background with the Ugly NI, '70s style JuGo, and NHK logo, Takashi Edwards says "This is Public TV For Isuten, on viewer-supported JOTO-TV and JOIT-TV." PUBLIC TV FOR ISUTEN flips in, written in Kanji, along with the Ugly NI and '70s style JuGo.)
As Sakura Cobain's father drives his daughter to their new home in Isuten, she gets a strange vision in her head. A vision she'd seen countless times before.
It starts with a blond 27-year-old man walking toward a gun. He stops and picks it up, putting it to his head. He pulls the trigger.
That's when Sakura gasps. She knew that the man whose surname became her own (and her father's) had died in that fashion, but what she didn't realize was that it would haunt her dreams a lot ever since the name change.
The 1994 Honda Integra sedan stops in the driveway of a house near the Public TV For Isuten studio as the father says, "We're here." A moving van shows up immediately afterwards.
The movers start moving the stuff into the house. Sakura helps bring in the boxes of VHS and Beta tapes, as well as the boxes of LaserDiscs, DVDs, and BluRays.
As she plants the last of them in her new room, with its TV, Sony Betamax player, JVC VHS player, Pioneer LaserDisc player, XBox (which doubles as a DVD player), and Sony BluRay player, she notices a picture of Kurt Cobain and can't help but shed a tear for him.
However, she strengthens her resolve to make the most of her new life in Isuten, one of the Tri-Cities (the other two being Oriyama and Tsukimiya), at that moment.
(OP: "Hopscotch of Love" by Lovely and Wild Angels)
"And So It Begins..."
It's the start of Sakura Cobain's first day in Isuten. The 1994 Honda Integra pulls in just outside Isuten Junior High, and out comes Sakura, walking into unfamiliar territory for the first time.
Stepping into the right building, which holds the third year students, she walks right into room 3D just as the bell rings.
Seeing that the teacher hadn't come in yet, she said, "Just in time." She then took her seat next to a blond girl half a year older than herself.
The blond girl asks, "What's your name?" Sakura says, "Sakura Cobain. My father changed both our names from Kobe to Cobain to honor the great Nirvana frontman."
The blond girl says, "Mine's Rizuka Kuno. I like Gdansk." Sakura asks, "What's Gdansk?"
Rizuka replies, "Gdansk is one of the darker heavy metal bands. They're currently trying to make a new album but can't decide what to call it. All I know is that there are two songs confirmed."
"Long Dark Highway and Dark Candy."
"Sounds pretty dark to me."
Rizuka can only say, "I don't mind the darkness at all. What's your favorite band?"
Sakura says, "Pistols N Flowers. I often dream of meeting W. Benny Bara, the leader of the band."
Then the teacher walks in. He is a bespectacled man who coaches the Isuten Junior High basketball team. Taking his place, he says, "OK, all you students introduce yourselves and get this over with, because I want you all to learn something before the day is done."
The introductions go smoothly, and the teacher, Coach Tenchi Miyazaki, is all the more pleased.
At lunch, Sakura is wolfing down her pepperoni pizza without noticing someone approach her.
"Excuse me, but are you Sakura Cobain?"
Sakura looks up. "Uh, yeah. Why?"
The girl says, "Thought you might want to join the drama club."
Sakura says, "Uh, what kind of productions do you do?"
The girl proceeds to start rambling on about how versatile her drama club is: "There's little my club can't handle.
"Want some English classical literature? We've performed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Interested in seeing our take on a modern American movie? You can always watch Bullitt.
"Some of Isuten's opera fans won't be disappointed by our version of Doctor Atomic. As for you Broadway nuts, does Hairspray sound okay to you? We even do comedic revues. After all, who doesn't want to watch a version of First Blood with eight John Rambos?
"And just so you don't think we of the drama club are too western-centric, we perform a number of Japanese adaptations as well, most famously Turnabout Trial."
Sakura gasps. "You've done all those?"
"I have," the girl. "I'm Shugo Kino, nice to meet you.
"Let's see... in Frankenstein I was Victor Frankenstein, the tragic hero whose monstrous creation spirals out of control. In Bullitt I was Detective Frank Bullitt.
"In Doctor Atomic I was Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, one of those affiliated with the Manhattan Project. In Hairspray I was Link Larkin. In our comedic version of First Blood I was Colonel Samuel Trautman, trying to keep my eight best men, all named John Rambo, under control.
"And in Turnabout Trial... I was Ryuichi Naruhodo."
"Wow!" Sakura is amazed at this point. "You really do admire the Takarazuka Revue!"
"Thanks," Shugo says, "but all the rest of the male parts are played by boys. However, I've always played male parts in all my time with the drama club."
"Sit down, and we can discuss it."
"Very well," Shugo says as she takes her seat. "So... are you aware that some of our boys have at least one female part on their resumes?"
Shugo nods and continues: "For example, one of my boys played the part of Nadeshi in our production of Hearty Pure."
"I've heard of it!" Sakura exclaims. "I've been hooked to it ever since reruns of the original series, based on the Hearty Pure myth, were broadcast on NHK when I was a kid."
Shugo, who is also a fan of Hearty Pure, asks, "But have you heard of the modernization?"
"Yeah," Sakura replies. "So far they're broadcasting this modernization, currently in its second season, called Futari wa Hearty Pure eXtreme Star. My favorite actress in this one is Lori Nekoshippo."
"Lori Nekoshippo?" Shugo is confused. "Are you talking about Lapinyuu, that cosplaying freak who used to work for Karlix?"
Sakura asks, "What's Karlix?" Shugo replies, "I've visited Oriyama on occasion, and I happened to be in the local museum when she wreaked havoc with her watchamacallit that turned one person's skin gray and another's red."
"Oh, now I remember! I read it in the newspaper. Perfume Preppy, fortunately, was able to stop that madness, and poor Lori got chased by security guards because she wasn't able to pay for the substitute glitter she got at the souvenir shop."
"She reformed later, though. I was a bystander when she tried to join Perfume Preppy as Cure Happy Smiles. She never looked sillier in her life! And then, when she thought she'd never fulfill her 'dream to be a Cure', these two girls, who are part of the cast of Futari wa Hearty Pure, offer her a spot on their show as a regular."
"Lemme guess. She accepted the offer, right?"
"You certainly read your news, kid. Moving right along. Another of my boys is going to be Dorothy in our upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz."
"The Wizard of Oz? I like that movie!"
Shugo and Sakura take one look to the side and see another girl standing there. Sakura asks, "Who are you?"
"Isuzu Watanabe, bassist in the music club. I overheard you girls talking and couldn't help but butt in."
"Well, you're quite welcome," Shugo says.
"So... what part do you have in that production?"
Shugo tells her, "This time, I'm Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodsman. He's the one that wants a heart and goes with Dorothy and the Scarecrow to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz to get a heart."
"My father helped produce a Takarazuka Revue cast recording once!"
To the girls' surprise, yet another girl had joined the conversation. "My father produces music albums."
Sakura asks Shugo, "Who is she?" Shugo replies, "This is Taiko Sorano, who likes drumming. Her father produces music, like she said."
Taiko proceeds to tell the group, "My father's about to make the greatest achievement yet: production of the new Pistols N Flowers album, Venezuelan Democracy."
Sakura is speechless. To learn that her new friend's father is going to produce one of the most anticipated album of all time was a shock. But it was nothing compared to what fate had in store for her as she was heading home that fateful day...
(Eyecatch 1: Rizuka and Shugo are jamming when Sakura runs past them and grabs the microphone. The PCHM logo appears in the bottom-left corner.)
(Eyecatch 2: The camera goes between Isuzu on her bass and Taiko in her drum kit and stops when Sakura with the microphone is in view. The PCHM logo appears in the bottom-left corner.)
When Sakura emerged from the third-year building, her dad's 1994 Honda Integra was nowhere to be seen. She remembered that her dad had said he wouldn't be around to transport her forever, and besides, she needed the exercise.
So she started walking aimlessly.
She had barely gone a mile when she noticed a few sheets lying about. She picked them up and took a good look at them, curious to see what was on them.
Suddenly she came to a realization: W. Benny Bara wrote the lyrics, and Paul Rivers, Saul Toby, and "Tough Rose" Mackane wote the music variously.
That was when she made it a goal to return those papers to their owners.
On the way between home and school was the Roxy Recording Studio. Taiko had said her father was producing the new Pistols N Flowers album there, so she decided to give it a visit.
Little did she know that a dog was watching her, thinking to himself, "Could she be among the ones in the prophecy?"
The curious dog, a miniature Schnauzer, followed her. Sakura didn't notice him at all as she approached a red-headed man wearing a ponytail and sunglasses.
The man saw her coming and said, "Pardon me, girl, but did you by any chance happen to see the papers I dropped on the way here?"
"Hold on a second," Sakura says as she takes out her cell phone and dials 555-8774. The following is the resulting conversation.
"This is your daughter, Sakura. I'm at the Roxy Recording Studio with the leader of Pistols N Flowers, W. Benny Bara."
"You are? Wow! I wonder how you got to meet him?"
"It's a long story, but I'll tell you later."
"Fair enough. Be back by supper, OK?"
"Sure thing, Dad. Just one thing."
"What is it?"
"Be sure you call me when it's time for supper, OK? That way I'll know when to head home."
"When I call you to inform you, that's when you start heading home."
"OK. See you then."
Sakura hangs up. "Yeah, I found some papers lying around."
"Let me verify that they're the real deal."
Sakura is more than willing to surrender the papers without saying a word. W. Benny Bara looks through them and is amazed at what he sees.
"I... I can't believe it..." Bara is speechless. "That's the lyrics I wrote and the music Paul, Saul, and Tough Rose wrote..."
Before he could say anything else, a nearby microphone mutates into a monster and heads straight for Bara. "Now what?" Sakura asks. "Save yourself, dammit!" Bara snaps, but before he could say anything else, Sakura rushes toward the mutated microphone and tackles it. The fight goes out the window.
The dog had seen the whole thing. Before he knew it, he saw Sakura and the mutated microphone fighting roughly. He approaches Sakura and says, "If you please, lady, my name is Rocky."
The fighting briefly pauses as Sakura asks, "Am I going mad, or did you just talk?"
"You're not just seeing things, I swear!" the dog interjects. "By the way, the name's Rocky of the Land of Rock."
"What the hell is this thing that tried to attack W. Benny Bara?" Sakura shouts.
"That is an Akumana, sent by that guy."
Rocky points to a shady-looking guy who looked a lot like a cross between that guy with the duffel sack for a head from Freakazoid! and Harry Warden. He then proceeds to give Sakura a stylus-controlled cell phone. She asks, "What do I do with this?"
"Just swipe the stylus across the screen," Rocky says, "and the words will come to you."
Sakura obeys. The next thing that comes out of her mouth is "Pretty Cure Musical Transmutation! GO!" Then you see a transformation sequence that goes on for about a half minute. This new warrior comes up with a quick line to cap her transformation: "The musical genius with a voice that carries beyond all distances, I am Cure Nirvana!"
Afterwards, she says, "This is Pretty Cure!"
The shady-looking guy approaches her with malevolent intent as she says, "And you must be Candle Jack's coal mining brother, ri--"
Before she could complete her sentence, the mutated microphone attacks her. The shady-looking guy is pleased, saying, "Good work, Akumana. Lady Marilyn will be most pleased."
Cure Nirvana gets back up, asking, "Who the hell are you, to sic your monster on me?"
The guy says, "My name is Zero, Reverend of Mansonia. Look on my work, ye mighty, AND DESPAIR!"
At that, the Akumana attacks her again. "What do I do now?"
"Ever heard of Hammerspace?" Rocky asks. "You have that power! Just pull a mic out, and the words, like I said earlier, will come to you."
Nirvana reaches behind her back and pulls a mic out. "PRETTY CURE VOCAL BLAST!"
The magnitude of her voice eliminates the monster and sends Zero retreating, vowing, "You haven't seen the last of me!"
Sakura climbs in with the still-intact microphone and is surprised to see Bara still standing there. "I haven't thanked you enough," he says nonchalantly.
"For saving my life," Bara says. "What say you can record vocals for Venezuelan Democracy anytime you like."
"Thanks!" Sakura says as her cell phone rings. "It's my dad," Sakura says.
"Run along, then. I'd hate to see you miss supper," Bara says.
"Thanks again!" And then Sakura answers the phone.
"I just left the Roxy Recording Studio."
"You're only half a mile away! Keep going straight along Mokuten Higashi Avenue!"
Sakura runs with all her might until she reaches the house she recognizes as her own.
(ED: "Raw and Wild" by Lovely and Wild Angels)
(Next episode preview)
SAKURA: No way! You shop at Hot Topic!?
RIZUKA: Sure. I'll show you photos of me in the outfits I got from the place.
SAKURA: Can you show me the first Gdansk album?
RIZUKA: No time! There's a monster out there, and he's wreaking havoc at Hot Topic!
ROCKY: Hurry up, Rizuka! Accept your destiny!
SAKURA: Next episode: "Gothica"! We're coming live and loaded!