Well hi there, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve written about an anime. I didn’t intend to have it get this way. I enjoyed SPYxFAMILY with my friend last season, but when everyone has said what needs to said about the series, I didn’t quite have any new anime related content to share with you.
And somehow spring has turned to summer, and we’re in the third week of the season. Absolutely crazy. This summer I’ve been promising myself to finish my live action series so I can jump back into anime, but also this summer’s anime nothing really stood out to me. Aside from Tokyo Mew Mew New (TMMN) of course.
I don’t have a huge background connection to the original Tokyo Mew Mew (TMM). I got super into magical girl anime and manga my junior year of high school, and a friend was selling their TMM manga. I bought it, read it, and kinda loved the goofier vibes of the series. I mean it sets itself up to be a statement about environmentalism and conservation efforts, but it’s really just girls infused with animal DNA fighting aliens (with love!). Not much exactly the most deep meaningful messages there.
Seeing it pop up as getting a reboot, was a bit of a surprise but not unexpected considering how well other rebooted magical girls series have done. For better or worse, knowing that the original artist for the series Mia Ikumi passed away earlier this year before seeing the reboot air, only strengthened my resolve to watch the series.
And well… I had some minority opinions when it came to the first episode. My first impression was so off that I actually thought I had somehow seen an unfinished episode, so I quickly ran to another site to double check. I hadn’t, by the way.
My first impression: I didn’t like TMMN at all. In fact what I wrote for the first episode was “I’m not sure how a reboot looks like they gave a shit, but also so unpolished”.
Fighting words that I kept largely to myself, until this post. I never had an opinion on the three episode rule, but for click bait purposes I decided I would use it for TMMN.
Episode two my opinion largely remained the same. I would even say it trended a little bit more into the negative because I was getting swayed a bit by online opinions. Mostly about how the story was being retold. I made the mistake of poking around on forums to see if other’s thought the same as me or not. Then ending up reading a bunch of fans of the original’s opinions and thoughts, which was fascinating by the way, but had to close out so it wouldn’t affect my opinion too much.
So now we’re at episode three, and well… I’m actually pretty okay with TMMN now?? Like I didn’t hate it as much as the first episode, it didn’t make me cringe like the second one, and yeah I think I’ve adjusted to it where it’s watchable? Crazy.
Because let me be frank, I’m not invested in the drama of changed storyline. Yeah, I think it’s a little weird that they pulled a Sailor Venus with Mew Mint for no real reason. Everything else is perfectly fine with me. I haven’t read the manga in ages so my recollection outside of Mew Mew names, main personality trait, is pretty dim. I never watched the original anime either, 4Kids dub or not, so that doesn’t bother me either.
What’s been killing me in that TMMN is exactly what I’ve been dreaming of for an anime for ages: and that’s why it didn’t click with me right away.
I know that era’s in animation come and go, as all things do. The big romantic eyes of shojo manga are largely a thing of the past. And while I did not actively watch Sailor Moon, CCS, TMM, etc in their hey day: just looking at a screenshot or an animation clip has a sense of nostalgia for me. And I’ve always thought that taking the time to re-do an anime, especially a magical girl one with modern technology would be the best thing ever. I didn’t get on the Sailor Moon reboot hype, but Tokyo Mew Mew? I can get behind that.
Of course, no reboot can be done 100% the way the original was created. I mean, TMM was always a bit of a hot mess of a story so cleaning it up just a little would be for the best. I did want certain elements, mostly character designs especially the outfits and eyes to remain the same. Updates here and there to everything else is fine.
TMMN did exactly that.
But it just doesn’t or should I say didn’t… look right when I was first watching it. There’s a fine line between an homage to an era, and looking cheap. Somehow TMMN manages to be both in my eyes. I anticipated that in-between animations would look off; they usually do. Same with one or two key frames maybe being a little striking to the eye or something but TMMN is something else entirely.
Take for instance the bench scene in episode one (around the 4 minute mark). It’s a bit of a filler scene to flesh out that Ichigo has friends that aren’t Mew Mew’s, and that she’s relatable in the teen girl sense of not knowing what she wants aside from Aoyoma’s affections. Dated, sure but nothing wrong with that scene written out.
The problem is that the animation jumps around from being really solid, beautifully rendered with a lot of attention to detail to absolutely looks like in-between animation stacked on in-between animation for longer then it should be visible to the eye. The quality difference from up close to a distance is one thing and honestly understandable. But when switch from seeing all their faces from a distance to the back of their heads the quality drops again, and not just in the homage sort of way gave me whiplash.
If that sort of thing was just a one-off I’d leave it be. Unfortunately, TMMN is filled with choices like this. There are huge jumps in quality that can’t be excuse with “it’s part of the homage!”. It’s clear that Yumeta Company and Graphinica are both smaller studios and that they know where to put the time and effort into the series. The better looking a transformation sequence, (which if framed right can be reused nearly every episode with little to no changes), and a battle reads on screen in a magical girl anime the better. It’s just unfortunate in my opinion, there wasn’t a little more care into smoothing out the less action packed scenes so there was a better sense of unity between small moments, and the big magical ones.
So no, I’m not dropping TMMN. The three episode rule is dumb in my opinion. I do think I am a minority with how I really did not care for that opening episode and follow up. Now that I’m a bit more familiar with how the animation of the studios involved flows, I think TMMN will be a fun entry to the franchise. Ground breaking or mind boggling to the point where the original is left in the dust – probably not. But if it introduces a new generation of fans into magical girls I’m all for it.
Tell me down below how you’re feeling about Tokyo Mew Mew New. Love it? Hate it? Think I’m absolutely wrong about my take? I’m curious to hear folks’ opinions.