I’m sorry but I couldn’t resist the alliteration for the title. It’s probably been done to death too, but that happens. I am back now that I’ve finished watching the entirety of Tokyo Mew Mew New (TMMN). My first point is that I did make a click-bait post about the first three episodes in particular here. I’ll do my best not to re-harsh any points that aren’t relevant to the series as a whole in this review.
TMMN, is the story of regular high school girl Ichigo Momomiya and her quest to fall in love… and save the world. She falls for Masaya Aoyama, a passionate environmentalist, and even snags an ideal date with him at an endangered animals exhibit! Only problem is her date doesn’t go to plan: a flash of light, a giant rat monster, and now Ichigo has cat ears! She manages to save Aoyama, and discover that she’s part of the Mew Project. She and Mint are two of five girls infused with endangered animal DNA in order to save the planet from polluting aliens! Now they’re off to find the other members, defeat chimera anima, and stop the aliens who are threatening the planet and Ichigo’s dates!
Being the 20th anniversary celebration piece / a reboot of the original 2002 anime makes this magical girl series pack a major punch in a very unique way. The biggest point being the restructuring of the story. Personally, I only read the manga and that was awhile ago, but I always had a bit of a gripe with the order of events and getting side tracked. This reboot has, in my humble opinion, a more concise and linear direction. It’s bringing a lot of the ideas, and themes of the series out sooner rather then trying to cram them in at the end. It still maintains the goofier moments, but the flow works a lot better.
As I mentioned before, I had a rough start with TMMN regarding the animation choices. I’d always wanted an anime series with late 90’s/early 2000’s aesthetics, with some modernization of anime techniques. TMMN being just that but not exactly the way I’d hoped. There’s a lot of moments where characters are noticeably off model during important sequences, or the animation quality drop during the non-Ichigo and non-Mew Mew moments. I stand by that if you can’t handle the quality jumps by episode three, this series isn’t for you.
What TMMN’s animation does get right is rather exceptional. The transformation sequences are to die for. They’re crisp, clean, and makes you wish you were a magical girl too. The fight sequences can get a little choppy, but their power up’s and impacts have the right bang to them to be really fun. The fact that TMMN did clean some elements up, but maintained older anime troupes and animation short cuts is awesome. There’s the oddly out of place looking aliens that Masha gobbles up cutely. Things like sweat drops, anger marks, the chibi versions of characters fighting or being pummeled even the notorious run with bread gag are too good! I found these were just the right level of upgraded animation, but also nostalgic.
Like the story and animation, the characters the heart of TMMN were reworked a bit too. They still obviously represent the original girls in terms of animals, color schemes, weapons and attacks. There are a few aesthetic changes, mostly to hair color/length/style but overall the designs are sleek and modernized.
As for any personality changes, the only major one I noticed was Bu-Ling’s. The original Bu-Ling being honest was a bit of a caricatures of Chinese/Oriental cultures. While her 2022 reboot has largely removed the more egregious elements, and toned others down. Personally, I think this was a smart move and did not affect the core character traits and struggles of Bu-Ling at all. Additionally, the series made a big effort to set all the Mew Mew’s character development up earlier and with intention. The initial hurdle for most of the characters has been cleared, but it’s obvious certain things will have to be returned to for the girls to grow even more.
Ichigo will still take center stage as the main character, the conflict she’s faced was handled way better then how I remembered. The fact that she does consider and understand that her teenage years, her normal life just hanging with her friends and dating Aoyama, have been stolen from her was phenomenal. A little superficial at times, I mean it’s just dating, but it does give her and the series more weight that being a magical girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m sure we’ll see more conflicts like this pop up for the other girls as well.
As for the villains’, their back story was a bit mishandled with an info-dump/reflection of where they came from and why they’re doing what they do in the latter episodes. It’s clear that they’re setting up some romantic entanglements for more then one alien to Mew Mew, but it’s all in good fun. I like Kishu quite a lot since he does seem to revel in his villainous nature. Tart and Pie are fun as well, especially Tart and Pudding shenanigan’s. I’m hoping Pie grows a bit more of a personality latter on though. I like how serious he is, but it’s a bit too stiff to be fun to watch.
It’s safe to say that while Tokyo Mew Mew New and I might have gotten off the wrong foot – I’ve come to love it as a series. I’m glad it had a strong enough reception to get a second season, so I’m looking forward to that next year! Let me know your best girl of the series down below!
Yes, I’ve been really enjoying this reboot! Lettuce is definitely the the best girl in the anime! And it’s not just because I think her green hero costume is adorable.
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Lettuce got so much good character growth early on!! He finding the first mew aqua was awesome~
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