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Film Friday- Tokyo Mew Mew

Film Friday- Tokyo Mew Mew

The series was adapted into a 52 episode anime series by Studio Pierrot. It debuted in Japan on April 6, 2002, on both TV Aichi and TV Tokyo; the final episode aired on March 29, 2003. Two video games were also created for the series: a puzzle adventure game for the Game Boy Advance system and a role-playing video game for the PlayStation. 4Kids Entertainment licensed the anime series for North American broadcast under the name Mew Mew Power. Heavily edited and dubbed, 23 episodes of Mew Mew Power aired on Cartoon Network and 4Kids TV in the United States and the entire 26 episodes aired on YTV in Canada. 4Kids Entertainment was unable to license the remaining 26 episodes of the series, thus were unable to complete its broadcast. They have never released the series to home video.  The anime adaptation received high ratings while airing in Japan, resulting in numerous marketing tie-ins. Despite criticism for extensive editing that removed most of the Japanese elements, the Mew Mew Power dub became the highest rated 4Kids show during its broadcast. It was licensed for regional release in several other countries instead of the original Japanese series.

Ichigo Momomiya

is the series’ main protagonist and the leader of the Mew Mews. She has short red hair which is usually tied up in pigtails. Ichigo (13 years old at the beginning of the series) is merged with the DNA of the Iriomote Wild Cat, giving her the ability to transform into Mew Ichigo, a powerful and heroic cat girl with pink hair. The transformation also causes her to exhibit various feline mannerisms while in her human form. At first, her cat ears and tail appear when she is excited, but eventually her cat DNA grows strong enough that when she kisses anything, she turns into a small black cat. She remains in a cat form until someone (human or animal) kisses her.

At the start of the series, Ichigo has a crush on Masaya Aoyama. Although she believes that he is oblivious to her feelings, he later returns them and they begin dating. Midway through the series, Ichigo gains a mysterious protector, the Blue Knight. Throughout the series, Ichigo repeatedly rejects repeated advances by Quiche and although she can not accept his final declaration of love, she cries over his death and holds him as he dies. Ichigo dies after transferring her own life force into Masaya after Masaya kills himself and Deep Blue. She is subsequently revived by the last of the mew aqua which was housed within Masaya. Before Masaya goes off to study abroad in England at the end of the series, Ichigo participates in a mock wedding with Masaya. Tokyo Mew Mew a La Mode reveals that Ichigo lost all of her Mew Mew powers because of the Mew Aqua’s influence and joined Masaya in England, but returned to Japan when her powers began to manifest again to aid in the battle against the Saint Rose Crusaders.

Minto Aizawa

Minto Aizawa is a blue-haired girl who is the second Mew Mew to be introduced in the series. Infused with the genes of a Blue Lorikeet, Minto grows a bird’s tail and a pair of bird wings when she transforms into Mew Mint. Initially depicted as spoiled, snobbish, and self-centered because of her wealth due to her being born into a rich family, she is shown to be an empathetic person who cares deeply about her friends as the series progresses. In the beginning, Minto called Ichigo a Vulgar person. Minto idolizes fellow Mew Mew Zakuro Fujiwara. Minto owns a pet Pomeranian named Miki.

Retasu Midorikawa

is a green-haired girl who is the third member of the Mew Mews formally introduced to the readers. Infused with the DNA of a Finless Porpoise, Retasu’s legs can change into a porpoise’s tail while she is underwater, greatly improving her swimming ability and giving her an appearance of a mermaid. In the anime adaptation, this change can only occur when Retasu is in the presence of Mew Aqua. Retasu is portrayed as a shy and intelligent character lacking self-confidence and is the subject of frequent bullying from three girls. She is afraid of her Mew Mew powers at first, causing them to go out of control at her school until she is calmed by Ichigo and Minto. The other members of the group consider Retasu to be a kind and selfless person. As the series progresses, Retasu becomes a more confident person through the other Mew Mews’ regular encouragement. In the anime, Retasu has a strong love interest towards Ryou and kissed him once, that only Bu-Ling is aware of their relationship.

Bu-Ling Huang

is a blonde-haired girl who is the fourth Mew Mew introduced to the readers and the youngest of the bunch. Infused with the DNA of a Golden Lion Tamarin, Bu-Ling grows a monkey tail and ears while transformed, and fights with a pair of rings. Bu-Ling is introduced as being a busker due to her acrobatic skills to earn money for her family. The other Mew Mews agree that her monkey DNA is a perfect match for her personality as she is full of energy and loves having fun, to the point Minto considers her very immature or childish. A running gag when it comes to referencing the Mew Mews’ DNA had Bu-Ling thinking that her DNA is a lion where she is always corrected that she has the DNA of a Golden Lion Tamarin. Despite her age, Bu-Ling is raising her five younger siblings and managing the family finances while their father is training in the mountains. The manga never mentions Bu-Ling’s mother while the anime adaptation states that she died. Midway through the series, Bu-Ling befriends Tart when he captures her and holds her hostage. She is reluctant to fight Tart during the final battle until he affirms they have no choice, and cries over him after he is defeated. Bu-Ling kisses Tart at the end of the series and tells him she does not want it “to be goodbye.” He replies by saying that he may return to see her. In the anime adaptation, the relationship between Bu-Ling and Tart is expanded and the circumstances of their initial friendship changes – instead of being saved by the Mew Mews, Tart himself saves Bu-Ling from an underground cavern when he realizes that she is suffocating from a lack of oxygen.

Zakuro Fujiwara

is a purple-haired girl who is the last of the main Mew Mews introduced and the oldest of the group. As with the others, she first appears at the endangered animal exhibit without being named. Zakuro tends to be a loner and initially refuses to join the other Mew Mews, but changes her mind after they come to her aid. Infused with the DNA of a Gray Wolf, Zakuro has a wolf tail and ears while in her Mew Mew form. Zakuro is a professional model and is presented as a mature character. As her biggest fan Minto effuses, Zakuro has “long, glossy, raven hair” with “dark, intelligent, yet sensitive eyes” and “long, strong and thin legs”. Zakuro’s background is more developed in the anime adaptation and she is said to be estranged from her family since leaving home two years earlier.

 

Manga Monday- Tokyo Mew Mew

Manga Monday- Tokyo Mew Mew

Tokyo Mew Mew is a Japanese shōjo manga series written by Reiko Yoshida and illustrated by Mia Ikumi. It was originally serialized in Nakayoshi from September 2000 to February 2003, and later published in seven tankōbon volumes by Kodansha from February 2001 to April 2003. It focuses on five girls infused with the DNA of endangered animals which gives them special powers and allows them to transform into “Mew Mews.” Led by Ichigo Momomiya, the girls protect the earth from aliens who wish to “reclaim” it.

Well received by English-language readers, several volumes of the manga series appeared in the Top 50 sales lists for graphic novels in their respective months of release. Critics praised the manga as a cute and entertaining series with free-flowing style and character designs. à la mode received praise as a good continuation of the series, but was also criticized for offering nothing new.

Plot

In Tokyo, Japan, a young girl named Ichigo Momomiya attends an endangered species exhibit with her “crush” Masaya Aoyama. After an earthquake, Ichigo and four other girls are bathed in a strange light. A cat appears before Ichigo, then merges with her. The next day, she begins acting like a cat and making cat puns. After meeting Ryô Shirogane and Keiichirô Akasaka, Ichigo learns that she was infused with the DNA of the Iriomote cat. Ryou and Keiichirou explain that this allows her to transform into Mew Ichigo, a powerful heroic cat girl. She is ordered to defeat Chimera Animas—alien parasites which infect animals and turn them into monsters. Ryou and Keiichirou instruct Ichigo to find the four other girls from the exhibit—the remaining Mew Mews.

The first Mew Mew Ichigo encounters is Minto Aizawa, a spoiled, wealthy girl and ballerina who is infused with the genes of the blue lorikeet; Retasu Midorikawa, a shy but smart girl who endures constant bullying from three girls and absorbs the genes of the finless porpoise; a hyper and yet young girl named Bu-Ling Huang who receives the genes of the golden lion tamarin; and Zakuro Fujiwara, a professional actress and model infused with the genes of the gray wolf.

The five Mew Mews battle the Chimera Animas and their alien controllers Quiche, Pie and Tart. Quiche falls in love with Ichigo where he tries to gain her love despite the fact that he is trying to eliminate the other Mew Mews. Pie and Tart later join Quiche in trying to destroy the Mew Mews.

As the fighting intensifies, the Mew Mews are tasked with finding “Mew Aqua”, a material created from pure water that contains immense power for combating the alien attacks and can be sensed by the Mew Mews. During a battle with Quiche at an aquarium, Ichigo is in danger of losing when the mysterious Blue Knight appears and rescues her. He returns periodically throughout the series, protecting Ichigo from various dangers. It is later revealed that the Blue Knight is in fact Masaya. Shortly after this discovery, Masaya collapses and transforms again. This time, he transforms into Deep Blue, the alien leader who wants to destroy humanity. After explaining to Ichigo that Masaya was a false form for temporary use, Deep Blue attacks the Mew Mews. Pie and Tart try to stop the other mew mews while Ichigo goes after Deep Blue. He and Quiche battle and Deep Blue wins. Masaya’s personality briefly reappears and he uses the Mew Aqua inside Deep Blue to save Ichigo and Tokyo, killing himself in the process. Crying over his body, Ichigo pours her power into Masaya to save his life, losing her own in the process. Masaya kisses her, changing her back to a human and revives her. Ryou gives Pie the remaining Mew Aqua to save the aliens’ world, after which Quiche, Pie, and Tart say their goodbyes and return to their own world.

Sequel

In the two-volume sequel Tokyo Mew Mew à La Mode, Ichigo and Masaya move to England to study endangered species. The remaining Mew Mews continue to eliminate the Chimera Animas left behind by the aliens. They face a new threat in the form of the Saint Rose Crusaders: humans with special powers who desire to conquer the world and create a utopia while taking over the remaining Chimera Animas. Berry Shirayuki becomes the sixth Mew Mew and temporarily takes Ichigo’s place as the leader. Berry is the first Mew Mew to be infused with the DNA of two endangered species, the Andean mountain cat and the Amami rabbit. As one of the strongest Mew Mews, Berry is targeted by two of the Crusaders, who attack her at school. Ichigo returns to provide assistance during this battle. For their final attack, two Crusaders hypnotize the citizens of Tokyo and set them against the Mew Mews. Berry and her childhood friend Tasuku Meguro use their new-found feelings of love to reverse the hypnosis and cause a change of heart in the Crusaders.