Tokyo Mew Mew

Also Known As: TMM, Mew Mew Power (the anime)
Genre: Action/Sci-Fi
Length: 7 Volumes
Allegiance: Kodansha
Mangaka: Mia Ikumi
Vintage: 2001 – 2003
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kitsune
7th grader Ichigo Momomiya’s biggest concern was her crush, Masaya, until she became involved in an [accidental?] science experiment. Her life is turned upside down when a strange, young prodigy merged her DNA with the DNA of an endangered wildcat! How can she impress Masaya or even go to school when she’s eating fish without a fork and keeps sprouting cat ears and a tail?! Thankfully, Ichigo soon learns that she’s not alone. There are four others like her, and they are part of something much bigger than they initially realized: a mission to protect the planet from aliens who are attempting to use animals to destroy it…

Research Agent Report by: Kitsune
Overall 9.00
(not an average)
Tokyo Mew Mew is Mia Ikumi’s (Super Doll Licca-chan) biggest hit in the manga industry so far, and the series deserves every bit of its popularity. Tokyo Mew Mew is a great and unique addition to the “magical girl” anime genre, and its charm in particular kept me hooked though the whole series. 

This manga is pretty lighthearted, so its plot is fairly simple and easy to follow. Because only a few aspects of the real world are changed, the series captures the essence of a good fantasy without overdoing it and overcomplicating everything. The girls are mutants and the aliens want to rule Earth by using other mutated species; that’s all you really need to know for the rest to make sense. If you’re looking for a manga that gets deep or really serious, however, then you probably shouldn’t pick up Tokyo Mew Mew. If depth isn’t a big requirement for you, it really is an enjoyable series. My only other comment in regards to the plot is that it has some very small holes, but they really aren’t major enough to take anything away from the story. 

I personally grew attached to the characters in Tokyo Mew Mew because they feel familiar to the reader and many are easy to relate to. They are often humorous as well. Nevertheless, they are a bit lacking in development due to the fact that, again, this isn’t a very serious manga. The protagonist, Ichigo, is the most developed of the bunch, as she should be. Mint is pretty well-developed, too, although she can be a little snobby at times. I find Lettuce to be the most likeable and well-thought-out. Pudding almost doesn’t fit in with the other characters sometimes, though, because she acts so much younger and I found her occasionally annoying. Zakuro had a lot of potential, but I feel like it was never reached. I realize that her personality is supposed to be cool and a bit cut-off, but she can’t have said more than about 50-100 words in the entire series – it wasn’t enough to develop her character at all. Ryou is also designed to be mysterious, and he does speak, but I felt like the story kept building up to reveal more about him and it never quite did. It was mostly the romantic scenes between Ryou and Ichigo that threw me off – she’s clearly already taken, yet both Kish and Ryou flirt around with her too. Why didn’t anyone go for any of the other characters at least once? Honestly, it was a little bit Mary Sue. The characters of Tokyo Mew Mew are good ones, but there are a handful of aspects that could have been improved. All in all, I really felt like Zakuro needed some serious development, the rest needed a little, and the romance scenes needed to be more balanced with other characters. 

The impact of this series is about as good as it gets, lighthearted or not. The use of endangered species genes in the girls, the information given about the species, and most importantly, the attention brought to the environment, really made me think about what I could do to help the Earth. After all, many of the problems faced in the series are real-life environmental problems, just on a larger scale. I commend Tokyo Mew Mew as a successful means for helping spread the message that our environment needs us as much as we need it. 

Mia Ikumi’s art style is one word: CUTE! The toning and shading are beautiful, and the characters are drawn very well. There doesn’t appear to be any quickly or crudely drawn scenes either, like you see in some manga. It’s all pretty much perfect. My only concern is that I’m afraid the artwork scares certain variety of readers away. I know of some male readers that really do like it, but let’s face it: the readers of Tokyo Mew Mew are around 97% female. It’s definitely a shoujo manga. Even some girls don’t care for such cutesy art, so the series certainly has a limited audience. 

You’ve got to give Tokyo Mew Mew some credit – it isn’t popular without reason. There’s a good, solid, plot that has a decent amount of depth, and it’s easy to follow. While the characters aren’t so developed that they’re lifelike, they come pretty close and are very likeable. The environmental themes of the series are pretty impactful and not too heavyhanded. The artwork is some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen and by far some of the cutest. It may not be everyone’s style of manga, but it’s definitely a great choice for a fan of the “magical girl” genre.