*Note: I use Asian naming patterns in this review. This means last name first, first name last.*
Tokyo Mew Mew is about a girl, Momomiya Ichigo, who has DNA from an endangered animal species merged with her own DNA. This DNA allows her to transform into Mew Ichigo, a girl with powers based around the endangered iriomote cat that allow her to fight off “chimera animals,” parasites that infect animals and turn them into monsters. However, she’s hardly a match by herself. With Shirogane Ryu and Akasaka Keiichiro, Ichigo finds the remaining four mew mews, Mew Mint, Mew Lettuce, Mew Pudding, and finally, Mew Zakuro. Along the journey, the group finds out that the chimera animals are actually sent by aliens who want to force humans off the Earth by means of complete pollution. As the aliens bring out stronger arsenals, the girls need to fight these threats by collecting the “Mew Aqua,” water with high purity that can give them the strength they need to fight. In addition to her life fighting aliens, Ichigo also has her love life to deal with. The fact that she transforms into a cat after experiencing more intense emotion, especially including the anxiety she feels when being with her crush, Aoyama Masaya. However, not everything about him checks out as normal, casting suspicion on him, as well.
The writing is full of messages about saving the environment, staying by your friends, and never giving up. The story is well paced, and is a cute read, even if you’re above the target age group. There’s conflict for the main character, as well, that isn’t exactly fighting the aliens, but staying in a relationship with her boyfriend. Her unique circumstances include not only having to save the world, but also the threat of suddenly transforming into a cat as a side effect of her powers. The aliens are given an extra dimension as well, seeming to care about the heroines of the story despite their ultimate goal to destroy them and take over their planet. The main cast has a large age span, with one in elementary school, three in middle school, and one in high school with a well established modeling job. Because of this, readers in the target age range (and gender) will be able to connect with at least one of the characters, making the writing even more effective.
The art is very shoujo, meaning that there’s detail in the hair, big eyes, and atmospheric elements. The lines are thinner rather than solid, keeping the manga’s mood lighter as a result. The costume designs are very distinct for the lead characters for both normal clothes and outfits, but the rest are pretty generic. The attacks come out mostly as sparkles, but are visible, too. The aliens’ character designs could have been more interesting, and they all wear the same exact thing.
Age and Warning-
Since this is shoujo, or manga aimed at a young female audience, there’s lots of flirting and other romance involved. There’s also fighting going on between the lead girls and aliens. Some of the post-transformation costumes (mainly Zakuro’s) are revealing. There are infrequent scenes of non-detailed nudity. Romance plays a pretty big part in this manga, and there’s even three possible romances with the lead character.
Tokyo Mew Mew Omnibus Vol. 1-3
by Reiko Yoshida
Art by Mia Ikumi
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9781935429876 (contains vol. 1-2)
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9781935429883 (contains vol. 3-4)
Vol. 3 ISBN: 9781612620237 (contains vol. 5-7)
Kodansha Comics, 2011-2012
Publisher Age Rating: G (All)