Plot: Zoey Hanson is a normal teenage girl. She’s has a huge crush on a great guy, is a bit lazy and a bit scatterbrained. While on a date with her crush, Mark, she is hit with a strange red light that grants her the abilities of the red data animal, the iriomote wild cat, and turns into Mew Ichigo. Elliot and Wesley, leaders of the Mew Project, are the ones who granted her these powers and they tell her that she, along with four other mews, need to stop the aliens, the cyniclons, from taking over the planet. Together, Zoey, Bridget, who has the powers of a finless porpoise, Corina, with the powers of a larakeet, Kiki, with the powers of a golden lion tamarin, and Renee, with the powers of a grey wolf, use a cafe as their cover as they try to save the world from the cyniclons, Dren, Tarb and Sardon and their mysterious leader Deep Blue.
Breakdown: Now that I’m a bit less enraged after going through the SDC of this show and it’s original version, Tokyo Mew Mew, I can try my hardest to find the merits of this show on its own, as if Tokyo Mew Mew doesn’t exist.
To get this out of the way, its merits as a dub effort are awful. You know this, I know this, there’s no point in getting into details since practically everything was covered in the SDC. Everyone’s is changed to be unpleasant as a character 98% of the time, the dialogue is constantly changed, there are untold amounts of edits and scene swaps, and the stories of the episodes are commonly changed to make them kiddier or to dumb them down. Rarely was there ever an episode that was left mostly alone. It’s, as far as I’m concerned, 4Kids second worst dubbed show outside of One Piece – and give that show credit; they kept the names the same, usually, in One Piece.
Getting back to stand-alone Mew Mew Power, I’m going to break this up as much as possible, so let’s tackle the voices first.
Zoey: Her voice is very grating. I get that she is a teenage girl, but she’s over-the-top typical teenage girly girl and I can’t stand when she starts screaming. I feel like in those times when she’s being all romantic with Mark or thinking about Mark that her VA is rolling her eyes through all of it because she just lays it on so thick.
Corina: Her voice is actually fitting for a little rich snob, but she does sound a bit too old for the role, especially when she’s yelling.
Kiki: I actually don’t find Kiki’s voice to be that bad in terms of her character, but the actual sound is annoying as hell.
Bridget: She’s also pretty fitting, but her acting is hokey very often. She just can’t emote outside of timidness.
Renee: She’s voice is also fine, but she can’t seem to do any emotions outside of bitch and monotone.
Elliot: Sean Schemmel does a fine job as Elliot, for the most part, but he does nothing to differentiate his voice from Goku’s, besides seem a little more serious, which makes it very distracting. I don’t think I’d mention this if they didn’t reference his role as Goku in the series.
Wesley: His voice is completely forgettable, and doesn’t really fit the suave and cool character he’s supposed to be.
Dren: His voice is okay. He doesn’t get the cute lines down as much as…..uh, another show with the exact same character that I’m not supposed to talk about. His voice can be fun, slippery and malicious, but it’s not terribly effective.
Tarb: Gary Oak is a brat. I can’t say anything bad about that.
Sardon: His voice grew on me, but damn it just sounds so weird.
Mark: I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to give Mark this voice. He sounds way too old. Like I said in the SDC, this kid is supposed to be 15 in the dub yet he sounds like he’s in his forties and probably smoked in his youth. This is by far one of the worst voice casting choices I’ve ever seen.
Mini-Mew: His voice is actually really good. It’s a bit annoying since he talks quite a bit, but the choice of voice was good.
Zoey: At her best, Zoey is a typical self-absorbed materialistic teenage girl. She can be nice enough, but she has way too many moments of being snarky, bitchy and overall unpleasant. She’s obsessed with Mark to the point of willfully wanting to abandon her duties as a Mew, IE Saving the world, just to be with him. It’s incredibly hard to want to root for her or her relationship with Mark because of how unpleasant she is to watch.
Corina: Self-absorbed, lazy, bitchy snob. She rarely has moments where she’s being genuinely kind and even these moments are turned around to be sarcastic or bitchy. She also doesn’t really have much of a backstory beyond being a lonely rich girl.
Bridget: She’s one of the more tolerable characters, but man is she boring. Her voice and lack of range in emotion mixed with her personality make her really bland. Even her backstory isn’t very interesting.
Kiki: Kiki’s a little entertaining and not quite as annoying as I feared. However, there’s little in terms of filter between her brain and her mouth. I would say she just has no tact, but many of the instances of this come off as bratty/bitchy instead of just putting her foot in her mouth. She does have the best backstory of them all though.
Renee: She comes off as cold and bitchy, and at best she’s a seemingly cold older sister type. She can be nice when she wants to be, but these moments are also ruined most of the time by adding in stereotypical teenage girl attitude. You don’t really get to know anything about Renee besides a few character traits as the show doesn’t explore her backstory.
Elliot: He’s very abrasive most of the time and a downright asshole several times, but there are circumstances when he’s trying to be nice. These instances are sometimes ruined by poor dialogue choices or tone of voice, but not as often as the girls. We never delve into his backstory or why the Mew project came to be.
Wesley: Wesley’s a dork. I couldn’t quite find the right word before but yeah, he’s a dork, especially after the way he was talking in episode 25. What the hell was that, anyway? People on the Food Network don’t talk about food that much.
Mark: Mark is really nice, but down to the bare bones, he’s really boring. He plays kendo, he’s adored by girls, he’s a perfect guy, but he’s boring. His droning insurance salesman voice in no way helps.
Dren: He’s a fine villain, but a bit too cartoony to ever be taken seriously. He has a really stupid manner of speech that is very effeminate and littered with dumb cutesy nicknames and silly wordplay.
Tarb: Well, they weren’t wrong, he’s a brat.
Sardon: Probably the only of the three I would ever take seriously, but his voice makes it close to impossible to do so.
Deep Blue: Kinda pointless to talk about him. He’s a mysterious voice from the shadows who commands his lackeys to do everything and wants to rule the world. His voice is ridiculous, and he’s a lot like Giovanni from Pokemon except he somehow manages to do less on his own.
Blue Knight: There’s also not much to say about him. He’s this show’s Tuxedo Mask, though he doesn’t show up nearly as often as TM does in Sailor Moon. He’s obviously voiced by Sean Schemmel with a sore throat and he does nothing but save Zoey, protect Zoey, and give her pep talks before vanishing.
In terms of story, outside of using animals, fighting aliens and DNA instead of magic (which is pretty silly to note as an original thing since they must still be relying on magic to a degree) it’s on par with most other magical girl anime dubs. Typical teenage girl voices, overly girl-ifying everything most of the time, and following roughly the same character archetypes and structure. Renee and Kiki kinda break the character archetype mold, though.
The ending is completely unsatisfactory, obviously, since the dub project was canceled.
The stories can sometimes be goofy, but I never expect full seriousness out of magical girls shows. They are usually aimed towards kids and are partially comedy shows.
The dialogue is bleh. If I can compare this to a similar-ish show and not the original show for a second; take Kim Possible. Both aimed at kids, both focus on teenage girls as the main heroes, both are no strangers to very girly things such as pop music, cheerleading, and of course, boys. The dialogue in that show, while being lame sometimes, mostly in the catchphrases, was overall snappy, realistic and, best of all, funny. The dialogue in this show is lame, forced, dated, not that realistic and not funny.
The music is very poppy, very girly, and the lyrics are almost always nauseatingly girly and lame. However, the music department at 4Kids is very good at making earworms in terms of their melodies. Their insert songs during the emotional scenes are forgettable, but Supernatural and We’ve Got the Animal Instinct admittedly grew on me. The OP is very catchy as well.
The art and animation don’t stand up to the average western cartoons and even many of the anime typically found on the same block. Better than Yugioh, but that’s like saying being beaten with a branch is better than being beaten with a plank of wood. Pierrot really did blech work on this show. The colors pop, the transformation scenes are well done, and when they actually decide to use their budget the show doesn’t look half bad. However, most episodes look like crap for the most part. The animation is average at best, and the art can be horrible at worst.
Is there anything they did better than the original? I can’t really avoid comparing the two versions here as I really want to give 4Kids some credit…..Yes, they did something better than the original and you probably already know what it is; giving the other girls more time to shine.
While I doubt this was made with fairness between the characters in mind (it’s probably a marketing strategy both for their soundtrack and their character merchandise) they do give more focus to the other girls when they can in terms of showing them transforming and them doing their attacks. And in the cases of Kiki and Bridget, making up additional attack names for them to seem more diverse even when they don’t do anything different.
The original has this really nasty habit of favoring Ichigo far more than even the average magical girl show favors the leader. The other girls get what they get at the start and usually get nothing more. Mint can kinda fly, though she usually just floats. It’s possible she can also talk to birds. Zakuro might be able to talk to dogs/canines in general. Lettuce was able to turn into a mermaid once with Mew Aqua. Pudding got jack squat.
Ichigo, however, gets three different weapons, three different attacks and always gets the final shot. She has cat ears and a tail pop out when she’s upset and she eventually turns into a cat fully.
While one can argue that those abilities are the curse of this project, it would be better to give similar abilities to the other girls. Afterall, they’re supposed to be itching to be back to normal right? If transforming is a choice, this Mew project deal doesn’t affect the other girls nearly as much. Have Mint sprout wings or talons. Have Pudding sprout monkey ears and a tail. Have Renee sprout dog ears and a tail. Have Lettuce…..uhhh….sprout…a fish….tail? Hell, just have them take on animal behaviors like Pudding jonesing for bananas, Lettuce having irresistible urges to swim. Mint wanting to eat bird seed, Zakuro chewing on bones.
You can get really creative with this yet they never do. They don’t even explain what everyone else’s animals besides Ichigo’s are until more than halfway into season one. She gets practically all of the focus in every episode unless it’s a special character-driven episode and even then focus shifts to Ichigo much of the time.
It was a nice change of pace to have more focus on the other girls, however minor it may be. Is it really so much to ask to properly showcase a TEAM show without always having the focus and all the fun stuff go to one damn character?
They also had a few moments where their dialogue or story changes were better than what was originally there. Slightly….Just slightly.
Bottomline: It’s a terrible, horrible, butchered little dub, and I stand by my statement of ‘Second worst 4Kids’ dub ever.’ It’s an average dubbed magical girl show at very best, and I don’t fault anyone who liked this show as a kid. I never got into it as I was too busy watching Yugioh, Pokemon and Digimon. Doing/reading sub dub comparisons on those shows makes me cringe sometimes with how awful the dubs can be, but elements of the original version still shine through, just like it does here, and I can see how people would be allured by that. It doesn’t seem to do much harm to kids in terms of messages, it just doesn’t have much to offer. There are and were better similar shows out there for kids to watch.
Recommended Audience: Ichigo’s boob shadows and Kisshu’s stomach/groin lines were painted away because they were too risque. I think no one can argue with E for everyone.