SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 31: Father’s Back – One-Game Match for Ichigo

SSBS - TMM EP 31 SCREEN

Plot: Ichigo’s father finds out about her relationship with Aoyama, and he’s furious. He wants nothing more than to break them up.

Aoyama calls the house one night, and her father takes the opportunity to meet with him and give him a piece of his mind. He rushes off on his scooter, so Ichigo transforms and rushes after him.

When her father meets with Aoyama, he tries to forbid them from dating, but Aoyama politely refuses. Ichigo’s father proclaims that they’re too young to be dating. They have too much left to do on their own, and they’re not mature enough to fall in love. Aoyama agrees that they have much more left to do, but they cannot deny their feelings. They’re real, and shouldn’t be ignored no matter what age they are.

Ichigo’s father decides to challenge Aoyama to a kendo duel for the right to date Ichigo. Aoyama agrees.

On the day of the duel, Ichigo’s mother sits her down and explains her father’s behavior. When Ichigo was born, she was very small and had to struggle to stay alive. The entire time she was in the hospital, her father would visit her all the time, cheering her on. He loves her more than anything else in the world, which is why he’s so protective of her.

Additionally, he and Ichigo’s mother had a similar circumstance when they were younger. They too met and started dating when they were in junior high, and Ichigo’s grandfather greatly disapproved. Like Ichigo’s father did to Aoyama, her grandfather also challenged her father to a duel for the right to keep their relationship. Her grandfather kept getting knocked down, but he always got back up. He got up again and again until he finally gave up and let the two of them date. In a way, the duel and the resistance of Ichigo’s father made their relationship stronger and proved their love to be true.

Meanwhile, back in the duel, history seems to be repeating itself. Ichigo’s father is getting defeated quite badly by Aoyama. Even though they agreed to a single point win, her father is not acknowledging the hits as valid and keeps getting up. Her father manages one big burst of energy and forces Aoyama to the ground, knocking his sword away. As her father is about to land the winning strike, Ichigo arrives and stops the match.

However, neither of them is willing to concede until the match is properly won. As Ichigo’s father is about to land his strike, Ichigo steps in the way. Using Aoyama’s sword, she deflects her father’s strike and protects Aoyama. She proclaims that they’re not doing anything wrong, but if he demands a fight, she’ll face him.

Her father flashes back to the fight he had with Ichigo’s grandfather where the true ending of the match is revealed to be the same as is happening now. Her mother took up her father’s sword and stood against Ichigo’s grandfather to protect their love.

Realizing the situation at hand, Ichigo’s father laughs and gives them his blessing before leaving the dojo.

Breakdown:

– I find it hard to believe that Ichigo’s dad never knew she was dating Aoyama. She never seemed like she was keeping it a secret, and her mother knew. They’ve been dating quite a while now.

– Wait, the scene ended without Ichigo arriving at the meeting?….So her transforming was 100% useless? Is there a transformation quota or something?

————————–

I was about ready to write this episode off for the first half. It’s basically the same double standard BS of protecting the daughter fiercely when she gets a boyfriend, but if the genders were reversed, this would be no problem.

Ichigo’s father vehemently hates Aoyama without even meeting him and is more than ready to force these two apart for no real reason. He even has the gall to ask Ichigo how far she’s gone with Aoyama at the dinner table, no less.

But….

The second half makes up for a lot. The fact that Ichigo’s dad is so protective because she nearly died as a baby was a good justification, even if he did go overboard, and the parallel of her situation with Aoyama and her parents was quite sweet. It wasn’t so much protecting her from terrible boys as it was proving their relationship and love to be strong enough. He wanted to see if they both found it worth fighting for.

It’s still a bit on the sexist side. I have to imagine he might have done this to everyone Ichigo might have dated had she not met the love of her life in junior high. She didn’t even say she was in love – the only thing she and her mother told him was that he was her boyfriend.

I just can’t get behind the whole ‘fighting for the right to date someone’s daughter’ thing. Ichigo literally has no say in this unless she puts herself in the line of fire.

I still enjoyed the latter part of the episode for what it was worth. It was very sweet and definitely strengthened the bond between her and Aoyama. Even if the grounds for the duel are damn near medieval, it’s admirable that both Aoyama and her father will go to such lengths for Ichigo.

…..That being said, this is more filler. It’s not bad filler, as you can get by my lack of notes, but it’s filler. They practically insult you with this week’s transformation. She transforms to run after her father to stop him from confronting Aoyama, but it’s not like she’s running any faster than she would as regular Ichigo. Not to mention the fact that the transformation was entirely pointless anyway. She transforms, runs through the city like an idiot and gets lost, so she never even gets to the meeting.

Oh but where are the other girls? Where they’ve pretty much been fastened to the floor for the past five episodes – back at Café Mew Mew. We cut to Ichigo at work like three times. The girls all have a one-sentence reaction to what she’s doing each time and then we cut back to the plot. They were seriously just shots to remind us that the other girls exist.

There was also noticeably no Chimera Animal or Kisshu and friends today, either. That’s not really a problem, per se, but it’s worth noting. It’s been extremely slow-goings since the first season finale.

All in all, this is a nice episode, but I’m yearning for more action-oriented episodes.

Next episode, I seemingly get my wish. Mint and her friends are at a tea party, and they meet a girl who claims to be Mint’s eternal rival. Kisshu arrives to crash the party, believing there to be Mew Aqua at the event.

…Previous Episode


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5 thoughts on “SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 31: Father’s Back – One-Game Match for Ichigo

  1. Yay! You like this episode!

    But why do you think it’s sexist? Did Papa Momomiya ever imply he wouldn’t fight Masaya if he were female or Ichigo were male? Or is it simple the lack of examples in media and real life of a parent vs. daughter fight for the son?

    And what if the REAL reason Mom and Pop Peach-Shrine are concerned about Masaya is that he’s Ichigo’s real father?? Maybe Masaya is fated to become the Doctor’s next companion. Maybe Mommy and Daddy didn’t want to tell her because they didn’t want to squick her out. But after realizing their love for each other, they were like, Eh, whatever, as long as they don’t have kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The latter. He never implied that he wouldn’t act the same if Ichigo were a guy, but it’s extremely common in media for fathers to be all ‘grr, I hate my daughter’s boyfriend even though I’ve never met him. She’s my little girl, and he’s a punk who wants to do nothing but bang her.’ But when it’s a son it’s all ‘Whoo, nice girlfriend, son. Go get some!’

      Only time you really see a parent getting upset over the son’s relationships is typically in adult situations where you have the trope of the shrill harpy mother-in-law who hates the woman her son married because no one could ever love her little pumpkin as much as she does.

      The duel itself, no matter the gender, is iffy at face value because it treats the child in that situation like property to be won. Ichigo’s dad knew his intentions in that duel, which makes it better, but did Aoyama really get that or did he also take the duel at face value and fight for the right to date Ichigo? He seemed like he understood where Ichigo’s dad was coming from when they talked, but it’s hard to gauge how much he truly understood.

      Actually, Ichigo’s dad does bear a decent resemblance to Aoyama……and if you rearrange the letters in ‘Shintaro’ it spells ‘TARDIS’….give or take a few letters. OH MY GOD. :0

      Like

      • I never considered the fact that Masaya could be Shintaro. I always thought Shintaro was secretly a demon who wanted to use Masaya as a human sacrifice. Now that you mention it, though, it makes perfect sense. ILLUMINATI CONFIRMED 🔺

        Liked by 1 person

  2. While it is a tired cliche, I didn’t mind Ichigo’s dad in this instance just because he was so over the top, I found it funny. But I did appreciate when Ichigo interfered with the fight and called him out on it when he said that she had nothing to do with it.
    One big thing I got from this is that, between losing to both his future father-in-law and Aoyama, Shintaro really sucks at Kendo XD.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like to imagine Shintaro in this episode as a character being an in-universe Mayasa hater. Only I’d like to think that even if he didn’t come around on the no boyfriend rule, he’d double down on Kisshu.

    Liked by 1 person

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