SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 34: The Most Important Matter – The Ability to Trust Someone

SSBS - TMM EP 34 TITLE
Why are we only now focusing on Lettuce’s artistic abilities? She’s amazing.

Plot: Ichigo and the other Mews are raising money at a charity drive with a Cafe stand. While Mint tries to contribute by peddling her 10,000,000 yen armoire, Lettuce offers to sell a bag of dolls that she hand-made herself. She’s selling them for a mere 100 yen a piece, but is okay with that price since she would’ve easily just given them away to whomever liked them.

Aoyama arrives and compliments Lettuce’s dolls. A sudden rush of customers nabs them all up in a matter of hours, clamoring over their cuteness. Shirogane arrives to see what all the fuss is about, which seems to prompt Aoyama’s departure.

Just as they’re about to close up, a woman comes by asking if there are any dolls left. Lettuce gives her the last one, a green finless porpoise. The woman compliments her on her adorable dolls and reveals herself to be Ayano Uemura, a very famous doll-maker. She likes Lettuce’s work so much that she gives her a business card and tells her to drop by her workshop.

After some encouraging words from her friends and family, Lettuce goes off to meet Ayano in her workshop. She offers to make a doll with Lettuce, and after days and days of planning, designing and sewing, they make a beautiful doll. Lettuce couldn’t be happier, and she gets even better news when Ayano says she’s entering Lettuce and her doll into a local exhibit.

When they arrive, however, they see that Ayano is claiming the doll as her own and refuses to acknowledge the girls’ claims that Lettuce made it. She even calls security to escort them from the premises. Ayano runs off from her stand in frustration and possible guilt when she runs into Kisshu.

He decides that he’s going to cause a ruckus at the exhibit just to mess with the Mews and turns Ayano’s soul into a Chimera Animal. The Mews rush in to combat Kisshu, but are surprised and confused when Kisshu states that this Chimera has only one attack, an easily avoidable web shot that can only be used once. As Ichigo is about to attack and take the Chimera Animal down, the real ability of the Chimera Animal is revealed to be using the web to grab the dolls and strike the Mews down with them, snaring them in web.

Lettuce is able to summon her castanets with her fingers, and, enraged at the misuse of preciously crafted dolls, uses her Ribbon Lettuce Rush to blast away the web. With the web gone, Ichigo is free to attack the Chimera Animal and return Ayano back to normal.

Ayano admits that she’s been in a creative slump for a long time and was nearly about to quit when she stumbled upon Lettuce’s dolls at the charity drive. She envied her creativity, so she concocted a plan to get Lettuce to design and make a doll with her so she could pass it off as her own and revitalize her career.

Lettuce doesn’t appear to even be slightly angry at Ayano’s actions. She tells her she was happy that Ayano liked her dolls. The point of doll-making is to spread happiness. It doesn’t matter who takes credit for making the doll as long as the doll itself makes others happy. She also admits that she had a lot of fun making a doll with Ayano and asks Ayano if she at least had fun too.

Ayano admits that she did and tearfully apologizes to Lettuce. Lettuce suggests that they make another doll again someday and she agrees.

Her friends all look on in pride, realizing that Lettuce is an incredibly strong person. She knew all along what Ayano was doing, but believed in her anyway. She had the strength to have hope and the kindness to forgive.

Breakdown:

– Lettuce’s reaction to everyone buying up her dolls is hilarious and adorable.

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– Lettuce didn’t bring nearly enough dolls to cater to all of these people. They just had a massive surge of customers and they show the stand as still being full. She came with one bag….

– N’awwww, that doll’s adorable! I looks like it’s kinda modeled to be a Mew Lettuce themed porpoise. I want it!

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– Wow, Lettuce has the nicest family ever. Even her little brother is a sweetheart. No wonder Lettuce is so kind.

– As much as I’m liking this episode so far, I saw the ‘she stole my doll’ twist from the instant she invited Lettuce over to make a doll. Not only is it predictable, but I saw this exact same plotline in an episode/chapter of Hell Girl a little while ago. There was a young woman who was an up and coming chef and she had this mentor-like person. The mentor was faltering in his creativity, so he stole the new signature recipe she had made and passed it off as his own to bring more life back into his career.

I’m almost certain this episode doesn’t end with Ayano being sent to hell by Hell Girl, though.

– I don’t really get why she invited Lettuce to the exhibit. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have to deal with a possible PR issue. They’d probably still find out, but still.

– Hahah! I love that Kisshu’s reason for attacking today is literally ‘Eh, I just wanted to screw with you.’

– Was kinda hoping Lettuce would get a full transformation sequence today since Mint got one a couple episodes ago. Oh well, at least Ichigo wasn’t given one either.

– Hm. Pretty lazy animation today. QUICK, ZOOM IN ON THAT STILL SCREEN A BUNCH OF TIMES TO SIMULATE MOVEMENT!

– Lettuce gets to help save the day by badassingly freeing them from the spider web…but….Ichigo still gets the final attack.

– So when do they reveal that Lettuce is secretly an angel? Because, man, the levels of understanding and forgiveness in her heart are insane.

– Looking back, what was Ayano’s long-term plan? She only made one doll with Lettuce, and certainly there’s no way she’d make another with her after finding out about what she did. Was she really going to coast on the success of one doll? What happens after that? Stealing one doll won’t bring back her own creativity.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. I always really enjoy Lettuce stories. She falters and is slightly annoying in how soft-spoken she is, but she’s always hopeful and caring and is constantly trying to see the good in people. It’s hard not to root for her time and again.

Art theft is one of my instant bitch-switch flippers, and even though I knew she’d steal the doll and claim it as her own, I still felt angry when it was finally revealed. However, we didn’t go down the route of the characters lecturing her with ‘Art theft is wrong! Stealing is wrong! You’re a bad person and you should feel bad!’ Instead, we got a lesson in forgiveness and understanding the true meaning behind any form of art – spreading happiness. Or at least some meaningful emotional response.

It’s about establishing connections and sending messages to the people around you. One day you could feel like entertaining them with a big comic book splash page and another day you might feel like impacting their heart with a sad painting.

Is art theft still horrible? Yes. Should you tolerate it? Hell no. But you also shouldn’t bear such deep grudges. Let others know what they did, let whatever punishment that is about to befall them befall them and hope they never do it again. That’s really all you can do.

The animation in this episode is some of the worst we’ve had so far. Some of it is laughably horrible. The Chimera Animal this episode also felt a bit forced, but I will accept Kisshu’s hilarious excuse of just wanting to cause trouble for literally no reason. Truth be told, I’d probably take that over yet another false Mew Aqua identification.

Plus, we got to see some really adorable dolls in this episode. I really want the finless porpoise and the….whatever that was that Lettuce and Ayano made together. It looks like a Pokemon, to be honest.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next episode, continuing on with ‘not-focusing-on-Ichigo-for-a-change’ month, Zakuro meets a little girl who is one of her biggest fans.

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