SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 36: Shirogane’s Past – The Secret of the Mew Mews’ Birth

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Plot: Ichigo chews Shirogane out for her transforming into a cat. These days, the transformations are happening more frequently and they’re being triggered by something as minor as a dog lick. She is frustrated because the increasing risk of transformation makes it more difficult for her to live her day to day life and date Aoyama. Shirogane offers no help, however, and tells her to leave the room so he can change.

As she waits for him so she can chew him out some more, Akasaka informs her that Shirogane left. Ichigo begrudgingly leaves and is suddenly kissed by an iguana that flew out of the hands of a young boy.

She rushes to kiss a nearby bird to turn back and heads to school. As she’s walking, the same kid with the iguana shows back up and the exact same thing happens again. She spots a dog walking by so she rushes off to kiss it, but is stopped by the dog’s massive and angry boyfriend. He identifies her as the weird cat who’s been going around kissing small animals and is enraged that she’d go after his girlfriend.

He’s about to attack her when Alto shows up and saves her. They run off and he kisses her, turning her back into a person. Before Alto is able to walk away, Ichigo grabs him and decides she’ll treat him to a can of cat food before she heads to school.

Alto suddenly starts glowing and turns into Shirogane, revealing he also has cat transformation powers. Ichigo spends the rest of the day in a daze at this revelation, especially considering that he kissed her. Akasaka pulls her aside and decides to tell her the whole story of Ryou’s power.

Five years ago, Akasaka was working in America under the archaeologist, Dr. Shirogane – Ryou’s father. He was secretly investigating some technology of a previously unknown species after a significant find in some ancient ruins.

They seemed to be the remains of creatures who could create chimeras, and Dr. Shirogane lived in dread of his find because he believed they could still be a threat to humanity to this day.

Ryou was an incredibly intelligent boy. He had an IQ of 180 and desired to be a scientist like his father. However, he was also bullied quite frequently, and his mother would always gently tend to his wounds without judgment since he was never in the wrong.

Akasaka suggested that, since they’re in America, his father let Ryou skip to attend university, something that is impossible to do in Japan. Dr. Shirogane, who didn’t really want to let his son follow in his dangerous footsteps, agreed since it might be the best choice for his son’s future and happiness.

Later that night, Ryou and Akasaka were out driving back home when they heard an explosion. They arrived home only to find the entire building engulfed in flames. Ryou was restrained by Akasaka as they saw the chimera animal from the fossil that Dr. Shirogane had been investigating had somehow resurrected and attacked the lab. The chimera animal vanished and Ryou’s father and mother perished in the blaze.

After the fire had died down, Ryou and Akasaka stood in the ruins of his home. Ryou proclaimed that his father’s research was not lost – he remembered everything in his father’s research logs, and he swore to go to Japan to restart and finish the Mew Project.

Like he promised, they returned to Japan and completed the Mew Project after five years of rebuilding and research. In order to ensure that this power was safe to inject in the girls they planned to target, Ryou injected himself with it, entrusting Akasaka to the project should this experiment fail.

Akasaka reveals that this power, when injected into someone who does not have the proper gene type, merely turns the person into an animal. As expected, Ryou turns into a cat when the process is complete, and he is forever granted the ability to transform back and forth into a cat through will. However, the hitch is that he cannot stay in cat form for longer than ten minutes, otherwise he’ll remain a cat forever.

Shirogane, in private, of course, has always been protecting the girls since before he even knew them. And he is always telling Akasaka that he’ll protect them no matter what.

A tearful Ichigo expresses regret that she’s always said such nasty things to him without knowing his story or his true intentions and feelings. Ryou walks in and tells her to not worry since he got them all into this in the first place – it’s merely the right thing to do.

Ichigo says she feels sorry for Ryou, and he suddenly decides to kiss her and turn her into a cat as punishment for saying she feels sorry for him. Akasaka tries to kiss her to turn her back, but she freaks out. The other girls, who have been listening outside the door, collapse on the floor when Ryou leaves. Ichigo takes the opportunity to kiss Pudding to transform back.

She confronts Ryou in the hall saying she’ll never pity him, but now that she knows Ryou’s serious about this situation, she’ll always do her best.

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– This episode has a lot of Shirogane fanservice for a budget episode….Wait, Shirogane’s backstory episode is a budget episode? What the hell?

– This is the second time Ichigo’s walked in on a half-naked Shirogane…

– Ichigo says that she never used to transform unless she was properly kissed, but now she’s turning into one when she’s licked by a dog….but a dog kiss is what turned her in the episode where she discovered this ability. I guess that was still a kiss-kiss, but still.

-….Alright, why the hell is there a kid running in the sidewalk holding up a massive iguana yelling ‘YAY! IGUANA!’?

– Wait, what the hell?! She can talk to birds now?! Sorry, Mint. Ichigo took your thunder – the thunder you only kinda have.….I guess I’ll file this under ‘all animals can talk to each other’ but Aoyama’s dog never talked to her in the last transformation episode – only other cats did.

– Why even bother asking if the bird is male or female if it didn’t matter to her?

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– What the hell was the point of that entire segment? It’s not even really showing that Ichigo is transforming more easily because the iguana full-on kissed her – it’s just that the circumstances were ridiculously convoluted.

– It happened the exact same way A SECOND TIME!? Why does this complete braindead moron of a child keep running around yelling ‘Yay IGUANA!’ without looking where he’s going? He tripped in the exact same way at the exact spot with the exact force needed to send it flying onto Ichigo’s lips AGAIN! And, in spite of the transformation to cat form including a big pink light, this idiot kid again doesn’t see a thing.

This is some lazy writing meant to pad time and recycle animation. Seriously, most of the shots are from the last transformation scene only with the perspective reversed.

– She can understand dogs now! For god’s sake! I know it’s, probably, only when she’s transformed, but screw it. I’m calling this – she snaked the only two ‘extra’ powers the other girls had. Sorry, girls. Ichigo’s too special. Go back to being part of the wall.

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– This has been happening so often to Ichigo that animals are going around talking about the strange cat who’s forcing kisses on small animals? (“Kissing maniac,” as Ryou puts it) Even if dog licks are also triggering it now, she shouldn’t be transforming at this frequency.

– I hate to side with the dog attacking Ichigo…but…she is a little bit of a serial animal molester right now.

– How did Ryou know she’d be in that alley or that she was being attacked? Does he have Blue Knight powers now? Funnily enough, even Ichigo draws this comparison.

– Wait, she de-transformed….and now she can’t understand Alto….the cat…who she should be able to understand….Did the writers completely forget the powers she has?

– Just out of curiosity, why does Ryou not transform with kisses?

– Did her bag transform with her?

– Give the show props – this is the first time we’ve gotten confirmation that Chimera Animals have killed people before. That’s definitely a proper jump in threat level.

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Pretty intimidating design too.

– Why can only girls properly attain Mew power? Akasaka says you need a specific gene type to attain the power, which is fine, but he specifically said that girls were the main target for the power. Is it only girls who can have this gene? Why?

– Also doesn’t explain where the scarf came from.

– I get that they did extensive research on this stuff, but how do they know ten minutes is the time limit for Shirogane’s permanent transformation?

– God, Ichigo’s getting all sorts of game. Yet the girls can’t even get a love interest to save their lives.

– She clearly seems more comfortable kissing Pudding than she does Akasaka. I’m not sure what I’m implying, but there ya go.

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– I love how the girls have been literally nothing but background decorations this whole episode. They didn’t even get a line. At most they got a few reaction noises. If Ichigo had just let Akasaka kiss her, I wouldn’t have even mentioned one of them in the synopsis. That final shot of them all in front of the cafe is even worse since Ichigo’s the only one who moves so it makes them all look like literal cardboard cutouts.

– I like how the next episode preview music is changed for the Christmas episode. It’s the music box song, and I love it.

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Overall, pretty bad first half, but great second half.

There were much better ways to show that Ichigo’s fed up with Ryou’s flippant attitude towards her Mew problems than to have a contrived ‘Ichigo keeps getting kissed by an iguana’ plot. Maybe, I dunno, show her on a date with Aoyama and needing to run away because he made her so flustered that she turned into a full-on cat.

Her transforming more often because the threshold for emotion keeps getting lower is much more believable than ‘dammit, I can’t go one day without something or someone kissing me….and it’s turning me into an animal molester!’

Ryou’s backstory was quite good and does up the ante with the whole situation with the aliens and the chimera animals. I don’t remember if we ever find out what happened to the chimera animal that killed Ryou’s parents nor what allowed it to resurrect, but that’s alright.

I kinda wish the backstory had been longer and went over the majority of the episode instead of being relegated to the second half. We would’ve been able to connect more with Ryou’s parents and feel more of his pain.

Also, despite being a budget episode, the animation wasn’t all that bad. I wish they didn’t default to the ‘insanely giant eyes – can barely see the lines for the nose and mouth’ style, though. Still wondering why such an important episode was a budget episode, too.

Rating: 6/10

Next episode, CHRISTMAS IN SEPTEMBER!? WHOO!

Ichigo struggles with her feelings as she and Aoyama spend Christmas together. Can she continue to keep her Mew powers a secret? Should she?

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