Plot: The gang wants to head to an Egyptian exhibit at the Domino art museum where a friend of Yugi’s grandpa, Professor Yoshimori, is revealing some artifacts he found.
Before they enter the exhibit, they, along with Yugi’s grandpa, meet Yoshimori and the financial backer of the expedition that heralded many of the artifacts being presented today, Kanekura. In awe of Yugi’s Millennium Puzzle, he asks if he can put it in the exhibit, to which Yugi hesitantly agrees.
The gang goes to see the rest of the exhibit when Yoshimori explains that archaeologists don’t get to keep the items they discover since it’s illegal in Egypt. This surprises Yugi and the others since they believed archaeologists got rich off of the artifacts that they found and were typically greedy individuals.
Yugi spots an Egyptian man (Shadi) crying at the exhibit and asks him what’s wrong. He states that these tears are not his own – they’re those of the pharaoh who is mummified before them, unable to find rest in this state. Shadi pats his head and calls him a nice boy, which irritates Yugi. He also notes that the man carries around a scale, so he might be crazy.
Surprisingly absolutely no one, Kanekura is secretly a bad dude who wants to sell the Millennium Puzzle behind Yugi’s back, but not before Shadi targets him for a shadow game for his role in excavating all of these artifacts and looking to profit off of it.
Kanekura loses his shadow game, and, ultimately, his mind.
He grabs the Puzzle and leaves, bumping into Yugi, who notices the Puzzle in his hand and remarks on it. Upon learning that Yugi is the one who solved the Millennium Puzzle, he enters Yugi’s mind, which actually contains two rooms – one that is so innocent and child-like it almost seems like a baby’s room, and another that is frighteningly ominous. He meets Yami at the door, and he allows him into his room, which is a massive maze filled with hundreds of doors.
Yami posits a game, if Shadi can find the ‘true room’ in his mind’s room, then he can obtain the ‘treasure’ that awaits there. If not, he’ll be lost in his mind forever. Shadi’s is pretty confident he can do it because his Ankh/Key/Cross allows him to also alter the mind rooms of others, but the massive maze of Yami’s mind is too much to allow him to do this, so he opts to just visit each room individually, resulting in him finding a plethora of traps.
Yami saves Shadi from falling to his death (Or…mind death?) in one room, finally allowing him to leave. Shadi returns the Puzzle to Yugi and warns him of the power of the Puzzle as well as his other personality. Shadi reveals his name to Yugi before departing, aiming to test Yoshimori next.
Breakdown: Oh good. Anime!Honda wants to go to the Egyptian exhibit to scare Miho so she’ll fall into his arms. Nice…
Wait a second, so in 1922 the Egyptian government passed a legislation that made it so whatever ancient Egyptian artifacts were found in the country stayed in the country and did not belong to the person who discovered them (This isn’t something I researched independently – this was said in the manga and the anime.)
….But….Sugoroku found the Millennium Puzzle in the Valley of the Kings in the 1960s. Doesn’t that mean that, technically, the Puzzle doesn’t belong to him and he’s had an ancient Egyptian artifact illegally for over 40 years? How did he even get that out of the country?
Also……..Excuse me…..What?! Miho finds this mummy…this…dead person….CUTE? Because it has a bald head so it looks like a baby to her? Someone please get this increasingly difficult to watch character off of my screen.
They omit a small part in the manga where Kanekura goes off to display the Millennium Puzzle and Yugi thinks to himself that he feels like a worried parent. I’m not sure why, but the parent comment seemed very intriguing. It could be general unease at being away from something that is precious to him, but it could also be an anxiety brought on by his connection to the Puzzle, telling him something’s wrong.
Considering the bond between owner and item seems to stay intact no matter if the item isn’t on their person, this is very possible.
Both Manga and Anime!Yugi yell that he’s a high school student when Shadi calls him a ‘nice boy’ and pats his head, and he follows that up with calling him a weird Egyptian. The main change here is that Manga!Yugi says all of this in his head (thought balloon) whereas Anime!Yugi yells all of this out loud. The reason I bring this up is because that’s a really rude thing to yell and an even ruder and somewhat racist thing to say out loud, even if Shadi was already walking away by then. He didn’t yell out either of those things in the manga because Yugi’s not such a rude person, even if it is still in poor taste for him to think that ‘weird Egyptian’ comment.
Also, yeah Yugi, he must be insane because he carries around a scale. Now go walk around with a giant golden upside-down pyramid hanging from your neck you sane boy, you.
Why is that even seen as odd? He’s carrying around an Egyptian artifact in an Egyptian exhibit. For all Yugi knew, he was just moving the thing.
Speaking of which, the owner of the Millennium Scale kinda gets the raw end of the deal in regards to convenience, doesn’t he? Every other item can easily be carried on your person – the Puzzle, Ring, Key and Necklace are all worn around the neck, and the Rod can be holstered easily. However, the Scale has to be carried around by hand. The Eye is carried around in the user’s head, but I think we can all agree that the Eye is the worst item to actually obtain or have taken from you because it needs to be jammed into your eye and then plucked out.
This Shadow Game is based entirely on the functions of the Millennium Scale. Shadi asks Kanekura questions, and the scale tips one way or another depending on how much sin he’s revealing, which is technically how much he’s lying in his responses.
Shadi’s first question is kept mostly the same, but the manga says the girl dropped money on the ground before she fell into the well, not a gold ring. Truth be told, though, I prefer the anime version because a gold ring is more valuable and more realistic to covet than ‘Oh yeah, I would let a girl die for whatever cash she just got from her piggy bank.’
In the end, Kanekura is ‘eaten’ by a demonic representation of the greed and evil in his mind’s room, as seen by Shadi’s Millennium Key/Cross/Ankh.
Manga!Yugi doesn’t think Shadi would know where his Puzzle would be, but in the anime, he noticed Shadi carrying the Puzzle and remarks on it. Small change, honestly, but the anime makes him look a little better because in the manga he’s, again, thinking Shadi is crazy for really no reason this time.
There are many more traps in the anime version of Yami’s mind than there are in the manga, which is fine, in my opinion.
This episode covered two chapters this time, and I think it did a really good job reflecting the manga material. I like how we technically got two Shadow Games in this episode as a result – one run by Shadi and the other by Yami. The initial Shadow Game was a great intro to Shadi, and the second was a very interesting and intense start of the conflict between Shadi and Yami. It was also a really intriguing way of depicting Yami’s mind’s inner secrets.
Also, this panel:
Final Notes: The 2000 anime did basically keep in the entirety of chapter 14/the second half of episode 5. The sequence in Yami’s mind room is almost exactly the same except three crucial details.
First, in the manga and Season Zero, Shadi and Yugi meet by chance at this Egyptian artifact exhibit. In the 2000 anime, they meet when Shadi comes to Pegasus’ castle looking to investigate a criminal who stole the Millennium Eye. (2000Anime!Shadi can also use portals because reasons.) Yugi happened to be there after the events of Duelist Kingdom concluded.
Second, the one who saves Shadi from Yami’s room is Yugi – not Yami. The reason for this, supposedly, is that Yugi recently realized and acknowledged that he had another spirit living within him and was able to save him. He was thereby able to learn more about the history of the items whereas in the manga and Season Zero he wasn’t all too aware of this for most of the run. However, the 2000 anime really makes Yami look like a dick who was going to let an innocent man lose his mind forever.
Finally, the 2000 anime adds an entirely new sequence. Yami supposedly lets both Yugi and Shadi out of his room, but it leads to a mysterious new room that seemingly showcases more things related to the backstory. They’re attacked by Yami’s mind’s guardian, Dark Magician, which is weird because Yami should have control over this place, despite not having his memories, and Dark Magician should instinctively know not to attack Yugi, but whatever.
Shadi tries to summon Blue-Eyes from a tablet on the floor, claiming it’s the only monster who can beat Dark Magician, but Yugi stops Dark Magician by merely talking to him, which shocks Shadi. (I’m fuzzy on the details of this arrangement, if it’s ever explained. If Seto always lost to Yami, then why is Blue-Eyes an instant win over Dark Magician even in the card game?) Dark Magician then releases them both from the mind room.
Next time, continuing on with the Shadi plot – we got a lot to cover in the next episode.
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A long, long time ago in a place….directly where I am now, maybe a few feet away, Twix watched an anime called Aishiteruze Baby. Twix was not one to be easily swayed by stories of little children. No, she was a jaded old grump whose thoughts would instantly jump to ‘Oh god, here comes an annoyance.’ whenever a child character would be introduced to, well, pretty much anything, which she’s now realizing is insanely ironic because her favorite TV show as a kid was Rugrats.
The point is, it would’ve taken quite the lovable little kid and a nice heartwarming story for her to really be invested in an anime centered on a little kid. And Aishiteruze Baby was that anime.
I dunno why I keep doing the storybook-esque intro. Anyway, it’s been eons since I watched Aishiteruze Baby. In fact, it was one of the first dozen shows I ever reviewed.
Aishiteruze Baby is the story of five year old Yuzuyu who has been temporarily abandoned by her mother. Her teenage cousin, Kippei, is forced to take care of her until his family can figure out where Yuzuyu’s mother is and when or if she intends on coming back for her daughter. The story explores how Kippei adjusts to being a surrogate parent to Yuzuyu while also trying to balance his own life, and how Yuzuyu copes with being abandoned by her mother as more and more time goes on.
I really enjoyed the series when I first watched it. Kippei was a sweetheart, his relationship to Kokoro, his stoic yet lonely girlfriend, was nicely done, the stories were cute and heartwarming with some well-done drama and tension, and Yuzuyu was a PWECIOUS WITTLE CUPCAKE!! She was such a little sweetie, and she was so adorable, and she loved Kippei so much, and she was so cute, and so sweet and she so cute and she was so sweet and she so cute and she was s—
I really enjoyed watching Kippei mature and take to his new role as a parent more and more to the point where he was excitedly doing stuff for Yuzuyu, even without anyone telling him to. I loved seeing Yuzuyu have fun with Kippei and everyone else, even if it was tough watching her whenever she’d be reminded of her mother or when she was thinking she was a burden on Kippei. While it’s not a perfect show, I really enjoyed every minute of it.
The only two real issues I had with the show were that the very serious conflicts they’d bring up were usually resolved too quickly, and there wasn’t really much of an ending, though I didn’t think the ending was as unsatisfactory as many seemed to think. I knew the manga had properly ended the show and I pretty much knew what the ending was, but it would be well over a decade before I finally sat down and read it to see if it was also void of the other problems I had with the anime.
Well, was it?
….No, not really.
Let me back up.
First of all, to my recollection, the anime did a very good job adapting most of the stories from the manga. About 90% of the story material here I remember being in the anime, loosely or exactly, so in that regard, good job, anime.
Second of all, sadly, yes, the series still has that problem of bringing up a lot of serious issues and resolving them super quickly and sometimes overly easily. I mentioned the storyline with the stalker in my initial review of the series, and that story was resolved exactly the same way in the manga.
For a differentiation on this issue, we also have a story of a little boy named Shouta. He became fast friends with Yuzuyu, but it’s revealed that his mother is terribly abusive. How is this resolved in the manga?
Kippei has a conversation with his mother, pointing out that her behavior is going to drive Shouta away someday. She takes a good hard look at herself, stops being an abusive shitstain and convinces her husband to move them away to the country where it’s quiet and less stressful, which is totally easy to do considering the fact that he doesn’t have a job is one of the key points of her stress.
I’m not saying that things couldn’t happen like this in real life, but the odds are insanely low.
You need to understand something – this bitch is a monster. She wouldn’t just hit Shouta. She’d make him feel like garbage. She’d make this five year old boy feel like he was an embarrassment to her, like everything was his fault and everything he was doing was wrong. And she’d sometimes do it with a smirk. She wasn’t just terrible to Shouta, either. She was also an asshole to Kippei AND YUZUYU! But yeah, sure, one conversation with Kippei would certainly turn her around entirely and make everything better.
Believe it or not, the anime did this much better. We get more backstory on why his mother started acting this way, not that it’s much to sympathize with. She had difficulty coping with the challenges of being a parent, and, seemingly, Shouta was a bit behind other kids his age, which made her believe Shouta was an embarrassment. She quickly started taking her frustrations out on Shouta for pretty much everything and began smacking him around.
Kippei does talk to Shouta’s mom, but it doesn’t really sink in fully. Shouta accidentally runs into her when she has groceries in her arms, causing her to drop them everywhere. She slaps him so hard he fell down the stairs, knocking him out, and he had to be sent to the hospital. The doctor treating him finds all of the old bruises on his body and suggests she and her husband seek family counseling. He tells them that, if they ask for it, people will help them.
As a result, his mother realized what a monster she’s been to him, and even her husband realizes that he’s been failing as a parent. After Shouta recovers, they move to the country to be with Shouta’s grandparents so they can help take care of Shouta and her husband can have a better chance at finding steady work. The country lifestyle will also be more relaxing and hopefully relieve some of the stress his mother has. She proclaims that she’s no longer afraid to ask for help if she needs it. All she wants is to start over.
Nearly getting your kid killed, someone suggesting therapy to you and having such a deep moment of self-reflection that leads you down a better path is more preferred than just another instance of Kippei’s Talk no Jutsu. I’m just sad Shouta had to suffer more in the anime than in the manga.
Another plotline involved Yuzuyu’s cousin, Miki, attempting to kidnap Yuzuyu. In the anime, she would carry around a bike chain as a weapon, but in the manga she wielded a KNIFE and would even threaten Yuzuyu with it. I don’t care if she never intended to actually hurt Yuzuyu, you don’t hold up a knife to a little kid.
Miki was a horribly depressed girl, to the point of self-harm and suicidal ideation. She wanted to kill herself, but she didn’t want to leave her parents without a child, so she decided she would kidnap Yuzuyu and give her to them. No, it really doesn’t make any sense, but mental illness isn’t exactly known for creating logical thought. At home, Miki’s life was a nightmare.
She wanted to oust an incident of a teacher viciously beating a student, which made all of her teachers target her. All of her classmates harassed her, even the person she was trying to defend, who just told her she should’ve stayed out of it. Her parents were no help, either. Her father even hit her when he found out about her poor performance in school.
She’s about to commit suicide via cutting her throat and jumping off a bridge, but Kippei talks her down and convinces her to go back to her family by telling her she’s still important to several people and plenty of people still want to talk to her, which is all she needed to hear.
This one I’m more lenient about. These kinds of situations diffuse under a multitude of circumstances, so I’m definitely not going to say that’s an unrealistic way of going about things. Plus, her troubles really didn’t just end there. She still had to talk with her parents. Her father, by the way, upon hearing that his daughter just tried to kill herself, nearly smacked her again while yelling “You’re still causing trouble!?” Father of the fucking year.
Her mother was much more receptive, however, and is able to get her dad to stop being a dumbass and listen to her. In the end we just know Miki is on a healthier path, not that her life is fixed or anything. She reappears later and is, indeed, getting better, which is great.
Sadly, one of those rushed resolved plotlines was the main one. Like I mentioned, there wasn’t really a solid ending to the anime. Yuzuyu was concerned she would someday forget her mother since she outgrew the pajamas she had made for her, but after talking with Kokoro about their mothers and loneliness, she felt better. The pajama plotline, by the way, is part of the manga too, but it’s quite a bit earlier. Reiko (Kippei’s older sister) finds Yuzuyu’s mother, who is apparently so far away that she needed to take a plane to get there.
Yuzuyu’s mother, Miyako, had initially abandoned Yuzuyu because her husband had recently died and she couldn’t handle the stress of being a single parent. After his funeral, she couldn’t stop herself from crying. It reached a boiling point when she struck Yuzuyu for no reason. Thus she left her kid behind in her house and vowed to return when she felt she was mentally strong enough to handle taking care of Yuzuyu properly. She doesn’t call, she doesn’t send letters, except once, and the one time she came to check up on Yuzuyu she wore a disguise and skulked around Yuzuyu’s school.
When we catch up to Miyako in the finale, we learn that she’s been counting the days that she’s been trying really hard to not cry and she got a job to save money for Yuzuyu’s care when she returned for her. When she feels she can make it through without crying, she’ll come for Yuzuyu.
Most people, justifiably, dislike Yuzuyu’s mom. I totally understand if she was struggling mentally and emotionally with her husband’s death and being a single parent, and I get that striking your kid has to be difficult to process when you’re actually remorseful about it, but she went about this in the worst way possible. She really comes off as just being selfish and stupid as a result.
Her family seems like they’re really nice and accommodating people. If family is in dire straits, they welcome them to live in their home without barely batting an eye. In the manga, even when Kippei proclaims that he wants his girlfriend, Kokoro, to live with them because she’s lonely living all alone, they’re just like ‘Eh sure! Welcome!’
Why didn’t she just come to them and ask if she and Yuzuyu could live with them? Why didn’t she ask if they could take care of Yuzuyu during the day, sleepover some time, etc. while she got her shit together and maybe sought some therapy? Abandoning her child and never really making an effort to communicate with her was one of the worst options she could’ve taken.
But we’re not even done with her yet.
In the manga, Reiko still tracks down Yuzuyu’s mother, being tired of hearing or seeing nothing from her for months on end. When she finds her, she appears to be living with a man. Reiko was enraged by this because she perceived this as Miyako ditching her kid and going to live a new life with some man with no intentions of ever coming back for her daughter.
This especially hurt Reiko because it’s revealed after this that Reiko cannot bear children, thus she has no intentions of marrying or leaving the house (Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense either.) She sees Miyako have a child, what Reiko views as a precious gift, and to seemingly just throw her away is already a massive sin in her eyes, but to do that and then move in with some guy is practically unforgivable to her.
She and Kippei have a private discussion later, and Reiko basically tells him to have Yuzuyu forget about her mother. She’s not coming back, and continuing to give Yuzuyu false hope will only hurt her in the long run. Yuzuyu was listening to this, and she was so shocked that she actually did forget her mother.
All of this ongoing trauma and Reiko’s final words about her mother basically caused Yuzuyu to have a mental breakdown to the point where she was having massive fits when her mother was brought up and she was even passing out due to the emotional strain.
Even though Kippei was having a lot of difficulty finding the heart to let go of Yuzuyu, they do decide to start sending Miyako letters and pictures Yuzuyu drew to her mother, now that they knew where she lived.
Even though Kippei was very uneasy about the idea of Miyako writing back or coming back, they still checked every day for a return letter from her, to no avail.
One night, as Reiko gets the mail, she finds a letter from Miyako simply saying “I’ll be coming to pick up Yuzuyu on her birthday.” And, surprise, her birthday is in just a couple of days. Reiko, however, doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to upset the birthday festivities in case Miyako doesn’t come.
Yuzuyu’s birthday comes around, and Miyako does indeed arrive to take Yuzuyu back. Kokoro takes Yuzuyu upstairs before she becomes aware of her mother’s arrival.
Miyako’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. So, what does she have to say for herself? While she’s been gone, she’s gotten a new job and has been saving up little by little for when she’d get Yuzuyu back. She realizes that she was selfish and naive, but she needed some time to be alone and figure herself out. She asserts that didn’t throw Yuzuyu away – she got away from her to protect her…..which is still bullshit.
Like I pointed out before, there were so many other options she could have taken that would have been a lot more helpful and beneficial to both her and Yuzuyu. Even if she felt she was a danger to Yuzuyu, she could have explained the situation to her sister and worked some arrangement out with her. She still could have had time to herself while also keeping in touch and ensuring her daughter that she would indeed come back for her. You don’t ditch her without barely a word, go missing and only send two letters in the several months you stay gone. Have 23 hours and 50 minutes to be alone, and at least attribute 10 minutes to a friggin’ phone call, you idiot.
“I had no choice, no matter what you think.” Fuck off, yes you did.
But, again, we’re still not done.
Reiko bitterly asks what she means by wanting to be alone since she saw her living with a man. I’ll give Miyako’s response in her own words.
“We’re….not actually living together. I met him at work. And he provides comfort to me in many ways.” In layman’s terms, he’s boinking her.
Misako (Kippei’s mom/Miyako’s sister): “Do you plan to marry him?”
“Yes, I do….I talked to him about Yuzuyu….and it took him quite a while to accept the idea. But it seems like he’s finally accepted it. So…”
Are you kidding me? This nameless dude you’re obviously boinking boinked the bad parent out of you, and then he didn’t like the idea of taking Yuzuyu in, even though she’s the daughter of the woman he supposedly loves, and now he’s ‘finally accepted it.’ like it’s an inevitability that he has to bear in order to keep his sex ticket.
You’ve been gone for, what, a year at this point? And THAT’S the best you’ve been able to do? No seeking therapy? No gaining true independence? Just shacking up with some guy who, I guess, has been so kind as to stomach the idea of his fiancee’s daughter living with them.
I wasn’t expecting to actually be angry at the manga’s resolution. At least in the anime it seemed like Miyako was striving to gain the strength to return to Yuzuyu on her own, even if the method was quite questionable. Here, it’s almost like she’s expecting this guy to take care of everything. He’s got the house, he can provide money, he’ll be able to ensure Miyako doesn’t backhand Yuzuyu again, I guess. She did mention getting a job, but that’s about it – and the problem was never that they didn’t have money. It was shown that Miyako would chew Yuzuyu out for stupid shit even when her father was still alive, so this won’t fix anything.
This is so much less Miyako bettering herself and trying to become a good mom to Yuzuyu and more her improving a little and finding Yuzuyu a new daddy.
I’m not alone in feeling this way because both Reiko and Misako don’t accept her words. They blatantly tell her that her explanations aren’t good enough and they can’t just hand Yuzuyu over because of that. They tell her to go home, but also tell her that if she’s serious about getting Yuzuyu back that she has to visit every single day to prove her determination. Then, eventually, she’ll earn the right to get Yuzuyu back.
Meanwhile, Kokoro and Yuzuyu wait in her bedroom. Kokoro asks what Yuzuyu thinks of her mom, and she replies that she thinks her mom loves her. She sent her a bunch of letters, so of course she loves her (I don’t really get that either, but maybe it’s just kindergartner logic.)
After Misako sets her terms, Kokoro brings Yuzuyu downstairs, much to everyone’s surprise. Yuzuyu finally reunites with her mom, and Miyako even shows her all of the letters Yuzuyu sent her, telling her what a talented artist she’s become. However, Misako soon silently interjects, and Miyako knows she must go. She tearfully leaves, promising to come back again, much to Yuzuyu’s dismay.
Yuzuyu runs after her, and Kippei goes off to get something. Yuzuyu calls again and again for her mother, but Kippei stops Yuzuyu….to give her her shoes. He tells her to go because she’s wanted to be with her mother all this time and it’s what she’s truly wants. He tells her he loves her, in a scene which nearly made me cry, and Yuzuyu runs back to her mom.
Kippei doesn’t stick around for more than a few seconds, however. He runs back into the house and sadly crumbles in front of the door, looking at the birthday cake he made her and her teddy bear lying on the floor. He’ll always cherish their time together no matter what.
Cut ahead to….I’m gonna guess maybe ten years in the future. Kokoro is rushing Kippei out the door to get him to work. She tells him he got a letter from Yuzuyu, which we see on the table in front of her teddy bear.
As we see a now teenage Yuzuyu back home, she explains in the letter that she’s still doing art, and is apparently so good at it now that she’s won an award for it. She tells Kippei that she was never lonely when her mom left because she always had her Kippei Onii-chan with her to make her lunches, take her to school and play with her. Those are precious memories to her, and she thanks him for everything he did. She closes out the letter telling Kippei that she’s always really loved him.
And as a special treat, apparently Yuzuyu and Shouta reunited and may or may not be an item now. They’re at least friends, and that’s good enough for me.
For all of my bitching about Yuzuyu’s mom, this absolute end did hit me more than I expected it to. As I was re-reading the passage again while writing this, I was actually tearing up, which was annoying because I just managed to get through her and Kippei departing from each other without getting misty eyed.
I really just wish we 1) had more insight as to what was going on in the future with Yuzuyu, Kippei and Kokoro at least (but all of the characters would’ve been very much welcome) and 2) that it had been less abrupt of a shift.
Still, it was a very fitting end to the series, and it reminded me all over again why I really love these two.
While we’re still on the subject of storylines that didn’t make it to the anime, however, there was quite the doozy that was omitted….Two doozies, technically. Maybe three.
Doozy 1: Buckle up, buttercup, because this doozy is….a…doozy. We’re introduced to Itagaki, or as I affectionately call him ‘Creepy Asshole.’ Technically, Itagaki was in the anime for a fleeting moment. He was an artist there, and he asked Kokoro out on a date. She refused because she was dating Kippei and…that was pretty much it.
In the manga, there’s an entire arc about this guy.
Here, he’s a baseball player, but that’s not important. He admits to Kokoro that he likes her, but she rejects him because she’s dating Kippei. Itagaki won’t stand down, however. He confesses to her again and reminds her of what a playboy Kippei is (he does have a tendency to flirt, but he’s completely devoted to Kokoro.) Still, she turns him down, but this time he’s not accepting that. He grabs her arm and forces a kiss on her. She manages to struggle away, bruising her leg in the process, and she’s traumatized by the assault. She becomes very nervous and jumpy, even around Kippei, and she becomes distant to all of her friends.
Kokoro decides not to tell Kippei about what happened, and, guess what? Creepy Asshole legitimately thinks that her choosing to not tell her boyfriend about the sexual assault is proof that she likes him more than Kippei.
Bear in mind that literally 30 seconds before he said this, Kokoro was telling Itagaki she didn’t want anything to do with him and never wanted to speak to him again. Whoo yeah, Itagaki. She’s falling for you hard….as in literally….ya know that thing she did when she was trying to fight off your sexual assault.
She, of course, shoots him down again, but the Creepy Asshole persists. This time he goes to Kippei himself. Itagaki tells Kippei that he confessed to Kokoro and that the reason Kokoro has been so distant from him lately is probably because Kokoro feels the same way.
Kippei, not being a creepy asshole, handles this pretty well and realistically. Before Itagaki confronts him, Kippei gives Kokoro her space and doesn’t get angry or frustrated with her. After he learns of the confession, he simply finds Kokoro and asks her about it, plainly wondering if she plans on breaking up with him. Again, he’s not angry or judging her, he’s legitimately concerned about their relationship.
Kokoro breaks down and talks about the assault. Kippei wants to confront Itagaki immediately, but Kokoro stops him. Instead he comforts her and reassures her, staying with her for as long as she needs him.
Uhm, I kinda can’t talk about the resolution to this plotline without moving onto doozy 2.
Doozy 2: Kokoro and Kippei end up making love as a result of this. They’re on a school trip and in a hotel room, and it just kinda naturally happens. It’s not graphic or anything, and even the implications only last a few panels, but it was a really sweet and beautiful moment for the two of them. They never sleep together in the anime.
Doozy 1 cont.: After the deed is thoroughly done, Itagaki deduces that the two of their groins did the fusion dance. And, as if he wasn’t enough of a douchebag, Itagaki acts as if her sleeping with Kippei is a betrayal to HIM and basically implies that she’s a slut for having slept with Kippei behind his back.
Itagaki: “Even though I’m here, you still went and did that as if it was okay, Tokunaga-san. I didn’t think you were that type of person.”
Even after Kippei confronts him, with Kippei not even bringing up the sexual assault for the sake of Itagaki and Kokoro (they’re having this fight in the hallway in front of numerous people), Itagaki has the balls to say Kippei should give up on Kokoro and HE brings up that they kissed.
Luckily, Kippei verbally tears him a new one, and Kokoro tells Itagaki she never wants anything to do with him ever again.
The last we see of him is one of his friends acknowledging that his manner with girls is messed up and asks if he wants him to teach him on how to date. Kokoro briefly mentions later that she hasn’t seen Itagaki ever since that confrontation, and Itagaki was thankfully gone from this manga forever.
Doozy 3: Still building off of that entire plotline, our final doozy is a pregnancy scare. Soon after Kokoro and Kippei have their first time together, she starts developing weird symptoms and believes she’s pregnant.
Now…this doesn’t really go anywhere because she later realizes she wasn’t pregnant. Kippei realizes that he’s been a bit too preoccupied with Yuzuyu, which kinda made him not realize Kokoro was acting weird. Kokoro says she was actually looking forward to being pregnant a little, because she wanted to spend more time with Kippei. And it mostly just culminates in Kippei inviting Kokoro to live in their house so she can be less lonely and spend more time with him and Yuzuyu, which both his family and Kokoro happily accepts.
I was disappointed a little because this would have been the perfect opportunity for them to discuss the possibility of them someday having kids, but it somehow doesn’t really come up. Remember, they’re 17 so it’s not really completely illogical for them to be having discussions about someday having a family.
Something unfortunate I noticed is that Kokoro, in the manga, is actually flatter than she is in the anime. 90% of her character is her relationship to Kippei. 8% is her being lonely and the other 2% is her being stoic and seemingly cold.
Her backstory is that her mom died some time ago and her dad is getting remarried, so he’s basically kicking her out of the house for when his new wife moves in. She doesn’t seem to care, and the apartment her father gets for her is extremely nice (because her family is rich), but it’s the foundation of the running issue with her character being lonely.
It’s perfectly understandable that she is lonely, but it really is the bulk of her character when she’s on screen and not with Kippei. She’s lonely, and she either expresses it to Kippei or not. Over time, it becomes easier for her to express her loneliness and not be afraid of it. After Kokoro moves in with him and his family, she really doesn’t do much but be with Kippei and sometimes play with Yuzuyu.
She’s friends with two other girls, Aki and Mai (the latter of whom is basically just Kokoro lite with more expression in public), who are typically seen sticking up for Kokoro whenever they think Kippei has done something wrong. Aki is particularly vocal about putting Kippei in his place and blaming him for pretty much anything. In a side story, they reveal that she hates men and is terrified of them. When she was 16, a man in a trench coat flashed her, and she’s thought men were nothing but perverts ever since. She even has recurring nightmares about the flasher and panics when a man approaches her from behind.
And this is one of those plots that is resolved abruptly and in a rather unsatisfying manner.
Aki was closest to a boy named Shin, whom she had known since elementary school. She didn’t see Shin as either male or female, so their relationship got on fine. However, when he started expressing interest in girls, Aki started resenting him, believing he was indeed another pervert man.
Despite Aki’s traumas being very valid, she still secretly holds a desire to also be sought after by guys (particularly Shin). She feels like she might not be cute enough or attractive enough.
She’s suddenly spooked accidentally by a male teacher, screams and runs off. Shin finds her, she yells out that she hates men and she hates Shin and then Shin just kisses her and says “Don’t say hate! You love me!” And then she realizes he’s right because he was the one she turned to all the time, even when the flasher incident happened, and the story ends with them seemingly getting together even though I don’t remember Shin showing up in the regular story.
You know that joke that a lot of people make about female leads in romance movies and romantic comedies? That they make it seem like all of your problems can be solved by a man? Well, apparently, even lasting trauma brought on by sexual harassment is one of those problems.
Now why did I just go through all of that for the sake of a character who doesn’t really impact the main plot at all? Because I can write all that about a character like Aki but I can barely write a paragraph on Kokoro.
Don’t get me wrong, I still adore her relationship with Kippei, and it’s not like she likes him for shallow reasons. She loves that he never says anything to hurt anybody, he’s so carefree yet caring that she feels more at ease around him, and he’s the one who is able to make her smile the most.
Problem is, it’s kinda hard to describe her without resorting to either calling her Kippei’s girlfriend or just saying she’s lonely. She’s nice, but she also comes off as cold and unfriendly sometimes. She’s also willing to be blunt about some things, especially when it comes to Kippei. She connects with Yuzuyu on a level Kippei can’t quite get because she lost her mother, but she never becomes a mother or even big sister-like figure to her.
The issue with her father, which is the most prominent part of her story that doesn’t have anything to do with Kippei, isn’t even one that’s properly resolved. She never goes back and talks with her dad or explains her feelings. The guy never gets redeemed or anything. He never pops up again after Kokoro moves out, which happens in the first couple of volumes. We don’t know if he knows Kokoro moved in with Kippei and his family, which is something you’d think he’d have words about it if he cared about his daughter.
In the anime, they did explore this aspect a bit further. We saw more of Kokoro as a kid. After her mother’s death, she became more independent and closed herself off. It took a few years for her mother’s death to truly hit her emotionally, but she slowly started becoming more and more lonely. One day, she found that all of the pictures of her mother that were hanging up throughout the house were taken down. Her father explained that she wouldn’t stop crying when she looked at them, so he put them away. Shortly after he did this, he brought home the woman he intended to marry.
The last shot we see of Kokoro’s dad, she’s walking by his house and he’s snipping roses to help keep local kids from getting hurt on the thorns. She and her mother had planted that rose bush together, and, again, it seemed like he was wiping her memory away. Kokoro is terrified that she’ll forget her mother entirely. She’s even forgotten what her voice sounded like.
Kokoro’s dad did offer to have Kokoro come in the house to talk about things, but she refused, and that was the end of that in regards to her dad. It’s weird how one of the aspects of her character development is opening up more to others, but she never expresses her feelings to her father or mends bridges with him.
I still really like Kokoro, and the problems with her character aren’t very severe, but I just think they should have fleshed her out more to help allow her to be a stronger character on her own, considering she’s such an important part of Kippei’s life.
One other storyline that was not included in the anime was Aya and Akari Ooga. Aya is about Yuzuyu’s age and Akari is about Kippei’s age. Their situation is fairly similar to Yuzuyu and Kippei’s in that Akari is usually the one who has to care for Aya since their parents are constantly working. Truth be told, I nearly forgot about this plotline, mostly because they don’t impact the main story much. Akari’s presence makes Kokoro a little jealous, especially when they connect through the kids, and she asks him for help once or twice, but, again, Kippei is entirely devoted to Kokoro and has no interest in Akari that way, Akari also says she has no interest nor does have time for a boyfriend, and Kokoro is never seriously jealous, so it’s kinda pointless.
The biggest point of conflict in that story is Aya overhearing Akari say something like she wishes she could just live a normal life instead of watching Aya all the time, but it’s fixed rather easily by just clearing up the misunderstanding. There was also a point where Aya, Yuzuyu and Marika (Yuzuyu’s friend) got lost in the city because they were trying to find Aya’s parents, but they were all okay.
Their storyline wasn’t bad, and Akari and Aya are nice enough characters, but I didn’t see much of a point in it, especially since their situation is so similar to Yuzuyu and Kippei’s situation that it makes it seem redundant. In fact, there’s a plotline where Yuzuyu tries to walk home by herself in order to not be a burden on Kippei, and Kippei and Yuzuyu get sick after the brief story about Aya getting sick, so it’s pretty much exactly the same.
A couple more characters I want to touch upon are Marika and Satsuki.
Satsuki is Kippei’s younger brother. He’s very blasé about pretty much everything, he’s extremely mature for his age, and that’s really there is to his character. There’s only one episode of the anime that delves into his story even a little, and the same can be said of the manga.
In that story, a girl named Ayumi has a big crush on him, but she becomes convinced that he doesn’t like tall girls with long hair and he doesn’t like models (she’s a model) all because her friends are assholes who told her that for seemingly no reason. However, when she confronts him and confesses, he tells her he doesn’t dislike those things. Then it’s kinda implied that they’re dating afterward, even though she doesn’t appear again.
I just don’t really understand why he’s here. He does have a few cute moments with Yuzuyu and bonds with her a little, but that’s about it. Again, this is another situation where I don’t dislike his character or even his lone storyline, but I just struggle to understand his actual role in the main plot.
Unlike Satsuki or the Ooga sisters, however, there is one character whom I do dislike, and her name is Marika. Yuzuyu has two main friends at school – Marika and Ken. While Ken is a nice enough boy, there’s nothing much to say about him. Marika, on the other hand, is a stuck up bitch.
Oh fine, let’s be “FAIR” to the five year old. Pft.
All joking aside, Marika really is just a brat. She brags a lot around Yuzuyu, she makes nasty comments, and most of her moments are either making Yuzuyu feel bad or gushing over Kippei, whom she has a crush on.
She can be alright when she’s just hanging out, but usually she’s insufferable.
There’s one point in the anime where she’s pretty okay, though. Their kindergarten class is assigned to write a letter to whomever they deem as their special someone. Yuzuyu writes one to Kippei and Marika writes one to Yuzuyu. We never learn what it says, but the gesture is more than kind enough.
A girl in their class, Namiko, does her letter project with Yuzuyu and tells her that she doesn’t like Marika because she boasts and brags, she interrupts people and she ‘doesn’t look good in ribbons and socks.’
Marika gets angry upon hearing this and calls her a stupid jerk, Namiko cries, though she was clearly putting on an act, and sticks her tongue out at Marika as she leaves the classroom. Yuzuyu asks Namiko if she’s jealous of Marika. She doesn’t get an answer and decides to go outside to do her letter project with Marika, who is crying over what Namiko said. The end of this story is Marika asking Yuzuyu a question. She boasts and brags and loses her temper easily – is that okay with her? Yuzuyu says it is and then she says then that makes them friends.
This storyline is pretty cute and it does redeem Marika to some degree, but this also is not very healthy. Marika’s basically saying “Look, I’m a total jerk, even to you, are you cool with that?” And Yuzuyu’s just like ‘Yup!’ It’s not like Namiko didn’t have reason to say what she said. Marika IS a braggart. She IS a glutton for attention. And she’s a brat. It’s great that Yuzuyu sees the good in Marika, but she’s not really making an effort to be better. It’s like that ‘If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best’ thing.
Yes, I’m still aware we’re talking about five year olds. If this can be a series where a stalker of Kippei’s thinks his five year old cousin is a romantic threat, I can believe a five year old can realize she’s a bit of a harpy and try to be a better person.
Granted, Namiko’s still in the wrong anyway for making fun of her socks and ribbons. And earlier she purposely got her new socks dirty because Marika was showing them off to Yuzuyu. Didn’t say Namiko wasn’t a brat too, she just seemingly has a slight reason to be a brat.
And remember this one bit of genuine niceness is only in the anime. In the manga, she’s not quite as insufferable because she doesn’t have as many scenes, but she never gets a chance to redeem herself or having a really nice moment with Yuzuyu.
And….I think that’s all there is to say. While the anime is a bit dated in the art department, I’d definitely give both the anime and the manga a big recommend. The anime omits some parts of the manga, though how much that truly impacts your experience depends greatly on how interesting and important the Itagaki plotline seems to you (since the parts with them sleeping together and the pregnancy scare can be omitted without bothering anything) and which ending seems better to you.
While I was writing this, I found that way more people hated the manga ended than I originally thought, so make of that what you will. The general complaint was that they thought Kippei and Kokoro should have adopted Yuzuyu, and they were angry that we didn’t get much of an update on any other characters after the time skip, the latter of which is very understandable. Plus, people seemed to not realize the woman at the end with Kippei was Kokoro. *shrug*
I think both versions still provide a really great experience, though. It’s a very cute and heartwarming (and heartbreaking) story that never fails to hit the right chords with me. While you can make the argument that it’s a little melodramatic sometimes and some of the plotlines get resolved a bit too easily, I never really felt like anything was that unrealistic. Things in real life can be very dramatic and dark, and sometimes they can be put on a better path with a few simple words.
……But mostly THERAPY. Go get therapy, Miyako. Jesus. I’m glad that the future glimpse of you seems like you’re in a better place, but still therapy. Grief counseling. Family counseling. Anything. The actually abusive monster mother sought therapy – you can too.
P.S. Yuzuyu is still the cutest little kid in anime and manga. I shall love her forever. ♥
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Plot: Deep Blue has arrived, and it’s time for the final climactic showdown!
– I mentioned in my review of the anime that it bothered me a little that Ichigo was so shook by the revelation that Aoyama was Deep Blue that her friends got hurt trying to protect her from her own perilous behavior. However, I also gave some leeway due to the fact that she was rightfully and lovingly chewed out by the other Mews after this occurred. They had been fighting in her stead to give her time to process and grieve, but when the situation got too dire, it was time to slap some sense into her and get her back in the game.
The manga…..WHOO BOY. I got a bone to pick with you, manga. A big bone. Dinosaur sized.
Sssooooo….in the manga….Ichigo is still too shook by the Deep Blue/Aoyama revelation that she’s in a daze just watching the girls try to fight Deep Blue….In her daze….she picks up her bell….and ATTACKS THEM TO DEFEND DEEP BLUE.
She did immediately regret what she did, but she still consciously did it. No mind control, no nothing – she willingly attacked her friends. There’s a world of difference between being unable to accept reality to the point where you can’t defend yourself properly against a threat, which puts others in danger as they try to protect you, and consciously making the decision to attack your friends. I really thought she would just jump between the Mews and Deep Blue and she’d get hurt, which would be incredibly reckless but so much more understandable than attacking her friends.
That was the first time I’ve ever been really shocked while following this series. Sure the Aoyama/BK/Deep Blue revelation was surprising when I first watched the series, but Ichigo attacking her friends….wow….I just lost untold amounts of respect for her. I really don’t care about the circumstances. There’s no excusing that, if you ask me.
– Mint still chews out Ichigo, but the speech is much shorter and no one tries to bring her spirits up afterward – they just say they’ll die if they don’t fight.
– Likewise, even after all of that, manga!Ichigo seems to have much less faith in Aoyama than anime!Ichigo did because, in the manga, when she’s having her first clash with Deep Blue, she’s acting like it’s hopeless and Aoyama might have been lying to her this whole time. In the anime, she was either adamant he was still the same person or hopeful that she could get him to come back to her. Even when she was faltering, she still never gave up on Aoyama. For a girl who just tried to kill her friends for this dude, her faith is sure flighty.
– Alto/Ryou still comes in to save Ichigo, but whereas in the anime where he stopped the attack and pointlessly scratched Deep Blue’s face, here he takes the brunt of Deep Blue’s attack and badly wounds his arm as a result. There’s actually quite a bit of blood for this series.
– In the anime, Pai was really the only one who had such strong faith in Deep Blue that he realized the destruction he was about to bring and accepted it with open arms. Kisshu was silent about it for a long time, though clearly torn and upset, and Taruto was visibly upset and turned on them immediately, wanting the fighting to end. He also quickly went to Pudding’s aid after she was de-transformed from Deep Blue’s attack.
In the manga, all of them are tickled pink that Deep Blue’s going to destroy the world. They’re also taking great pleasure in the knowledge that the Mews will all die soon. Kisshu even quickly jumps at the chance to ask Deep Blue if he can be the one to end Ichigo.
– As if there wasn’t enough Ichigo favoritism around, there’s this ridiculousness. When Deep Blue’s base appears, Ichigo and the other girls need to reach it. Since the girls can’t seem to confusingly fly on their own in this manga, Ichigo asks them to lend her their power, which combines in her bell….
….and allows her to grow butterfly/angel wings???????????????????
And then she engulfs the other Mews in light that allows them to fly with her???????? And she just knows how to do this even though this is the first time she’s ever shown this ability????
I cannot compute…..What is this? It doesn’t make a lick of sense that Ichigo would have this kind of ability, even with the other Mews helping. This is the kind of thing I’d expect a Mew Aqua’d MINT to be able to do – with her, ya know, being a bird and all – but nope. Ichigo, the CAT of the group can suddenly sprout angel/butterfly wings and not only fly but extend a public transport service to the other Mew
– And just so we’re keeping score with the favoritism, the same old ‘Ichigo’s the only one who can save the world’ spiel is alive and well in the manga.
– In another grand example of the poor pacing the manga tends to have sometimes, the battle between Pai, Taruto and the Mews is literally over in less than two pages. They launch one attack at their Chimera Animal and then…that’s it. They’re defeated. Battle of the century.
In the anime, while the girls couldn’t do much against it, at least the battle between the Chimera Animal and Pai was somewhat entertaining and lasted quite a while. They were suffering from hits, they were landing hits, they were clashing and struggling – it was decent enough. This was a flash in the pan not-battle.
And the sweet moments from the aliens? Basically gone. Pai just says with a smile that it seems like the humans were stronger than them afterall, and Taruto tells Pudding that he never hated her, which makes Pudding cry out his name. Both moments are contained on one page.
In the anime, Taruto and Pudding got two very sweet and tender moments after he turned heel. He helped prop her up when she was de-transformed, and Pudding’s speech as she cradled his dead body after being killed by Pai was really heartbreaking. And while Pai’s ‘emotional’ sacrifice was rushed and somewhat nonsensical, it was at least cool.
In the manga, it’s just kinda sad and really out of left field considering they were all still having tons of fun trying to kill the Mews and destroy the earth. Taruto stuttered once before the battle started, when he was talking to Pudding for a second, but that’s about it.
Almost comically, I literally nearly laughed out loud, the next page has the girls all toppling over, near dead from exhaustion. They didn’t even get hit by Pai and Taruto’s Chimera Animal or anything – they’re just really tired.
Granted, it’s hard as hell to keep up with the timeline in this manga sometimes, especially when it comes to the other Mews because the focus is so squarely on Ichigo most of the time, so maybe they have more of a reason to be so exhausted than I’m aware of. Hm. Maybe they got blasted in the face with Mew Mew power by some bitch.
– In another weird heel-turn, despite itching to kill Ichigo earlier, Kisshu is now defending Ichigo and challenging Deep Blue to a duel to protect her. I was going to mention how he’s a bit nicer here in that he doesn’t imply that the world and everything in it can be destroyed as long as Ichigo’s okay, but he kinda lost those points where he started snuggling up on her boobs after he got mortally wounded….
There are some good things to note here, though. Kisshu seems to have accepted that Ichigo doesn’t love him, even if he’s trying so hard to get her to do so. He doesn’t care, though. He still loves her anyway and will do whatever it takes to protect her. He also manages to sneak a cheek kiss and tells her he loves her twice before passing away.
Then Aoyama just kinda appears. There’s no sudden revelation that Ichigo looks exactly as she did in his nightmares (even if she was in completely different clothes in that nightmare), no dealing with an internal struggle, just Kisshu dies and then boop Aoyama pops up.
– In the anime, Aoyama doesn’t really pay any mind to the fact that he just murdered Kisshu in cold blood – besides that Ichigo was upset about it. In the manga, he touches Kisshu’s face and acknowledges that he did this horrible thing, which I appreciated.
– In the anime, the Mew Aqua within Aoyama gets revealed when Ichigo triggers it with her emotions. In the manga, the Mew Aqua is revealed by Aoyama crying and one of his tears turning into a plant, which I thought was cool and should have been added to the anime version.
– Aoyama bubbles up Ichigo to protect her from Deep Blue, which actually panics her because Deep Blue tries to unleash a massive Mew Aqua explosion over Tokyo, which would kill all of her friends, but leave her alive.
– Aoyama’s sacrifice was similar, but in the manga he impales himself on his sword, whereas in the anime this was changed to having Ichigo attack him. I actually like the anime version quite a bit better. It showed that Ichigo was willing to do something so terrible and painful for both of them because it was what Aoyama wanted. In the manga, she’s very passive and just kinda has to let it happen.
– Anyway, Ichigo’s naked now. I don’t know.
I don’t know.
She’s about to transfer her life energy to Aoyama to resurrect him and she’s just suddenly naked.
Oh and she has her light wings back somehow, in a more angel-esque shape this time, there are even feathers flying around, somehow, even though they’re wings made of light. Cats sure have feathers.
– And now she has her clothes back on, again, inexplicably. Also, despite the fact that the others girls have all de-transformed, like in the anime, Ichigo is still in her Mew outfit, despite being ‘dead.’
– So I guess Aoyama is still magic even without Deep Blue or the Mew Aqua, because he bubbles them both up and floats them back down to the ground.
– This also means that the Mews and the aliens find out about Ichigo’s ‘passing’ on the ground, not in the base. It also means the base doesn’t just turn into a spaceship so the aliens make a quick getaway without a strong goodbye for them.
– Ichigo’s naked again, but I guess this time it makes sense because all of the Mews are naked when they transform – only makes sense to have them be naked on the de-transform.
Gotta love Kisshu’s face right as it’s happening though. Lol
– Speaking of giving the aliens their proper sendoff, Kisshu expresses that he’s fine with Aoyama and Ichigo being together, but is still clearly disappointed. Ichigo stops him before he leaves and tries to come up with the words to thank him for everything, even if it’s awkward for her. Kisshu kneels before her and tells her that the only thing he wishes is for her to be happy. In inner monologue, he also thanks her for giving him the chance to love her, even if it was hopeless.
He manages to sneak one last cheek kiss before running off.
Taruto and the others are about to head home when Pudding stops him. He says he doesn’t have a reason to stick around anymore and Pudding kisses him!
I remember seeing the pic of this a long time ago and was so happy. They’re so adorable.
Granted the kiss is an excuse to give him a candy drop, which just makes it…..SWEETER.
She pleads with him to not say goodbye, but Taruto says he might return sometime for another candy drop…OoooOOOOooooohhhh Taruto’s such a charmer.
– Instead of the aliens finding a bit of Mew Aqua left behind from Aoyama/Deep Blue, Shirogane just gives his last bit of it to them in the manga.
I’m not….sure I really like this version of events. Shirogane doesn’t have much of a reason to trust them. The only one who turned heel in the manga was Kisshu. The others were just defeated by the other Mews. But hey, take the last bit of this superpowerful material we’ve been spending seven volumes specifically trying to keep away from you lot.
Also, the whole ‘this itty bitty amount of Mew Aqua is enough to rejuvenate our world into being as beautiful and lush as earth so we totally didn’t need to do 99% of all of this to help our people.’ plot hole is alive and well.
They also leave without a spaceship somehow? Can they teleport all that way?
– The anime ended with the cafe shutting down, the Mews spending weeks or months apart and somehow all ending up at the cafe like they were being called there. Just then Shirogane and Akasaka explain that a new enemy has arrived and they need the Mews to take them down. Ichigo and others were rightfully confused, but Akasaka explained that the loss of powers was only temporary due to the Mew Aqua. Now that some time has passed and there’s a new threat, they have their powers back and are being called into action.
In the manga, the girls still work at Cafe Mew Mew, though some time has passed. Ichigo explains that Aoyama is now studying abroad in London to learn about red data animals, specifically the animals the Mews were based on since their abilities help save the world.
Ichigo acts like she’s okay since she’s supporting someone she loves, but the other girls know she’s secretly very lonely and sad. They come up with the plan, Mew Project W, to cheer her up. They kidnap her and bring her to a church. They put her in a wedding dress (the W stood for wedding if you’re not catching on) and have invited Aoyama to have a fake wedding ceremony.
They ‘get married,’ but not before a strange new figure arrives at the cafe (I assume she’s Berry from the sequel?)
As Ichigo says ‘I do,’ her ears and tail suddenly sprout, indicating that her powers aren’t really gone and their story is not quite over.
The end!…For now!
So, who wins the final battle in the finale battle in the end finally?…..Uhmmmmm….
This is actually kinda difficult. I think, out of all of the volumes, this one both has the most drastic differences from the manga version but also has the most discrepancy in whether the changes were good or not. For example, I really hate that the manga has Ichigo attacking her friends while she’s in shock. I thought that was going way too far and really tainted my view of Ichigo. The Mews get shafted enough in nearly every way possible without her basically acting like they’re the bad guys and blasting them in the face with her bell.
The Mews’ pep talk to her after the fact was also better in the anime.
However, I love the better absolute ending the aliens got in the manga, especially the really sweet moments between Kisshu and Ichigo and Taruto and Pudding, even if they were less earned.
I didn’t like that the aliens stayed firm on Deep Blue’s side, barring Kisshu, until the very end because it kinda ruins their redemption if they don’t….ya know…have redemption arcs. Or even just a redeeming scene. I complained that Pai’s heel turn was just too sudden and didn’t make a lot of sense in the anime, but at least it was something and at least it was pretty cool to watch.
Taruto’s turn in the anime made total sense, and was one of the more emotionally impacting moments of the series to have Pai kill him in order to carry out his orders. Pudding cradling Taruto’s body and her speech to him was also incredibly sweet.
Would you rather have those cool moments or two lines that take up all of one page? Pai basically compliments the Mews on how strong they are, and Taruto tells Pudding he never hated her. And that’s it. They’re redeemed.
The other Mews got even less to do in this finale. Their big battle was just one attack on some random Chimera Animal that instantly wins them the match and kills Pai and Taruto.
That’s pretty much something else to complain about, too. The Mews killed the aliens themselves instead of Pai killing Taruto, who was trying to help the Mews, or Deep Blue’s Mew Aqua beam killing Pai as he tried to sacrifice himself to save the Mews.
Granted, they didn’t technically get to do a lot in the anime finale battle, either, and both side battles ended on disappointing notes, but it was still an actual battle that lasted longer than a sneeze and things happened in it.
I guess Ichigo using the girls’ powers to summon weird butterfly/angel wings of light can be interchanged with the anime using their powers to create an attack, but the anime also wins out here because the girls were flippin’ exhausted, collapsed on the ground, when they did that in the anime – and they were doing it to create one final attack on Deep Blue, not to turn Ichigo into a flying Uber. In the manga, they were fine and this ability comes right the hell out of nowhere.
Ichigo, shockingly, didn’t even get a big moment other than her reviving Aoyama….while naked. She barely got a shot off the whole battle besides one clash with Deep Blue and that whole ‘attacking her friends’ fiasco. She gets bubbled by Aoyama and then he kills himself instead of having Ichigo attack him. Then it’s just over. Kisshu fought him properly, Aoyama fought him internally, the Mews fought him properly – the only one who didn’t really legitimately fight the main bad guy in the series was the main character.
Ichigo narrowly avoided suffering the same fate in the anime, but she did deliver the final blow to him.
The epilogue was much better in the manga, if you ask me. The anime’s absolute end just made very little sense. The girls gather at the cafe for no reason. It’s suddenly right as a new enemy is attacking somehow. Their powers have suddenly returned right then, even if we physically saw Ichigo’s cat leave her (which doesn’t happen in the manga, by the way. She just de-transforms) Shirogane and Akasaka have no guilt over throwing the girls back into Mew duty even when he promised they’d live a normal life afterwards. And we don’t learn who or what this new threat is, especially considering the main and only threat they were created for was the aliens and Deep Blue. And we never will learn who it is because the anime never got a sequel.
In the manga, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Aoyama to suddenly study abroad and leave Ichigo behind, but the wedding was really sweet. The little bit at the end where we catch a glimpse of Berry and we see that Ichigo’s cat powers are still present was enough of a cliffhanger to want to continue on to the sequel, Tokyo Mew Mew A La Mode. Being fair, Shirogane said their powers would disappear once they weren’t needed anymore, not that the Mew Aqua had any hand in it. So her gaining her ears and tail again is both a nice nod that she’s still a Mew while subtly indicating that a new threat might be around the corner.
Logically, if we tally things up here, the anime would probably win, but I’m struggling with handing over the point so easily. I had a lot of issues with the anime ending, culminating in the opinion that it was ultimately middle of the road. I think the same can be said of the manga’s ending. What they did so much better in the manga is balanced out by what they did so much worse.
It’s a close call, and if you pulled my arm I’d probably say the anime won here, but I’m going to just say it’s a tie.
And so, we’ve come to the end of this AniManga Clash! Only one thing left to do, and that’s crown an overall champion.
Overall AniManga Clash Champion!:Anime
I wish I could say I struggled with this decision more, but I really didn’t. While the manga does have a lot going for it, numerous things I wish the anime had kept, the anime just made, overall, better choices with the way the story unfolded.
If there was one thing I was really looking forward to in regards to the manga, it was getting to see the other Mews use the Mew Aqua Rod, considering they got no new powerups in the anime. However, that was a disappointment. I got a bit too excited when Mint got her shot with it because it was the first time – and it was a moment that was wrenched away to Ichigo in the anime. When Pudding’s time came, it was also a cool moment, but, again, I might have been more excited than I should have been, especially considering the anime actually did something arguably better with this moment, and it was for the sake of Taruto and/or PuddingxTaruto. And after that point, you realize what is going on.
They literally all did the exact same thing with it. It was the same thing with each Mew. They sense the Mew Aqua, they find it and then they use Mew Aqua Drops to solve the problem. They could have had the Rod react differently to each Mew or something, but nope. It’s just copy/pasted on all four of them.
Ichigo technically remains the only Mew with actual powerups, of which she got even more in the manga than she did in the anime.
Like I mentioned before, filler also worked in the anime’s favor in regards to giving a better degree of characterization to the other Mews. While the focus typically did lie with Ichigo most of the time, the filler allowed us to have more episodes centered on the other Mews, like Mint and her brother, Zakuro and that lonely little girl, Lettuce and her one-sided crush on that guy who was about to propose to another girl, Pudding getting sick, prompting the girls to help take care of her little brothers and sisters, and several others.
In the manga, let’s be real, the other girls might as well have not been there at all. They’re glorified props with rare times where they have an actual purpose. The girls did get some small storylines here and there, but it felt more like an obligation than the author actually wanting to explore their characters.
That makes sense considering the series was originally designed to be about one girl, Tokyo Black Cat Girl, which was shown in a special bonus chapter of Tokyo Mew Mew, but then then the editorstold Mia Ikumi, the artist and co-creator (alongside Reiko Yoshida) it would be more appealing to audiences if it was a team. I don’t think either of them had any resentment towards being forced to make this change, but it’s quite possible their hearts just weren’t fully in making a team series.
We don’t even get a lot regarding Ichigo’s relationships to the other Mews. They just hang out a lot because they work and fight evil together, so they must be important to each other. The other Mews are endlessly loyal to Ichigo, and we can tell she’s fond of them, but it pretty much ends there. It definitely comes to a screeching halt during the scene in which she attacks them to protect Aoyama/Deep Blue. In any other situation like this, the main character would be far too torn between her love of her friends and her love of her boyfriend to likely do anything outside of either yell at them to stop, commit self-sacrifice or do literally nothing.
I can’t help but imagine how the series would have gone had she actually seriously harmed them or killed them. And you can’t tell me these girls don’t have endless loyalty to Ichigo considering they didn’t even actually get mad at her for doing this. Like in the anime, they were moreso mad that she wasn’t seeing the situation for what it was, getting up and taking on the actual threat of Deep Blue. But unlike the manga, the anime just had Ichigo being so out of it that she nearly got herself killed as a result. I could never imagine the Ichigo I know from the anime ever, and I mean ever, attacking her friends like that, which is probably why it was rewritten in the first place.
I mentioned how lackluster Mint’s yelling of ‘Ichigo!’ was when she realized Ichigo was dead in the anime because her VA just didn’t seem like she was putting enough oomph into it. She does the same thing in the manga, but the reason I had a problem with it here, despite having no audio accompaniment, was because the dramatic collapse and yelling didn’t really feel warranted. In the anime, she and Ichigo had a relationship akin to Rei and Usagi from Sailor Moon. They seemed like they got along the least, but Rei was basically the closest Sailor Scout to Usagi.
Likewise, despite butting heads a lot, Mint is the closest Mew to Ichigo, so it makes perfect sense, in the anime, that she would be the one to collapse and yell out her name when Ichigo died. In the manga? Not so much. They have the same relationship in the manga as the anime, but there is much less exploration into it and moments between them to build the type of relationship necessary to warrant such an outburst.
It was so odd. And the art didn’t even actually focus on Mint, so I was confused as to who was even saying that line when it happened.
Even the aliens and Deep Blue are done better in the anime. The aliens have more time focused on them and their individual dynamics, and Kisshu defecting started their actual redemption arc as a whole. He had a crisis of faith, essentially, and even though it made him go mad, it also gave him more perspective on everything and lead him to the real source of power that he needed. Him also getting severely wounded and Deep Blue abandoning him while he’s laid out on the floor also sewed the first seeds of doubt into Pai and Taruto’s heads that Deep Blue might not be so great afterall.
Taruto choosing to save Pudding instead of letting her die was also a massive turning point for him, even if he didn’t defect as Kisshu did at the time.
Having Pai be the only one who stood by Deep Blue, even causing him to kill Taruto, was quite powerful also. It was the most understandable for the stoic most non-feeling of the group to be the most loyal to Deep Blue, even under the circumstances, but it never felt like he was irredeemable. It was weak that his big turnaround was unearned, but it was still better than the manga’s explanation.
Deep Blue got more time to talk with the aliens, be more of an imposing figure lurking in the shadows and even got a tad more characterization once he was actually awakened than he did in the manga.
Speaking of Deep Blue, they don’t give any actual explanation as to his situation in the manga either. In the anime, they explained that Deep Blue was one spirit/being that broke off into Aoyama and The Blue Knight until Deep Blue could be properly awakened, in which case those personalities should have vanished, leaving only Deep Blue.
In the manga, Aoyama becomes Deep Blue and they kinda don’t talk about why or how that is. They just accept it without question. Likewise, no one talks about how or why Aoyama is The Blue Knight, either. Granted, the anime also doesn’t explore this before the Deep Blue revelation, but still.
Even Aoyama doesn’t escape this because he’s nothing but a sweetheart in the anime, but there are so many times that he’s super creepy in the manga. I don’t dislike him or anything, but it’s still unnerving to have those moments in there.
Some might say the anime is too drawn out, but I’d argue that the manga is too compressed. Yes, there are seven volumes to this story, but 80% of it feels like it’s going way too fast, especially when you compare it to the anime. The battles are the worst examples of this. So many times I was reacting to scenes going ‘What, that’s it?’ or ‘Wait, it’s over already?’ In a similar manner, there were moments where I was shocked a plot thread was still going on, like with the giant moth or the heat dome, because the manga got distracted and went off elsewhere, usually to something Ichigo was doing.
You’d think that the one thing the manga would explicitly have over the anime would be the art. Afterall, I had my fair share of time complaining about Studio Pierrot’s art and animation that ranged from ‘Good’ at its best to ‘Please gouge out my eyes with a cork screw’ at its worst. However…….eh.
The art of the manga is by no means consistently bad, it’s pretty good most of the time, but there is always at least one moment in every chapter where I’m left scratching my head as to a decision they made in the art.
You remember me being confused as to the shot where Mint yells out ‘Ichigo!’? Why was Mint in the background of that shot? Why did the speech balloon not connect to her? It honestly looked like either Kisshu or Shirogane could have been yelling that, but even they were shot from behind or not on-panel so it was hard to tell. Why are there so many moments where Aoyama gets this glazed over ‘I’m going to murder you’ look in his eyes? Is that to hint at Deep Blue or is the art just inadvertently making him look 100x creepier than he should, even when he’s not acting creepy? Why was Ichigo drawn with a massive blush and looking at Shirogane with bedroom eyes when he said she could go with Aoyama? Why was she drawn in day clothes/negligee crying in Aoyama’s future vision when she was in her Mew form when that happened (Something the anime fixed)? Why are there several fight scenes where I honestly can’t even tell who or what they’re attacking?
That coupled with the fast pacing really makes the manga a little difficult to keep up with sometimes.
I definitely don’t feel like I can give the art award to the anime either since there was just mounds of derp, and I kinda don’t forgive them for cheaping out on the series finale, of all things, so let’s just call that a tie there.
But yeah, at the end of the day, I feel more comfortable giving this clash over to the anime. I still really enjoyed the manga, there was a lot to like about it, and I look forward to A La Mode, but I was mostly just disappointed that, even though they did some things right that the anime did poorly and even did some things better that the anime did well, there were too many instances of the anime doing things better or just not doing things as badly as the manga.
And that’s that, my friends. At least until the reboot comes out. I don’t think I’ll be doing another AniManga Clash when the reboot comes out, but I’ll certainly talk about it in relation to the first anime and manga. I hope it takes all the best parts of the anime and manga, adds even better stuff to it and makes something amazing. I really do truly enjoy this franchise, and it has so much potential, they just need to draw it out.
Coming soon, A La Mode!
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Chapter Five’s plot was adapted in episode 13 so we won’t be going over it here. This post will be updated when we reach episode 13.
Chapter 6 – Burning Struggle to the Death
Anzu is organizing a festival for school and is asking the class for suggestions on a stand they can put up.
Hanasaki makes another appearance briefly which is nice. He suggests making a manga table, which everyone mostly gets confused by, but no one makes fun of him.
A lot of suggestions are thrown out, and Yugi’s the last one to comment. He suggests a stand with carnival games and everyone gets really jazzed about the idea. He’s so happy about everyone liking his carnival game idea. It’s really sweet
Later, everyone works really hard to make some cool carnival games – a simple stack of bottles, a shooting gallery and a life-sized version of those pop-up pirate toys where you put swords into the barrel and try to make the pirate pop up.
Gorou and his gang of….cooking brutes knock all of their stuff out of the spot, even knocking Jonouchi and Yugi over and destroying some things, to take over the spot themselves. Their stand is a giant iron plate they plan to use for an okonomiyaki stand.
Yugi is taken over by Yami and meets Gorou later that night to challenge him to a very messed up shadow game.
It’s a game of air hockey, basically, but the puck is a chunk of ice and the arena is the iron plate, now superheated. Inside the ice is a vial of gunpower. When the ice melts enough, it will hit the plate and explode, so the aim is to ensure the puck is not near you when that happens. Gorou accepts.
This is a rare moment of Yami actually struggling in a shadow game. In every game before this, he has been ridiculously confident in his abilities, almost to the point where you think he’s cheating sometimes. However, this time he’s actually sweating and conceding that Gorou’s strength gives him an advantage in this game. Yugi’s body can’t keep up very well. He needs to calm himself and find a way to use Gorou’s speed and strength against him.
He makes the clever play of smacking the puck at an angle to create a small crack in it. When Gorou realizes how much the ice has melted, he puts all of his strength into hitting the puck one more time. He fails to notice the crack until it’s too late and the puck breaks open in front of him, causing the vial to fall and explode.
This is seemingly another instance of someone actually dying in a shadow game because Gorou never reappears after he gets caught in the explosion. I gotta say….he was a jerk but he didn’t deserve to go out like that. All he did was push Yugi and Jonouchi down and steal a festival spot, possibly wrecking some of the things they built there (The art makes it hard to tell.)
Granted, him accepting this shadow game is basically him attempting murder, but still. People get away with much worse in this series and still retain their lives.
Chapter 7 in the manga is somewhat adapted in episode 10 of the anime, but the story had to be drastically altered since Honda and Miho are so different in the anime. This post will be updated when I reach episode 10.
Chapter 8 – The Venomous Man
This chapter is both heartwarming and a little dumb. Jonouchi needs a new pair of sneakers and falls in love with an awesome pair he spots in a shoe shop in a bad part of town. The owner is a straight up crazy person who initially refuses to sell the sneakers to him because they’re rare. He won’t sell them to just anyone, so he posits a challenge. He’ll put a scorpion in the shoe. If Jonouchi is brave/stupid enough to put his foot into the shoe with the scorpion in it, he’ll sell him the shoes.
Jonouchi does so and is ‘rewarded’ for his ‘courage’ by the owner revealing that he never actually put the scorpion in the shoe. He faked it. But he’s impressed enough to sell them, at a half-off discount even. However, he warns Jonouchi of ‘hunters’ in the area who target people who have such nice shoes.
And right here is where you realize exactly where this is going, and it goes there. Jonouchi walks all of half a mile before he, Honda and Jonouchi are attacked by a group of thugs wielding a tire (Not a tire iron – a tire) and various tools. They beat the group up and steal Jonouchi’s shoes.
The thugs were obviously hired by the shop owner who seems to make a habit out of playing this trick so he can get a constant stream of money out of schmucks who want nice sneakers. I can’t imagine there are that many people who would do that, but I guess this is the world of original version YGO, where everyone’s a crazy asshole.
He screwed with the wrong reformed school bullies, however, because the group, even Yugi, decide to find the thugs and beat them down. They quickly reveal that they were working for the shop owner, and Yugi transforms into Yami to challenge the owner to a shadow game.
The owner kinda triggers the game himself by issuing the same challenge he gave Jonouchi, only this time there’s an actual scorpion in the shoe. However, Yami changes it up by dropping a handful of coins into the shoe. They each have to reach into the shoe one at a time and get as many coins as they feel comfortable nabbing. Whoever gets the most coins without getting stung is the winner. The owner adds on a stipulation that each coin is worth 100,000 yen, which Yami will pay him if he wins.
The game starts and after a few grabs, the owner starts getting nervous about his chances of winning the game, so he decides to fudge the rules by stabbing the shoe, effectively killing the scorpion, and nabbing all of the coins left in the shoe.
Yami reveals, however, that he not only broke the rules and betrayed his pet, but the scorpion is still very much alive. It stings him, and Yami takes the shoes to return to Jonouchi. We learn that the shop owner didn’t die of the sting, which surprised me a little. Jonouchi is so touched by Yugi going to the shop to confront to the owner that he gladly takes the shoes that now have a stab mark in them and cherishes them, which is so sweet I can’t stand it.
Next time, we’ll be heading back to the anime with episode three, which covers chapters nine and ten.
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