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. Meanwhile, 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 like they can in the anime (sometimes?), 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 to have 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 Mews.
– 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, 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.
The next page has the girls all toppling over, near dead from exhaustion. I nearly laughed out loud. 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 traitor or something. Hm.
– 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. 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 their 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 helped save the world.
Ichigo acts like she’s okay with this 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 absolute ending the aliens got in the manga more than the anime, 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 it 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.
Another negative mark for the manga is that 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 completely 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 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) and Shirogane and Akasaka have no guilt over throwing the girls back into Mew duty even when they promised they’d live a normal life afterwards. 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. However, 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 woman, 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 editors told 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 leading him to kill Taruto, was quite powerful also. It was the most understandable for the stoic emotionally muted one 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 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 still 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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