An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 12: Out of the Box (2005)

On January 22, 2005, 4Kids announced that they would be rebranding the Fox Box as 4Kids TV and would be greatly increasing their marketing efforts through TV, the internet, print sources, tie-ins and more to help 4Kids grow.

Time for another round of new 4Kids content – this time releasing their new animated series based on the new GI Joe toy line, GI Joe: Sigma 6, and dubbing two new shows, Ojamajo Doremi, which would be renamed Magical DoReMi, and Tokyo Mew Mew, which would be changed to Mew Mew Power.

Mew Mew Power got off to a weird and rough start, and it was one of the first real indications that Al Kahn’s views on the company’s content was….a bit odd. It was first licensed in February 2, 2004, and was obviously another effort to help draw in a female audience. When discussing the dub with Animation World Network, he said the more female-oriented shows in Winx Club and Tokyo Mew Mew weren’t purely directed at girls, but were more to attract both genders by “empowering girls while giving boys cute babes and plenty of action to look at.” which is definitely one of the creepiest things I’ve ever heard him say, especially considering he’s talking about children. It’s also backwards. Like, yeah, talk about how the girls will be empowered while you also objectify the girls in the shows as being eye candy for the boys in the audience.

What I find most interesting about this interview is that they talk about the possibility of dubbing more mature shows. While the article mentions Shaman King, this was before One Piece had been announced. He said,

“It’s interesting, network TV is always complaining about the loss of their 18 to 35-year-old males. It was a big story a couple of months ago with the Nielsens; all the networks were very hard pressed. If you look at the anime ratings, even the stuff on Saturday morning, you will find that primetime ratings don’t do any better than us, even with our much smaller base. All of which suggests that much older boys will watch anime. I believe anime products that are much more aggressive and sensual are going to become more available in the appropriate timeslots. Certainly we, as a company, are looking at how we can expand our programming opportunities in order to do different things at different times.”

Add “Sensual” to the list of words I never ever want to hear Al Kahn say ever again.

Maybe I’m tin-foil-hatting right now, but this kinda leads me to believe that them acquiring One Piece was less of an accident or oversight. Some sources did suggest that Al Kahn actually did know what he was getting into with One Piece, some people in the company warned him, but he didn’t care…..Purely conjecture on my end, probably a reach, but still, it’s interesting to consider.

Al Kahn also said some things that anime fans probably weren’t too happy with. When discussing importing anime, he talked about how he downplays the fact that they’re imports at all.

“I think the term ‘anime’ is misleading; I think kids don’t know from whence we cometh. By the time we localize the programs, kids don’t even know they’re from Japan any more. We as adults tend to label this stuff, but kids don’t really know it.”

So, apparently, despite the fact that 4Kids was a big part of the anime boom back in the day, and they kept encouraging fans to appreciate what they did in making anime more widely available in the west, they didn’t want kids to know what they were watching was anime?

Indeed, as Tokyo Mew Mew’s original dub title was to be Hollywood Mew Mew. It was later changed to The Mew Mews sometime between February and August, and it was finally changed permanently to Mew Mew Power in August of 2004.

The airing of the show was odd as well. 4Kids released episode 12 as a preview for the show on February 19, 2005. The episode was smack dab in the middle of the mid-season finale and included a shocking plot twist in Aoyama, Ichigo’s love interest, meeting her in Mew form, causing her to panic as she believed this outed her secret identity to him. 4Kids changed this, including changing Aoyama’s, now named Mark, expression from a frown to a smile, and instead of him not really saying much to Ichigo, now named Zoey, they had him accept her and tell her it’s okay to be different. And instead of Ichigo reacting in shock and dismay before running away, Zoey happily responds.

Unlike with the way Battle Aboard the St. Anne was launched as a preview episode before the start of Pokemon, this preview didn’t drum up tension for what was to come. In fact, it did the polar opposite. This basically spoiled the entire plotline about Zoey trying to keep her identity a secret from Mark out of fear that he’d reject her, even though the series would never revisit this again and act as if nothing happened. It would have been much more tense and interesting if they had left it alone because it was a legitimate cliffhanger. They could have had the girls in the audience wonder how badly Mark is actually taking this revelation and how this will affect their relationship, instead of just brushing it off and having him immediately accept her without question.

The next episode preview also called the show The Mew Mews, meaning they didn’t correct the mention of the title in the preview despite it already being changed everywhere else to Mew Mew Power.

As my only fully complete Sub/Dub Comparison, I stand by my assertion that Mew Mew Power is one of 4Kids most mutilated titles. They really went all out with trying to make the show as unrecognizable from the original as possible. In addition to all of the normal edits and localization efforts, they also made everyone very unpleasant, cut out large parts of episodes and swapped scenes for no real reason. They changed storylines a lot, the dialogue was awful, the catchphrase in particular gives me ulcers to this day, and it’s just a very unpleasant experience for the most part with only some songs on the soundtrack being any solace.

The show ended with only 23 episodes being aired on 4Kids TV, and the final three episodes of the first season being aired on Canada’s YTV. The series ended in a cliffhanger, which was driven home further by 4Kids when they overlaid a foreboding shot of Deep Blue over the final scene to end the last episode on, and wrote “To be continued…” on the bottom of the screen.

Why Mew Mew Power ended before it ran the full 52 episodes is unclear.

One theory is that 4Kids’ only licensed the first season and were unable to acquire the second because the original creators of the anime, Studio Pierrot, Tokyu Agency, We’ve Inc., and TV Aichi, didn’t like what they were doing with it, so they refused to allow them to license the second season.

An admin on 4Kids’ forums said,

“Sorry everyone – I’ve seen the 4Kids TV schedule – from now thru April and there is no Mew Mew Power on.

I’ve checked with the television scheduler and 4Kids does not HAVE any more Mew Mew Power episodes – they’re working on trying to get more, but can’t say when or IF this will happen.”

The wording is confusing. Because you can either take this as 4Kids not having anymore episodes and they’re trying to get more, or the television scheduler didn’t have anymore episodes to list and they were working on getting more to fill out the schedule, or 4Kids didn’t have anymore episodes dubbed and they assumed they were working on getting more episodes dubbed.

I can’t imagine 4Kids only got the rights to season one and they planned so poorly that they aired all the way to the end and were like “Oh shit! I forgot! We have to get the rights to season two!” That doesn’t make much sense to me. It also doesn’t make much sense that they’d pull the show three episodes from the end of the season if they were intent on getting the second season. In every official announcement I’ve read on them acquiring the licensing rights, nothing ever mentioned they were only for season one.

In 4Kids’ documents, it said they had the rights to Tokyo Mew Mew until 2010 and doesn’t say it was just for one season. Why would they only get the licensing rights to one season if they were keeping it for six years? Why would Studio Pierrot, Tokyu Agency, We’ve Inc., and TV Aichi give the rights to season one for six years but not season two at all?

Also, that’s typically not how licensing works. You either get the license to the anime or you don’t. They typically don’t separate the license by seasons unless the show is currently airing and is in the middle of a season or something, and Tokyo Mew Mew had long since been over since January 26, 2003.

Either way, I don’t believe this was a case of them revoking the rights because they didn’t like what 4Kids was doing. Partially because it doesn’t add up very well, and partially because I believe the other theory a little more.

The theory in question posits that 4Kids wasn’t getting much revenue from Mew Mew Power since they couldn’t secure a toy or merchandising deal with anyone. I don’t know where the merchandising thing came from. I see a few people saying it, like TV Tropes and even the Wiki, but nothing actually confirming it. The forum thread which contained the initial announcement has 17 pages of comments, but the 4Kids forums are long since dead, and the Wayback Machine can’t access anything beyond the first page.

My one hangup with this theory is – how could they easily get merchandising deals for literally every other property, but not Mew Mew Power? Especially considering that 4Kids has decades of experience with tons of merchandising companies. Japan was able to release merchandise – dolls, CDs, art books, posters, DVDs, toys – they even had all of the transformation items as life-size toys. And isn’t one of the things they say they always do when acquiring licenses is determine if it’s profitable from a merchandising aspect? I can’t imagine no merchandising company would want to take this show, especially since they’ve managed to get toy deals for even their most obscure shows. It’s just very strange.

There IS no Mew Mew Power merchandise in America (there are some DVD releases in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and France, but that’s about it) and revenue for the show was poor, according to 4Kids’ financial reports, so it’s quite possible this theory is correct, but I just can’t see why they would have such trouble with it, especially considering that Mew Mew Power wound up being their highest-rated show on 4Kids TV at the time.

2005 would also be the year 4Kids released Ojamajo Doremi, retitled Magical DoReMi. This had been in the works for years. They started discussing the licensing deal with Toei in October 2003, but they wouldn’t solidify the contract until 2004 and the show wouldn’t air until late 2005. DoReMi was another effort to hook in a female audience to 4Kids TV. Unlike Mew Mew Power, however, they intended to have the audience be even younger by having a lighter tone.

4Kids teamed up with Bandai to launch a huge line of merchandise for the show comparative to Winx Club. There were dolls, figurines, toys and even costumes. I’m surprised they managed to get such a massive merchandise deal for DoReMi but not Mew Mew Power. They’re both team-based magical girl shows. The only difference is one is based on witches (which you’d think would make deals more difficult because parents’ groups would probably get pissy) and one is based on animals. I’d actually think Mew Mew Power would be more popular toy-wise considering the cute animal vs. witch thing, but what do I know?

DoReMi was obviously given the same 4Kids editing treatment as any other show, but many people assert that the dub was one of their better efforts. Not great, but it could’ve been worse.

4Kids aired episode four on 4Kids TV on August 13, 2005 as a preview with regular broadcasting from episode one starting on September 10, 2005.

4Kids aired 26 episodes on 4Kids TV and then moved the rest of the series, barring one episode they never dubbed (Due to the on-screen death of a child, religious references, a shot of a dead character, and the frightening atmosphere of a cemetery at night being the backdrop for most of the episode.) to stream on 4Kidstv.com. 4Kids opted not to acquire the license for the second series, Magical Doremi Sharp, reportedly due to poor performance. Despite this decision, they had definitely planned to keep dubbing the series beforehand as evident by their unreleased merchandise for the second series which had been previewed at a toy fair, but I guess it didn’t pan out.

The reasons for the poor ratings were attributed to the show being aired at 7:30AM, which was way too early for many kids even for Saturday morning cartoons, the fact that it was aimed at an even younger audience than usual, and the sad facts that both Saturday morning cartoon blocks were dying and magical girl shows just weren’t entirely popular in America. I mean, I mentioned how Winx Club and Mew Mew Power were doing well, and of course there was Sailor Moon and Cardcaptors, but they really weren’t massive media franchises in anywhere near the same realm as Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh!

The fact that 4Kids chose to stream what episodes they had left on their website instead of 4Kids TV kinda drives that point home. Yeah, at this point, we had some modicum of streaming. Kids no longer had to wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch their cartoons. They could either watch VHSs or DVDs or watch shows online. It wasn’t nearly all that good back then considering the video quality was typically bad, there wasn’t a huge selection, and internet connections, usually dial-up, sucked for watching videos, but it was an option.

Airing the show on TV and also airing the show online was always a great idea, but moving the entire show to streaming was basically a death sentence back then. It’s kinda like how when Disney Channel or Nickelodeon wants to silently kill a show they typically move it to Disney XD/NickToons.

Magical DoReMi would be aired one last time on The CW4Kids in 2010 in an effort to get some more mileage out of the show right before their license would be up. It’s really, really depressing that 4Kids had two brand new shows for girls premiering this year and both wound up being canceled within the year.

But enough of the girly stuff. It’s MAN TIME.

Since the girls got new shows, 4Kids had to bring in new blood for the boys. In order to tie-in with the new generation of GI Joe toys being launched by Hasbro, 4Kids created GI Joe: Sigma Six, which shared the name of the new toy line. While the production of the series was handled by 4Kids, famous anime studio, Gonzo, handled the animation.

I watched some of the series recently, and, honestly, it was okay. Not great, but pretty okay. Perfectly watchable, kinda fun, and I say this as someone who loved the classic GI Joe show in her childhood and still enjoys the franchise to this day.

But the toyline bombed, and they returned to the classic version two years later. The show didn’t do any better. 4Kids produced 26 episodes of the show, but stopped airing the episodes on 4Kids TV sometime around or after season one (13 episodes). YTV, however, completed airing the entire run of the series.

The fact that all three of these series bombed rather quickly was bad enough, but 2005 would hold one of the biggest blows the company would ever take. One that they never really recovered from.

Next – Part 13: Pikachu’s Goodbye

Previous – Part 11 – Playing Their Cards Wrong


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 7 (FINALE + Entire Series Champion Decision)

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.

What….the hell?

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.

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!

N’AW!

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.

Winner: 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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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 6

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Plot: Aoyama/The Blue Knight finally joins the ranks of the Mews, but things take a turn for the worse when Kisshu and the other aliens reveal a dark secret that leads to the awakening of their leader, Deep Blue.

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– The anime and manga vary quite a bit in Shirogane’s backstory. He was never bullied, and, sadly, he had a pet dog named Daisuke who also died in the big explosion at the lab. Shirogane was actually home when the lab exploded. Both he and Akasaka witnessed it.

Also, Akasaka looked kinda weird in the flashback.

One change might have also fixed a big problem I had with his anime backstory. In the anime, the lab was attacked by a supposedly fire-based (?) Chimera Animal that just attacked the lab, killed everyone in it and then disappeared forever. This bugged the hell out of me because we never see this Chimera Animal again (until the very end of the show). It was supposedly freed from a fossil Professor Shirogane was experimenting with, but we have no idea why it attacked everyone nor where it went afterwards.

The manga gives no reason for the explosion, which is also a problem but not as bad.

The rest of the story and the scene afterwards goes exactly the same between anime and manga. (However, I’m still left wondering why and how Shirogane can transform into a cat at will and seemingly doesn’t need kissing or adrenaline to do it.)

– Aoyama’s dream of Ichigo is a little different. They’re both still images of her crying, but the anime has her in her Mew gear crying on the floor….The manga has her in…..

Is that lingerie? It’s very flowy and see-through. Am I reading too much into this? What is up with her pose and expression? She doesn’t look like she’s upset more than she looks…I dunno, drugged? In the anime, she’s practically bawling while kneeling on the floor, and that’s much more impacting if you ask me.

– Okay 1) I guess Lettuce doesn’t need Mew Aqua to become a mermaid. It’s just something that happens to her when she’s transformed and she enters the water, which is cool, but obviously something the anime didn’t keep – in fact, they pretty much spat in her face in that regard by making her unable to swim….

2) Her Mew Aqua time to shine was boring….I am starting to get a little tired of the Mew Aqua Rod shtick in the manga being a constant ‘I feel it calling out to me.’ *goes to it* ‘Mew Aqua Drops!’ *end* I was going to keep giving the manga props for at least letting the others girls use the Mew Aqua Rod when the anime gives them nothing, but your props are running thin if you’re just going to do the same song and dance every time. It’s like they did something cool with Mint, similar but still pretty decent with Pudding and then just gave up and was like ‘eh just do the same thing two more times,’

– In addition, they basically mixed the episode where she saved Shirogane and used the Mew Aqua with the episode where Pudding and Taruto fight for the fake Mew Aqua in the river, and it somehow purified all of the water even though it was fake. Only the manga’s version is less interesting….

– It’s at this point where I realized something very important. I was under the assumption that the manga did the other girls more justice because I knew they all got a turn with the Mew Aqua Rod, but we’re already well into the final two volumes of the manga and I can’t help but say….the anime did them more justice – at least so far.

The other girls are literally set dressing most of the time, and because there’s a lack of filler, there aren’t nearly as many stories about them. In fact, beyond their debuts and the Tokyo Dome storyline, there really haven’t been ANY stories actually about the other girls throughout this entire manga. It’s all been Ichigo, Aoyama, Kisshu and the Blue Knight with some Shirogane.

Yes, you heard me, filler actually worked in the anime’s favor.

It’s quite possible they at least get some better time to shine in the finale, but I’m not holding my breath.

– Her finding out Aoyama’s identity was very similar to the anime, but, again, done in a less interesting manner. Kisshu didn’t go insane and they both kinda left in the middle of the fight.

– What was I saying about the other girls not getting to do anything? As they get overrun by Chimera Animals (off-panel) Ichigo comes in to save them. She needs the help of all of them!….To gather their powers, give her a super special new weapon and attack and save the day.

“Our” new weapon. Uh huh.

– Hah, Taruto calls the guy who is supposed to be their savior ‘geek.’

– There’s a plotline that didn’t make it to the anime. The aliens set up a dome over Tokyo. It’s an impenetrable force field that increases the internal temperature until it’s too hot for any living being within it to survive. And just to get more environmental messages in there, they point out that using the AC will just cause the temperatures outside to rise even more.

– Aoyama’s backstory remains the same, but unlike in the anime where he conveys this information to Ichigo, in the manga he’s just saying this stuff to himself, which, in my opinion, isn’t preferable. I liked that he was sharing that part of himself with Ichigo, especially considering that she needs to know stuff about his past and feelings if they’re going to be together for the rest of their lives. Plus, it was just a nice overall moment for the two of them. Him just saying stuff he already knows to himself is pointless other than informing the audience about it.

– Even though Kisshu doesn’t go hilariously/sadly insane like he does in the anime, he does emotionally break down when Ichigo refuses to love him or be with him. He tries to strangle her but then breaks down crying wondering why he can’t get her to do what he wants or love him back. When he releases her and tells her he’ll buy her some time before everything goes down, she wonders if he truly loves her…..Uh no. No. He just strangled you, and has tried several times to kill you. There is no love here. Only obsession and a deep desire for control.

I would say maybe his species doesn’t understand emotions such as love, which is why he’s so bad at expressing his emotions for her, but I can’t imagine that’s the case. Afterall, the main reason they’re all on earth in the first place is for the love of their friends, family and species, right? And if he were completely ignorant of how love works, he wouldn’t do legitimately sweet and romantic things sometimes.

– In the manga, The Blue Knight actually has an attack name; Indigo Comet Blade.

– It’s….very confusing as to what exactly happens when BK and the Mews use their attack….Are they attacking Pai and Taruto? Where did they go? The dome’s not gone, because Zakuro takes care of that later. Oh look, Taruto and Pai are back immediately. What did that all-team attack do?

– There’s a manga-exclusive plotline where BK and the Mews fight the aliens in a sewer. They try to drown the Mews by flooding the pipes, but BK saves them by using his sword to slash a drainage hole in the pipe.

– Zakuro gets her time with the Mew Aqua Rod, and it’s exactly what you’d expect. Ichigo’s just like ‘Zakuro, find the Mew Aqua.’ She does and then she uses the rod and the dome’s gone.

– Ichigo’s going a bit too hard with the insinuations that she literally wouldn’t be able to fight or win unless Aoyama/The Blue Knight was by her side. Come on, girl, you’ve done it plenty of times before.

– Deep Blue’s awakening is much less interesting in the manga. In the anime, they had BK/Aoyama’s initial trigger being going insane and basically turning himself into a nuke while trying to protect Ichigo from Kisshu. Then Aoyama’s completely out of it the next time we see him, wandering around town. His soul is screwed with by Kisshu, and then when Ichigo arrives he makes the final transformation. Here, Aoyama/The Blue Knight pretty much just collapses in Ichigo’s arms because reasons and then wakes up as Deep Blue.

– Deep Blue actually draws blood on Ichigo, which I think was something that should’ve been added to the anime. He did attack her in the anime, but I think there would’ve been more weight added to the situation if he actually wounded her. Plus, that would’ve definitely been a reason for Aoyama to fight for control over his consciousness.

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This is probably the most I’ve ever been skewed towards the anime side. While the manga did include some plotlines that the anime never adapted, I can’t say that anything was really lost because of it. It’s just ‘these things happened.’ Nothing in those plotlines really had lasting consequences or added anything to the story or characters.

Everything else was either done better in the anime or was basically the same level of quality no matter if it was the same or not, like Shirogane’s backstory. And if I wanted to be petty, I’d ding the manga there based on the fact that they killed a dog for no other reason beyond sadness points.

It actually makes a little impressed with the anime, in spite of its own set of prominent problems. It didn’t do anything that blew my mind with this set of stories, but it did improve upon nearly every aspect, in my opinion.

Winner: Anime


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 5

Plot: Ichigo can no longer keep her Mew identity a secret from Aoyama. How will he take the news?

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– The Blue Knight is WAY more affectionate with Ichigo, especially upon first meeting, than he is in the anime. In fact, outside of a few touches and carrying Ichigo, BK never really does much with her in the anime. But in the manga, he hugs her, kisses her (on the cheek? Or chest? Hard to tell with the angle) he holds her romantically, almost hugging. It’s a lot, and like I said that’s all from their first meeting.

– Did Shirogane seriously revert to Alto form….to help Ichigo find her bell?

– There’s a near miss confrontation with Mew Ichigo and Aoyama that reminds me a lot of episode 13 where Aoyama is targeted by Kisshu and Ichigo runs the risk of Aoyama seeing her as a Mew and finding out her secret. Only the story in the manga is really dumb.

Ichigo returns to the aquarium and sees a fish flopping on the floor, which she immediately believes is a chimera animal, even though the entire aquarium burst…meaning there’d be a lot of fish flopping around. She makes a snap judgment to transform right there and she quickly spots Aoyama behind her, but he doesn’t realize who she actually is. He just asks her if she’s seen Ichigo.

– Pudding has a pet monkey in the manga?! Why was that not adapted?!

– I guess they put a lot of filler in the anime because we jump from episode 13 to episode 40. Now Pudding and Taruto are under Tokyo Dome. Only instead of Pudding finding the tunnel through sheer happenstance after an earthquake as she was attending a show, she was kidnapped. I kinda prefer the anime’s take because it had Pudding being proactive.

I also like the anime more in that they put additional stakes into Pudding’s situation. In the anime, she and Taruto eventually get trapped underground. They’re losing oxygen, but Taruto isn’t affected because he’s an ‘alien.’ Pudding, however, nearly dies, and Taruto struggles a lot with watching her suffer and the idea of letting her die down there. He actually ends up saving the both of them with his plant-controlling powers.

In the manga, it’s much less interesting, at least in my opinion. The girls literally defeat all of the chimera animals in a two page spread and Pudding is never in any danger as severe as what the anime depicted. Taruto, despite having some nice moments with Pudding, doesn’t gain nearly the same connection as he does in the anime, and he doesn’t save her life outside of one time where he spared her from getting poisoned. She’s just trapped in a cage hanging out with Taruto, more or less. There is more added risk later as Taruto attacks again with a bigger Chimera Animal, but The Blue Knight and Ichigo dispatch it rather easily.

The high point here is Pudding also gets to try her hand at using the Mew Aqua Rod. The Mew Aqua called out to her and she used its powers to grow the plant life around the dome to save it from collapse.

It’s great that she got a chance to shine, but I’m not sure it was really worth what we lost.

– The manga includes a passing suspicion that Akasaka is the Blue Knight, which is…Okay I guess. Thing is, it’s dropped just as quickly. BK hurt his shoulder in the same spot Akasaka did. That coupled with his charming nature lead Ichigo to believe he was BK. But then he explains that he hurt himself trying a new trick and broke a plate, which could easily be a gigantic lie, but Ichigo believes it immediately.

– The manga kinda contradicts the anime a little. In the anime, they make it a point that Ichigo sucks at cooking, at least if the chocolate cooking episode was any indication. Even though she had her mom’s help, she made a delicious lunch for her and Aoyama in the manga. Not really sure why the anime decided to make her a bad cook – though I guess that is a bit of a shoujo protagonist trope, kinda.

– Ladies and gentlemen, the hero of our story just cut herself…..on a blade of grass…………….?????????

– Aoyama: “Why do they always attack (Ichigo)?”

Kisshu: “Because I have to. That’s the whole point, dummy.” Lol I can’t not love Kisshu sometimes.

– Aoyama finding out about Ichigo’s Mewness is much different in the manga. In the anime, it was Christmastime and Aoyama got injured in a big two-part battle over Mew Aqua in the town Christmas tree. In a daze, Aoyama seemingly recognized Ichigo in her Mew outfit and she later confessed everything to him while he was sleeping (or wasn’t sleeping?)

In the manga, he gets injured in a completely unrelated incident during a random Kisshu attack during one of their dates. Ichigo doesn’t want to see him get hurt anymore since he’s so adamant about protecting her, so she decides to oust herself in front of him by transforming.

During this incident, BK does badly wound Kisshu, but Kisshu additionally requests BK to kill him. He almost grants him his request, but Ichigo stops him.

Like the anime, Aoyama admits he’s known for quite some time, putting the pieces together himself because he’s not an idiot, but unlike in the anime where they pretty much just cuddle, he actually kisses her.

– In the manga, Ichigo fully transforms into a cat in front of Aoyama after she divulges her secret and she kisses him to turn back. Taruto learns of her transforming secret because of this.

– I guess the kissing is the trigger for transforming back at least.

-….As for transforming…..In the next scene after she leaves Aoyama, the next day I presume, she trips, falls and that somehow turns her into a cat. Taruto kidnaps her, planning to get revenge on her for what BK did to Kisshu, which is a pretty good plan, admittedly, because she can’t transform in cat form and she can’t transform back without a kiss (Still think that’s really dumb…) Alto, however, saves her by kissing her, allowing her to change back and transform into her Mew form. She fends off Taruto and finds out Alto is Shirogane after keeping hold of him for too long to try to check his injuries. His transformation has a time limit, so he couldn’t hold it.

This is a tiny bit similar but quite a lot better than what we get in the anime which is one of the silliest and most convoluted things they had done. Basically, Ichigo goes on a wacky transformation spree. She’d kept accidentally transforming under the most ridiculous circumstances and need to basically sexually assault any female animal she could find for the sake of transforming back.

In one instance, she tries to kiss a female dog only to be blocked by her huge angry boyfriend who has heard rumors about the ‘kissing maniac’ and wants to beat her up for targeting his girlfriend. Alto saves her and kisses her to transform her back, but, like the manga, she keeps hold of him beyond his limit and he transforms back in front of her, ousting his identity as Shirogane.

Additional props for the manga because it doesn’t insinuate that she can talk to birds or dogs, robbing the other girls of their only unique additional powers.

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I struggled a bit more than usual in determining which version was better.

The anime did the brief brush Aoyama had with Mew Ichigo quite a bit better. She didn’t transform for no reason in the anime and the overall plot was more interesting and had higher tension. The anime also did the Tokyo Dome plot better in regards to tension, development between Taruto and Pudding and giving Taruto a neat moment. However, in an odd turn of events, the moment he got in the anime was stolen from Pudding’s big moment with the Mew Aqua in the manga, so that’s quite the bummer.

The manga does have its points of glory, though. I liked Ichigo revealing her secret to Aoyama better in the manga than in the anime, even if they don’t include the stuff about his backstory here. The way he ‘found out’ just made a lot more sense than the anime. I think both post-identity reveal scenes are equally good, even if the manga includes a kiss where the anime did not.

The reveal of Alto’s identity was also done better in the manga than the anime. Sorry, but the anime’s reveal was just built on a foundation of goofiness. A series of ridiculous pratfalls leads her to needing to makeout with a bunch of female animals and Alto saves her from an angry dog….Compare that to Taruto coming up with a good plan to strike Ichigo when she’s most vulnerable to get revenge for Kisshu, Alto nearly dying trying to save her from him and her saving him in return. It’s no real contest there. However, I will still ding the manga for making her transform at least once with no real trigger. She seemingly transformed because she tripped….

I also have to commend the manga for having increasingly better pacing, even though it’s still kinda bad, and I’m getting consistently disappointed that we’re not getting much time with the other Mews. There are only two more volumes left in the series and I feel like we just don’t know nearly enough about the other girls or see them do enough. It feels less like a team story and more of a “and the rest” type situation. I’m aware that this series was originally intended to just be focused on one character, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t make an effort to flesh out the other characters and act like they’re there to be set dressing.

All in all, I really feel I have to give this another tie. It’s just too close for me to make a decision.

Winner: TIE


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 4

Plot: The Mews finally manage to find a way to destroy the cocoon that is housing a moth that could destroy all of Tokyo. Later, Ichigo and Aoyama go on a date to the aquarium when another encounter with the aliens introduces Ichigo to a mysterious man named The Blue Knight.

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– So Shirogane tries to coax Ichigo into a kiss for the sake of experimenting with her cat transformation, but then he stops and says this.

“Wait a second…You turn into a cat when you’re excited. It has nothing to do with kissing.”

*Thinks of the anime*

(HikaYagami explained to me that the TokyoPop translation is kinda off in some places, so maybe this is another poor translation?)

– Interestingly, in the Moth arc, Mint is seemingly possessed/entranced and knows exactly where to go to get the Mew Aqua, which leads her to flying up to the top of the tower and retrieving it. The other girls fight off the aliens to allow her to get to it. This is important because it’s actually MINT who gets to use the Mew Aqua Rod in this arc and use the Aqua Drops to save the city from the toxin when it was Ichigo in the anime.

Granted, Ichigo still gets the final shot because of course she does, but we were robbed of a cool moment where Mint gets 1) to use a new weapon first (All of the Mews get to use this exact same weapon at one point or another, but this is the first) and 2) a moment where Mint got to shine all on her own.

– It was especially cute because Ichigo hugs her after, Zakuro pats her head and Pudding kisses her.

– Aw cute, Aoyama kissed Ichigo’s tears away in the rain scene afterward.

– The near-kiss with sleeping Aoyama doesn’t trigger a full-body cat transformation because we already went through that plotline.

– Oh cool, another reprise of rapist cat and this time he has a ‘love leash’ the two of them will share……Is it possible to have a cat arrested?

– So Shirogane said kissing doesn’t trigger transformation, but then he kisses Ichigo to make her transform when he’s Alto. Is it just because kissing her would get her excited? Is ‘excited’ the same thing as just generally flustered from being suddenly kissed? In the anime, she does fully transform once without kissing, but eventually even getting little platonic pecks from friends and kissing animals (instigated by her) makes her change. Her cat transformation never ceases to confuse me…

– There’s a plotline at an aquarium that isn’t in the anime. I think this might be what the date at the amusement park originally was, but I can’t be certain. Shame, because Ichigo fights a SHARK in it.

———————–

The anime kept pretty close to the manga when adapting this volume. The major point of contention being the Mint moment, and that just makes me irritated because there’s no reason whatsoever why they gave Ichigo the spotlight there outside of the anime having more Ichigo favoritism.

In most magical girl shows that have upgraded transformations, weapons and attacks, it’s common that the other team members will get something cool but the point will be made that the leader gets the coolest one – sometimes the other girls will all get their upgrades one at a time as a buildup to the big leader upgrade, and other times the leader will get her upgrade as a way of opening the door for the other girls to get theirs. It’s still blatant favoritism, but at least it’s better than letting the other team members stagnate to the point where I’m wondering why dusting the cobwebs off of their outfits isn’t a part of the other girls’ transformations after a while.

However, that positive note might be offset by the manga including another scene with rapist cat.

Hmm…

…….Nope, I’m actually going to give the manga this one today. Mint got a time to shine and Ichigo got to fight a friggin’ shark. You don’t get to rob me of those things and get away with it, anime.

Winner: Manga


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SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 52 (FINALE) For the Earth’s Future, We’ll Serve You ~Nya!

Plot: Aoyama’s consciousness has breached Deep Blue’s, and now he has to face what he has done. Even if it wasn’t really him that caused all of this destruction, the guilt weighs heavily on his conscience. Ichigo embraces him and offers comfort by explaining that she always believed in him, and no matter if he blames himself or not, she knew he would return to her.

Their emotional exchange creates a glow between them – it’s the final Mew Aqua. It’s been inside Aoyama all along. He now knows what they must do. They have to use the Mew Aqua to reverse the damage and ease the pain he has caused on the planet and the people.

He embraces Ichigo one more time, but suddenly his consciousness is wrestled away by Deep Blue and he starts strangling Ichigo.

A massive internal conflict between Deep Blue’s desires to kill Ichigo and Aoyama’s desire to protect her at all costs causes Aoyama to thrash about in agony.

It seems like Deep Blue has won the battle for his body, claiming Aoyama has been truly erased for good now, though Ichigo still refuses to believe it even after Deep Blue attacks her again. He tries to use the Mew Aqua within him, but he’s halted yet again. Aoyama rises once more and grapples with Deep Blue’s spirit, ripping them both from his body.

He holds Deep Blue in place and tells Ichigo to deliver the final blow to Deep Blue while they have the chance. Ichigo struggles with this decision since she’s worried that attacking Deep Blue, especially when they’re grappled like this, will cause Aoyama to vanish as well. Aoyama tries to reassure her and pleads with her to believe in him.

Deep Blue resists and attacks Ichigo. She’s able to block, but she can’t muster the power to create an attack. Sensing Ichigo’s dilemma, the girls, who are exhausted and laid out on the ground from the Mew Aqua beams, band together and collect as much energy as they can to send to Ichigo.

With the power of her friends surging within her and trusting Aoyama with all her heart, she launches a Ribbon Strawberry Surprise at Deep Blue, who counters with a blast of energy. As the two collide, Deep Blue realizes Aoyama’s plan. He’s going to release the Mew Aqua from his body when he’s hit with the Strawberry Surprise and fix what he’s destroyed. However, he will most likely be killed as a result.

Ichigo’s attack finally breaks through, and Deep Blue’s influence is destroyed. Aoyama happily releases the Mew Aqua within his body, proclaiming his love for Ichigo one last time before he sacrifices himself.

A wondrous rain of colorful lights cascades over the city, repairing the damage, regrowing plant life, healing the Mews and even seemingly bringing Taruto and Pai back to life.

As Aoyama falls into the abyss after expelling the Mew Aqua, Ichigo rushes to his aid and refuses to let him die. With a kiss, she transfers her life energy to him.

The lights fade, and everything falls silent. Ichigo and Aoyama lay on the ground unconscious with their hands intertwined. Aoyama awakens in the rubble, but is devastated to find Ichigo’s lifeless body laying next to him.

The other Mews arrive and grieve over their lost friend. They suddenly lose their transformations and find that they can no longer transform at all. They’re finally regular girls once more.

The girls and Aoyama have little time to process what has happened because the base will soon fall apart. With Aoyama and the other Mews as normal humans once more, they must figure out a way off the base without plummeting to their deaths.

Kisshu, revived from the Mew Aqua, offers his assistance as a form of repayment for Ichigo saving him. Pai and Taruto, realizing the situation, also rush in to help bring them back down. Kisshu reveals that the tiny bit of Mew Aqua left behind from Aoyama and Deep Blue should be enough to fix their current planet so they can save their species. They say their thanks and teleport the group back down to the ground.

The aliens take hold of the base and ensure that it dissipates without falling. A part of the base turns into a ship that they use to return home.

Shirogane reunites with the girls and learns of Ichigo’s fate. As they all finally take the time out to properly grieve, Aoyama kisses Ichigo one last time.

Surprisingly, Ichigo suddenly glows and floats in the air. She loses her cat ears and tail, and her red data animal disappears from her body. She awakens from her slumber and can now spend the rest of her life by Aoyama’s side as a normal girl.

Some time later, the lives of the former Mews have returned to normal, barring the massive forest across the city people are still trying to deal with.

The girls all coincidentally wander to the now-closed café for a walk down memory lane. As they enjoy some nostalgia, Shirogane and Akasaka appear from the shadows and explain that they’re just in time – a new enemy has appeared and Tokyo Mew Mew is needed to take them down right now!

Understandably confused, Shirogane points out that their Mew marks have all reappeared and their powers have returned. Apparently, their loss of powers was just a temporary side effect from the Mew Aqua exposure. While the girls are disappointed that their normal girl lives have once again been interrupted, they happily don their Mew gear once more and head off to save the world.

—————————

– I mentioned how the previous episodes have gotten quite the animation hike thanks to them being the finale episodes, but this episode is all over the place in quality. For the most part, the scenes are moderate, but then you have beautiful shots like the Mews on the ground before they transfer their power and then you have ick shots like this.

It’s like they were playing Hot Potato with the budget throughout the entire final episode.

– I thought they specifically said the final Mew Aqua was in the flying base. Or was the Mew Aqua within Deep Aoyama Knight the final FINAL Mew Aqua?

And if there was Mew Aqua inside Aoyama this whole time, why did it never glow when he and Ichigo had so many tender and emotional moments?

– Awwww they had Zakuro’s wolf ears twitch!

– I don’t know why Ichigo’s suddenly out of energy now besides making an excuse for the girls to transfer their power to her, but I won’t complain. It’s better than just letting them rot on the ground and do nothing.

– It’s kinda funny that, technically, Aoyama was the biggest hero in the end.

….Wait, okay, it’s not funny. Especially when coupled with the whole ‘the aliens got to do way more impressive/memorable stuff than the Mews’ thing from the previous episode.

I’m sorry, it’s just, you’d think the girls would get the most memorable/awesome/emotional things to do during the finale of a magical girl show, but almost all of it is the dudes. Not saying take those moments away from aforementioned dudes, but there’s room for everyone to have their big moment in the sun.

Yes, Ichigo gave her life to save Aoyama, but….did she? We never really get confirmation that she died. You’d think if she was dead, she’d have de-transformed, considering they de-transform when they’re exhausted, but that doesn’t happen until Aoyama kisses her awake. For all we know she was just unconscious for a long time and no one bothered to check her pulse.

And, even if she did give her life to save Aoyama, Aoyama still seemed to have saved her life right back, so, the scale is in Aoyama’s favor.

– Beautiful rainbow light show after Aoyama’s sacrifice, though. Not many ‘magical’ shows really give off such a magical vibe as this moment. It’s just so pretty.

– I don’t think Mint’s VA gives nearly enough oomph to that ‘Ichigo!’ yell to warrant the echo-y visual effect.

– I never understood how the tiny bit of Mew Aqua left behind was enough to fix the planet the aliens currently inhabit. If that were true this whole time, why did they even need to do all of this? The instant they got their hands on some Mew Aqua, their mission should have been complete. Were they really that intent on reclaiming a planet that had already been destroyed naturally once before and one they’d have to destroy again and rebuild from the ground up that they’d go through so much trouble for it?

– Part of the base just happened to be a spaceship? What? Also where’s the spaceship they came here on?

– Soooo….as I mentioned, was Ichigo ever dead or is normal human Aoyama magical? How did Ichigo ‘come back to life’? You can’t say Aoyama has more Mew Aqua in him because Kisshu took the last bit and Aoyama didn’t glow at all.

– Ah let’s treasure our one last bit of Ichigo favoritism – why was Ichigo the only one where we saw her animal leaving her and running off? Guess it fits considering we never saw the animals for the other girls fusing with them at the start either…

– What is up with Shirogane’s face here? Either his eyes are closed or his eyes are missing.

– Wow, that kinda sucks. The Mews save the world and all of humanity, and now people are complaining about them because they made a huge forest across the city that is making everything inconvenient….I mean, realistically, yes, that’d be a massive problem to suddenly have a forest covering a huge part of the city, but it’s just sad that everyone’s focusing on how they created a problem and not that they, ya know, saved the world.

– This sequel bait never made any sense to me. They all found that they couldn’t transform anymore and we even literally saw Ichigo’s cat leave her body. Yet, for some reason, the girls have their powers again. Akasaka says it was just temporary as a result of the Mew Aqua explosion, but that also makes no sense.

Since when does exposure to Mew Aqua kill their powers? It’s supposed to make them more powerful. Hell, the only reason the girls were able to transform again after losing so much energy the first time around is because Shirogane exposed them to Mew Aqua. If that is true, why was there such a delay between the Mew Aqua explosion and when the Mews all de-transformed? Why was there such a gap between when the other Mews de-transformed and when Ichigo did? Why did we see Ichigo’s cat leave her if it was just lying dormant or something?

Not to mention that, if you ask me, it kinda tarnishes the ending. The girls fought enough. They just want to be normal. It’s cool that they’re still ready and raring to go save the world from this vague ‘new enemy’ Shirogane doesn’t even bother telling the girls about before he sends them off, but I was content with the idea of the girls just living a peaceful life after all of that. Will they ever be able to live normal lives?

Why sequel bait and then follow that up with a title card that says ‘The End’ too?

I haven’t yet read the final volume of the manga, so maybe it was just following suit, but seems kinda weird is all. I know the manga has a sequel, but this kind of ending doesn’t properly lead into that story, does it?

– Oh hold the phone. Apparently we weren’t quite done with the Ichigo favoritism because, one last time, they have to have a transformation mashup and, OF COURSE, Ichigo’s the only one who has her transformation full out. The music even changes when it gets to hers. You honestly, legitimately, really couldn’t be bothered to squeeze in an extra handful of seconds worth of runtime to let every girl have their full transformation at the very last scene? Are you that intent on rustling my jimmies, Tokyo Mew Mew? I’m trying really hard to be pleasant.

——————————-

It’s been one hell of a journey, hasn’t it? Ups, downs, all-arounds. It was pretty fun going through this series again – yes, even if I raged and ranted my way through several episodes. I mean no ill-will towards this series, honestly. I have fun watching it even when it’s illogical or the annoying running issues keep popping up. I wouldn’t have watched this series so many times if I hated it or didn’t enjoy myself while watching it.

It’s just that those disappointments that tend to get to me above all, like the utter neglect of the other Mews and the Ichigo favoritism, didn’t need to happen. They were beyond easily fixable. Not to mention that after watching this series numerous times and knowing how shafted the girls get the whole way through makes me a little saltier each time. But I’m quite certain you’re done listening to me jabber on about that, so let’s just move on to my thoughts on the final episode.

It was very much….okay. I hate saying that because I really wanted to sing the finale’s praises after a handful of really good episodes building up to it, but the finale just doesn’t stand up as well as the previous few episodes. The emotional impacts didn’t hit me as much, the action wasn’t on the same level, and they even made the mind-boggling decision to make the final episode, of all things, have very inconsistent animation quality. I’m glad they saved the money for the better finale episodes, and the episode only has a few scenes that look really blech-y, but it’s still just weird to have such noticeable quality shifts in the penultimate episode.

The finale does have its moments, such as the reunion between Aoyama and Ichigo, Aoyama sacrificing himself to restore the earth and lives that were lost at his hand, the really beautiful rainbow light show, and Ichigo…’sacrificing-ish’ herself to save Aoyama, but the rest is a mess of convenient coincidences that neatly tie up literally everything and somehow manages to feel rushed. Everything is either explained away by ‘Mew Aqua did it’ or fixed by the Mew Aqua, and you can’t do that. It’s just lazy.

I was also disappointed that we didn’t get more time with the aliens before they left. No touching reunion between Taruto and Pudding at least? I wanted to see a better sendoff than them literally only thanking Ichigo for saving them before leaving. And even barring the obvious annoyance with that, Aoyama’s technically the one who saved them….

And then their final scene is…somehow sensing that Ichigo’s okay while they’re in deep space?

In regards to action, I was kinda bummed that all this Mew Aqua was around but we didn’t get any cool new attack or technique or transformation or anything as a final hurrah. They didn’t even bring the Mew Aqua Rod back out.

Finally, I may be in the minority of this, but I didn’t really want to see them taking up the mantle of the Mews again at the end. Can’t they just live in peace? Shouldn’t Shirogane and Akasaka be able to move on with their lives?

Even this sudden turnaround was so ridiculously convenient. The Mews, who haven’t seen each other in weeks or months, all ended up at the café at the same time somehow (I don’t think their powers lead them there. If that were true, the other girls would never have needed to be found in the beginning of the series) and Shirogane and Akasaka just happen to be waiting for them with a new assignment to fight a new vague enemy right then. Shirogane and Akasaka are not in the least bit guilty about this when they promised they could return to being normal girls after the alien threat was eliminated?

Again, it’s cool that they’re fine with returning to superherodom, but I’m just a bit disappointed that they’ll seemingly never see an end to the fighting.

But, at the end of the day, the series finale is very much okay. It’s fine. It’s not topping any ‘Best finale’ lists of mine, but it’s certainly not approaching any worst lists either.

And with this I finally close out this Shoujo Step-By-Step that has technically been going on for seven years. I wish I was kidding, but apparently that’s my abysmal consistency in completing these series. I first did the Sub/Dub Comparison for the first episode of Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power, which acts as the start of this review series, back on a different website in June 02, 2013 (Fitting that I’m also ending in June, damn near on the seventh anniversary no less.) I am such a terrible blogger. Lol

But, hey, I’m still not done with this franchise. I still have to complete the AniManga Clash and the review of Tokyo Mew Mew A La Mode. Not to mention that there’s a new manga out, though I’m not sure if it’s finished or available in English yet, and a reboot is coming sometime soon.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews on this series. I’ve certainly had fun writing about it and talking about it with all of you. Thank you for being patient with me through the rough spots and enjoying the good moments alongside me. See ya around, nya~!

…Previous Episode


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SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 51: The Final Battle! I Believe in Your Smile

Plot: The girls clash with Deep Blue again, but their attacks still have no effect. Done with the fighting, Deep Blue decides to end everything by summoning a massive floating base and retreating into it to implement the final phase of his plan. Pai is left behind to take care of the Mews.

According to Akasaka, the last bit of Mew Aqua is contained within that base. Deep Blue plans on concentrating that power into a blast that will annihilate the earth. The Mews try to rush in to stop him, but Pai stands in their way, vehemently defending the base and Deep Blue from their interference in their plans.

He creates a Chimera Animal that looks strikingly like the one that murdered Shirogane’s parents when he was a child and sics it on the girls. While Lettuce, Pudding and Mint fight the Chimera Animal and Zakuro fights Pai, Ichigo tries to infiltrate the base.

Pai won’t let himself be distracted, however, and moves to strike her. In a surprising twist, Taruto comes in to defend her. He’s tired of the fighting and doesn’t wish to see everything and everyone on the planet perish – even if that means fighting his friend.

While Pai is slightly sympathetic with his old comrade, he still doesn’t hesitate to strike him down in one fell swoop. Taruto is made the first casualty of this final battle, devastating Pudding.

As the Mews fight off both Pai and his Chimera Animal, Ichigo makes her way through the desolate base to Deep Blue. As soon as she gets through the doorway, and without a word spoken, Deep Blue starts his assault on Ichigo.

Meanwhile, Lettuce uses herself as a shield to block Shirogane from an attack from the Chimera Animal. Mint and Pudding pick up the slack, and Zakuro sets out to end her battle with Pai.

Deep Blue reveals that he plans on destroying everything in this planet, revitalizing it and keeping it for himself – not giving the planet over the Kisshu, Pai and Taruto’s species as he promised. Ichigo is about to endure another strike by Deep Blue when Kisshu arrives, seemingly pleading for Deep Blue’s forgiveness and offering to kill Ichigo in his stead since killing humans is below one such as him. Once Deep Blue stands down, however, Kisshu teleports back and puts a sai to his neck. He doesn’t care if he lied about giving the planet to the aliens or if he destroys the earth, but he won’t let him kill Ichigo.

As Kisshu attempts to finish off Deep Blue, he is met with a swift sword strike to the stomach. A tearful Ichigo rushes to his aid, but Kisshu can’t even gather the energy to kiss her one last time before he collapses in her arms.

Ichigo makes a desperate plea to Deep Blue as she readies her bell for battle, but this time it seems as though her words have effect. Deep Blue yells out in agony, causing the Mew Aqua within him to glow. The base reacts and shoots off numerous beams of energy that are atomizing anything they touch – including the Chimera Animal they were fighting. As a massive beam heads for the Mews and Shirogane, Pai, shockingly, has a change of heart. Remembering Lettuce’s words to him previously, Pai whips out his strongest attack to deflect the energy beam and save their lives, seemingly sacrificing himself in the process.

As the dust settles from the destruction, the other Mews lay alive but down for the count. Ichigo awakens in the rubble of the wrecked base to see…..Aoyama?

Breakdown:

– Ah, cool. The girls kinda get new animations for their attacks. It’s just their weapons glowing as they say their attack names, but it still looks cool.

– I’d give it more points if their attacks didn’t collect in Ichigo’s bell so she could use it as her own attack…..

– Am I imagining things or does Deep Blue look quite a bit different than he did the past couple episodes? Maybe it’s just the slight hike in animation quality.

– How exactly did all of the Mew Aqua get so scattered? The aliens had access to at least some that they could lock away, but the rest was spread out over Japan. Did it get created naturally over time or was it scattered before the aliens left?

– So….Pai, right now, created the Chimera Animal that killed Shirogane’s parents? He reacts as if it is, and even the subtitles say this is the same one. Or is this just a Chimera Animal that looks exactly like it? I have to assume it’s the latter somehow because the former doesn’t make any sense. However, even if the latter is more correct, that still leaves the mystery as to where the Chimera Animal that killed Ryou’s parents is.

– Annndddd….the girls are relegated to the ‘I’ll take care of these guys while the hero does the actual important stuff’ role. Yup. That’s about right.

– Yay Taruto joining the Mew side!

– Damn, Pudding breaking down over Taruto is heartwrenching. 😦

– They really nailed the ‘final boss’ vibes with Ichigo walking through the empty palace-like base on her way to the main room while organ music plays.

– What exactly is the deal with this Chimera Animal? Before, the girls were taking on 100 Chimera Animals apiece with little issue. Now, three of them are teamed up against one (Zakuro’s fighting Pai) and they’re getting their asses kicked. Shouldn’t they also be super rejuvenated since they were all just exposed to some Mew Aqua? I know they were tired before, but the Mew Aqua should have been enough to bring them back to full strength so the final battle wouldn’t be so one-sided.

I’m not saying have the final battle against the Chimera Animal that killed Shirogane’s parents be quick and boring, with the skew more towards the Mews, but at least give us some buildup to it; a reason this thing is more powerful than the others. All it’s done this whole time is fly around and hit things yet they still can’t even really damage it.

– But, still, aw for Lettuce protecting Shirogane.

– Even when Kisshu goes full good guy, he still has to prove to be a little messed up by saying Deep Blue can have the earth, but he’ll never let him touch Ichigo.

– Kisshu was skewered with a sword through the stomach, but, like last time, there’s no wound. It’s just weird, because last time he was wounded, even though they didn’t show the wound initially, later on they did show blood all over. Here, there’s nothing.

– Maybe the flashback clipshow that Ichigo’s having of Kisshu shouldn’t include all those times he’s tried to kill her?

– I feel bad for laughing, but Ichigo’s hand was right behind Kisshu’s head when he was trying to kiss her, but when he died she just let him fall down.

– Each girl individually has yet to get their own battle/time to shine, but I’m at least appreciating Zakuro vs. Pai and Mint vs. the Chimera Animal. It’s not the most epic battle, but it’s still relatively exciting.

– Interestingly, Deep Blue’s face looks a lot softer and sympathetic after Kisshu dies and Ichigo makes her speech, perhaps hinting at the return of Aoyama. Could just be a coincidence, but interesting either way.

– I don’t know why I completely forgot that the body in front of Ichigo in Aoyama’s dream was Kisshu. You’d think I’d retain such an important detail. Man, my memory blows.

– Oh BULLSHIT! The Chimera Animal that killed Shirogane’s parents isn’t even beaten by the other Mews – it’s defeated by a random beam of energy shot from the base when Deep Blue went nuts? Come on! That was their one and only thing that was theirs to fight (considering Pai turns heel) Not only that, but what a lackluster resolution to such an important part of Shirogane’s backstory….

– I’ll be honest, I never got the PaixLettuce shipping thing. They had even less teasing than ShiroganexLettuce, and it just seems weird. It’s nice that Lettuce’s words and actions helped change his mind, but on a romantic level, I have never been able to see it.

– Even though I totally get Taruto’s change of heart and Kisshu’s, it’s always been harder for me to accept Pai’s. He knew all along that the entire world and everything and everyone in it would get destroyed by Deep Blue. He struck down Taruto without flinching to help him achieve this end. He listened to Lettuce’s speeches without giving a damn. But now, out of the blue (pun totally intended) he’s just suddenly decided to fight for the good guys just because he suddenly remembered Lettuce’s words to him?

Keep in mind, he doesn’t yet know that Deep Blue intends on keeping this planet for himself and not making some utopia for the aliens, which would have been a perfect reason for Pai to have a little redemption arc – realize the horrible things he’s done in Deep Blue’s name when Deep Blue was lying all along.

– Zakuro: “We’ve done all that we can until now.”

Mint: “Please, Ichigo.”

Lettuce: “The rest is up to you….You must protect the earth.”

Alright, last time I’m going to talk about this. I promise.

Actually….*sigh* Is it even worth it? Because that pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? We’ve done all we can. Which isn’t all that much.

Not on their end – but more from a writing standpoint, ya know? I applaud them for their efforts, really I do. Keep in mind, they’ve been fighting their asses off for hours now. But…at the end of the day….They didn’t…DO much, ya know? The ones who actually got big memorable moments….were the aliens. The guys who have been the enemies this whole series.

Let’s go down the list of what the girls got to do in the final battle.

Altogether: Fought hundreds of Chimera Animals, but they weren’t even actual enemies, they were distractions.

Got their asses kicked about….uhm…I’ll say four times between Deep Blue and the Chimera Animal. Damage to Deep Blue – Zilch.

Damage to Chimera Animal – they landed hits, but it didn’t seem affected by anything so, also zilch.

Acted as distractions for the lesser threats so Ichigo could save the day.

Mint: She got to fight one-on-one with the Chimera Animal. Neat fight, but didn’t beat it.

Pudding: Jack squat. She had an emotional moment with Taruto that was sweet, but that’s about it.

Lettuce: Saved Shirogane, which was pretty cool, but it wasn’t like a big sacrifice moment like with Kisshu or Taruto, nor did she get to kill the Chimera Animal. That would’ve been a nice and fitting moment for her (and Shirogane), but nope.

Zakuro: Fought Pai one-on-one, which is almost certainly the coolest thing any of the strawberry-free Mews did, but not really all that great of a battle and she didn’t even defeat Pai in the end.

If I recall correctly, I’m pretty sure all they do in the final episode is just give their energy to Ichigo so she can power up her bell for an attack, so this is really all they do for the finale.

Compare that to;

Taruto: Nobly fought his old comrade, letting Ichigo escape into the base and sacrificing himself to save Pudding, the other Mews, the earth and humanity.

Kisshu: Tried to take on Deep Blue directly to save Ichigo’s life with a slick bait and switch and paid for it with his own life.

Pai: Summoned a massive lightning blast with huge fans to combat an even massiver energy blast of Mew Aqua that leveled about a half mile radius so he could save the lives of the other Mews and Shirogane.

And now it’s all up to Ichigo. Though, to be fair, outside of playing defense, she hasn’t been doing much either. She’s been very reactionary through most of this arc. It’s understandable, given the circumstances, but most of what she’s done so far is just clash with Deep Blue, plead with him and cry. Everyone else has been doing most of the fighting to this point.

I’m not angry, Tokyo Mew Mew. Not anymore. It’s time to move on. I’m just…disappointed.

– Ichigo has no pupils when she awakens after all that.

– Aw the next (er, I guess final) episode preview is so sweet.

—————————–

I know I had more notes this time around, but I still think this episode’s on the same level as the previous couple of episodes. The action is intense, the emotional moments hit you pretty hard, especially Pudding’s moment with Taruto, and the ending was a great mixture of both emotion and tense action. It was also a great spot to end on before the big finale.

I’m just eternally disappointed that this is all the other Mews end up doing in the finale and that was the big crescendo to the Chimera Animal that killed Shirogane’s parents (Still not sure that even was the same Chimera Animal. The logic isn’t adding up.)

Again, it really just seems like the aliens got the best moments, even amongst themselves like Pai and Taruto, and Kisshu and Deep Blue. And as much as I prattle on about Ichigo favoritism, the aliens even eclipsed her here. She spent most of the episode going to Deep Blue. She had a brief battle with Deep Blue, which was moreso her blocking his blasts, and then her plea triggered Deep Blue’s identity crisis.

The aliens did need their times to shine too if they were ever going to be redeemed, but I feel like it was at the expense of the other Mews and that just bothers me a little. Maybe just squeeze in one more episode or omit a filler episode to make room for another finale arc episode to really give everyone elbow room.

Pai’s turnaround was also a bit too sudden and out of left field for me to really believe it. I know they wanted to redeem all of the aliens, but the way they went about it with Pai was sloppy. Either establish more of a link between him and Lettuce, romantic or not, so her pleas more obviously get to him as the episodes went on or have him learn that Deep Blue doesn’t intend on holding up his part of the bargain with the aliens.

Taruto’s turn was believable because we know he’s a bit more sensitive, being younger, and we watched him bond with Pudding a few times now. One whole episode was basically dedicated to their budding friendship, and he ended up saving her life out of sympathy.

Kisshu’s been puppy dogging after Ichigo since day one – it’s fully understandable for this already heel-turned character to turn heel fully to the side of good and make the ultimate sacrifice.

Pai’s been stubbornly on Deep Blue’s side this entire time, knowing his intentions with the planet and everything. He’s never shown a shred of sympathy for anyone else besides his comrades, and he even turned on them when he ‘killed’ Taruto, who is also a child, mind you, all in the name of Deep Blue.

It was just jarring is all. It’s like Pai’s turnaround was a complete afterthought.

Finally, the art and animation, outside of one or two weird spots, was top-notch in this episode. I really liked that we at least got a little more variation with the Mews’ attacks in the end, even if it is just a bit of glowing. Some shots are really pretty and beautifully drawn.

The finale is up next! Ichigo has gotten through to Aoyama and brought his soul up to the surface of Deep Blue, but can he maintain this control? Can Deep Blue be stopped once and for all? Can the Mews truly save the world from utter destruction? Find out in the final episode!

….Previous Episode


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SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 49: The Awakening of Blue – Another Appearance!

Plot: As the girls get ready to open the café, Shirogane makes a startling announcement – there is no need to open the café anymore. The staff of Café Mew Mew is going on vacation for a while. The reason? Shirogane and Akasaka are detecting wild energy signals in Tokyo similar to those detected during the previous massive disasters in other regions of Japan. The energy is growing more and more, but the odd thing is that no physical or visible disturbances have been reported in the area.

Shirogane and Akasaka are fearing the worst. The biggest battle of their lives might be just around the corner. In order to recharge everyone’s batteries and prepare, they thought it best to let the girls have a long vacation. While they’re all clearly concerned about what the future holds, they take Shirogane up on his offer and decide to take a break.

While all of the girls enjoy some down time, Ichigo discovers that Aoyama is mysteriously missing. He’s wandering the streets in a stupor towards some unknown destination – if he has any destination at all.

Back with the aliens, Kisshu explains to Taruto and Pai that he plans on taking the Blue Knight’s power and using that to restore their planet instead of relying on Deep Blue and waiting for him to awaken. He proposes that Taruto and Pai leave Deep Blue’s side and join his mission instead. While Taruto is more than willing to help out Kisshu, optimistic that his plan can work over Deep Blue’s promises, Pai can’t find it within himself to betray Deep Blue and refuses. Knowing that they’ll likely be enemies from here on out, Pai, Taruto and Kisshu part ways.

Kisshu and Taruto unleash Kisshu’s grand master plan. Over the time he’s been separated from Deep Blue, he’s been working on creating a massive legion of over 500 Chimera Animals to unleash on the city. Spread out over Tokyo, the girls will be distracted away from Kisshu’s real target – Aoyama, or more to the point, the Blue Knight. He doesn’t even really want all of Aoyama. He wants to extract his spirit. That way he has the Blue Knight’s power without the fuss of having Aoyama.

His plan seemingly works. While Shirogane eventually figures out that Aoyama’s the target, the girls are way too busy fighting Chimera Animals all over the city to help search for him. Ichigo’s focus is on Aoyama, but even she’s getting pulled aside to fight.

Kisshu and Taruto start extracting Aoyama’s spirit….but there’s a problem. The spirit won’t emerge – and when Aoyama breaks free of their assault, Kisshu and Taruto freeze in fear at the mere feeling of the power lying beneath Aoyama’s exterior.

Despite this, Aoyama falls unconscious. The aliens are confused, but they resolve to take Aoyama entirely – opting to figure out a way to extract his spirit later.

Thanks to the energy signal Aoyama emitted before he fell, Shirogane is able to get a lock on his location and sends the girls there. Ichigo arrives first, and her determination to protect Aoyama sends a much meeker Kisshu reeling back. At her call to him, Aoyama starts transforming while still unconscious.

Yet again, things take a turn for the peculiar.

The Blue Knight suddenly glows radiantly and all of the Mew Aqua in the area starts honing in on his location. In a massive surge of energy and a flash of colorful light – a figure emerges. He looks like the Blue Knight, but as the smoke clears, the truth is revealed.

Aoyama is actually Deep Blue. He has finally fully awakened, and he’s prepared to lay claim over the earth.

Breakdown:

– I find it rather touching that Akasaka and Shirogane do clearly feel guilty that they put all of this danger and responsibility on the shoulders of the girls.

– All of these quiet moments with the girls (along with this sweet, gentle song) are very nice. It’s good to see them get some quiet time and reflection before the end comes.

– Yet another instance of Lettuce/Shirogane ship tease. This one’s really sweet, too. I still don’t get the purpose of this. You don’t have to make them endgame, but don’t waste my and everyone else’s time by doing this stuff and not even bringing it up in dialogue. Even with Shirogane and Ichigo they bring it up numerous times, despite obviously not being endgame.

I’m probably just a salty shipper, but you’re sinking a ship you built in port, writers. Hell, you’re not even done building the ship. It shouldn’t be in the water. Considering Ichigo has three viable love interests who are fully infatuated with her, you could let one of the other girls have one. Just…just…one.

I’m not counting that guy that Lettuce had a crush on who was both way older than her and about to get engaged to another woman. I also don’t count Pudding’s fiance, because that makes me really uncomfortable because of the age gap and I still don’t think Pudding likes him like that. I mean an actual two way street. Sometimes, it’s nice to let the other girls have–*Rambling rant alarm* Oh fine, I’ll stop beating the dead horse.

– Sooo…the girls typically have to team up to take down one Chimera Animal, but Shirogane has no real doubt that the girls can take on around 100 Chimera Animals individually? Eh, I won’t really harp on this since, if true, this is pretty much a confirmed power boost to the girls.

– Is uh…someone gonna come by and help Pudding actually destroy her enemies? Because her attack only seals them in jello.

– Also, why are the Chimera Animals fully disappearing when defeated? Aren’t they just infected animals? Once they get defeated, they typically revert back to normal. Does this mean I’m actually watching a bunch of animals die?

– Let me guess….Ichigo’s the only Mew who gets a full transformation today.

(One set of transformation sequences later)

Yup……The other transformations were only barely edited, but still. Jimmies are a little rustled.

– Pretty badass reveal of Aoyama’s true identity being Deep Blue. I always thought that was cool.

A little ironic that his eyes glow red as he becomes Deep Blue, though. I know red=evil but still.

– Kudos to the art and animation in the episode, by the way. It’s really nice. Top notch for the series.

————————————-

Overall, really awesome episode. My complaints are really just surface level stuff, even the little mini-rant about Lettuce and Shirogane isn’t technically important, even if it does make me sad.

From start to finish, practically everything in this episode was at its best. Nice, quiet moments with the girls, even if the weight of the future is hanging closely overhead. Intriguing mystery concerning what’s wrong with Aoyama and why he’s wandering around in a stupor. The aliens going their separate ways. A massive 500+ Chimera Animal attack with all of the girls getting individual battles. And, of course, the reveal of our main baddie, Deep Blue, and the revelation that Aoyama was Deep Blue this whole time.

Plus, the music was awesome – I especially appreciate them knowing when to use silence effectively (COUGHCOUGH4KIDSCOUGHCOUGH) and even the next episode preview was well done.

Yes, everyone. I am finally at an episode of Tokyo Mew Mew where I am almost entirely positive.

Told ya I’d get there.

Let’s let the goodness continue.

Next episode, Ichigo has to confront the truth about Aoyama and they all have to prepare for the wrath that Deep Blue is sure to bring upon earth.

….Previous Episode


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SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 50: Ichigo’s Trial – I Am A Mew Mew

Plot: The truth has been revealed – Aoyama was secretly Deep Blue the whole time.

Pai explains that Deep Blue is actually an amalgamation of all three beings. His spirit resided in the DNA of humans, and eventually his being split off into two mediums, Aoyama and the Blue Knight. However, his true form could not emerge unless he had met the proper conditions. Ironically, all of the conflict with the Mews triggered his Aoyama and Blue Knight forms to meet with his spirit and eventually awaken his true form. In the process, both Aoyama and the Blue Knight were erased from existence. There is only Deep Blue now.

Ichigo, paralyzed in shock, refuses to believe what she’s being told. She begs and pleads for Aoyama to remember her, but she’s only met with an icy stare that is soon replaced with an onslaught of attacks.

After Pudding and Ichigo have both been downed by Deep Blue, the girls resort to their only option – they may all be friends with Aoyama, and Ichigo may love him, but they have no choice – they must attack.

Ichigo, however, is still processing all of this. And now, she can’t believe that her friends have to resort to fighting Aoyama. While they give a good effort, the girls are quickly felled easily by Deep Blue.

Still lost in a delusion brought on by grief, Ichigo walks towards Deep Blue, showing him the bell Aoyama gave her and asking him to remember her. He swats the bell out of her hands and prepares to attack her. The other Mews stand in the way of the massive blast and get slammed into the nearby wall, causing them to de-transform.

Ichigo goes to them, still in a haze – confused as to what’s happening. Mint slaps her in the face and tells her that, while it’s understandable to need to grieve at this time, it’s also their responsibility to do what needs to be done to save humanity. She and the other Mews remind her of how much she’s brightened up their lives and all the good she’s done as a Mew, and now they need her to get up and continue being Mew Ichigo for the sake of the entire world. They return her bell to her, and Ichigo becomes reinvigorated by their words.

Just as she’s about to get back into the game, Deep Blue swings his powered-up sword and slams it into the ground, causing massive destruction within a mile radius. The Mews are able to weather the attack, but the other damage has been done.

Taruto, surprisingly, joins their side. He damns Deep Blue for his plan and supports a weakened Pudding. The other girls all get up behind Ichigo as she swallows her pain and sets out to attack as Deep Blue rears up for another assault.

As her Ribbon Strawberry Surprise and his powerful sword clash, she tries to remember Aoyama and everything they went through together. While she seemingly accepts that Pai was right and there is no Aoyama anymore, only Deep Blue, she resolves that she will wait to see his smile again no matter what.

Despite her power and resolve, Ichigo is starting to lose the battle against Deep Blue. As she staggers, Ryou (in Alto form) comes in to save her, cutting Deep Blue’s cheek in the process. Ichigo apologizes to Ryou, explaining that her voice no longer reaches Aoyama, but Ryou argues that that’s not true. There was a reason she was chosen to be a Mew, and her voice can certainly get through to him and save the world.

Ryou gives the other Mews the last bit of Mew Aqua that they have in order for them to transform yet again. Back in Mew form and ready for their final battle, the girls group up and attack Deep Blue.

For the sake of the planet Aoyama loved so much, they will defeat him no matter what.

———————————-

– I think it’s a bit overboard for Ichigo to nearly faint at the Deep Blue revelation. But this is anime, where girls are constantly fainting.

– Maybe he just figured this out right now, but Pai is talking as if he knew all along that Aoyama, the Blue Knight and Deep Blue were one and the same. If so, he’s either got a really good poker face or a lot of his past actions have become quite confusing. And if he did know the whole time, did Pai figure it out himself or did Deep Blue tell him? If so, why not tell Kisshu or Taruto?

– The solidarity that the girls have when they react to the Deep Blue revelation is quite sweet. Mint in particular surprised me by explaining that she always admired the relationship the two of them had.

– Wow. Mint’s second Mint Echo was really cool with the way she flipped and shot.

– Okay, I understand that Ichigo is really just…not here right now. She’s still in shock and everything, but when it reaches a point where she’s so delusional that she’s putting the other girls in harm’s way, that’s when I start getting agitated. Ichigo would have died if the others didn’t jump in front of her.

However, I won’t really rant about this because they do handle this situation quite well. Mint slapping her and ramming her back into reality was exactly what I wanted to see happen.

I can fully understand her being in shock and not wanting to believe what she’s witnessing, and it’s nice that the girls gave her time to weep while they took on the battle for a while, but they have a job to do and they know they can’t afford to allow her to stay like that forever. The longer she does, the more they and the world are put at risk.

It’s not that Mint and the other Mews are jerks about it either. After Mint literally slaps some sense into Ichigo, which was necessary, she and the other girls all give her sweet words of encouragement to help get her back up and into battle to save humanity. It may hurt, and it may suck, but that’s the situation presented before them.

It’s also for Aoyama’s sake. The Aoyama she knew would never want innocent lives to be snuffed out or for the earth to be destroyed by his hand. It’s not just about saving the world, it’s about stopping him from suffering the guilt of doing such a thing if Aoyama is still alive somewhere in Deep Blue.

– Okay, so the whole thing about them hypocritically destroying the environment while also trying to reclaim the earth for themselves wasn’t nonsensical, it was just the aliens wanting to ‘reset’ the world before calling their kind back to it……No wait, that’s still nonsensical. Do they have the ability to quickly regrow plants and respawn untold numbers of animal species? Do they have a whole ecosystem of their own animal species they want to transport here? I find it doubtful many animal species can live on their current planet if it’s such a challenge for their own species to survive.

They could have just left it at them wanting to destroy all of humanity and anything manmade. I really can’t wrap my head around why they’d want to destroy all living beings. Just seems like it would damage their cause or otherwise be a massive hassle for them for little reason.

– Wow, thousands of people had to have died in that first strike considering all the buildings that were destroyed.

– Pudding only mentioned needing to protect her brothers as she got up. She has a sister too.

– N’aw! Taruto holding Pudding up and asking if she’s okay. N’aw!

– Even n’awer him apologizing and Pudding saying she’s 100x stronger now that he’s here! I love these two so much.

– So…were Taruto and Kisshu also unaware of Deep Blue’s intentions on destroying the world (before reinvigorating it, I guess) while Pai knew?

– That monologue and clip show of Ichigo’s memories of Aoyama was very touching.

– Am I not understanding something? Why did Ryou need to be in Alto form when he came in? I mean, he managed to scratch Deep Blue’s face, but he could have easily saved Ichigo without transforming.

– *Ryou jumps over massive crater* ?!?!

……Well…I guess I can just chalk this up to Ryou’s Mew powers, right? Ichigo has similar abilities when she’s not transformed, so I suppose it only makes sense that Ryou has some, even if he doesn’t have an actual Mew form (outside of Alto.)

– Ryou: “You are the chosen super lady.” This isn’t the subtitles because I can specifically hear Ryou say “super lady.” I dunno, it’s just such a weird way to phrase that.

– Ryou: “So the one who can save the earth….Mew Ichigo. Only you can do it.”

Ryou: “Also, Lettuce, Mint, Pudding and Zakuro, your role…”

Zakuro: “I know. In order for Mew Ichigo to get the Mew Aqua in the end…”

Trying so hard to shove down the blatant Ichigo favoritism on display here as the girls are literally relegated to ‘helpers’ while Ichigo is ‘the only one who can save the earth.’ I am holding out that hope that maybe the other Mews have some big finale moment that I’m just forgetting about, but that line kinda dimmed that hope. It’s even more troublesome because I definitely remember the aliens’ big moment but nothing is coming to mind in regards to the other Mews.

I mean, at least they’re allowed to re-transform after all that, but still.

– And even in their last transformation of the series (I presume) they can’t give the other girls their full transformation sequences….

—————————————————

I really do like this episode a lot, just not quite as much as the previous one, and, as petty as this is, yes, the only thing marring it enough for me to say it’s not at the same exact level as the previous episode is that frickin’ line about how Ichigo’s the only one who can save the earth and the other girls are basically just helping still.

Being absolutely fair, they kinda did get their time to shine…ish in this episode since they fought valiantly against Deep Blue. But even their combined efforts couldn’t make him flinch. Ichigo alone could clash energies with him head on for well over a minute before starting to falter.

And even though I did like Mint slapping some sense into Ichigo and the other girls building her back up to get back into battle, that is also technically more them getting focus because they’re supporting Ichigo.

I know, I’m sorry, it really seems like I’m harping too much on this, but I can’t help it. When I first made my review on Tokyo Mew Mew way back in the day, this aspect of the series was definitely annoying enough to note a few times. I thought rewatching this after so many years might give me a new view on this. Maybe there were moments I didn’t really give enough credit to. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as my inexperienced reviewer brain thought.

Now, even though I have gained more respect for certain aspects of this series on this rewatch, the favoritism thing has only gotten worse the more I analyze the episodes. Before, I was really only complaining about how the girls don’t get more weapons and attacks or animal traits when not transformed like Ichigo does, or how Ichigo gets like every guy falling in love with her but the girls get practically nothing in the romance department, but now I realize how much the other Mews regularly take a back seat to Ichigo. Sometimes, they’re in the trunk!

Like I said, that bit of hope that my horrible goo pile of a memory is working against me is the girls each have their own bright moments to shine in the last two episode is still alive, but each episode that goes by makes me increasingly worried.

But enough of that malarkey, we’re heading into the final stretch and the entire world’s on the line! Can’t Ichigo’s voice truly make it through to Aoyama, if he is still inside Deep Blue somewhere? Can the Mews save the world from Deep Blue’s destruction? And what of the other aliens? Will they stand in their way?

…Previous Episode


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