Manga adaptation by Yumeta Company & Graphinica
Streaming on HIDIVE
In a new adaptation of Reiko Yoshida and Mia Ikumi’s classic manga, Ichigo Momomiya has just begun her high-school life and is already preoccupied with asking out her crush Aoyama. On their first date though things take a funny turn as she’s zapped by a mysterious ray which gives her the powers of the Iriomote Cat. Now she has to band together with a group of other girls with animal powers to battle an alien invasion!
Remember when magical girl shows were things that were squarely aimed at young girls, as opposed to the grimdark edgefests we get most of the time these days? Tokyo Mew Mew New hopes you not only remember those times, but that you pine for them too. That’s not meant to be a criticism though, but rather an endorsement – TMMN looks to recapture the more innocent spirit and blithe charm of those days, and I think it does a decent job at doing so.
There won’t be anything here that will surprise fans of the original manga or the 2002 TV series. This new version makes a few cuts for clarity and condenses some sequences (we lose the full day of Ichigo acting like a cat for example) but largely sticks closely to its source material. That means we get a decidedly late 90s/early 00s visual presentation, all poofy hair and lashings of ribbons. The mood and tone are very close to its forebears too, which is to say this is a very classic magical girl setup in the Sailor Moon mould, with goofy monsters to fight, a battling team of magical girls with distinctly quirky personalities, and even a useless but cute mascot. Yet since it’s been a while since this formula has been omnipresent, it all feels surprisingly fresh. The environmental theme is more relevant today than it’s ever been and the little bits of modernity sprinkled in, like the enjoyably lush transformation sequence. In short, TMMN largely trades on its old-school values, but those values are as solid as they ever were, and given how little we see of them these days it’s a charming, rather than a frustrating, anachronism.
I’ve never seen the original Tokyo Mew Mew, but watching this was like opening a time capsule. It is unapologetically 90s in as many ways as they can get away with, complete with chibi cut-ins and wacky asides that have fallen out of fashion. Heck, the modern, glitzy transformation sequence almost felt incongruous after the kooky hijinks that made up the first two thirds of the episode. I guess Precure is carrying the torch of this kind of show these days, and I don’t think I”d really sit down and watch any more of it, but I did enjoy what I saw. They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.