It’s time to talk about an absolutely brutal manga that is just awful on so many levels. Man this one was bad and I had a bad feeling about it right from the jump. The original Tokyo Mew Mews may not have been fantastic manga but they at least had a lot of fun moments and cool things happening at all times. This one? It’s trying its very best to be a nonstop reverse harem at all costs while destroying all of the characters in the process. Even having some serious fights was not enough to save this one.
So the plot starts out rather similar to the main series but in reverse. Shibuya is a rather shy guy who keeps to himself. Some think he’s cool in an aloof way while others just think he’s a jerk but he doesn’t care. Unfortunately, a mad scientist (The mother of his crush Anzu) ends up firing off a powerful energy blast that transforms 5 teenage guys into cat warriors. Shibuya is now the leader of this Mew Mew group and he has to try and hide this from the world or he will be a laughing stock.
The only way to get rid of these powers is to find a bunch of “Mew Aqua” crystals. Along the way he will also have to fight off powerful Chimera monsters and a villain group led by Deep Blue who seem to want to destroy the planet. Along the way Shibuya must now try to confess his feelings for Anzu. The tough part is that the other 4 guys are in love with her as well and the same is true for the 3 big villains. Anzu loves the attention from the 8 guys but the problem is that she is slowly falling for all of them as well. Can she choose…must she choose? She will have to handle this carefully.
The original Mew Mew series was a classy affair. The cat gimmick may have been a bit much but hey it was a classic magical girl show about fighting monsters. You had a wholesome romance with the nice guy and the “bad boy” trying his best to get the lead’s attention. The romance itself may have been super weak but the show as a whole was just classic. This series just feels desperate right off the jump. The whole series is about getting in as much shipping as possible and it’s absolutely nonstop.
The plot even curves around this for no reason. Let me give you an example here real quick. One aspect of this is how the Mew Mew formula not only turns you into a cat but it also affects your personality this time. Shibuya is forced to yell stuff like “Pleased to be of service”! and every time he tries to gag himself but it’s too late. By the end of the series he stops resisting but apparently it’s something that happens to all of the characters. Part of the transformation is a mental suggestion that forces you to strike up different poses and say crazy catchphrases. This is obviously not serving any point except to try and make the characters as embarrassed as possible. It’s not a good look.
Then there is the romance which is awful. As mentioned in the intro, everybody likes Anzu. They just can’t stop thinking about her and while it’s obvious that she will choose Shibuya in the end, did we need everyone to fall for her like this? It’s just really excessive but the absolute worst part of it is that Anzu gets her own feelings confused as well. If she was just being very stoic about it the whole time or patronizing that would help but when she actually starts to think that she likes the other guys as well then it becomes an issue.
The series could have easily tried to make Anzu better by being decisive but this was just here for the drama. At the end of the day the whole series is just here for a lot of shipping. You even have the guys showing off so much that they all start to be in awe at times. At one point they’re stranded at the desert and have to make some desperate crazy calls. The plot takes a backseat all of the time and so this ends up being a horrible manga. Every single moment is weaker than its original incarnation but not by a little, it’s by a lot. There is no reason to actually read this manga in the end. There’s just no replay value here and it feels like the worst possible way to continue the franchise. I’m glad the original show got a reboot so people can check that out instead.
So as you can see, I didn’t like Anzu as the main heroine. She’s just not decisive enough and gets kidnapped a whole lot. Anzu may have been brave to enter the villain base on her own at one point but she’s captured so effortlessly that it just makes the whole decision look bad. Shibuya is also bad as the main guy because he is way too timid. He also has no control over his cat form so he will suddenly get real serious and possessive, then back to normal. These massive mood swings don’t help his character in the slightest or help you see how Anzu could have fallen for him in the first place.
Yoyogi is the smart member of the group so expect him to be talking down to everyone all the time. It isn’t very impressive though considering that his abilities aren’t even above the others and intelligence barely matters in this series. You either land your attack and destroy the enemy or you don’t. There’s no room for big fancy plans or any of that stuff. This guy’s annoying all the way through and you know he has no shot at the romance either way. While you can’t have a team without a bunch of team members, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to this guy. There’s nothing interesting or endearing about him.
Ryusei is the youngest one of the group and he’s very headstrong as a result. Usually I like that kind of character but of course it’s more to show him as the naïve character who gets some feelings for Anzu but isn’t able to express himself. He can be really wild in his cat form as well and is often a liability. I think he could have been a decent character if handled right but of course the series was not going to handle anything right like that so it was game over right from the start.
Ayato is the rich member of the group who tries to be the mature guy who keeps everyone in line. Of course that doesn’t prevent him from falling for Anzu as well. He mainly tries to stay out of the race at least so he doesn’t complicate matters but of course it would have been even better if he could have just been a mentor figure. At least he can pull his weight more than some of the other characters and actually seems to understand the stakes. I can give him some reasonable props next to the other characters but wouldn’t say that I liked him much at all.
Finally we have Taichi who is the worst member by far. It’s not even close, the guy whines a lot and is super weak so it gets to his head and he starts to think about the dark side. C’mon now, you can’t be switching up this quickly. It’s a really bad look for him and he never really rebounds from this. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to make a comeback from that because once you’re a traitor then you’ve crossed a line that must not be crossed. Getting back from that is incredibly difficult to the point of being nearly impossible. This guy got off really easy if you ask me.
Then for the 3 Wiseman group: Latte, Chai, and Mocha, none of them were all that good. Latte was another guy obsessed with Anzu the whole time and he wanted her to love him but of course that wasn’t possible. It’s an awful motivation for a character as well. Then you have Chai and Mocha whose motivations were weak enough where they were also ready to quickly jump in and help the heroes out when things got rough. If you were a villain with a lot of convictions then that surely wouldn’t happen right? I like the title since the 3 Wisemen sounds impressive but there’s nothing particularly wise about them.
Additionally, they could have murdered the heroes so many times but kept choosing not to which was a big mistake. They’re so much stronger than the Mew Mew fighters that it’s scary. They would often win in a single blow but just let the heroes live because they can. That certainly came back to bite them later on. Then you have Dark Blue who has no conviction of her own here either.
She wants to effectively reset the world as humans have messed everything up. Okay that’s great but then all it takes is a few words for her to rethink everything? That felt way too fast if you ask me, there was just no compelling points brought up beyond the obvious. So that shouldn’t have been enough to turn Dark Blue. Not at all, it just serves to show us that she really didn’t have much drive before now.
This series probably has the most reverse fanservice I’ve seen in a minute as well. One look at the costumes and you can see how they aren’t practical at all. I’ve always said that a bad costume isn’t necessarily fanservice on its own. It’s all in how the camera zooms in or how the manga panels are meant to draw your attention. Well, here they are obviously meant to be fanservice bait. It’s a little hard to take seriously compared to traditional fanservice but I’ll still dock points in the same way because it’s yet another element that is taking priority over the plot.
When you stop to think about it, there is barely a plot here. None of the characters actively work to remove their powers after the opening chapters. The 3 Wisemen want to change the planet so they send one shot monsters out once in a while but don’t do much about that until the very ending either. Even the whole environmental theme is mostly removed from the original series. The villains own a company where they talk about going green as a front which was interesting but it’s ditched almost immediately. Going more into that could have been interesting but ultimately it didn’t happen. This series just feels like a waste all the way through.
The series works to have a bit of a body count by the end and a lot of emotional scenes but they ring hollow as you don’t like any of the characters by this point. The only consolation I can give the series is that the art was actually fairly good. There is a lot of detail put into each of the pages so I can appreciate that but at the same time a series cannot survive on art alone. A bad story will be just as bad even if the art is excellent. So the fight scenes look good at least but don’t do much to salvage the overall product.
At the end of the day, if the series wanted to be anywhere close to the original then it should have grabbed the stronger elements from the first title and built upon them. For example, the main girls there were all friends by the end and had solid banter. These guys? Well, they’re all jealous of each other because of Anzu so there’s a lot of fighting but it’s more personal and not as bantery like with the old cast. You don’t really have any scenes of the characters getting to know each other and having a good time because they have one track minds. The characters don’t have great development and again there are no big story beats or deeper themes to keep track of. It’s like the series just grabbed the concept but didn’t actually read the original series.
Overall, Tokyo Mew Mew Olé! is a really awful series. The romance here is probably some of the worst that I’ve seen since Black Bird and that one was historically bad. The whole series is really focused on the romance as everyone tries for Anzu but at the end of the day there isn’t any substance here for it. The series tries to bring you back every month with the shipping but it’s just not enough. I mean that’s probably one of the worst ways you can try to promote a series. By the time things get serious in the final chapters it is way too late. This is really a series that never needed to be made. The concept itself isn’t awful automatically of making the guys the magical fighters for a change but it feels like the series never intended to take its own premise seriously and that’s the most disappointing thing here. Definitely skip this series if you can, it’s not worth checking out.
I only read a little when it first started being serialized, and I wasn’t impressed. Dropped it, and it sounds like that was the right decision.
Yeah this one really never went up and just kept on sinking. It never even tied into the original series which was a shame