Fans of the magical shojo genre classic Tokyo Mew Mew can rejoice as the series is set to have a new anime adaptation on the way in 2022. The franchise also just celebrated its 20th anniversary in September 2020, which means now is a great time to learn more about the series. While you wait for the premiere of Tokyo Mew Mew New, here's everything newcomers and existing fans need to know about the shojo series and its legacy.
The Tokyo Mew Mew Manga
Tokyo Mew Mew began publication in Nakayoshi magazine in late 2000 and ran until early 2003, totaling seven volumes. The manga was drawn by Mia Ikumi and written by Reiko Yoshida, a screenwriter who has worked on iconic anime like Digimon, A Silent Voice, Liz and the Blue Bird and Ghibli's The Cat Returns. An English translation of the manga was first published by Tokyopop in 2004, with Kodansha releasing a new and more accurate translation in 2011.
Tokyo Mew Mew's story follows a middle schooler named Ichigo Momomiya, who is transformed into a magical catgirl while on a first date with her crush, Masaya Aoyama. She soon learns she has been infused with the DNA of the endangered Iriomote wildcat and that she must find four other "Mew Mews" and fight off an alien invasion. The Mew Mews' base of operations is a café, which Ichigo must balance working at, fighting against animals infected by the aliens and keeping her Mew Ichigo identity a secret from Aoyama.
Previous Anime Adaptations
The original anime adaptation of Tokyo Mew Mew, produced by Studio Pierrot, began in 2002 and ran for 52 episodes. It followed the manga's storyline, but with a few significant changes, including increased development of the supporting cast. In 2020, after being out of print for several years, the series was re-released on Blu-ray.
4Kids dubbed the first 26 episodes as Mew Mew Power in 2005 and was heavily edited and Americanized. That resulted in the dub never being completed due to lack of merchandising and had no home releases in America. Still, it remains the only official English release of the anime, dubbed or otherwise, to this day.
Tokyo Mew Mew Sequels, Spinoffs and More
While the anime was airing in 2002, two video game spinoffs were released. The first, Hamepane Tokyo Mew Mew, was a puzzle adventure game for Game Boy Advance, while the second, Tokyo Mew Mew: Enter the New Mew Mew! Everyone Serve Together was a Playstation RPG that introduced a new Mew Mew, Ringo Akai/Mew Ringo.
In 2003, a sequel manga, Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode, began serialization. It was written by Mia Ikumi, with Reiko Yoshida not returning, and starred a new protagonist named Berry Shirayuki/Mew Berry. At first, A la Mode was not warmly received by fans, who disliked its fast pace and the replacement of Ichigo as the main character. These days, the sequel is remembered more fondly, if still not as fondly as the original, and many fans have expressed a wish for it to be adapted into an anime someday.
In December 2019 and February 2020, Ikumi and Yoshido returned for a new two-chapter sequel, Tokyo Mew Mew 2020 Re-Turn. This sequel updated the Mew Mews designs and allowed readers to catch up on fan-favorite characters' lives -- its physical release also included two bonus stories. Also beginning serialization in December 2019 was a spinoff series Tokyo Mew Mew Olé, written by Madoka Seizuki. The spinoff follows Anzu Hinata, an animal-loving girl whose scientist aunt creates an all-male team of new Mew Mews.
The Upcoming Anime: Tokyo Mew Mew New
Not much is known yet about Tokyo Mew Mew New, other than that it will air in 2022. It seems to adapt the original manga, but the first visual reveals that it will use Re-Turn's updated character designs. The new voice actresses for the original five Mew Mews, who make up a tie-in idol group named Smewthie, have also been announced. Smewthie is being heavily promoted, and their first music release will occur next month. New will be animated by Yumeta Company and Graphinica, directed by Takahiro Natori, and written by Yuka Yamada. Most exciting for longtime fans, well-regarded Tokyo Mew Mew animation alumni Satoshi Ishino is returning as a character designer.
Mew Mew's Legacy
20 years after its debut, Tokyo Mew Mew is considered a classic of the magical girl genre. It has been referenced in other anime, and Mew Mew may have influenced 2017's Kira Kira Pretty Cure a la Mode, which shares its basic concept of animal-themed magical girls who have food-based names working in a sweets shop, though with a much different plot. Reception to the franchise's revival has been very positive, with many hoping that A la Mode, Re-Turn, Olé or even the Playstation game will be animated in the future too.