Tokyo Mew Mew Omnibus, Vol. 1

By Reiko Yoshida and Mia Ikumi. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialized in the magazine Nakayoshi. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.

I have to admit that I was looking forward to this one. When Kodansha announced the Love Hina omnibus, they mentioned this as well. I hadn’t read it the first time around, but I recall fans talking about it quite a bit. Cute heroines, magical girl battles, etc. They also seemed to get annoyed when folks compared it to Sailor Moon. So I wanted to see what it was like.

Well, it was all a bit underwhelming, wasn’t it? I admit that my brain is somewhat influenced by the many magical girl series that are already out there, but I didn’t really see much in Mew Mew that made it stand out above the pack. The heroine is cheerfully cute but clumsy, in love with a cute normal guy, and can turn into a catgirl superhero after a magical experiment gone awry. She is met by the two cute bishie guys responsible for this accident (including one who teases her constantly, and whom I suspect may be a love interest or rival later), and she must find her four other teammates, because groups of 5 magical girls as a team is nothing like Sailor Moon at all. (Or indeed every other sentai series, as Sailor Moon is, to a degree, the magical girl as sentai motif.)

As for the team itself, we find the rich girl/snooty one, the shy and meek one, the airheaded athletic one (who seems to be on the lookout for ways to make money, which makes sense as she is Chinese and Japan does love its stereotypes just as North America does), and the cool aloof loner who will no doubt be breaking down in tears before the end of the series. And they too transform into magical girls that are based around endangered species. Together, they are told, they must battle aliens who are bent on destroying our world by polluting its natural resources.

The environmental angle, I admit, is somewhat interesting. It’s a bit overly earnest, but then, we’re reading a Nakayoshi title, not Evening. The alien plot is not entirely clear now beyond the fact that they have a snarky and rude underling, but I did find it amusing that one of the alien’s first targets is a cherry blossom park. Heathens! They cannot dare to ruin the majesty of the cherry blossom festival! The authors know how to push the right emotional buttons.

There’s also Aoyama, the guy Ichigo is in love with, who actually manages (so far) to be fairly nice and not overly rude to our heroine. (One of Ichigo’s allies fulfills that role, though he’s more on the teasing end of the spectrum. It helps that other characters get to be clumsier than she is.) Yes, you get the sense that he’s hiding something important, but hey, welcome to magical girl manga. I’m not sure if he’ll end up with Ichigo, but I am pretty sure he’ll tie into the plot somehow.

Overall, though, while the manga didn’t do much that was annoying or irritating, this ended up being a standard magical girl zap the monsters and save the world plot. Most series like this are slow burners, and I’ve no doubt it will pick up, but there’s only 7 volumes, so I was hoping for a bit more oomph here. Pleasant, but not exceptional.

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Comments

  1. Man did seeing this in the store bring back memories, it was the first manga I ever bought. However, I would argue that my standards back then were far far lower. I kind of miss that innocent time when I’d read anything so long as it was manga, but I also avoided far better stuff like Please Save My Earth (which I have now) and Basara (which I really want to read) for this stuff. I suppose there were worse first manga to own, but today I think this is pretty lame and tame. I’ve sold my Tokyopop sets long ago and have no plans to ever buy these omnibuses.

    • And I read stuff like this *and* stuff like PSME and Basara. :) It says something that the latter are still in my collection while TMM was sold immediately. Still, I never did review it so admit to a certain degree of temptation by this omnibus.

      • Oh man, I almost forgot to mention that, seeing how this was my first title, it made me pretty damn loyal to Tokyopop for quite a while. Still never bought Princess Ai, fortunately, but for the longest time I preferred them over Viz because Tokyopop put the release dates for the whole series on their sites while Viz didn’t. I obviously didn’t know at the time it’s because a lot of those series were still ongoing (and heck, Sgt Frog was ongoing too). But even then, I still must’ve passed up Fruits Basket for this! I only just got that like a month ago (the MMF convinced me y’know! Then I just had to wait for the right price, got it all for about $80. So it appears I even avoided good series by the same publisher for far less good series. Ah, so naive then!
        Then again, I was only about 13. I doubt that Banana Fish is for a 13 year old, not because it’s not exactly appropriate age wise, but because I wouldn’t have appreciated it even if it were, so age is a reason that I would’ve missed out on great stuff. So I guess growing up helps a lot, eh? When my 19 year old self read Banana Fish, it immediately knew that my 14 year old self wouldn’t have appreciated it.

        • Ah, memories. I remember the old TOKYOPOP site fondly, when pages for series and release dates were so easy to find. If they ever *do* come back as a company, I pray they will not try to resurrect their second site.

  2. Read it and for me what it is it’s good not life changeing but fun I picked it up becuse I saw a couple episodes of the Anime and liked it. But this was just a “meh” title. Also I did’nt realize the Japanese sterotyped the Chineses as money obsessed.

  3. I’m excited as a kid about most of the newer omnibus releases lately…but I definitely passed on Tokyo Mew Mew. I read this entire series recently and thought it wasn’t anything worth dedicating any more of my time or money to. Magical girl series are something I definitely was more obsessed over when I was younger…and I probably would have appreciated back when I first found Sailor Moon…but there are magical girl series out there that are much better than this one. I read Sugar Sugar Rune just last year on a whim and was REALLY impressed with it, Between Madoka and Sugar Sugar Rune I’ve realized that I CAN enjoy magical series that I experience for the first time as an adult.

  4. I can understand why you think the beginning is kind off slow(since it kind of is XD) but don’t worry. It gets a lot better. Zacro/Zakuro, the loner, isn’t that emotional at all, so she won’t be crying. And Pudding has her reasons for wanting money(it involves family although the anime expanded more on that than the manga). And it’s a little more than a simple alien invasion. But yeah, it will pick up a lot more in the next few volumes, so I hope you’ll enjoy those more than the first omnibus.


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