Tokyo Mew Mew is an early 2000s magical-girl series written by Reiko Yoshida and Mia Ikumi. Like most shows in the genre, it focuses on an ensemble cast of young girls given their powers in order to protect Earth from otherworldly invaders. Unlike most shows in the genre, the girls' powers, mission, and opponents have a strong comic-book-science theme.
The series' various iterations have a complicated relationship with its fans. The 4Kids English dub of the anime, retitled "Mew Mew Power", suffers from the same writing and translation problems as other 4Kids dubs of the era, and only covered the first half of the story before being dropped due to a failed merchandise deal. There is also a sequel manga series, Tokyo Mew Mew a la mode, but the fandom usually ignores it because of the main character's Sueishness.
Basic Plot and ThemesEdit
Ichigo Momomiya gets the most popular guy in her school, Masaya Aoyama, to go out with her by playing to his interest in environmental protection with an exhibit on Red Data Animals (endangered species). During their date, however, a mysterious earthquake breaks out in front of a charming little cafe, and she gets injected with something from the cat statue on top of it. She soon manifests strange new traits like sleepiness, craving fish all the time, meowing, and incredible reflexes.
As it turns out, Ichigo is one of five schoolgirls able to temporarily "host" DNA from an endangered animal; in her case, the Iriomote wildcat. (Why said DNA enables a sparkly transformation sequence and attacks isn't specified.) The cafe hires her as a part-time waitress so she can find the other four Mew Project test subjects, as well as monsters called Chimera Animas that appear when a parasitic alien possesses a regular animal.
Tokyo Mew Mew is, of course, about the power of friendship and how important it is to take care of the planet. It's also a love story; besides Ichigo and Masaya's relationship, two of her teammates may have a crush on each other and/or their bosses, Ichigo herself might have feelings for one of her bosses, and several of the alien antagonists become interested in the Mew Mews.
A quick note on the names: Many of the main characters' names are multilingual puns, which can be hard to translate. This article uses the Tokyopop manga translations, combined with supplementary information from TV Tropes. It will also completely ignore the 4Kids dub names.
The Mew MewsEdit
Your typical kind-hearted, ditzy magical girl team leader. As stated above, she has Iriomote wildcat DNA, which means cute little cat ears and a tail pop out every time she gets excited.
A rich girl who initially comes across as the stereotypical sarcastic spoiled jerk, she shows more of her empathic side as the series goes on. She never loses her pride, though; probably so scenes of her and Ichigo going at it can still fit in. She has blue lorikeet genes and is a trained ballerina, adding to her classy image.
A shy, intelligent student at a different school, Okumura Junior High. Bullied because of her timidity, she's initially convinced that a) she just needed to try harder to be nice to people and b) her new powers would prevent her from ever making friends. Lettuce becomes more confident after Ichigo befriends her and as the series progresses. She has finless porpoise DNA.
Bu-ling Huang/Pudding FongEdit
The youngest member of the Mew Mews and the only non-Japanese one, hailing from China. Pudding is cheerful to a fault, very energetic, and even more acrobatic than Ichigo; some of this may be due to her golden lion tamarin DNA and popular conceptions about monkeys. She seems to be vaguely aware of her powers before Ichigo contacts her, and was introduced performing a circus act involving plate spinning and riding on a large ball.
A renowned model, actress, singer, dancer, and polyglot, Zakuro is the oldest Mew Mew at fifteen (yes, really). She begins fighting monsters on her own before Ichigo even discovers Mint's powers, and initially refuses to join the group at all. Zakuro is also a Christian (notable as Christianity is a minority in Japan), and has gray wolf DNA. When not modeling, she's been described as intimidating, and once broke a girl's arm in the manga for bullying Lettuce (before they knew each other's names, of course). Mint idolizes and more than likely has a crush on her.
Kendo star, all-around nice guy, and Ichigo's crush/boyfriend. He ultimately plays a larger role in her quest than one would expect, starting from when he sorta-kinda finds out Ichigo's secret identity.
A rich high school student and one of Cafe Mew Mew's two owners. He was responsible for the experiment that gave the Mew Mews their powers; notably, in the manga, he intended to inject an alien with the endangered animal genes but the earthquake messed up his aim.
A noted pretty boy and the other owner of Cafe Mew Mew, he bakes most of the cafe's desserts (and bribes Ichigo with them).
Due to the network of crushes, ship teases, and relationships mentioned above, shipping is widespread in Tokyo Mew Mew fandom. Usually Ichigo gets to stay with Masaya, but a sizable chunk of the fans prefer shipping her with the alien Quiche (AKA Kish) or her boss Ryou. Other canon pairings include Pudding/Tart (another alien), Lettuce/Ryou, Mint/Zakuro (the only popular same-gender pairing), and Pie (yet a third alien)/Lettuce. (Also, according to TV Tropes, Pie/Zakuro is popular for some reason.)
Creating original or "next-generation" Mew Mews is also popular, another similarity between this show and Sailor Moon. (Do not refer to this show as a Sailor Moon clone in front of its more devoted fans. It will not end well for you.)
In the PPCEdit
There are currently no agents from this continuum.
Minis from this continuum are mini-Chimera Animas. Like their canon counterparts, mini-Chimera Animas are based roughly on World One animals, but with more vivid coloration and extra features. They eat mini-Sues and, if provoked, full-size Sues and Stus.
As tempting as it may be to involve the alien antagonists in assassinations, especially of character replaced or non-canon Mew Mews, the aliens' deep-seated hatred of humans puts a target on most agents' backs as well. This method is therefore not recommended.