, also known as Mew Mew Power, is a Japanese shōjo manga series written by Reiko Yoshida and illustrated by Mia Ikumi. It was originally serialized in Nakayoshi from September 2000 to February 2003, and later published in seven tankōbon volumes by Kodansha from April 2003 to May 2004. It focuses on five girls infused with the DNA of rare animals that gives them special powers and allows them to transform into "Mew Mews". Led by Ichigo Momomiya, the girls protect the earth from aliens who wish to "reclaim" it.
The series was quickly adapted into a fifty-two episode anime series by Studio Pierrot. It debuted in Japan on April 6, 2002, on both TV Aichi and TV Tokyo; the final episode aired on March 29, 2003. A two-volume sequel to the manga, Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode, was serialized in Nakayoshi from April 2003 to February 2004. The sequel introduces a new Mew Mew, Berry Shirayuki, who becomes the temporary leader of the Mew Mews. Two video games were also created for the series: a puzzle adventure game for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance system and a role-playing game for the Sony Playstation.
Tokyopop licensed the manga series for English-language publication in North America and released the complete original series as well as the sequel. 4Kids Entertainment licensed the anime series for North American broadcast. Heavily edited and dubbed, twenty-three episodes of Mew Mew Power aired on the 4Kids TV channel in the United States and 26 episodes aired on YTV in Canada. 4Kids Entertainment was unable to license the remaining 26 episodes of the series, thus were unable to complete its broadcast. They have not released the series to home video.
Well received by English-language readers, several volumes of the manga series appeared in the Top 50 sales lists for graphic novels in their months of release. Critics praised the manga as a cute and entertaining series with free-flowing style and character designs. A la mode received praise as a good continuation of the series, but was also criticized for offering nothing new. The anime adaptation received high ratings while airing in Japan, resulting in numerous marketing tie-ins. Despite criticism for extensive editing that removed most of the Japanese elements, the Mew Mew Power dub became the highest rated 4Kids show during its broadcast. It was licensed for regional release in several other countries instead of the original Japanese series.
The five Mew Mews battle the chimera animas and their alien controllers, Kish, Pie and Tart. Kish claims to be in love with Ichigo; he tries to gain her love despite the fact that he is trying to eliminate the other Mew Mews. Two more aliens, Pie and Tart, later join Kish in trying to destroy the Mew Mews.
As the fighting intensifies, the Mew Mews are tasked with finding "mew aqua," a material created from pure water that contains immense power for combating the alien attacks. During a battle with Kish at an aquarium, Ichigo is in danger of losing when the mysterious Blue Knight appears and rescues her. He returns periodically throughout the series, protecting Ichigo from various dangers; it is later revealed that the Blue Knight is in fact Masaya. Shortly after this discovery, Masaya collapses and transforms again, into Deep Blue—the alien leader who wants to destroy humanity. After explaining to Ichigo that Masaya was a false form for temporary use, Deep Blue attacks the Mew Mews. Masaya's personality briefly reappears and he uses a nearby mew aqua drop to destroy Deep Blue, killing himself in the process. Crying over his body, Ichigo pours her power into Masaya to save his life, losing her own in the process. Masaya kisses her, changing her back to a human, and revives her. Ryou gives Pie the remaining mew aqua to save the aliens' world, after which Kish, Pie and Tart say their goodbyes and return to their own world.
As Tokyo Mew Mew became a viable project, Kodansha hired Reiko Yoshida to be the series' scenario writer and story supervisor. Yoshida and two other editors determined each volume's plot, created a scenario by adding stage directions and dialogue, and presented it to Ikumi. Ikumi added her own ideas and changes, creating the manuscript's first draft, which was taken to the publishers for final review and approval. This differs from most manga series, in which the manga writer also creates the scenarios and stories before submitting to their editor for approval.
After the first volume's release, a two-day Tokyo Mew Mew festival was held during the Golden Week holiday—a week long span in late April and early May during which four public holidays occur—to promote the series. Events included a Tokyo Mew Mew art gallery and the release of new merchandise. Ikumi, the series' artist, created a special poster for the event, featuring all twelve characters. She also cosplayed as characters from the series, as Mint Aizawa on one day and Lettuce Midorikawa on the other.
Tokyo Mew Mew and Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode are licensed for an English-language release in North America by Tokyopop. The first volume of the main series was released on April 8, 2003, with volumes released every other month until the seventh volume was published on May 11, 2004. The two volumes of Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode were published the following year, with the first volume released on June 7, 2005 and the second on December 8, 2006. Unlike the Japanese releases, each Tokyopop chapter is named. The main series is licensed for an English language release in Singapore by Chuang Yi. Carlsen Comics has licensed the series, through its regional divisions, and released the series in German, Danish and Swedish. The series is also licensed for regional language releases in French by Pika Édition and in Polish by Japonica Polonica Fantastica. Tokyo Mew Mew was one of the first manga series released in Spanish in North America by Public Square Books.
Tokyo Mew Mew was later licensed for an English-language dubbed release by 4Kids Entertainment. In its announcement about the series, 4Kids noted that the show would be renamed to Hollywood Mew Mew and that they would be heavily editing and localizing episodes so that viewers would not recognize its Japanese origins. Subsequent 4Kids press releases about the series referred to the new series as The Mew Mews and its original name Tokyo Mew Mew. When the series premiered on Fox Kids on February 19, 2005, it aired under the name Mew Mew Power. Characters and episodes were renamed, scenes were cut and story lines were modified. The music was replaced with a new score and the opening theme was replaced with the song "Team Up", performed by Bree Sharp. Twenty-three episodes of Mew Mew Power aired on 4Kids Entertainment in the United States; because 4Kids was unable to acquire the remainder the series, however, the show was canceled. The 4Kids episodes aired on YTV in Canada and on the Pop Girl satellite television channel in the United Kingdom; these included three dubbed episodes never broadcast in the United States.
Although Mew Mew Power has not been released to home video in North America, ten of the 4Kids episodes have been released to Region 4 DVD in Australia and New Zealand by Magna Pacific and all twenty-six 4Kids episodes were released to Region 2 DVD in South Africa. Mew Mew Power was licensed for regional airing in French by Arès Films, which released nine dubbed 4Kids episodes to DVD in February 2006 as a single volume through Warner Home Vidéo France. The company also licensed the remaining twenty-six episodes of the series that 4Kids had not obtained, releasing them in two DVD box sets through AK Vidéo.
The second title, , was released in Japan on December 5, 2002. It is a PlayStation turn-based role-playing game in which the player controls a new Mew Mew, , as well as the original five heroines. They must defend Ringo's island from Kish, the chimera animas and a new alien named . Both Ringo Akai and Gatō were created by the manga's artist, Mia Ikumi, following design specifications from Takara. The game uses voice actors from the anime series, with the two new characters voiced by Taeko Kawata and Ryoutaro Okiayu, respectively. Ikumi was pleased with how both characters turned out and expressed a desire to use Ringo as a regular character in a future manga series. Ringo later joined the other Mews Mews in the Petite Mew Mew bonus story in the second volume of Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode.
On July 24, 2002, a five-disc limited edition collector's box set was released containing character songs for each of the Mew Mews, performed by their respective voice actors and a remix of "Koi wa A La Mode. The individual character song discs were released as standalone CDs on September 4, 2002. An additional character CD set, containing remixed version of two songs from each individual album, followed on December 25, 2002. A second character CD for Ichigo, containing five new tracks performed by Nakajima, was released on February 26, 2003.
The first full anime soundtrack, Tokyo Mew Mew Original Soundtrack was released on September 25, 2002 by NEC. The CD included the series opening and ending themes and twenty-seven pieces of series background music. NEC released a second soundtrack on January 22, 2003; it contains the opening and closing themes, along with an additional twenty-nine tracks of background music. On March 26, 2003, two "best of" CDs were released for the anime series: Tokyo Mew Mew Super Best Hit – Cafe Mew Mew side and Tokyo Mew Mew Super Best Hit – Tokyo Mew Mew side. Each CD includes ten of the series' "most popular" musical pieces.
Tokyo Mew Mew was generally well received by reviewers, who described it as cute and entertaining. Though AnimeFringe's Patrick King notes that it is not a very intellectual series and that it avoids complex plot points, he lauded it as engrossing "brain candy" and an "endearing action-romance" that has no "delusions of grandeur". Critics praised the artwork in both Tokyo Mew Mew and the sequel Tokyo Mew Mew a La Mode. Ikumi's "free flowing" style and character designs were seen as a perfect fit for the series. Criticism of Ikumi's art focused on images which regularly spilled out of panel borders and speech bubbles with ambiguous speakers. Patrick King of Animefringe stated: "one of the most attractive aspects of Tokyo Mew Mew is easily Mia Ikumi's ultra-cute artwork. Big eyes, cat ears, fuzzy tails, and short skirts all come together in a cuteness combo that's hard to resist." According to Carlos Santos of Anime News Network, "Mia Ikumi's artwork is perfectly suited to the story, and it's not even all that wispy and frilly compared to other shōjo material. Like many budding manga-ka, Ikumi's greatest strength is in carefully posed character portraits, and her prolific use of tones creates unique effects while also sidestepping the challenge of backgrounds."
Over all Tokyo Mew Mew a La Mode had more mixed reviews. Critics praised it for being a modern manga that typifies the magical girl formula, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses. Mike Dungan, of Mania Entertainment, considered the original series to be "quite charming" and felt that a la Mode was a good continuation of the series with the "same fun and excitement" as its predecessor. Others felt Berry was an overly shallow heroine and that the sequel offered nothing new for readers with the Saint Rose Crusaders' costumes and plans being nothing more than concepts borrowed from Sailor Moon. A la Mode was also criticized for having the character Duke dressed in a white robe similar to those used by the white supremacy group, the Ku Klux Klan.
The anime adaptation has been compared to Sailor Moon due to both having female protagonists; five original team members with signature colors and powers, and similar plot lines. Tokyo Mew Mew received high ratings in Japan with extensive merchandizing tie ins and marketing events to promote the series. When 4Kids announced their licensing of the anime, heavily edited and localized, fans of the series were openly dismayed and began multiple campaigns to convince the company to release an uncut version of the series. After previews of the retooled series were released, viewers were less disappointed, but still annoyed by the cultural shifting and still desired an uncut DVD release. Mew Mew Power became a successful broadcast series for 4Kids, becoming the highest rated 4Kids show at the start of the fall 2005 season,, but it was never released to DVD in North America. The 4Kids dub, rather than original Japanese version, was subsequently licensed for broadcast in France, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Greece, South Africa and Israel..