It’s Ichigo Momomiya’s first day of high school and she knows exactly what she needs to do: fall in love for the first time. She manages it within about 60 seconds flat, with the object of her newly minted affections being kendo star Aoyama-kun. (It’s something about the way he says “Men!” when scoring the winning point…) Initially, Momomiya’s level-headed best friends try to talk her out of it: he’s too popular, talented, clever, and handsome. But when the hapless redhead declares she will persist with her crush regardless, they concede to help her and do a fine job of it too. They trail him like sleuths uncovering clues as to how their friend might woo her prince, only to have their thunder stolen by a mysterious blue-haired girl who offers Momomiya two tickets to an exhibit of endangered animals with a knowing smirk. Aoyama-kun is a known nature-lover and amateur conservationist. These tickets will provide Momomiya with the perfect excuse for a first date. But wait, where did the girl vanish to? And why was she so keen that Momomiya—and possibly three other similarly bright-haired girls—show up at the exhibit? And wait again, is that a giant mutant monster rat and…a transformation sequence?!?
I have a confession to make: I’ve never watched a normal magical girl anime. Only the dark, disturbing ones. But this one piqued my interest because of the creative team behind it: this is a reboot of an anime adaptation of a manga from 20 years ago, that was originally penned by Reiko Yoshida, the writer in charge of series composition for beloved series from Non Non Biyori to The Heike Story, and illustrated by Mia Ikumi, who got her start in manga at the tender age of 18 and collaborated on this wildly popular series at only 22 years of age. Tragically, she died just a few months ago, and so never got to see the reboot that she was so delighted about.
Anime art styles have of course changed in the past two decades, but you can just make out the classic shoujo magical girl character design under the surface of this attractive update from Pierrot. The humor lands well too, and is sometimes subtle—as with the too-quick fulfillment of all Momomiya’s romantic dreams (she even gets her first kiss!), and the ridiculously over-played “falling MC” trope (she falls FIVE times!)—and other times, more overt, as when a grouchy (alien?) blond boy scoops Momomiya up only to complain about her heaviness. Overall, Tokyo Mew Mew New is sweet, but with hints of something more substantial in there to chew on as well. This may just be my first upbeat magical girl series! I’ll give it a couple more weeks to grow on me at least. And to explain why Canada geese are considered an endangered species?!
Tokyo Mew Mew New is streaming on HiDIVE.