Manga: Marvelous Melmo

Marvelous Melmo is an early Magical Girl Manga and Anime created by Osamu Tezuka about a nine-year-old girl named Melmo, who must raise her two younger brothers after their mother is killed in a car accident. To help with this, her mother briefly returns as a ghost and gives Melmo a bottle of magical candies: the blue candies will make her older, and the red ones will make her younger. The story follows Melmo as she attempts to take care of her brothers and navigate the confusing world of adults, despite still being mentally nine years old.

This series provides examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Nitako, who comes complete with a Girl Posse and is appropriately cast as the wicked stepmother in the school's production of "Snow White".
  • Attractive Bent Species: Melmo, sometimes.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Melmo is the Prime Example of this trope.
  • Christmas Episode: Episode 13 of the anime is this. The plot involves Melmo finding a baby abandoned in a train station. She and her friends help reunite the boy with his parents, and Melmo uses her aging candies to teach a lesson to a greedy executive (who shut down the father's division of the company).
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Jiro is able to fight off five boys at once, all of whom are much bigger than him.
  • Deal with the Devil: Melmo gives the mysterious man her bottle of candies in exchange for bringing her mother back to life. Unfortunately, it's not really her mother.
  • Distant Finale
  • Fountain of Youth: The red candy de-ages Melmo to a baby.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: In episode 4, Melmo fends off a group of attack dogs by throwing de-aging candies into their mouths, all while in her birthday suit. (She had just de-transformed from an animal form and thus was without clothes.)
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Totoo still wears a red coat and sometimes a hat when he gets stuck in frog form.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Melmo is improbably good at throwing candies into the mouths of people and animals alike, even if they're a good distance way and/or trying to attack her.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Melmo finds very inventive ways of using her candies to defend herself, usually by tossing them into people's or animals' mouths or by dissolving them in water and then splashing the water on a relevant plant or animal.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Melmo sometimes ends up in this situation and rarely shows a sign of shame.
  • Magical Girl: An early example.
  • Missing Mom: Melmo's mom dies in the first episode.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: In the Christmas Episode, Melmo tries to turn into a dog, but makes a mistake and ends up becoming a kitten with the lower half of a puppy. This form is sufficient for her purposes, however, and she assumes it again later in the episode.
  • Mr. Exposition: Professor Waragarasu
  • Obviously Evil: The man in episode 8 who offers to resurrect Melmo's mother has blue skin, pointy ears, angry eyebrows, a thin mustache, and dresses all in black.
  • Older Alter Ego: The blue candy ages Melmo into a 19-year-old version of herself.
  • Panty Shot: One of the first anime to make use of it. Happens every time Melmo turns into her Older Alter Ego, since her clothes remain their original small size.
  • Power-Up Food: The blue and red candies.
  • Promotion to Parent
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Melmo's spiky-haired butt-kicking motorcycle-riding boyfriend, Jiro, is usually seen wearing a bright pink shirt.
  • Reincarnation: The final episode shows Melmo, now a married woman, using her last candies to find out that her mother had somehow reincarnated in her own granddaughter, thus reuniting both women but with swapped roles.
  • Replacement Goldfish: In one episode, a mysterious man seems to bring Melmo's mother back from the dead. "Mom" turns out to be a doll implanted with a snake's soul. But then the snake-doll actually develops motherly feelings towards the children and ultimately commits suicide by immolation.
  • Rich Bitch: Nitako
  • Sexophone: Adult Melmo's fanservicey scenes are accompanied by a sexy saxophone leitmotif.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: As soon as Melmo discovers the shapeshifting powers of the candies, her younger brother Totoo shapeshifts himself into a small frog. Too bad he's then unable, for almost half of the series, to eat the required candies (that now are bigger than his mouth and stomach).
    • When Melmo starts abusing the power of the candies, by using them for selfish reasons, the angels responsible from empowering them withold their blessing. Too bad Melmo had just transformed herself in a dog. After refusing to change her back for a whole episode, eventually the angels settle for giving Melmo her powers back, but with a finite number of candies (before, they used to renew themselves in the jar).
  • Shapeshifting: Early in the series, Melmo discovers that, by consuming both types of candies at once and thinking to a certain animal, she could de-age herself to embryonic stage and re-age as the animal she was thinking to, as, according to the evolutionary theory, a human embryo is genetically connected to every other lifeform. That's not exactly how science works, but for Melmo is close enough.
  • Shonen Hair: Jiro
  • Sibling Triangle: A trio of brothers all fall for Melmo.
  • The Talk: Actually the whole show was intended to function as The Talk for Japanese children, educating them on reproduction, pregnancy, aging, gender differences, etc.
  • Transformation Sequence: Which sometimes makes use of Stock Footage, but sometimes not.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Nitako

Alternative Title(s):

Fushigi Na Melmo