An iconic series that brought the five-girl team of Magical Girls into the 2000s, Tokyo Mew Mew started as a Nakayoshi artist's desire to do a series about a Cat Girl, and ended up as a sweet tale of choosing the right guy, protecting the environment, and throwing some sparkly Stock Footage around to solve the world's problems.Ichigo Momomiya's only care in the world is getting kendo idol Masaya Aoyama to notice her. Since he's interested in enviromental protection, she invites him on a date to an exhibition about "Red Data Animals", a list of endangered species.Little does she know that she is one of five Tokyo schoolgirls "chosen" by the Earth, possessed of a unique DNA pattern allowing her to host the genes of the Irimote Mountain Cat, one of the Red Data Animals. As part of the secret "Mew Project", she is shot by an injection gun from a mysterious cat statue atop a cute cafe.Now the DNA of the wildcat is running through her, and she's picked up some very odd abilities, such as excessive sleepiness and landing perfectly on her feet. Not only that, but she can use a Transformation Trinket to transform into a magical catgirl and defeat the parasitic aliens that are transforming normal animals into monstrous Chimera Anima.Recruited by the masterminds behind the Mew Project, Ichigo ends up working at the cafe as a waitress by day and alien-hunting catgirl by night, with the promise that she will return to normal when the threat has passed. What's more, there are four other subjects of the Mew Project to find, and a sinister extraterrestrial plot to thwart.There is also a manga-only sequel written by the head illustrator after the head writer left. Tokyo Mew Mew a la mode renders Ichigo utterly useless (no, really) so that a shiny new character named Berry Shirayuki/Mew Berry can take her place. Many fans like to pretend it doesn't exist.The manga was licensed by Tokyo Pop and the anime by 4Kids Entertainment (where it's known as Mew Mew Power). Only the first half of the series has been released in the United States so far, and because of Fox's odd airing schedule, you're usually likely to only see the first twelve episodes. More recently, it was given the Gag Dub treatment in Tokyo Mew Mew In A Nutshell. In addition, Kodansha USA has re-licensed the the original manga in omnibus form.4Kids recently lost the rights to the first half of the show, and they were ultimately unsuccessful in attempting to purchase the rights to the second half. It was popularly assumed, but not proven, that a re-licensing like One Piece had would hang on the success of the English release of Mamotte! Lollipop. Ikumi Mia loves puns, and Tokyopop's translators are not purists. These factors together create a lot of confusion as to what things are called. Regarding names in the original version:
The Japanese characters have Japanese names, sometimes based on English loanwords. ex. Minto instead of Mint.
The Chinese character Bu-ling has a Chinese name based on a Japanese version (purin) of an English loanword (pudding).
The alien characters have English food names. Tokyo Pop mistranslated Gateau du Roi and Quiche as Gato du Rowa and Kish; they are not supposed to be a Spanish cat and some dude from The Bible.
The Mew names for those characters named for English words have the actual English word. ex. Mew Mint instead of Mew Minto.
The attack word "riboun" is not a cognate of the English word ribbon; it means reborn.
Whatever is written as "myuu" may be either "mew" (as in, a cat sound), "mu" (as in, the Greek letter used by geneticists) or both. "Tokyo Mew Mew" and "Mu Project" have been vindicated by on-screen text (though Tokyopop called the latter the Mew Project) but nobody's quite sure whether the MacGuffin in the second half of the series is Mew Aqua or Mu Aqua.
Aliens Speaking Japanese: The aliens all speak fluent Japanese, but it is unknown if they learnt it or it's the language they use normally. Even more confusing when their Inner Monologue is in Japanese.
Animal Stereotypes: This was even lampshaded in manga extras, as well as one scene where the Mew Mews talk about their similarities and dissimilarities with their Red DNA animals.
Anti-Villain: The alien antagonists are upset about humans polluting and want to reclaim their homeland, Earth. Unfortunately, their plans involve killing people to do so. Deep Blue just wants the planet for himself, though.
Arranged Marriage: Bu-ling, in one episode, to Long Yuebin, one of her father's students.
Art Shift: Later episodes make the characters aged 14 and up look more noticeably older, and colours get deeper and shinier.
Berserk Button: Zakuro always seems calm, even when she is in battle. Mostly she casually fights off enemies with her Zacross. However, when she sees Kish harming a child, she screams in his face, Keeps him from escaping and DECKS him right in the face, giving him a cold stare afterwards. This leaves Kish stunned that even Zakuro can be physically violent.
Ending Theme: With dancing cats! As a bonus, it takes a while for the dancing cats' significance to be revealed. One is Ichigo's full cat form, another is Shirogane's cat form, and the big one is François.
Executive Meddling: The series was originally going to be a horror, with a short-haired catgirl in pink being the only thing in common with its current incarnation. Execs at Nakayoshi pressured the artist to do magical girls instead.
Fangirl: Ichigo towards love interest Masaya and Minto towards long-time idol Zakuro.
Faux Paw: Ichigo bats and licks when she first becomes a Mew.
Filler: A lot of episodes are all about the focus hero's dilemma related to the guest star of the week, and it's remembered for five minutes near the end that, oh yeah, there's supposed to be aliens invading or something.
First Kiss: Ichigo sulks about having hers stolen by her stalker for a whole episode.
First Name Basis: Beginning in episode 13, but only on Aoyama's part. Ichigo fantasizes about him insisting that he call her "Masaya," but keeps calling him "Aoyama-kun" to the end of the series. In a filler episode, Lettuce knows that the boy she's interested in is in a relationship because he's on a First Name Basis with the librarian.
Hide Your Lesbians: Minto and Zakuro. Minto fangirls over her when she's introduced, declares her love for her much later when they're fighting, and... if any more ever comes from it, it happens offscreen and goes unmentioned.
Ichigo: (referring to the plant Chimera's love for eating) The only attack this thing has learned is a snack attack!
In the Name of the Moon: Chikyuu no mirai ni gohoushi suru ~nya![[note:For non-Japanese-speakers, that'd be that 'future of the earth' thing from the page quote. Also gets translated "For the future of the Earth, at your service!" No way to make it absolutely smooth in English without taking a liberty or two, though.]]
Intimate Healing: Neko-Ichigo needs to kiss someone to turn human; also, the Mu Aqua kiss.
Meaningful Name: All the main characters' surnames have their theme colours in them. So why is the "ai" in "Aizawa Minto" "dark blue", while "blue" is the "ao" in "Aoyama Masaya"? Well, there's a reason for that, too.
Meido: Minto has her own personal maid squadron, although none of them are fetishy.
Mr. Vice Guy: A lot: Ichigo is a glutton who accepts the call only when Shirogane offers her free samples of his cafe's sweets; Aoyama is such a sloth that, unless Ichigo is involved, he never does what he wants because it's easier to just smile; Zakuro's full of Wrath and reacts with violence (physical and psychological) to any problem and her mere eyes are enough to scare the cafe's customers; Minto is a textbook example of Pride, treating everyone but Zakuro and Shirogane with disdain; Shirogane is so greedy he asked for money to help Ichigo with her homework and never paid the ticket of the Tokyo Dome. If they were heroes, we'd even have Lust (Quiche) and Envy (Pie)...
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mew Pudding encases a Mew Aqua droplet in a Puringring Inferno, which accelerates its destabilization and makes it harder for the other Mew Mews to get it under control.
No Guy Wants an Amazon: In the beginning, Ichigo constantly frets that being a catgirl superheroine will scare her boyfriend off. He doesn't mind, actually.
Nonindicative Name: That's the trouble with weird puns for weapons and attacks... What's a Reborn Lettuce Rush got to do with shooting water at your enemies?
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Quiche, Tart, and Pie start out unleashing chimera anima on the heroes and running away when they fail, but their schemes become more effective over time and present a real threat to the lives of the Mew Mews and other civilians. They never completely succeed, but the heroes have to work harder to stop them each time.
Parental Abandonment: For all we've seen Ichigo's parents as "overprotective", they seem to come out of the equation when she has to save the city. At least she still has them, though, unlike Bu-ling, Zakuro, Ryou...
Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Minto, though she's likely bi, and Zakuro. Mostly anime-only, though. In the manga, Minto's affection towards Zakuro was nowhere near what it was made into for the animated series, though that might be because they get more screentime.
Science Marches On: According to the IUCN Red List, gray wolves are listed as "least concern". A couple of subspecies are endangered, but that's it. Finless Porpoises aren't considered endangered anymore, but are still vulnerable.
Secret Test of Character: Zakuro attacks Minto during her 10-Minute Retirement when she claims to have stopped caring about the fate of the earth. She turns to attack her dog, but when Minto goes to protect the dog, she notes that Minto really does care. Zakuro does it again in Episodes 42 and 43 to test the Mew Mews’ commitment to the fight and faith in each other.
Shipper on Deck: The other Mew Mews ship Ichigo/Aoyama and, in one episode, Retasu/Edomurasaki.
Something We Forgot: Episode 24, the one with the jewelry show, Bu-ling takes on one of the aliens to buy the rest of the team time. Fast forward, the fight is won, the jewelry show finishes and everyone is happy right? But wait, where's Bu-ling? Oh, she's still fighting with the alien Lampshaded By the the aliens 'they seem to be having fun, lets leave them alone'
Take That Kiss: Quiche's introduction is to jump from a roof and crash one of these to Ichigo.
10-Minute Retirement: Minto in one episode, as a result of being discouraged over the chances the Mew Mews have of saving Earth (although the 4kids dub indicates that she's angry over Ichigo's attitude towards work).
Colorful Theme Naming: All the main characters' surnames have their theme colours in them. So why is the "ai" in "Aizawa Minto" "dark blue", while "blue" is the "ao" in "Aoyama Masaya"? Well, there's a reason for that, too.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Averted in Episode 41; the Mew Mews besides Mew Lettuce completely describe their plan to deal with the fish Chimera Anima, and the plan works.
Verbal Tic: Ichigo occasionally nyas, and Bu-ling says "na no da".
Villainous Breakdown: Quiche has one after discovering that the Mu Aqua does not generate power, but merely stores it. He was already on thin ice with Pie and Tart before then, and they’re not pleased when they learn this. He also becomes increasingly emotionally unstable over time as a result of Ichigo rejecting him, failing his missions, and the aliens suffering in their temporary home.
Later, over the course of the five-part series finale, Deep Blue gradually loses his composure as Aoyama starts to fight back against him from within. The more Aoyama fights back, the more Deep Blue loses his cool, until he is finally dead and Aoyama is therefore free.
Villains Out Shopping: Quiche, Pie, and Tart eat parfaits near a fan while complaining about humans causing global warming.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Ichigo and Minto often bicker, but are willing to help each other when necessary.