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Manga / Marvelous Melmo

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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 Hitomi 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.


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This series provides examples of:

  • Battle of the Sexes: The plot of episode 5, "Beating the Boys". After the boys are punished for messing with the girls all day, they start a prank war with the girls, getting multiple innocent unnamed extras pranked in the process, eventually leading Melmo, who simply wants the prank war over, to report it to her teacher, but this only results in her getting ganged up on by some of the boys with dodgeballs. Ultimately this ends when Melmo intercepts a prank and turns it into a peace offering with her candies.
  • 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 before they die in the mountains, and Melmo uses her aging candies (and a devil costume) to teach a lesson to a greedy executive (who shut down the father's division of the company).
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  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Jiro is able to fight off five boys at once, all of whom are much bigger than him.
  • Cool Big Sis: Naname, an anime exclusive character, to Melmo. Melmo's school has an older sibling/younger sibling system, so they are together a lot at school, with Melmo being in third grade and Naname being a sixth-grader. Naname buys her snacks and defends her from bullies.
  • 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.
  • Disappeared Dad: Melmo's father is nowhere to be found, though her mother does mention he died, assumingly fairly recently, given her youngest child is a baby.
  • Education Mama: Komori's mom, to a seemingly willfully oblivious degree. She wants him to get into a good college, but makes him study far too advanced topics for a nine-year-old, including Chinese!
  • Evil Aunt: Melmo's aunt, a hideous woman simply known as 'Obaa-san.' In the first episode, she shows her unpleasantness by forcing Melmo and her brothers to call her mom, and by making them do countless chores not appropriate for their ages, one of the said brothers is a baby. Later on in episode 21, she and one of her goons kidnap Toto after he runs away and is so neglectful that he gets pneumonia, on top of leaving him (and her goon) to die in a fire.
  • Father I Want TO Marry My Brother: In the opening clip of episode two, a mother and daughter are talking about marriage, and daughter first says she wants to marry her father then her brother, with her mother patiently explaining why she can't do that.
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: in the episode "3,650 Days of Terror," Memo and Professor Asparagus do this to two unsuspecting thieves, making them think they've been asleep for 10 years when in reality, it's only been an hour or so. This goes south fast when the larger thief believes his daughter died due to not receiving a life-saving surgery
  • Fountain of Youth: The red candy de-ages Melmo to a baby.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Melmo makes friends with most that come her way, human or animal
  • 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.)
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Apparently when Melmo ages up, she looks exactly like her mother Hitomi and she has used this to her advantage.
    • Melmo's daughter is a reincarnation of Hitomi, so she's another example.
  • Groin Attack: A boy is about to attack Namame in episode 5, and she kicks him in the crotch, giving us a good shot of her legs.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Toto still wears a red coat and sometimes a hat when he gets stuck in frog form.
  • Happily Adopted: In the final episode, Jivaro's parents offer to take Memo and her brothers in.
  • Hidden Depths: Melmo can play the flute very well for a nine-year-old.
  • 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 away 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.
  • Magic Skirt: Melmo had this in the manga, the outfit she needed would magically appear on her, but in the anime, she does not.
  • Missing Mom: Melmo's mom is hit by a car and dies in the first episode.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: In the Christmas Episode, Memo 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.
  • 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 Memo turns into her Older Alter Ego, since her clothes remain their original small size.
  • Power-Up Food: The blue and red candies.
  • Precocious Crush: Melmo gets a crush on the resident Hot Teacher in episode 19, and is utterly crushed when she finds out he's engaged.
  • Promotion to Parent: At age nine, Melmo must take care of her two little siblings.
  • 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 to keep them warm.
  • Sexophone: Adult Melmo's serviceman 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 Toto 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 for empowering them withhold their blessing. Too bad Melmo had just transformed herself into 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.


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