Tokyo Mew Mew is a mahou shoujo anime. The manga that ran in Nakayoshi has been licensed by Tokyopop. However, this look into the mediocre in anime is about the anime. (Reviewer biases saw 6 or 7 out of however many episodes there are, extreme fondness for magical girls. ) Hopefully, this review will help people look more closely at the anime they are watching.
Ichigo is a typical 11 year old. She has two one dimensional best friends, and a crush on a guy in the kendo team. While on a date with this guy, Aoyama Masa, she walks through a certain door and has her DNA merged with a species of endangered cat. It is explained to her by some stock bishounen that she is to fight aliens to protect endangered animals. They set up camp in a cute restaurant so the girls can wear maid outfits.
Tokyo Mew Mew is a prime example of trying to copy what was successful but forgetting what made the predecessors successful. Yes, Sailor Moon was not a masterpiece of storytelling. There were often filler episodes that had nothing to do with the story. But why am I talking about it more than ten years after it first aired? (it is said to have started in 1992) Because of the characters. They changed, they grew, they had personality.
However, Tokyo Mew Mew forgets all that. Ichigo has no real personality. After six episodes, we knew that Usagi hated school, was clumsy, extremely friendly, and was cheerful, although a crybaby. In six episodes, we know that Ichigo is liked by people but we don't know why, she's on the gymnastics team, because of her powers, the only sliver we get is that she is easily put upon by the smarter Mint.
Unfortunately, Mint doesn't get much screen time. One of the common flaws in mediocre anime is giving too much screen time to relatively bland main characters and not giving enough to characters that would increase the interest of a piece. Of course, the balance between making your main character relatable to all, which is a common reason main characters in anime are pretty bland, and giving the character enough character that we care about watching the show is pretty tricky.
Wasting potential is another common problem. Lettuce's intro episode had definite potential. A shy girl is being bullied by people she thinks are her friends. Certainly the young target audience of this show could be helped out by an episode like that. Unfortunately, they copped out on this one. Instead of Lettuce being helped into a realization of what she should do, Ichigo uses magic to 'cure' Lettuce, and Lettuce isn't really paid much more attention than Mint is.
Of course, there's the common anime problem of the inexplicable love interest. Why anyone is attracted to the personality free Ichigo is a mystery. There seems to be hints of the everyone loves the main girl problem too, with Ryou and even one of the enemies starting to have some romantic tension with her.
The magic is sort of stock- say the incantations and then see the attacks, which are pretty much rip offs of better shows.
Yes, there are some good points. The songs are catchy. Ichigo actually manifests some cat powers in real life. And yea, it's cute. However, there are a few zillion shows that are cute, and are better held together than this one .