They say anime never dies… it just gets rebooted decades later. And one such anime I’ve been eagerly awaiting is Tokyo Mew Mew New, a reboot of the classic mahou shoujo anime from 2002. I’m happy to report the new series is a high-quality and serious remake of the classic show from 20 years ago, and well worth your viewing time, if you’re a fan of cute girls doing magical things!
What Happened to the Magical Girl Genre?
Magical girls have been a cornerstone of anime since 1966’s Sally the Witch, which was directly inspired by the popularity of Bewitched in Japan, as Japanese viewers pined to be like Samantha’s daughter Tabatha, able to use magic to make impossible things happen at will. The “classic” mahou shoujo genre flourished for decades, culminating in the 90s with amazing series like Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura, Magical Knight Rayearth and, just at the tail end of the 20th century, Ojamajo Doremi.
Then — perhaps due to the 9/11 attacks? — the world became a darker place. Suddenly anime was growing up, and with it, the magical girl genre, which lost its purity as creators sought to tell a new kind of gritty and realistic story. These “darker” magical girl series included
- Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, a complex show that was a spinoff from a hentai visual novel.
- The PreCure series unlocked the highly profitable business model of marketing itself to young girls…and 40+-year-old male otakus, since the latter group has more money for expensive figures.
- Black Rock Shooter, took the concept of magical girls and then added excellent cyber attachments to their bodies and ridiculously complex psychological issues for them to do battle with internally.
- Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, the genius “post-modern” magical girl anime by Nitroplus and Urobuchi Gen turned the industry on its ear with its intricate story of magical girls staving off the heat death of the universe with their melodramatic deaths.
- Finally, the 2010’s saw several grimdark magical girl series that tried to “out-Madoka” Madoka, including Magical Girl Raising Project (an app that turns players into real magical girls, who must kill each other so that the strongest can be created) and Magical Girl Site (magical girl bully revenge porn).
While I enjoyed all of these shows, something kept nagging at the back of my mind. What happened to the “pure” mahou shoujo story, with the characters transforming at the same moment in each episode like clockwork, saying the same trademark catchphrase as they did so? Simpler stories where the girls fretted over getting boyfriends rather than trying to hold back the inevitable coldness of entropy destroying all energy in the universe? Is there no way to bring back the bouncy and enjoyable magical girl shows we all loved in the 90s and early 2000s?
Tokyo Mew Mew Restores the Magical Girl Genre to Greatness!
Happily, the answer is ‘yes.’ The new Tokyo Mew Mew New reboot is the perfect vehicle to bring anime fans back to those simpler days some of us want to return to. You can tell how good it us by watching the transformation scenes!
How can you judge whether a new magical girl show is worth your time? By watching the transformation scenes, of course!
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) July 14, 2022
The show is brilliant, translating the original series into a shorter and more tightly written series that has top-quality visuals by Yumeta Company. A high-quality love letter to the 2002 original, the show offers everything a classic magical girl anime fan could want to see.
A lot has changed since the original Tokyo Mew Mew anime aired back in 2002. We’ve all got internet speeds 100x what we had back then. We have shiny supercomputers in our pockets that take 4k video on demand. One big change is that the cour system, which organizes a year into four 15-week seasons, has become standard, so instead of 52 episodes in the original, fans will have to make do with just 12 for this season.
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