Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, November 07, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Translated by:Yoohae Yang
What They Say
The cats are back, and a new Mew is about to emerge! Berry just transferred to a new school - but little does she know she's about to become the first Mew Mew with TWO sets of animal genes in her blood. Half cat, half rabbit, Berry is joining the Mew Mew team just in time: a gang called the Saint Rose Crusaders has appeared, and its leader just happens to love rabbits - well done and served for dinner!
The highly anticipated sequel to the bestselling Tokyo Mew Mew is finally here!
Mia Ikumi's fun loving freedom fighters get a new leader in this sequel to Tokyo Mew Mew.
The book is identical to the preview Tokyo Mew Mew series in its art design and layout. This is a good thing, as the previous series had a very attractive style to it. The front cover features a smiling Berry in full Mew outfit holding her berry themed wand and surrounded by a circle of stars, all against a background of strawberries. The English title is across the top, and the volume number and author's name are at the bottom. The back cover is just a faded variation of the front, with the copy text across it. There is also a 4Kids blurb printed on the back, urging readers to watch the Mew Mew Power anime on TV. It's something of a shame that the blurb was included in the art, rather than being a removable sticker, but when Tokyopop is holding the price line at ten bucks, sacrifices have to be made.
Anyone who read the original 7 volume series will be familiar with Ikumi's free flowing style. Character designs are cute, and the story flows rapidly around the page. Some found her page layouts somewhat disjointed, but I was never one of them. There is plenty of humor, even in the midst of battle. Tokyopop's track record on art reproduction is spotty, but this title seems to be one of their better efforts. I didn't see any problems with reproducing screen tones or any of the many patterned backgrounds.
This title makes use of different fonts to good effect. A slightly more comic-friendly font is used for spoken dialogue, different from the industry standard font. A more florid font is used for internal dialogue. I contrast between the two is very effective. The adaptation is geared towards the younger audience this books is intended for, but it never feels like it's talking down to the reader, even someone as old as me. The humor and give-and-take of Ikumi's writing comes through quite well.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ichigo, the leader of Tokyo Mew Mew has moved to London to pursue her schooling with her boyfriend. Kish and his alien invaders have been defeated and returned to their own world. But they left plenty of unaccounted for Chimera Anima behind for the remaining four Mews to clean up. Enter into the story our heroine: Berry Shirayuki. She's a cheerful young girl who studied like crazy to pass the entrance exam for a prestigious private junior high school, just because she thought their uniforms were the cutest. Her best friend is Tasuku Meguro, who lives next door. He's been her best friend her whole life, and he loves nothing more than to shower her with his affection, even to the point of annoying her.
At Berry's new school, she discovers she's way out of her league socially and financially. But a surprise visit from Tasuku on his rollerblades has Berry's female classmates in a swoon. On her way home, she's saved by a handsome young man when she starts to fall down a flight of steps. She follows him to thank him, and finds herself at Cafe Mew Mew. A freak accident transforms her into a Mew Mew, with the genes of both a cat and a rabbit. These new powers have her becoming even more popular at school, even if she can't quite get over what's happened to her.
A sudden attack by a Chimera Anima forces her to use her powers in front of Tasuku, but of course he's fine with it. Berry and Tasuku both begin working at Cafe Mew Mew on their wait staff, the better to team with the other Mews and fight evil. And there is evil afoot. A group calling themselves the Saint Rose Crusaders have plans that include all the left over monsters, and they've decided it's time to eliminate the Mews.
Their first attack is made by one calling himself Royal Highness, who goes undercover at the school. But Tasuku's timely arrival saves the day. Later, Berry is attacked by one calling himself Happy Child, but she's saved by a surprise character. Finally, Blue Bayou and Sweet Juliet take over a stadium full of sports fans. All the Mews fight and win the day, but the Saint Rose Crusaders seem to have something extra up their sleeve.
I found Mia Ikumi's original story to be quite charming and enjoyed every volume. a la Mode continues the story with the same fun and excitement. Berry is a fun character, full of energy and cheerfulness. Tasuku is an excellent complement to her, with his outgoing charm and clinginess that is surprisingly never annoying. The rest of the Mews are in fine form, from the exuberant Pudding to the harried Lettuce, imperious Mint and aloof Zakuro. It's a fun little story with a few surprises and plenty to enjoy.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Right to Left