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Tokyo Mew Mew Then vs. Now

by Shelby Tozier,

Fans of Tokyo Mew Mew rejoice! After twenty long years, the 2002 magical girl anime has a brand new anime reboot. Tokyo Mew Mew New is a fun, new version of the anime that captured our hearts two decades ago.

© Mia Ikumi/Reiko Yoshida/Pierrot

© Mia Ikumi/Reiko Yoshida/Yumeta Company/Graphinica

Tokyo Mew Mew and Tokyo Mew Mew New are based on the manga written by Reiko Yoshida and illustrated by Mia Ikumi. The star of the series is Ichigo Momomiya, who is out on a long-awaited date with her star athlete crush, when all of a sudden she's shot with a mysterious ray gun that merges her DNA with that of an endangered iriomote wildcat.

Four other girls have their DNA merged in a similar fashion, causing them to eventually all find one another as part of the top secret “Mew Project.” The five girls pledge to protect the planet under the group name “Tokyo Mew Mew.”

Understandably, since so much time has passed since the series was first conceived, the magical girl squad underwent some big changes in this new version of the anime. We'll be going through the differences and noticeable changes between the original hit anime series and the currently airing new adaptation.

Costume Design Changes

This is perhaps the most obvious and well-known change in Tokyo Mew Mew New. Ichigo and her friends all have brand-new outfits and hairstyles!

© Mia Ikumi/Reiko Yoshida/Yumeta Company/Graphinica

The magical girl crew has some matching accessories to their super outfits now, with brand-new matching neck bows and jewelry to set them apart from their original fits (all in their respective color schemes of course).

The girls have undergone bold new hairdo changes as well, giving Zakuro a sassy ponytail, Mint a cute new bob, and Bu-Ling new signature pigtails and braids. Their hairstyles also change a little after they've transformed into their magical girl personas.

That said, the overall structure of each of their magical girl costumes are all roughly the same. They just were given a few (literal) extra bells and whistles.

Romantic Subplots

If there's one thing the Tokyo Mew Mew universe is famous for, it's the romantic subplots. In fact, each major character is known to have a couple. Ichigo, the main heroine of the series, naturally gets the lion's share of them, with romantic interactions between herself and Masaya Aoyama, Ryou Shirogane, and Quiche (Kish).

As for Masaya, Tokyo Mew Mew New gives us a little bit more insight into what he's thinking, and his inner turmoil behind his motives with Ichigo is rendered more clearly. The reboot really allows Masaya to experience a lot more internal character development even before any new details about him are released. Masaya has always been a gentle voice in Ichigo's life during the first few dates, so getting to see more of his internal dialogue behind that softness is interesting. Some trademark Masaya moments (such as the “you're my kitten” cat bell choker gift) were also re-contextualized and given new layers of meaning.

Ryou has his relationships with both Ichigo and Lettuce elaborated upon in this new series, and he gets special moments with each of them. However, some fans observed that his character is a little more mature and reserved than it has been in the original anime. Ryou serves as a guide and even as a leader in some ways for the main cast of magical girls, and his ability to do that, as well as his sarcasm, still holds up well even two decades later.

© Mia Ikumi/Reiko Yoshida/Yumeta Company/Graphinica

Quiche's character development seems to have only just begun, as many of his signature scenes from the manga have been watered down in the reboot, in contrast to his more maniacal behavior in the original anime. That said, Quiche's personality still shines through in the interactions he's had up until now.

Tokyo Mew Mew New also provides a new dynamic to Mint and Zakuro's tumultuous relationship in this new series as well. With both harsher and gentler words spoken between them than in prior adaptations of their initial meeting, this reboot adds a new layer of depth to their relationship. In addition, Lettuce also shows us how she perceives Mint's good traits, and a large “I love Zakuro” is seen in a voice bubble above Mint's head.

© Mia Ikumi/Reiko Yoshida/Yumeta Company/Graphinica

As of writing this article, the series has not finished airing yet, so anything can happen in the next few episodes to really shake up all of the love triangles, pairings, and complicated friendships.


This one seems obvious, but absolutely worth mentioning. After two decades, the world outside of Tokyo Mew Mew has gotten more technologically advanced, so it's only natural that the story's setting gets an update (especially since it's one where you can merge animal and human DNA with a gigantic ray gun.)

In this regard, the addition of smartphones in Tokyo Mew Mew New is not merely a decorative change; it also subtly brings out a new understanding of the social situations each girl is in. For instance, when Lettuce rushes to deliver crepes to her friend group in episode 2, they coldly leave her out of several group selfies while she stands awkwardly to the side. Later in episode 6, after Zakuro officially joins the magical girl team, Lettuce herself commemorates this moment with a group selfie of the five friends together for the first time. This moment was precious because it incorporated a very modern gesture to demonstrate that they were all cherished friends of Lettuce.

© Mia Ikumi/Reiko Yoshida/Yumeta Company/Graphinica

Zakuro herself is famous on social media because of the strides she's made in the entertainment industry. Later on, the Tokyo Mew Mew team also blows up on social media and screens all over Tokyo after fighting the aliens on a live broadcasting set, which in turn causes Ichigo's classmates and random civilians to become obsessed with the illusive Tokyo Mew Mew personalities.


The original Tokyo Mew Mew storyline was built on a strong foundation of environmentalism. The central theme of the story involves acknowledging that the planet needs our conscious help if we want to keep it happy and safe.

Tokyo Mew Mew New, however, appears to be even more passionate in its environmental messaging, with explicit acknowledgement of the harm humanity has caused the planet. In the very first episode, we get a full rundown of what makes a species “endangered”, and Masaya specifically says “it's our fault”. Ichigo also says “I can't just do nothing.”

© Mia Ikumi/Reiko Yoshida/Yumeta Company/Graphinica

Tokyo Mew Mew New also centers many of Ichigo and Masaya interactions over situations where Masaya can convey his concern for the environment, his compassion for all life forms, and his knowledge of animals.

Aged up

Ichigo is now a high school student! Lettuce and Mint are also high school girls as well. The trio were junior high school students in the original.

Pudding is also aged up from the original anime and manga. We know she is still the youngest, as she was barred from entering the High Schoolers-only audition to try and introduce themselves to Zakuro through competing. In Zakuro's case, her updated age comes with wisdom, as she has expanded on her resume and starts off Tokyo Mew Mew New as an up-and-coming idol, whereas she is mostly known for being a model in all versions of the media.

Tokyo Mew Mew New is still airing, so there'll be plenty more of both your favorite Tokyo Mew Mew nostalgia, as well as all of these brand new additions to the magical girl series you all know and love. Keep watching and try to spot some updated story elements on your own too!

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