Recently I’ve had several people request that I start including manga and anime titles that are appropriate for children. Most of these requests have come from parents who have kids that are into anime or manga, but a few have come directly from kids or tweens. So here is my first featured series that is rated ages 7+.
‘Tokyo Mew Mew’ is an adorable series written by Reiko Yoshida and Illustrated by Mia Ikumi. The manga series was published by Tokyopop, and there is also an anime version that was never sold in the US, but which you can still watch on many free fansub sites.
The storyline is simple enough, but interesting. The main character Ichigo is an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally infused with the DNA of a wildcat that is almost extinct. Along with Ichigo, four other girls were also infused with DNA from endangered animals. The reason this experiment was undertaken was because aliens are possessing the bodies of regular animals and turning those animals into monsters. Although these five girls were not the intended targets of the DNA experiment, once they became involved, they were recruited to fight the monsters that the aliens are creating.
Aside from the plot, what really makes this series fun is the cute artwork and the funny characters. The 5 girls turn into half-human, half-animal creatures when they fight the aliens, so for instance, Ichigo, who is half wildcat grows cat ears and a tail. They also have awesome fighting outfits. The artwork in the manga is not extremely sophisticated but it is cute and drawn well enough that even adults would probably enjoy the story.
As for the characters, Ichigo is cute, easily confused, and a little bit of a flirt. The other five girls include Mint (a spoiled, rich girl), Lettuce (a nerdy girl who is always being bullied), Pudding (who is full of energy and loves to have fun) and Zakuro (a professional model who is a loner). Mint was merged with the DNA of a bird, Lettuce with a porpoise, Pudding with a monkey and Zakuro with a wolf. The cool thing is that each girl shares personality characteristics with her animal, so each seems to be a good fit.
The storyline for ‘Tokyo Mew Mew’ actually has quite a few twists and turns and some of the plot developments might actually surprise you. Although the cuteness of this series definitely appeals more to girls, there is quite a bit of action which may make it bearable for even boys to sit through (if they can get past all the pink that Ichigo wears).
If you would like to check out this series, you can watch the anime on a number of free fansub websites (such as animefreak.tv), or you can borrow the manga volumes from the Dayton Metro Library since they currently have all seven volumes of the original manga series, as well as the two sequel volumes named ‘Toyko Mew Mew a la Mode’.