Kish has officially gone too far. Now he’s not only a creep who can’t take no for an answer, he’s also the jerk who attacks someone’s pet after he crashed their pillow fight. (There are stronger words in Yiddish for how I feel about him, but my grandmother will come back to haunt me if I use them.) Infecting Mickey, who was trying to defend Mint from the invading alien, with the creature that transforms him into a Chimera Anima is a low blow no matter how you slice it, especially when we consider that the little dog is the being Mint feels closest to out of everyone in her family. Zakuro may have been justified by calling Mint annoying last week – because let’s face it, she can be a lot to take – but to hear those words from her idol really shook Mint up.
It’s not hard to understand why – for all of her airs and graces, Mint’s still a teenage girl, and one who’s got a bad case of the adolescents. The only daughter of a wealthy family, Mint’s life is already largely mapped out for her: like her older brother, she’ll eventually work for one of her father’s companies, and anyone who’s read enough manga could make the educated guess that she’ll also be expected to marry for the benefit of either the family or the family business. No one, in her mind, needs Mint; they need the daughter of the Aizawa family, whether that’s Mint or some other girl. We can see that’s not the case when her brother Seiji is truly excited that Mint’s got friends over, but Mint herself can’t get past the expectations she’s labored under to understand. Zakuro represented someone living her own life on her own terms, and Mint’s yearned to model herself based on her idol. Therefore to be damned as “annoying” by that very person is basically a shot through the heart. Zakuro’s one sentence crushed Mint utterly.
That’s not to say that Zakuro wasn’t justified in not wanting to join the gang at Café Mew Mew. From her perspective, they crashed a serious audition, screwed things up, and then she had to save the day. When we add that to the way that Zakuro can’t even walk down the street without people gaping at her, she’s got no reason to trust this random group of girls, especially since they’ve been a little underhanded with the whole audition thing. (Or at least Zakuro could read the situation that way.) But that doesn’t mean that Mint isn’t hurting now, which makes Kish’s use of Mickey particularly cruel: she may be starting to get along with her teammates, but the dog is still her main emotional support.
Kish is a bad guy, though, so from where he’s floating, using Mickey is a stroke of genius. After all, who’s going to actually attack their beloved pet? He’s got no reason to believe that the girls are going to go Old Yeller on the transformed pup. Even if Ichigo, Pudding, and Lettuce thought back and realized that none of the infected animals were harmed by removing the aliens from them, Mint’s stronger-willed than any of them and isn’t likely to listen. That she’s finally able to overcome her fear of hurting Mickey when she sees Mew Ichigo being hurt herself says that she’s getting ready to open her heart to others, Zakuro’s hurtful statement notwithstanding. And that Ichigo needs her reminds Mint of the fact that Mew Mint is necessary; without her, the world can’t be saved. Mint herself is important, and that’s what she needed to understand all along.
Zakuro may not be part of the team yet, but at least Mint, Ichigo, Bu-Ling, and Lettuce are now all in this together. Could we have used more than a pillow fight to cement that? Yes, but finally seeing Mew Lettuce’s transformation does take some of the sting out. The pacing may be a little swift, but at the end of the day, Mint still got the reassurance that she matters, and in this episode, that’s what’s really important.
Tokyo Mew Mew New is currently streaming on