What They Say:
Not every girl starts life as a baby inside a giant peach that was found floating in a river. But Momoko did. And most girls’ best friends aren’t Inugami the dog god, Sarugami the monkey god, and Kijigami the pheasant god. But that’s who’s been teaching Momoko how to use a sword and fight since she was little. With all this, one would expect that Momoko’s life is going to be an unusual one.
So when an army of evil Oni starts rampaging through feudal Japan and a team of Heavenly-sent Celestial Goddesses arrives to stop them, is it any surprise that Momoko finds herself being recruited for an epic quest? Well, it is for Momoko, but for a champion of the Gods, she’s a bit slow on the uptake. When it comes to fighting, she’s peachy-keen and if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that the bad guys are about to get totally creamed in Momokyun Sword!
The audio presentation for this release brings us just the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series is one that would make for a fun enough dub overall but couldn’t support one with the overall level of interest that was likely seen during the streaming run. What we do get with the show is fairly familiar and standard when you get down to it where it’s mostly dialogue and silly material punctuated with bits of action throughout to take it up a notch or two and give it a bit more life. The mix is certainly solid and competent but it doesn’t stand out or do any stretching with what it needs to do. The action does work the soundstage a bit more but it’s not a rich and full kind of thing as it’s kind of basic, supported more by the music and its warmth and fullness when it hits. Dialogue itself is decent enough but it’s not big on directionality or placement, so it doesn’t stand out much.
Originally airing in 2014, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are kept to one disc since it’s a monolingual release and can fit it in easily. Animated by Tri-Slash and Project No. 9, the show certainly has a lot of pop and color and some very smooth and fluid sequences with the way the characters move, which results in a largely pleasing transfer. The show is one that has a kind of average look in terms of overall quality and that comes through well enough, but it’s a bit light on details in both character and background. The encoding is certainly clean and problem free with solid backgrounds and it handles all the higher motion sequences well, resulting in an enjoyable viewing experience.
This release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the single disc inside. The front cover uses the familiar promotional image that gives us our two main sides together with the color break working well as it gives it a colorful and strong dynamic that makes it clear who is who and what side everyone is on. There’s some nice detail, though not a lot, to the character artwork and it’s a well done well of bringing out the vast array of familiar headshots in a decent way.The back cover brings the pink/peach colors around with some good shades while giving us some decent and fanservice oriented shots from the show spread around it. Momoko gets the main character artwork piece and the premise is covered very well in the summary without going too far. The usual layouts are here so we get the familiar production credits along the bottom and a technical grid that breaks all the disc contents down cleanly and clearly in an accurate fashion. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu for this release is one that works well in its simple way partially because it works a solid color scheme that captures your attention and draws you in. With a static image of the two rivals together with a bit of space between them, it goes for the fanservice but draws you in with the shaded background colors and then the pinks and purples of the navigation along the right. That has the familiar aspects of the episodes and numbers done in white that are easy to navigate as are the minimal extras, but the overall look is one that jumps out at you with the colors and the design in general. It’s dynamic, upbeat, and certainly sets the mood while being very easy to navigate.
The only extras included here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Based on the light novel series from Kibidango Project, which began in 2012, Momokyun Sword originally aired in the summer 2014 season as animated by Tri-Slash and Project No. 9. The series was directed by Shinsuke Yanagi with scripts from Tsuyoshi Tamai as they adapted the work that essentially provides its own iteration on the Momotaro folktale. I’ve seen a ton of Momotaro takes over the years in many different forms so there’s always that possibility of something new coming in that can provide a great new take on it. Momokyun Sword is not that property. What we get here is essentially a lot of silliness, fanservice, and action that doesn’t have a true grand goal but rather a simplistic one.
The show revolves around Momokun, the girl in the peach that washes up on the riverbed for an elderly childless couple to take in. She grows up quickly into an adult form and lives a pretty good life with them, all while trying not to fall out of her top too often. Momoko is the epitome of the bright and outgoing person of the period, enjoying life and all that it has to offer. She’s got a trio of companions that hang out with her that are all various gods taken animal form, such as Inugami the Dog God, Sarugami the disturbing looking Monkey God, and Kijigami, the Pheasant God. They all provide different things for Momoko once her journey begins beyond companionship and Kijigami has the added ability of being able to transform into a human, though it’s rarely done. They’re here to flesh things out and provide nudges when needed to keep her on the right path, but the series could have operated easily without them as well.
What shakes up Momoko’s world is that there are a lot of Oni now rampaging around Japan in search of the various pieces of a Peach that will provide power to the Jaku, the Oni king. He’s sent his various minions all over to find them and they’re causing plenty of trouble to all sorts of villagers and peasants around the land. One of those incidents happens in Momoko’s little village and that gets her drawn into it as she’s able to fight well against them. Since she’s such a good kid she’s of a mind to head out into the world and help others. What helps her come to this decision is the arrival and help of the four maidens of Sumeragitenyo that have come down from the celestial heavens in order to collect those same things before the Oni can. Ringo, Suika, Karin and Maron are all standard fare personalities and color designs so you know what you’re getting from the start with each of them, both in terms of action and comedy-support.
While we get a range of rank and file Oni to deal with as there are four corresponding generals as well, they’re sort of overseen by Onihime, the princess of the Oni who has a secret that’s revealed at the end that “upends” everything yet nothing. When she first encounters Momoko it ends up turning into an instant rivalry on her part and they clash repeatedly over the series, though there are moments where she ends up helping Momoko as well as she does have some kindness. The series is naturally very female heavy, though the Oni general are all male. Where the show does add a male to Momoko’s side is with the use of abe Seimi, a very familiar onmyoji who is working his own subplot here that adds absolutely nothing and proves to be little more than a distraction overall. He gets to play off of the other “guys” in the two gods that are Momoko’s companions, but it’s just a drag on the show.
Momokyun Sword is a show that plays to all the familiar tropes you’d expect. within the first few episodes alone we end up in a couple of beach episodes of varying lengths, though part of that comes from the journey aspect of the show – a nice touch to the start of the episode each time where it shows where they are. But as the show adds to its cast and works through the generals and settings, there’s nothing really new or done in a way that really surprises. It hits all the expected notes and once you get the first couple of minutes of the first episode, I suspect a good number of viewers could map out the entire series in the mind. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as you can just sit back and enjoy the silliness. And they do a lot of that with plenty of fanservice and near-nudity while avoiding anything that would require censoring. You know, like those evil nipples. Think of the children!
Visually, there’s plenty to enjoy here even if it doesn’t go in a really strong or unique way. The character designs are what you’d expect with lots of fanservice with skin showing, plenty of bounce, and lots of camera angles that leer over the characters. Their designs are certainly solid enough and while familiar have their own minor spins on them to make them stand on their own. The animation is good throughout, working with what they have while not coming across as subpar or horrible, which you could certainly get with a show of this nature. It’s the kind of production where if it had a better hook or just a bit more creativity in story and character – and execution – that you’d be pretty pleased with the look of it.
After watching the twelve episodes of Momokyun Sword, I had a certain level of fun with it but really understand that it’s empty calories. There’s a fun and silliness about it that will keep you watching and the visuals are solid enough if you like fanservice that you’ll grin and laugh along the way. But if you’re looking for something to subvert or provide a twist on a far too familiar concept you’ll end up disappointed by it. It does what it sets out to do and it accomplishes it well, but it’s something that newer fans will find a lot more engaging than long term fans who have seen this story before. Sentai’s release is certainly well done in that it provides a good looking and good sounding release done up in a solid package. While I do wish it had gotten a dub I completely get why it didn’t. Fans of the simulcast will be able to grab this easily enough and enjoy its addition to their library.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening & Closing Animations
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.