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!
Encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 48 kHz at 224 Kbps. With transformation sequences and action sequences having a deliberate, jazzy soundtrack, lots of over the top sound effects, and dialog throughout, the stereo mix must maintain complex layers of sound. Mostly it does, but there are times when the sound becomes too complex and the result is a few seconds where the separation fails and the result is a noisy moment with little clarity for any track. Still, that is momentary. Overall, the sound mix works well enough that it does not become a distraction from the action.
As originally released in 1.78:1, the video is encoded for anamorphic playback. Playback is variable bitrate. Colors have rich depth throughout. Possibly due to the use of complex textures and computer generated effects like mists and distortion, artifacts tend to be more present in this DVD than in most recent encodings. Only a few times did the issue become noticeable from a normal viewing distance on my TV, but when I went back to look at it through a PS3 and 24 inch monitor from a closer than normal viewing distance, some scenes had distracting amounts digital noise. Viewers on computers may have to adjust the settings.
The standard size keepcase holds two discs with hubs on the inside of the front and back covers. The front cover is divided with the demons on a blue field on the left and the women and gods from Heaven on the right side. The demon princess and Momoko stand shoulder to shoulder. The spine has the title and logo, and the bottom third includes an image of the demon princess from the knee up, looking at the viewer. The back cover is mostly pinks on the top two-thirds. An image of Momoko holding her sword frames the left side of the summary box. Pictures from the series appear above and below the black font on light pink field. At the bottom third, the credits are in white font on the black field over the technical grid. Copyright information is along the bottom. Disc 1 has a pink and white background with a profile of Momoko in a leaping, transformation pose. The title and logo appear under the hub. Disc 2 has an image of the demon princess running toward the viewer on a field of blues.
The menu offers a profile of Momoko in transformation with the demon princess running toward the viewer on the bubble gum pink background with peach/heart shapes floating like petals. The episode titles are in a vertical column with a peach shape that highlights for selection. Disc 1 has episodes 1 through 6 and Special Features. Momoko and the demon princess hold their swords and look at the viewer from a peach colored field on the special features screen. Disc 2’s menu screen is blue tones with the Heavenly Maiden group posed. Episodes 7 through 12 appear in a vertical column on the right with the same peach selection icon beside each episode title.
The only extras are a clean opening and closing.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Often, an anime series begins strong only to weaken as either the budget gets decreased or the creators try to find filler. Momokyun Sword starts weak, but the series finds a strong action fantasy storyline to finish on a solid note.
We begin the series watching Momoko train to fight with her three companions: dog, monkey, and pheasant gods. Right away, she falls in the water only for her companions to leer at her wet clothes as she acts embarrassed. Momoko speaks with a childish and cute voice that offers no credibility as a fighter, and her trainers continue to berate her performance. That is until the demons appear. Momoko has been training to fight under these circumstances, so right away, she takes off and jumps into her first fight. Not only does her performance get the attention of Heaven, it demonstrates to the audience her technique of being possessed by her animal friends so she can fight with more power.
The overarching plot has Momoko and Heavenly Maidens searching for pieces of the three-thousand-fruit peach, a mineral with immense power that split in the air and showered Japan. Heaven wants to prevent the demons from getting the power, the demons want to get the power to mount an attack, and a human has his own reasons for collecting pieces. The Heavenly Maidens operate under the direction of Madam Sumeragitennyo, the leader of Heaven. Momoko’s main adversary seems to be the demon princess. She also has a tendency for childish behavior, but can easily slip into a more businesslike manner when the conversation calls for it. Even though they battle, they never act as hateful enemies.
While early episodes have moments when the group fights demons for pieces of the peach, the show quickly gets sidetracked down an ecchi path. The character designs emphasize breasts and other areas where tight clothes can convey female sexuality. Every episode features the super flapping bounce of Momoko’s top as she runs in the opening, and most offer the common occurrence of clothes ripping during battle or as Momoko comes out of the fusion possession. When showing the demons, frequently S&M references, dominatrix behavior, or even the flogging of a man chained to the wall offers an erotic element. Sumeragitennyo’s assistant developed a sacrifice fetish that often shows her tied up, begging at inappropriate times.
In fact, several episodes feature little more than an ecchi premise, ignoring the main story to put characters in sexy scenes. In episode 4, Momoko, the women from Heaven, and the demon princess and Enki, a female demon leader, go to the beach where an extended scene has them changing clothes behind curtains while the men stare from the other side. The naughtiness progresses to a battle with a giant squid who disrobes and rubs all the girls, the way giant squids will do. Another episode revolves around a hot springs where a demon eats girls’ panties to become stronger. Most annoying was the episode where the Heavenly Maidens became an idol group. As the series is set in an ancient or at least a Japan without modern technology, this episode only panders to a very specific viewer. Even with the focus on breasts and nudity, nothing is detailed and that somehow makes the erotic moments more noticeable and causes much of the humor to depend on embarrassed women and male characters with perverted behaviors.
For those who can wade through the muck, the end of the series offers a much better experience. As we progress, we learn bits and pieces about characters. Still, we don’t understand the broader narrative or all of their motivations. When we learn the histories of Momoko and the demon princess, a new set of motivations allow the creators to compose sincere moments of drama. Imagination and emotion combine in the final battles, and as Momoko nears the mastery of fusion possession, her motivations have completely broken from the cute childishness of the early episodes.
This series offers no consistent experience. Moments of ecchi for ecchi’s sake, anachronisms to pander to idol fans, and emotional and thoughtful action scenes constantly call attention to the series’ lack of cohesion. For all of its weaknesses, the combination of imaginative settings, a mixture of art styles, and the development around the climatic battle will make it worthwhile for some viewers.
Japanese 2.0 language with forced English subtitles, Clean Opening and Ending, Sentai Trailers.
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Samsung 40” LCD 1080P HDTV, Sony BDP-S3500 Blu-ray player connected via HDMI, Onkyo TX-SR444 Receiver with NHT SuperOne front channels and NHT SuperZero 2.1 rear channel speakers.