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Momokuri Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

Momokuri Blu-ray Front CoverYoung love in all its blooming glory.

What They Say:
For the longest time, Yuki Kurihara has been obsessed with Shinya Momotsuki (aka Momo), and her crush is a little more extreme than writing his name surrounded with dozens of hearts in her binder. In fact, Kurihara does things outside the realm of a typical high school girl… like secretly following him, taking pictures of everything he does, and collecting anything he happens to discard and drop.

The funny thing? Despite being considered rather cute by most girls, Momo is relatively inexperienced with the opposite sex, explaining why he misses the warning signs of her fixation. However, now that he and Kurihara are going out, is it possible that a little obsession might not be such a bad thing? Love can be strange, and it’s about to get even stranger!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track only in stereo using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that is focused pretty much on dialogue without anything really big or action oriented that requires a strong design to it. It’s almost all about the kids just talking with each other and getting slightly rambunctious once in a while but never anything that really stretches the situation. The music is what works things a bit more with a warmer and bigger feeling from time to time but even then the bulk of what we get is fairly understated. The encoding brings it to life well as it’s one that comes across clean and clear and we get some decent moments of directionality and placement as needed to handle some of the character interactions. It’s a solidly put together mix for what it needs to accomplish and it does it with ease.

Video:
Originally airing in 2015 and 2016, the transfer for this ONA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p. The twenty-six episodes are spread across two discs with eighteen on the first and eight on the second. With them half-length episodes, we basically get a thirteen episode standard length series here so it all fits easily on the two discs. Animated by Satelight, the show has a very appealing simple look to it with bright colors and solid designs that don’t work heavy amounts of detail but avoids looking too simple. The backgrounds have some good details to them and there’s some very fluid animation in a number of scenes, but it is for the most part a familiar dialogue-oriented work where the characters expressions are what drives it and some of the lighter and sillier parts, such as widgets and symbols that float about. The encoding here captures all of it well with a clean and crisp look that’s very appealing with what it does. It’s a show that works its color design very well so that it’s inviting and fun while working with more straightforward and simpler movement for its characters.

Packaging:
The packaging design for this release brings us one of the main key visuals for the show with our two leads together holding hands and looking all cute and shy. With a bright white background and an array of widgets and colors all around them, it gives you a very good idea of what to expect from the show in terms of style and content without actually doing a lot. Though the character designs skew young and scarily thin in some ways, it’s a consistent design throughout the show and it works well. The back cover keeps to the lighter colors as we get a shot of Sakaki along the right while the left has some cute shots from the show itself. The premise is well covered with a summary that’s done with easy to read black text on the white background and the extras are clearly broken out as well. The production and technical grid captures all the details well and there are no show related inserts nor a reversible cover to be had.

Menu:
The menus for this release play off the material from the front cover well as we get a lot of colors for both of them, a blue background for the first and a yellow/green for the second. The right side uses different character artwork pairings with the hearts and other shapes behind them that gives it a lot of people while being busy but not too busy. The navigation along the left breaks down the episodes by number and title with some lengthy titles to be had, but it’s all easy to navigate both as the main menu and as the pop-up menu. There is little in the way of submenus to be had here beyond the trailers and extras so it’s all straightforward and easy to use with no problems.

Extras:
The extras for this release includes the clean opening and closings, which we certainly enjoy having.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the seinen manga of the same name by Kurose, Momokuri is a twenty-six episode anime series animated by Satelight. Originally done as a net series in late 2015, it got a broadcast run on Tokyo MX during the summer of 2016. The show works the half-length episode running time with about eleven minutes per episode that gives each of the stories a good bit of time to work while not overplaying any particular piece, which makes shows like this all the more appealing for me. The original manga had one volume released from what I can see so the anime adaptation likely expanded on things in a lot of ways to give it a bit more breathing room and charm when you get down to it. Shows like this can be hit or miss but Momokuri offers a lot of fun with what it does while avoiding some of the usual traps.

The show revolves around two high school students named Shinya Momotsuki and Yuki Kurihara. Yuki has had quite the crush on Shinya for a bit and we get to see just how much of her mind is focused on this in some pretty fun ways that feels surprisingly authentic in its dominance. That’s not to say it’s just limited to girls as I definitely remember my own middle and high school crushes in how thinking of them dominated my mind at that time. Yuki comes across as a pretty good kid all around that isn’t a problem student and has a few friends that she does things with, such as Norika, her best friend that tries to keep her grounded when she can. Shinya’s a fairly average student in a lot of ways as he’s not into sports, has decent grades, but gets some lightly odd treatment from some girls in school because they view him as a cute boy, one that you can easily imagine many delighting in putting him into some crossdressing situations.

Thankfully, the show doesn’t play it too long before Yuki and Shinya end up spending time together, awkwardly at first, as she makes it clear her interest and he realizes that there may be something there. It’s the kind of normal and real tentative stuff that works so well as they’re both trying to be their best versions of themselves. Yuki does this more strongly because she’s trying to be the perfect girl and not let him know all the things going on in her head as she’s really pretty smitten by him. He becomes more and more interested in her but still has a slightly aloof manner in some ways as he comes across as trying to play it cool to some degree and being unsure that someone could be interested in him. Admittedly, both of these kids have little in the way of interests or hobbies, passions that would make them interesting, but that’s a common flaw in far too many romantic comedy/drama series in general so I can’t peg it too hard here.

What the series does that works so well is that in the shorter episode running times is to give us interactions that are just delightful to watch. Yes, Yuki has a lot going on in her head and taking things further than might be considered “normal” for many, but she’s in first love/crush mode and the swirl of emotions is high. There are tinges of this with Shinya from time to time as well, especially as she opens up more and realizes how much she’s interested in him, which allows him to be a bit more free himself. The show works a lot of familiar settings, such as a semi-first date, a BBQ piece down by the river for the two of them and their friends, and even a light beach episode. It does get into things a bit more with familiar here and there but it largely sticks to the absentee parents side. Yet the show makes it work, such as Yuki’s first time at Shinya’s home and she gets totally smitten by his room – going so far as to sneak some time in his bed. These small moments just made me grin far too much and with all the little widgets and shapes coming from her, such as hearts and the like, it just made me enjoy it all the more.

In Summary:
Momokuri is a kind of simple show in a lot of ways but it has a kind of charm that just got me to enjoy it. I’ve grown to really appreciate series that work these shorter story running times and that really does help here as each episode doesn’t feel like it drags a story on for too long, or making it too convoluted. I’m a fan of these kinds of romantic comedy series where it keeps its focus small, doesn’t really add a ton of characters with all their side stories, and allows the characters to actually date and get to know each other without bizarre walls and barriers thrown up in front of them. Sentai put together a nice little release here, one that really is charming and fun in its small way, that will delight fans of this particular genre and this show.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: May 23rd, 2017
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
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.

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