Love for teenagers can be a difficult time to begin with, but what if one of the pair has doubts about the other’s feelings? What if the other is a crazy obsessed stalker who collects anything her beloved touches? Could that be the final straw?
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 in MOMOKURI!
Includes all 26 episodes on 3 discs.
There is only a single audio track, a 48kHz 224 kbps Dolby Digital 2.0 Japanese track. The audio encoding is fine though, as the channels are properly set so that some parts are sent to the rear speakers at times, mainly effects and musical segments. As the show is almost entirely filled with character dialogue, the center speaker does most of the work. There were no noticeable dropouts or distortions during playback.
Originally airing in 2016 (note: this is the date of its television broadcast; the series first streamed on the internet many months earlier), momokuri is presented in its original 1.78.1 aspect ratio. The transfer does not look particularly good on a high definition set as there are clear signs of video compression at times (look at Momotsuki’s face at the very beginning of the show: there are signs of noise and banding present). On quite a few flat spaces of a single color, commonly building and interior backgrounds, banding or striping appears. It’s not the ugliest video I’ve seen as the artifacts are mainly in areas and spaces where your eye isn’t really going to focus its attention too much. For SD video being upscaled by the player, this is pretty much par for the course.
Packaging, Presentation and Menus: B
The release comes packaged in a standard-sized DVD keepcase, with the show divided over 3 discs, using one flipper hinge for two of the discs, the other resting on the back wall of the case. The first disc contains the first 8 half-length episodes, the second the next 8 half-length episodes, and the final disc has the remaining 10 (so the entire series is the equivalent of 13 full length episodes). Please note that the episodes are presented in pairs, with the OP and ED only playing once for every two episodes. The separation point between episodes is the eyecatch in the middle, which usually consists of the show logo with the names of the paired episodes listed. The front cover artwork features a picture of Momotsuki and Kurihara, the same image, with only some difference in the background, used for the disc art and menu for the first disc. The back of the cover features a large image of Rio Sakaki on the right side, a series of screencaps along the left and the catalog text in the center. At the bottom is the technical grid. The discs are picture labeled, with Momotsuki and Kurihara, as already mentioned, on the first disc, Usami and Shimada on the second disc and finishing up with Mizuyama and Sakaki on the final one.
The menus use a static image of standard promotional art on the right (same images as the disc art for each volume) with the episodes directly accessible arrayed along the left and center of the screen. The episodes are grouped together into couples, each couple combining to be the length of a regular full-length episode. The opening and ending themes play on a repeating track in the background for the menus, changing from one to the other when you move from one menu to another. Only the first disc’s menu has any difference, with the Special Features submenu below the episode list. There is no audio submenu as there is only the single audio track.
There are no significant extras with this release. On the first disc, there are the usual minimal inclusions: clean opening and closing animations and a small selection of trailers for other shows released by Sentai. There are no added features on the other two discs.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the web manga by Kurose that was published by NHN, momokuri was adapted first as an ONA by anime studio Satelight, with Yoshimasa Hiraike (Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Solty Rei, Amagami SS, Sketchbook ~full color’s~, Nyanko Days) handling direction and series composition, character designs by Miwa Oshima (character designer for BakaTest, C³, Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Koihime Musou, Nyanko Days, and several other shows). In Summer 2016, several months after the web streaming, the show was broadcast on Tokyo MX. It was picked up for streaming here by Crunchyroll and later licensed for home video by Sentai Filmworks.
If you want a one phrase description of this show, it’s basically a cute stalker girl comedy. Yes, you read that right.
Yuki Kurihara, a cute second-year high school student who is a bit…weird…develops a crush on new first-year student Shinya “Momo” Momotsuki, a high school boy with good looks but who is very self-conscious about his diminutive stature (in English: he’s on the short side). He’s not bullied but he is the constant object of teasing from his close-knit group of friends, several of whom have been with him since middle school or earlier. Other than his lack of height and complex about it making him seem less like a man, Momo-kun, as his friends usually call him, is pretty normal.
It’s Yuki who is a few cookies short of a full holiday platter. While she appears to be your normal…well, for anime-set-in-schools’ standards normal…cute high school girl, we quickly learn that her obsession with Momo-kun is a bit…overboard. It appears that she has been stalking him for quite some time, taking pictures of him in secret. After getting her 100th secret shot, she decides to confess her love to Momo-kun who accepts while being utterly unaware of Yuki’s obsession over him. Following the formal acceptance of her confession, Momo-kun walks her to and from school (though she lives further away so he walks her to the bus stop), blissfully unaware that Yuki has a habit of collecting garbage he tosses away and placing them in what can only be considered a “shrine” of sorts in her room, where things such as used straws from drink boxes are carefully preserved in vacuum sealed bags. Over time, we learn that her habit of collecting things touched by him goes even more overboard, even after her close friend Norika Mizuyama calls her out on it.
In general, this is an amusing comedy but I’ll note that I can easily see where people’s mileages will vary. Kurihara’s stalking really is quite deranged and I could see how people who have been the victims of stalking in real life could wind up being offended, rather than amused, by the entire concept and its execution. I think what makes it work as “it’s so cringe-worthy you can only laugh” vs. “it’s so cringe-worthy I have to shut this off…now!” is that it is so utterly ridiculous that one cannot, one should not, take it seriously on any level. But, I fully understand that it is not going to work for everyone.
The entire show, which is divided into half-episode segments (which are numbered as separate episodes even though the action occurring in paired half-length installments is connected and the transition from the first episode to the second of every pair is nearly seamless), is fortunately not just an endless repetition of stalking gags, though those appear throughout most of the run. The cast is fleshed out with Momo and Yuki’s friends: Yuki’s closest friend being her acid-tongue, deadpan classmate Norika mentioned above, who does her best to chastise and correct Yuki’s behavior; Momo has his group: two boys—snide Rihito Sawaguchi, easy-going Shota Shizuka—and two girls—Ikue Usami, who pretty much has it together, and the tiny, much more childish Yuzuki Shimada. The ensemble provides more people for the leads to interact with and set up situations where Momo can be teased in front of Kurihara and Yuki’s oddness can be revealed, though the full depth of her insanity is pretty much only known by Norika.
In addition, a love triangle is thrown into the story with Rio Sakaki, a very tall and dashing female classmate of Momo-kun’s who is often mistaken for a guy but who is very much a girl (and is more accomplished in the stereotypical “female arts” of cooking, sewing and such than Yuki is). It’s not a source of angst or tension, however, as Sakaki has a one-sided crush on Momo-kun that remains unknown to both Momo and Yuki. What further prevents conflict is that Kurihara appears to be completely immune to the feeling of jealousy, even if she sees her boyfriend surrounded by a group of girls acting overly friendly with him.
It is not a story of great depth or impact. While the stalking aspect can be disturbing (or disturbingly funny), the show does not otherwise stray beyond certain lines as both leads are very much the pure-hearted type, even if Kurihara is completely nuts. At the rate at which Momo-kun and Kurihara are progressing, they might have a full kiss on the lips by the time they finish college and could finally get around to having their first kid by their forties. Yes…they are both that shy and absent of the will to act upon deeper desires, even if they feel them. Fanservice is largely absent beyond a couple swimsuit shots which do not linger.
I found the show funny and weirdly charming, but that was likely owing to the excessively cute voicing of Yuki Kurihara by Ai Kakuma, which made Yuki more endearing than she might otherwise have been. If the character had been handled in a very different way, with either a deeper, more serious voice, or a voice that in any way sounded a bit more like a psychotic stalker-type, I’m not sure I would have been able to watch it (as I did when it originally streamed on Crunchyroll). Rewatching again on disc here in a marathon viewing session, again it’s largely Kakuma’s cuteness which works to defuse the potentially troubling material but as I noted above, I can understand how this show could potentially offend some viewers. If the idea of using stalking as the base for humorous gags sounds bad to you might want to stay away.
Yuki Kurihara has a crush on Shinya “Momo-kun” Momotsuki. While you would think that becoming an official couple with him (after he accepts her confession) would turn that crush into a normal kind of relationship, instead Kurihara continues to stalk and obsess over Momo-kun, collecting things he has discarded and taking secret pictures of him even though she could just ask to take his picture. The gags are silly and at times so over the top that one should not take them seriously. The comedy is rooted in the absurdity of Kurihara’s behavior, though I could see how some out there might not think stalking should ever be the basis for comedy, so each viewer’s mileage can vary wildly with this show.
Content Grade: B/B+ (If you can accept the absurdity and not be upset by the premise)
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: May 23rd, 2017
Running Time: 325 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Features: Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital audio, English subtitles, Clean Opening and Closing Animations, Sentai trailers.
Sony KDL-32S5100 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Sony Bravia DAV-HDX589W 5.1-Channel Theater System connected via digital optical cable.