Writer/Artist: Shinobu Ohtaka
What They Say
The head of the Boar Clan has never forgiven Unken Inuzuka for “stealing away” the once-beautiful Kimie Nakajima. His only child, Shintarou Inoue, has been groomed since birth to become a mighty, masculine warrior who will challenge Koushi Inuzuka for position as leader of the Eastern Army. The only trouble is, Shintarou might not be the man he thinks he is…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume picks up where the last one ended, with a goofy story that has nothing to do with the overall plot. In home economics, the creepy substitute teacher is back, and he’s found a way to get revenge on Momoko – eggs! Thanks to a failed attempt to beef up his daughter’s protein intake, Momoko’s father instilled a deep fear of hard-boiled eggs, especially ones with faces drawn on the shell. Incapacitating Momoko and threatening to scratch up Koushi’s face, the teacher gets the whole class (well, the female half at least) under his control. But Koushi uses smarts to win, switching in an erasable marker, and Momoko regains enough strength to beat back the teacher.
The manga returns to the main story after that, when a new challenger arrives to take Koushi’s place as leader of the Eastern Army, and Momoko’s husband. The bug-eyed old pervert from the last volume is back, revealing that he’s the Nikkou Botatsu, a man more powerful than the heavenly generals. Deeming Koushi unworthy, he brings Shintarou Inoue to fight him. But there might be a problem with Shintarou’s claim, as Sanae and her grandmother discovers that he’s actually a girl. Her father wanted a son to defeat the Inuzukas, and when that didn’t happen he raised his daughter to be a man. Even after being told the truth Shintarou is afraid to live as her own gender, afraid of being “an unwanted child”, and wanting to live for her father’s happiness rather than her own.
Rather than reveal her secret and get the entire problem over with, Sanae and Kimie decide to help her while also saving Koushi, by disguising Sanae and having her fight Shintarou first. This plan swiftly falls apart as Sanae is beaten down by an unknowing Shintarou, but her grandmother helps Sanae increase her powers – by ripping off her pants. Koushi’s been saved, but now Sanae has another mental scar.
Apparently finding that three chapters is long enough to spend on plot, Ohtaka brings us two more goofy stories. Shintarou begins attending high school and continues to pose as a boy for the sake of her father and her own comfort level. Of course, she’s now the prettiest boy in class, and any girl not already obsessed with Koushi begins fawning over her. This brings on the ire of Tenka and Hanzou, who don’t understand why the girls don’t like them – until they decide it’s because they’re ugly.
Then Koushi is forced to take Momoko on a date after inadvertently making her cry. Hanzou takes the chance to try out a new drug to make Koushi love his bride, throwing Momoko into a frenzy of delight. Of course, it wears off, and when Koushi wakes up with no memory he’s a bit disturbed to figure out where he’s gone with Momoko…
Sumomomo, Momomo is at it’s best when Momoko and the other martial artists are engaged in epic battles, but hardly anything of the sort occurs in this volume. The only part that comes close is the fight between Sanae and Shintarou, but that’s eclipsed by gender issues and nudity.
The manga has some amusing points, like Momoko’s fear of eggs, or Tenka and Hanzou’s battle with low self-esteem. But the sexist overtones are too overpowering Not only do we have the usual of the powerful Momoko wilting before Koushi and Sanae’s need to strip naked in order to fight, we also have a girl believing she must live as a man since she’s worthless as a woman. That so many strong women can be so terribly weakened by the men around them is disheartening, leaving a manga that incurs more frustration than laughter or excitement.
Content Grade: D+
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: C
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: February 22nd, 2011