Anime Review: Momo Kyun Sword Episode 1

Momo_Kyun_Sword_Momoko

Title: Momo Kyun Sword

Genre: Fantasy

Description: Momoko is a beautiful young sword fighter who was born inside a peach (momo in Japanese). She lives with her constant companions—the dog god Inugami, the monkey god Sarugami, and the pheasant god Kijigami—in a peaceful paradise. However, a demon army led by devil king invades the paradise and steals the precious treasure that protects Momoko’s land. To retrieve the treasure and save the people, Momoko embarks on a great adventure with her three companions.

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Momotaro is a one the most popular and famous Japanese folk tales. It is a story about Momotaro – Peach Boy – who was found in a giant peach by an old couple who raised him as their own child. There are several different versions of the story but the core of it is Momotaro’s journey to fight oni with his loyal companions – a dog, a pheasant and a monkey.

As any popular folk tale Momotaro is often used in a referential manner or as a foundation for various and sometimes very loose adaptations.  One of those adaptations is Momo Kyun Sword – light novel by Kibidango Project. The first episode of Momo Kyun Sword anime aired on the 9th of July 2014.

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Prologue

The gender flip version of Momotaro is such a common deal that it’s hard to count as a change so the origin story is pretty much intact in Momo Kyun Sword as they show us in the first seconds of the first episode. The prologue ends with this shot though to show us exactly what we are in for:

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Episode

The episode starts with oni rising from the ground. Their goal is to collect pieces of Michimi Peach as we learn from Celestial Maiden Sumeragi-sama who sends her loyal Celestial Maiden Squad to stop the forces of Evil.

Meanwhile Momo, who lives with her adoptive grandparents in a small village Tourikyo in the land of Bizen, is running through the woods. The scene gives us this beautiful shot to m…meditate to.

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With one swift move Momo splits a thousand-year old tree in two halves. She also destroys wooden dummies, bamboo sticks and a big rock with her wooden sword. She looks badass but I’m sad about the tree. All this is a part of her training. Her mentors are Inugami (a dog), Kijigami (a pheasant) and Sarugami (a monkey). There is something else she wants to try but her companions thinks that she is not ready yet. We don’t get to know what they are talking about because Momo falls into a river.

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When her clothes are finally dry again, Momoko goes to shrine and watches preparations for a festival. She is on shrine’s territory and behind her there is something that looks like a pink gem which is most likely one of the fragments of Michimi Peach. On their way home Momoko stops dead when she sees a couple with child and her companions go into panic mode. Momo snaps out of it though and says that she is okay because even though she doesn’t have parents she has her grandparents and Inugami, Sarugami and Kijigami. Loyal Inugami is so moved by her words he cries while Sarugami and Kijigami act like a couple of tsundere. All that is very sweet but when she comes home her grandparents are very worried. The traveler told them that the oni are in the area.

Celestial Maiden Squad is also in the area. Karin can’t see any oni in her magical jewel but she sees something very nasty. According to Suika she always sees something bad so it’s not helpful at all. Maron recognizes Tourikyo though and remembers that an old treasure is supposed to be there. Maidens go to check if the treasure is one of the pieces.

Momoko wants to protect her village but her companions point out that she has never fought anyone before and more importantly doesn’t even know what oni look like. Momo draws them a picture and says that she knows all about oni – they look strange, wield weird weapons and always travel in groups. Before anyone can inform her about how oni actually look like the villager runs into the house to warn that there is a group of weird people on the way to the village. Momoko grabs her wooden sword and runs to face the danger. Of course the group is four maidens and Momo’s companions seem recognize them but Momoko sees strange clothes and strange weapons and says that they are the oni, no doubt. Maidens are all: ‘Are you an idiot?’ which leads Momo to throw a tantrum and yell ‘Baka!’ adorably. Her companions though did recognize maidens as the servants of Heaven which confirms that the oni are close. As soon as Inugami says it we hear the noise of something being crushed.

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Oni are all over the village. They are all giggling evilly and the villagers are running for their lives. One of the oni is threatening Momo’s grandparents but Momoko attacks him before he can swing his mace. Her wooden sword is broken but her attack was strong enough to knock the enemy out. There are more oni though so Momoko asks Inugami to give her Kongoumaru – her katana. They fight oni quite successfully but at one point maidens have to intervene and we finally get to know their names and specialties:

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 Momo_Kyun_Sword_Suika

 Momo_Kyun_Sword_Ringo

 Momo_Kyun_Sword_Karin

They explain to Momo that they are Celestial Maiden Squad and their goal is to protect pieces of Michimi Peach that are scattered across Japan from oni. They all run toward the shrine but the lead oni – Tekki is there holding the fragment of the Peach. Momoko attacks but Tekki parries and sends her flying into the tree with his counter-attack. One leap and Celestial Maiden Squad is defeated. Oni get a permission from Tekki to do what they want. But Momoko will not let anything happen to her family and her village. Momoko’s fighting spirit and Inugami’s loyalty lead them to use ‘it’. Kijigami and Sarugami remind us that they were never able to use ‘it’ because Momoko wasn’t ready. But they don’t exactly have a choice so we finally learn what this mysterious ‘it’ means.

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Fusion looks like transformation sequence from mahou shoujo anime (and to be fair Momo Kyun Sword is kinda a mahou shoujo anime). It looks very nice though and I like the design of MomoInu. Momo’s weapon has been transformed as well – now it’s a polyarm. Tekki’s mace got nothing on MomoInu  –  she is able to stop it with one hand. MomoInu is also more agile. The increase in strength is just crazy though. She kicks Tekki like he is a woolsack. Inugami says that this is a power of her bond with Three gods but it’s still surprising because you’d expect such an increase in strength from fusion with Sarugami. If fusion with Sarugami means even more strength I will not envy Momo’s enemy at the time. To finish the battle Momo uses super attack Houkou Reppa. Tekki is defeated and one of his horns is on the ground. Tekki swears revenge but flees with his gang. Momoko looses her focus and somehow her transformation back manages to blow up her clothes. One needs to buy BD to appreciate the full scale of destruction but it seems like the 70% of her top is gone.

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Celestial Maiden Squad interrupts another one of her tantrums to inform Momo that Celestial Maiden would like to talk to her. Sumeragi-sama asks Momoko to lend Heaven her strength and to help to protect the pieces of Michimi Peach. ‘Why me?’ wonders Momo. ‘Because my Squad sucks, and you are reaaaaaly strong’ answers Celestial Maiden with the sweetest smile while Maiden Four stand right there. They seemed kinda used to it so we can assume that Celestial Maiden is that kind of boss. Maron as the serious one in the Squad asks if Momo accepts the offer but Momoko has more important question:

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Considering the genre and what we’ve seen in the first episode you’ll be naked a lot, Momoko-san.

 Village is in a process of restoration. Momoko says goodbye to her grandparents who promise to wait for her. Companions ask if Momo is sure about her decision but Momoko has no doubt in her heart. Oni are strong and that means innocent people are in danger and she, Momo, cannot sit idle and leave them without protection. Three gods are proud of their pupil and so the team goes on the journey to fight oni.

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Verdict

Overall the first episode was quite enjoyable. It is stupid kind of fun, but it is fun and the action sequences were nice. There were problems, of course. For example Celestial Maiden Squad was utterly useless and jobbed way too early. Which is understandable – Momoko had to use the Fusion – but it’s still a bit disappointing. The fanservice was a bit watered down and the action scenes while nice were too short. But it is a first episode and I think that episodes 2 and 3 will be more telling as to what to expect from the show.  We haven’t seen Onihime yet and she is very promising. And, at the end of the day, I did like the first episode. I liked Momoko, her companions and mahou shoujo element of Momo’s powers mixed with martial arts and sword mastery. Fusion looks promising and I’m really looking forward to MomoSaru fight. It should be insane. And I want to know where they will go with all this and even if it will be something completely ridiculous and stupid (and it will be) I believe it will be a fun ride.

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