Momo Kyun Sword Review

This is review number three hundred and eighty one. This anime is part of the Summer 2014 lineup, and the show is called Momo Kyun Sword. The title just swells with intrigue, doesn’t it? It’s a twelve episode anime about Momotaro turned into a girl, and she goes around Japan collection some peaches. It’s a stupid show, so let’s just read on.

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Story

The show follows Momoko, a girl born from a peach. One day, a bunch of ogres attacked her village’s sacred altar. When she tried to save it, she realized the altar housed a piece of a scared peach. Some celestial maidens then told her that she must collect the pieces, and she must make sure the ogres don’t get any of it. Along with her three companions, a monkey, a dog and a bird, Momoko now travels Japan trying to save it from the threat of the ogres.

Taking the Pants Off

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This anime sucks. I pick my anime randomly, so what in the hell is with my luck that I keep choosing awful anime to watch? Summer 2014 is also littered with bad anime. This is my third one, and I am f*cking done. I feel like I just grew a bit more critical to shows with bad story and bad animation, so I just can’t stomach them anymore. Momo Kyun Sword (jesus, that name) has bad animation and the story is just horrible. It’s actually just bland, but the audacity of this anime to feature Ecchi prominently just irks me. Ecchi should have good animation. I think that is a given. When you’re featuring boobs and boob physics, then good animation is a must. It doesn’t need to be crisp, but it just needs to be eye candy~ish. The point is to make it all appealing, so dull colors and default color schemes just don’t cut it. Featuring skin needs more effort, and it’s a really big turn off when the show just flashes boobs forcibly. You want to like it, but you just can’t. It’s not appealing, so it’s a bit hard to watch. Momo Kyun Sword (I hate typing this) suffers from this sh*t. So imagine absolute D grade animation confidently presenting a B grade Ecchi. It just isn’t fun. Coupled with a dull story, then the entire anime experience is just really really horrible. I hate this anime, and I cannot wait to just dump on it.

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I should point out that this anime is an LN anime. It’s a light novel adapted show, and it follows the main basic idea of these kinds of shows: they’re fan service heavy. It is interesting to see an all-female cast though, since most LN have a horny male main character to enjoy the accidental harem of herded girls. This anime just features a bunch of girls, and they just shed clothes from time to time. I like the concept of “just girls”, but it brings out the first problem of this show. The Ecchi, or the fan service aspect, is totally forced. In most LN, the girl flirts with the main guy. They could also be locked in a room, or be naked in a hot spring, or they’d be fighting and it ends with the guy fondling some fat, or whatever the hell happens in light novel anime. The main idea is that the main character enjoys the fan service, so there is purpose in the display of skin. If it’s an all-girl cast, then the fan service just happens with no real cause. They’d just do random fan service stuff, and it’s totally destroying the pace of the show. Characters would be fighting, and the boobs would just randomly jiggle. A girl would stand still, and then the camera would focus on her boobs. It doesn’t feel right. The Ecchi is so forced that it’s hard to take it seriously. I can suspend my disbelief for the benefit of the show, and I’ve been doing that for almost five years now, but you can still see if something is forced. The Ecchi in this anime feels so out of place, but I can see it actually working out. The great studio that adapted the light novel basically just didn’t properly adapt this great piece. The result is just a bad show with half naked girls walking, but the camera would focus on their ass from time to time. Yknow, cause it’s supposed to be naughty.

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The studios, Project No. 9 and Tri-slash, didn’t just flub the fan service though. The story is also pretty flubbed. First of all, the premise of the anime is pretty straight forward. The show is about Momotaro, the peach boy, but he is a girl in this story. Light novel once had this trend of turning Oda Nobunaga into a girl, and it looks like they’re finding new masculine heroes to change gender. I just hope this trend dies more quickly, because it hurts watching anime like this. Anyways, Momotaro is now Momoko in this anime. I actually like it, and the story even used the peach boy story as a base. Momoko is fighting ogres, just like Momotaro, and she has her three companions besides her. The talking dog, monkey and bird accompany Momoko in this anime. Our hero and the ogres are fighting to collect pieces of a powerful peach scattered all over Japan. I like the premise, because it’s a re-work of a classic. It’s not hard to pull off. Along with Momoko, we have mythological celestial maidens thrown into the mix. Abe no Seimei and Princess Kaguya are also present in the story, and they’re all wrapped up in an Inuyasha-like journey fending off ogres along the way. It’s a really brilliant premise, and it’s actually an easy one. It has more chances of being good than being bad. Unfortunately, when you don’t really understand the original source then things turn bad pretty easily. This is the case for this one.

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Along with the forced Ecchi, the story is also really bad. Despite having re-imagined Japanese stories to work with, the anime still lacked vision. The entire thing feels flat, because the pacing is never really cared for. Character motivation isn’t recognized, the lush old Japanese setting isn’t used as an advantage and the action isn’t properly utilized. The story just happens without any excitement to them, and it can be very boring to watch. The anime relied on its forced Ecchi to pick up the slack, but it’s not really working. The anime even made the awful decision of just lumping characters together with no real reason. In the first episode, nine of the recurring characters were introduced. In the second and third episode, four more is introduced. In the fourth episode, naturally, the anime presented a beach episode. Yes, this is how the anime functions. Understanding a story with twelve characters is hard, so it just decided to focus on fluff episodes. It is so stupid.

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It has a very simple premise to work with, and episodes can just feature the characters collecting peach fragments and then fight from time to time. Is it really that complex that the anime needed to just play it safe instead? The annoying thing is that the anime doesn’t even feature much of its premise. It’ll have episodes centered on different things not related to the main story. It’ll have undying cliché ones like a beach and hot spring episode, but it’ll also have predictable episodes about Momoko fighting with her pets or something stupid like that. I don’t mind episodes focusing on the characters, but there’s very little presented to suddenly shift to fleshing them out. As a non-japanese audience I don’t even know the connection of the dog, the monkey and the bird to Momoko. They just appeared for no reason, and they can also combine with Momoko to fight the ogres. I think one of them even carries the sword Momoko uses inside them, for some reason, but the anime never expands on that idea. Why exactly is Momoko transforming to fight the ogres? How is she able to do that? Why is she the only one doing that? Rather than focus on answering the many questions the anime forces upon the audience, it would give us episodes of the celestial maidens becoming idols. I kid you not. They suddenly formed an idol group and sang on stage. What in the holy hell?!

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This is the biggest problem I have with this anime. The tone of the show is just out of whack. It tries to be serious, but it features Ecchi in such a forced way. You can’t take characters seriously when they’re randomly exposing skin and fondling each other. I would actually be okay with that if the tone of the show is actually Ecchi Comedy. Except it’s not. There is a serious story, and it has a hero-villain dynamic to present. Despite the format though, the ogres and Momoko’s group would often buddy up for no reason. If you want to kill each other, then why are you enjoying a day at the f*cking beach together?! Again, if it’s not a serious anime then I don’t really care. This is a serious toned show though, so a giant squid undressing the girls is so out of place. What exactly does it accomplish? It’s not even considered filler, because most fillers have a purpose. The tone of this anime is painful at times, because it just doesn’t really know what it wants to be. The episode where the celestial maidens become idols really made me question my existence. We are in Edo Japan, and samurais suddenly started admiring the maidens. This forces the Celestial Goddess to order them to dress in frilly outfits and sing as a group. The episode would then follow the idol group in hand shaking events and dancing in a stage, during the f*cking Edo period. What in the hell is this?

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I understand what the anime is trying to accomplish though. This is, indeed, an action packed story but it gets sidelined with Ecchi-Comedy. I think the best comparison is Date-A-Live. Remember that show? It also had a lot of fan service, but it can go serious especially with the “kuudere girl cop” having this unsettling devotion to the main character. Hell, there was even a yandere dressed in gothic Lolita running amok in that anime and it worked amazingly. The elements were nicely balanced, and the show can transition from serious to non-serious with no problem. I feel like Momo Kyun Sword (f*cking hate typing that) is doing the same thing, but it doesn’t really know how to do it properly. A lot of people forget that adapting a light novel can be very tricky. Somethings work on paper, but it doesn’t translate well in a moving medium. Achieving a serious to non-serious tone with a bunch of Japanese folklores is hard to do, but it is not impossible. You just really need someone that understands what the original source is trying to achieve, and you should expect that someone to take care of moving the original source to a different container. A lot of studios fail in doing this, and this anime is just another case of a badly adapted light novel. It happens, and the audience is often the one left feeling the pain after everything is said and done. This anime is really cringy at some point, and it is really hard to watch.

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The anime might be badly paced, badly toned, and the elements are all screwed up, but I do still like the intended story it was supposed to present. I think at episode nine or so, the main story is picked up again and it’s actually pretty good. The main idea the show is trying to present is really brilliant, and it got me excited with the anime towards the end. It gave us this wonderful twist about the origin of Momoko, her ties to the ogres and the celestial maidens, and the humans are even trying to capitalize on the supernatural beings quarreling amongst themselves. In terms of the general direction of the show, it actually makes sense. Some of the fluff in the previous episodes culminates to the big twist in the latter half of the show. During the fluff episodes, characters were meant to be fleshed out and develop relationships among each other. Everything seemingly has a purpose in the narrative, and the anime is just too dumb to really make it all work. Naturally, after the big twist, the anime reverted back to its awful state. The climax of the story is awful, the characters still didn’t amount to anything, and the payoff we were supposed to get turns into a miserable mess towards the end. I understand what the story is trying to achieve, and it’s a really solid content, but the anime is really just too bad to make any of it work. Too many potential is killed and not realized, because the anime doesn’t really know how to properly do it. I am serious when I say this: the story is really solid and it has potential to be great. There were just so many things working against it, and it just annoys me to no end.

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Characters are all bad. They are bland, uninteresting and any shred of potential is just lost. The anime also lumps them together, so there’s very little room for them to grow. The Ecchi also kills any momentum the characters might get from the story. When the celestial maidens became idols, I just felt like the anime sabotaged them immensely. I understand the playful nature it was trying to achieve, but it just comes off as a negative aspect in the show. Momoko herself is bland, and the constant featuring of her breast is just awkward. The anime didn’t even bring out the wonderful arrogance of Momotaro in the story. The rich Japanese folklores that the characters originated from aren’t even utilized to make them interesting. They just suck, and there’s very little to talk about with these characters. F*ck them all.

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It looks like Project No. 9 is just done. They aren’t even attempting to fake being good anymore. They are just phoning it in at this point, and I think it’s for the best. They’re still releasing shows, but they’re not really notable. They’re just bad, and it’s sad seeing them give up. I am still hopeful that they’ll hit it big, but I’m not holding my breath. Maybe they’ll do it in the long distant future, but certainly not now. I am glad that they are releasing shows though, and that’s all I can ask of them. I’ll also just gladly accept all of their bad works, because hoping for anything good is a bit too much now. They just aren’t that interesting of a studio anymore. It’ll be interesting to see who’ll f*ck up more though, Gonzo or Project no. 9. That’ll be a nice exercise of torture on my part. This anime is co-produced by another studio, Trislash. This is their first work, and it spells badly when two studios create a below subpar anime. Project No. 9 started out the same way though, because their first work is a co-produced loli-basketball anime. I think Trislash is just trying to get its feet wet, and we’ll see later on if they learn from buddying up with Project No. 9. Although, this is a 2014 anime and they haven’t made anything else after this. So, yeah, maybe it’s not so good partnering up with Project No.9.

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Anyways, this anime is directed by Shinsuke Yanagi. He’s a mainstay in Project No. 9 having directed Ro Kyu Bu, and two more shows from the studio. In terms of talent, he clearly lacks them. He doesn’t handle story properly, and he clearly do not know how to make light novel anime good. They are hard to make, so maybe he should just avoid them. He lacks the intention of the source material, and he presents the story like a dead frog. It’s supposed to be very frantic and jumping all over, except it’s just stagnant and flies are buzzing around the poor bastard. The director is incredibly frustrating, because the script is handled by Tsuyoshi Tamai. He also created scripts for highly perverted shows like Nogazaki’s Secret, Inukami, and Ladies vs. Butlers. The last two is actually pretty notable, because he is able to capture the crazy energy of the original source. Inukami is just plain smut, but Tsuyoshi made a doable script out of it. The comedy is incredible, and it balances well with the action. For Ladies vs Butler, mygawd, just watch it. It’s probably the dirtiest anime you will ever see, and just remember that it’s one of TPAB’s favorite shows out there. I like it mainly because the story is solid, and the nipples are colorful. Seriously, the anime is just dirty but I like it a lot. I see Tsuyoshi’s style actually embedded in the anime, but the potential never really came through. The director simply lacked the vision to realize how great the anime could’ve been. It happens, I guess.

Sight and Sound

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The light novel first began as an online novel, and it apparently had a bunch of illustrators making images for the work. I cannot track any of them down, and I don’t think it really matters anyway. I’ll just critic the design in the anime without comparing it to the original source. It feels weird doing that. In terms of design, there are some characters that stand out. Momoko and Princess Kaguya are nicely designed, and you can tell a lot of effort went into making these characters appealing to look at. The rest of the cast are eye candy as well, but they are bland design-wise. They don’t have a standout piece to them that I can really praise, and they are generic as they come. I love the folklore costumes, but they’re generic as well. No accessories are used to make the characters different from each other, and the design just feels really one dimensional. Even the ogres and the talking animals lack any interesting design on them. This works against the Ecchi aspect of the anime as well, because they didn’t even bother making the skin color look appealing like in Momoko’s case. Most characters just aren’t that properly presented. Some of them are even awkwardly designed, like Abe no Seimei. This badass onmyouji is reduced to a generic mess of whatever. It just sucks to look at, and it can be challenge going through the episodes knowing how lackluster the design is. I am a generous guy, and I would give decent scores to decently designed shows. This anime didn’t even try, and it really could’ve been done better.

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Character design is one thing, but the animation is a different ball game. In short, the animation sucks. The show has a flat look, and some of the movements are just lazily done. Some are recycled, and the show would shortcut certain scenes by doing close ups. It’s a lazy animation through and through. There are some scenes that have good animation though, like Momoko’s transformation scene. There are also some close ups that are nicely presented, but it really just points out the lazy animation in some areas of the show. Sometimes, a good animation and a lazy animation are done in the same episode and often in the same scene, so it can be very messy to look at. I’ll give points to some pan ups though. There are some nicely designed scenes like this one:

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Unfortunately, this isn’t animation. This is a drawing blown up then the camera just pans. It’s another lazy animation, and it ruins the experience a lot. The Ecchi is also bad, because of the animation. Some boob physics are good, but some boobs don’t bounce. Some ass close ups are good, but some are just awkwardly done. The potential of the girls being attacked by a tentacle monster is ruined because of the lazy animation. It is just bad all around, and this is really the only aspect of the show that can be salvaged. Sadly, the director lacks the talent to really make this one aspect of the anime shine. He lacks vision so much that he might as well be blind. It’s just frustrating all around.

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The anime’s OP is Momoiro Fantasy” by Haruka Chisuga. This is a pretty decent song, and Haruka does bring a nice appeal to the song. It’s standard Op though, so it doesn’t really add much to the experience. The lyrics is pretty standard as well as it talks about fighting and never giving up. The real meat here is on the Op sequence though. The forced Ecchi and the inconsistent animation is prominently featured here. It had one scene of colors popping and characters in extravagant animation, and it’s in the same scene with a lazy wide shot with very little detail to them. The Ecchi is painful as it just features random ass shots and boob physics. If you want to try this show, I suggest gauging the OP first if you like it or not.

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The anime’s ED is “Momo Kyun Sword” by Momoko (Ayana Taketatsu). This is sung by our heroine, and this is where the cringe is at. The song is a cutesy song featuring our bubbly main character, and it feature lines like “my sword will make you go kyun kyun”. I hated typing that, and the feeling pretty much goes to everything in this review. The song is about Momoko doing her best, so you just have to trust her. I’m not really sure what it’s trying to reference, but it’s something definitely lost on me. I also can’t think much because of the dance sequence accompanying the song. It’s cringe-inducing, and maybe that’s just me, but it’s really painful to sit through. I’ve reviewed three fifty eight anime, and I am only feeling so cringy after all this time. Gawd, this anime just doesn’t feel right.

Overall Score

2/10 “This is a lazy anime, and effort is a concept completely foreign to it.”

This anime has bad animation, bad tone, bad characters, bad balance of the genres, bad execution of the elements and it kills its potential every chance that it gets. I don’t mind a lazy anime, but this one goes out of its way to really demonstrate how much it hates its audience. There is nothing enjoyable in this show, and I really only recommend it if you like your anime with some cringe in it. This show will make you cringe, so watch at your own risk. This is not worth the effort though, so just avoid it. I do not recommend it.

 

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