Sumomomo Momomo

Title: Sumomomo Momomo aka Sumomomo Momomo: Chijou Saikyou no Yome aka Sumomomo Momomo – The Strongest Bride on Earth
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Studio Hibari/Lantis
Format: 22 episodes
Dates: 6 Oct 2006 – 16 Mar 2007

Synopsis: Kuzuryu Momoka is the heiress of a powerful martial arts clan, but her father sees her as weak and tells her that the only way to guarantee a strong succession is for her to marry the strongest man and bear him the strongest son. This man is Inuzuka Koushi, but having given up martial arts in favour of a future in law, Koushi is anything but the strongest man. This doesn’t stop Momoka’s attempts to seduce Koushi, but unbeknownst to both of them, there’s a secret meaning behind Koushi and Momoka’s arranged relationship.

The Highlights
Comedy: Some genuinely funny moments in the first part of the series.
Staying power: Limited, due to ridiculousness of plot.
Tone: Suitably light and facetious at first, jarringly serious later on.
Action: Totally tedious; Dragonball Z has some better fight scenes.
Characters: Interesting to begin with, but eventually become annoying.

With an essentially sexist premise, it’s clear from the first episode that Sumomomo Momomo is a shallow work, but my hope was that it would be a fun and entertaining series, and that’s what it was for the first few episodes. Unfortunately, the second half of the series is crippled by fillers, a cast of characters that goes from charming to grating, and a plot which has no right to take itself seriously, yet does so anyway. What began as a fun, facetious comedy with a hint of parody turns into an inane, frustrating action anime which has very little going for it.

From very early, I was of the opinion that this series was better suited for a 13 episode run. A light comedy with a shallow plot like this one generally wins by cutting its losses and leaving the table before the audience becomes tired with its comedic set up. Unfortunately, the series continued for 22 episodes, and most of my predictions came to fruition. From the premise to the character’s powers, there was always a high amount of ridiculousness about Sumomomo Momomo, but it redeemed itself in the early stages with its tongue-in-cheek approach to everything it did. However, in the latter stages, this disappeared as it became clear that the story was trying to take itself seriously. The change was just too jarring to take; one struggles to swallow a plotline about assassination attempts and characters fighting against time as they slowly die from poison when these same characters and their allies are fighting against enemies that use billiard balls and cosplay to subdue their opponents.

The fights themselves are far below mediocre. The animation isn’t great to begin with, but most fights follow the generic shounen formula of characters finding the next power level in the face of adversity and at the edge of defeat that anime like Dragonball Z popularized. In fact, the fight scene from the last episode may as well have been lifted straight from that infamous anime, with characters suddenly finding the ability to float in mid air and hit each other with enough force to destroy mountains. What begins as a parody of over-the-top shounen fight scenes of years gone by turns into a mere imitation when the novelty of the humour is lost.

Something is wrong with a series when I grow to dislike the characters that I initially found charming. However, even without bringing up the middle section, which is plagued by mindless fillers, there is little to like in a plot that is saturated with ridiculousness. There’s no point in pulling punches: Sumomomo Momomomo is crap. But I’m not adverse to crap, provided it’s entertaining, and while the first few episodes fulfill that criterion, the majority of this series, particularly in the second half, is simply a waste of time.

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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