Once upon a time, there was an old man and an old woman who wanted a child of their own. One day, a giant peach from up the river came to the couple. When the old man opened the peach, out popped a boy. The couple named him Momotaro (Peach Boy) and raised him as their own son.
Blah blah, goes on a quest, yadda yadda, joined by a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, things happen, and Momotaro becomes the hero of the village by driving away the oni. It’s a famous tale of heroism in Japanese folklore, but let’s face it: this anime isn’t an adaptation of THAT story! And while Momotaro is a boy born from a peach, Momoko is a girl who grew two peaches of her own!
Momo Kyun Sword is a gender-bend take on “The Tale of Momotaro,” where instead of a peach boy, we have a peach girl. Together with her companions Inugami, Sarugami, and Kijigami (the dog, the monkey, and the pheasant respectively), she must find all of the magical peach fragments before the oni of Onigashima find them, because apparently, the peach fragments contain incredible power once they are gathered together. Fortunately for Momoko, she’s also a swordsman (err, swordswoman?) who can readily use the power from the peach fragments to fuse with any one of her animal friends for more power!
Now I’ll be frank with you all for a moment. I thought this was a terrible anime series overall. As much as I like their take on the “Momotaro” narrative, making the hero a girl with lots of jiggling parts on her chest is just desperately asking for viewers (and she’s not the only one either). It may have been funny the first time, but seeing the cleavage excessively takes away from some of the values that I tried to dig up for the purposes of this review. But since I’m not one to make criticisms based on negative judgments, I will put that opinion aside for now and talk about Momo Kyun Sword and its theme around Friends and Family.
The original “Momotaro” narrative is really short, but is a tale of one boy’s bravery against the evil oni. But like many heroic epics, Momotaro never did it alone, and that’s why he had the dog, the monkey, and the pheasant help him. We get those same familiar characters in Momo Kyun Sword, but because this series doesn’t have to follow the narrative directly, Momoko has other friends as well.
Along with her animal friends, Momoko is joined by the Celestial Maiden Squad (shown above), the pervert priest Abe no Seimei and his loli assistant, and has frequent battles with Onigashima’s very own princess, Onihime; you know, because she’s the princess (hime) of the oni.
Apparently, Princess Kaguya from “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” also found her way into this series, despite the fact that her myth predates “Momotaro” by at least 600 years! But who cares? Princess Kaguya is kind of overrated anyway, not to mention overly-demanding, even in her own tale!
All of these new characters may just be adding extra layers to a tale that’s already short, but there are a few things that embellish on the actual narrative that “Momotaro” seemed to have shirked.
For one, Momotaro’s origins are never exactly explained, other than that he was born of a peach. But where did that peach come from? And who begat Momotaro in the first place?
I’m not going to talk fan theory for a tale that’s 300 years old now, but Momoko’s origins in Momo Kyun Sword have a more modern, yet unsettling truth that might have made the original tale even more depressing.
This is the SPOILER portion of my review.
As it turns out, Momoko was born of a celestial maiden’s shame, having made love to an oni. Her real father is Jakiou, the ruler of the oni, and her twin sister is Onihime! What a twist!
For Momotaro, defeating the oni was a matter of saving his village from a foreign threat, with courage and justice on his side. But for Momoko, defeating the oni meant defeating a part of herself, going against her biological father, sister, and cousins. How would the magical peach fragments help Momoko now if using that power means losing her one chance of learning about her self?
Thus, I found that there is one thing I liked about this series that the original “Momotaro” story never really addressed. Sure, it’s a short story told to our children, but it is something worth bringing up here, and that is how much Ojii-chan and Obaa-chan mean to our hero.
It is mentioned in the first lines of “Momotaro.” Ojii-chan and Obaa-chan desperately wanted a child, despite never having one their entire lives. When Momotaro was born, they were overjoyed with having a son. But in the time skip of the short story, this old couple rapidly fades from significance as Momotaro leaves the village to go on his epically short journey. The fact that Momoko even cherishes the two who brought her up is already one up against Momotaro, but that’s not even the best part!
Whether she was born from a peach, a celestial maiden, an oni, or something else, Ojii-chan and Obaa-chan always treated Momoko like their own child, and will continue to do so even after Momoko discovers the whole truth. The origins of who we are may be nice to know, but that doesn’t compare to the relationships we make with the people we know and love as we go on in life. When it comes to friends and family, we make those relationships for ourselves, not from some divine essence. It is from this wisdom that Momoko ultimately finds her resolve when she takes on the oni king and her father.
I would totally spoil the ending, but if you know “The Tale of Momotaro,” I’m pretty sure you already know how this ends: and thus, Momoko manages to drive away the oni, makes peace with Onihime, and they all lived happily ever after?
So if you don’t mind a lot of fan service and like a new look on an old folktale, watch Momo Kyun Sword. And with that, I need to get some peaches before summer’s officially over. They’re in season, you know!