Momokuri – Preview
Original Air Dates: July 1st, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Yuki Kurihara fell in love with a young boy named Momo at first sight. After following him and researching him and learning everything she could about him at a distance, her best friend finally convinces her to take the plunge and ask Momo-kun out. Yuki is surprised at how readily Momo accepts and the two quickly begin dating. Will Momo ever learn how obsessed Yuki is with him?
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Momokuri is…. interesting. It’s caught between Yuki’s stalkerish tendencies and trying to tell an oddball comedic, but sweet love tale. Sometimes it works and manages to feel amusing as Yuki is “too” into Momo-kun. But at other times, Yuki’s stalkerish treatment of Momo-kun borders into fairly uncomfortable territory. It perhaps opens up a moral debate: Just how grotesque is stalker behavior? Is what Yuki is doing really wrong, or perhaps just such abnormal behavior it’s difficult to relate to? If these are questions you’re unwilling to entertain, and Yuki’s interest in taking unsuspecting photos of Momo-kun, or stealing his used drinking straw just to take a sniff of it weirds you out, Momokuri is bound to make you uncomfortable rather than amused.
Linny: Momokuri is a lot more silly, extreme and comedic than what one would deduce from its cutesy promo images. While it is all about a teen romance and a teenage couple, most of the short episodes are all about both parties struggling to have a ‘normal’ relationship while both parties seem to have zero idea of exactly how to do that. It might frustrate older audiences, especially those jaded with most fluffy young love comedies as despite its disturbingly stalker-like jokes, there’s still a lot of cliche squealing and blushing abound.
Tom: Yuki is an interesting character. She’s clearly tinted with some very stalkery tendencies, ones that even the show is aware of and has her friend call out at every opportunity. Yuki, innately, isn’t all that funny, as I imagine most people would prefer to not have some individual slinking around corners watching them at all times and taking pictures without their consent. But the series, at least sort of, manages to make this behavior comedic by actively acknowledging how off putting it is through Yuki’s best friend. Even Momo-kun’s friends acknowledge that Yuki is a very odd girl and Momo-kun seems to be gradually becoming aware of Yuki’s less than normal behavior (he’s still super oblivious though.) But even if the show acknowledges it, I’m not sure that then allows it to pass into the sweet romance it’s trying to go for. Yuki’s reasons for liking Momo-kun also don’t amount to much more than “he looks really cute.” Despite it wanting to be a sweet romance I can’t help but see Momokuri as a sort of dark comedy rather than the sweet romance it’s trying to convey.
Linny: While there will be viewers who defend Yuki’s behaviour, I think the best test to determine if someone’s behaviour is adorable or abhorrent is to imagine someone you find extremely unattractive to be doing those actions to you. If it makes you terrified, yeah, that’s not okay behaviour. Thankfully (?), since Momo seems to be returning the affection or is at least okay with the idea of her being his girlfriend, her obsession becomes cute or at least more permissible to some, if not most viewers. Still, like Tom says, even the show is aware that her behaviour is not okay and keeps calling her out on it through her best friend. But even then, the show seems to be banking on her obsession being the main source of entertainment since there seems to be a lack of any sincere effort from anyone to stop Yuki’s more obsessive habits. If you do not like that angle and her behaviour, there’s a high chance that this show is not going to please you and you’re better off either avoiding the show completely or checking out its first episode to see if Yuki comes off as cute or off putting to you.
Tom: Momo-kun’s oblivious nature helps to ease the more troublesome aspects of the show and comedy can be found in his sheer inability to recognize Yuki’s more troubling personality. As a character however, Momo is pretty simplistic. He’s a young man who’s so blinded by his infatuation with Yuki that he easily overlooks all the warning signs. If the point of the show is to find their budding romance sweet, that’s not at all what I’m getting from the series, but rather a comedy of errors as Momo fails to notice how creepy Yuki can be, and how Yuki just can’t seem to help herself, perhaps getting worse with her behavior as time goes on.
Linny: Momokuri is a curious show indeed. While it seems to be selling itself visually as a cutesy teen romance comedy, it also seems to be going for absurdist humour through Yuki’s stalkerish and obsessive behaviour. What was unsettling for me was that Momo remarks that he accepted her initial proposal without actually thinking it through, that he seems to be more excited about the fact that he has an admirer than about Yuki as a person. Of course, teenage relationships can be simple or even dumb so it’s not absurd to such a weird couple but it’s definitely disturbing to watch someone steal their boyfriend’s straw just so they can sniff it. And like Tom points out, despite Yuki’s staunch stand that she loves Momokun for more than his looks, she then proceeds to list that she loves his different facial expressions..which, isn’t that basically just his face aka his looks? This is of course, a light hearted and fluffy show so not one I would ever take too seriously and am thus trying to overlook its more questionable tones. If you can do that, and enjoy absurdist relationship humour, Momokuri has cute character designs and expressions and enough obsessive behaviour to put most stalkers to shame.
Tom: Momokuri was originally a Net Animation (ONA) and has now been adapted for a TV broadcast in Japan of which we’re getting a streaming copy of via Crunchyroll. However, rather than reanimating, or reworking the shorter ONA episodes for TV broadcast they’ve merely been cut together, causing the first episode to be referred to as 1-2, and I assume the second episode will be labeled 3-4 and so forth. Overall Momokuri is an odd watch, especially for anyone who finds stalker behavior less than amusing or adorable even if a woman is performing it. I still see some humor within Momokuri though and for people less bothered by the more uncomfortable implications of Yuki’s behavior it’s a decent comedy that’s worth checking out.
Momokuri is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com