Tales of saving the world usually involves adventuring and confronting difficult adversaries right? Well, what about saving the world by befriending a little girl and savoring cakes, stars, and the joy of everyday life? Momo is rather unique in this, and despite being a shoujo slice-of-life which usually falls to extremely slow pacing, the series quickly sucked me in with its plot hooks, rapid character development, and some light drama that touches the common insecurities and issues in real life.
It’s also nice to read a shoujo manga where fawning over guys is the last thing on the heroine’s mind, where she is not only independent and strong, but also very level-minded. Combining a lack of unnecessary angst and no perfect bishies stealing spotlights goes a long way to adding realism to the characters and their actions.
Momo’s premise is surprisingly simple: Odagiri Yume, an unmotivated sixteen year old common high school girl with an unfortunate background, was having the worst birthday anyone could ask for. Just as she thought that ‘everything should just end’, a little girl named Momo, whom she had met earlier, offered to grant her wish. Contrary to her childish appearance and behavior, Momo is a Destroyer of Worlds with Earth as the next item on her cleanup list. She offers Yume a resolution: show her 7 sufficient reasons why the Earth should live on before Yume’s eighteenth birthday, or she really will destroy mankind.
The story is about Yume juggling the heavy burden of being Earth’s representative on top of all the life-searching issues everyone has through during high school: the desire to become someone special in a society of nobodies, the wish for a normal life, the guilt of abandoning old treasures and dreams, the greed that separates third-person idealism from first-person involvement, etc. The concepts aren’t convoluted, and anyone who went through the phase of stepping into adulthood can sympathize with the characters in the fast-paced storytelling. Then, wrapping all of this together is Yume’s most notable issue: should she befriend Momo or treat her as an antagonist? Is it possible to change this by-the-book World Destroyer into a kind and gentle soul befitting of her external personality?
I guess one could say Momo feels like a mahou shoujo series, with the befriending, the collection quest, and the coming of age themes.
My only complaint about Momo is that due to the goal (and Momo’s personality), the story takes a lot of side-arcs and sometimes it feels like the reasons-collecting isn’t really moving forward. Although all of these 1~3 chapter arcs have been really interesting thus far and contributes profoundly to character development, so I’m not really complaining much.
All scanlations can be found at Starry Heaven’s forums.