Sumomomo Momomo: The Strongest Bride on Earth(すもももももも〜地上最強のヨメ〜,Sumomo mo Momo mo ~Chijō Saikyō no Yome~?) is a Japanesemanga series created by JapaneseauthorShinobu Ohtaka. The manga was first serialized in the Japanese manga magazine Young Gangan in 2004, which is published by Square Enix. The manga has been licensed by Yen Press for distribution in North America. The manga was later adapted into an anime which aired in Japan between October 5, 2006 and March 15, 2007, containing twenty-two aired episodes, and two original video animation episodes. The series centers around a young girl, a strong martial artist, who wants to marry and bear a child with a boy that she believes to be a strong fighter. The title is based on the Japanese tongue twisterSumomo mo momo, momo mo momo, sumomo mo momo mo momo no uchi, which means Plums are peaches, and peaches are peaches, and plums and peaches are both types of peaches.
Sumomomo Momomo revolves around the life of Kōshi Inuzuka, a normal high school student who is aspiring to become a prosecutor after graduating. One day, a strange girl named Momoko Kuzuryū approaches him and informs him that they are betrothed and expected to produce a strong child together, though Kōshi does not accept it. The betrothal came about after Kōshi's father and Momoko's father both arranged the marriage between their respective kids. After Kōshi and Momoko's initial meeting, Kōshi realizes that Momoko is not just a normal, though however strange, girl, as she has been trained by her father in a special form of martial arts that only twelve such families in all of Japan are able to possess. These twelve families coincide with the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, where Momoko is from the family associated with Dragons, while Kōshi is from the family associated with Dogs. The Dragon family is the head of the six families of the west, whereas the Dog family is the head of the six families of the east.
Before long, it is revealed to Kōshi and Momoko that five of the six western families are out on a plot to assassinate Kōshi to prevent him from marrying Momoko, which would cement the twelve families together by bonds of blood. This assassination would be the start of a martial artist war, which would be the seventh such war of the twelve zodiac Masters of Japan. Kōshi must now fight for his life as Momoko protects him, hoping he will return her affection.
Kōshi is a handsome, intelligent, yet physically weak seventeen-year-old high school student who is the son of Unken Inuzuka, a martial arts master and member of one of the twelve zodiac Master families of Japan. His family is associated with the Dog of the Chinese zodiac. However, against his father's wishes, he wants nothing to do with martial arts. He has avoided training ever since being terrorized by bullies at a young age, which initially caused him to freeze every time that he sees violence. Due to this, he wants to someday become a prosecutor so that he will be able to punish crimes effectively. As such, he is constantly seen reading books on laws and codes that govern Japan. Whenever he finds himself about to get into a fight, he recites several laws that his attacker is about to break as well as the consequences, in an attempt to dissuade the attacker, which is not always effective. He seems to believe that martial arts do not have any realistically applicable power and the rule of law can be used as a weapon against enemies.
It is revealed at the end of the anime that Kōshi's powers as a martial artist were sealed by his mother, who wanted to protect her only child from the hardship she and her husband had to face as martial artists. She also believed Koushi had a gentle nature which would cause him to regret getting into fights. However, sealing his power was a big mistake for her to do. It only makes Kōshi becomes a useless man with weak heart who is unable to use his martial arts. Because of that, he quits learning martial art and often gets bullied. He can not fight or defend himself properly against the assassins who are after his life; thus he has to depend on Momoko. There are clear indications that the seal has been breached during the last episode, but Kōshi never uses his powers; Momoko manages to defeat their ultimate enemy before Koushi can act. Nevertheless, that final enemy was momentarily distracted by the awakening of Kōshi's powers, which may be an indication of their capacity.
Kōshi initially wants nothing to do with Momoko or the martial arts war that he has been thrown right in the middle of. He instead focuses even more on his studies so as to keep his mind off of being targeted for assassination. Gradually, he seems to develop a greater appreciation and caring for Momoko and manages to overcome his tendency to freeze up in the face of violence. Also, at the end of the anime, when Momoko was gone for some days it is shown that Kōshi could not live properly without her; so much that he had delusions of her cheering him on when confronted by an assassin, his house was a mess and he could not tell the time properly. Best explained by Kōshi himself: 'I see. I cannot deny it anymore. My "daily life" cannot be away from her.'
On the Chinese zodiac, the Dog (Kōshi Inuzuka) gets along very well with the Horse (which could be Sanae Nakajima), and does not get along well at all with the Dragon (which is Momoko Kuzuryu)
Momoko is a strange and hyperactive, barefoot (but she starts to wear shoes to school after Kōshi buys her a pair) young girl who is also a martial artist in a special form of martial arts that only members of the twelve zodiac Masters of Japan can learn. She is associated with the Dragon of the Chinese zodiac. She wants to become Kōshi's bride in order to produce a strong son with him, as her father told her that since she is a female, she is currently unable to master her family's martial arts techniques effectively. Momoko shares a strange relationship with Kōshi—its early stages have been compared to that of a dog and its master in the series itself. Momoko is very adamant about getting married to Kōshi, and often tries to do the best she can to please him in any way. She always refers to Kōshi ending his name with the term "Dono" because she has huge respect for him. Her martial arts skill is very incredible for a girl at her age which is very useful to protect Kōshi from the assassins. She also has much stronger heart and sense of determination than Kōshi. Although he does not see or admit to it, Kōshi always appears to be pathetic for he always has to depend on Momoko to defend him against his enemies. For Kōshi's sake, Momoko will do anything even sacrifice herself for him because she loves him too much and always believes in Kōshi. A running gag throughout the series is if she is experiencing extreme emotions, she will change into a super deformed form.
Main characters (from left to right): Tenka, Sanae, Kōshi, Momoko, Iroha, and Hanzō.
Iroha is a young girl of fifteen and a member of the family of zodiac Masters associated with the Snake. The Miyamoto group was once a feared yakuza gang, but its power, repute and membership dwindled under Iroha's father; his kind nature did not inspire hardened criminals to remain loyal. Iroha, along with her subordinate Hanzō with whom she travels, are the first to attempt the assassination of Kōshi. Iroha wants to restore the reputation her family used to have as the most fearful of the twelve zodiac Masters by killing Kōshi, but is hindered by Momoko. Eventually, Iroha develops a crush on Kōshi and resolves to find a new path for the Miyamoto family, after Momoko praises her for her fortitude in battle and laments that Iroha should follow the path of an assassin. Iroha eventually develops a close friendship with Momoko and supports her to get closer to Kōshi. She even honestly wishes for their success. Iroha has attempted to save money for the resurrection of the clan, but is often troubled by Hanzō, who spends the money selfishly and by the landlady, an old woman who manages to terrify them whenever she demands their rent.
Sanae is a female high school student who is also one of Kōshi's friends. She is also his class' representative. Unknown to everyone, however, she changes into a heroine known as Tenchū Senshi Uma Kamen, literally meaning "Divine Punishment Warrior Horse Mask", the identity she uses to fight as a superhero. She is apparently also the granddaughter of Iroha's and Hanzō's landlady. Both she and her grandmother are masters associated with the Horse of the zodiac. As the chosen protector of the Inuzuka heir, Sanae has been given her tribe's special outfit to wear, which increases its wearer's power. Alas, the outfit closely resembles a bondage costume and is most effective when less of it is worn; when the wearer only has certain pieces of the costume equipped, their power is highly focused in the parts covered. In the Nakajima family, kicks are the central part of their combat style, so the costume is most effective for Sanae when she wears nothing but the boots. Needless to say, Sanae finds the costume embarrassing enough when wearing all of it.
Sanae harbors a tragic love for Kōshi; it is tragic since he considers her his very best friend first and because as a member of the Nakajima clan (which is subordinate to the Inuzuka clan), she is supposed to be guarding him from the shadows, not pursuing a relationship with him. Kōshi's marriage with Momoko is also something she is meant to support. However, due to her kind and caring personality she cares for Momoko when she is hurt. Just like Iroha, Sanae supports Momoko and Kōshi, because she thinks Momoko is more suitable for Kōshi; as she said herself, "For me being a flower in the shadow is suitable enough." Sanae's situation is even more tragic because Sanae's grandmother intends for her granddaughter to marry the kind of man most Nakajima women have fancied throughout history; a big muscleman. However, Sanae has been afraid of that kind of man since her early childhood and manages to end the engagement by defeating her fiancé in single combat.
Hanzō is seventeen and Iroha's subordinate in the plot to kill Kōshi. Since Iroha saved his life one day, he has followed her orders closely. The two of them share a relationship like Kōshi and Momoko in that it could be likened to a Dog and its master, although Iroha appreciates Hanzō from the start; he is the only member of her family's once feared yakuza legion that has remained at her side. This is because he admires her greatly and considers her example an inspiration to improve himself. It is also quite likely that he has become romantically infatuated with Iroha. Unfortunately for him, Iroha states publicly that she considers him to be like a brother to her and considers the idea of a romantic relationship between them impossible.
Tenka is from the Tiger family of the twelve zodiac Masters and initially comes to assassinate Kōshi. As he is from the Tiger family, he carries a lot of traits with his personality that are akin to that of a feline such as being aquaphobic, and liking to play with round objects. He always carries around with him a soccer ball which he nicknamed "Becky" (ベッキー,Bekkī?) which seems to talk to him. (Although bystanders have commented that he is using ventriloquism.) It is interesting to note that Bekki has spoken to Tenka since early childhood, 'her' voice maturing just as he matured. Tenka has a crush on Momoko based on a time when they met as children, when he defeated her during a training match and they agreed to meet again. Unfortunately for Tenka, while he assumed they would meet and marry once Momoko had grown stronger, she intended to meet and have a death match. Tenka later returns to warn Momoko of the fact that his relatives are coming to attack her and Kōshi and takes their side during the battle. At the end of the anime, relations between Tenka and the main cast are much more friendly than initially.
Unken is a martial arts master and the father of Kōshi. He wants his son to follow in his footsteps, but is unable to persuade him to train in the martial arts. He heads the Dog family of the zodiac Masters of Japan. He and Sendayū are both friends and rivals. An old school photo shows that, although he now has a rather odd face, he was once the spitting image of his son. This has caused Kōshi some concern for the future.
Sendayū is a martial arts master and the father of Momoko. He told Momoko to find the strongest warrior and marry him, eventually bearing the strongest child, since Momoko cannot master her family's techniques as she is female.
Inaho is an anime-only character, a representative of the Kameda family, which once contested the Nakajima family for the right to be the protector of the Inuzuka family. The Kameda family is associated with turtles, which do not appear in the Chinese zodiac. In order to gain ascendancy over the twelve families, Inaho studies law and gains a teacher's license in a bid to get close to Kōshi as his school teacher and marry him—despite having a dislike for law and considering becoming a teacher a lot of hard work. Like Sanae Nakajima, she has an alter ego, hers named Kame Kamen (Turtle Mask), with an equally exposing outfit which features several large pieces of armor plating, like a turtle's shell. She goes so far as to try to drive off Momoko and kidnap Kōshi after drugging him because she could not seduce him, but in the end relinquishes her efforts in the face of Sanae's dedication. She admits to having developed genuine feelings for Kōshi. Unfortunately for her, he did not reciprocate, considering a relationship between a student and teacher to be unethical.
Inaho seems to be the first of a new initiative versus Kōshi, since she is the first of several women who have sought him out to marry him and gain power over the twelve families, rather than assassinate him.
Alice is another anime-only character, and is a member of the Uzuki clan, which is associated with the Rabbit of the Chinese zodiac; she has a unique 'Rabbit ear' hairstyle when she dons her combat gear. While the Uzuki clan is heavily involved with assassinations and Alice is considered one of their best, she breaks away from her family and goes on the run, aspiring to becoming a successful musician. Eventually, Alice meets and befriends Saigō, leaving her open to blackmail from her own clan. She receives the order to either kill Kōshi or be responsible for Saigō's death. After nearly succeeding in the deed, Alice is stopped by Saigō, who tells her - through interpreter Momoko - that her hands were made to create music, not shed blood. Thanks to the other young martial artists' intervention, Alice finally manages to leave her clan behind and goes to France to study music.
Saigō is a large, muscular young man who attends the same school as Kōshi and the rest of the main cast. He has a very threatening demeanor, communicating mostly in grunts and gestures and continuously wears sunglasses. He is the admired leader of a trio of hoodlums from Kōshi's class and apparently frequently gets into fights. Appearances are deceiving, however; Saigō is quite fond of kittens, of which he has several, and apparently reads romantic stories for enjoyment. When he first meets Alice Uzuki, he defends her against a large group of assassins without any concern for his own safety. Later, he takes a hit from Alice's guitar string weapon to protect Kōshi from harm. He falls deeply in love with Alice and seeks help from Momoko and the other main cast to find a way to deepen their relationship. In the end, he allows Alice to go so she can pursue her dreams and be safe, speaking out loud for the first time to simply wish Alice "good luck", rather than demanding she stay for his sake. Saigō seems to be very friendly to the main casts, especially Kōshi, as shown at the ending credits of the last episode, the three hoodlums came with Saigō to threaten Kōshi but the three hoodlums flinched when Kōshi greeted and waved his hand at Saigō and Saigō waved back.
The Sumomomo Momomo manga series was first serialized in the Japanese manga magazine Young Gangan in 2004, published by Square Enix. Later, the individual chapters were collected into bound volumes, and twelve such volumes have been released in Japan. The manga has been licensed by Yen Press for distribution in English in North America. The manga was initially serialized in Yen Press' Yen Plus anthology magazine, the first issue of which went on sale on July 29, 2008. The first English volume of the manga went on sale in early 2009.
The Sumomomo Momomo anime first aired in Japan on October 5, 2006 on TV Asahi. The anime is directed by Nobuaki Nakanishi. It ended on March 15, 2007 with a total of twenty-two aired episodes. Two more OVA episodes were released as the final anime DVD on August 24, 2007.
"The Strongest Fiancee On Earth" "Chijō Saikyō no Iinazuke"(地上最強の許婚)
October 5, 2006
Momoko, a strange girl skilled in the martial arts, locates Kōshi Inuzuka and wants to marry him in order to produce a strong child.
Momoko joins Kōshi's class, much to his surprise. The gym leader, jealous of Kōshi's popularity with a lot of the female students, challenges Momoko to athletic contests with Kōshi's credit in the class on the line.
"Caught in the Zoo" "Dōbutsuen de Tsukamaete"(動物園でつかまえて)
October 19, 2006
Kōshi and Momoko go to the zoo together, though before long, animals escape their cages and a massive polar bear attacks them. All of this is a plot by Iroha to kill Kōshi.
"The Immoral Assassination Plot" "Jingi Naki Ansatsu Keikaku"(仁義なき暗殺計画)
October 26, 2006
Iroha tries repeatedly to assassinate Kōshi, but upon developing a crush on him, she is unable to go through with it.
"Clash! Momoko VS Iroha" "Gekitotsu! Momoko VS Iroha"(激突!もも子VSいろは)
November 2, 2006
Iroha tries once again to kill Kōshi but gets caught up in the moment when Kōshi and Momoko are showing her around the park. Eventually, Hanzō has to step in to try to complete the mission.
"The Tiger Assassin, Appears!" "Tora no Shikaku, Arawaru!"(虎の刺客、現る!)
November 9, 2006
Tenka Koganei of the Tiger family comes to assassinate Kōshi, but ends up in a fight to the death for Momoko's affection.
"The Invisible Link" "Mienai Kizuna"(見えない絆)
November 16, 2006
After learning about the meaning between their marriage from his father, Kōshi starts to act nicer towards Momoko though soon worries about being manipulated and distances himself from her. Eventually, Kōshi realizes how much he has hurt her and tries to rectify for his actions.
"The Underclassman who Calls upon Storms" "Arashi o Yobu Kōhai"(嵐を呼ぶ後輩)
November 23, 2006
Iroha and Hanzō join Kōshi's school and instantly Iroha notices how friendly he and Sanae are to each other. Iroha proceeds to help Momoko convey her feelings more strongly to Kōshi.
"The Heroine of Tragic Love" "Hiren no Hīrō Onna"(悲恋のヒーロー女)
November 30, 2006
Sanae, as a member of the Horse family of the zodiac Masters, is bound to protect Kōshi from danger without revealing herself to anyone. She is constantly battling the feelings she has for him.
"Sanae's Fiance Appears" "Sanae no Iinazuke Arawaru"(早苗の許嫁現る)
December 7, 2006
Sanae's fiancé tries to prove to her through various strength tests to show her that he is worthy of becoming her husband. Meanwhile, Sanae is having enough trouble just keeping her martial arts background a secret from Kōshi.
When Hikaru, Sanae's supposed fiancé, comes looking for a duel with Kōshi at school, Sanae must endure intense embarrassment in order to save him.
"The Day of a Cold, Hanzō's Situation" "Kaze no Hi, Hanzō no Baai"(風邪の日、半蔵の場合)
December 21, 2006
Both Kōshi and Hanzō come down with a cold, though Hanzō is almost completely ignored by Iroha in favor of Kōshi. Hanzō gets very jealous of Kōshi and starts tormenting him by impersonating him and others in order to harm Kōshi.
"Confrontation of Rivals! The Horse and the Tortoise" "Raibaru Taiketsu! Uma to Kame"(ライバル対決!ウマとカメ)
January 11, 2007
A new female teacher has been hired at Kōshi's school who is very well-endowed and knowledgeable about the law. Before long, Sanae begins to suspect her of being an assassin and attempts to confirm her suspicions.
"The Love Chaos in the Haunted House" "Obakeyashiki no Koi Sōdō"(お化け屋敷の恋騒動)
January 18, 2007
A girl, thought to be dead due to an accident at the school's cultural festival decades previous, has resurfaced. It is rumored that she died before she got a chance to confess her love to Kōshi's father. Kōshi hence agrees to date the girl so that she can peacefully rest in heaven.
"Saigō's Love" "Saigō no Koi"(西郷の恋)
January 25, 2007
Saigō meets the girl of his dreams after he thought he protected her from thugs. The girl is actually a martial artist coming from a tribe known for training assassins. The girl is given a choice: Kill Kōshi, or Saigō will be killed.
"How to Destroy a Fatigue Period" "Kentaiki no Kowashikata"(倦怠期の壊し方)
February 1, 2007
Momoko gets some advice from a television program about how to make Kōshi notice her more, but her initial attempts fail. Iroha and Hanzō try to help out as well, but with no much success. At the end of the episode, Momoko and Kōshi find a disheveled Tenka.
"Fierce Fight! The Tiger Brothers" "Gekitō! Tora no Kyōdai"(激闘!虎の兄弟)
February 8, 2007
Tenka is taken back to Kōshi's house where he is given nourishment. He informs Kōshi and Momoko that his siblings are coming to kill Kōshi. Tenka's younger brother arrives to try to assassinate Kōshi, and Tenka attempts to stop him.
"A Welcome Part with Yaminabe!?" "Yaminabe de Kangeikai!?"(ヤミ鍋で歓迎会!?)
February 15, 2007
Kōshi's house has burned down and he must now move into the same apartment building as Iroha and Hanzō; Tenka lives there too. As a welcoming party, the landlady hosts a special welcoming party involving nabemono.
"The Housekeeper Came!" "Kaseifu ga Kita!"(家政婦が来た!)
February 22, 2007
A woman claiming to have been fired from being employed as a maid arrives at the apartment building. where Kōshi is currently staying. She initially comes off as a kind and helpful person but soon reveals to Momoko that she is an assassin who has come to kill Kōshi. Momoko tries to plead her case to the others, but no one will believe her.
"Together with Fate..." "Unmei o Tomo ni..."(運命を共に…)
March 1, 2007
Kōshi was made to swallow a ball of poison from the Tenga clan and was told that in a week he will die unless he is given an antidote. Momoko willingly swallows the same poison so that if Kōshi dies, she does as well. Momoko and the other martial artists on their side train for a week, and Kōshi tries to learn a technique of his own, but fails. Kōshi and the others then go to the Tenga clan's main house and must fight several battles to gain the antidote.
"Respective Thoughts..." "Sorezore no Omoi..."(それぞれの思い…)
March 8, 2007
With the first battle won, Iroha and Hanzō face up against Tenten in the second match. After a little while, Tenten starts to tease Iroha by revealing to Kōshi and Momoko that Iroha is in love with Kōshi. This in effect makes her enraged to the point where she cannot battle properly and is defeated. Hanzō tries to turn things around which gives Iroha the last bit of strength she needed to give one last powerful attack, though Tenten easily countered it leaving Momoko to intercept Tenten's last attack before it hit Iroha. It turns out Tenten is in love with Hanzō, though does not reveal this. Instead, she gives up her portion of the antidote and walks off. This leaves Kōshi and Momoko to go on ahead to the final battle.
"To the Usual Days" "Itsumo no Hibi e"(いつもの日々へ)
March 15, 2007
With Kōshi and Momoko poisoned, they have to still battle Tenga Koganei in order to get the antidote, but the sun is close to setting, which means death for Kōshi and Momoko. Upon entering battle, Momoko finds that Tenga is much more powerful than she expected and before long the battle is all but over. When Momoko cannot fight any longer, Tenga gives the antidote to Kōshi, though there is only enough for one person. Right before the sun sets, Kōshi gives Momoko the antidote, and after she awakens to find Kōshi dead, unleashes her ultimate fury on Tenga, and wins the battle. Afterwards, it is found that Kōshi was miraculously healed due to a martial arts technique his mother had performed on him when he was young. Everyone goes back to living their "normal" lives.
"Hot Spring Battle (OVA DVD)"
August 24, 2007
There is a Monopoly Love Battle in a Hot Spring.
"Kidnapped Koushi! (OVA DVD)"
August 24, 2007
Koushi is kidnapped.
"Saikyō○×Keikaku" by Mosaic.wav (Episodes 1 - 12) "Setsujō - Hyakka Ryōran" by Mosaic.wav (Episodes 13 - 22)
"No Rock No Life" by Honey Bee (Episodes 1 - 12) "Mōsō Break" by Yozora Orihime & AiAi (Episodes 13 - 14, 16 - 22) "Good Luck" by Mi~ko (Episode 15)