A few years back, website Shiftylook was hired by games company Namco Bandai to produce webcomics for them for obscure characters, in the hopes of increasing their popularity, and leading to wider avenues for them, such as new games. The two most popular of these efforts are Bravoman, and Wonder Momo. Both are irreverent takes on their original games, which were brutally difficult, and barely remembered titles from the late 80's. Unfortunately, due to crappy business management, which led to a series of unwise decisions, Shiftylook has ceased to exist, even to the point where its website has shut down permanently, and its dozens of series and hundreds of comic strips are completely lost to the world for the foreseeable future (minus a couple of print volumes). Worse still, the Bravoman game the comic's popularity spawned was just a crappy mobile game apparently rife with bugs. How terrible! Shouldn't at least keeping up the website be a priority? Otherwise they spent their money and have literally nothing to show from it. Well, enough of that. Before Shiftylook's complete termination, the other project the webcomics produced were a bundle of webtoons, with two based on Bravoman and Wonder Momo, respectively, that I'll be looking at today...
Bravoman: Super Unequaled Hero of Excellence
is a regular guy gifted with the powers of stretchiness and submarine
transformation by Alphaman, an alien from the planet Alpha. Together,
the two fight crime wherever it may be, from the maniacal threats of the
evil Doctor Bomb, to robot clone armies, giant death robots, Capricorn
sea serpents, zombie cowboys, as well as unwanted crushes from murderous
ninja princesses. All n a day's work for Bravoman, Super Unequaled Hero
This series doesn't get off to
the best of starts with the first episode, which, while not bad, isn't
particularly funny. Following then, however, things immediately pick up,
with a series of highly entertaining five-minute shorts. The series is a
goofy and self-aware take on superhero tropes, and it works.
are plenty of fourth-wall breaking jokes, which can be hit or miss.
They get creative at times, but they can also get a bit tiresome with
their overuse. Thankfully they never feel really unwelcome, and even if they're not as successful, they never bomb.
rest of the comedy in the show is pretty funny. Nothing hysterical, but
it'll likely always bring a smile to your face. Especially funny is the
one episode which is one big faux 'previously on' segment, full of
totally absurd hijinks.
The characters are all
over-the-top, all with their own unique characteristics, from the
positive Bravoman, the wise and kinda-sarcastic 'true hero' sidekick
Alphaman, English-challenged villain Doctor Bomb, psychotic yandere Waya
Hime, the 'dark opposite vigilante' Anti-Bravoman, who never seems to
get the better end of things, and others, some one-shot, others
recurring, like Wonder Momo, and Bravo Woman, who's a gruff,
The voice acting is all
really good, with talented people like Rob Paulsen, Romi Dames, Jennifer
Hale, and Dee Bradley Baker, who turn in great performances all-round.
animation is really good. It's always fluid, and has many really
well-handled moments for a webseries. A professionally done webseries of
course, but still nowhere near the budgetary levels of TV stuff. Budget,
in fact, plays into quite a few jokes, such as glorious offscreen
battles, or joining forces with a novel solution to defeating the
Likewise, the score is great too! We've
got really good music althroughout, particularly the ending theme, which
is a rockin' tune! The opening theme, sung by Rob Paulsen himself, is
an amusing little ditty, while the series as a whole ends on a really great song
over genuine ending credits, which brings a sense of emotion. The lyrics of
the song aren't exactly the greatest, but that chord that plays as the
camera zooms out over the city and into the stars is a really lovely way
to end the series, on a triumphant and happy-melancholy note.
a shame that there are so few episodes of Bravoman, and it's highly
doubtful that we'll ever get more. At least we can be thankful that what
we got was largely a highly entertaining superhero comedy fest well
is a regular klutzy teenage girl in Japan, who is suddenly gifted
mysterious powers by an alien to transform into Wonder Momo. With these
newfound powers, she must fight the evil Warudemon aliens before they
can successfully conquer Earth...
To start, Wonder
Momo is incredibly funny! Not only does it parody multiple anime
conventions very well, but it also delivers a perfectly genuine anime in
its own right too!
The parodies are dead on, down to
the battle music, generic disposable monster armies, those
flowery-written opening tunes with somewhat mangled English, the ditzy
lead, the fan-service, and more.
those glowing positives really only apply to the first episode. The rest
suffer from a few problems. They're certainly not bad, but as the show
is played so straight, despite its inherent sillinesss, there's not
that much room for jokes.
Wonder Momo's main problem is that the show
is played so straight that its running time holds it back! With
Bravoman, the short length is acceptable as it's just a series of comedy
shorts, whereas Wonder Momo tells an actual ongoing narrative, and so 5
minutes feels way too short. The episodes tend to end very
abruptly, and they don't get across or develop nearly as much as they
should. For example, it isn't until Episode 4 of 5 when we finally learn
what's even going on. And then the series ends on a cliffhanger, basically at the 25
minute mark, way before it could even truly begin. The characters also get the short end of the stick, being very underdeveloped.
the whole upskirt aspect that made the original Wonder Momo game
infamous in the first place, and that this is sort-of a comedy, you'd expect a
load of fanservice to be on display here, but the show has a
surprisingly small amount of it.
One big positive (to
really only the first episode, once again) is that the show has an
extremely positive body image message. Momoko is a swimsuit model, and
it's a job she really enjoys, wanting to become famous for it. At no
point is there any shaming for her being a skimpy model, and Momoko is
always glad when people recognize her from those magazines rather than
embarrassed or ashamed.
The animation is pretty good, although the faces can look a bit odd at times.
The score to Wonder Momo is decent, with a fun and 80's-tastic battle theme, and a nice opening and ending song.
Unfortunately there's a new ending theme for each episode. Not only was
the first one fine enough on its own, but the rest aren't as good, some
being repetitive and rather dull.
I highly recommend Wonder Momo's first episode, but nothing more. It's sadly a complete failure. It was too short, and finished way too soon. They might as well have done absolutely nothing...