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Video Game / Wonder Momo

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Released by Namco in 1987 as an arcade title, Wonder Momo was a beat-em-up about fighting off baddies as Momo Kanda, a Henshin Hero spoof that fought with kicks when underpowered, and a special "wonder ring" when transformed. The first game was framed as the set of a hero stage show, where "Momo" was really an actress playing out the in-universe character's fictional exploits. With a humorous angle and a bit of fanservice on the stage, Momo's adventures were eventually ported to PC Engine in 1989, as well as the Wii's Virtual Console in 2007. The arcade game was Namco's last 8-bit title.

Momo's legacy was revived as a webcomic in 2012 for Namco's comic hub ShiftyLook. Fully titled Wonder Momo: Battle Idol, the comic is a comedy and action based series with ongoing story arcs. Rather than be an actor, Momo instead is a struggling idol that gains Wonder Momo's powers by accident, meaning this time, she has to fight the monsters off for real. It’s later revealed that this Momo is, in fact, the daughter of the original Momo.


In terms of crossovers, her only other video game appearances were as a playable character in Namco × Capcom and Queen's Blade: Spiral Chaos, followed by several years in limbo. Things weren't all bad for Momo after that— Bandai Namco and ShiftyLook briefly brought back the character in 2014 with an anime series based off of the webcomic continuity, consisting of five 7-minute ONA anime shorts by Graphinica streamed via Nico Nico Douga with a simulcast on Crunchyroll. In addition to this, the sequel game Wonder Momo: Typhoon Booster was developed by WayForward Technologies that same year for Android.


Tropes common across the whole series:

  • Badass Adorable: Wonder Momo. Especially her Bravoman cameo.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The comic to the Bravoman comic. Both involve normal humans being granted power by helpful (if goofy) aliens to battle evil.
  • Henshin Hero: Momo, Momoko, and Amazona change from regular girls to armored action heroes note .
  • Hour of Power: Momo's superpowered form only lasts a short while before she's changed back to normal. This is averted in Namco × Capcom and Spiral Chaos, where Momo is given the power to transform in real life for indefinite periods of time.
  • Mooks: The Modokis, humanoid goons in black tights with red facemasks.
  • Rings of Death: Momo's Wonder Ring (a glowing hula-hoop), which is also her Weapon of Choice.
  • The Rival: Amazona.

The Original Arcade and PC-Engine Games provide examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The game's backstory and the names of every character apart from Momo are only told on arcade fliers and the PC-Engine manual.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The only way to damage the Final Boss is to hit Mozuu's floating brain while dodging attacks from his robotic tank body.
  • BFG: Cannonporter carries around a bazooka as big as he is tall.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Mozuu, the leader of Warudemon, is a floating brain controlling a robotic tank.
  • Distressed Damsel: The Joshikousei kidnapped by Warudemon in Volume 3. Amazona makes her first appearance disguised as her before attacking Momo. The girl herself is rescued at the end of the volume.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Warudemon's HQ, which is used as the setting for the final level.
  • Fanservice:
    • One that figures into gameplay as well: some photographers in the audience will try to get a peek at Momo's panties. If one succeeds, she gets temporarily stunned.
    • The stage curtains between each act sometimes show Momo lying prone in a towel.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: If Momo takes one too many bumps from her fellow actors, she'll enter a sobbing fit, prompting the stage curtain to descend down and abruptly conclude the show in an awkward attempt to help Momo save face. The cutesy/ fanservicey designs of Momo on the stage curtain only accentuate the awkwardness.
  • Kick Chick: Momo only attacks using (very) high kicks and splits kicks.
  • Male Gaze: In-universe. A game element used to stun the main character is a photographer in the audience who tries to get a shot of Momo's panties.
  • Recurring Boss: A fair number of them.
    • Degraded Boss: Crab Fencer, Junk Rock and Shamoan (the first three bosses of Vol. 1) and Acroball (the boss of Vol. 2-1) all make return appearances as Mid Bosses multiple times throughout the game.
    • Dual Boss: Crab Fencer, Junk Rock and Acroball as part of their Degraded Boss shtick. Cannon Potter, a boss from Vol. 2, makes one of his two return appearances alongside a twin as the boss of Vol. 4-2.
    • Mid-Boss: Amazona's two appearances in Vol. 3-3 and 4-2.
  • Show Within A Game: Instead of playing a superhero fighting the forces of evil, the player plays as a girl who plays one in a live stage show.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The whole game is one to Ultraman: Momo's time limit, space theme, and energy weapons are all based on aspects of the series. Momo can also perform a Specium Ray to fight off enemies if she doesn't have her hoop on her.
    • The opening has Momo popping out of a ring and roaring Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer style.
  • Video-Game Lives: One of the many inversions that popped up in the mid-late 1980s: Momo has a Life Meter (listed as "VITAL"), but if it runs out, the game ends.

The Web Comic provides examples of:

  • Action Mom: Original protagonist is the mother of the main character and was also able juggle being a mother and taking care of Momoko when she was young.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: As Robo-Momo begins to feel less and less appreciated, she becomes lonely, and decides to defect to the Waru to destroy the real Momoko and keep Natsuhiko all to herself.
  • Alien Among Us: Glieger, the original Momo's mentor/sidekick, has been living on Earth since the last Waru invasion. Momoko's sidekick Glooder probably counts, too.
  • Alpha Bitch: Akiho Matsuo, aka Amazona.
  • Animesque: Omar Dogan's art looks like it wouldn't be out of place on a Japanese site. Naturally, the designs worked well enough to show up in an actual anime down the line.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The comic was in the middle of a storyline which saw Momo and her friends and family against the newly appointed Waru Princess who sends robot duplicates of Momo to attack them. However Namco decided to close up Shifty Look. So the story was hastily finished with the heroes managing to easily beat the bots and the Princess beating a hasty retreat. After which we get an epilogue from Momo about how un-normal her life is but she will continue the good fight. End comic.
  • Art Shift: When in flashback to the Original Wonder Momo the art (provided by guest artist Jeffrey "Chamba" Cruz) more closely resembles the official art of the game.
  • The Bait: As the object of the rogue Robo-Momo's newfound affections, Natsuhiko is forced to be this.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The introduction of the Waru princess revealed that female Waru look like blue-skinned Earth women — very much unlike the seahorse-like male Waru.
  • Camera Fiend: Natsuhiko. He often takes pictures when he should be running for dear life. This causes Team Momo no shortage of headaches.
  • Canon Immigrant: The "Momoko's best school chum" character Yumi was added for the anime to serve its significantly greater interest in Momoko's school life. She showed up in the comic shortly after the first episode of the show premiered. The comic ended shortly after her introduction, so she only just barely got in there.
    • Must Have Caffeine: Glooder tasks Yumi with getting some iced coffees which become how Yumi takes out the green Robo-Momo when she spills them over the robot, causing her to short circuit and explode.
  • Clark Kenting: Averted, when the original Wonder Momo appears, Momoko is immediately able to tell that it's her mom.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Wonder Momo and Amazona in their costumes. Mostly averted in their civilian clothes though.
    • Momoko/Wonder Momo: Red/Blue
    • Aki/Amazona: Black/Purple note 
    • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Robo-Momos that the Waru Princess sics on Momo's mom and friends also apply.
      • Cat Girl: The Pink Robo-Momo asks for "Date Time" with Momo's photographer boyfriend and gets lured into a car wash where the fake fur on her costume gets poofed up enough to immobilize her for a photo.
      • Blade Enthusiast: The Yellow Robo-Momo has this as her weapon and skill against Aki. Becoming her Amazona form, Aki then uses her own Laser Blade to gut the robot.
      • An Ice Person: The Light Blue Robo-Momo has ice power and cold-based dialogue against Glieger. He takes her apart with a drill tipped with a screwdriver bit, and puts her somewhat back together.
      • Playing with Fire: The Orange Robo-Momo has fire coming out her fingertips facing Momoko's mom. The robot then gets a fire extinguisher emptied against it, then smashed in the face with the extinguisher.
      • Glooder's Robo-Momo is Green but we don't get to see IT'S power, just hinting she's more a hand-to-hand robot, before Yumi's spilling iced coffees on the robot causes it to short-circuit and explode.
  • Cut Short: As stated, it was in the middle of the Waru Princess arc when word come down from Namco they were ending the Shifty Look brand. So the writers had to hastily finish up the storyline.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: The Waru Princess.
  • Evil Costume Switch: From the incident on the Waru homeworld to the resolution of the Robo-Momo storyline, Momoko had a distinctly different "Dark Momo" costume due to absorbing the powers of both her mother and Akiho
  • Fangirl: Akiho is a huge fan of the original Wonder Momo, who inspired her to take up the mantle of Amazona (whose power orb Akiho retrieved from the original during the stage play) and become a force for good.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Momoko and Aki, after working together to make the world love Wonder Momo again and recharge their power orbs. Once the orbs are recharged and they stop the Waru invasion, Aki and Momoko have the latter welcoming the former to "the big time" while the crowd at Momo-Palooza calls for an encore.
  • Generation Xerox: Present day Momo looks just like her daughter Momoko, the current Wonder Momo. Averted in the flashbacks though since Momo as a teen had the '80s Hair that Momoko does not.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Turns out the power orbs are charged by love: the Waru's love for the original Wonder Momo and Earth's love for the successor. Too bad Robo-Momo going bad trashed Momo's reputation... until Momo-Palooza made enough to bring back Wonder Momo and Amazona for a public fight against the invading Waru.
  • Glory Hound: Akiho. She ends up with the film role of Wonder Momo, and seems intent on rubbing it in the real Momo's face! Doesn't work out when Robo-Momo makes Wonder Momo look like a villain...
    • Laser-Guided Karma: When the Robo-Momo trashes Wonder Momo's good name, the film winds up getting shelved much to Amazona's annoyance.
  • The Hero's Journey: The plot of the webcomic can be summed up as this.
    • Wonder Momo even experiences a symbolic death twice in succession, first Robo-Momo ruins her reputation, then the attempt at splitting the power orb and returning Aki's powers results in the orb being discharged Momoko then experiences apotheosis during the Waru attack on Momo-palooza when she refuses to run away despite having no powers and, in the process learns what it means to be a hero. This act is what then causes the world to love Wonder Momo again, recharging her power orb allowing her to transform into Wonder Momo (and Aki into Amazona) again to defeat the Waru.
  • Legacy Character: Momoko is given an upgraded version of the Wonder Momo power suit by an alien who mistook her for the original (despite being two decades younger). Turns out Momoko is the daughter of the original Wonder Momo.
    • Amazona is a variant: the original Amazona was Momo's nemesis. After their final battle, a young girl (and Momo fangirl) found Amazona's power orb and decided she could be a new, heroic Amazona.
  • Loony Fan: Akiho, a major fangirl of the original Wonder Momo. Her meeting Momoko was the result of thinking she was playing imposter.
  • Male Gaze: Natsuhiko gets an unintentional eyeful of Pink Robo-Momo's breasts when she pops out of nowhere in front of him.
  • Meaningful Name: In context, Momoko basically means "Momo's child/daughter".
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The original game's premise of being a stage play within a game is referenced as the first actual invastion by the Warudemon forces happening during a high school stage play, something constantly lampshaded by the narrator.
    • The first thing Momoko does in the comic was audition for a part as an Ultraranger, paying a bit of tribute to the original Momo being a character for a ranger-like stage show.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Several times.
    • Momo going power mad was the result of Akiho rudely snatching Momo's phone away as she was trying to talk to her model manager and claiming "Momo quit". Needless to say Momo's anger wasn't without justification.
    • Turning off the power suit's restraining bolt brought very bad consequences.
    • Using a robot version of Momo seemed fine at first. Then it started developing feelings, and Momoko acting like a jerk towards it did not help matters.
    • Trying to split the orb to restore the powers of Amazona and the original Wonder Momo broke it, meaning NOBODY got any powers. It would take "Momo-Palooza" to bring enough love to make new orbs to restore Momoko and Akiho to their super-powered forms.
  • Overprotective Mom: Momoko's mom is none to pleased when she learns that Natsuhiko has been investigating Wonder Momo, especially when he refers to her as "his angel". Given her own past experiences with photographers like him, it's understandable why she'd think he's a perverted stalker.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Glooder is an alien resembling a humanoid, shell-less turtle. He blends in with humans by wearing... a wig and a high school student's uniform. Glieger's been living on Earth for a lot longer and doesn't even go that far.
    • Though at this point it seems likely that the people around Momo know Glooder's an alien, but are polite enough to not say anything about it.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: "Dark Momo".
  • Redeeming Replacement: Akiho as Amazona.
  • Restraining Bolt: Turns out the power orbs' time limit was intentional, as wearing the armor too long led to a loop of increased aggressiveness and an uptick in power.
  • Shout-Out: When Momoko asks why her suit has a 4 minute time limit, Glooder states it was an upgrade from the 3-minute model.
  • Teen Idol: Akiho. Momoko's attempts to become one are met with failure prior to becoming Momo.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After being fed some humble pie and being forced to work with Momoko, Akiho becomes a lot nicer and even becomes close friends with her former enemy.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Akiho refuses to talk about how she survived getting blown up on the Waru homeworld.
    • The Unreveal: And due to the comic's premature ending. We'll never know as well.
  • Written Sound Effect: Played with, some of the sound effects don't spell out a sound but rather describe what caused them.
  • World of Buxom: Every remotely mature female character is very well endowed. This includes the Robo-Momos and the Waru Princess.
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: This comic almost referenced Superman.