Jul 6, 2012
Firechick12012 (All reviews)
So yeah, after finding about this anime movie's existence a few months ago, along with Happy Birthday: Inochi Kagayaku Toki, I decided to set out and find them! The first movie I managed to find without much problems, even though the footage had Russian subs and REALLY BAD sound quality, but it was better than nothing! Not by a long shot! But Momoko? That was MUCH harder to find, even though it was made in...what? 2003? I swear, these movies are more underrated than Dog of Flanders: My Patrasche! Well, after lots of hard searching, I finally found a RAW video of the movie My Sister Momoko, or Momoko: Kaeru no Uta ga Kikoeru yo (Momoko Hears The Frog Song).

The story's about the Kuramoto twins, Riki and Momoko. Riki is your typical average boy who's energetic, not very good in school grades wise, and as healthy as he can be. Momoko is another story. I didn't quite hear or understand what she has (I found it RAW, with no subs), but she apparently is born with a lot of handicaps, one of which makes her head constantly fall to one side, as you can see. She's thin to the point of looking like a stick figure, has to wear one of those oxygen things up her nose (what the heck are those called again?), and she has to go to a school for the handicapped. Plus, she's shorter than Riki by a foot. Momoko hates the fact that Riki can go to a normal school and she can't, but she calms down when she hears her favorite song about frogs. She watches Riki play dodge ball against another class's team and cheers him on, which makes Riki win! But one of the boys on the opposite team, Ryuji, insults Riki by saying mean things about Momoko, which sets Riki off. But what happens when Momoko gets to go to Riki's school as part of an experiment in integrated education? Will she be able to survive, or will some school bullies gain the upper hand in the school social hiearchy? And how will adults handle this new move?

Unlike Happy Birthday, Momoko was made in 2003 and, unsurprisingly enough, has better animation compared to the former, though it still has its small hiccups. I think some of those hiccups were intentional since the movie's about disabled kids and all, so I can let it slide. Speaking of disabled kids, yes, this is the SECOND movie I found that shows ACTUAL DISABLED KIDS!!! YAY!!! Thank God, another movie that proves that nobody's physically or mentally perfect! Seriously, the more new anime that come out, the more and more I notice that it seems Japan has some sort of complex against showing people with little deficiencies here and there, like being fat or having braces or acne or all that jazz! Seriously! What the heck? Also, the music isn't really memorable, like Happy Birthday's. Some nice little tunes here and there, and they fit the show, but they're not exactly mind blowing. I don't really mind, though I do think the frog song is a bit weird. THANKFULLY this show has MUCH BETTER sound quality than Happy Birthday, so I'll give it credit for that too.

Oh God, the characters again! Seriously, also like Happy Birthday, the characters are what make this movie awesome. Riki's your perfectly realistic and average 5th grade schoolboy. He likes sports, doesn't do well in school, and can be a bit of a brat sometimes, but don't all boys act that way? Plus he has a hard time dealing with Momoko's disability and even thinks at one point that his parents prefer Momoko over him. Don't we all have similar feelings like his? Don't we all feel a little bit jealous at one point in our lives? It's really not all that uncommon. Momoko is just awesome just for being herself. She's disabled, yet she still wants to live and be a normal girl despite her setbacks (though I have to admit I did find her little waterworks moments rather annoying, but that's just because I'm kinda sensitive to little kids crying. The noise hurts my ears). She can talk and walk and just be a little girl. Seriously, don't you just want to hug her? But then again, she's OH SO UNGODLY thin, she might break! You also have to give the creators credit for making Ryuji into a respectable character as well. He's not big and fat and bulky like your typical school bully. He's actually quite thin and civilized-looking, and while he does start off rather mean at first, his development throughout the movie is just pure cinematic gold. The other characters are great too, even the side characters (like Riki and Momoko's parents, classmates, and Ryuji's father).

Also like Happy Birthday, Momoko focuses on the treatment of others who are different, tolerance, friendship, living, and healing. Unlike Happy Birthday, this isn't a story about child abuse (Oh God, if this was what Momoko would be about if something like that actually happened, then I'd cry buckets!). But they do share the same morals and messages. Life is short and painful, but it's important to keep living, even when the odds are stacked against you. I seriously wish movies like this were made more in this day and age! We're so sick and tired of all the moe crap that's being thrown at us like garbage!!! And yes, I cried at the ending.

If I had to choose between this and Happy Birthday, for me, Happy Birthday seems to win. Oh no, I'm not saying Momoko's inferior to it. Momoko is awesome for being what it is, but Happy Birthday had a slightly greater impact on me. But Momoko is still a wonderful, adorable, and gut wrenchingly sad movie that I wouldn't mind showing to anyone I knew! Now if only someone would sub or license these already!!!