Hot/Cool Fictional Male “Subs”: Momo

We’ve looked at subs who were supposed to be taken seriously in the stereotypical masculine role, from fantasy lead, Richard, to the original super hero, but that’s hardly the entire picture. male submission is no limited to performance in traditional roles. This next sub, very explicitly in an Owner/pet relationship and the work deals with loving someone despite not measuring up to the assumptions about what a man should be.

You’re My Pet: Momo

Kneeling before his new ownerMomo is the name picked out for the male lead in a manga and live action television show (Kimi wa Petto/Tramps Like Us) about an explicitly Owner/Pet relationship between a stressed out career woman (Sumire) and a dance prodigy (Takeshi). After finding Momo homeless and sick on the streets, Sumire rescues the diminutive young man. As he recovers in her apartment, he begs to stay, and her joking suggestion that he can only stay as her pet gets met by enthusiastic barking.

She names him “Momo” after her childhood dog, and the two set up living together. But, she declares that it won’t be a sexual relationship, she only sleeps with men with higher height, higher income and higher career/education. This is part of her challenge as a character. Sumire is non-conforming with gender expectations, with (for Japan) stereotypically masculine hobbies. At the story’s opening she had just gotten a demotion for hitting a sexual harasser. Frustrated in love and picked on by female coworkers for her unemotional demeanour, Sumire hides a very fragile heart inside a shell of hard hitting professionalism.

Momo provides her with the unconditional love of a pet. His challenge is dealing with his own career, as a modern dancer. Unable to continue as a ballet prodigy because of his height, Momo has turned his talents to modern dance. As well as proving the stereotype  of dancers being kinky, for him, being a pet lets him feel safe, loved and wanted. Sumire looks after him, providing him with food, shelter and bathes and cuddles him. sometimes he acts more dog like, especially to amuse her, and sometimes he’s more human, although she generally has to look out for him and he’s goofy and a little derpy about his responsibilities

Bath time!

Momo’s boyish exhuberance is undimmed by Sumire’s controlling tendencies. But, don’t take my word for it, check out an english language translation of the manga!

A very typical exchange.

Although they are perfectly happy together, much of the tension comes from hiding their relationship from nosy people, and the fact that Sumire cannot reconcile the bliss she has at home with what she should want. The reintroduction of her college crush kicks off the main challenge of the story, where she attempts to date someone who is everything she thinks she wants. In practice she has a lot of trouble opening up and relaxing with Momo’s rival, and although she finds him hot, everything is depicted as stiff and awkward.  Faithful Momo allows her to lie and claim her pet is her brother in order to not scare his rival away, going along with her explanation and being supportive of her stated goals.

The rival!

Meanwhile of course, Sumire and Momo develop some healthy romantic tension. For Momo of course, this is forbidden and for Sumire, incredibly confusing. She’s only initially able to accept having a boisterous young man bouncing around the place by making it as unsexual as possible, and she also has to deal with redefining what she considers attractive.


To be a bit circumspect in the name of spoilers, resolving the conflicts of the story, mean reconciling who people really are. Momo is able to be the most honest, and his subplot is pretty much just figuring out his dance career and how that might take him away from his beloved owner, while Sumire must come to terms with the fact that she doesn’t really want a guy who outdoes her in everything and that she likes who she is and likes that he likes who she is.
The manga VS the show

It’s a romance comic/show aimed at women, and it’s a conflict that’s not unfamiliar in femdom, when you first set out to try to make sense of what works for you. While M/f has to reconcile explaining that it’s not some sort of reactionary right wing abuse excuse,  F/m bumps up against gender expectations in a way that’s often a challenge for doms and subs alike. Although I’ve never personally worried about being gender conforming, this post is a bit personal for me, because I know that Sumire expressions of dominance are really very close to mine- wanting to look after my property, and liking playfulness. It’s also a good example of something that’s very blatant without ever really touching on the explicitly kinky nature of what’s going on in the story. Which is pretty valuable because not everything kinky that people do is dressed up with whips and leather.

Fiction often gives us the tools to discuss the things that work for us and codify them. The entire manga/show “Kimi wa Petto” is also charming in that the dominant is not a villain and she doesn’t have to stop being dominant to be able to love Momo, nor does he have to stop being her sub. There’s some aspects of “melt the ice princess” but she doesn’t stop being a pet owner in her thawed out state. And, Momo is presented as the one you want to root for in the comic. Cute, bratty, but above all loyal, Momo does not lose his sexiness just because he’s property, neither does he need to have a “hero” moment where he has to put his submissiveness aside to get things done.

Next week, we’re getting thin on content again. I encourage you to post in the comments about a pairing you’d like to see, and why you feel the male half is a good example of a sub. It can be subtext or explicit, porn or not. The only rule is that the male sub needs to be either hot or be awesome. Or both!

3 thoughts on “Hot/Cool Fictional Male “Subs”: Momo”

  1. I don’t know whether this is the sort of thing you intended, but one possible pairing that springs to mind is Samuel Beckett with Anais Nin.

    I have no idea whether they actually knew each other, although she was only three years older than him, and they moved in the same literary/artistic circles.

    Beckett was intellectually awesome, painfully sensitive and honest, and physically as beautiful a man as you could wish to see. I have no idea what his proclivities were, but he certainly understood domination and submission, as is evidenced by the Pozzo-Lucky pairing in ‘Godot’, and his extensive use of the theme elsewhere in his work.

    The theme of bondage also plays an important role, and is one of Beckett’s key metaphors, for example in ‘Murphy’ in which the main character is portrayed as bound so tightly to a rocking chair as to become virtually one with it.

    “He sat in his chair in this way because it gave him pleasure! First it gave his body pleasure, it appeased his body. Then it set him free in his mind. For it was not until his body was appeased that he could come alive in his mind, as described in section six. And life in his mind gave him pleasure, such pleasure that pleasure was not the word.”

    Beckett was also left-handed, a keen and talented sportsman, an enormously gifted French scholar, and an anti-fascist who was decorated by the French after the war for his services to the maquisards, all of which endear him to me.

    Nin was also beautiful and an erotic force of nature who used her undoubted ability to seduce as the royal road to power.

    She wrote:

    “Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood. If you nourished your sexual life with all the excitements and adventures which love injects into sensuality, you would be the most potent human being in the world. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all of the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine.”

    So, an interesting pairing in the mind’s eye. In reality?

  2. I may have two for you, from the same author.

    Ariane and Marc from Grand Central Arena (and its sequel Sphere’s of Influence) by Ryk Spoor

    Thanks some fanboys and girls with delusions of grandeur and no morals to speak of, Marc is quite literally superhuman, but when he ends up in on a prototype spaceship in an alternate universe, he immediately turns to Ariane, the ship’s pilot, to take charge. Marc has a commanding presence himself, and his support is (IMO) critical in getting the rest of the crew lined up behind their new “Captain” and toeing the line. While uncomfortable in her new role, Ariane quickly grabs the reins, and shocks Marc when he realizes that he isn’t just pretending to give her control–she can make him sit up and take notice without half trying. Their very requited crush is also insanely cute. (Ariane, however, is also crushing on another crew member, leading to some interesting tension on ship.)

    Kyri Vantage and Tobimar Silverun from Phoenix Rising, Phoenix in Shadow and the as-yet unreleased third in the trilogy.

    This one is a lot more subtle and plays out, for me, as something of a Lady/knight dynamic. If the lady can kick some serious ass herself, anyway. Set in a high fantasy world, Kyri and Tobimar are both on quests vital to the survival of their respective homelands. When they save each other’s lives, meet, and exchange stories (in pretty much that order) Tobimar (and his companion Poplock Duckweed) immediately offers to set aside his quest to help her complete hers. Tobimar has some solid logic to back himself up, but there is a definite sense that logic isn’t the only thing driving him.
    As they continue the quest Kyri is most definitely in the lead, making the major decisions, but Tobimar and Poplock’s advice and expertise are respected and listened to. Romance is definitely a thing between Kyri and Tobimar and by the end of the trilogy (yes I DID get my eyes on a pre-release version) Kyri’s new title is seriously in keeping with some classic femdom tropes.

    • Heh. I admit I never thought of these works in those terms before, but yes, both Ariane and Kyri are the more dynamic members and dominant forces in their pairings — though anyone else thinking that means that either Marc or Tobimar is weak has got another think coming!

      Plus of course it’s really Poplock who’s in charge of Tobimar. 🙂


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