Wedding Peach Vol. #05 (of 10) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, September 05, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2004
What They Say
Guess who's got a crush on Momoko? Takuro, the scrawniest, most insecure kid in school, and he's dead set on stealing a kiss from our hero. Pledging his aid, the evil devil Igneous helps Takuro launch a diabolical plan to win Momoko's heart and in the process uncovers her secret identity!
A new devil is in town and Momoko finds herself being pursued by a new suitor while the search for more of the Saint Something's continues.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its English dubbed format. The show is getting close to its ten-year anniversary, so it's not surprising that the track here is a pretty basic but good sounding stereo mix. There doesn't feel to be a huge amount of directionality across the forward soundstage but there are a few good moments during some of the combat sequences. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout the show and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing back in 1995, Wedding Peach's transfer is surprisingly clean and clear looking. Though I hadn't expected something bad looking, I was expecting something closer to Sailor Moon since the two have been tied together whenever one is talked about for so long. The transfer here is quite smooth and full of lots of great colors. Even better, aliasing is minimal and I'm hard pressed to find much cross coloration here. This really looks quite good across all five episodes on the dual layered disc, much better than I expected it to be.
With a clear keepcase, the Wedding Peach series continues to get some of the best looking covers coming out of ADV lately. With the tradition broken on the last cover with just doing a single character, we once again get the trio together in regular clothes while our newest devil, Igneous, takes up a lot of the space. While not as great looking as the last cover, I love the vibrant colors here and the simple yet detailed designs. The back cover provides a filmstrip running from top to bottom with small shots from the show throughout it. The summary gives the basic rundown of the premise and there's a good box listing the discs features and extras. The bottom of the back cover provides a good summary of the technical features on the disc as well, breaking down the run time for both the main disc and the bonus disc also. There's no insert included here but there is a "reversible" cover where there's an amusing sideways image of Momoko carrying a huge present while her friends spy on her from a distance.
The menu is very nicely done, laid out just like the back cover with a small filmstrip along one side with green filtered clips from the show playing out to part of the music from the series. The main section of the menu has an image of Momoko obscured in the blue filter as well with clouds passing over her. Each episode can be jumped right to it from the main menu and the usual layout of languages and extras sit off somewhat awkwardly to the side. Access times are nice and fast and the layout looks great overall.
The only extras included on the disc are a clean opening and ending sequence.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Wedding Peach hits the halfway mark with this volume by going up through episode twenty-seven and it's still a fun show that's managed to surprise me. While some of the elements are wearing a bit thin, such as the continual who will win Yanigaba bits, there is still plenty of fun to be had with these characters. I think one of the things that's definitely helped is that the main cast has been kept relatively small and it avoided the growth problems that Sailor Moon hit that pushed me away.
This set of episodes brings us yet a new devil to play with the girls and he's a bit of an amusing one. Sent down to find out the real identities of the Love Angels and to ruin them, Igneous is a crafty devil who doesn't seem to like up front confrontations. In fact, out of the five episodes on this volume with him, he's only very rarely interacted directly with them, unlike past devils who have practically jumped right out on top of them as soon as they show up. Igneous finds himself a suitable host with a where there's a nice bit of evil to it. He's taken up residence in a schoolmate of Momoko's named Takuro.
Takuro's the genius of the school, the top of the list on the top fifty students who scored the best on some test (which of course as we all know is the true sign of intelligence). While he's intelligent, he's not quite socially all together on things. He's not an inept geeky fool, because even with how he is you can see a flair of attractiveness to him, but he looks down on everyone around him who doesn't meet his level of intelligence. A lot of that is just a front of course since he wants to be liked by others but just doesn't have the knack for it. So when Igneous discovers him and gets inside his body, he finds just the right amount of heat that even makes him nappy there. Takuro's got the seed of evil inside of him but it hasn't exactly hatched.
Igneous makes good use of him however and even tricks him into signing a contract with him that will work to Igneous' favor more than anything else so that he can use Takuro to find the real people behind the Love Angels. Takuro doesn't exactly make out badly by this either, but he does get conflicted along the way. He gains some interesting new skills such as being incredibly gifted at both sports and artistic endeavors and becomes liked by more people. But even as his social skills rise, his attempts to woo Momoko fail at every turn. He's quite earnest and honest in his approach with her, but Momoko is still dealing with her own confusing feelings towards Yanigaba and Yousuke, though she tries to forget about Yousuke the most. It's an interesting twist to things having Takuro after her and seeing the other two guys vary between being oblivious to it and being frustrated by it.
Of course there are plenty of action scenes going on during all of this as Igneous is sending out his own devils to cause trouble and to draw out the Love Angels. Most of the episodes do follow the traditional structure found in earlier episodes, though some of them focusing more on a controlled Takuro going after Momoko, but still plenty of creatures draining the love out of others and the Angels fighting for the good of love. There are some plot movement points in this volume as a new Saint Something is found but it seems tied to something that the girls are unaware of, something that indicates that there's a fourth Love Angel that needs to be found. That's got me a bit concerned about things since I like the cast as it is?
While it may be in a bit of a rut in terms of a new devil coming down to play every volume or so, it's worked out to keep it fresh in a way as well since it doesn't keep the same foolish devil for the entire season nor is it cycling through them each episode either. This volume was a lot of fun with this particular devil and the way he's getting a regular character to start messing up the relationships and more involved in things as his proxy by contract. With more plot moving forward, albeit a bit more slowly in this set of episodes, it does move along and sets up the next volume to have some potentially big changes. Good stuff and still surprisingly enjoyable.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Wedding Peach