Peach Girl Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Revelation Films
  • MSRP: £15.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Peach Girl

Peach Girl Vol. #1

By Bryan Morton     August 02, 2007
Release Date: July 23, 2007


Peach Girl Vol. #1
© Revelation Films


What They Say
Looks are everything for most High School girls... The same goes for Momo Adachi! With a dark tan, an athletic build and golden hair, most of her classmates just assume she is a party loving, freewheeling beach bunny. But beneath the skin of this peach really lies a shy, insecure teenage girl who wants nothing more than to turn the head of Toji, her secret crush since Junior High. With a jealous best friend dogging her heels and a lecherous playboy from her past watching in the wings, things just get even more confusing. Will she ever be able to confess her feelings for the boy of her dreams.... or will she just end up caught in the middle of a wild and crazy love hurricane? Fans of Dawson s Creek and The O.C. will love this tale of teenage love, drama and angst.

Episodes Comprise
1 " Love Hurricane!
2 " The Trap Kiss!
3 " How Far Will You Go? Super Sae
4 " The Catastrophe

The Review!
Antics that would make any soap opera proud, and teenage angst galore " it's Peach Girl, where Momo Adachi finds that as far as her "best friend" Sae is concerned, all's fair in love and war. And it seems that Sae's very good at the war part of that...

Audio:
Audio is presented in English and Japanese 2.0 stereo " I listened to the Japanese track for this review, and you'd wonder in places why they even bothered with the second channel. Peach Girl is very heavy on the dialogue, which is firmly anchored to the centre channel, leaving the show sounding decidedly on the flat side. The opening and closing songs do make use of the available channels and sound a bit better, but that's pretty much it as far as directionality is concerned. There were no obvious encoding problems.

Video:
Video comes in its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect, and looks very good. The show makes extensive use of strong, bright colours and a simple animation style. The end result is a clean picture, with nothing in the way of obvious encoding problems.

Packaging:
Momo features on the front cover, looking very energetic and for all the world like she's in the middle of a chicken dance. Probably not her most flattering pose, but there you go. The rear has the usual promotional material, technical info and screenshots.

Menu:
Menus are nice & straightforward, with a static image of Momo on the main screen along with options for scene selection, language setup & extras. The rest of the main cast feature on the submenus. With direct access to episodes from the main menu being almost standard these days, it's a shame this disc doesn't feature that, but otherwise these are perfectly serviceable & easy to use menus.

Extras:
A good selection of extras is provided on this release, which should please fans of both the sub & dub. For sub fans, there's an interview with Saeko Chiba, VA for Momo, while for dub fans there's a commentary track featuring two of the English-language cast. The usual creditless version of the opening and closing credits are also provided.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Momo's known Sae for about three months now, and even though they're friends, Momo's getting a bit fed up at always being one-upped by Sae. Even with guys, all it takes is for Momo to show the slightest interest, and Sae's in there, making her move - which is exactly what happens when Momo bluffs and tells Sae she's interested in Kairi. Fortunately, Momo's far more interested in Toji - but when the school rumour mill starts pairing her off with Kairi, Sae's top of the list of suspects for talking out of turn. Toji, meanwhile, finally admits to Momo that he likes her " a bit of a surprise, as Momo had been told years earlier that he wasn't interested in dark-skinned girls like her, and she's left wondering whether she can believe what she's heard. Could Momo finally get herself the man of her dreams? Or will Sae suddenly develop an interest in Toji, and try to sink Momo's new-found love life?

First up, a disclaimer: I hate live-action soap operas. I've been made to sit through so many episodes of Coronation Street and EastEnders over the years that my patience with such things gave out a long time ago. What's that got to do with Peach Girl? It's a soap opera, and unashamedly so. I can hear the warning bells ringing already. On the other hand, anime seems to do soap in a different, more tolerable way to the good folks at ITV and the BBC. I was quite happy watching Marmalade Boy, for example, and it's hard to thing of a better example of an anime soap opera " meaning I can't write Peach Girl off without at least giving it a chance, so here goes.

Sae does step in to ruin Momo's love life, of course " while she's got the cute and cheerful public persona going down a storm, I don't think I've ever seen a character who's more of a conniving, scheming bitch than Sae is. The lengths she'll go to " and the people she'll step over " to get her way are truly impressive, on one level, and it's all in the name of proving to herself that she's the top girl in class. You could almost write a thesis on her determination.

Momo, by comparison, is almost the exact opposite. Her outward appearance " dark tan & coloured hair " would give them impression of her being a far more confident and positive person than she really is, but underneath she's shy and insecure. She deserves to get the guy, but fate " in the form of Sae, at least " isn't going to be so kind.

On the male side of the equation are Kairi, the school playboy who's always surrounded by an army of female admirers but just can't get the one girl he wants (Momo, naturally); and Toji, the object of Momo's affection and subject of a constant stream of misunderstandings and random acts of Sae that seem destined to keep them apart. Kairi's great fun to watch, and almost seems to be there as the comic relief. Toji's more serious and down-to-earth, with his main problem being that he's far too trusting, to the point where no matter what the evidence to the contrary, Momo just can't convince him about Sae's deviousness.

The first thing you wonder is how Momo and Sae became best friends in the first place. The second thing is why Momo's let Sae's game of one-upmanship go on for so long without tackling her about it, when it's clearly a source of huge annoyance. That's actually Peach Girl's biggest failing " if you try to watch the full disc in one go (5 episodes), Sae's antics soon become hugely annoying to watch. Stick to an episode or two at a time, and they become more bearable, but there's a constant barrage of lies, deceit and rumour-mongering aimed in Momo's direction, and you can't help but feel sorry for her. Toji's oblivious to the whole thing, and Kairi, while giving Momo some support, has his own interests in making sure they don't get together.

It's not all love-related angst and anger, though. There are some fun moments to be had, almost in the same style as the comedy in Super Gals! (although where Super Gals! Is an almost constant stream of slapstick, Peach Girl is a lot more sparing with it). That helps break things up a bit and stops the Sae v Momo rivalry from becoming too much to handle. What worries me the most at this stage of the series, though, is that there's very little real story going on outside the main story " that might work okay up to a point, but for a full 25-episode run? That I wouldn't be so sure about. I'm sure Momo and Sae have some time left in their lives when they're not competing with each other, and it wouldn't do any harm to see some of that.

In summary:
Peach Girl has its moments, and in turns will have you laughing, screaming at the screen in frustration and sharing in Momo's righteous anger. Where it goes wrong is in focussing too heavily on the one storyline, and in trying to push Sae's bitchiness right to the limits of believability, which does mean that it's hard to watch too much of the show in one sitting without it getting on top of you " 1- or 2-episode chunks are far easier to swallow. If the series widens to include things other than Sae & Momo's battle for Toji, though, there's plenty of potential here.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Actor / Director Commentary,Interview with Momo's Japanese VA,Creditless Opening & Closing Sequences

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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