Peach Girl Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Peach Girl

Peach Girl Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     July 06, 2007
Release Date: July 10, 2007


Peach Girl Vol. #3
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Field trips and flings from the past! Now that Sae's been exposed for what she really is, things look like they should calm down for just a bit. But when a silly prank goes too far, the stakes in this game rise ever higher. And when the wild card is played, it looks like Sae has the winning hand.

When times turn bleak, friends become invaluable. Luckily for Momo, Kairi has proven to be just that - a true friend. Whether it's hiking, homeroom, or just a shoulder to cry on, Kairi always seems to there when Momo needs him most. But when ghosts from his past begin to haunt the present, will it jeopardize the one thing that Momo has come to depend on? Next stop: heartache!

Contains episodes 10-13.

The Review!
Sae's manipulations reach full tilt mode with these episodes and finally take down what little redeeming value Toji had left.

Audio:
The series is presented in the two standard languages, both of which are done in a decent if unimpressive 224 kbps encoding. Neither track really features much in the way of dialogue placement and with it being a very dialogue driven show this gives it something of a flat feeling. The full sounding mixes carry it all well enough and there aren't any issues with it technically but it doesn't deliver all that much in terms of actual presentation. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Similar to a slew of other recent FUNimation series, the main area that's problematic here once again is the opening and closing sequences. While I don't believe more bits will fix every problem, the two areas here could certainly use a few more in order to smooth out problem areas that have break-up and heavy aliasing going on. The main show itself comes across well, mostly due to it being filled with lots of bright solid colors and not a lot of high energy animation for the most part. Some aliasing does show up throughout, typically during various camera pans, and there seems to be some edge cross coloration going on here and there. With the way the show looks I had initially thought it might have been from several years before 2005.

Packaging:
Using artwork that was either from a rental version or elsewhere, the main cover is a fun version of Momo with her hair all in curls while wearing a simple dress as she sits in a heart shaped chair. There's simply no mistaking what kind of series this is by the covers. Similar to a lot of Japanese releases, there is a good deal of white space around the characters. Add in the pink logo and heart around the volume number and it'd be easy to imagine this showing up at any number of women's accessories stores in malls across the country. It simply has a really good vibe to it that's positive. The back cover keeps to the general color scheme but introduces more soft colors through the various shots The summary covers the basics of the plot and the characters and there's a good listing of the discs features and total number of episodes. The technical grid of course is far too small to be useful at a quick glance as is most of the other production information crammed above it. As usual, no insert is included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The main menu takes a shot from within the show that doesn't exactly give anything away but isn't the best image to use. With the character artwork and the generally vivid colors, it's a really solid piece even with the slightly less than rousing instrumental music tied to it. Though it's just a static piece, it shines quite a lot here and does a great job in selling it to the viewer as something fun to watch. Access times are nice and fast and navigation isn't much of an issue with the layout chosen. As usual, we had to go with manual language selections both due to angle issues and because the full subtitle track is listed as Japanese.

Extras:
The extras are a touch lighter for this volume but still enjoyable. In addition to the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences, an interview with the Japanese voice actor for Toji is included which runs just over five minutes long.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At just about the halfway mark of the series everything seems to change nicely enough. Some of these changes should have happened much earlier in the show though I'm sure they'll come back to haunt in later episodes as well. Watching Peach Girl is like watching an emotional and relationship train wreck in slow motion and simply being fascinated by it. The train wreck finally comes to a halt during this before it delves into the wreckage.

Sae has been completely manipulative from the start so her latest fiasco involving the model who ends up as little more than a footnote during all of this isn't a surprise. The entire ordeal has put a lot of stress on Toji and Momo's relationship but both of them are fully aware of what Sae's capable of and are intending to work through it. This comes as a welcome change of pace from earlier in the series where Toji was so easily manipulated by Sae since he was oblivious to what she was doing. The growing strength of their relationship, from being childhood friends and now to this, is something that does work well for the series.

Sae is of course like the villain in a movie that just can't seem to die and keeps coming back. Even with the lies she's used and the things she's put Momo though, she still can't stand to see the kind of happiness that Toji and Momo share. Using another round of blackmail, this time on Toji, she's finally able to crack him with it and begin to truly ruin the relationship. What little merit Toji had to him in his recent ability to truly believe Momo has been lost as he cannot believe in her. He can't believe that she'll be able to handle what Sae has in store for her if he doesn't do what Sae wants and he gives in to Sae's demands all too easily in the long run. Unfortunately for Toji, Momo won't give as easily as him and she puts herself through the wringer in trying to understand all of this and in trying to get Toji to talk to her.

Toji's cruelty, unintentional or not, is simply brutal at times. The good from their relationship is thrown under a truck here and Momo just won't let it go so easily which makes it all the worse. Her struggle with it is helped along the way by Kairi which only serves to confuse her more. While his intentions are clear he is also someone with a good heart who wants to help. That nature of his is something that she can't separate from his desire to be with her so she becomes all the more confused by the way that he always seems to be there when she needs someone or when she's vulnerable. At the same time, her vulnerability and openness about things allows him to share some of his inner thoughts which helps to flesh him out even more. His charming and laughing ways become a bit clearer here as does the way he views relationships in general.

The changing relationship between Kairi and Momo is an interesting one as they grow with each other through the adversity. Kairi is someone who is able to help someone like Momo easily, such as when he takes her shopping to realize who she really is as well as the way he's always there for her. Kairi does have his own baggage of course and that comes out in a manner that is far too obvious but not entirely unexpected. The arrival of a former girlfriend named Morika isn't shocking but what was pleasant was seeing Momo realize that Morika isn't even half the threat that Sae was in so many ways. The situation isn't easy to deal with as she and Kairi are going together for a bit but after the issues with Toji and Sae she's still quite vulnerable " and still dealing with the strong feelings she has for Toji.

In Summary:
Peach Girl's drama reaches some new levels here for the first couple of episodes before it settles down into something almost a bit more traditional. Everyone has a different view on relationships and what they think will work, such as my preferring to see her with Kairi over Toji, but such things are never clear when it comes to matters of the heart. The inability to really control who we fall for and how they affect us because of those feelings makes for a lot of uncertainty and irrational choices. Peach Girl is filled with such things and it's something that's both very fun to watch while still providing a bit of bite if you have such issues in your own past or present. Peach Girl is almost the epitome of a guilty pleasure much in the same way that Boys Over Flowers is in that I just can't look away. I want to see how much worse it will get, if it will get more insane or not, and to see how they intend to wrap it all up.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Interview with Toji's Japanese Voice Actor

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 480p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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