Peach Girl Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A=
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 15 & 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. #4

By Bryan Morton     March 06, 2008
Release Date: March 24, 2007


Peach Girl Vol. #4
© Revelation Films


What They Say
While looks can be deceiving, Momo Adachi's no stranger to deception. She knows well there's two sides to every story... When Momo gets to the bottom of things, she's surprised to discover Kairi already there. The reformed playboy has been the one person by her side every step of the way. With realization, Momo's ready to relax into his embrace... But will her luck in love (or lack thereof) prove true?

And while Sae seems to have grown tired of Toji at long last, her new target may be even more trouble than she is. As Sae discovers what it's like on the other side of a lie, Momo's unearthing a few skeletons of her own.

Episodes Comprise
14 – The Man Who Creates a Storm
15 – Who Will It Be?
16 – When Love Hits Rock Bottom
17 – Direct Line to Pure Love

The Review!
The latest volume of Peach Girl sees Sae finally get what she deserves when her own love life goes horribly wrong, while Momo's about to discover that Kairi has a few secrets of his own. What, you expected anyone in this show to find happiness for more than five minutes..!?

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:
The cover this time around has Momo in a decent-looking yellow summer outfit, which just lets her white bits show. The rear has the usual promotional blurb, images and technical info, while the reverse (visible through the clear keepcase) has a larger version of the front cover artwork.

Menu:
As a little teaser for events of this volume, the menu this time around centres on an image of Momo and Toji at poolside. The OP plays throughout, and options for scene selection, language setup & extras are provided. 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:
This volume provides another short VA interview, this time with Kairi’s Japanese VA, and the usual creditless opening and closing songs.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Kairi's got some explaining to do after Momo sees him apparently arranging a love-hotel trip with his ex, Morika - not that she's in any mood to listen to his explanations anyway. Next day, her feelings for him get the better of her, though, and she finds herself running to the hotel, to try and put a stop to whatever she imagined would be happening there - only to find Morika in the arms of Kairi's older brother, Ryo. Kairi insists that in the past his brother stole Morika from him - and now it looks like he's going to try and steal Momo, too.

Later, Sae lands herself in trouble with the school authorities after a swimsuit photo shoot of her appears in a magazine. After turning on the tears and pleading all sorts of shame at her behaviour, she manages to get off without any punishment, but it gets Momo wondering just what's happened to her that she's resorted to doing photo shoots. The trail leads back to Ryo – and it seems he wants Sae to go further than just swimsuit shoots…

Ryo's the "star" of this disc, really, as it's his shenanigans that form the backdrop for pretty much everything else that goes on – from Kairi's sense of low self-esteem through always being in his brother's shadow (and his subsequent relationship with Misao), to Ryo's attitude towards first Momo and then Sae, the picture that's painted of him ain't pretty. In a show that has some truly evil characters (I'm looking at you, Sae), he easily takes the award for worst of the bunch.

But while Sae's manipulations always bothered me, Ryo's far easier to watch. I think that's because, where Sae relied on lies and deception to get her way, Ryo is far more direct and up-front. He's a bastard, he knows he's a bastard, and he doesn't really care who else knows – as long as he gets his way. It's an approach that's almost refreshing, and for Momo it makes it much easier for her to fight back against him. With Sae there was always their early friendship that got in the way and made sure that Momo always felt some sort of responsibility towards her, but she's got no such hangup with Ryo – and so knees in delicate areas and the casual waving of pepper-spray cans are all fair game. This volume has a 15-certificate for a reason.

Sae's come-uppance, meanwhile, is almost a case of deja-vu. Back in episode 10, Kairi set her up with a casting session for a movie of dubious morals, and it was only Momo's intervention that saved her from a sticky fate. Here, after having already done a number of clothed shoots at Ryo's prompting, she ends up in the same position again, and it seems to be the catalyst that finally persuades her to see what it's like to be on the wrong end of the sort of behaviour she's been dishing out to Momo for so long. I'm too cynical to believe that the new, remorseful Sae will last for long, but it's good to see her at least partly thankful.

The biggest difference between this volume and volume three, though, is that the level of general nastiness between the characters has been greatly reduced, and that makes this disc a lot more watchable. It's still a train-wreck, as any number of complications get in the way of Momo finding any sort of long-term happiness, but at least this time it's not down to the manipulations of third-parties – it's all because of issues that Momo and Kairi need to work out between themselves. That's something that mature adults do all the time – high-school kids, less so, and that's were the drama comes from. The way it plays out will provoke the odd eye-roll, but in general it's far easier to go with the flow here than it was with the previous disc. Hopefully that's not a blip, and we'll get more good stuff on the remaining volumes.

In summary:
More drama and less nastiness are the orders of the day this time around, and while there's a little recycling of ideas here, this is probably the most enjoyable volume of the series so far. It's still an awful lot of angst to take in one sitting, but there's a decent amount here that's enjoyable to watch, especially if you've enjoyed the series up to now.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Interview with Kairi’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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