Peach Girl Vol. #5 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     October 03, 2007
Release Date: October 02, 2007

Peach Girl Vol. #5
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.

What They Say
Kisses and chaos! With the world in a tailspin and her heart set on a crash course, Momo's out of options. So when Sae steps up offering advice and assistance, things must be dire indeed. During a summer job and a break from the romance, Momo seeks answers in the solace and the surf.

A storm approaches as Momo learns the truth behind Toji's misbehaviors. As the person she loved becomes real once more, her heart's thrown open to the raging winds. And when Kairi misses a most important date, the confusion within finds voice in the raging typhoon without... Momo must make a decision. Does she forge ahead with her summer plans? Or will she get swept away in sorrow?

Contains episodes 18-21.

The Review!
Momo continues to deal with Kairi's issues while still trying to support and love him all while Sae does her own less than subtle manipulations.

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.

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.

Using artwork that was either from a rental version or elsewhere, the cover for this release looks great as it puts Momo in between two sharply dressed gentlemen. OF course, Momo looks a bit too burned in this in comparison to some of the previous covers but the colors in general aren't meant to be accurate. 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.

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.

The extras are a bit different for this volume. In addition to the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences, there is a "sneak peek" at the Peach Girl series that seems to cover some of the early relationship manipulations. It runs just under three minutes and is a good selling piece for the shows relationship dramas but feels a bit odd at this late stage of the game. Another new extra here that's a welcome inclusion but is far too brief are a couple of shots of some of the original manga volumes. The segment is barely 38 seconds long and it only shows a couple of covers before it's over. It spends more time on credits and black screens than actual content..

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As Peach Girl moves closer to the finale of the series, there are so many characters that you want to alternate between throttling and just holding close. Everyone is in a bad situation of some sort as they deal with their emotions and feelings that it affects everyone else. What makes the situations all the more problematic to deal with is that other than Sae, you can actually understand where they're all coming from and can't quite bring yourself to really criticize.

Kairi and Momo haven't had it easy as of late with all that's gone on but Momo is still very much intending to make things work as best as she can. The fact that she knows about Kairi's feelings for Misao and still intends to try shows something different from her. She's faced adversity before but she hasn't made the conscious decision in this way to truly pursue someone until they realize they're ready for her. It may have worked out if Misao wasn't someone that Kairi comes across regularly enough. The encounter between the two of them that Momo caught in which it looked like Kairi was kissing her has led Momo to deal directly with the issue now. Forcing Kairi into admitting his feelings for her may not be the best angle to use but in a situation like this, open honesty is all that can really work.

Momo's ability to deal with the situation is thrown for a real curve ball when Kairi really does go and talk to Misao. That situation proved interesting enough as Misao really comes across more as a "real woman" than most anime women do. With her not being whisper thin like most of the cast and a bit silly in some ways, she's an interesting character for Kairi to latch onto who has her own unrequited love. The entire encounter is surprisingly cathartic for Kairi as he realizes exactly what his feelings are and the freedom that comes with actually admitting her. That it gives him the impetus to head off on a walkabout in order to figure out where he really stands in his life is what puts Momo in a particularly awkward position. With the two of them working together in the convenience store, his going off has created an opening.

An opening that Sae handily takes advantage of by getting Touji a job there before Momo even knows what's happening. Working in close proximity with Touji is certainly complicated for her since there are certain tensions between the two of them. Both of them are good hardworking people however so they make the best of it. Their long friendship is what comes into play here the most but Momo really tries to keep things simple and easygoing. That works only so far however as she's agonizing over whether Kairi will show up for the trip that will determine whether they'll continue on as a couple or not. With Touji and Momo spending a good deal of their vacation time together at work, they manage to repair their friendship nicely and with a few revelations that explain a lot of past actions on Touji's part.

With all the twists and turns that the show has taken, it's easy to get something of a divide among fans about who they want to see everyone end up with. With them all being so young however, it's easy enough to imagine that nobody would ever really end up with anyone and they'd all move on with their lives. It'd certainly be easier in some ways but that's not what teenage romance is all about. Beyond having a true Sae/Momo relationship that would require an 18+ label, I continue to find myself pulling for Kairi and Momo the most. Touji isn't a bad guy at all but with what he put Momo through when Sae blackmailed him just puts too many black marks against him in my mind. Kairi hasn't gone that far down the path and though he was poor in talking to Momo about it, he did at least finally talk to her about the issue with Misao and in trying to find a way to deal with things.

In Summary:
Considering some of the vitriol associated with the series by those who have seen it or the manga, I'm still surprised that it's as enjoyable as it is. The show plays up a lot of standard romantic drama issues but it has a certain kind of viciousness to it that sets it apart. There are comedic moments to be sure as well as a number of very romantic ones, but the cutthroat nature of it at times is quite surprising. That helps it to stand out against other shows, especially since it has such a basically unlikable person in the form of Sae. There haven't been many attempts to redeem her and what little there was ended up backfiring on her. With only four more episodes to go, I'm anxious to see how this will resolve, enough so that I'm very interested in checking out the manga to see how it compares and what differences there may be. Fans of the series will enjoy this volume as it provides more drama and fun.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Peach Girl Sneak Peek,Manga Cover Gallery

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


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