Peach Girl Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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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: 29.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Peach Girl

Peach Girl Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     November 09, 2007
Release Date: November 13, 2007


Peach Girl Vol. #6
© FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.


What They Say
Who will it be? Who will it be?!? Once again in the arms of Toji, Momo can't help but think of Kairi. As Toji pulls her closer, Momo pulls away. And they're not the only couple in trouble... While Ryo and Misao have rekindled an old romance, Sae shows up to deliver a surprise of her own. When Ryo shows his true colors, both girls are in for a shock.

With romance racing towards disaster, Momo has to choose between Toji and Kairi. No matter what the decision, heartbreak is certain. If she chooses one will she ever be able to forget the other? And can she truly settle for second best? As the final storm approaches, their fates hang in the balance...

Contains episodes 22-25.

The Review!
The truly hard choices have to be made across the board as the main trio and secondary characters must move their lives forward at long last.

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 cover for this final volume is just about perfect. The various designs for Momo throughout this have been intriguing at and interesting with the style used and having one with her simply smiling away in a light and airy dress just captures the future very well for her. 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 bit different for this volume. In addition to the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences, a final commentary track by some of the English cast is included here. It's done by the actors for the four lead characters and covers the last episode only as they talk about the show, the characters and general bits of humor and camaraderie.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When we first went into Peach Girl all we heard was how overly dramatic it was and that it was, in the words of many, unwatchable. To my surprise, it turned out to be fun simply because it was so overly dramatic but also because these characters put themselves out there with their emotions and feelings. Where so many series spend their entire run wondering if they'll actually admit the words that they feel, this one runs through them almost too much. Both are certainly realistic in their own way but this one stands out more because it's not the norm in anime.

Keeping track of the ups and downs of the series almost requires a scorecard. After the last change-up in which Momo and Toji are back together, everything is starting to move forward once again. Kairi is putting up a brave false front while Misao and Ryo are getting along pretty well. Sae fills something of the Kairi role in that relationship as she continues to push getting back together with Ryo, mostly because she believes their relationship never really ended. Sae has plenty of issues and her lack of connection to reality at times is pretty strong. This becomes even more so when she confronts Ryo in the presence of Misao and proclaims that she's carrying his baby. That certainly sends a few shockwaves around the various couples and changes the dynamic a bit.

Her revelation really changes things in the relationship that Ryo and Misao were really getting underway with. While there is certainly a very good chance that Sae is lying about it, Ryo is just intent on blowing her off or paying her off. His lack of interest in having children or being a father is put out there plainly and it's something that really strikes home not only for Sae but for Misao. While Misao isn't looking to start a family right away, it's obviously something she's interested in and that's taken into consideration in general. At the start however, it's more of Ryo's treatment of Sae during this that shocks her and really removes the blinders she's been wearing about him.

The real focus throughout all of this however is on the core trio of characters and how things will be resolved there. Ever since Toji and Momo got together at Shinamari, Kairi has been trying to pretend nothing happened and that he screwed up and is just moving on. He's putting on a good show at first but as time goes on he's starting to show more cracks in all of it. This ends up confusing Momo more than she expected since it almost feels like he's toying with her. Both of them, and Toji as well, have been operating with such a lack of information for so long that when things do become revealed – from Sae of all people – it's like a huge fog has lifted and the reality of it all can be seen. The problem becomes that no matter what happens, people will be hurt. Misao even goes to tell that directly to Momo but she misses the point that regardless of whether it's Kairi or Toji, Momo will also be hurting as well until some time passes.

When all is said and done, these last episodes do a rather good job of trying up most of the loose ends and setting the characters down their chosen paths. Whether these are good choices or not is all depending on how you've viewed everyone. My opinions of the characters have changed considerably over time, particularly when it comes to Toji. He's been very much the standard fall guy for awhile, especially when Sae had the false goods on Momo, that I expected him to play that role right to the end. Yet when he comes out with a line about how he's the best thing that will ever happen to Momo, it's a strong statement that really took a lot of courage to voice.

In Summary:
Peach Girl is pure emo drama right from the start. While many series dance around the will they or won't they aspect, this one goes right for the gusto and has the characters acting like they're in a game of musical chairs. This leads to a bit of confusion over time and you start to wonder how they can even keep track after awhile. Yet for all the down sides to it the series remained remarkably fun simply because it was so out there at times. Many of the usual high school romance clichs were avoided and it was a touch more adult at times when it comes to the physical material. With it being focused on a love triangle though, some viewers will come away disappointed at the results when Momo finally makes her choice and accepts it. At least for what's been published and animated. I'm quite sure she'd change her mind again given more time… This volume closes things out on a strong if somewhat predictable note and has earned the title some good replay value.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,Voice Actor Commentary

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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