As much fun as the first half is, the second half of Wedding Peach is stronger and more plot oriented while still having plenty of good times and romance. In wedding dresses. And wedding armor.
What They Say
The Love Angels play cupid as they try to hook their friends Akiko and Tajima up on a double date with Momoko and Yosuke! But the fire devil Igneous has other plans and unleashes a devil-wolf on our unsuspecting heroes. And as if fighting the devils wasn't hard enough, Momoko's got some new competition for Yosuke's love from the new transfer student... and boy is she jealous!
Will she finally admit her true feelings? And who's that dressing up as Wedding Peach? Have the Love Angels' secret identities finally been discovered?
Wedding Peach gets a pair of solid language tracks for its release and unlike the first time, we decided to do this run watching the Japanese language track. Each language track is given a standard stereo mix encoded at 224kbps so there isn’t a whole lot of surprises to be found here. The show is getting close to its fifteen year anniversary, so it's not surprising that the track here is a pretty basic but good sounding stereo mix. There doesn't feel to be a huge amount of directionality across the forward soundstage but there are a few good moments during some of the combat sequences. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout the show and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing back in 1995, this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The series in this collection is released on five discs in a 6/6/6/6/4 format that works out pretty well. Wedding Peach's transfer is surprisingly clean and clear looking. Considering its age and the general poor quality of other shows of this genre from this time, I was expecting something closer to Sailor Moon since the two have been tied together whenever one is talked about for so long. The transfer here is quite smooth and full of lots of great colors. Even better, aliasing is minimal and I'm hard pressed to find much cross coloration here. This really looks quite good across all six episodes on the dual layered disc, much better than I expected it to be.
The second half of the series is presented in this collection with five discs that span the twenty-eight episodes. The keepcase used is the thicker type with the hinges inside so it has a small bit of heft to it and doesn’t feel like a cheap release. The front cover is nicely done with a bright and appealing shot of the main trio of girls in their Angel Fighter outsides with hazy skies and trees behind them and a light pink framing to tie it all together. The back cover uses the same colors for the background as it provides for a good rundown of what’s included. The summary gives you the basics and there are several small shots from the show done in heart-shaped frames. They push the episode and disc count nicely and they also mention related credits by the creators which is quite nice. The remainder is given over to the usual production credits and a clean technical grid.
The menu is very nicely done, laid out just like the back cover with a small filmstrip along one side with various filtered color clips from the show playing out to part of the music from the series. The main section of the menu has an image of a particular character obscured in the filter for that volume as well with clouds passing over her. Each episode can be jumped right to it from the main menu and the usual layout of languages and extras sit off somewhat awkwardly to the side. Access times are nice and fast and the layout looks great overall.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After powering through the first half of the series in the previous collection, I wanted to take some time off from the second set so as to make sure I’d give it some breathing room. Taking in a series of this length so quickly, you could easily end up finding yourself not enjoying it because it just goes on and on in some ways. Thankfully, the second half of this series and the OVAs included with it are just as good as the first half and in a lot of ways much better. The plot is stronger, the characters are more developed and the relationships change. If there’s one thing I didn’t care for it was the inclusion of a new Love Angel. It doesn’t smack of desperation but does feel a bit tacke don at times.
Wedding Peach is still essentially running with its core idea of dealing with the incursion of Devils in the Human World as sent by Queen Raindevila. Her motivations are much clearer this time around as we learn her origin story where she had found her way from the Devil World to the Angel World and discovered the first fleeting feelings of love when she saw a male angel there. Through confusion, misunderstanding and general lack of awareness, she’s rebuffed by the situation and things affect her in a deep seated way, rooting her to a problem that evolves over time. With these feelings of hatred in her heart now, she sets about on a long protracted war with the Angel World that is now reaching its final phases, mostly through the actions in the Human World.
When it comes to the Human World, it’s a bit of a mixed bag with how events play out and in a way it’s my main disappointment. The series has always had a rotating cast of villains to deal with the Love Angels, but it takes a bit of a dive after the first couple here. Igneous isn’t around all that much here as he falls sway to the Love Wave early with this set because of his regular interactions with Takuro who is having a very positive effect on him, much to his surprise. He’s followed up by Potamos, who really does drive me nuts at times because of her interactions. She’s slightly nuts in general but she plays dual roles here by being both an obvious Devil as well as taking on a human disguise as Hiromi and going to school with everyone. She takes on a big crush aspect when it comes to Yousuke – calling him the detestable “Yo” – and she provides the needed foil for Momoko as nobody else was really vying for Yousuke. Hiromi is able to give her the jealousy factor so she’ll realize her own feelings. It’s a nice touch and it works well, but Potamos is a bit too spastic for my tastes, especially in comparison to the more serious Devils we’ve had for the most part.
It’s after that point that Wedding Peach becomes unmemorable with its Devil villains. One plays up a Chinese martial artist homage/parody of sorts and then there are a few others that are mixed into it as well as they come to deal with the changing situation. Thankfully, it’s the changing situation that is the most intriguing here. Revelations about Yousuke’s past are highlighted during this half of the series and his role in the show morphs from being the kidnapped/victim to one more on the offense, but not without its issues since he doesn’t seem to remember it at first. I’ve always like Yousuke because he’s a nice guy, doesn’t tease too hard and actually has interests that are real and aren’t exaggerated. He wasn’t the saving grace that Limone is, always coming in at the right moment, and he simply felt more real and honest. So expanding his origins works really well and it provides exactly the right thing for tying the key moments of the end of the series together.
And relationships really are key to this series. What’s pleasant is that unlike a show like Sailor Moon, most everyone gets involved in something in some way. Outside of Scarlet who is like the red headed stepchild of the show, the core trio all end up in relationships to varying degrees and varying intensities. Yousuke and Momoko make up a good chunk of it, but equally appealing and much more tragic and epic is the relationship between Yuri and Limone. Theirs goes back a long way and it provides a bigger backdrop for the war as well which was really appealing. Takuro and Hinagiku never really get too far here but they have a good childhood friends relationship that’s begging for more but neither has the courage to do it. The one that didn’t get much time that I liked though was that of Momoko’s mother who makes a return for awhile and we get to see a true deep romance that stands the test of time. Scarlet gets Jama-P. It’s poetic and for the best.
Wedding Peach is a series I never thought I’d like but ended up loving a lot. It takes the magical girl routine in a direction that you think is going to be even more clichéd and awful and instead makes it warm and engaging while avoiding a lot of the pitfalls of the genre. These characters do grow and change over the course of the series, they face hardships and work well together and they do it in a way that doesn’t feel all that forced. It does play with wedding dresses and it’s certainly girly and relationship driven, but it’s charming, fun and a lot of fun. With a plot that makes sense overall, builds up to a good conclusion and doesn’t save the best material for the last episode or two, Wedding Peach has plenty of replay value. And they even give us a nice four episode OVA epilogue of sorts with some mild additional adventures.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.