Wedding Peach Vol. #03 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Wedding Peach

Wedding Peach Vol. #03

By Chris Beveridge     May 26, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004


Wedding Peach Vol. #03
© ADV Films


What They Say
Fireworks fly as Pluie steals Momoko's mysterious ruby ring and takes it back to the Devil World. But can the Love Angels get it back? And speaking of fireworks, Yosuke and Momoko are sparking up some of their own as they inch closer and closer to each other. But what happens when he finds out her true identity? And what about that dreamy new soccer star with the red sports car? Can this be love? Not if Lady Raindevilla has anything to do with it! The icy queen unleashes her most vicious attack yet, trying to wipe out everything in her path, including her trusted henchman, Pluie. But does Momoko dare to save him?



The Review!
The first arc of the series concludes as the first major Devil villain brings his attacks to a climax against our lovely angels.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this series in its English dubbed format. The show is getting close to its ten-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.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1995, Wedding Peach's transfer is surprisingly clean and clear looking. Though I hadn't expected something bad looking, 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.

Packaging:
With a clear keepcase, the cover artwork for this volume is done similar to earlier volumes with a large shot of Hinaguchi in her battle dress while we get summery shots of the three girls together along the side of her. Much like the previous volume, there's a lot of green around this cover instead of pink or yellow, but it all works very well with the theme of the show and the character. The back cover provides a filmstrip running from top to bottom with small shots from the show throughout it. The summary gives the basic rundown of the premise and there's a good box listing the discs features and extras on the bonus disc. The bottom of the back cover provides a good summary of the technical features on the disc as well, breaking down the run time for both the main disc and the bonus disc also. There's no insert included here but there is a "reversible" cover where there's an image of the trio of girls going to the beach but in regular clothes set against a really nice backdrop of clouds and blue sky.

Menu:
The menu is very nicely done, laid out just like the back cover with a small filmstrip along one side with green filtered clips from the show playing out to part of the music from the series. The main section of the menu has an image of Hinaguchi obscured in the green filter 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.

Extras:
The only extras included on the disc are a clean opening and ending sequence.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The more I see this show, the more I get into it. It's becoming surprisingly addictive and it's turning into a rare show that I can actually handle in large chunks of six episodes at a time. Heck, this volume drops down to five episodes and I was disappointed by that as I wanted to see more. I would never have guessed I'd enjoy a show like this with its simple nature and generally fun and easy going characters that aren't, well, idiots.

Over the first four episodes on this volume, there are two story arcs that are really taking place and each of them come together at different tangents. The first of them is the continuing growing closeness between Momoko and Yousuke as the two find themselves spending more time together at various events and extracurricular activities. While Momoko keeps making doe eyes at Yanigaba and figuring out ways to get together with him, Yousuke keeps finding himself feeling warmer and warmer towards her. The two of them even end up at a really popular soccer event after Momoko gives one ticket secretly to Yanigaba and intends to be sitting there when he arrives at the stadium. Her plans go awry when Yanigaba gives the ticket to Yousuke so he can see a real pro playing and get some ideas in person. Of course, she's disappointed but the two end up having a really good time until the Devil Aquelda, who I believe we haven't seen since the first volume, decides that the star player of the game has one of the Saint Something Four and messes with everything.

While Momoko is able to deal with everything fairly well, it's one in a series of events that start to open Yousuke's eyes to her double life and he's eventually convinced that she's actually Wedding Peach. Before they get to that though, he ends up being captured by Pluie as he's getting adept at figuring out which of the girls are lovely angels. To torment her and to figure out what kind of energy Yousuke has, he ends up in a torture chamber hidden away outside the city. And like any good girls shoujo story, the lead male is wrapped up and tied down with tentacle plants.

Explain that to a four year old.

Regardless, the arc between Yousuke and Momoko is done pretty well here and has a bit of fun with it since Momoko really realizes what's going on and isn't quite sure how to handle it at first, particularly since she has feelings for Yanigaba. There's also some fun played with how nobody is supposed to realize who the girls are when they transform even though they look the same, just in various new outfits. It's the old "Superman Effect" revived once more and applied here. Overall, I really liked how this arc played out and in particular liked Gray Haddock's portrayal of Yousuke during it for the most part since there was some good halting curiosity emotion going on there when he was trying to figure out of the strange girl was Momoko or not.

The other arc brings Pluie to the forefront once more as he continues hunting down the Saint Something Four and using the various devils he has at his disposal. After Aquelda's failure at the soccer game, he manages to save her from being cast off by Raindevila back in the Devil realm and uses her in his next plan. The pressure is on Pluie pretty heavily on this volume to start producing results since it's been what, fifteen or sixteen episodes now and he's only found one of the Saint Something Four pieces? That little episode starts providing some details about Momoko's family past and looks to have some interesting secrets to it that don't seem to fit the usual mold.

In Summary:
Wedding Peach certainly isn't for everybody and I never thought I'd get into it beyond some minor enjoyment with my daughter. But now I get impatient at having to wait for her to see more episodes and want to start without her. The show is definitely formulaic and if you've seen similar magical girl shows you can see many of the same elements. But that's just the way magical girl shows work, especially when they're coming from manga origins. Thankfully, Wedding Peach continues to avoid some of the things that dragged others like Sailor Moon down for me and continues to be very enjoyable. I can't wait to see more and how the next set of villains mess with everything.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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