Wedding Peach Vol. #08 - 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: 29.98
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Wedding Peach

Wedding Peach Vol. #08

By Chris Beveridge     January 30, 2005
Release Date: December 28, 2004


Wedding Peach Vol. #08
© ADV Films


What They Say
Love is in the air and the romance is beginning to heat up! Even Jama-p is getting into the act as he meets up with an old childhood friend. And hey, who's that kissing in that boat??? It kind of looks like Yuri and Yanagiba! Well, they better hurry up because he's about to get sucked into Queen Raindevila's vortex of destruction forever! And speaking of Raindevila, the evil queen has invoked her most powerful devil yet—he’s mean, he's strong, he's... Yosuke???? Can the Love Angels survive? And what about poor Momoko? Will their love persevere, or will evil conquer in the end?

The Review!
As the series races closer to its conclusion, we're treated to a number of revelations on this volume, declarations of love and the gelling of many relationships. In short, the series really hits its stride here.

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 Wedding Peach series continues to get some of the best looking covers coming out of ADV lately. With Limone having a bigger role in these episodes it's appropriate that he finally gets a full on head shot here while the girls in their battle outfits, sans Salvia, are lined alongside him but with enough focus given to Lily. The colors are just so rich and vibrant here that it's very eye-catching all around. 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. The bottom of the back cover provides a good summary of the technical features on the disc as well. There's no insert included here but there is a "reversible" cover where there's a good looking tall image where all four of the girls are together in their battle uniforms and ringed around a large headshot of Limone looking the other way.

Menu:
The menu is very nicely done, laid out just like the back cover with a small filmstrip along one side with cherry red 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 Potamos obscured in the red 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)
With the last arc of episodes coming into view as this volume and the next one bring it all to a conclusion for the TV series run, it hits that stage where things have to be up front and changes are evident in nearly every episode. With the stakes getting higher, everything seems to be running on overdrive and we get a great number of revelations, declarations and subtle changes as well.

Frankly, this set of episodes is probably one of my favorite of the entire run so far since they let the characters express themselves up front and honestly. Over the course of these episodes, two particular devils get involved. At first, it's Pretora who as the new principal of the school starts in with some amazing goofy rules about how boys and girls cannot fraternize at all with each other either during or after school. The punishment that gets meted out is severe, such as when our three girls as well as Yanagiba, Yousuke and Takuro get together to try and figure out how to convince him it's a bad idea. Two-thousand laps later… Of course, they don't know Pretora is really a devil but a sighting of one of his minions leads Lily to suspect and she leads a search into what's really going on with Daisy but the pair end up in more trouble than they expect from the summoned demon.

The battle ends up involving Limone and it ends up going rather poorly but the clincher is that things went so badly that Limone reverted to his normal form of Yanagiba, which is a huge revelation to the girls. His secret becomes known to them and with Lily confessing her love to Limone and the two being as close as they have been, it begins to transfer over to her relationship with Yanagiba. What's really interesting is that over the course of the other episodes here as they deal with the other demon that's causing them trouble, the other two girls firm up their own relationships. It's not surprising that Hinagiku realizes that even though she and Takuro were just childhood friends, he is a really good guy and he knows about what's going on and isn't freaked out about it but instead tries to help. Though a bit forced in some ways, it's a neat pairing that slowly takes hold in a really good way here.

The best though is the continued growth in the relationship between Momoko and Yousuke. The two have really clicked and though she's still making up stuff to cover for dealing with her Wedding Peach side, it becomes enough of a problem in addition to what Yousuke sees that she has to reveal to him the entire truth. This is actually a really key moment since through Raindevila's latest demon, we've been able to find out that Yousuke's actually a descendant of a lost demon tribe but his demon DNA hasn't awakened yet. That becomes the new cause of the demons as who he is is actually a really powerful member of the tribe from the past that could help change the tide of battle. This is a great struggle for Yousuke to deal with as well as for Momoko to work through with him since they do end up fighting at times. But it's really the times when they're just acting regular and getting all lovey-dovey that really works in this volume.

One of the best episodes here is the last one though where Momoko's mother comes back and reveals herself to Momoko so she can explain certain things that are going on. Turning out that she's actually the younger sister of Aphrodite and named Celeste, we see how she came to be on Earth all those years ago and about her memory loss, finding and falling in love with Momoko's father and becoming a mother. The pain of being called back to the Angel World as there was a war on and wanting to shield her family from it becomes a key point that's expanded later on as well. What was really nice was that Celeste says she doesn't want to involve her husband in this or see him now that she's back for the moment but he's been listening the whole time and just takes her into his arms. Instead of it being a big secret with anguish, they instead go to show just how much in love these two still are and go through with the three of them having a day together before returning to their respective places.

We get so much information in this volume, from Raindevila's first coming to the Angel World and finding herself rejected to the feelings between the various character relationships that are becoming solidified. The angel and devil worlds are given more time and we see what's driving the war on both sides much clearer now as well as those who serve. There are so many emotional highs in these episodes that it's almost like a rollercoaster ride at times and it makes me fear for the finale.

In Summary:
I've said it before but I can't really bring myself to say it anymore. I once considered this show a guilty pleasure since it wasn't something that I should be enjoying and wasn't something I wanted to admit to enjoying. But as we race through the episodes that lead up to the concluding volume, the show has proven itself to be so well written and plotted out so well that it avoids so many foolish traps that it's a really engaging piece. While it continues to play up many of the traditions of the shojo-sentai formula here, it does so perfectly and with a lot of heart. I would never have guessed my reaction to it being this based on what I read of it years ago or the way it's always been ridiculed. Those who are along for the whole ride will find this volume an immense treat and a great set of episodes that shine. Very recommended.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,clean opening and closing animation

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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