Otaku USA Magazine
Peach Girl – The Complete Series

Is your life peaceful and free from needless drama? Do you communicate well with your significant other so there are never misunderstandings on such a grand scale that one or the other of you threatens to hurl yourself out a window? Clearly the makers of Peach Girl feel you are missing out.

High school, a classic love triangle, a copy-cat, evil bitch of a classmate whose sole purpose seems to be making her life as difficult as possible—yep, Momo Adachi has the opposite of tranquility. Plus she somehow manages to look a bit ganguro despite the fact that she’s just tan and bleachy from spending so much time in the pool. She got into this school specifically to friendly-stalk her crush, Kazuya Toujigamori (aka Toji), but when cornered by Sae Kashiwagi, (the demon girl you will shortly come to abhor with your entire being) she claims to be sweet on the first boy she sees instead, to avoid the copy-cat competition. Kairi Okayasu, however, turns out to be a pretty cute and ok fellow, as well.

Thus, drama enough for 25 episodes has its premise. Honestly, the first episode could’ve been a one-off, it ended so happily! Things are never that simple, though, so we’ll have to go through multiple break-ups, beatings, illnesses, side crushes, near sexual abuses, and so many tears to get to the true final decision. What’s it gonna be Momo–Kairi or Toji? Maybe you guys should just talk things over! I don’t know how many times I found myself positively howling at the TV in frustration; I think all romance series probably depend on the fact that people are incapable of being honest and forthright with each other (at least until the season has run its course).

The worst part is how, at least for most of the show, all the chaos is caused by one horrible, awful human being: Sae. Once all the concerned parties are in the know, you feel a little better, but it’s just absolutely amazing the lengths to which she will go in order to take Toji away, and even beyond that, just make Momo miserable. Impersonating her to fake out Toji in low light? Set her up to make it look like she’s cheating? Cut the strap on her swim suit to make sure she has trouble concentrating on the race? All totally by the rules in Sae Land. First you want to slap her, but as the series continues, slapping doesn’t seem like enough. Setting fire to the paper-thin deformed version of her (which mopes around the screen when she’s feeling defeated) might be appropriate.

Although the drama rages relentlessly on like the hurricanes that seem to strike at convenient plot points, I found myself almost guiltily enjoying it, after a while. The art style is different–a little more serious, except when they go all chibi–although not quite as out there as the manga. I sort of wish some of the animation would’ve been more fluid, to complement the slick character designs better, but it never struck me as downright bad. The English dub was even pretty good, with Cherami Leigh doing a particularly convincing job as Sae.

The DVD extras are quality, ranging from the expected titleless openings, to interviews with the Japanese cast, to commentary tracks with the English cast. Actually, I think the English cast commentary was pretty entertaining. For example, the last disk’s is basically a bunch of the voice actors remarking on the characters’ wardrobes and even poking fun at how dramaful the whole show is. It’s also an interesting window into who these people are behind their characters, since they are just sort of chatting podcast-style, and making goofy jokes.

Don’t tell my sister, but I think I might give her this show for Christmas. It’s right up any OC-watching girl’s alley, or maybe that’s just me stereotyping. In any case, if teen drama is what you want, you’ll certainly get it with Peach Girl.

Studio/Company: FUNimation Entertainment
Available: Now
Rating: TVPG

Images © Miwa Ueda/Kodansha, Marvelous Entertainment, “PEACH GIRL” Partnership TV TOKYO