Review
Peach Girl Vols. 1 & 2
© Miwa Ueda/KODANSHA · Marvelous Entertainment · "PEACH GIRL" Partnership · TV TOKYO
The best and the worst of Peach Girl are directly tied to its reliance upon and representation of teenage melodrama. If you find the utterance "Sorry, I'm flattered but I don't feel the same away about you..." the least bit banal, then Peach Girl isn't for you. Because a great deal of this anime feels mighty trivial if not downright boorish, what with it centering only on high school relational drama, Peach Girl is a massive headache to watch for anime enthusiasts who desire content with some actual gravitas. While on one hand, viewers of anime that have little interest in hearing the whines and complaints of teary-eyed teens may rightfully avoid this title, viewers curious of the ramifications of toying with the emotional topography of a friend will undoubtedly enjoy the confrontational nature of Peach Girl.

In the tradition of good melodrama, though, the Peach Girl anime does an excellent job of granting the audience prime access to the emotional climate of every character: from the desperate and unassuming Momo to an admirer of hers, the goofy but self-sufficient and confident Kirey. There's nothing the viewer is unaware of when it comes to each character sensibility as it pertains to suspicion, doubt, deceit, indifference, curiosity or insight. Certainly a benefit of the shoujo genre, such detailed exposure allows the audience to perceive each character unfiltered.

A great deal of the proposed allure of Peach Girl, outside of its soap opera structure, lies with its shoujo roots; which means pretty boys, pretty girls, the tender balance between an emotional overload and the accurate expression of one's feelings, and if the author is in the right mood, a healthy influx of super-deformed comedy. Although the melodrama can get a bit heavy and just about all of the male character designs look exactly the same, Peach Girl nevertheless makes an effort to ensure that the over-the-top emotions and oft-exaggerated sexual prowess of the average teenager aren't all that contribute to the curvy, shiny and wide-eyed look of the anime.

For example, one episode exhibits fragments of a more mature culture of youths as the dubious Sae sets up Momo to meet up with a slightly older man. As Momo unknowingly meets with a man who assumes she has great affection for him (an untruth), she goes for a ride in his slick sports car. But as she thinks to herself, Momo can't help but come to the conclusion that as a young woman out late at night with a stranger, she's in an increasingly unfavourable situation. Feeling out of control and to an extent, threatened, Momo consciously conceives the probability of her being raped. The end result is an episode jam-packed with suspense.

Charming in how accurately it follows the ups and downs of teen romances, however inane they may be, Peach Girl attempts to weed out and expose those precious "shades of adulthood," as veteran voice-over artist Saeko Chiba ("Momo") states in a DVD extra interview, that some characters fear to reveal. These "shades" of sorts can be found in characters that would rather capitalize on their individuality rather than feel ostracized by it in addition to circumstances that mimic real-life tragedy.

DVD Features: 16:9 aspect ratio; English and Japanese audio tracks; English subtitles; Region 1.

DVD Extras: Volume 1: Voice actor/ADR director commentary; Saeko Chiba ("Momo") interview; textless opening and ending. Volume 2: Megumi Nasu ("Sae") interview; textless opening and ending.
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