Review
Peach Girl Vols. 1 & 2
© Miwa Ueda/KODANSHA · Marvelous Entertainment · "PEACH GIRL" Partnership · TV TOKYO
Aaron H. Bynum · June 18, 2007 | If there is one longstanding truism relevant to high school cultures worldwide, it's that reputation is everything. It doesn't matter who you are and it doesn't matter what you know; what matters is what others think they know about you. Ultimately pushing and pulling ignorant youths through an unorganized microcosm of social norms, the high school experience remains the key growth period in one's life where personal relationships are as emotionally demanding as they will ever be.

For Momo Adachi, life in high school is no different: image is everything, personal romances only go as far as the next class period, impatience is a virtue and gossip reigns as the primary source of news and information. Peach Girl is about the melodrama of a high school girl, nothing more. "Why does my fate always take me to people who are drowning?" Momo often ponders. A Japanese animated television series that follows the highest of highs and the lowest of lows that echo through the hallways and stairwells of a contemporary high school, Peach Girl at its best is only moderately appealing and seems capable of only satisfying viewers with a penchant for soap operas.

Peach Girl Vols. 1 & 2
Directed by Hiroshi Ishiodori
Animation production by Studio Comet, 2007
Distributed by Funimation Entertainment, 2007
Originally broadcast in Japan in 2005
125 minutes (Volume 1), 100 minutes (Volume 2)

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Not alone in her quest for strong friendships and true love, Momo is a shy but ultimately impulsive girl. Her hair bleached from pool chlorine and skin tanned from the sun of long summers, Momo has an appearance akin to that of the kogal subculture; but rest assured, she is at best reluctantly social, only becoming fervently candid with those she trusts. Momo pines for the handsome, however na´ve and clueless Kazuya "Toji" Tojikamori, all the while attempting to avoid the self-centered gossip-machine that is her pseudo-best friend Sae Kashiwagi. Peach Girl, in between math class, the lunch hour and the walk home after school, weaves complex boyfriend-girlfriend, not-so-boyfriend-girlfriend and not-so-girlfriend-boyfriend relationships for the sake of stressing out our main character Momo, whose academic awareness at this point reaches only as far as her adoration for childhood friend Toji.

Athletic and attractive, Momo could be popular if she tried, but feels far less confident about herself and her significance as an individual than she does about teen romance. It is this imagined ideal that supplies the anime with as much potential for slapstick comedy as it does drama. Unfortunately for Momo, two steps behind her every move is the feisty egoist Sae whose envy forces her to talk, talk, talk and gossip, gossip, gossip to destroy the social and personal lives of her best friend. Conniving and manipulative, Sae's character believably engages the audience through her narrow-minded but often successful attempts to take away or destroy anything of emotional value to poor Momo.
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