"Peach Girl": Tan, Blonde, and Asian! Just Like I Like 'Em...
Think back to high school, and remember how you ragged on “that girl”. You know the one. She had that look—too tan for your area, bleached blonde hair, a great athletic body… She had to be a slut, right? All the girls hated her, because they feared what she’d do to their boyfriends. All the guys loved her, but damn, one look at her and you’d know why. Essentially, remember how nobody gave her a chance to just be a friend?
Brief little recap of Peach Girl. Comic book becomes animation, animation gets acquired by FUNimation, FUNimation announces the DVD release at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2006 (for which your very own me and Toon Zone broke the about online), FUNimation hands out peaches, at some point a live-action drama is made for Japan, FUNimation releases DVDs, as the resident “guy who continuously pines for girlfriend” reviewer, I get tasked to review it. Given that peaches are somehow synonymous with Georgia (I never eat ‘em), the DVD flies my way.
Momo’s the star of the show, but far from the star of her school. An avid swimmer, she’s got a tan that would make George Hamilton proud. The sun has bleached her hair, and the swimming has made her fit. Effectively, to a westerner she looks like the hottest thing at the school. Apparently, in Japan the guys like ‘em pale and frail, not all “ganguro” or “kogal” (look it up on Wikipedia).
Cultural differences, sure.
So Momo’s only “friend” is Sae, a popular, pale, and frail (I don’t know too much about the frail, but she probably couldn’t take a punch) girl that abuses their relationship to get what she wants. I put “friend” in quotes because the entire time their relationship is on screen, you end up yelling at Momo that Sae is a *****, you need to get rid of that zero, and hook up with a hero.
Najica Blitz TacticsI’m going to assume that this show is like Mean Girls, but I never watched it (despite being one of those guys who is the reason Lindsay Lohan is always rated high on “Hottest Chicks” lists). Hot tan blonde gets picked on by others in school.
Momo’s been crushing on Toji, the “interesting as watching paint dry” baseball guy, all while ignoring the advances of Kairi, the funny, entertaining, playboy of the school. Throughout the disc, Momo manages to go from pining over Toji to being kissed by Kairi to becoming Toji’s girlfriend to saving Kairi’s life to splitting with Toji to…
… was high school ever this insane for you? By my count, so many crazy relationship events happen within one week. I didn’t have a crazy relationship event happen within four years. (Admittedly, I didn’t have any sort of relationship thing.)
So much stuff happens throughout the disc that I just could not watch it all in one sitting. The plot’s far from bad, but it just seems thrown in there with no regard for it being in an episodic animated series. Episodes one through four seem to be a blur, and only by episode five is there a sense of normalcy.
With a series, you have to have some sort of normalcy to make the drama dramatic. If Batman’s unmasked, there has to be a good period where his identity is secret. If a character’s death in Solty Rei is to be important, that character has to be around for a while.
It’s hard to relate to Momo’s tumultuous relationships as there’s not a 22-minute period where it’s normal. The only constant established in the series up to the disc’s end is that Sae’s a ***** and Momo’s a good swimmer.
Yet, I’m interested. It’s a train wreck, and I can’t turn away. Everything good Momo does is turned against her. Everything Sae does against Momo works for her. Kairi’s the good guy off on the sidelines, and Toji gets girls thrown at him.
FUNimation went to town with Volume 1. We get the rerelease of the first volume of the comic book by Tokyopop (The “100% Authentic Manga” version… apparently there was a previous release that wasn’t 100%), commentary on an episode (personal victory, yes!), and an interview with Momo’s Japanese voice actor. Alongside of those extras, it’s all packaged in a box.
… in a purse.
Wow, I may now have the least manliest thing on my DVD shelf. Less manly than the Pirate Shirt Seinfeld box set? Yep. Less manly than the creepy lolicon figure Karl Olson sent me once upon a time? Yes. I am so hiding this box behind the wall scroll. Possibly the only thing less manly that came with a DVD that I own was the panties that came with Peach Girl Vol. 2, and those are hidden away in a box of other, odd, DVD bonuses.
To mini-review volume one of the comic book: The art for the television animation is definitely lifted from the book, which proves how well drawn the book was (or, if you look at it another way, how lazy the animators were), the plot is straight out of the book (with the standard additions that television has to add to get a better running time), and, with the exception of one odd change. (A condom in the comic becomes a hair pin the animation, and no, not during use or anything. It’s not Phallic Transformers). It’s a good read and covers about half of the DVD, but it’s no big loss if you don’t get the Starter Set.
Understand that I am a man. A man’s man. I like to get my testosterone on. I require a weekly dosing of a show that has explosions for people falling, martial arts craziness, giant robots destroying cities, and forces of evil that can only be stopped by hopping on an ATV with side mounted rocket launchers. I’ve woken up drunk. (Well, tipsy. A friend of mine woke up drunk), I work daily with meat. I take two Jr. Bacon Cheesburgers and make the Sr. Bacon Cheeseburger.
Yet, despite that, I’m officially addicted to Peach Girl’s love story.
Episodes included on Peach Girl Volume 1:
Episode 1: “Love Hurricane”
Episode 2: “The Trap Kiss!”
Episode 3: “How Far Will You Go, Super Sae!”
Episode 4: “The Catastrophe”
Episode 5: “The Swim Meet From Hell”
More of Chad Lee’s take on the series can be found in his review of Peach Girl Vol. 2.