Peach Girl

I haven't finished it yet, but I don't think I need to. What a load of garbage. And yet, I watched it all the way through. It's like a train wreck - you just can't pull yourself away. It seems like the anime (and its manga) was created specifically for teenage girls (and it probably was), or at least that's the way FUNimation's American marketing of the series presents the high school drama. And by drama I don't mean in the sense that Gone With the Wind or A Streetcar Named Desire are dramas. I mean hard core high school bullshit dramatic crises. A single episode of Peach Girl contains a whole year's worth of drama packed into 20 minutes. If that's your thing, you will love this show, and you don't have to read any further.

Manipulative female classmates, a wishy washy heorine, multiple love triangles (at least 4), breakups galore, and I swear there's at least one person crying in every single episode (sometimes more than one). And it all centers around lead girl Momo, a swim-tanned, chlorine bleached high school student. Momo has got to be one of the worst heorines I've ever seen. She's not like Tohru (Fruits Basket), with a charming naivete and a bottomless well of kindness. In fact, she's not really naive at all; she's completely aware that her best friend Sae is manipulating her. Yet she keeps falling for Sae's lies hook, line and sinker. Over and over and over again. She's a moron, and that's about all there is to it. She goes on and on about how her first crush Toji is always there for her, looking out for her, and always cheers her up, etc. But that's not Toji at all, that's Kairi. In fact, Toji's kind of a jerk, to be honest. I can't stand the guy; he's almost as bad as Momo herself. Kairi on the otherhand has far more depth and devotion, and he's probably the most interesting character in the show. And poor Kairi; when he starts going through the same exact sort of things Momo has gone through (Kairi's older brother is just as vengeful and manipulative as Sae), Momo won't even believe him (WTF?), even though Kairi has had complete faith in her from day one. One of Momo's biggest flaws is her ability to blow everything out of proportion immediately and her inability to wait for an explanation before she jumps to the worst conclusions imaginable. If she'd bother to talk first (or, ever), run away later, she'd save herself a lot of heartache (and me a lot of frustrated sighs and constant eye rolling). But then I guess it wouldn't be a high school drama romance. Though frankly I could probably do without it.

Sae is the biggest steortype of the "bitch" girl I've ever seen. She's worse than Mika from Absolute Boyfriend, who although is always trying to steal the guys Riiko likes, she isn't out to ruin Riiko's life completely. Sae just wants to tear Momo down any way she can. Are real girls actually like this? I never knew any girl so heartless and manipulative in my life. What's worse is that Momo is completely aware that Sae is constantly trying to destroy her, and yet she falls for her tricks and lets Sae rip her apart. Momo has more faith in Sae's trickery than she does in the guys she supposedly loves. Not only that, but Toji has more faith in Sae than in the girl he's supposedly in love with (Momo). The only way Momo can even get Toji to listen to her is to threaten to kill herself. That's a fantastic message to send to young girls. If your boyfriend won't believe you, just throw yourself out of a window.

The voice acting for the show is surprisingly decent. I have to give the lead girls credit for having to cry (or fake cry) about every five minutes. The theme songs are less impressive. The opening was rerecorded with English lyrics, and it's not good. The woman singing it has this sort of nassaly sound that I really don't like. The ending song was also rerecorded, but I don't know who sings it (it could be the Japanese singer singing it in English for all I know; my usual source doesn't list a separate singer for the end theme). The Japanese version of the ending theme is much prettier. The lyrics for both are pretty typical for the genre.

The animation is alright. If you've seen any Peach Girl images, you'd know right away. It's fairly distinctive. Personally I don't really like the way the lips are defined, but otherwise it looks good. There are some odd design ideas, like when Sae loses all her umpf (when the school finds out about her lies) and turns into this almost chibi-looking, paper cut out, whispy thing. It's just meant to portray her deflated ego, so for a visualization it works. The image above I believe is from the cover of the English box set and shows Kairi, Momo, and Toji (in that order). Don't know if you can see the subtitle of the series up there, but it says "Super Pop Love Hurricane," and that's a pretty accurate description.


Anonymous said...

Do u know the name of the "nasally" woman who sings the English opening theme?

Kris said...

ANN says it's Kim Whalen.