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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Peach Girl, Vol. 4
Peach Girl, Vol. 4
FUNimation // Unrated // July 10, 2007
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jamie S. Rich | posted August 13, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE MOVIE:

This review contains spoilers, as it's the fourth in a series. If you're new to Peach Girl, then perhaps try the earlier reviews as a start: vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3

The latest disc of Peach Girl: Super Pop Love Hurricane finally hits the lull I feared it might have been heading for on the previous installment. For a series I have been enjoying immensely, Peach Girl - Volume 4 is a bit of a letdown.

The first and most obvious dip comes in the quality of the animation. The drawing for these four episodes (14-17 in the overall arc) is noticeably less accomplished, lacking the smooth design of earlier entries. The characters aren't necessarily off-model so much as they are below model. The result is a handful of episodes that look rushed, dotted with moments of excellent work (the underwater scenes in episode 16, as well as a lot of the character close-ups) that call attention to the fact that what surrounds these flashes of goodness are sub par. Also, the superdeformed sequences and the great clothes that were such hallmarks of the first three DVDs are conspicuous in their absence.

Story-wise, the Peach Girl plot is being stretched too far. Much of this disc is superfluous and redundant, and perhaps the series would have been better served jumping ahead and cutting out the subplots here. The status quo at the start of Vol. 4 is that hunky Toji is still dating evil Sae in order to keep her from releasing compromising pictures of Momo (our heroine), whereas Momo, distraught from Toji's rejection, is dating the class clown, Kairi, who has harbored a crush on her all along.

That's all fine and dandy, but the sudden introduction of Kairi's older brother, Rio, does little to add new spice to the scripts. Rio ends up being little more than Sae with a penis. The fact that his lies are so easily believed pushes the characters farther over the dunderhead line than our suspension of disbelief can stand. Likewise, Rio's teaming up with Sae dies on the launchpad. Instead of creating a dastardly duo, Rio gives Sae a taste of her own medicine. Maybe if they had been running a scheme together when Sae is betrayed, there would have been a more effective thrill to seeing the bad girl taken down. Instead, the con he pulls on her--tricking her into almost starring in a porno--plays like a couple of plot points we've already seen in earlier volumes. Been there, done that.

Thankfully, these four shows aren't all bad. Where the series continues to grow is in the characterization of Momo. Kairi's issues with his older brother bring up long-buried feelings, including a secret romance that still has a hold on the younger boy's heart. Rather than passively letting these things damage her, Momo takes charge and for once really pushes what she wants rather than just letting the guy make the decisions. This, coupled with the reappearance of Toji, means we could be in for the kind of hyperactive, overly emotional blowout we've been hoping for. That will be the burden of volumes 5 and 6, however, and so Peach Girl - Volume 4 comes off as an anime series in a holding pattern we have to wait out in order to bring this baby in for a landing.

THE DVD

Video/Sound:
Despite the shift in story and animation quality, Peach Girl - Volume 4 is as high in technical quality as the first three DVDs, with a flawless full frame pictures.

The audio mixes--a 2.0 English audio and 2.0 of the original Japanese soundtrack--are also well-done, and you can go with either depending on your preference. Cast-wise, I find this series to be one of the better as far as the English vocals are concerned.

Extras:
The same trio of bonus features as we have come to expect: Funimation trailers, the opening and closing credit sequences without the text, and an interview with one of the Japanese voice actors. This time, it's a ten-minute on-camera talk with the man who voices Kairi.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Peach Girl - vol. 4 continues with the same overwrought teen drama that was such a trashy good time on the previous 13 episodes, but stretches it so thin, both the viewer and the production team suffer. The animation lacks the crispness of the beginning volumes, and the story is starting to feel redundant. Still, the story points that are getting stacked up for the finale look to be building toward a good conclusion, and the continued growth of Momo, the series' main character, is still of sufficient quality for this to be Recommended. A strong showing in the last two volumes will be enough to warrant Peach Girl as must-see anime, so fingers crossed that the crew pulls it off.

Jamie S. Rich is a novelist and comic book writer. He is best known for his collaborations with Joelle Jones, including the hardboiled crime comic book You Have Killed Me, the challenging romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and the 2007 prose novel Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, for which Jones did the cover. All three were published by Oni Press. His most recent projects include the futuristic romance A Boy and a Girl with Natalie Nourigat; Archer Coe and the Thousand Natural Shocks, a loopy crime tale drawn by Dan Christensen; and the horror miniseries Madame Frankenstein, a collaboration with Megan Levens. Follow Rich's blog at Confessions123.com.

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