Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: Peach Girl (2005)

Peach Girl (2005) is a Japanese romantic teen drama about an average high school girl who everyone thinks is a slut because of her tanned skin and orange-bleached hair. This series has 25 episodes.

Momo Adachi, a former member of the high school swimming team, tans very easily and her hair is bleached out. She has a crush on a boy, Touji, whom she heard only likes non-tanned girls. This causes her to have low self-esteem. Therefore, she spends a lot of time trying to remake herself into the girl she believes he desires. Her best friend, Sae Kashiwagi, also likes Touji and attempts to steer him away from Momo by spreading false rumors in school, complicating matters and making her life miserable.

Meanwhile, there's another boy, Kairi Okayasu, who is in love with Momo. He is a popular and funny playboy who is determined to win over Momo's heart. Feeling sorry for Momo, he helps her get a date with Touji. In the show, Kairi later reveals to Momo that she had saved him from drowning in the high school pool during the summer. He reveals his true feelings by kissing the stunned Momo. Although she is finally dating her crush, she reconsiders her feelings for Kairi, eventually falling in love with him too. As the love triangle intensifies, Momo must juggle between the two boys' affections. Who will she ultimately choose?

I usually dislike writing negative reviews, but since I saw this show, I wanted to forewarn younger audiences who may stumble upon it. While the show is not terrible, the plot is not original either because it centers around Momo's tanned skin and bleached hair (hardly unusual in Western culture, but I digress.). Kairi is the only character who is funny and can see through Sae's facade, so his role alone prevents the show from failure. Momo also wonders back and forth what she should do in specific situations, which can be potentially annoying. Like most teen drama, the anime focuses on teenagers' low self-esteem and lack of trust issues. Nevertheless, The awkward character development and complicated love triangle would make anyone lose their mind.

Peach Girl sometimes feels forced and melodramatic with its happy and sad moments. While the animation is average, the soundtrack is pretty decent, especially the ending theme song by Sonim. I'm still unsure why I've re-watched this show twice, but maybe it is because Momo ultimately chooses the right guy (Kairi). The anime is also addictive because it makes you reflect and feel glad that you survived that part of your tumultuous childhood. I will admit that my adolescent days hit some low points (such as worrying about what others perceived me). The teen drama got higher ratings because viewers always wondered what other disaster could possibly happen to the lead characters. Overall, Peach Girl is primarily for the fans of the popular manga by Miwa Ueda. It is great to watch on a rainy day, but keep your expectations low.

Opening theme: "Baby Low Tension" by meg rock

Ending theme: Asunaro Ginga" by Sonim

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