Peach Girl

Genre: Drama/Romance
Length: 18 Volumes
Allegiance: Kodansha/Tokyopop
Mangaka: Ueda Miwa
Vintage: 1997-2003
Intelligence Agency Report by: Mana
Adachi Momo’s world gets flipped upside-down when she mistakenly tells Sae (the worst best friend, ever) the identity of the boy she’s had a crush on since junior high, Toji. Not only does Sae move in on him, but Kiley, the most popular guy in school starts making moves on Momo as well! Follow Momo’s life throughout high school, living life as best as she can with troubles most high school students ever dream of — unrequited love, rape, suicide, pyramid schemes, and let’s not forget love triangles.

Research Agent Report by: Mana
Overall 9.00
(not an average)
While Peach Girl may seem little more than a simple teen romance, if you’re looking for a light read, look somewhere else. Peach Girl may start out seemingly fluffy, but it only grows increasingly deep and dark as the series moves on, sucking you into its universe and laughing at you maniacally. I have to admit it, I was a victim from day one, and by the end I was literally waiting for the next volume to come out.

The characters are what really hold the manga together, and are easily the best part of the entire piece. Although at the start they seem near-stereotypical (the nice guy, the popular guy, the bitch), each and every one of them is developed early on and continues to grow until the series’ conclusion. They change their minds, they show emotion. I know it may not seem like much, but it’s done superbly, and it really is a lot compared to so much else of the manga out there.

The art itself is amazing and unique. With no more than a glance you can gather the smallest hints at emotion or change. Speaking of change, the characters actually change their clothes! (I think I’m probably a bit too excited about that, but again, it’s not very common, and shows a lot of creativity on Ueda’s part). Ueda also captures certain situations metaphorically, the best example I can think of being Sae. At a few points in the manga, Sae becomes incredibly depressed and as a result, she turns paper thin and small, almost invisible. When her mood elevates, she pops back up into 3D world again.

I suppose it seems as if I’ve been praising Peach Girl from top to bottom, but I will admit it does have its faults, the main one being the plot. Although the characters themselves liven up any situation, and the smaller episodes are more than intriguing, the basic plot is incredibly simple: a love triangle between a girl and 2 boys, and she must choose between the two. Some of the topics brought up, especially in the beginning, are silly and mundane, although, like the characters, they grow as the story progresses. Also, so much in the manga is rather melodramatic… but then again, this is a shoujo manga, so what do you expect?

Throughout the 3 years I’ve been following Peach Girl, I’ve found it to be more than a success, but a work of art. It takes a (semi) realistic look at high school life in Japan and presents an enjoyably addicting story with wonderful characters. As with most shoujo manga, males may not quite enjoy this one as much as the females, but I strongly recommend it to anyone willing to take the risk. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised.