Manga Review: Peach Girl Volume One

Peach Girl Volume 1 is a manga with the story and art by Miwa Ueda. Tokyopop had the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States, and this manga volume was released in 2004. Unfortunately, since Tokyopop has gone out of business, this series is currently unlicensed in North America. This English adaptation is presented as an “unflipped” release. Peach Girl is rated “T 13+,” and is intended for readers thirteen years of age and older.

Peach Girl Volume 1
Written by: Miwa Ueda
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: October 12, 2004

The main character of Peach Girl is a girl named Momo; she’s on the swim team and tans easily. Unfortunately for her, in the town where she lives, pale skin is the in fashion. On top of that, many people at her high school think she’s a “beach bunny” and a slut due to her tanned skin. Momo has low self esteem, which isn’t helped by the antics of Sae, her backstabbing best friend. Momo has had a crush on a boy named Toji since junior high, and has heard rumors that he only likes girls with pale skin. However, she doesn’t want Sae to know that she likes Toji, since Sae either copies Momo or takes away things that Momo wants. To throw her off, Momo claims to like a popular boy named Kiley Okayasu. Kiley ends up pursuing Momo, and this creates a complicated “love triangle” that involves Momo, Sae, Toji, and Kiley.

By the time I finished this manga, I really wasn’t satisfied with the storytelling. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I’m not in the target market for Peach Girl, because I really couldn’t relate to the characters and situations. Also, I found myself not feeling very invested in any of the characters, not even Momo (who’s supposed to be the protagonist). In my opinion, these characters feel rather shallow and one-dimensional.

Also, I really didn’t like the character designs in Peach Girl; I thought many of the characters looked “plastic,” and didn’t show much expression. Also, I thought the male characters (Toji and Kiley) were simply “pretty boys” who I personally didn’t find all that attractive; again, this could be due to the fact that I’m not the target market for Peach Girl. Also, in the manga itself, Momo is portrayed as being a “good girl,” yet in some of the artwork (such as the front cover and the additional art that’s not part of the actual story), Momo is drawn in poses and outfits that don’t entirely fit with the “good girl” image being portrayed in the manga. In that respect, I feel this helps to send a mixed message to the target age group for the manga.

In the long run, there was nothing about Peach Girl that made me want to find copies of the future volumes and read them.

I wrote this review after checking out a copy of this manga volume through the King County Library System.

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