Peach Girl: Sae’s Story
裏ピーチガール (Ura Peach Girl)
Shoujo – Comedy, drama, romance
3 Volumes (complete)
Sae is ready to start her wonderful college life. There’s just one issue: she’s actually still in high school! But Sae isn’t going to let being held back a year stop her from going to campus and meeting guys. And now some annoying guy from her past and his dog has moved in next door to her…
As this is a sequel, please expect some spoilers from Peach Girl in this review.
Peach Girl: Sae’s Story is a short journey into Sae’s past and future. Fans will likely want to know more about the characters, but if you haven’t invested your time into Peach Girl, skip this series.
As the name suggests, this is very much Sae’s story. Momo and Kiley appear to try to stop Sae from making too many mistakes, but if it’s one thing they know, you can’t stop Sae. So if you want to read this story to see Momo’s raburabu life with Kiley, you are going to be disappointed. They get one major side story, but the rest of the manga they act as observers and try to offer advice, which Sae mostly ignores. The couple gets along with Sae much better overall, but you can tell they wouldn’t mind a peaceful life with Sae and her antics. She’ll probably annoy them forever, no matter where they try to escape to.
Instead, for better or for worse, Peach Girl: Sae’s Story is Sae at her best (without all the borderline criminal activity from Peach Girl). She’s still great in her role as part-time villain, but she is still far from a role model. Ueda tries to get readers to be more sympathetic toward Sae by showing Sae’s home life and Peach Girl from her perspective, but I think the later volumes of Peach Girl already explained some of Sae’s issues. Plus it’s been a good year and a half since the ending, so it’s about time Sae matured in preparation for her future instead of dwelling on her past. At least one part of Sae’s past really didn’t seem to match up; I was just as shocked as Momo and Kiley. I think the main reason it doesn’t make sense it that there is no remnants of it in her current life with no explanation why.
While this series is technically three volumes long, it’s actually closer to two volumes. Each volume contains a lengthy bonus story (two related, one unrelated to the main plot), so this is a very short series for a protagonist that starts off with a lot of flaws and needs to develop. I’m guessing this series was canceled, but maybe the author just decided to end it early. Even the subplot between Sae and the dog is left unresolved. Unlike a lot of other stories, I really don’t have a clear picture of the protagonist’s life after “the end”. Did she ever get along with her classmates? What will she major in in college? I didn’t have a clear picture of Sae’s life after Peach Girl outside of pestering Momo, but there’s a difference: she wasn’t the protagonist then.
Along those same lines, I must make it clear Peach Girl: Sae’s Story is not a love story. There’s indications (and the law of shoujo) to make it seem like Sae will get her own happily ever after, but the story ends with any potential romance between Sae and Kanji still a ways off. It doesn’t help that although Kanji supports her, Sae spends much of this series chasing after a couple other guys. I believe in this case having a “someday” ending is better than a quick love confession. Even if Sae was willing to admit she’s fallen for someone outside of her ideal, I do think Kanji needs to draw closer to the current Sae. She may still be, in many aspects, the same girl he loved all those years ago, but there’s no doubt she is much more assertive than her past self. He’s a nice guy who gets some shocks during the series, but if the story were to continue, I’d like to see more of “I love this Sae” instead of “I’ll always love Sae”. The latter may seem more romantic, but I think the former is what Sae herself really needs.
As for the art, a lot of the newer characters look like ones from Peach Girl despite having no relation. The main characters have aged a bit despite this series only starting (in their world) a year and a half at the end of Peach Girl. Otherwise, this series’ artwork is a continuation of its predecessor.
This series basically continues the standards of Peach Girl. I delved quite deeply into the adaptation last time, so I’m not going to here. There’s swapped speech bubbles, incorrect romanization, line changes, etc. As for the latter, one example is, “Are you on your period?” to “Why? I know you think I’m cute!” Completely different. I mean, considering the events in this series — let alone the prequel — a period is objectionable? Not to mention it gives Momo a much better reason to blush. Sigh. Anyways, Sawatari is nicknamed “Saru” (monkey), but the joke is never explained. Sae just calls him “Monkey Boy”. The series does use “senpai”, a rarity for Tokyopop, but even more surprising is “gochisosama”. No translation or footnote is provided for either.
If you’ve already invested 18 volumes into Peach Girl, then another three volumes isn’t going to make much difference time-wise or financial-wise. Just don’t read it for either Sae’s or Momo’s romances; come for Sae’s antics.
According to Baka-Updates, Ueda has stated she may continue this series, but I’m marking it as complete since the Japanese volume 3 ends with “end” and not “to be continued” like the first two volumes.
Tokyopop has released all of Peach Girl, but Del Rey’s publication of Papillon has been interrupted and not likely to be continued.
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