By Leroy Douresseaux
Aug 21, 2006 - 13:51
PEACH GIRL: SAE’S STORY is the sequel to the manga series, Peach Girl. Sae Kashiwagi didn’t graduate from high school with her friends, Kiley, and the heavily tanned Momo. While the Kiley and the bronze Momo are freshmen attending university together, Sae is held back to repeat her senior year – not because her grades were bad (they weren’t), nor because she failed her exams (she didn’t), but she’s been held back because she missed too many classes.
Of course, Sae is very embarrassed and highly upset that she’s been held back, but she’s also exceedingly proud – so much so that she finds it impossible to be in a class with strange students. Sae decides that she’s going to hang out at the university with her friends anyway – the people she would be with if she hadn’t been unjustly failed, but there are still more complications.
A childhood friend upon whom Sae had an intense crush returns. Known as “Monkey Boy,” Sae once promised to marry Kanji Sawatari before he moved away when they were children. Now Monkey Boy is back, still in love with Sae, and expecting her to keep her promise of marriage. Sae, however, had forgotten about Kanji and no longer has anything near those feelings for him. She’s fallen hard for Takuma Motomura, a 19-year old pretty boy model. In fact, while chasing Takuma, Sae has also started modeling again, which was something she did as a child and quit. Kanji, however, won’t stop loving Sae, but she has a dark secret in store for him – one she hopes will make him forget her.
One doesn’t have to read more than a chapter of Peach Girl: Sae’s Story, Vol. 1 to realize that this could be a nighttime teen soap or young adult drama on The WB (or The CW). The catfights, the rivalries, the backstabbing, the so-pretty-they-look-like-girls boys, the high school drama, the breakups, and the man stealing: it’s like Dynasty on florescent steroids. If you go for that sort of thing, Peach Girl: Sae’s Story is a page-turning, potboiling hoot. Some readers may find Sae a bit hard to like; she’s the penultimate self-centered child. Still, her mega-bad girl act is quite engaging.
Miwa Ueda tells her visual narrative with some of the prettiest and best-drawn girl comics to hit American shores. She cartoons the human figure without a glitch in the anatomy. I wonder if people appreciate what good draftsman many manga-ka are, and I have to admire how well Miwa can just simply put it down on the page. Anyone looking for high-quality shojo that aims a bit older than ‘tweens and early teens will find it in Peach Girl: Sae’s Story.
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