ADV Films // 1997 // 125 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Sandra Dozier (Retired) // July 29th, 2004
Love is in the air...You better run and hide!
Wedding Peach operates on a simple, idealistic axiom: the transforming power of love. All the characters and story lines revolve around the idea that love can change you for the better. It's an almost naïve idea that works nevertheless, and it is a major part of the appeal of this series.
Momoko Hanasaki and her friends Yuri and Hinagiku are Love Angels, earthly agents for the goddess Aphrodite; they protect love from being corrupted by the evil Devils, who want the earth to be overrun by hate and fear. Through the use of magical talismans (a mirror, a lip gloss, and a watch), they transform into wedding dresses, the most potent symbol of love, to fight minions of Lady Raine Devila and her minions. Pluie has been the biggest enemy to date, with his "Jama" demons that he uses to possess and control others. What Pluie and the Devils hate the most is the "love wave" -- any strong expression of love from humans. They want to obtain items called the Saint Something Four so they can enslave the Angels and wipe out love. We don't yet know exactly what the Saint Something Four are, but we do know that Momoko won't let them win.
(It should be noted that the terms "devil" and "angel" are being used somewhat loosely in this series to describe two sides in a war. Characters don't necessarily remain devils all the time, as in the case of Jama-P, a sprite who used to fight for Pluie but who was transformed by Momoko's love wave into a cute ally for the Love Angels.)
At the risk of making a pun, this is a series with heart. Momoko still has an innocent heart, and she truly believes that love will change the world. She is touched by the value others place on sentimental souvenirs from the people they love, and she will fight to the end to ensure that no one takes them away.
I have observed that people typically have one of two reactions to this series: They either hate it immediately and think it is not worthy to fertilize their garden, or they embrace it and allow themselves to indulge the lofty (but never saccharine) ideals of Momoko and her friends. It's a type of escapist entertainment -- a feeling few of us can really say we experience on a day-to-day basis. Although not a controversial series in any way, the series certainly does not feel any need to provide a balanced point of view about love -- as far as Wedding Peach is concerned, all we need is love.
In this set of episodes, the relationship between Yousuke and Momoko starts to really develop. First, Momoko gets two tickets to a pro soccer event and gives one of them to soccer captain Yanagiba, convinced that this will be the beginning of their beautiful friendship, but when Yousuke shows up in his place, she is devastated. Fortunately, a Devil turns up to cause trouble, so she has a distraction. However, when her mother's ring is stolen from her by Aquelda, who has been working with Pluie, she is crushed, and Yousuke comes to her rescue. He buys her another ring and even asks Yanagiba to give it to her, knowing that she'd want to get it from him. But Yanagiba is a genuinely nice guy, so he tells her where the ring really came from, and she goes to thank Yousuke.
Things take an interesting turn when Pluie and Aquelda show up -- Yousuke shields Momoko with his own love wave, shocking everyone. Exhausted from the effort, he passes out, and a very surprised Momoko springs into action to chase the enemies away. Later, Pluie returns for Yousuke, wanting to know more about the strange love wave, and Momoko and the gang have to rescue him from the Devil world.
Wedding Peach is beginning to get into a better groove here -- there are consequences for actions that seemed to go overlooked in some of the earlier episodes, and new developments in Momoko's family life give new meaning to her Love Angel mission. By the end of the last episode on this volume, Momoko is back at square one, but she knows how to proceed and is confident about the future. With all that has gone on in these episodes, I bet we'll be seeing even more changes in future installments.
Visual and sound quality for Wedding Peach is excellent, with clear and bright colors and a crisp soundtrack. English dub for this series is spot-on, with strong performances for all the lead characters, although for some reason Hinagiku's performance is a little uneven sometimes. As far as extras, there is a reversible cover (or a poster cover, since it shows through the clear case from behind) and clean opening and closing credits.
Despite the five episodes in each volume, the value of Wedding Peach is somewhat diminished by the near-constant battle change sequences. Three girls not only change into full wedding regalia, but they also have battle outfits that are more streamlined for hand-to-hand fighting. Animation re-use helps save on cost, but it is used to ridiculous extremes in these episodes. Fortunately, in some of the more recent installments, some effort has been made to shorten this down (usually, after changing to full wedding dress, the girls go to the lighter gear in a shortened and combined sequence), but it's still painfully long.
Definitely avoid Wedding Peach if you can't stand teen romantic anime, complete with angst over whether the cute soccer captain will fall for the lead character or not. If this isn't for you, you'll hate the entire series. But if you like romantic triangles, unrequited love, or anything of that variety, give Wedding Peach a try. You can always say you are getting it for "a friend."
Review content copyright © 2004 Sandra Dozier; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Japanese)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* English (Signs Only)
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Clean Opening Animation
* Clean Closing Animation
* Reversible Cover
* Official U.S. Site