Peach Girl (ピーチガール Pīchi Gāru?) is a Japanese shōjo manga series by Miwa Ueda. It was published in Japan by Kodansha in Bessatsu Friend from 1998 to 2003 and collected in 18 volumes. The series was adapted as a Taiwanese drama in 2002 and a Japanese animated television series in 2005.
The North American version of the manga is published in two parts by Tokyopop: Peach Girl, covering the first eight volumes of the Japanese release; and Peach Girl: Change of Heart, comprising the final ten books. The animated TV series is distributed by Funimation Entertainment in North America.
Peach Girl is a high school drama centered on Momo Adachi. A former member of the swim team,
Momo tans easily and her hair is bleached out; unfortunately, she is stereotyped by her ignorant classmates, and is forced to endure rumors about being a playgirl. Her only friend is Sae, who is actually responsible for spreading the nasty gossip due to her jealousy of Momo. Momo is in love with Toji, a taciturn baseball player, but the scheming Sae also has her sights set on the boy. Momo's life is further complicated with the introduction of Kairi Okayasu, a wise-cracking playboy who is determined to make her his. He reveals to Momo that she had saved him from drowning the summer before high school started.
Things become even more complicated when Sae, in an attempt to make Momo miserable, spreads rumors about Momo and Kairi making out. The rumor about the kiss between the two is true, but it was Kairi who initiated it while Momo remained stunned by the interaction. When Toji is hospitalized, Sae convinces Toji to break up with Momo. They soon get back together, but Sae later tries to make their relationship complicated again by threatening to discredit Momo with her newly acquired access to the mass media. Though Toji is defiant to begin with, he reluctantly breaks up with Momo in order to protect her. Momo is heartbroken at first, particularly due to not knowing it is part of Sae's schemes. However, she eventually begins dating Kairi, whom she had previously considered annoying, and soon begins to fall in love with him.
When it is revealed to Momo why Toji broke up with her, Momo is left to choose between Toji and Kairi. More problems arise and the love triangle intensifies.
In "Sae's Story", Sae is left back a year, for she always was skipping classes. She is too stubborn so she goes to Momo's and Kairi's university every day. Toji goes to a good university by himself. Sae then meets one of her childhood sweethearts, Kanji (or Monkey Boy), who left for Malaysia when they were young, and promised to marry Sae when he was back. In love with Sae, Kanji follows her around, trying to win Sae back over. He also takes care of Sae's dog, Sora, when her parents would no longer let her keep it. The dog walks with a little limp, as one day when the dog tried to follow Sae, she threw a rock at its paw and injured her. Sae starts modeling and pretends she goes to college with Momo, when she is really still in high school. She meets Honda and works for CC as a model. She meets a guy named Takuma, but he later turns her down. Sae later meets another guy named Shinji, but realizes he never really liked her. All these ups and downs make Sae realize that Momo, Kairi, and Kanji are the only people that actually care for her.
- Momo Adachi (安達 もも Adachi Momo?)
- Voiced by: Saeko Chiba (Japanese), Kate Oxley (English)
- The main character. She has tanned skin and light hair (derived from her constant swimming in chlorinated pools while on the swim team), mistakenly giving others the impression that she is a "beach bunny", lover of the Ganguro style, or sexually promiscuous. On the contrary, Momo is a shy, sweet and insecure girl, though she has a fierce temper. She has loved Toji for many years, although later on she finds herself falling in love with Kairi. When she found out Toji disliked girls with tan skin, she started to avoid swimming pools and wore a lot of sunblock to get her skin to its original color (presumed to be fair). Later on, Momo finds out that Toji never said he disliked girls with tan skin. Her friend from junior high had made that up because she had liked him too. She is often confused later on when she likes both Toji and Kairi at the same time, causing much dispute between both boys. Her given name means 'peach' in Japanese.
- Sae Kashiwagi (柏木 さえ Kashiwagi Sae?)
- Voiced by: Megumi Nasu (Japanese), Cherami Leigh (English)
- The antagonist who does everything to ruin Momo's life. Her fair features (pale skin, dark hair) serve as a contrast for Momo; her "innocent" appearance belies her scheming, manipulative nature. She is the one who spreads malicious gossip about her; something Momo knows, but has trouble dealing with, as people are more apt to believe in Sae than the 'airheaded ganguro girl' to the point that Toji believed Sae over Momo (who was currently his girlfriend). She often uses the gossip to make people dislike Momo, as a result of her own jealousy and insecurity. She spreads rumors that she is dating Toji, and that Momo is trying to steal him from her when it is actually the other way around. She really is mean and doesn't care for Momo and isn't her "real" friend. All she wants is popularity in school, to humiliate Momo, and to get Toji all for herself. She will stop at nothing to complete this task. Later, she dates a male model named Jigoro and in the end exploits him to help break up Toji and Momo, the nastiest scheme she has ever plotted. She begins to repent after she falls in love with Ryo and understands the hurtful feeling that she caused Momo, when Ryo seemingly gets her pregnant (it later turns out to be a medical condition that simulates pregnancy) and subsequently abandons her.
- Kairi Okayasu (岡安 浬 Okayasu Kairi?)
- Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura (Japanese), Orion Pitts (English)
- A popular and carefree classmate of Momo's. Sae goes after him after Momo lies that she likes him to protect her and Toji's relationship, but he is the only boy to see straight through Sae for what she really is. He has the reputation of being a playboy, something he is not exactly proud of. He thought that Momo was the one who once gave him CPR when he had nearly drowned at the beach when they were younger; only to later find out he had been saved by the local male lifeguard. His interest in her is renewed when Sae spreads rumors about them being a couple; he adds to this by claiming he has kissed Momo. When Momo is upset by his rumor, he tries to make the rumor true by kissing her unexpectedly in the beginning of the series.
- After the two start dating, his insecurities about relationships are revealed to stem from his unrequited love for Misao, the school nurse and Kairi's former tutor. However, after he confesses and is shot down by her, he actually feels relieved and confident to pursue his relationship with Momo.
- Kazuya "Toji" Toujigamori (東寺ヶ森 一矢 Tōjigamori Kazuya?, とーじ Tōji)
- Voiced by: Hidenobu Kiuchi (Japanese), Robert McCollum (English)
- A baseball player who has been Momo's crush since junior high school although she never then confessed to him due to a friend saying he "doesn't like girls with tan skin". He overhears Momo confess her love for him to Kairi and then eventually dates Momo but Sae wants him for herself. He has a good heart, but tends to be hard headed and oblivious to what is in front of him, believing what Sae says over what Momo says, much to the frustration of Momo. Sae later blackmails Toji into dating her against that she doesnt publish the pictures of Momo and Jigoro in a hotel bed together. He then breaks up with Momo. After this Momo starts dating Kairi
- Ryo Okayasu (岡安 涼 Okayasu Ryō?)
- Voiced by: Sho Hayami (Japanese), Charles Baker (English)
- Kairi's older brother who works in the video game industry. He serves as a male counterpart to Sae, only he is significantly more dangerous. Ryo is in love with Misao, and dated her briefly, but Misao broke up with him because of his cold and manipulating attitude.
- Sae meets him and quickly falls for him because of their obvious similarities, though Ryo barely takes the relationship seriously and treats Sae bad. When Sae tells him she is pregnant with his child he gives her money. Though Ryo feels touched by Sae when she tells him she wants to make a family with him that will love him. Though after they find out Sae had a false pregnancy they two split however Ryo stills feels touched and seems to be interested in having kids.
- Misao Aki (安芸 操 Aki Misao?)
- Voiced by: Mami Kingetsu (Japanese), Colleen Clinkenbeard (English)
- The school nurse and a big sister figure for Momo. Misao was once Kairi's tutor and crush, and an old flame of Ryo's. She breaks up with Ryo after finding out his "true personality".
- Goro Oji (大路 吾郎 Ōji Gorō?)
- Voiced by: Junichi Suwabe (Japanese), Viktor Walker (English)
- He is called Jigoro (ジゴロー Jigorō?) and is a male model who is smitten with Sae and unaware of her true personality. She uses him in her schemes against Momo.
- Voiced by: Miho Yamada (Japanese), Kira Vincent-Davis (English)
- A young woman who once dated both Okayasu brothers, Morika has a grudge against Ryo and tries to use Kairi against him. Morika hires in thugs to beat up Ryo for using her.
In November 2002, a Taiwanese drama was made based on the manga. The names have been changed: Momo is Xiao Tao, Touji is Dong Si, Kiley is Ah Li, and Sae is Sha Hui. Also, the setting has been changed from high school to college.
Ueda wrote Peach Girl: Sae's Story, a spin off focused on the character of Sae Kashiwagi. The story explains why Sae acts in such a cruel and vicious way. It also focuses on her days of repeating her last year of high school.
- TV Tokyo Peach Girl website (Japanese)
- FUNimation Peach Girl website
- Peach Girl (1571) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia