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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Peach Girl: Sae's Story Vol. 2 by Ueda Miwa 
3rd-Dec-2007 01:05 am
Ueda, Miwa. Peach Girl: Sae's Story. Vol. 2. Trans. Ray Yoshimoto and Jodi Bryson. Los Angeles: TOKYOPOP, 2006.
          Summary: Originally titled Ura Peach Girl. Kanji proves to be insufferably indecisive, and Sae decides, under much duress, that Ai can have him after all. But Saru's still left waiting in the wings--make that nearly run over by a car--because Sae has found someone new...someone way cooler. Also includes a bonus story about a class trip to Kyoto.
          Comments: The finely-tuned narrative control and artistic subtlety required to valorize the epic villain of a previous story is not something just anyone can achieve, but Ueda Miwa does it admirably. Sae's scheming, manipulative impulses, her sadistic sense of humor when it comes to her friends, and her sympathetic, vulnerable characteristics all are perfectly balanced. But what's most interesting about her--and what makes her oh-so-different from your stereotypical shoujo manga heroine--is that all of her cynical behaviors in this story are, at their roots, motivated by romantic idealism. Sae believes she can lie, cheat, and steal her way into her own personal Happily Ever After, and don't we, in our heart of hearts, admire such a notion, however wrong-headed? After all, it sure beats sitting forlornly in the ashes waiting patiently for one's prince to come. Sae takes the bull by the horns, and we can't help but hope and pray that she won't get gored.
          Notes: paperback, 1st American edition; first published in Japan by Kodansha in 2005
          Rating: 6.5/10 - Even better than Vol. 1. A must-read for US manga fans, even those of the male persuasion.
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