“In a magical world where humans, demihumans, and oni are heavily at odds with each other, a princess named Saltorine “Sally” Aldike is on a journey to find a person named Mikoto Kibitsu. Traversing the world, Sally comes across many truths that she had been ignorant of due to her lineage—including the knowledge that the oni possess power potent enough to wipe out humanity.
Seemingly blessed with a way to counter the oni’s might, Sally has a strange power that manifests itself as a sigil resembling a peach, giving her superhuman abilities capable of defeating powerful oni with ease. Even so, Sally refuses to discriminate between humans, demihumans, and oni as much as possible, believing that peace between the three factions could be attainable one day.
On the contrary, Mikoto—who also has the same ability as Sally’s but with greater mastery—has a different goal. Mikoto is out to kill and torment all oni in existence, stopping at nothing to fulfill this objective. As Sally and Mikoto continue to cross paths, the power they possess will spell the difference between amicable coexistence and utter annihilation.” – MAL Synopsis
Based on the trailer, based on the premise, and based on what I presumed was the “first” episode (the quotes will make sense later). This show had some promise in my eyes. Not to be something groundbreakingly deep or innovative, but some good fun with cool characters, powers, and action. While there is certainly a little of that here, the overall show lacks in certain areas and is in my eyes weighed down immensely by a very, and I mean very, utterly baffling decision.
Let’s get the cat out of the bag immediately. So I went into this show as blind as I could. That’s how I usually am these days. So when I watched the “first” episode something struck me as weird. It felt like this wasn’t the first episode that I had started watching in the middle of something already established. But it all still made sense and the first two episodes flowed into each other, but there was another red flag. The narrator kept referencing a folk tale within the story and talking about it like it was explained before. It had not been. So then I click on episode 3. Episode 3 has literally no connection to the first two episodes. The characters that we just met in the first two episodes are in a completely different setting, the conflict in episode 2 was just skipped over like it just never happened. It was jarring like I was watching the show out of order.
A quick google search confirmed my suspicion, but it wasn’t my fault. Among other changes made from the source material. It was decided for reasons to air the show out of chronological order. I’ve never seen anything like this. I had to decipher an episode list guide just to watch this show in the order it’s supposed to be watched in. If this anime was good it wouldn’t have bothered me as much but it definitely wasn’t worth the hassle. I couldn’t imagine the frustration and confusion of the people who watched this show weekly as it aired. At least I had the benefit of skipping around freely. This was just the ultimate icing on the cake of problems I had with this anime already.
On to the actual plot of the anime. I have my fair share of gripes. The world is poorly explained. At first, it gives the impression that there are 2-3 species in this universe but then we find out randomly there’s a host of others. The pacing of some of these episodes is just all over the place. On top of that, the main characters are completely reactive until the second to last episode. Reactive plus bad pacing equals a lot of moments and downtime with me going “okay what’re we doing here? What’s next? This is so boring? Why am I forcing myself to watch this?”
There are these themes of being nurtured to hate and being hateful by nature. The main character Sally is the peaceful type but it bugs me because the plot and characters are reactive, she has no plan at all on how to actually achieve that goal. She goes around facing every situation with that mindset until the second to last episode where they finally set their sites on something. All the towns they visit look the same and while a fair amount of time passes between each town they visit. The same characters show up in every town and they meet the same way and similar conflicts arise. It’s not exactly the same but it’s similar enough to make it feel like I’m watching the same episodes reuse the same plot beats for 11 episodes straight. It gets boring.
I’ve made it known I hate overly sexual fan service. I always have and I always will. The character designs are very favorable to the chest area of every female character. Then there’s this semi-on-going gag about Sally being traumatized by an octopus and it always shows her in a revealing state getting entangled by one. I just rolled my eyes every time.
Sally was okay. The idealistic type but without any plan of action. There is some hypocrisy in her beliefs and how she goes around portraying them. In one episode in particular a companion calls her out on her open, and also innate, hostility towards ogres and not humans. That whole plotline gets wrapped up in a nice little bow in one episode so, hurray I guess. She’s really not all that interesting and I could go on for days about characters with high and mighty ideas that come from privileged places but I don’t think it’s worth my time here.
Mikoto is easily the most interesting character and funny enough when reading up on the changes one of them was that Mikoto was the main character in the LN and I really wish he was here too. I was way more interested in his motives, backstory, and journey than pretty much any other character here. Speaking of which, the final episode of this season (like the action chronological final episode and not the last aired episode.) was a dedicated flashback about his master, why he is the way he is, and also the full story about the infamous “Peach Boy.” And you know what? That episode was head and shoulders above every single other episode this season and it’s not even close. I wish I could’ve watched more of that, instead of this group of characters doing nothing until something happens.
There’s a lot of other characters in this show actually and most of them were okay enough. Frau is part of the main group and has a really interesting mystery around her and what she really is. There was a mini plotline that dealt with a vampire ogre and he was great. Then there’s my other favorite character which is the evil mastermind pulling the strings for whatever reason he has, Sumeragi. He was great when on-screen, he stole the show. It’s very unfortunate when bad shows have characters that just shine brighter than anybody else. I’d almost, keyword almost, watch a season 2 of this show just for Sumeragia and Mikoto. I doubt this gets a second season though and if it does I can guarantee future me is going to steer clear.
The animation left a lot to be desired. It looks good and has its fluid moments but the vast majority of the action is still shots. I’ll give the show points for its gore though. The soundtrack was amazing, I wrote down in my notes that it somewhat reminded me of Nier Automata, which is very high praise. Finally, the voice acting was stellar across the board. Definitely the highest point of the show. Every character was voiced great.
So yeah Peach Boy Riverside isn’t all bad. It definitely has its moments here and there and it has some good characters and character moments. They’re just too few and far between for them to outweigh everything else that’s bogging this anime down and I say without even factoring in baffling decision to air the show the way it was aired. Simply put it’s not good. Give me a show about the original Peach Boy with some good animation and I’d be down for that, but this? Not worth the watch at all.
Peach Boy Riverside – 3/10
Notes – Shoutout to Feed post for selecting me as part of the Top 100 Anime Blogs. It’s appreciated. The next review is a spooky one. Not in time for Halloween but the views are still here.