Peach Boy Riverside was a fairly unnoticed action anime that debuted this Summer season. Despite it arguably floating under the radar, it had a lot to offer in terms of action set-pieces, unique powers, and fluid animation. Regardless of whether or not it placed in the top 10 of Summer anime, it has provided a solid 12 episodes of entertainment. Let's take a look back on what Peach Boy Riverside did right, and what it lacked to push it past the realms of mediocrity.
For those unaware, Peach Boy Riverside takes its inspiration and themes from the original Japanese folk tale of Momotaro. In said story, a peach is found floating along a river by an old couple. The peach opens up to reveal a small child who is subsequently named Momotaro. After being raised by the old couple, Momotaro leaves and eventually defeats a powerful "oni" or demon. The tale is widespread over Japan and taught from childhood.
Peach Boy Riverside's plot looks to shake up this well-known story by introducing giant walrus people. Yeah, you can see where the cracks start to show when explained too thoroughly but, all in all, the plot progressively improves. The story of Peach Boy Riverside leans on the notion that, after Momotaro was taken from the river, nobody was there to check if a second peach came floating down the river. This second peach in the Peach Boy Riverside Universe is our protagonist, Sally. Once a princess with no hope of exploring the outside, Sally finds herself burdened by her curiosity. Unfortunately, her wish to escape will soon be granted after her family is attacked by a group of oni. Luckily, she is saved by a famed demon slayer known as Kibutsu Mikoto. She now strives to track down this mystery man.
The action in Peach Boy Riverside isn't going to win any awards but it's serviceable. Sally's use of the Peach Eye whenever she dips into her unconscious is an interesting concept but one that we have seen before in other characters (even as recently Demon Slayer's Zenitsu). Still, her fight with the Ogre of the North was an interesting one and a great way to introduce her power that only kicks up when protecting her friends (in this case, Frau).
The fights themselves mix well the exhilarating action and expository dialogue but, for those who aren't fans of gore, some of these fight scenes may rub you the wrong way. From Frau punching a hole in someone's chest in the latter half of the season to the decapitation of a large chicken monster, these fights can get pretty bloody, all things considered.
Piggybacking on the previously made arguments, it seems Peach Boy Riverside struggles sometimes to decide what kind of show it wants to be. Of course, anime don't have to pigeonhole themselves into one specific genre, but to have opposing themes be this incongruent is a little jarring. At times, Peach Boy Riverside wants to be a Konosuba. It wants to introduce us to this mystical world of bunny people and eyeball demons who shrink into children after firing laser beams and have us laugh at the hilarity. However, it then expects us to instantly switch to serious mode when an ogre fires a laser beam into a city, murdering every man, woman, and child in the vicinity.
Shocking events like this work when done correctly and a show like Re:Zero has managed to find the balance quite expertly. However, Peach Boy Riverside's narrative transitions still have some work to do. Arguably, this first season was entirely set up for the seasons ahead. A lot of interesting characters are introduced, especially the villains, including Jucerino and Todoroki, that we've yet to see anything particularly interesting done with. Hopefully, as Peach Boy Riverside settles into its narrative further, it learns to succinctly balance its theming.
Peach Boy Riverside is an action anime that will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout but will likely be forgotten as number 432 on your "Watched Anime List". It isn't a bad show but it does very little to break any boundaries. As we've seen recently, it is becoming harder and harder for these action anime to make a name for themselves without being compared to the likes of powerhouses like Demon Slayer. If Demon Slayer is the new bar, then it's going to take a lot more effort than this to remain memorable. Hopefully, Peach Boy Riverside season 2 gives us more of a look into what it has to offer! What did you think of Peach Boy Riverside? Let us