Peach Boy Riverside

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    Review:

    Peach Boy Riverside is a fantasy/action series that was released in the summer 2021 season. One of the more controversial aspects of this series is the order in which the episodes were broadcast. Unlike most shows, Peach Boy Riverside was not released in chronological order. Instead, the director opted to release in a non-linear format. Now changing the order is not necessarily a bad thing as it can work in mystery/episodic type series however in the case of Peach Boy Riverside I felt it was a bad move as the Anime depended more in telling its story in a linear fashion.

    If you do decide to watch Peach Boy in its original broadcast order, please beware there will be scenes that end midway only to concluded two or three episodes later after the initial scene took place. This type of disruption will heavily stifle the narrative of the story which is particularly troubling considering how much this Anime depends on its plot being told in order. This series does not lend itself to scene jumps. I genuinely felt confused why the decision was made to air this show out of order. As such for the purposes of this review I have will be viewing this series in its chronological order and NOT broadcast order.

    Chronological order of episodes

    Episode 4 > Episode 1 > Episode 2 > Episode 7 > Episode 11 > Episode 12 > Episode 5 >Episode 6 > Episode 3 > Episode 8 > Episode 10 > Episode 9

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    The story of Peach Boy Riverside takes place in a fantasy world where humans, demi-humans and ogres live a largely hostile existence against one another. What makes Peach Boy Riverside unique to other shows is unlike most series, none of the races are depicted as good. All have races show significant flaws and while there are certainly different degrees of evil between them, all races have their emotional hang-ups and baggage that gives you cause to dislike them.

    Indeed, one of the prevailing themes in Peach Boy Riverside is the issue of discrimination and blind hatred that each race exhibits. It leaves you wondering what is the best solution in resolving the ongoing crisis that afflicts the land. And on that note, this is where our main protagonists and antagonist enter the scene. One of the main protagonists Saltorine Aldike or “Sally” has view that the races should live in harmony while our other hero, Mikoto Kibitsu pursues other more bloodthirsty avenues. The antagonist also has their own visions but this is left more ambiguous.

    This striking contrast in attitudes, between the two main protagonists no less, plays a big part in driving the narrative direction of the show. What Peach Boy Riverside does well is making the audience doubt what is the best course of action as quite often we are presented with scenes that challenge our viewpoint making us sway closer to either the “Sally” or “Mikoto” solution depending on what we just saw. This swaying of opinion not only adds nuance to the overall story; it also gives us a greater understanding behind the reasoning each character has when facing their individual dilemmas.

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    This conflict between compromise and bloodshed is also extended to the sub-cast as we also get to see our view of the world through a demi-human called Frau and an ogre named Meki/Carrot. Both characters live in a limbo type situation that leaves them in a vulnerable position whereby all races are largely hostile and shun them. It is this open/non-rational hostility that adds to the dark backdrop that permeates the whole world. It certainly makes you seriously doubt if there is a way for this ongoing bloodshed to end.

    The challenging environment also acts a catalyst for character development particularly for Carrot who has to dealing with shifting viewpoints and loyalties. This shift in loyalty is not even limited to our main or sub-cast however; there is more than one instance when the ogres are shown to waver in their convictions. This changing and differing viewpoint not only demonstrates the complexity of the world and racial relationships; it also shows that each character has their own goals that may not always be right but are at least understandable. And that is the thing with this series; no one character really gets things right and often their actions or motives can be questioned at various points. I can understand this can annoy some viewers but - in my opinion - I found it made the characters more balanced and realistic.

    Beyond the story and characters this show does deliver some good action scenes that are gripping but also pretty bloody. It is not too gory but if you have younger children then it may not be suitable viewing for them. What I did like was the close facial shots that did a good job in showcasing the level of angst the characters were experiencing at that particular moment. I should also add that there are numerous ecchi/fanservice moments that do appear with significant frequency. It is not too glaring, at least when it comes to Anime but is something one should be aware of.

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    Animation for Peach Boy Riverside is fairly strong throughout and the best is left for the various fights which naturally elevates the enjoyment of those scenes. The music used during those scenes also added to the mood effectively making the viewer more engaged in those moments of action. The opening theme and ending theme were unfortunately not as strong in my opinion. The opening song for Peach Boy Riverside is "Dark spiral journey" by Q-MHz feat. Yuuko Suzuhana while the end song is "Yoru wo Koeru Ashioto" by Mitei no Hanashi.

    Overall, I seriously recommend you watch Peach Boy Riverside in chronological order and NOT broadcast order. I tried to watching the first four episodes as they aired and even then, I could tell the narrative direction was being badly stifled. Because of this I decided to place this show on the backburner and only watch it once the entire series was out so I could view it in the “correct” order. If you wish to watch this series I would do the same as I did as your enjoyment and appreciation of the story will be that much better. In fact, if you do watch it chronologically I would go so far as to say Peach Boy Riverside is one of the surprise hits of the summer season. If you enjoy action with a good dose of fanservice then Peach Boy is a series I would seriously recommend. If you are not a fan of action series, I still think you could get decent mileage out of this due to the overall story. If you do decide to watch this in its original broadcast order, I would knock two points off the overall score.

    Story 8 – The racial tensions and open animosity between the races highlights the flaws they all carry. It is a unique and welcome change to more conventional stories that often depict the humans as the good guys or overlooks the problems they create. This worldbuilding is also supported by good battle scenes and a pretty liberal dose of fanservice thus appealing to a wide range of viewers.

    Characters 7 – The open conflict in the main characters and antagonists’ viewpoints is not only well developed but acts as a main catalyst in driving the overall narrative. Whilst their viewpoints are often flawed, they are not without merit. Moreover, the scenes we witness makes us shift our opinion from one direction to the other. Meanwhile the challenges presented in our cast finding their own path often act as a catalyst in character growth.

    Animation/music 8 – Strong throughout the show and whilst there are dips here and there it is not significant. The best is saved for the more action orientated scenes and close pan facial shots/expressions which was always a treat to watch. The soundtrack used in the fight scenes also does a good job in generating the appropriate mood. The same cannot be said for the opening and ending tracks however which were distinctly average.

    Overall 8 – If you are a fan of action orientated series then this is a show I could comfortably recommend with the clear caveat this should be watched in chronological order. People who are not fans of action series may still enjoy this for its worldbuilding and characters elements however if you decide to watch in its original broadcast order then this series becomes a much harder sell…

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    Check out the great animation for Peach Boy Riverside Anime in the gallery pictures under the spoilers below:
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