Manga Adaptation by Asahi Production
Streaming on Crunchyroll
What if Momotaro but on the sidelines (or, “Riverside“) there were additional peaches and those peaches became horny ogre hunters?
Peter’s verdict: Simultaneously endearing, trash, horny, hyperviolent and a mess
Episode 1 of Peach Boy Riverside (nothing to do with Peach Girl, sadly) doesn’t really give a good sense of where the series is going. We open with Sally, a human, meeting Frau, a harefolk demihuman or, as I like to call her, a good bun. Good bun is hungry and Sally gives the only thing you can give hungry good buns: a carrot. Now good bun is indebted to Sally and will follow her to the death.
Sally and bun go to a village and we get the old clumsy racism parallel of leaving the village cos “no demihumans allowed”, sneaking back in in disguise, and then find out more about why they’re racist with the “demihumans are savage and stupid by birth” line. Then our demihuman (bun) protects the village and villagers go “it’s so savage it killed the monster that would have killed everyone on its own!” then are surprised when a demihuman (bun) actually says “thank you”.
We’re also introduced to the supposed overarching plot of Sally looking for some guy called Mikoto who saved the village from monsters a while ago. Literally nothing else is explained about this guy, just that Sally is looking for him.
So, Sally and bun leave the village and get arrested because…it’s honestly not clear. At the very least there’s some demihuman racism, but also bun is super powerful even for a demihuman, so they’re put in jail for a bit…just cos? Then they’re let out, some more ogres show up and trash the city, and then Sally finds her inner power of Momotaro and she gets off on ripping limbs from an ogre.
Now, our good bun is adorable and precious and must be protected, but is also strong. Sally, however, is weirdly sexed up. From the very start, she’s wearing the tightest clothes, her boobs are bouncing at the lightest breeze, etc. In a scene in a market, just out of nowhere there’s an imagined scene of tentacles wrapping around her naked self simply because she saw an octopus being sold. It’s literally out of nowhere, as if to say “this show will be more lewd later, honest”. Just so it’s clear, I’m not writing off ecchi anime at all, but this show seems to just be generally clumsy with the whole thing.
“Generally clumsy” seems like an apt summary for many elements of this show. The racism plot, the taken to jail plot, the lewdness, the ogres showing up, Sally’s Momotaro powers, the searching for Mikoto plot, etc. It almost feels like the author just threw darts at a board and went with whatever it hit, then the anime crammed everything into a single episode. There could be arguments made that the point of an episode 1 is to give you a sample of everything that’s coming up in the show, but if you’ve ever been around Costco and had one of everything being sampled, you will just come away feeling a bit sick.
One interesting thing worth mentioning is that this show is being aired in two different orders. The main broadcast and simulcast version is not in chronological order to help with the flow of the story. However, a streaming service in Japan is airing the show in chronological order (they aired episode 3 at the same time as everywhere else aired episode 1). Certainly the origin story of Sally being a Riverside Momotaro equivalent seems to be what that episode 3 is, with episode 2 being the direct follow-up to episode 1.
Finally, at the grand reveal of Sally’s horny Momotaro powers there’s a voiceover that starts to explain the story of Momotaro and then goes “well, you know the rest”. If you don’t know the original Momotaro story, it’s worth looking up as I feel like this show’s just going to assume you’ll get all references to it, although translations vary on using “demons”, “devils”, or “ogres” (like Crunchyroll’s subtitles use with this show).
Did I mention that the bun is good?