「姫と桃」 (Hime to Momo)
“The Princess and the Peach”
In the first- err, the fourth episode of Peach Boy Riverside, we see how Sally gave up her title as her kingdom’s princess to venture out into the outside world and seek out Mikoto for information on ogres and her glowing eye. But it is also here where Sally begins to see exactly why she should also be wary of Mikoto’s heroics considering his penchant for ogre-slaying.
If this was the first episode, the show would’ve gotten far more positive reception. Right away, we’re given background on what makes Sally a fun protagonist as she happily ducks her security and ends up befriending the one dude who happens to have a ton of background knowledge of the dangers the outside world provides. At the same time, we are given a better glimpse at Mikoto’s duality as Sally sees him as both a friendly, astute traveler and a monstrously vicious hero.
It’s such a missed opportunity because it would’ve been neat to have this information beforehand. As a story, it’s compelling to see how the idealism Sally has for the outside world is slowly diminished as she encounters the racism Frau faces, the onslaught of villainous ogres, and Mikoto’s savage side over time. It would also lend to the skepticism Sally has about her present-day ordeal where she might have wavering convictions about whether she can trust Mikoto when she’s seen a side of him that would easily try to murder her beast friends.
Additionally, we get better insight into Sally as a person with her lofty image of the outside world away from the restrictive nature of her role as the princess in a peaceful nation. While she’s definitely jumping into the outside world with a “grass is always greener” mentality, it took Mikoto’s knowledge as a traveler to give her the push she needed to explore the world by her own accord and push back against efforts to keep her enclosed in her comfortable role as a princess.
It was a pleasant surprise to see that the king was a chill person about Sally’s decision. Usually, you’re dealing with a narcissistic king who gets immediately furious and disowns a member of the royal family themselves if he feels like they aren’t abiding by their standards. That’s why it was refreshing for him to be happy that she’s changed her resolve so much. It feels less like he’s cutting ties entirely and is actually enthused that Sally is cheery enough to get her adventure started and charge forward with an energetic disposition.
It’s a bummer that Peach Boy Riverside didn’t just follow the chronological order because this fourth episode would have been a great place to start. It gives you a nice gist of who Sally and Mikoto are, why they would be interesting characters to follow, and why Sally wants to venture out into the wilderness. While I understand wanting to have Sally’s peach mode shift cap off the end of Episode 01, it lacks the gravitas that would have come from showing the beginning of Sally’s hopeful yet dangerous adventure. Fingers crossed that the rest of the series won’t rely on having to rewatch the show in chronological order to make for a pleasant viewing experience.