If, like some of our own critics, you found yourself confused by the events in the first episode of Peach Boy Riverside, it’s not your fault. The anime series is airing out of chronological order—that is not the order the events happen in Coolkyoushinja and Johanne‘s original manga. According to an interview with director Shigeru Ueda published by Animate Times on June 20, the decision was made for multiple reasons, but primarily to avoid developing anime original content.
“It’s difficult to explain, but the main reason is [the Peach Boy Riverside manga] is still running. When I discussed writing the series with [Keiichirō] Ōchi before production, we discussed how to end the story. At that point, the manga was in between volume six and volume seven, so the end of the adventure hadn’t been created yet. If we animated the series based on the manga as is, it would end in the middle of the story,” Ueda said.
The director explained that the first and second chapters shift in both perspective and theme, switching from Mikoto to Sally’s point of view. Ueda stated that while this works in a novel or comic form, for an anime it’s easier to follow a story when there is a single main character. Since Peach Boy Riverside is slated to run for only 12 episodes, scriptwriter Ōchi grappled with how to make Sally the main character. However, casting Sally as the primary lead wasn’t a popular idea.
“I think the majority of the staff beside myself intended to make Mikoto the main character when the anime was first announced,” Ueda said. The director felt the real start to the story was when Sally and Frau met, and so he decided to show Mikoto and Sally meeting in a flashback.
“I always wanted to shuffle the timeline, starting when I was first asked to work on the series. However, it’s tricky and [the decision] is hard to explain to viewers,” Ueda said. He shared his idea to reorganize events with a representative at Kodansha who thought the suggestion was interesting. Even though it was always Ueda’s intent to shuffle the story, he added that he would have approached the timeline chronologically if asked by the original creators.
The staff also floated the idea of an original ending, but Ueda wasn’t interested.
“I’ve felt this way since I was a fan of anime and manga as a kid. I want to see the anime depict what was drawn in the manga!” He added that when the Peach Boy Riverside story is rearranged, there’s a natural ending point. “[Rearranging it] was the only idea I could come up with. The original creators were flexible and said, ‘You can do whatever you want. You can develop an original story,’ but I didn’t want to do it,” Ueda said.
As for developing the series, Ōchi’s scripts were written in chronological order while production and voice recording were done in broadcast order. Some of the voice cast were confused during the recording sessions but Ueda assured them that he had a plan.
However, viewers in Japan who would prefer to watch the series in chronological order do have an option. The streaming service d Anime Store is airing the show in both broadcast order and chronological order. Ueda gave some context for how the rearranged episodes will air. The first broadcast episode corresponds to episode two in chronological order, while broadcast episode four is episode one in chronological order. However, Ueda assured viewers that the shuffled version shouldn’t affect their ability to understand the show, stating that some staff found the rearranged version easier to understand.
The anime premiered on Thursday on the Tokyo MX channel, and is also running on the BS NTV channel and streaming on d Anime Store and other services. Crunchyroll is streaming the anime as it airs in Japan.