Posted by psgels on 30 March 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



When it started, Ride Back was a strange beast. With its concept of uniting strange motorbikes with arms with military totalitarianism, I was on one hand charmed by the characters, on the other hand it just kept testing my suspense of disbelief with overly coincidental plot twists that were only introduced for the sake of the story. Nevertheless, now that I’ve finished this series, I don’t feel like whining anymore. Ride Back rocks, despite some of the sacrifices it had to make.

In the end, Ride Back is a character-study of the female lead: Rin Ogata. It’s about many small things: criticism against military entering politics, simple motorbike racing, and terrorism; it’s about how a seemingly innocent action can have disastrous consequences and trying to find one’s true potential. and the beauty of Ride Back is that somehow, it all makes these widely diverse themes into a whole in only 12 episodes. The show very subtly evolves from light college adventures to a dark story about terrorism, but the whole thread of Rin’s development keeps it on one track and it prevents the series from dragging on, and while it may seem like a bit questionable as it goes on, the series comes together wonderfully in the end.

I also really must praise Madhouse’s visuals yet again. They went with another different art style this time, and especially the character-designs look really good and down to earth. There’s a slight issue that the CG doesn’t mesh in with the rest of the visuals, but even that could have been done much, much worse. And the series’ soundtrack also is a very powerful one.

So overall, I ended up liking this series much more than I thought. It’s got a questionable start, and does tend to pull some random coincidences simply for the sake of its story, but Rin’s development is rock-solid, which is especially rare for such a small 12-episode series. It’s no instant classic, but it’s yet again a worthy addition to Madhouse’s excellent repertoire.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

12 Responses

  1. specracer says:

    I loved this show. Ride Back should be a lesson to everyone to be careful of which club in college you join because you might just end up a terrorist.

  2. mds says:

    I think you should have been blogging this instead of Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai….-_-

  3. psgels psgels says:

    mds: yeah, that was an experiment gone wrong. I would have indeed gone for this series if I knew that Munto would only be a recap of nine episodes.

  4. totoum says:

    Fully agree,I havn’t finished it yet (frostii’s subs are up to ep 10) and i’m greatly enjoying it.
    I can see where you’re coming from about the coincidences but I have a lot less trouble suspending my disbelief than you do.
    And really,it’s all about rin,the whole show rests upon her shoulders,I think that what shows this best is that she’s the only character featured on the OP:you don’t see that too often!

    So if you like Rin,you’ll like the show;and that’s my case.

  5. bah says:

    Personally I thought it was a ridiculous series with WAY too much suspension of disbelief required starting with ep. 4 to really enjoy it.

    And btw to counter totoum‘s point, I liked Rin, except when she was plotted into doing extremely incredulous shit (and I don’t mean her mad RB skills). I just don’t see why I should find recklessness cool just because the girl is pretty.

  6. TJ says:

    There were loads of stuff in RideBack that made no sense, but I agree it’s quite an enjoyable series, especially when Rin opens a can of ballet-powered whoop-ass on her foes.

  7. midenz says:

    Rin is so win! i really love this series, i have not finshed because im wathcing frostii’s version but its already just so good and from this i know it will only get better til the end, i just wish this was longer >.

  8. GGear0323 says:

    i too am only up to Frostii’s subs, but i am happy to see that it ends well and i also have no problem with some of the coincidences just as totoum has said.

  9. ka says:

    I heard Ride Back has a 2nd season in process. This time it tells story of Rin’s daughter.

  10. AKI says:

    Is it me or is this series too angsty for its own good? I like Rin but most of her screentime she spends on moping. Not that I blame here, it was a series of misjudgments that dragged her into this. But you gotta praise the show if it decided to kill the most annoying and irrelevant character of the series. (^^,)v

  11. gandalf8 says:

    I still remember quite fondly about episode three of this series, when Rin was racing against her senior in the Ride Back club. It was just so exhilarating to watch, what with Rin just only trying to get used to the Ride Backs, and how she incorporated some of her ballet moves into Ride Back racing.

  12. Fuego-L says:

    RB, reminds me of AirGear so much.
    Slightly more brutal (anime wise not manga)
    It’s a more powerful story, and I feel the story, plot, and characters went very well together. It’s more about what would you do in the current situation you are in on an instant whim to react. So the story feels right to me.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:54 AM)
    I can remember giving higher points to elysium when I saw it first because I really needed/wanted to see an R rated action movie. But apart from Sharlto Copley as the villain it was in hindsight fairly miscast, the ending was quite poor and the script could have been improved on, I liked the robots/action scenes however.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:20 AM)
    I have a feeling that the movie’s gonna suck tho. District 9 was good, Elysium was a mess and Chappie looks like a Short Circuit ripoff with nothing new to add. I have respect for Blomkamp since he started as an animator and probably has respect for the medium and a good eye for aesthetics, by he’s doing progressively more conventional stuff as his career goes on.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
    Ha, so I wasn’t wrong when I came across that film Chappie and thinking that the robot resembled Briareos from appleseed, the director’s a fan of Masume Shirow’s work apparently.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 12:16 AM)
    @Brendan: That completely hinges on your personal taste, but Vagabond is one of the best Chanbara ones around, with superb art, fast pacing and entertaining storyline. Berserk should go without saying as it’s a codifier for many Seinen conventions, but Vinland Saga is another great series which is in similar vein. Biomega and Drifters are also worth a look.

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