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.