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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  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:46 PM)
    @Bam: yeah, that sounds good. I will watch it and tell you how I think (hope my taste is not that weird ^^)
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:45 PM)
    @Bam: for some weird reasons I prefer Inherent Vice as it as, if the film was better or the plot was tigher I would think Anderson as a more calculated director. This version of Injerent Vice is wild and more crazy that actually make me think more fondly of him.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:27 PM)
    @SuperMario: Neighbouring Sounds was great. Judging from what I gathered of your taste, my money’s on you digging it as well.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:23 PM)
    @SuperMario: as I said I really liked the tone and the atmosphere and the atmosphere in Inherent Vice, but the overarcing plot is thin and True Dtectige season 2’s level of self-importance. A lot of scenes serve as mere venues for the great actors just cheering the secondary. A.tighter script and a little less directorial indulgence would’ve made it a lot better. Punch-Drunk Love is one such great example.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 12:16 PM)
    @Kaiser: the Master is brilliant, and I liked Boogie Nights, but others have much more love for it than me.
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:59 AM)
    Btw, in preparation for Cannes, I plan to watch Kleber Mendonça Filho’s previous work Neighbouring Sound. Have any of you watched the movie yet?
  • SuperMario
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:31 AM)
    I think P.T Anderson is one of the rare director who doesn’t go wrong with his works. There will be blood and the master as his masterpiece but I do really enjoy the tone of Inherent Vice and Punch drunk love actually keepps getting better for me
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:19 AM)
    There was a found footage horror film with a hunter s Thompson inspired character, had a lovecraftian element to, Banshee chapter, utter hokum/nonsense but in an interesting vein.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:14 AM)
    Paul Thomas Anderson must be one heck of an director of actors though, given he actually managed to make good use of Adam Sandler…
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, May 3. 2016 11:10 AM)
    On Wes Anderson I loved how whimsical Moonrise kingdom was and Darjeeling limited had a genuine heart to it.
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