By far the biggest problem of the past season was a lack of ambition. The series were all very solid, but but a lot had the “this could have been much better”-syndrome. If only the creators took more chances and came up with some more imaginative premises, this season would have been amazing, because in terms of execution there certainly was the potential for that. Rinne no Lagrange was one of the most apparent examples of this, where we have a fun, exciting and interesting series about a teenaged girl who has to protect her school from invading aliens inside a mecha with special powers.
Yeah, there probably aren’t a lot of people inclined to pick this up based on just that premise. But really, the exeucution definitely makes it worth watching and the creators definitely tried to bring something appealing to such an overused story. For starters, it smartly turns the invading aliens into more than just a horde of monsters intent to destroy the earth. They’re civilized, they actively try to sympathize with their opponents and some of them also try to oppose causing unnecessary bloodshed. This series also cares a lot about continuity: houses that get destroyed remain destroyed in the next episode and it also subtly shows that there are giant mechas fighting near innocent people who have never been in a war themselves.
Beyond that, this is a series that focuses on the relationship between its three main characters. In the character department, it’s this that really stands out. The characters alone aren’t really special. There are a lot of cliches, they’re a tad too perfect at times and this show has really awkward moments of fanservice, but together they play off each other wonderfully. This also goes for the side characters, by the way. They really manage to flesh each other out. Some very good direction and camera work helps with this, and makes this show quite witty and fun when it wants to.
So yeah, it’ s a shame that the subject material of this show is slightly dull. These creators could really have made an epic series, but in the end, too little just happens for it to warrant that. Instead it chooses to let its story and characters play out, and while that produces a solid series, it really would have been nice a little less cliches, a little less focus on schools, and a little more complex characters.
There will be a second season though, so who knows whether the creators are saving that for then.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – Snappy direction, solid action, great atmosphere. A tad slow-paced, but fun.|
|Characters:||8/10 – Solid, great chemistry, but there are a few too many moe cliches, and the characters could have been more detailed.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – Solid. Nothing special for this season’s standards, but the action is still very solid.|
|Setting:||8/10 – The continuity in this series is very well done. Beyond beyond that though, it does little more.|