Mecha series today are a bit rarer than what they were in the past, but they definitely still keep getting made. 2012 gave us shows as Eureka Seven Ao, Aquarion Evol and the entirely original Rinne no Lagrange. In the first season we already got to see its rather interesting sense of plot progression, and with this we finally finished its long-awaited conclusion.
Now, let me start by saying that Rinne no Lagrange is very unconventional as a mecha series. It’s usually a series of action and lots of fight and over the top plot twist. Instead the mecha fights only take up a small portion of this series. The first season spent much of that extra time building up and creating characters, whereas the second season is more about developing a plot about two warring planets and the mindsets of the leaders. At the same time it still tries to keep true to its themes of reaching out to others, rather than fighting and the slice of life. It’s a daring combination indeed, and unfortunately it does have a few hiccups, but also interesting results.
The most interesting of the results is that it has quite a good cast of characters. It really devotes time to explore the relationships between the different members of the cast, and this definitely pays off in the second season, whether this is the bond between the three female characters, or between the kinds of the two worlds. Again this uses the theme of reaching out and talking to each other above fighting quite well. It also leads so a number of very enjoyable and whimsical scenes.
The hiccups result from trying to be too epic at the same time as trying to be personal. On one hand it tries to create this huge setting involving three planets, on the other it tries to revolve everything around five characters. It doesn’t combine too well, and especially in the final arc of the story it doesn’t really seem like it really knows how to deliver an action packed climax so it just pulls a berserk button on one of the villains, removing any personal aspect of his character.
At its best though, it is kindof refreshing to see this series deal so lightly with politics that are usually entirely serious, and it still manages to take itself seriously despite of it (compared to series that turn politics into a joke for the sake of moe…). It still didn’t quite exactly strike the right balance, but it’s an interesting attempt nevertheless. However, I do have to say that I expected more of this series. It’s all a bit too careful, especially considering the ingredients it had as a fully original story, not based on anything. Take Madoka’s aunt for example: a wonderful character, who mostly just stands on the sidelines doing nothing. There were points at which it should have taken a few more risks. It’s a tad too mundane to really make an impact, and it definitely had the potential for it.
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Gives a different spin to the mecha genre by combining politics with slice of life, but failed to tweak the balance.|
|Characters:||8.5/10 – Great and enjoyable cast with a good resolution, though had the potential to be more.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – There are a few moments of eye candy, but apart from that the animation is pretty average. Soundtrack is as good as ever.|
|Setting:||8/10 – Could have been great, but is a bit stuck in a limbo between this show’s wishes to be both epic and down to earth.|