Posted on 24 November 2012 with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

So yeah, for those who haven’t noticed yet: K and Little Busters are dropped. K was just not interesting enough: it’s beautifully animated and there is nothing inherently wrong with its story, it’s just way too unambitious and it’s not interesting to talk about that. Little Busters meanwhile has the problem that the male characters are much more interesting and better portrayed than the fmeale ones, and yet it focuses on the latter. Both of these shows gave me quite a good excuse to cut back on the shows I’m covering weekly. I noticed that I’m way too busy to catch up with every show lately in order to be able to cover other stuff, and I really want to also be able to cover OVAs like this, or do the occasional manga review, which just wasn’t possible with my current schedule.

Now, as for Rinne no Lagrange’s OVA: if you have watched the first season, but haven’t watched the second season yet: watch this one first. It’s there to fill in some of the gaps, and flesh out the cast before the second season starts. While it didn’t fix the flaws of the series, it did improve on it.

I mean, the characters in this series remain well portrayed, and clocking in at 44 minutes, it was quite charming slice of life. The overall theme of this episode was that everyone is apart now, doing their own thing, yet they miss each other, and that’s quite solid for an OVA to cover, albeit unspectabular. Madoka’s birthday also was a nice touch.

But there was one thing that this OVA did, that the series didn’t cover at all: life on the planets of Lan and Muginami. It always kept bugging me how empty those planets felt because we never saw anything from them except a bunch of spaceships. With this we got to see the people who live there, and what they look like from the inside (including that they’re just as corporately selling out as what happens on earth). I mean, compare this with a series as Birdy the Mighty Decode: right in the fourth episode they already went to the alien planet to show what it was like. That was like, the school example for me on how to do the alien planet subplot right, and Rinne no Lagrange… I kept waiting for it but it only focused on Kamogawa. The setting never felt as big as it could have been.

Posted on 24 September 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Rinne no Lagrange



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.

Suggestions:
RD Sennou Chousashitsu
Mouretsu Pirates
Simoun

Posted on with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

Well, there you have it. It’s a surprisingly fitting ending for this series. A bit silly, but I like how it went against conventions.

In a normal episode, this episode would be all like “you think you have beaten me, but I have yet to reveal my FINAL FORM!”. Instead, things looked scary for a while, but most of the action in this episode was the Rinne settling down. It fits this show well: there was no way in which an action-packed finale was going to work for this show. It’s not an action series at all. Instead it’s about its characters and happens to have some action in it.

Instead this episode ended up glorifying the jersey club, making it the most powerufl entity in the entire universe. Oh, and the two planets colliding… they don’t. It’s plausible, but also one heck of an anti-climax. It’s definitely a very strange ending, but also quite a charming and daring one. The atmosphere definitely worked, and this episode took its time wrapping everything up. Though did we learn why Moid disappeared in the end?

Still, I do feel that the final quarter of Rinne no Lagrange was its weakest, simply because it didn’t really have much to do, so it just drove Dizelmine Berserk. It lead to this nice ending, but I do feel that the creators could have used it better, or if they were going for this ending they should have built it up better. Because my main impression with the second season was that it didn’t seem to know that this was going to be the ending. Still, it was definitely fun to watch.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 23 September 2012 with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

So, last week I complained that things were getting too plain for Rinne no Lagrange. Did they fix that? Well…. the music was better than ever, the graphics also had this very trippy feel about them. The storyboard also was pretty good and in terms of action it was a very solid episode. It was also definitely full of emotion. But what about the actual content and the way in which the storyline progressed?

The structure was basically “overpowered villain beats heroes easily; heroes have a bit of quiet times to reflect on themselves; heroes gather their strength; heroes beat villain”. It’s quite a common pattern, and the first half was fairly dull in this. Especially because Dizelmine was pretty much on berserk-mode so it was just a random ending fight.

In the second half of the episode however, it redeemed itself. That’s when it went back to a climax that really fits this series. Dizelmine unfortunately was too far gone to be saved, but the way in which Madoka, Lan and Muginami nonchalantly had some sandwiches before battle was great, and the supplex in which they ended up beating him fitted perfectly. In the meantime Dizelmine’s subordinates also realized how pointless war was, bringing a believable end to the conflict now that the crazy dictator is gone, and Moid also finished his part and got arrested.

So at least this episode was fun enough, nevertheless in the end, Rinne no Lagrange did not turn out to be as fun as I hoped. And also, I have to wonder: you had such a great character with Madoka’s aunt. Why didn’t you use her more often?! Why did she stand on the sidelines so much? Her few seconds of glory in this episode were great, so it’s a waste of potential that this wasn’t used more often.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 11 September 2012 with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

Well, things got serious here. This was the episode in which all hell breaks loose. There are two episodes left, so this was about time, things look promising, but I still feel like this could have been more.

Overall, things would have been bad if this episode had been delayed till next week, however with two episodes, or fifty minutes, the creators can do some interesting stuff with it because it doesn’t take that long to just stop a world destroying superpower: there will be more. In the meantime this episode was fun and action-packed, so the creators did get that right.

In the meantime we have Dizelmine going totally ballistic. The more I think about it, the more issues I have with that. To list them:
– It was… rather overacted, especially for him. Where did that sudden outburst come from? I’m not really that convinced that he went mental, just because Madoka stopped him. He was able to interact with Vilagulio perfectly fine before.
– The “this guy is evil due to another more evil guy behind the scenes”-twist near the end of the series is a difficult one to pull off. Why? You just poured so much time into showing who he is, and why he does the things he does. And then you suddenly create an even more evil character from out of nowhere, who has had absolutely no development whatsoever. The result is that the creators are going to have to give a new character impact from out of nowhere. It has been done plenty of times before with success, but when the guy is such a stereotypically evil bastard with no other sides things will get a lot trickier.
– Just have Dizelmine kill Vilagulio. That shows that he really is serious and that something snapped with him. If you don’t show him actually dying, you’re just going to obey the golden rule of anime (no character is dead unless confirmed so).

I’m also complaining so much for another reason: a lack of other things to keep me interested. I mean, after how awesome the conclusion for Mouretsu Pirates was, I guess that I got my hopes up too much for Tatsuo Sato’s other series. And the characters indeed are great, but the plot has lost all its creativity ever since Yurikano disappeared. And unfortunately, this is because the creators focused too much on getting that epic world-threatening ending. Please put some creativity in the final episodes because the characters are too good for just a standard climax.
Rating: 4/8 (Nice)

Posted on 5 September 2012 with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

So, I thought that at this point, Rinne no Lagrange would dive straight into its climax like what happened with Mouretsu pirates. Instead we get a calm before the storm episode. While I did not expect this, it’s a very good calm before the storm nonetheless.

It’s basically an episode that looks to the future: the three aliens who pretty much haven’t had anything to do in the second season are finally all going their own ways, with two of them returning back to their home planet. Even though their characters at this point are pointless from a plot perspective, it’s still nice to see what’s going to happen with them.

Beyond that this episode also addressed Madoka’s refusal to change. It’s interesting, as she hasn’t really changed over the series, even though everyone around her has, and with that she’s about to be left behind when the series closes off. I liked how both Lan and Muginami decided to return back to their home planets when everything is over.

Overall though, I do have to say that out of the three big mecha-series that debuted in the past Winter-Season, Rinne no Lagrange probably will end up with the least impact, unless something amazing happens in these final few episodes. The best ended up without a doubt Mouretsu Pirates with how it completely changed as it lead up to its finale, and Aquarion Evol also for me holds a candle above this one due to its plot twist. Of course, the characters of Rinne no Lagrange are much better written than Aquarion Evol, and possibly even Mouretsu Pirates, but there is one thing that I am still missing in this series: something that makes them stand out and memorable. I guess that that’s the frustrating part: this show has the wonderful ingredients. The characters are really well fleshed out at this point. They just don’t come together as well as the other series. Unless Tatsuo Sato has something in store for us for the ending, of course.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 27 August 2012 with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

This show is building up to something. This episode however, decided to ignore that for some good old-fashioned character-building. It wasn’t even a calm before the storm, but rather an episodic story that was meant to push the characters a bit further before the climax starts.

So yeah, the student council wants to take away the club room for the jersey club. To avoid that Madoka needs to find an extra member. They find one, but at the end of the episode that member already quit and the clubroom issues stopped being a problem. The new character is also completely insignificant to the story, so the real point of this episode was everything in between.

Aside from fleshing out, what I think was the most important here was the meaning of the Jersey club to Madoka and Youko (who by the way has a way too small part in this second season): how the club was formed, and how they look at it today. It’s a neat piece of character development for both of them.

As for the main storyline, the only thing that was revealed was that that one guy who has been suspicious for the entire series has something to do with it and has been alive for 20000 years now. I’m still not seeing how it’s going to relate back to the themes of the rest of this series though, but this episode was not bothered by that. And in the meantime, the new girl was annoying but had her charms when she revealed her intentions, and it was fun to see Madoka fly off.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 21 August 2012 with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

This show is building up to something. It’s being very mysterious on what it exactly is, though. We’re given plenty of hints, like with the tragedies of the Rinne that happened, and that something really bad is about to arrive, but beyond that? I mean, this episode also pretty much resolved the tensions between Vilagulio and Dizelmine. This was surprising and all, but I do have a concern.

Here is the thing: so far, this series has been all about reaching out to others. It has mecha, but it has made clear plenty of times before that conflicts should be avoided. And really, in this episode they did that with Dizelmine: something bad is going to happen in a thousand years, however he completely changed his attitude and now has ended up joining forces with Vilagulio and his people to find a solution. Sure, it took the love of a young girl to get there, but it kindof works.

However, where on earth are these themes in the part of the story that is still remaining? What is there to talk about two planets colliding? What is there to talk about random flowers that appear from out of nowhere that have the power to destroy planets? The only thing I can think of right now is that Yurikano is going to go berserk or something, but that’s nowhere near as interesting as what the past arc has been. Plus it’s rather cheesy, even if the show built up to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see what kind of solution the creators found for it, but they did kindof write themselves into a corner with this. The challenge now is to leap out of it without getting dirty.
Rating: 4.5/8 (Good)

Posted on 13 August 2012 with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

Okay, I did not expect that.

Last week when Yurikano took over Madoka’s body, I thought that this would be the start of this epic story to resolve the war, with Yurikano in a central position. And here this episode comes and already removes Yurikano again from the main plot. And the way in which they did it surprised me even more.

Basically… this episode used coincidences: first Madoka randomly switches on the communicator while she’s talking to herself about Yurikano and afterwards just as when Lan’s brother is about to talk to Madoka about Yurikano, the Rinne switches them back again. They were a necessary evil: it led to nice character development and the chemistry that resulted from it was awesome. After all that build-up, this episode resolved everything surprisingly quickly. It’s a bit of an anti-climax, but so much stuff happened in this episode, and it was quite creative in the process.

And really, the creators can use this in their advantage. The only flaw of this episode was the coincidences, but I like it when a series does something against expectations. This brings the center of the story back to Dizelmine and Vilagulio. But how will they fill the remainder of the series with that? I mean, this episode was rushed for a reason. The question now is what kind of reason that was.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 8 August 2012 with categories: Rinne no Lagrange

This episode really showed the strength of Tatsuo Sato’s series. I mean, this is supposed to be a mecha-series, but the Vox of this series only appeared at the end of this episode, taking off. Instead this episode was one giant build-up to the final moments of the series. It really had my attention from start to finish here and every time at which the episode seemed to dull in, they threw in something new to regain that attention. And that in an episode with so little action in a series that’s supposed to be mecha action.

Last episode I noted how annoying Yurikano was. Okay, I understand now: that sharp contrast between who she really is made her such a more interesting character because of this. Then there was that point two episodes ago, at which I whined that Lan’s brother needed more attention. And yet again this episode comes and delivers on that. This episode fleshed him out: he didn’t really change, but he finally showed his colors as a ruler ruler who knows that what he’s doing is bad, yet continues to charismatically lie his way through the episode and threatens to kill off an entire race for the sake of his own people. His character still is typical, but this episode made him so much more relatable than what he was before.

What also surprised me was that this episode pretty much answered all of the major questions in this series. From this point onward, there are many routes that this series can take, but here is the thing: this is an anime original series, so the creators have been preparing for that from the start of the series. Also, this is by Tatsuo Sato, who really was on fire this year. With Mouretsu Pirates, the final quarter just kept getting better and better, and I really hope that he can influence this to be the same here. The thing is: that at this point Rinne no Lagrange has a really good and relatable cast. The build up has been done really well, but actually using the build-up takes a lot of skill. The people working on this have the potential to make it work, though.

Also, I noticed that the soundtrack has gotten a bit more varied: it uses a lot of different instruments together. A nice touch.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

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