Japan, 1955: Mario Minakami has just arrived at Shounan Special Reform School along with six other teenagers who have been arrested on serious criminal charges. All assigned to the same cell, they meet older inmate Rokurouta Sakuragi—a former boxer—with whom they establish a close bond. Under his guidance, and with the promise that they will meet again on the outside after serving their sentences, the delinquents begin to view their hopeless situation in a better light.
Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin follows the seven cellmates as they struggle together against the brutal suffering and humiliation inflicted upon them by Ishihara, a sadistic guard with a grudge on Rokurouta, and Gisuke Sasaki, a doctor who takes pleasure in violating boys. Facing such hellish conditions, the seven inmates must scrape together all the strength they have to survive until their sentences are up; but even if they do, just what kind of lives are waiting for them on the other side?
After finishing episode 1 of this series, I took a deep breath. I was so engrossed that I had apparently forgotten to breathe while I was watching.
After finishing episode 26, I finally exhaled. This series was a rush of nonstop emotion all the way throw and never faltered for a second. Everything I said here over a half a year ago holds completely true and I can't flaunt my glowing recommendation for this series enough.
Rainbow is definitely one of the best things Japan has put out in a long time, and not in an ironic "Oh, Japan!" flashy comedy/campy/ridiculous way. It's a serious story. So serious that the first episode starts off with a disclaimer about explicit content. Think about that for a second. In a medium like anime where there's blood, tits and who knows that else in so many shows, what are they warning you about? Real stuff, that's what. Unlike Lucy ripping the head off some moe girl in Elfen Lied, Rainbow is constantly presented as a brutal, depressing series where the violent content is required to present the story in a proper way.
But don't be put off because it sounds too depressing or even boring(I don't know how anyone could think this, personally), because Rainbow is also a story of true bro-ship. Like Gungrave before it, Rainbow will be bleak. It will be depressing. But through all that, a heartwarming tale of friendship will shine. A tale that's under the perpetual threat of being crushed by the blackened circumstances around it, and that's what will keep you engrossed.
The animation is terrific, as expected of Madhouse by this point. This includes the great still art that pops in during narrated scenes, as seen by the series' title art to the left. The whole episode, and most likely a good portion of the series was depicted with very few colors other than shades of grey and dark blue. Any bright things on screen are bright things in the eyes of the story, like the sunshine outside or the end of a lit cigarette shared between the beaten characters. This was a very fine touch and does nothing but add to the heavy atmosphere of the series.
The audio and the animation work beautifully in tandem, with the music bringing scenes to life by boosting the dank atmosphere. The opening by Coldrain is especially great, bringing a badass touch to the show. Similarly, the voices are gruff and work very well with the rest of the presentation.
The above was stated after watching episode 1, and now that the series is over I think it's time to address these issues. Firstly, Rainbow finished excellently. It did not, however, cover the entire 22 volumes of story and instead opted to stop around volume 12 or so. This is no reason to not watch the series, as the stopping point they chose was pretty tactfully chosen and very satisfying. When it comes to negatives, Rainbow suffered from two things at certain points: Pacing and over-emotion. Even if you haven't read the manga, there's a good chance you'll notice that certain parts, mostly in the second half, seem rushed or like they crammed too many chapters into an episode and that makes it seem like the story skips around a little too much. It's not a big deal at all and very rarely detracts from anything, but it's a factor you'll probably notice. One of the bigger factors that may not sit well with some is that the series can come off as a little too over-dramatized or sappy at points. Sometimes the manly guitar solos and power ballads work incredibly well and you'll be clenching your teeth with man tears streaming down your cheeks, and other times it doesn't work too well. That's something that'll vary a lot from person to person though.
The final thing that bothered me was that one of the characters never gets an episode or arc devoted to him, which is pretty unsettling considering the other six boys got the spotlight multiple times. That was the main casualty of the long manga->short anime transition, so what can you do?
In closing, Rainbow's definitely in the top 10, maybe even top 5 shows of the year 2010. Not watching it should be a crime.read more
What exactly is friendship? Are your friends more important to you than your family? What are you willing to go through for a friend? Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin (for the rest of the review the anime will be referred to simply as Rainbow) focuses on friendship, as well as several other themes based around friendship, such as humanity, morality, violence, love, family etc. This is my review:
Story - Rainbow is a tale about seven inmates in a special reform school who grow closer with the increased time they spend together. All seven of them are there for committing several crimes which shaped these very different yet very similar individuals. From the opening moments of the first episode right through to the last scene of the last episode I was hooked. The show grabbed me and forced me to sit down and watch what happened next. Rainbow is brutal, mature, dark and at times depressing. But I was surprised at how light the show can get at certain points, from the funny banter between the seven inmates to the way they overcome obstacles by relying on each other and their bond. The tone shifts from time to time but Rainbow manages to keep the shifts fluid and smooth. For me, Rainbow had two highlights, and the story was definitely one of them. The writing was well done because the show didn't come off as melodramatic and managed to feel really inspirational at certain points and there were more twists than one would expect from a show like this.
Characters - I mentioned that the show had two aspects that really stood out. The characters were the second aspect. These were really cool guys. They were bad ass but they were portrayed in such a sympathetic way that you would root for all of them, sort of like multi-layered anti-heroes. The story was really amazing but I really enjoyed seeing the guys react to the situations they found themselves in. Character driven stories always work when it's executed properly. Like I said their friendship is an intricate part of the story. It is tested time and time again. It's wonderful to see selfless friendship like the one showed here. If you have a best friend or an entire "entourage" that you'll take a bullet for you'll know what I'm talking about. Two characters took a back seat to the others sometimes but that didn't detract from how enjoyable Rainbow was.
Sound - The voice acting was fantastic with each character sounding like they ought to. It is a lot more difficult to illustrate chemistry between animated characters than live-action characters but once again Rainbow manages to pull it off. There are a couple of bonuses available in the form of short clips with some the show's voice actors and I must say I really found new respect for seiyuus. The OP is probably not for everyone. A heavy metal track will turn some off but in my opinion it fitted well with the tone and atmosphere of the show. Listen to it and you'll know what to expect. The rest of the OST wasn't very bad and after listening to "A FAR OFF DISTANCE" I just had to get it on my phone.
Art - Rainbow's art is really good. I'm not an artist so I don't know how to explain it in detail but it's not too shabby. The art is very realistic like seinen should be. There are no alterations to characters' facial expressions for Japanese slapstick and like the voice acting, the art of each inmate fits to their personality and who they are.
Enjoyment - A part of me wishes that I didn't see Rainbow because after watching it, it'll be hard to find another series that will be able to top the standard Rainbow set. The story is brutal and violent, but also sincere and inspirational. The characters are extremely likeable and their relationship can get one emotional. Lump in throat emotional. The voice acting and soundtrack sound great and the art is beautiful. George Abe and Masumi Kakizaki really managed to create a distinctive style here.
Rainbow is a fantastic character driven story chronicling the lives of seven inmates who became best friends. The show is not for the weak of heart but please give it a try, you'll be surprised how much you love it.
‘Even as the storm howls, even as they starve, they are preparing for it. Afterwards, with guts, courage and a little luck, their dreams will come true. The seven canaries believed this.’
Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, referenced henceforth as Rainbow, follows the story of six men, who begin their stretch in a Japanese young offenders institute. Upon entering they meet their cell’s only other resident: the hardened boxer Sakuragi Rokurouta. After a brief but violent beat down, the men become friends with their cellmate and thus begin the hardships that come with being locked out from the rest of the world.
Rainbow has an incredibly interesting cast of characters with each one having something unique to add to the anime. Most intriguing of all is Sakuragi’s relationship with the other men, all of whom respect and look up even to the point of calling him their brother. Out of all the men, the one who has the best interaction with Sakuragi is seventeen year old Mario Minakami, who develops a dream of becoming a boxer after seeing his cellmate’s strength and resolve.
One key advantage I noticed with Rainbow was that I actually truly cared what happened to the characters within the first couple of episodes, this is a rarity in a lot of anime which can take about half of the series before you really care for them. I believe this is due to the fact that Rainbow has no clear main character, with each of the men having their moment in the spotlight and a chance for their dark and sorrowful pasts to be revealed. This allows for each character to develop equally whereas with many other anime, due to the mangaka’s writing or the production of the anime, the main character develops while the side characters’ personalities, pasts and ideals remain mostly unknown.
The main antagonist for the series, the heartless and grotesque prison guard Ishihara stands as a very affective psychological force against the men. He is a man who takes no regret from beating and abusing the ‘scum of the world’, a man who acts like he would turn on his own family if given a reason. One thing that really shows the quality of the writing is that Ishihara’s character feels in no way de-humanised throughout. This, as a viewer, makes me believe that this man could have existed, that his dark and disturbing sense of justice could have been a shared ideal at the time.
The music of the series fits perfectly with each scene, the soundtrack is not necessarily memorable, unlike the music of series such as Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica which have very notable and intriguing scores, however you get a sense of ambience from the music which emphasises the mood of the scene but not so much that it becomes a distraction. The music often contrasts often as well, one moment it is a hard guitar riff to emphasis danger, excitement or even fear, next moment the music becomes a solemn piano or violin solo showing the despair or sadness in the scene. The opening theme for the series, fits it very well as it accentuates the feeling of being caged and the dream of being free, while also showing the resentment and anger the men feel during the series. The ending theme contrasts to the aggressive metal opening with a slower, calmer song that emphasises the hopes of those who have been abandoned by society.
The voice actors for Rainbow did an amazing job with their roles, especially Turtle’s voice actress Romi Park, who is known for her portrayal of short statured but strong characters, such as Toshiro Hitsugaya in Bleach and Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, and never fails to disappoint and this was no exception. Rikiya Koyama, who voiced Sakuragi, was perfect for the role as just his voice alone told me that this character had been through hell even without knowing his backstory or his personality.
Overall Rainbow is a series that, for me, will go down as one of the greatest anime ever created, due to the variety and likeability of the characters, the very hateable villains and the over laying theme of unity which makes every minute of the series enjoyable. The fact that Rainbow works the effects of historical events into the story could almost make it a commentary of Japan in the years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, and the pasts of the main characters reinforces this. Finally I would like to say that the writing is one of the main reasons why I consider Rainbow a masterpiece, no other series has had me in tears by the second episode or made me feel anything significant for characters I had known for less than an hour and still feel the same after the credits of the final episode. However while Rainbow is incredibly sad at times it can also be extremely moving, and again I give praise to the writers for creating glimmers of hope and happiness in the joyless and grief stricken world that was created. I would definitely recommend Rainbow to anyone who is looking for dark thriller as it’s the perfect emotional and psychological roller coaster to fill that role. read more
Rainbow : Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin - after watching episodes of this anime, one word kept coming to my mind. "Beautiful". This anime shows how beautiful friendship can be. Acts of selflessness, sacrificing oneself to help another, returning to that one special place - It's all present in Rainbow. It's a good mix of emotion, struggle and drama. Rainbow is one superb anime, regrettably, it's buried deep within the other numerous popular titles out there and I'm glad I found it(more like stumbled upon).
Story? Rainbow focuses on seven teenagers who are found guilty of committing crimes and are sent to a Disciplinary school/Reformatory. In reality, it was Hellhole for them because they received very harsh treatment by some of the authorities to the point where they got thrashed by a group of hired thugs and received a lot of unnecessary punishment, though not all of the main characters suffered the same exact punishment. The story takes place in 1955, a decade after the end of the Second World War. During that time, Japan in it's state, still rebuilding its cities after the war and corruption is common.
Speaking of plot, it can be rather predictable sometimes. Characters' "motives" are predictable as ever too. What's very common in anime are that you can tell who's evil and who's not; Especially, when one of those anime characters who always had their eyes shut, suddenly they open their eyes and with a wide silly grin across their face obviously tells you that they are up to no good. It often shows that their intentions are usually bad too. But even with that, with lots of edge-of-seat action scenes, plenty of sorrowful moments, plot twists and memorable acts of friendship - Rainbow's overall storyline is top notch.
Character? Rainbow have a nice cast of main characters each with an interesting backstory. The seven protagonists of cell six each have their own unique personalities. Also, Character development is good. For example, Mario Minakami. In the start, He was weak and sometimes talks big but with help in the later episodes, he becomes a badass. The MCs are initially hostile towards each other but soon after they start helping out they quickly become friends. My favourite character in the series is Sakuragi Rokurouta: a young man with a boxing talent. He's also the oldest, strongest and acts as the leader out of the seven. With all that, Sakuragi Rokurouta is a man worth respecting.
Sound? The Opening theme is extremely good because I like these kind of songs: the Rock/Metal genre. Opening theme "We're not alone", sung in English by Japanese Band Coldrain was epic. Not only that the opening theme was awesome, but its also very fitting for the anime. The ending theme, wasn't entirely great, still I don't think its too bad. Also, whenever one of the protagonists gets serious, a distinct background music kicks in. Voice acting was brilliant but I find the English voice overs of the American characters sound a little weird.
Art/Visuals? The overall visuals passable. I think the dark/gloomy art style and colors really does suit the anime. However, Viewers who constantly had been watching anime with bright visuals might find Rainbow's visuals repulsive. Amusingly, all the evil characters in the series look so hideous. Characters' hair colours are natural; colours that naturally exist in real life: black, dark brown, blonde, etc. No, I don't hate the colorful hair that exist in anime, but the natural hair colors gives a more realistic feel.
Conclusion? Rainbow is an anime with an inspiring story and have many likeable characters. However, some people may find Rainbow's art style unappealing, but even you don't like that, you should at least give it a try. But for fans of thriller/Drama or anyone looking for a good anime of its genre, it's a must watch. read more
Sifting through the dark, forgotten recesses of My Anime List like some sort of anime hipster, our writers have brought you 15 of what they consider to be the most underrated anime out there. Under appreciated masterpiece or stinker that got the reception it deserved; you decide.
When our protagonists in these Survival Anime are thrust into extreme - often life-or-death situations - we get to see desperate fights for survival and morals being put to the test. Any fan of the survival genre needs to check this list out!