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?
FUNimation Entertainment simulcasted Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin in North America, but didn't give it a physical release due to poor streaming numbers. It is no longer streaming via FUNimation.
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.
Since the anime has such a high score and a crazy amount of 10/10 reviews (what aggravates me, because its far from perfect), i will write a review, pointing all of the problems i found with it. This anime was very hard to watch and relate to at a lot of points. No, not because of how sad and harsh it is, but because as an anime that takes itself seriously its too inconsistent and illogical. Now don't get me wrong, this anime has a lot of strong points, but they still can't fully cover for all the flaws. Ill
start from the very beginning, and state every problem i personally spotted and can remember (by chronological order).
An-chan "kills" his father. Its also said he committed suicide. So how exactly did An-chan get to the reformatory? Did he turn himself in to the police saying he is the one who did it? If so, did no one bother checking? Because his father didn't have a grudge against him, and logically would commit suicide in a way that can't be connected to his son (to avoid giving him more trouble)... What follows is the suicide incident (in the reformatory). An-chan didn't seem to be a stupid guy. He only had a few months left, so he could just quietly get out and bring both the bad guys to justice. Instead he decided to tell Ishihara that he knows. WHY? No logical explanation is provided, and none is even possible.
Next up is "Turtle". I'm not sure about the circumstances of the post nuclear bombing aid that was given (or not given) in japan, but shouldn't he have been placed in some sort of hospital and/or trauma rehabilitation facility, and if he ran off and was judged, wouldn't he at least get a more considerate verdict based on his personal file?
Moving on. When the boys come to the reformatory, they seem to be already familiar with each other, how, and when did that happen, and why is it not mentioned? Also why did An-chan decide to beat them all up when they got there? Because it was completely unnecessary, and frankly out of character for him to do so, the only reason for this event i can think of is to speed up their bonding instead of showing it develop overtime (though frankly i doubt that one as well, because usually no one would bond with someone that beat them up faster that if he wouldn't)... The boys in the reformatory also seem to have the ability to go the the library as they please, yet never use it except for one time... What's the point of sitting in a prison cell then if they can always or at least sometimes be in the library?!
Side characters. They just seem to be there for decoration, as if no one else even exists. When Joe runs away and gets caught, he clearly states that the woman who took him in raped him in front of two guards, and she replies in a hostile way and even hits him and draws blood. The two guards seem shocked, but this does not lead anywhere. When the fire starts at the reformatory, no one seems interested to investigate why and how it started, and why 7 people where almost burned alive. Why does it seem no one else supervises the reformatory aside the doctor? In episode 2 the director is shown, but later he's never mentioned. The doctor also seems to have too much power (able to fire guards and he's completely unsupervised). Why does that stay true after 2 lethal accidents and a fire that almost killed 7 people? Normally those events would definitely earn the attention of investigators and the director.
After the fire, An-chan decides to come out of the infirmary early, again, for no apparent reason. He is put in with a few angry cell mates who where instructed to beat him to death overtime. He endures it. But after his friend gets hurt while trying to persuade them to take it out on him instead, he beats them all up at once, and threatens them so they won't blame him and the problem gets solved. The question arises - why the heck didn't he do that in the first place?
When An-chan is made to starve, a good guard appears. Instead of talking to other guards and maybe filing a report, he goes against the doc and Ishihara, eventually getting killed (again, with no consequences, because its apparently easier to kill a guard than a prisoner. Another point - this man, who pretty much lost his life while trying to help the protagonists, got completely forgotten, and the boys didn't even once visit his grave).
And finally, the escape. Everything would be ok about it if you have a very short memory, BUT, if you do remember back a little, an important detail gets left out (for the plot convenience, as usual). When Joe escaped, the director said that the police will be involved if he's not back in 48 hours. This time nothing like that was mentioned. So, was that not important in the first place? Or if it was, then the police surely got involved this time, so why was it not shown, and why was it fruitless?
An-chan's death. It was ridiculous. There was so many problems with this event alone that its almost comical. First off - Ishihara shot the gun. He shot it a few times, NEAR A MILITARY BASE. Now i don't know what anyone thinks, but let me assure you, if something like that really happened, the guards would come running. Yet no one came (until later, when it serves the wanted plot... in reality - just in time to be court martialed for not doing their job), not after the shooting, and not after the motorcycle accident. An-chan didn't knock him out for some reason as well (though if you'd consider his character he WOULD do that much before he got stabbed). Now explain to me, if going back to see the boxing match was so important, why did he remember it just when it was convenient? Why not just knock out Ishihara? Why not knock him out after giving him the letter and he still came at him? And why remember to go back only when he's about to get killed, taking the knife out and walking menacingly towards armed men? I mean he above all else should have known that getting killed is the worst possible thing he can do to his friends...
And what about the cops who decided to side with An-chan at the very end? What happened to the investigation of why he got killed? All the leads where there - Ishihara's finger prints on the gun, the man who called them and said he had the gun, and then lied to them and told them to shoot the wrong guy? Why was Ishihara not interrogated and put in prison/ mental facility? How did the doctor not get arrested over that, how did he leave the reformatory, and how on the earth some time later, he, being a DOCTOR tried running for a mayor?
Later we have the "revenge". It was pretty good, BUT... Logically, it would be a pretty big scoop, leading to a major investigation. This would mean that Mario (and Turtle) would no longer have to be a fugitive if he simply turned himself in, and aided the investigation, explaining his circumstances. But he doesn't, because it seems logic and this anime are on a different wavelength.
And finally we get to the last parts - the protagonist's arcs. First off - Mario. This is just a load of bull. A man in the bar where he is an assistant at, doesn't pay for the drink and assaults the owner, while breaking property. Mario then lets him hit himself twice before beating him up. Now what do we have here? 3 witnesses that saw the barman being assaulted, followed by Mario, who then applied self defense. 3 against 1! And he probably had a past of doing so in other bars too! Logically, he would be too afraid to even file a complain, because he's clearly at fault and there where 3 witnesses. Instead, the bar owner fires him because "he dislikes this sort of thing" (though the barman clearly likes him, and logically would help file a complaint), and Mario and Joe just keep quiet about it. The stupidity in this one is overwhelming.
Instead, Soldier gets hurt trying to get the guy at fault to sign a document saying Mario is not at fault (instead of getting the asshole in jail and revoking his complaint that way)... All for nothing, because the judge is a moron, an aggressive one on top of it. Normally, the scoop from the doctor's arrest would be pretty much enough to explain everything, yet it seems they forgot that thing exists. Instead, Baremoto turns out to be a son of the judge's friend, and they get the girl to testify she was raped and that was the reason Mario got into the reformatory in the first place, so Mario leaves happily (despite all the stuff the judge told him, and even hit him)
Next up is Joe. The logic fail is rather immense in this one, so i will explain it in depth. The problem here is when Joe is late to his concert, after almost getting killed, along with the woman who sponsored him in exchange for having sex with her. She is not portrayed as too bad of a character up to now, except making Joe lay with her to fulfill his dream. Yet after she fails to protect him, nearly gets him and herself killed and saved by his friends, instead of being shocked, or explaining Joe that its over for him (like you'd expect of her), suddenly, for no reason at all she starts to yell at him that he's a loser, its his fault for being late, and that he'll always stay scum... Just W T F . It was so frustrating to watch, not because i felt bad for Joe (at this pint i lost all emotional involvement and was torn between laughing my ass off or getting mad trying to understand wtf just happened), but because it was so horribly illogical and retarded.
Baremoto. At the fire incident, he learned to trust his friends, and that they are the most important thing in the world for him. At his arc though, he falls for a prostitute, and forgets it all without a single hesitation. This is BS. Not as BS though as Turtle's arc, who we got led to believe was seriously ill because of being near and in the blast zone of a nuke, but then, suddenly, its all ok, and we forget all about it.
And this sums it up for the story problems, now for my other problems with this anime:
No soldier arc!
The anime could use an extra ending and opening.
And finally, the characters are too immature and shounen like, while its supposed to be seinen. I also didn't expect there would be so much happy endings for everyone in it. Now don't get me wrong, Its not like i don't like happy endings.. But those look so forced, undeserved and unfitting. Not much gets resolved, after An-chan's death and revenge on their tormentors, the only problems are trivial stuff, arising from the boys being unable to deal with the real world. Yet they want to make it look like its just as dramatic and bad as everything else that happened before, and that feels as ridiculous as if a man who just literally escaped from hell itself with relative ease, suddenly broke down after being called a "poopy face" by a little kid.
*Edit* : Oh, and how could i forget? There's an extremely annoying narration going on, always pointing out the obvious and taking up extra time, not to mention the voice of the narrator is in itself pretty bad, like one you'd get in an old, self dubbed video in the 90's
So final verdict- the anime is not bad, but the story falls apart due to the infinite plot holes, inconsistency and logic fails, as well as the characters being unfit for the universe around them, and having pretty small issues in the second half compared to the first half of the show, leading to a fall in interest. Despite that 6 is usually a score i'd usually say is somewhat good, i would not really recommend this anime, as its major trait that is supposed to be the dark atmosphere and struggles of the protagonists is severely broken apart and comical if you have a long attention span and look at it critically.
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.
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.
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!
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.