First attempt at a longer review, let's see how it goes. It's only been 2 episodes, so this review probably won't matter all that much later on. Will try to update! So here's my 2 cents...
As of Episode -
The Story :
Kyouno Madoka is a high-spirited and confident High School girl who enjoys helping those who are in need. One day, she meets a strange girl named Lan, and is then asked to pilot a Robot (yes, the mecha in this show are called 'Robot') in order to protect her home town from invading aliens who have come to attack Earth. This is a somewhat generic
mech-related anime plotline, but it has lots of potential to become something greater than what it seems.
The Visuals :
Not much to say here, it's Production I.G. after all. In short, the animation in this show has been great so far. The movements of the characters flows along naturally, and their expressions are done flawlessly, and it's a joy to watch the characters interact. The mechas are designed by none other than Nissan, and sports some very interesting ideas. They are very reminiscent of the LFOs' designs in Eureka 7, due to the curves and colouring over the main body, its ability to transform from a vehicle form to a more humanoid form, and the green particle-like light that flows behind them when surfing/flying. The designs for the characters and the mecha has been mixed among the audience, but overall I loved them.
The Sound :
The Voice Actors for this show has been doing a really good job so far. They fit the character's image and you can really feel the mood and emotion in the character's interaction. The Soundtrack has been the most memorable part of this show for me. With Nakajima Megumi doing both the OP (a strange catchy tone that gets you all pumped up) and ED (a cheerful J-Pop that take away all your tensions upon finishing the episode), you can get into and leave this show satisfied. The BGM that plays throughout the show also brings out the atmosphere of the situation, as well as makes every single scene in the show a joy to sit through.
The Characters :
Rinne no Lagrange did what I believe most other anime of its genre failed at with its characters. They gave us a confident character who is very fun to watch, yet doesn't annoy the audience with her personality and pride. This is thanks to a big sister type of character who is there to keep her in her place, and a young girl, who may appear emotionless at first, but actually has a personality that helps her moderate the lead's behaviour. This is just one example of how the character interactions help make the characters more interesting to watch in this show, as through the characters conversations and actions, we can get a more in-depth view on the personality underneath what first appears to be a generic character.
This show is just a joy to watch. From the etheral dream-like opening sequence at the beginning, to the wonderful character chemistry that we are presented with throughout the show, to the high tension mecha battle that flows about flawlessly. It never misses a beat, and I just love every single minute of it. As long as Production I.G. doesn't end up pulling another Guilty Crown on me again, I will without a doubt give this great anime a "maru!"
Most people did not enjoy this show. However, I did. Maybe my opinions are highly flawed. I doubt I'm the pinnacle of good taste, so you shouldn't take my review as the word of God. But the fact remains that I liked Rinne no Lagrange while many others did not, so here's me telling you why.
The plot of Rinne no Lagrange is not very complicated to begin with, at least not to me. A lot of people found it a bit confusing and the back stories not fleshed out enough, but keep in mind that this is a two-season anime. I expect, with the
ending presented in season 1, the reasons behind what happened in these 12 episodes will be further explained. But overall, I found the story to be quite interesting. Basically, a girl named Madoka is chosen to pilot a mecha along with two other young girls. And stuff happens.
It's not unique at all, but I felt that the way it was presented was rather refreshing. Rinne is a show that has serious undertones and darker elements, without actually taking itself too seriously. It's a precarious balance between light-hearted and the somber, and I'll admit that this doesn't always work out so well. But while Rinne's story is far from perfect, I honestly did like it.
When I first started watching this show, I had to watch the early release version streaming. I honestly thought the art sucked. But once I began downloading episodes in higher quality, I realized that the art in this is actually very good. The special effects are all done beautifully, and while some of the daily life scenes aren't animated as well, overall I thought the animation was quite good. The character designs were all very interesting as well, and I liked the idea of giving the aliens multicolored "anime hair" while giving regular earthlings normal colored Japanese hair.
The music in Rinne didn't actually start getting good until the later half. The first few episodes had alright music, but in some of the battle scenes later on the soundtrack was just lovely. I liked the voice acting as well, so no problems there. There were times in the series when the uplifting string music gave the rather bleak images an eerie tone, but that was very minor and not often. Overall, the music was nice when there was music, and the acting was fine.
Depending on how you feel about moe, the character section will vary greatly for everyone. Madoka, Lan, and Muginami, the three young female protagonists, are clearly there to attract the older male otaku audience. They each have their own cute little quirks, and each of them have their "cute girls doing cute things" moments. However, unlike actual moeblob shows, the three girls in Rinne actually go through a lot of hardship and emotional suffering as the series progresses. There are moments where you know for sure they will be fine as long as they have each other, but there are many other scenes where you question whether or not anything would be the same again. It's not a "tear them up from the inside out" kind of show like another famous series with a protagonist named Madoka is, but the characters do go through enough development to make you laugh and cry with them.
I suppose this show doesn't appeal to everyone. It's not a universally likable show. It has tons of moe fan service (though very little of it is sexual), and seems to attract the older male otaku population rather than everyone. However, as a teenage girl, I can say that I highly enjoyed Rinne. I liked that it started out light and happy, with only a few glimpses at the underlying darkness, and just when you think it's all going to go downhill, it returns to being the same kind of cheery again. This type of emotional setup is not for everyone, and it will confuse a lot of people. But I liked it, and I found it to be rather clever.
If you are looking for a mecha show with badass little girls piloting giant robots and fighting aliens, then this is not the show for you. If you are looking for something more nuanced; something character driven; something that confuses your emotions but still leaves you wanting to know more, then by all means, watch Rinne no Lagrange. It's not perfect or amazing by any standard, but it's good. I can't quite explain in words how I felt overall about Rinne. But I suppose...it was good. Sometimes, it was just fine, and at other times, it was great. So...good would be the right way to express it.
Oddly enough, while it appears to be a typical show about mecha, it has much less to do with the mecha themselves than you would think. It actually focuses more on the characters and their interactions with each other. This is not necessarily a bad thing even if you were looking into this series for the mecha, because they do have some visually stunning battle scenes. Lagrange did a steller job keeping a good balance between the sci-fi mecha, high school life, and character drama.
The pacing is back and forth. A
few episodes seemed a bit sluggish at times, while others felt flew by like nothing. At least those instances were few and far between. The main character, Madoka, is probably the most likeable character in the entire show. Her companions, Lan and Muginami, are also incredible and the three girls compliment each other quite well
With a strong opening and more than fitting ending, this overall is a fun and enjoyable show for any audience. The story is not fully explained and there are some issues with it,
I did feel that the Yuri undertones throughout this series came off a bit strong and hold a little too much presence. But if you aren’t the kind of person to be bothered by this, there’s nothing to worry about. Even still, it’s not blatantly thrown in your face, so even if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s not enough to outright ruin the show for you.
If you’re looking for a mecha series, you won’t be entirely disappointed, but keep in mind it’s no Gundam. However, on the flip side, even if you don’t like mecha anime, it’s still a fun series to watch for the characters.
I was severely disappointed by this show. Mind you, I am paying a lot of attention to the creation of the world itself as well as plot and characters. I found myself rolling eyes a lot when watching the series - the tropes are a plenty here - and what makes it worse is the mediocre execution
What I liked:
* The "stick to what you decided" theme
* The older cousin character
* Art was good
What I disliked:
* Holes in the plot
* Incomplete world (examples: mecha get damaged, how do they become functional again? What really happened in the past between the main character and the mecha? Staff
conveniently out of the way when they would be restraining main characters.)
* The Loli, even if she is older than she looks, or maybe that's what makes it worse
* "PEEERFECT" and "ROOOGER THAT!" - significant contributors to "eyeroll factor"
So, the first episode leaked in very, very, really bad quality. If THAT impresses enough to write a review, then it must be an anime worth closer attention.
This anime is good, just good, in each and every component - art, sound, characters, story. The story may be an exception, though. The first episode created lots of possible roads the story may travel - into the past, future, deep space, or even into a very earthly conspiracy.
Characters are always another suspect for an exception, what can prevent them from some fascinating developing, anyway? Maybe the anime just not being about characters, like this one? My impression
is that this anime is neither about characters nor anything else. It is about the general mood of the show, and the mood looks light, playful, and vivid.
To make this mood happen, this anime quotes everything, mostly other anime, it is full of light humor and self irony, and, possibly above all, perfectly maintains the rhythm - image, sound, events, dialogs - all that goes in perfect match and timing. If after the first 90 seconds you are not in completely, it is just not your anime. But if you are, the enjoyment is guaranteed, and that enjoyment will be great.
Overall, this episode strongly reminds me of two things - the Tarot Trump 0, among other things the symbol of careless creativity, and James Bond movies, which are not very realistic, not philosophically deep, but amazingly enjoyable.
I didn't really know what to expect from Rinne. Considering that, during the Winter 2012 season there were two other 'scifi-girls' shows, I wondered how this particular anime would stand out. And how did it? By being as much of a character piece as it was a mecha show.
Story (7/10): With our lead heroine Madoka and the two friends that she acquires in aliens Lan and Muginami, you get a sense that the story wouldn't have worked nearly as well without the dynamic that they build up over the course of 12 episodes. We have an alien war going after the Vox mechs and
the town of Kamogawa is stuck right in the middle. It's interesting in how much of the first half of this series is built just around the back stories of everything, and when you see a good chunk of the plot just there, it means that we can expect good things from the second season. It has it's funny moments, it's sad and heartwarming moments, and it's dramatic and action scenes, and it does handle them all pretty solidly and fluidly. There also seems to be a theme of showing both sides of the conflict and making you connect with them. It's definitely interesting and I'm excited to see how much farther they take it in S2.
The story does have it's faults, though. It takes a while for the plot to really kick in (probably around episode 4 or so would be my best guess, with episodes 1-3 acting as a really long pilot episode), so you may or may not lose a slight bit of interest in the mean time. It also has the distinct problem in not knowing how much of the high school life of our 3 girls to put into the show (I honestly feel bad for their classmates, since it feels like they just pop out randomly), along with strange time jumps here and there that can distract you from whats going on.
Art (9/10): Those mechs are pretty as all hell. Well, the whole show is pretty, but there has to be some props to Nissan for the great designs for the Vox mechs (in both robot and plane mode). The main Ovids are also interesting looking, though I'm not a big fan of the purple that they're mainly designed with. Also, I'm glad to see that Xebec has gotten out of there rom-com style here and helped make the show look nice (not saying they still don't do that, but for a mecha anime, they did a good job with the help of Production I.G.), though you can still see their distinct character designs here and there. Really, the show just looks good. Plain and simple.
Sound (7/10): The only piece that stood out for me, as it usually does, is the opening "Try Unite!". It does a good job of capturing the scifi quality of the show, while still being a nice song to listen to (also, it becomes pretty haunting in the slower version that plays during episode 12). The ending wasn't bad, but nothing really interesting. Otherwise, the show sounded nice.
Character (9/10): Where Rinne shines is it's characters. Madoka get's a metric ton of development, changing from just the spunky, jack of all trades that we're introduced to over the course of the season. Lan breaks out of her shell, into a sweet girl that would do anything for friends. Muginami learns that others are more than willing to be with her, and that she doesn't need her 'brother' alone to feel like she has people that love her. The 3 pilots Array, Izo, and Kirius change from what we think are typical bad guys into noble people...
What I'm trying to say is that all the characters in this show are great and I'm hyped to see how they change further in S2.
Enjoyment (8/10): I'll be honest here- at first, I really wasn't that interested in anything that was going on. The first three episodes went on too long for me and I was just waiting for something cool to happen. But I'm glad that I stuck it out. I got to see wonderful characters, interesting dilemmas, really cool action...basically everything that I was hoping that this show would provide. By the end of episode 12, I was pumped and completely interested in what would happen next that I was sad to realize that I would have to start watching the second season.
Rinne separates itself from the pack by being a mecha show with a little more just waiting for you underneath. Definitely worth a watch and a total recommendation for all. Off to season two!
Rinne no Lagrange is a sci-fi series written by Suga Shotaro, known for working on several really strong titles such as Stand Alone Complex, Le Chevalier D'Eon, Brotherhood and some others. It sounds promising so let's take a look.
Kyouno Madoka is a young high school student and the only member of the Jersey Club, a group that aids other student organisations. One day she's approached by a strange girl and taken to a battleship to pilot a giant robot called a Vox that everyone seems to want to possess or destroy. To make things more complicated, there's a disturbing legend about the Vox. That's the
basic story, it seems like there's a lot of material, especially for a relatively short anime, but all the material gets covered really well. There's a lot of intrigue and the mixture of occasional serious moments with mostly light-hearted fun is well executed. The only real story issue is the pacing. Everything does get covered, but some parts have a really hectic pace, especially at the very beginning and end, while others are more relaxed and it makes the story seem like it's moving far too fast at those points which is a bit disorienting.
The anime focuses more on the characters than it does the story, which does make things interesting. The main cast is well developed and they get a lot of great interactions. The major interactions revolve around Madoka, Lan and Muginami (who can't seem to figure out when things between Madoka and Lan are getting intense and polite people would leave the room). The three of them are spectacular characters. Even the supporting characters and antagonists feel fleshed out and interesting.
The art is good. It's nice and vibrant, which suits the content well. The backgrounds are lively. My one issue is that there's quite a bit of pointless fan-service and it gets pretty facepalm worthy at some moments. That being said, at least it's equal opportunity fan-service.
The voice acting is well done. Seto Asami, Ishihara Kaori, and Kayano Ai especially do well with their roles. The music is upbeat, catchy and really well done.
The yuri factor is a 6.5/10. You can probably guess this from the characters paragraph, the relationship between Madoka and Lan is extremely homoerotic, and Muginami gets a few moments with them, so maybe it's not that she can't read the mood maybe she just wants to be involved. Youko and Machiko also get a couple moments, but the main les-yay focus is on Madoka and Lan, the last episode especially.
My final rating for Rinne no Lagrange is a 7.5/10. It has some awkward pacing and far too much fan-service, but overall it's a delightful series with lots of fun moments and wonderful characters. If you're a fan of Sky Girls or Canaan you'll probably like this as well and the best part is that a sequel is set to start airing in July. Here's hoping that it's even better and that Madoka and Lan get to officially become a couple instead of just being really homoerotic.
Ok this is my first review, so I'm going to try to keep you entertained.
When I first looked at this show, my frist thought was "its going to be another lame mecha with a bad plot" and after the first couple of episodes, I still believed that. But that was soon changed.
While the show didn't turn amazing, it did pick itself up later in the show.
The main character is Kyouno Madoka, who teams up with a girl named Lan, to fight aliens that attack her hometown with their robots called Vox. Not a very exciting story, but for what they have to work
with...it is executed well.
The art is actually really nice, I like the character designs as well as the mecha designs. It varies greatly from the normal Gundam type designs, and has a flight mode for each robot.
The voice actors were well picked, and the opening theme isn't bad, not much to say here.
As a main character, Madoka is a very good one. She is entertaining to watch and is one of those characters that make you laugh and break the tension in a bad situation. She is one of the characters that bring everyone together and easially cheer up people. She is also quite the airhead XD
As for the rest, Lan is a character you can't say much about, she is strong and independent, but I think needs Madoka to keep moving forward. Also, Muginamai is a really fun character. The characters are pretty well made.
The show is actually really enjoyable. It just creates a light and cheery mood with all the friendship and everything, and even some light yuri undertones XD
This show is one of the prime examples of "do not judge a book by its cover". After you get over the first impressions and the first couple of episodes, it actually gets better. All and all the show is pretty good, can't wait for the end and season 2 in summer XD
As a huge mecha fan, Rinne no Lagrange seemed like a frilly majou shoujo in heavy battle armour. in short, it is. the title mecha doesn't describe this anime accurately to me.
Rinne no Langrage takes the events of three girls and, from what i've seen, shows the power of kindness and friendship (with lesbian subtext, of course!)
no seriously, it's hilarious, these girls are revved up for each other, but i love how the story doesn't "focus" on it, like a shoujo-ai.
so far, it's cute, it's funny, it's enjoyable. just don't go in thinking you'll be seeing awesome fight scenes and heavy action, because you won't.
If you are looking for hardcore mecha action along the lines of NGE, this show won't deliver. If you are looking for an intriguing story, this show won't deliver. This show has more appeal to those who enjoy slice-of-life, as what really carries this show is the art and characters.
We have 3 main heroines in this story; Kyouno Madoka - the lead, an energetic, cheerful girl with natural leadership talent; Lan - the mysterious klutz, with tsundere elements; and Muginami, a mischevious, carefree girl, though the most perceptive of the others' emotions.
The story of is simple. In short, waves of mechas attack earth, and only
defense is 3 teenage girls. Some basic politics takes place internally, and bilaterally, but no grandiose strategies, atleast, none that are cared to be explained. There is backstory to the characters, and revelations are, though few, usually explained well enough, if explanation is necessary. The show is more talking than action, though the amount isn't oversaturating, but some of the dialogue is profoundly uninteresting.
As for a more indepth view of the characters, only the 3 main characters are really blessed with a good degree of depth. That said, all 3 of them have a good backstory, which not only serves to explain their motives, but doesn't drag out so much to take precedence over the present events.
Kyouno is very much an opposite of NGE's Shinji or other similar teenage boy lead protagonists who could be described as 'pathetic'. Kyouno is eager to get on with what she needs to do, which makes her enjoyable to watch, certainly not overly frustrating. She drives the story forwards well, without the story becoming too centred around her. Her biggest flaw, if anything, is that she is too... 'nice'. Whilst she won't pull punches to set people straight, her personality can at times be overly bland.
Lan on the other hand, differs from Kyouno quite significantly, she is quiet and to begin with, it is difficult quite understanding her actions, not due to their complexity, but due to a modest level of strangeness. Lan is my favourite out of the 3, as she interacts with the other 2 main characters in ways very entertaining to watch, but usually at the expense of her dignity. Lan just about covers enough various minor elements from other stereotypes to avoid falling into a set rigid one, which serves to make her character relatively unique.
Muginami joins the main cast a little later. At first, I was worried her generous endowments would make her simply the fanservice character, but once it delved into her backstory, I was satisfied that she is certainly much more than that, she has real personality. Generally more cheerful than Lan, who she often finds herself at odds with, she is often seen reacting to the other 2's moods and responding in trolling ways. Muginami's motives, reasoning and loyalty is often all too wishywashy though, so it would have been good to see a bit more consistency in her personality.
The villains of the show, however, rarely have, or at least show clear motive, asides from control. They are generally lacking in depth in their personality, and often don't even appear to be antagonistic at all. This would be a factor that'd add depth, if their actions were overly coherent enough to even form a gray area, certainly, the main antagonist - Villagiulio - lacks good presence, and even more so for his subordinates, who are perhaps the blandest of the them all. The protagonist supporting characters vary from some of the major ones doing nothing asides from issuing orders, to those with mixed motives, to those that are there to set Kyouno straight and give her support when she needs it.
On the art front, this show is brilliantly animated. From the character designs to the backgrounds, everything looks good, moreso than that infact, its visuals often left me in awe, something relatively unusual in anime - ironic, for something that many people may have started the show, by watching the low-quality preair. The scenery is colourful - very vivid colours, especially with the sky and lighting make for fantastic eyecandy. Even better when the 'Flower declaration of of your heart' becomes more literal.
As for the character designs, we have the sleek looking Voxs - the mecha piloted by our 3 saviours of earth. Somewhat based on modern fighter jets in their default form, these are very sleek beasts, looking something akin to the Arwings from the Star Fox video games, albeit with more curves. The antagonists' mecha aren't nearly as good looking, a more generic affair, but still, they are fitting.
For the people, the designs vary a fair bit for the characters. Many will look, as expected, generic, but clear - there is a certain simple refinement to all the characters, everything is crisp. As for our main characters, Kyouno is relatively normal looking, but her given colour, (Each of the 3 main characters represent a colour, which is also their mecha's colour) a nice shade of green looks good when in her pilot's suit, and her token jersey gives her an appearance that does help her stand out, without breaking what would be expected for a schoolgirl to wear.
Lan and Muginami though, show the strongest designs. Lan's sleek blue is represented in both her light blue hair (which doesn't come across as obnoxiously unnatural) and her usual attire, which looks good without being too skimpy. Muginami's orange theme is also represented in her hair, though her outfit also is fortunately reserved, but not quite so much as Lan's, as she could have very easily been a pure fanservice character with a more revealing outfit. Though Muginami's bust isn't really 'exploited' as such, disapointing those who'd want more ecchi elements to the show, she comes across as strong and sexy, which is what I'd prefer.
As for the villains, these guys have pretty plain designs, making them quite forgettable. This can also be said for some of the supporting protagonists, however, but it is a shame to have no distinctively cool looking villain.
As for music, the OP is again, a delight for the eyes with visuals, with a fitting song, though the jpop/dance isn't to my preference, it is still worth not skipping it, simply to see the rich colours in motion. The ED goes for a more laid-back jpop song, with simpler visuals, but simple in the sense that it discards the unnecessary, which makes it an interesting contrast to the OP. The BGM is for the most part, well fitting, but somewhat bland - whilst this doesn't come across as overpowering, it rarely invokes much emotion either.
Rinne no Lagrange on the whole, is a show that proves to be mostly balanced, but lacking in terms of story. I say again, this show is likely to appeal to those of slice-of-life, because, for a good portion of the show, it is one, certainly once all 3 main characters are brought together. It is the subtle nuances of the characters, their interactions and development that is what should appeal most, along with the fantastic art, that doesn't so much follow a niché style, but is wonderful regardless. This is a fun show, that is somewhat serious, but intertwines this with good mellow sections in a way that works but can leave some wanting more of one aspect and less of the other. It wouldn't hurt to try this show, don't expect big things, but you're likely to be pleasantly surprised if the current MAL rating is a little off-putting.
Worth noting is that there is a second cour coming 3 months from now, though this didn't result in this season having a bad ending, it was acceptably satisfying for now.
Wonderful art, the music is ok, the characters still have time to develop but as of the first three episodes there isn't much there. Just on the colors, and the mechs alone does the enjoyment make a 7. I feel like Madoka didn't hesitate enough when her responsibility of piloting the "Vox" or the robotic/aircraft that she pilots was heaped upon her. Now i'm not saying she has to pull a Shinji Ikari from Eva or a Renton Thirston from Eureka 7 but she hardly hesitates at all making me think "ok that's a little unrealistic". I think why I was put off a little
is because going into this anime I was expecting it to be partly a drama and there was very little in regard to her and the Mecha. So where is the drama going to come from. The most drama for me came when Lan overcame her disability to go into warrior mode in her Vox, but that only lasted for like two episodes. Anyway my complaints may come from expectations, in that case maybe I need to expect "different" not necessarily "less". I still think it's worth watching as long as they turn up either the action or the drama and give the viewer a since of suspense comes nd conflict.
From the start, this show stretches credibility. I found it increasingly difficult to suspend disbelief, not because the show got any worse, but because it pretty much stayed the same. It doesn't get any easier to take as it goes along.
If some of the characters annoy you, it's time to stop watching. Otherwise, you'll end up pausing it repeatedly to look for reviews that aren't praising it; reviews with useful information. Take my word for it. You aren't going to like this any more seven episodes in than you did at the start.
Ever seen a sheet of bubble wrap? Then you've seen something more solid and with less holes than this plot. Teen girls in ancient high tech robots pooping holographic flowers into space isn't going to work no matter how nicely you dress it up.
Depending on how sensitive your ears are you could end up having a difficult time with Madoka because the voice belongs to Ishihara Kaori and the sound is so extreme and intense that only one in a thousand characters is a good match. I want to punch someone for making it fit Madoka so perfectly that I can't imagine anyone better suited.
about that plot, or lack of it... if you like watching cheery schoolgirls goofing off it isn't all that bad, in fact the plot despite being important still feels unimportant in many moments where characters, events, emotions and comedy steal the scene with surprising force, often further augmented by the great artistic quality. After also watching season 2 this forgetfulness towards the plot stuck with me even more while rewatching.
Final verdict? Don't take it too seriously, enjoy each moment for what it is and you could very well end up having a great time.
"Alone, one cannot support oneself. Two would break apart. When it's three of them, the bond is stable. Madoka isn't alone. The three members of the Track Suit Club are one."
I'm not 100% sure why Lagrange grew on me. It could be that since I dropped Captain Earth in the same season and wanted a giant robot show I could watch without facepalming because it reminded me of childhood moments I wanted to forget. It could be that I thought the Nissan-designed mechs looked cool, even if they weren't Kawamori designs (Anime law of aerodynamics: Any shape, no matter how strange
or convoluted, is automatically aerodynamic). Maybe it was the fantastic chemistry of the three heroines. Maybe it was the symbolism scattered throughout the show. Whatever the reasons, this was a solid production for me.
One of the themes is "machi-okoshi" (local town awareness), though this isn't as in-your-face about it as Sakura Quest, Love Live, or Locodol. I'm not sure if very many people in Japan knew about Kamogawa until this show, and the mere repeated mention of the town's name probably made it a destination for the consideration of anime fans. This setting is crafted very well, depicting a small, quiet seaside town where the residents live simple lives. It might not be the first thing you'd think of for the backdrop to a brewing interstellar conflict, but it's a warm foundation, a place to call home. Listening to Madoka yell at her foe that he's screwing up such-and-such's peanut fields, etc., is a great way to reinforce this.
Even though I tend to prefer heroines who use their brains, I rather like Madoka-- she might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but her heart is made of pure gold, feeds on compassion, and longs for justice. Perhaps it's because of this that she is able to draw into her orbit those who sought to manipulate her, namely Lan and Muginami. Through Madoka we see first-hand another theme of the show, "This is what you decided, so take responsibility and see it through to the end," beaten into her. Her cousin Yoko, while not one of the central 3 characters, is nevertheless a very effective foil for Madoka, giving the younger Track Suit member a well-deserved kick in the pants right when she needs it.
The other two members of the trio each bring a diverse set of background and personality to the club. Nowhere is this better symbolized than the shots of the three chairs, describing where each girl is relative to one another in most episodes. At their core, they all want to help people (they're all chairs), but sometimes they don't see eye to eye, or sometimes not all the chairs are there.
While Lan was relatively easy to get to know, Muginami was employing subterfuge from her first appearance. To get the audience to understand her motivations, we're given a number of flashback scenes where apples are symbolic of her affection. This is particularly important because Kayano's performance didn't change a whole lot (less 'forced') after Muginami dropped the act and joined the club in earnest. It's no coincidence that, following the final conflict with Villagiulio, the apple remains at Madoka's house, meaning that while he will always be Muginami's first love, Madoka is even closer.
Visually, nothing terrible, but nothing amazing until the power of the Vox is unleashed. Part of the reason why the fear of the Vox is so effectively communicated is the unknowns about it-- what happened in the past to inspire a verse warning generations to never allow the Vox to release its poewr. The synth soundtrack does a fairly decent job of setting the tone, though it can get a tad repetitive and predictable-- you know things are turning for the better when the violins lead the soundtrack in a stirring piece (almost like a quick march).
Megumi "Mamegu" Nakajima, who attained anime stardom for her role as Ranka Lee, sings the opening and ending themes. Pay close attention to the opener-- the upbeat default opening arrangement emphasizes the major chords, evoking freedom and youth. In the finale's climactic scene, the accompaniment is reduced to a solo piano, which naturally emphasizes the minor chords, evoking sadness and yearning. I wouldn't be surprised if this is inspired by a similar rearrangement done by Angela in similar scenes in Stellvia-- as the backdrop to exploding starships and a farewell scene, it is a powerful coup de grace.
Admittedly, the climax of the story has a couple of issues, assuming this saga ends at one cour: (1) it's very deus ex machina (deus ex Dizelmine?), and (2) there are several areas where there clearly is more to the story than meets the eye. You know, it's almost as though they were planning on a longer series but only got approval for one cour. Evidently this was enough of a hit that the second season got greenlit.
I remember watching a bit at "bad anime night" at my friend's house. I thought it was good at the time, but I just finished it today, 2 years later. The positive feelings I had towards the show were probably contextual.
It was really painful to watch. It might have been because I stick to dubs, but the English translation was really irritating. The lines sounded like they had been run through a translation program, nothing like what an actual person might say. Soundtrack was good though; I think the singer also sang as Ranka from Macross F.
The story sucked, there's no other way to phrase
it. They'd hint at something important then make it seem inconsequential the minute after, but part of that could be attributed to how badly the characters, especially main character was written. There's no way to take the plot seriously with how oddly Madoka acts. The other two girls weren't as bad, they could have fared better in another show. Lan was the biggest reason I was able to get through the latter episodes.
Nothing stood out, except the beautiful and detailed sky shots with their expressive and colorful clouds, nothing was too outstanding. The characters were clear and understandable, you knew their pasts and the reason for the things they did, but you didn't care. The story left us with questions at the end, I myself had 5 of them. The second season is likely going to answer these questions but I didn't find the story engaging enough to continue watching. The story couldn't decide if it wanted to lean more towards being a funny show or a serious one and because of this failed at both.
had potential, the first episode was one of the best first episodes I have ever seen. The beautiful background art with the catchy music, adding to that funny and mysterious characters, it got my attention from the very beginning. The characters later on proved to be boring - from episode 4 or so, I couldn't sympathize with them anymore and started not caring about what happens to them. Despite the numerous questions left unanswered, the story was decent, however it wasn't good enough to carry the show through.
The characters felt like a decent looking meal that had no taste, not enough emotional attention was given to their past and their feature actions didn't quite had the punch. The reason for all of this, I believe, is because the show couldn't decide what it wanted to do. It didn't wanted to be too heavy on emotions and decided to have comedic moments, but it couldn't juggle both at the same time. The characters were not sympathetic because they didn't went full on with the emotions, the comedy failed because they started sneaking in half-arsed emotions that were incomplete due to the comedic nature of the show. It is fine to have comic characters that act as a stress relief, which release the tension, but when the overall mood of the show leans towards to comedy more then drama, everything mixes together and nothing gets properly done.
If the show had anything outstanding it was the music and the background art, they were top notch, it always caught my attention. Especially the clouds, they were drawn beautifully with great detail, their color popped up and grabbed your attention. The shadows and the overall shading of objects was well done.
With its decent story that left many questions behind, and the unsympathetic characters that were well understood but couldn't fully express themselves due to the comedic and light nature of the show, it is possible to think that the show would be pretty bad.
But it is still possible to enjoy it. Instead of looking for a story or trying to understand their past, if one instead focused on the present and just watches over the friendship between the characters, their relationships and interactions, then it is possible to enjoy it. At the end, the overall theme of the show is friendship and how it can win through any hardship, so if you are up for it, give these girls and their relationship a chance.