Madoka Kyouno is an energetic girl who is full of passion. As the proud, and only, member of the Kamogawa Girls' High School Jersey Club, she goes around helping people in need.
Madoka's life is turned upside down when she is suddenly asked by a mysterious girl named Lan to pilot a robot. Motivated by her desire to protect the people and city of Kamogawa, Madoka agrees to pilot the resurrected Vox robot to fight against extraterrestrials that have come to attack Earth.
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"
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!
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