In the future, an organization called the GGP has taken control of the world. Rin Ogata was a promising up-and-coming ballet dancer, but suffered a serious injury while dancing and decided to quit. Years later in college, she comes across a club building and soon finds herself intrigued by a transforming motorcycle-like robotic vehicle called a "Rideback". She soon finds that her unique ballet skills with balance and finesse make her a born natural on a Rideback. However, those same skills also get her into serious trouble with the government.
Rideback tells the story of Ogata Rin, a ballet prodigy who, due to an injury, was forced to stop practicing ballet. Rideback also tells an alternate future story about a world government, the GGP, against the terrorist group BMA. These two seemingly unrelated plotlines come together and quite possibly make Rideback one of the best show to come out of the Winter 2008 anime season.
The first thing that caught my eye when I saw Rideback was the quality of the animation. The CG work in this show is amazing. From the very first episode to the very last episode, the Ridebacks were given extremely fluid
animation and modeling, almost to the point of realism. I found it very neat to not have to suspend my disbelief too much at the Ridebacks, since they were animated so well. The character designs and movement were also done quite nicely, and having the show air in HD helped a lot. Madhouse did a fantastic job of creating a living, breathing, alternate universe Tokyo in the year 2020.
The second thing that caught my eye, or in this case, my ears, were the sound and the music. Music composer Takafumi Wada went all out, mixing techno, classical, and heart-thumping action pieces throughout the show. The music really coordinated with the scenes, especially during the action sequences along with the soliloquy sequences. The opening song is a jumble of Engrish, but once you figure out the lyrics, it creates a nice motif to the show. The ending song is a slow ballad, which goes nicely with the slideshow of solemn redemption scenes.
The characters, given the time constraint of the show, were given enough development for the audience to care for. We get to see Ogata Rin's desires and motivations, the BMA's desires and motivations, and we are able to empathize with them. However, many secondary characters were one dimensional and only appear in the show to create plot devices. Sadly, with only 12 episodes, these characters were unable to become fully fleshed out. We can only see the police chief as only "the police chief," the reporter as only "the reporter," and the Rideback club members as only "the Rideback club members."
The story is also a mixed bag. Frankly, Rin's soliloquies were much more fascinating than the game of cat and mouse between the terrorists and GGP. Madhouse, however, did a fantastic job to meld the two storylines together. I can see why some people would scoff at sudden climax in the last episode, or at the disregard for physics in some of the action scenes. But all in all, the story provides a nice tinge of sentimentalism, which is not overbearing or underwhelming. The allegory between Rin's Fuego and her desire to continue ballet is done very well, I must say.
When I started watching Rideback, I didn't know what to expect, other than awesome animation. After finishing it, I found out that it had a little of everything: political intrigue, amazing action scenes, intense ballet, and lesbian tendencies. On Anidb's comments for Rideback, some people have complained that this show is all animation, no quality. I must politely disagree. Most shows hit you over the head with repeated symbolism. Rideback, however, does it with style, by layering the symbolism with multiple story backdrops. I recommend this show highly to those who enjoy action and mecha series in general, and to those who like to see quality coming-of-age stories.
I forgot to mention that the voice acting in this show is superb, especially commendable is Nana Mizuki as Ogata Rin. I want to end by imploring whoever is reading this not to get discouraged by Anidb comments, and give Rideback a chance. I was quite glad I did.
What do you do when you fall down? Do you get back up and continue what you are doing? Or do you simply wait for someone to come along and pick you up?
In a futuristic Japan where vehicle's know as Ridebacks are all the rage Ogata Rin must try to pick herself up from ruining her career as one of Japan's finest dancers.
Rin herself may be one of the best things to come out of Rideback, as she is a terrific main lead. Throughout the entire series she tries to come in gripes with herself, and why she does the things she does.
Why is it that when she rides Fuego does her heart pound so much? Why did I make that jump? Why in all of these flames do I feel truly alive? These are the type of questions she ask's herself throughout the series, and her coming into gripes and realization of each of the answers is truly a wonderful journey.
Rin is most definitely a rare character, but sadly that's all this show has to offer in terms of characters. Unfortunately all of the characters are nothing more than one-dimensional cut outs used simply to move the plot forward. You never get to know any of the characters, on really any level, other than their purpose inside the context of the plot. Which is definitely a draw back, from an otherwise great show.
One of Rideback's successes is that it's plot is believable. I am not talking about the motorcycle's with arms. No I am talking about how everything comes together. How Rin comes into mix with the terrorist organization and why she becomes wanted by the GGP. It's brought together, by a couple of really believable coincidences. Rin getting caught in the middle of this doesn't feel forced at all. On the contrary, it actually feels like she got caught in the middle of everything.
However, just because everything comes together in a believable way does not forgive the very shaky plot of Rideback. The problem with Rideback is that it's only 12 episodes long. I think that a longer series would've benefited Rideback a lot more. The viewer never fully understands what happens in the show. Why is the BMA leader want revenge so bad? It's clear he was screwed over, but how? Why? Who is this mysterious lady who seems to have the answers? Why is she helping take down the government she works for? The anime itself is full of questions that never get answered. If this series was extended and had the time to answer, explain and expand on everything already present that this anime would have truly been a masterpiece. But alas it's 12 episodes holds it back and keeps it an average level.
The two biggest successes of Rideback have to the art and soundtrack. Both entirely entrancing and add so much more depth to this series. The animation of Rideback is breathtaking. The character designs are top notch, and the background visuals will leave you in a state of awe at just how beautiful they are. The Rideback animation is flawless and the action sequences done with the Rideback have so much detail in them that they will raise your heart levels tenfold.
The soundtrack in anime(Outside of Mells consistent bad English in the opening) is fantastic. From the adrenaline pumping techno to the beautiful piano scores. The OST adds a depth to this anime that the story and characters weren't able to. It adds so much emotion as Rin tries to figure out who she is, and really gets your heart pumping every time she gets on a Rideback. Truly one of the better Sound Tracks out there.
Unfortunately do to the jumbled messed of the plot and lack of any character depth(Outside of Rin} leaves this anime easy to forget and easy to pass by. It's a good anime, but at the end of the day that's it. The stunning visuals and beautiful OST does not make up for the other area's that are lacking. Rideback is definitely worth a watch, but don't go in expecting to find one of the rare gems of this decade.
This is the first review I ever wrote. And there is just one reason for it. I am pissed off. Completely.
In the first episode, I was heads over heels in it. I breathed, smelled and laughed with RideBack. That delirious-like state continued for a few more episodes, even intensified. I was sure right then that this is the best anime I have watched in a long time now. And then came the cold shower.
I should probably mention that I finished watching the last episode 5 minutes ago. So I might not be the most rational being at the moment. The promise and the letdown are
the biggest two I have ever faced when watching basically anything up until now. The emotions portrayed as she stopped dancing, the feeling of pure joy and life as she discovers RideBack.. It was like I was watching a creation of universe. Immense, deep and indescribable. Ofcourse the story goes on, but the biggest disappointment for me were Rin's emotions, intentions and willpower. She is able to give up something she loves more than anything else just because circumstances changed. She hurt her leg. She managed to hurt someone else by some miracle. No, no, can't do. Let's stop. A nap sounds so much better. Bullshit.
So, she discards it all, never to do it again, then does it all over again for someone else's sake. Imagine this scenario in a different setting. You absolutely love playing basketball. Nothing else like it. A friend of yours manages to get hurt badly. And yes, it was caused by you, since he was coming to see you play and a car hit him. And now you decide never to play basketball again because it made someone you love get hurt. Wtf? Oh, I forgot to mention that even tho you swore never to play it again, you still do it in the end because that friend wants to see you play. So you play for him and not for yourself anymore, appearing saint-like. Not even allowing yourself to enjoy it as before. Seriously, there is not much more that could be piss me off than this whole charade. Bah.
As for other topics.. Animation is amazing. CGI fits in well, the scenes and background are simply amazing.
Story is mediocre, but it works. There are some untied ends, but it was enough to hold everything together without flinching.
Sound department I think lacked. The soundtrack could be amazing, but it was just something that goes along with everything..
Characters. You might have read my initial pissed-off complaints about some aspects, but I was generally happy with everyone. Else.
Also, I shoulfd mention, I would rate this by the end of first few episodes as almost 10. Judging purely by personal enjoyment. Then it just went downhill. The are freaking lucky that they had a scene with panties twice! Look, RideBack is like one sport at which your panties would be on display ALL THE TIME if you were doing it in skirt. Which Rin manages to do alot. But they always chose perspective that obscures them. The wind was also behaving non-windy. Really stupid details, but as they keep repeating over and over again, it gets to be really annoying. But there are two scenes in which they managed to give a split second pantie-shot. I am a pervert, sure, but here are the basic laws of physics being denied. The barely managed to get out of that spot by that maybe one second altogether. Meh. Btw, they are white and really plain looking. Enjoy your spoiler.
This series could have worked better if it was entirely focused on how Ridebacks influenced Rin's character instead of the focus on corruption from a military-driven government and terrorist activity. For the most part, Rideback does do a decent job in exploring the development of Rin's character as she finds herself taking an interest in the vehicle as a replacement for her lost interest in ballet. As she becomes entangled in the military-terrorist conflict and realizes the original use of Ridebacks, Rin becomes disillusioned in the show's second half as she comes to grips over what would make her happy in spite of the hardships
she has come to deal with.
On the other end of the coin though, the military/ terrorist conflict comes across as rather flat. Both the GGP and BMA factions don't get much in the way of fleshing out other than we know they have their own radical agendas and come across as morally corrupt. Beyond Rin, there isn't much fleshing out provided of most other characters within the series as they only serve as supporting characters among Rin's friends or represent the GGP and BMA, many of whom serving to influence the development of Rin's character. The series also often gets in the annoying habit of having situations occur rather conveniently with Rin or other characters whenever they get in trouble as they are quite saved in the nick of time.
Visually, Rideback does have a slick presentation with highly detailed and lush shots of urban environments and the Ridebacks being almost lifelike in appearance as they are rendered in CG animation. Scenes with Ridebacks in action are very fluid and pleasing on the eyes to see onscreen, especially in some elaborate sequences whenever Rin is on a Rideback fleeing from GGP forces. Music in the series mostly consists of light instrumental pieces with the OP being a nice techno track, all of which go along well in conveying Rin's developments.
Overall, Rideback does do decent with its character exploration with Rin while lacking quite a bit in its political focus on the GGP/ BMA conflict. While it was entertaining to see the premise concerning Ridebacks, the series is marred by enough flaws where I can't picture myself wanting to see it again anytime soon.
Nothing gets the blood pumping like a high-intensity race, be it in a car, bike, or even mecha suit. Youthful passion and energy fuel these shows about drivers, pilots and athletes all striving for that #1 spot. As Ricky Bobby once famously said, "If you ain't first, you're last".
Admit it! You really do wish you could burn rubber on a 2-wheeled beauty, as you race through neon-lit Tokyo streets. Speed demons may need to check out some of the following motorbikes in anime in order to get their adrenaline rush!