The year is AD 2225. Kouji Aiba and Aoi Housen are serving as astronauts in-training in Liebe Delta which is located on the edge of the Geduld Sea. When saboteurs with unknown intents suddenly strike during a routine dive procedure, the space station plummets into the Geduld, a plasma field that links all the planets like a nervous system and crushes any ship that strays too far into it. With all the adults onboard killed, the young astronauts will have to survive this long journey home in midst of the growing tension amongst each other. Meanwhile the organizers of the sabotage look on and prepare to attack once more.
Infinite Ryvius is essentially "Lord of the Flies" on a spaceship, although with students old enough to be in high school (surprise, surprise). Once the students are stranded without their teachers, in various hostile situations, the anime becomes a microcosm for the problem of governance. We have the authoritarians, we have the democrats, and everyone in-between. Most striking for me, about this series, was the slow descent from happy-go-lucky "let's try our best at being space heroes" to chaos, mob-rule, and abuse of power. Having gone to teachers college, I'd hazard that many students would do well to watch this anime,
just to gain an understanding of the different political systems that countries choose to adopt (often for reasons mirrored in this series).
For me, what made the characters interesting wasn't so much their innate personalities, but the way they handled the situations around them. Ultimately that is what defines the cast in this series. After all, many people find their true colours emerge in life-or-death situations, and I took a strange pleasure in seeing everyone change, stay the same, or reveal their true selves as everything began to crumble. While some of you might think about boys running amok doing all sorts of bad things, the instance that disturbed me the most involved perpetrators from my own gender. There are no groups in this anime that can easily be seen as victims or oppressors... everyone loses their grip a bit. We are all human, and there are no monsters to blame everything on.
The production, though nothing earth-shaking, adequately supports the story and characters, such that I never felt myself cringing due to quality issues. Certainly we're not taking about a Miyazaki film here, but we spend so much time listening to dialogue that it never grated on me.
Infinite Ryvius is a look at the politics of a confused society under threat. Any student of history or politics would do well to watch this title. For those non-politically inclined, you might find yourselves drawn in by the character drama, thinking a lot about the world you live in, and that's always a good thing, hmm? What would you do in the same situation? I think I'd probably cry, but then, that's why I watch anime instead of actually piloting space ships. ^_~
I've seen a lot of overrated and over-hyped animes here, but this has to be one of the few who's underrated, and one that should really be in the Top10 of Top100.
Strange but this anime seems to be the only one that all the people who rated it liked and respect it, even the ones that gave it an average 7 think this is a really good anime, but just gets dragged down by animation and the really depressive story, in their opinion, i happen to like the animation and the story.
This anime has one visible flaw but the good points more than make up
for it. The only flaw i can see, and the one that drove people off from this anime even before they gave it a chance is the animation that looks like it came out of the early-mid 90's. Sure the fighting scenes don't look so spectacular and there are no majors CG effects, but the animation is still capable of inflicting a few WOOWWs and i find the space battles more intriguing from the logic and realism point of view a lot better than in Gundam, and if you'll watch the show you'll know what i mean.
The character design is that semi-realistic mid 90's Evangelion like style, no pink or blue hair, just the realistic colors you'll find in humans, Aeris Blue doesn't count since he has dyed hair. So overall i love the way they are drawn.
The sound is great, with nice music beats, even dough i didn't enjoy the OP theme to much, but i can't think of giving it a lower grade than 10 when it comes to voice acting. It has the best voice acting i ever came across, with voices so diverse and acting so realistic in all sorts of situation, from happiness, to anger, cry or desperation.
The plot is good and filled with nice and unpredictable twists and similar to the classic "Lord of the flies" but placed in a sf ground, so it's all about how a few hundred teenagers without adults to watch over them fight to survive. And belive me, the outside enemy isn't their own enemy, they are their worst enemy and as time passes things become more and more violent and desperate and the mood darker and darker.
So overall the story focuses on the human nature, on how people act in desperate situation and how these situations change their personalities, the fight for survival and acts of alliances, violence, backstabbing, emotions of all kinds from love, friendship to fear, hate, jealousy and self conservation. All put in an overall realistic and very detailed manner and very dark and dramatic that just keeps you wanting more. And this anime has a real ending, and i don't mean the short, forced conclusion, no, a hole episode in which you can see the aftermath of "no spoilers" the story, unlike most of the japanese animes.
The character development has to be the crown jewel of this anime, it has the best, most extensive and unexpected character development I ever seen. All the characters are taken care of, some are important from day one others that you'll never consider get a big importance after a while. I should warn you that there are about 26 characters that appear in every episode and have a real development, and that you might not like any of them in the end, but almost all change and at the end you'll never recognize them and you'll probably say "i never thought that he'll end up this way". Maybe you'll love some characters at first and then come to dislike then and the other way around.
Value and enjoyment:
This is one of the best, if not the best animes i've seen, and if you don't mind the animation you'll find a masterpiece of a story development, voice acting and character development...these are the three areas in which this anime could be the best of the best animes.
If you are a SF/psychology fan and you prefer story and character quality over animation quality then this is the BEST choice for you, but if you are a shallow person who just enjoys explosions and cool mechas and pantie shots then you better thing twice.
It is such a brilliant anime and yet so few people know of it, and why you ask? ... Well i guess this world is composed of shallow pantie shot, mega-exposion loverz since this show is so unknown and shows like DearS, Naruto or other top100 animes are soo famous.
The artistic presentation is definitely not the selling point of Infinite Ryvius. I'll state one of my major complaints with the show right off the bat: It is permeated by numerous elements that feel tenuously connected to the setting and the plot, and while the character designs aren't the worst offenders, they're a good visual representation of the problem. I can get behind the generic-but-acceptable “everyday kid” look of some cast members, and the spiffy flight uniforms worn by the group of elite pilots look halfway believable, but that's about as far as these designs could take me. It's hard to feel any sort of
grounded connection to a series that frequently features a girl who inexplicably wears a dinosaur costume on a training spaceship, an antagonistic boy who looks like an outcast from Naruto, or...well, whatever you want to call that pink nightmare ensemble that Neeya is wearing. You get used to the fantastic and the over-the-top in anime, but even by those standards, there are parts of this show's aesthetic repertoire that can only be described as absurdly out of place.
It's also worth mentioning that in addition to the design choices, the follow-through on the art and animation in Ryvius is lackluster at best. Stiff, jerky movements abound, and the character art, which is rough to start with, suffers noticeable degradation in quality at many points. The cinematography during some of the space battles is so poor that I genuinely don't think I would have been able to tell what was happening if not for the narration offered by the characters. Still-frames, poor transitions, reused footage—any technique that could shave a dollar off the cost of animation is used, and used frequently. On a more positive note, the space backgrounds aren't half bad, and the mecha and ship designs are pretty impressive in comparison to everything else.
I swear that I'm not trying to beat this show up based only on its technical side, but frankly, whoever thought that this musical score was a good idea deserves to be beaten up, figuratively and literally. To elaborate on that a little, I'll say that the soundtrack is unique—it's a mix of jazzy contemporary, soft atmospheric noise, and grandiose orchestra, all underscored by a distinct flair of hip-hop influence. That sounds strange on paper, and in this particular case, it isn't any better in practice. I've been impressed by hip-hop and electronic soundtracks in the past, but most of the music in Ryvius consists of simplistic beats that sound tinny and uninspired. One track features a man (who I can only assume was hard-up for cash at the time) repeatedly rapping the word “Ryvius.” I wish I could say I was kidding. It is one of the worst pieces of music that I have ever heard. The score has its high points, but they're few and far between; in general, it actively detracts from the show. Good integration is theoretically possible even with a sub-par soundtrack, but the music in Ryvius fails to jive with what's happening at any given point in time. Upbeat tracks play while people are panicking and dying, not just once, but with unerring frequency. Sometimes the music will start, barely manage to reach a point where it's noticeable, play for five or ten seconds, and then stop abruptly to match an awkward scene transition. My impression of the sound in Infinite Ryvius matches my impression of many other things in Infinite Ryvius: It's tacked-on and it feels unnatural.
The series hurries to introduce disaster; it takes all of two episodes to get to the “kids trapped on ship trying to stay alive” premise. The beginning is rushed, clearly, but it works; it breeds tension and arouses curiosity about how the situation will play out. It introduces the large cast, briefly but sufficiently, and tosses them all into the fray. But just as it gets to the point where the pot should start boiling, the series freezes. It has no idea what to do, and perversely, it brings some of its less convincing sci-fi elements to bear in a series of dreadfully uneventful mecha battles which mostly consist of the characters shouting inarticulate technobabble at one another. There's precious little indication that these battles have anything to do with the plot as a whole, and indeed, once the story is complete it becomes glaringly obvious that they serve almost no purpose other than to kill time. Isn't that an oddity; at the points where they occur, these fights lack the context to be suspenseful or engaging, but in retrospect, that context makes them seem silly and unnecessary. Nor do they appear to affect the characters in any way. You would think that these constant reminders of how tiny and mortal they are would drive the kids mad, but it seems like most of the character conflict pushing the story would have occurred with or without eight episodes worth of borderline junk.
Speaking of those characters, it's on their behalf that I can finally give the show some much-needed credit. The cast is huge, and individually they aren't the most complex bunch, but the show manages to juggle a pretty involving web of relationships that ends up bearing some rewards. There is a gritty and understated wit to the way the characters interact that I found myself appreciating more than anything else in the show—they mock each other gently, threaten each other softly, and on the rare occasions where they help each other, they do so with great humanity and sincerity. There is no clear-cut good or evil present in the series; everyone is an antagonist to someone, whether they know it or not. Some of them hate each other, but at the same time they recognize the need for one another. The ship's pilots don't like the thugs and the thugs don't like the pilots, but neither can exist without the other; they know it and it shows in the way they act, which is both clever and true to how a society really functions.
Ryvius also manages to generate a fair amount of effective drama by taking character archetypes and forcing them to react to adversity. The pushy, aggressive, prideful brother? Make him get overpowered by a stronger boy and turned into an unwilling underling, then see how he handles it. The peacemaking, kind-hearted girl who just wants everybody to get along? Make her the target of merciless violence, and see if she can still cling to her optimism. It isn't the most inspired or original formula, but it's played well enough here—even in the very early episodes, the series is careful to drop some subtle hints that everyone might not be who they initially appear to be, and some equally subtle hints that some of the cast are undergoing transformations, for better or for worse. Sometimes those transformations are a bit over-the-top, but I'll forgive that, because in general I found myself having just enough emotional investment in the characters to not want to see them break under pressure. In some of its human elements, at least, the series soundly struck the right note.
To get back to the story for a moment, I talked about the show's beginning and middle, but not about its last third or so, which is the most satisfying part. It's not perfect. It's a plot that definitely requires a stretch on the part of the viewer to appreciate. But the fact that the series actually manages to snap out of its lengthy funk and make something of a story that initially appears to be a complete mess is commendable. Not only do some of the science fiction aspects come full circle, but the show actually manages to draw a meaningful parallel between the unseen antagonists and the children they're targeting, which is a surprising and welcome turn of events. The last third of Ryvius makes all the difference in the world. It manages to pull the series out of the quagmire of mediocrity that the middle nearly drowned it in and breathe some life into it. There still isn't any excuse for the painful ineptitude I mentioned earlier, but that the writers actually managed to pull themselves together for the home stretch is nothing to sneeze at.
To pin down just what ails Infinite Ryvius: It's ambitious to a fault. There are way too many scarcely explained, grandiose sci-fi concepts placed alongside the comparatively grounded character interactions, and for the most part they end up feeling misplaced. Things like the Geduld, the destructive natural phenomenon that suddenly appeared in outer space, or the Sphixes, the beings which are associated with controlling the giant robots. Or the giant robots themselves, for that matter. Some of them do actually end up working, and when that happens they couple quite well with the show's human half. I can see what the series is going for, certainly, but if I had to pick a number, I'd say that it's sixty percent of the way there; not every thread is tied off, not every connection is firm. Its world just isn't made whole on the level that you'd expect a sweeping sci-fi to operate on. But I do think this show earns the privilege of at least some recognition, mostly on the basis of its characters and the way it manages to steer itself into a graceful ending. It does just enough right for me to give it the benefit of the doubt, and a cautious recommendation.
The story of Infinite Ryvius is developed well. The plot is fairly basic, a bunch of kids attending a space academy are involved in an accident and get stranded on a space vessel with no adults. However, they do a good job though at developing the story by showing all the ordeals and troubles that the kids go up against and more importantly how they affect each character's state of mind individually. A lot of drama and emotions are involved, there's a good fill of action, and even a nice touch of romance is brought into the mix. So overall, it's a pretty entertaining story
to follow. There's just a couple of things that might confuse you in the series as the story unfolds since a lot of it isn't explained thoroughly, but that just means you have to pay attention a bit more.
Obviously, due to Infinite Ryvius's air date, the art isn't exactly top notch. One thing I'd like to point out that I guess falls under the art category too though is that I was a little displeased with the mecha design, the mecha itself just looked kinda blah, unlike most mecha series where you have a really badass looking robot. That's one of my few complaints on the series. Other than that, I can't really complain too much about the animation due to its time.
I found the music fairly impressive. The OP and ED, especially the OP, had a really nice vibe and feel to them that complimented the show well. The background music was pretty good and would always intensify the situation, but luckily you do get that in most series. Same goes for the sound effects. I liked how at the middle of the episode, where it shows the title of the show and where I guess commercials would usually be, they made these cool music mixes, kinda reminding me of Samurai Champloo.
If only the characters designs were a tad better and more special, this would've gotten a 10. The cast of characters is vast, and each is highlighted somewhere throughout the series pretty well. They all encounter a variety of obstacles, and they display and give insight to so many contrasting emotions as the characters develope greatly. Obviously, some are focused on more than others, but to paint the brilliant picture that was painted with so many characters and in just 26 simple episodes, Infinite Ryvius is pretty remarkable in that aspect. All of the characters have a very 'real' feel too, if that makes any sense.
The enjoyment level of this series I would think probably varies from person to person, and what expectations you have going into it. I went into it simply with the desire to watch a decent space drama since I haven't seen much of the genre, and I got what I wanted, in fact I'm now looking into more similar series. But if you're going into this series thinking you're gonna get some awesome mecha action like Gundam, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. There is action involved, but it is certainly not the main focus. With that said, I feel Infinite Ryvius is a very enjoyable watch because of a lot of the stuff I have already mentioned. The bombardment of emotions, the series of unfortunate events that these kids have to deal with with practically no break, the betrayals, the violence between people, the desperate desire for survival, the new forming love relations, as well as the severing relations, and so on.