Apr 11, 2010
Nyron (All reviews)
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.