Rinne no Lagrange is a great show, but unfortunately suffers from a lacking ending.
Title: Rinne no Lagrange
TV Series; 24 Episodes
Genre: Action, Comedy, Mecha
Produced: Production I.G.
Rinne no Lagrange is just an overall “fun” show. And while it has other things going for it, which I will go into greater detail later, I find that it is this “fun” factor that keeps the show enjoyable. The story itself was interesting enough. What started off as a typical “kid pilots robot” story quickly evolved into one of interstellar strife spanning dozens of millennia. There never was a moment when I wasn’t looking forward to the next episode to find out how the Jersey Club pulls through its latest struggles. But as great as the ride was, I found the ending to be rather lackluster. There were just too many things left unresolved or unexplained.
In particular, there was just something “off” about the entire final arc. Everything had been all hunky-dory up until the “resolution” of the interplanetary conference. And then Dizelmine had to renege on his word to find a peaceful solution to the Polyhedron problem, making all the previous developments seem pointless. The absurdity of the Polyhedron problem itself can be brushed off with a little suspension of disbelief, but the sudden twist and the set-up of Moid as the “final boss” was very poorly poorly executed and honestly unnecessary. I personally thought that the show could have done better by instead focusing on the Jersey Club and the respective members’ plans for the future.
Now, that’s not to say that the series couldn’t have attempted the premise of the final arc. It certainly had the potential to answer the questions we had about the Rinne, and perhaps that’s what the producers had in mind. Except they didn’t pull it off properly. Instead, we were left with more even more questions and a sour taste in our mouths. Moid’s identity aside, his motives for triggering the Rinne again were very unconvincing. Even the circumstances of his “demise” were dissatisfying and unexplained. After all he put the Polyhedron through, I thought we would at least get to see Madoka confront and beat some sense into him. Instead, he just fades away? I was as surprised as he was when that happened.
Aside from my gripe with the final arc and ending, though, I would say that the rest of Rinne no Lagrange is fairly solid. The ending of the “first half” before the break also had a sort of “well that escalated quickly, now what?” feel, but that could be forgiven since the series was slated to continue. Overall, the mostly lighthearted feel of the show, despite its serious moments, made for a very entertaining watch.
Rinne no Lagrange certainly had some very engaging characters. The main trio aside, it was nice to see the antics of the Ovid pilots. Perhaps one of my favorite moments in the entire show was when Izo decided to challenge Madoka to a duel. The misunderstanding with the other Kamogawa girls and Kirius meeting Madoka without realizing it were some of the funniest character interactions I had ever seen. But of course, the show always made sure to balance its comedy with a good measure of seriousness, which is one of its strengths in my eyes. All of the characters had their own issues, which were believable and drew us further in to the story without coming off as overly dramatic.
The revelation that Youko-nee looked up to Madoka’s mother as much as Madoka looked up to her is one such example of the great character developments in the show. Learning that the Jersey Club that Madoka was inspired by, and inherited, was actually founded by Youko to help herself cope with the death of Madoka’s mother really gave us a fresh perspective on how fragile yet strong the characters are. In fact, this “cycle of support” really resounds with the strong “circle” theme present in show (maru!). I could go on and on about all the different characters and how they interact with each other (take Dizelmine and Vilajulio for instance), but that would just be excessive. Suffice it to say that the developments between the characters, as well as individually, are one of the stronger points of the show.
Oh boy. This is actually one of those shows that has music I enjoy. I remember watching the first half of the show and being immediately impressed by both the opening and ending themes. This doesn’t happen everyday. Sometimes I might like one or the other, but most times neither particularly catch my ear. The fact that the first opening went on to be incorporated as bgm only further increased my enjoyment of the show. And that’s not all. The ending of the second half took things up a notch with its sublime horn section and upbeat pseudo-rap. If I had to describe the song with one word, I would definitely have to go with “funky”. The best part is, the whole song actually consists of three sections, each sung by a different heroine. Getting to hear three different takes on the song was a very nice touch, and the transitions between each of them were just as catchy.
Moving on to visuals, Rinne no Lagrange is very obviously well-done. I didn’t notice any dips in quality at all, but perhaps that’s to be expected of Production I.G. They do have a reputation for high quality, after all. Everything from the Voces to the space ships to even the Rinne itself looked absolutely top-notch. One thing of particular note, though, is the color palette. I’m not quite sure what it is, but the show always had this sort of weird tinge to it. It’s hard to describe, but I guess the closest thing I can come up with is that there was a “washed-out” effect. This isn’t a bad thing, though. If anything, it gives the show a really stylized feel that sets it apart from most other anime I’ve watched. Long story short, it’s a little weird at first, but I like it.
Rinne no Lagrange is easily one of my favorite shows of all time. It’s obviously not perfect, and unfortunately suffers from “bad ending syndrome”, but almost everything else about it is very well done. Catchy music? Check. Consistently high quality? Check. Engaging characters? Check. The list goes on, but I digress. If you’re looking for a show that will grab your attention and keep it, then Rinne no Lagrange fits the bill.
Guest Final Review
When Rinne no Lagrange’s first series aired, I wasn’t yet watching any current anime. But when the second series was announced for the Summer season, I took the opportunity to catch up, and boy was I glad I did. This show just makes you feel good. For the majority of the show, there aren’t any “bad guys” or “good guys” everyone’s just a “guy” (and that includes all the girls, too). Even the guys who appear to be bad guys are always turning and being just guys. Almost every character who was introduced initially seemed bad, but turned out to just be themselves. And that was really a nice thing about the show. And while the overall problems that faced the heroes in the show were very large – things like worlds being destroyed and interstellar wars – it always was grounded and easy to grasp, mostly through the way it’s always related to the main character, Madoka.
Normally I don’t care that much for Giant Mecha anime, but in RnL, the giant robots are less of a plot device and more like additional characters. Some people might dismiss a lot of the show as Deus ex Machina, but that’s kind of the point of this show, and it handles it very well, with what feels like a true partnership between each Vox and its pilot. This is helped by the girls all renaming their respective machines. And while they never outright speak, they do show emotions and intentions, and really become full extensions of their pilots.
The story is lighthearted, and frequently is driven by Madoka’s straightforward approach to conflict resolution: make people talk about it, and if they don’t want to, smack some people into talking about it. She’s so earnest and forthright that she takes everyone else by surprise in their initial dealings with her, but they quickly come around to her way of thinking. It’s not the tightest plot ever, and frequently turns on coincidences and just “I want this to work out, so it will”, but it’s always fun and entertaining. The two main stories at the end of each season do just kind of fizzle, especially the first season, but this is mostly a trade: they don’t show everything that happens in order to show the followup.
Production values were great, from the appealing Vox design (flowing lines, graceful movements, even nice transformed “travel forms”) to the scenery of Kamogawa, where the whole series is set apart from a few brief forays into outer space or flashback scenes on the other planets. Character design was average, but never detracts from the show. Also, the OP and ED music was well selected, with fun songs by Megumi Nakajima for both in the first series, and a different Nakajima song for the OP of the second series, and the infectious “Jersey-bu Damashi” for the ED. It’s really a shame that the full single never plays during the series, because the concept and execution are just excellent, and the parts that get cut out for the individual ED cuts (one for each of the three main girls) multiply the fun of the song.
Overall, Rinne no Lagrange is a fun show to watch with a lot of action and some very inspiring characters. If everyone had a little more “Jersey-bu damashi”, the world would definitely be a much better place.