Hello there. This is review number eighteen of my quest to reach a thousand. It’s certainly not an easy task. I’m slowly making my way to the Winter 2011 anime. I realized I watched a majority of them so I am trying to clear the list. I regrettably discovered a mecha in the line up.
I’m not a fan of mecha ever since I saw Gundam Seed. I probably should’ve tried other gundam anime first but the damage has already been done. I now take a cautious approach to mechas so please bear with me on this one. If I avoid mecha, I realize that I probably won’t reach my one thousand review goal. So for my own personal growth I am reviewing Rinne no Lagrange. It’s a twelve episode mecha anime. Oh boy.
The story of Rinne no Lagrange revolves around Madoka Kyouno, who is an energetic girl 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 Aliens that have come to attack Earth.
Taking the Pants Off
I’m not a fan of mecha. It’s the only genre I’m not fond of watching. As I guy, I know it’s weird but I find little interest in mecha. It’s always the same old talk when it comes to mecha. A war is going on and robots are used to fight then a certain nobody would rise up the ranks and would suddenly be valuable to winning the war. The mecha genre can’t stray away from this old and done to death plot scheme. I’m no mecha expert so I wouldn’t know if they’ve done something distant from the plot device I mentioned. So far though, I have yet to see it.
So I’m not really that excited to try Rinne no Lagrange. Judging it by appearance, it certain looks like your run of the mill mecha anime. I don’t think it’ll really impress me. I had that mind set when I picked up this anime and I guess the anime did a good job of taking me by surprise.
The anime is indeed mecha but only five episodes show the robots fighting and saving the day. The rest of the anime focuses on Madoka and her school life. Madoka runs a “Jersey Club” and the club’s purpose is to help people in trouble. The anime usually revolves around that and the relationship formed between Madoka and the other two pilots.
I can already imagine those mecha fans to be pissed knowing that the anime is more of a School and Comedy genre. The mecha aspect serves as a secondary plot. So if you’re hoping for a gundam-esque adventure then I hope five episodes can satisfy you.
For someone like me though, who enjoys every other genre, it only made me like the anime more. The mecha aspect is nicely done though. An ancient robot calls for this girl to be its pilot. Aliens from another planet would seek an alliance with Earth, mainly Japan because all the cool stuff happens there, to stop a renegade Alien army in destroying the robots and invading Earth. Of course, these earth friendly aliens also have their own agenda. The backstory of the intergalactic war between the aliens is deep and full of interesting sub plots. The robots are also shrouded in mystery as an ancient legend talks about three beings that destroyed the Earth a long time ago. Those three beings believed to be the robots Madoka and her friend is piloting.
As you can see, the plot about the robots is interesting enough for the anime to stand on its own but the anime decides to mix in some shoujo aspects as well. Most of the anime revolves around Madoka. She is head strong, helpful, caring and full of determination. She helps a lot of people in need and she is popular in school. She would often be asked by other clubs to assist them on random problems. The story grows when the other pilots, Lan and Muginami, would move in the school and join Madoka’s club as well. The anime focuses on the bond the three girls would form and the trust the slowly build as they spend the days of peace together under the same house and under the same school.
I don’t really mind the mecha aspect taking a back seat to another genre. The girls themselves are interesting enough to keep the anime rolling. There is Madoka, the energetic girl who loves her town so much that she would risk her life to save it. There is Lan, the silver haired sexy girl who is a princess in her home world and a rather cold but caring girl. Lastly, there is Muginami who is a member of the alien rebellion army that wants to can earth but seeks happiness elsewhere when her “brother” kicks her out of the group. The girls’ interaction with one another and their close knit friendship slowly getting stronger is the true bread and butter of the anime. It’s really a nice set up even though the anime promises a more mecha induced plot.
I’d say there is balance to it. The mecha and the school genre are nicely balanced. Mecha fans may want to disagree but there is no denying that the plot is nicely developed and paced properly. Oh, there is also a smidge of fan service here. Madoka seems to enjoying stripping down to her swimsuit and the anime looks to focus on Lan’s lower body when she wears her sexy leotard-like gear. There are even some eel moments. You know the type, right? Some eels are groping a girl. Yeah, the anime added some of that too.
Besides the three girls, there are also a lot of nicely develop characters in the anime. Some of them are generic but majority of them helps the anime shine. Even the supposed villains are charming in this anime. I would’ve preferred a super evil baddie but a villain with a not so evil agenda is also acceptable. Some of the supporting casts shine as well. From Madoka’s cousin to the three alien guys learning about Earth and its customs to the little Lolita girl in yellow commanding people with her snobbish attitude.
There is a strong plot and a strong cast of characters, so even if you diss the anime for lacking mecha action, it still stands out as a nicely developed anime. The final episode leading up to its promised climax and resolution is a little bit disappointing. Maybe I’m just sad the anime ended. The twist in the anime isn’t really that impressive and the final battle wasn’t really that exciting. Aren’t you supposed to go no holds barred on a grand battle? The anime doesn’t as it ended pretty openly and teases for another season. Alas, there is a second season.
Sight and Sound
The anime utilizes CG in its mecha battles. The robots are computer generated the ships as well and so are some of the effects later in the series. Other than that, the anime doesn’t really stand out in terms of animation. I mean, the anime is mostly school themed so there is nothing to note animation wise. The mecha battles are pretty nice and certainly stand out. It really makes a mecha fan bite his lips asking why the anime didn’t focus on it much.
The character design isn’t all that impressive as well. They fall to the same generic ones that we’ve seen in other anime. It is a nice touch seeing the girls seminude. I guess that’s a huge plus.
The opening song is odd. It seems more fitting for a mahout shoujo anime instead of a mecha/school genre. I guess with the main cast being predominantly female, then the anime prefers to girl up the soundtrack. “TRY Unite!” by Megumi Nakajima certainly fits a mahou shou jo anime better in my opinion.
The same goes for the ending as well. “Hello!” by Megumi Nakajima. It is a nice song to listen too but the anime feels non mecha listening to it.
6/10 “A solid plot of the mecha and school genre. It’s a really enjoyable anime.”
Despite its short mecha battles, the anime is a nice one. From the sexy outfits to the wonderful display of friendship, the anime does a nice job of keeping the story interesting up until the end. I recommend it.