Monday, May 23, 2011
"Dancing In The Sun" - Rideback (anime) - 8/10 Flowers
I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can't be helped. ~Frederick Perls
Review Status: Complete (12 Episodes/12 Episodes)
Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US.
Art/Animation: Thirteen episode runs usually don't get the budget that they probably should, but Madhouse did it again! With some astounding CG (though it can seem somewhat out-of-place occasionally), and smooth, wonderfully done animation, several scenes in this rival the best- definitely worth spending the time to see!
Dub Vs. Sub: There is no dub.
Summary: Ogata Rin, an aspiring ballerina, is injured and unable to dance any longer. She joins the Rideback club to try and remake her life, but falls into the crossfire between the GGP and the rebels, and must find a way to survive as those around her are also pulled into the conflict.
Review: Aw, man, what do I say about this one?
I don't really know. Um... Characters! That's always a good place to start. Well, first off the designs were a bit off-putting- until I got used to them. With elongated faces and rather gangly bodies, it wasn't the standard design. But, like with Romeo x Juliet, once I had watched partway into the first episode I got accustomed to them. Now I can't imagine the characters looking any other way. As for the characters themselves, the only one you get to know really well is the protagonist, Ogata Rin, and how she came to be riding the Ridebacks. It was a bit of a shame, though. The series was only 13 episodes, but it could have- should have- run for a few more. Crunching a 10-volume manga into a 12-episode anime rarely works out well.
Music-wise, I want the ED song badly. I want it so badly I can almost taste it. The rest of it, while nothing spectacular, is still quality work. There is no time at which it fails to properly convey the mood, and at the important scenes it becomes ear candy. Soft piano is the name of the game, with a bit of techno-rock thrown in. A bit of a mixed bag, but nice all the same. The sore spot for me? The opening. The first episode didn't have subtitles, so I ASSUMED they were speaking, for the most, part, in another language. And I enjoyed it. Nope! It was just really, really bad Engrish. I cringed and plugged my ears after I saw the lyrics. You might, too.
The story itself is tight. There is no filler. Rin joins the Rideback club, saves a friend, is mistaken for a terrorist... Yeah. As much as I hate to say this, there should have been a few more episodes. I would have liked for the story to go more into the friendships developing in the Rideback club- it seems like everybody becomes friends really fast (though that can happen in times of trouble)- and some more info on what's happening between the GGP and Japan. They tried to make it clear, they really did, but I still did not get the finer points of things- like why the GGP was in Japan in the first place.
Of course, those things really aren’t what the show is about in the end- it’s about Rin and her mother, her struggle with her mother’s memory, and breaking away from those expectations and disappointments to become her own person- essentially what the last episode is saying. It does seem to come out from the background at the last second, but nevertheless is uplifting to see.
Overall, this is one I would highly recommend to anybody- this is one that, had it been less crunched for time, would have been a classic. Still is, in my opinion, if only for the first 11 episodes.
Recommended: 13+. There really is very little objectionable content here- perhaps a glimpse of undies as Rin flies into the sky on her Rideback (once), and later in the series, a dear friend is implied to not only be injured, but killed by the GGP. None of it is shown.
Other titles you might enjoy:
Macross Frontier (anime)
Rainbow (anime and manga)
Planetes (manga and anime)
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge (manga)
King of Thorn (manga)