Rinne no Lagrange – 02 Review

Oh. My. God. That explains everything… It explains why she knows so much about mechas, it explains why she knows so much about aliens and it explains why Madoka drowning ten years ago is such an important event. Clearly all the plot-related stuff happened below the surface of the ocean!

Rinne no Lagrange 02 – Being A Mecha-Pilot Is Only Fun When You’re Not Saving The World

Rinne no Lagrange didn’t have the most interesting first episode. A lot of stuff in that episode was weird and confusing and this episode while being more solid than the previous one showed me that this series wants to be funny while telling you the oh-so-serious story of a intergalactic war. Obviously Madoka isn’t really the stuff serious characters are made of and I have to admit that I have a hard time taking her serious scenes… serious. She just doesn’t seem like the character to get all poetic and melodramatic because of some boys in space playing with their mechas. If only the rest of the cast would be as straight-forward as Madoka… When she noticed that she was the victiom of the forgotten-past-trope she directly asked her sister about it because that’s what normal people would do. But no, the sister can’t be bothered to answer and make this plot lose a revelation-episode in the second half…

After Madoka has defeated her first opponent she hears that she has to go on a second mission. While feeling tricked she wanders off since she tries to call back her sister and her mobile phone has no signal. That way she bumps into Muginami, the third pilot, but before they can talk Lan finds Madoka and brings her back. Lan apologizes to Madoka for bringing her here but Madoke is set on doing the mission.
As she pilots the mecha again to oppose the new arriving mecha she’s full of doubts since she learned how much depends on her performance which leads to her initially losing the fight. But getting a call from her sister she recovers and beats the other mecha. But before she can decide the fight another mecha appears.

Wait, what’s wrong with her being a marine archaeologist? I’ve thought that made her special and all that stuff in this setting…

I believe many people would believe that since I complain so often about animes being stupid or retarded in some way or other that I prefer everything to be a cerebral rollercoaster-ride. The thing is, though, that often animes don’t quite see the difference between the wish to entertain and the wish to tell a story. Sometimes it’s the simplest kind of story that will provide the best entertainment. Sometimes you just want to see the good side win the day while having fun. A story, though, just can’t be fun only, a story always has to be more than that, there’s a certain mood it has to evoke, a certain type of character has to be the center of attention and a certain kind of message has to be delivered. If a series worries about all this it just can’t be simple fun. But in the case of Rinne of Lagrange I wish it would be just that.
When it comes to mood, atmosphere or whatever you want to call it, it’s always a bit difficult to pinpoint exactly what a series does right or wrong. One thing that often gets mentioned together with it is the issue of transition. Are funny scenes clearly distinguishable from serious scenes? And I think Rinne no Lagrange has a problem with that. It’s not that you can’t see what scenes are supposed to be serious and which are supposed to be funny but this second episode had a bit of a problem with timing. I saw a funny scene finishing still having this sense of the mood being laid-back and whatnot but the next scene immediately starts changing the mood which led to some rather unintended funny scenes in my case. In one moment Madoka is all crazy-funny and then she has a serious dialogue with the blue alien-girl and it was difficult for me to predict whether this would be another crazy scene of Madoka stupidly laughing about the seriousness of the situation or whether she would start getting all virtuous and so on. Her character seems so extreme and exaggerated in the funny scenes that it’s quite hard to picture her getting sentimental in the more serious scenes.
And Madoka is quite a dominant character in this show. Her character isn’t very deep or something like that but the other characters quite pale in comparison to her. Often Madoka’s actions determine whether a scene is funny or not and she’s also the only one to be vivid enough to make scenes fun. The other characters seem a bit underdeveloped and play these little roles which allows little room for individuality. When this scientist –guy on the “good side” speaks he might as well say “I’m actually evil” and the third red partner of Madoka doesn’t seem to have much of a brain either to do something meaningful in this show.
The setting is also a bit of a problem. I don’t have a problem with the series not wanting to have complex discussions about it at this point, especially since they have a flashback-trope for the revelations to use. But these boys in space just go on and on with their setting-babbling – which makes no sense to me at this point. I can guess what it vaguely means but hell, can’t they stop doing that? I get it, they aren’t completely evil, they have their reasons – but stop talking about it as if I would know what they are actually talking about? These dialogues don’t give me anything and they aren’t good enough to make me remember them. For that this series would’ve to learn how subtlety works in storytelling. And that’s why I said that this series is better when it just tries to be simple fun. This whole story of not saying what’s really going but shoving that information into my face as if I were blind and deaf is really irritating.

I have to admit I really laughed in this moment… The commander is having this dramatic talk with the alien-scientist, doubting his true loyalties and all that. But then this woman turns around and says completely serious: “Captain. The pilot has run away.” Just this, nothing like “We have a problem” or stuff like that, just the pure ridiculous fact that the most important person of the mission is running away and she says it like it’s the most normal thing in the world.

This show is actually the answer to those mecha-shows of the old days, I think. I mean those old shows where it was all about the boyish main-character becoming a “proper man” with bravery and all that nonsense. This version just changed the main-characters gender but one can’t deny that Madoka reminds one of those stupidly bold and passionate heroes. Of course it’s not really old-fashioned, if it were so it would be a guy piloting that mecha to begin with. But (at least I hope so) Madoka’s character is all about showing guts to do what she thinks needs to be done. When she gives up under the pressure of being responsible for the whole world’s safety she doesn’t get some preachy speech about “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” instead her sister says to her something like “Goddammit, stop slacking off!”. And that’s the kind of fun which are the basis of the best scenes in this episode. I wish the series would make that the general tone of the series instead of just one half of it. Because the other half is just too generic to really leave much of an impression on me.

I liked the second episode better than the first. It may not be the most thorough plot you will ever encounter but Madoka is a good main-character to make the scenes she’s in enjoyable. Regrettably the other characters are also not as much fun as she is which makes dialogues overall not that interesting. The story though is still mostly a mystery delivered with a sledgehammer, meaning you don’t know what’s going on but that doesn’t stop the series from rubbing that fact into your face again and again. The good soundtrack and animation together with Madoka’s character offer at least some short-lived fun at this point.

Episode-Rating: 6,5/10


About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on January 16, 2012, in Anime, Reviews, Rinne no Lagrange and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Fantastic review!


  2. For some reason, I kept drawing strange and unrelated comparisons of this Madoka with the other Madoka. And kept thinking that this girl will make perfect Incubator Bait….


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