It’s been a while since my last post. Around a month, in fact. Through-out February, I took something of a break from anime. I’ve been keeping up with One Piece, but that’s about it. This wasn’t a planned thing, either. I just stopped watching anime.
Winter hasn’t helped, either. Although a notoriously poor time for anime anyway, there’s usually something to keep me ticking over until April. Last year, it was Madoka, this year so far, there’s simply nothing of that calibre (a high bar, admittedly.) I’m vaguely interested in Nisemonogatari, but until I’ve seen Bakemongatari, I’m stuck.
All I’ve been left with, then, is long-shots. I’ve heard a lot about how Mouretsu Pirates is decent, but nothing about it so far has caught my eye. And with Noitamina continuing to shit the bed, that was me done with anime in February.
I’m sitting here today, though, intending to write about Rinne no Lagrange. Not exactly the season’s critical darling, but then, I’m quite liking it.
So, old friend, let’s get started, shall we?
Why Rinne no Lagrange, then? Because it looks so bloody vibrant, of course! I knew absolutely nothing of this series until last Thursday, when I came across some images of episode 8. It just looked so colourful and bright, and that was all I needed. Yes, I’m seriously that superficial. I started watching Honey & Clover all those years ago for the same reason. Apparently I like bright colours in my anime.
Let’s not fool ourselves, though. There are some serious drawbacks to Lagrange that, I would suggest, can be put down to the era in which it’s being made. It’s a problem best symbolised by a character we meet in episode 8; a perverted gothic lolita who, as it turns out, is in control of everything; mine eyes were rolling. Also, in episode 7, a swimming suit-clad girl is covered in eels. The problem, obviously (and as ever, sadly,) is fan-service.
There are a lot of parallels with Gunbuster here, except that whilst Gunbuster was made in 1988, Lagrange is a product of 2012. Those 20+ years make a lot of difference: Lagrange has that same mixture of fan-service and mecha action, but the balance is off.
There’s not enough hot-blooded action, no character manly enough to be voiced by Norio Wakamoto and, as yet, no real sense of sacrifice. It could be improved tenfold by introducing something like time dilation, but the series is instead bogged down in modern anime tropes and some all too obvious, embarrassing winks to the audience: the disease of modern anime, then, claims another victim.
It’s a shame because there’s a good story waiting to happen in Lagrange. I love the idea of an all-powerful, long-feared mecha, of a God machine capable of destroying civilisations. It’s a really cool sci-fi concept that I’ve loved ever since reading about Ideon and Lagrange achieve can achieve that same kind of planet-busting scale; a flashback to a character’s youth growing-up in an apocalyptic wasteland was proof enough that it’s capable of a deeper/darker perspective.
Not that darker is always better, mind; I quite like the series’ sense of fun, I just crave some balance. Lagrange has 24 episodes planned and it’s more than capable of stepping up its game. I live in hope, always, but the one thing we can rely on, at least, is the colourful, fluid, consistent animation, and if you’re as superficial as me, you’re in for a treat.