Monday, January 19, 2015

Rideback Series Review "Going Through The Motions To Find Purpose"

By: Kat "Comic Uno"

I am not a big anime fan, but recently I watch the 12 episode anime Rideback. I wanted to share my thoughts with you. So, here they are. 

Rin is the main protagonist of the series. She is just starting college, but Rin feels an emptiness in her life. Rin was a famous dancer living in her mother's shadow. A leg injury shatters her dreams in following her mother's footsteps. College is suppose to be the time of finding yourself and that is exactly what Rin plans on doing. 

She dorms with her best friend, Shoko, and makes new friends when she joins the Rideback club. Ridebacking is a new and upcoming sport. These vehicles are part robot and part motorcycle. Rin finds herself attached to a unique rideback called Fuego. 

With Rin's growing attachment to ridebacking she gets mixed in a war between the GCCP (police/government) and BMA (terrorists). As Rin suffers loss she also begins to find herself. Is she a dancer or something else? 

Overall I really enjoyed Rideback because of it's ultimate contradiction. Rin is a dancer who finds her meaning in life with a machine. Rin finds a quick connection with ridebacking. To be a good ridebacker you need to have balance and know your machine and with Rin's dance background she is able to pick up on this very quickly. 

The series has an underlining plot of war and government. Rin just happens to get stuck between this war. The world sees her as a terrorist when she tries to help her brother and best friend from trouble. Rin felt that she finally found purpose with ridebacking but all she found was trouble. Everything that she loved in life was ripped away from her. As the war wages Rin realizes that she has to find her purpose in life. Is she a dancer or a ridebacker?

She defeats the enemy by realizing she is both a dancer and a ridebacker. She uses her connection with Fuego not to fight with the enemy, but to dance with them. I thought this was a beautiful last scene. Fighting choreography and dancing have a lot in common. Both are about the movement of the body. Rideback shows this comparison with elegance in their final battle scene. The whole series was leading up to this one scene. 

As much as I enjoyed the final battle for Rideback, the last few minutes of episode 12 disappointed me a bit. Rin seems to find meaning in life, but the series ends a bit ambigiously. It left me wanting more and 12 episodes seemed a bit too short to tell this story.

The limited amount of episodes also made the government story fall very flat. I didn't find myself caring about the government story, and the war ends a bit too quickly for my liking.  

There also wasn't enough time to flesh out most of the supporting character. Rin was very diversed, but some of the supporting characters didn't have enough screen time. I think this especially hurt Rin's brother's character. I was interested in his character because of his love for ridebacking and how this would affect his relationship with his sister. There was an obvious bond between them because he sacrifices his freedom for Rin, but we never really see them confront each other after these events. Just not enough time in the series, which is a shame. 

Even though I wanted more episodes with the series, Rideback is worth the watch. It has a strong female protagonist with multiple dimentions to her character.

4 out of 5 Stars. 

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