Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Rinne no Lagrange (ongoing)

Impression – excellent character growth with energetic creativity

Winter 2012 and summer 2012 (more info / part 2) (best English equivalent – Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne)

Probably the most outstanding aspect of Rinne no Lagrange is how it tells a story reminiscent of psychological trips with mecha backdrops similar to Evangelion or RahXephon.  But very pleasingly it has managed to ditch the angsty boy pilot and replace him with a brave, cheerful young woman.

On the surface this does have a slight tendency to subvert the heavy atmosphere that naturally accompanies these types of anime, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  I’m all for taking tried and true methods of storytelling that have produced some great anime and putting just enough twists on the formula to create a familiar, but fresh experience.  And that’s what Rinne has accomplished at the halfway point in its two-part run.

Though it’s often silly and a little too lighthearted at times for its own good, the depth of the characters is really something to be appreciated.  I think I started out hating every character other than Madoka at first.  Her pushy cousin Youko, the halfhearted Lan, deceptive Muginami, annoyingly larger than life Vilajulio & Co. as well as the sickeningly bourgeoisie Astelia all rubbed me the wrong way to start off.  But as a testament to the force of Madoka’s personality, they all started to shift ever so slightly as the story progressed and to my surprise, looking back I can’t indicate a specific turning point when they started to grow on me.

This anime has some unique, interesting flaws to point out—most notably being how it ungracefully tiptoes around how it wants to deal with the almost-fanservice moments that it seems to want to indulge in, but always backs off before doing anything too risqué.  To its credit it has an elegant air about itself, but that kind of flirtatious attitude can only go so far before it starts to become a little too obvious.

All in all, Rinne has enough originality and depth in the cast to leave me looking forward to seeing where things pick up again this summer.  But this break between the two halves got me thinking.  Between Fate/Zero and Rinne no Lagrange and then Jormungand soon joining the team, there’s a theme developing where anime are doing two twelve episode seasons separated by a one season gap (about four months).  How do you feel about that?  Would you rather get it all done in one go or do you think there is a benefit to breaking up a two season series like this?

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