A Blast from the Past; Rinne no Lagrange Episodes 15-16

gallifreyians: These episodes did one of the things in anime that I find the most irksome; I mean, it is the biggest pet peeve I have about anime1. This episode ‘pulled a One Piece‘ as I call it, yet even so managed to make it enjoyable.

‘Pulling a One Piece‘ as I called it is in it’s simplest form poor-execution, but to be honest that is a very reductive statement, so I shall explain. The clearest form of this is in nearly every fight scene One Piece has produced, they are not ‘scenes’ so much episode upon episode of never-ending fighting; episodes fly by, characters do and say all sorts of things, but nothing gets accomplished. This is not limited to the fight ‘scenes’ either, the Impel Down Arc of One Piece‘s thirteenth season2 was comprised almost entirely of episodes which accomplished absolutely nothing of consequence3. Rinne ‘pulled a One Piece‘ by having two episodes which do nothing on their own for the plot, raising questions without addressing them and ending on cliffhangers.

The poor execution aside, I enjoyed episode fifteen bring back Rinne no Lagrange‘s enjoyable, non-degrading fanservice, which was very well-blended with the drama of the episode. Normally I would be  deriding Tatsuo Sato and Shotaro Suga (the anime director and manga author4, respectively) for the horrible clash of anime comedy with high-key drama, but here I must truly congratulate them for the perfect blending they did. Rinne has always had a one-up on the other currently airing anime for it’s very organic format, and this really epitomized Rinne‘s ability to slide from one genre into another.

I will, however, level with you and admit that I enjoyed episode sixteen much less; while both of them may be guilty of ‘pulling a One Piece‘, episode sixteen is the far bigger offender here. The introduction of Yuriyuri herself is forgivable, but to bring her into Kamogawa so early afterward without much explanation or exploration is very sloppy. And I must note, because Natasha has not, that Yuriyuri is a carbon copy of Madoka5. I do not mean simply in terms of personality either, their faces have the same shape and design in addition to their similar personalities. As much as I hate speculation, I have to guess that Madoka and Yurikano are reincarnations of the same person who originally piloted Vox Aura, and Yuriyuri’s current state is because part of her has become trapped in Midori along with the orignal pilot.

But as I said, I am not one for speculation, as I am rarely right, so let’s leave all of the forecasting to Natasha.

1. I may say that it is my biggest pet peeve, but I’ve watched five-hundred twenty-one episodes of One Piece and four-hundred thirty-six episodes of Naruto/Shippuden, the two largest offenders that I’ve ever seen, so I don’t know how much it really gets to me. :P
2. To think that One Piece has been dragging on for thirteen years… It may be my baby but it honestly does not deserve to have been on for that long.
3. The Impel Down Arc was so pointless that I attribute my dropping of the show to the fact that I forced myself through all thirty-three episodes. It was very exhausting.
4. I was also surprised when I found out Rinne was an anime as well, and considering the four month gap between the manga’s debut and the anime’s premere, Xebec and Square Enix (SQUARE ENIX publishes manga!?) are most likely closely working together on Rinne as a multimedia project.
5. Or, as it probably turns out, Madoka is a copy of Yurikano/Yuriyuri. :P

illegenes: Interestingly enough, I enjoyed these episodes a lot more than Steven did. One of the qualities I like about Rinne is its ability to mix proper amounts of humor and seriousness. Whereas Episode 15 focused more on the context of Rinne- something I think was desperately needed- Episode 16 is where the effects really start taking place. I still enjoyed 15 no less. Asteria’s attempts to ‘stress’ Madoka was of course, fanservice, but the biggest thing about Rinne‘s fanservice is that it’s never misplaced or woefully done. There’s some sense and meaning to it (I mean, I understand fanservice is supposed to be ~meaningless~ but look at Fujiko Mine, whose ‘fanservice’ was skillfully and artistically done). Madoka is so unnerved by anything that stress simply doesn’t apply to her. She’s carefree, easy going and very optimistic. It makes enough sense that Asteria would talk about sexual activity to bring that stress out. I do admit the bunny ears were a bit…odd though.

Uh….interesting mechanical design there.

But this week’s episode! This episode not only had a good mix as usual-it was perfectly blended. To begin with, we figure out that the previous girl who instigated the Rinne from before is no one other than Villaguilio’s sister, Yurikano (or known now as Yuriyuri). Yurikano has reverted back to her childish self- no doubt about it being a symptom of her triggering the Rinne and destroying an entire planet. If that’s not a sign of fridge horror,  I don’t know what is, and considering that Madoka is “special” it only makes me worry not only what the Rinne does on a physical level, but also on a mental level. As Steven notes, Yuri is a ‘copy’ of Madoka- I respectfully disagree. I think Madoka is far more than a child reduced to playful skills. She’s caring, and most of all, she’s definitely more aware of her surroundings than she cares to admit. Remember that one time she nearly lost herself because she thought her cousin on the shores was hurt from a battle? Madoka’s power is deeply rooted in the people she loves. Yuri is a facade; simply, an innocent alter-ego to what’s probably the more mentally unstable and dark Yurikano, who strangled Madoka last time.

Even without Yurikano’s entrance, the seriousness is pretty high on usual Rinne no Lagrange levels, with both intergalactic nations holding a conference in Okinawa, which makes Lan and Muginami pretty anxious themselves. I do wish that these two’s relationship- especially Lan’s- with their brothers were further explored, because it would give us some great insight into their internal emotional struggles on trying to find the ‘proper’ side to be on. While Madoka can’t really help them out with their depression, she can help the trio out by finding what’s going on- Madoka style, as she and the group just…barge in. Villaguilio and his ‘best friend’ in the meantime have their chat, in the claustrophobic elevator thanks to Asteria. It’s a good idea, because it does allow for steam to blow out from both sides. On one hand, Lan’s brother seeks to use the Rinne for his own good to destroy the planet, but on the other hand, Villaguilio seeks to either stop Lan’s brother/the Rinne from happening or use it for his own gain, which really hasn’t been revealed yet. Neither can come to a resolution, especially when Yuri barges in (almost Madoka-like style) and makes tensions even worse.

What I don’t get is that the solution is quite simple: relocate. If both planets are set to collide, and this ‘argument’ has been going on for years, couldn’t they just stop debating over which planet to destroy and relocate to another planet? Preferably Earth? What are the Rinne’s origins (the one Madoka’s cousin is researching)? How did these nations stumble upon it? Where exactly does the Rinne’s powers come from?  These setting/context questions are there but lack answers which makes this show pretty….simplistic, if you ask me. But I don’t watch Rinne for a complex, mature plot. I watch it because lesbians it’s fun.

Next week shows what most likely will be the relationship between Lan and her brother- the one I’m hoping for. We’ll also get to see some interaction between Yurikano and Madoka (not Yuriyuri, as seen in the preview)  so that will also be interesting. Either way, Rinne has shaped itself up to be a pleasant, enjoyable journey so far. It’s not the masterpiece anyone could hope for, but needless to say it’s doing well with my little expectations for it and I hope it continues to be solid.

(Steven might have to say otherwise, though…)

(gallifreyians: You know I enjoy this show just as much as you Natasha. :P)

Enjoyment Level: 7/10

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