In Orbit Above the Summer Skies of Kamogawa; Rinne no Lagrange Episode 17

gallifreyians: As much as I love Rinne, I have to say that the perpetual cliffhangers are incredibly frustrating, especially because they make it very hard for me to ever come up with any sort of thoughts.

The cliffhanger itself I don’t necessarily see as a good or bad thing for an author to utilize, but the repetition of cliffhanger after cliffhanger ad nauseum is clearly indicative of something being awry with the writing. This problem with cliffhangers is a common issue of shounen anime, so much so that I might call it endemic to shounen, and is one of the many reasons that I have a low tolerance for shounen shows. Naruto/Shippuden and One Piece have the cliffhanger nearly engrained into the fabric of their narratives, which goes along with their uneven mix of comedy and drama and women issues (do not get me started!) to make them extremely typical shounen shows. Rinne no Lagrange, despite it’s overuse of the cliffhanger, manages to not be a typical shounen show. I attribute this feat to it’s careful treatment of it’s characters and their relationships, which really saves this episode from being boring and makes it quite interesting.

I had anticipated it to focus more on Dizelmine and Lan’s relationship with him. The impression that I had gotten from him previously is that he is conniving, is able and willing to put emotions aside, is willing to hurt anyone if it means he gets what he wants; basically a dude of grey morality that can be very scary and intense. I had a headcanon that while Lan loves her brother, she is very afraid of him and even afraid of displeasing him. To see that relationship explored — to see how Lan could love a scary, evil dude and sort through her conflicting feelings about him — would’ve put me over the moon, but that is not what we received. Instead we have Madoka being, well, Madoka, and a wonderful reinforcement about the dynamic between Lan and Muginami.

Their relationship hasn’t always been a good one, and even earlier in the season Lan and Muginami were at each other’s throats ready for a battle to the death, but after the events of episode fourteen, they are reunited as friends in their shared love for Madoka. Episode seventeen goes to reaffirm this friendship when Lan and Muginami work together to save Madoka from Dizelmine’s evil plot. Not only does it show that Muginami’s skills in deception have not been forgotten and that Lan understands her role as a princess, but is also goes to show that they are friends in more than just name — that they are genuine friends who, while united by Madoka, have grown to be actually close.

Rinne is shounen that manages to not be totally shounen, and I really like that sort of unintentional twist with the genre. But now here is Natasha with a better handle on this episode.

illegenes: Talk about an intense episode! While it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, it still had some box of interesting but half-developed ideas. And that cliffhanger, too – that was quite a doozy.

For one thing, I was a little disappointed that the chance for Lan’s relationship with her brother to be explored was thrown out the window, but I was glad that we got to see things from his perspective. Surprisingly, a thing Rinne knows how to do relatively well is how to hold onto the idea that no one is ‘evil’ or ‘good’ (unless you’re Madoka). Dizelmine is a man of principles; on one hand, he remarks that Viagullio is his best friend and the only comrade he could ever trust, and that this war was based on a difference of opinion, not interest, but on the other hand he lures Madoka into being nothing but a tool for that opinion. He is cold but he is also faced with difficult choices, just like Viagullio himself. With this put into consideration, it’s still extremely cold of him to sacrifice Madoka as a pawn – just like he nearly sacrificed his own dear sister as a pawn as well – but I think from the start we all knew that Dizelmine is someone who doesn’t mind going to extremes and follows the idea “the ends justify the means.” The only question is, does Viagulio follow the same kind of idea?

I really love that this show also takes some time to focus on the nature of Lan and Muginami’s relationship, which is complex and refreshing. I mean, they both are on opposite sides of a war, and even Lan’s question to Muginami about changing her views about De Metrio’s side of the war was nice to see.  The scenes of them working together, playing together but also sharing their love for Madoka really came off well in this episode. What was especially wonderful was when Lan pretended to be the stoic, cold version of her brother and lock Muginami away so that she could successfully rescue Madoka. I really loved that moment, because it shows that Lan not only understands the power that she wields as a princess, but the duty of being a person who is important to her country and her friends as well. It really goes to show how far these two have progressed in their friendship when you go back and think of how Lan used to dislike Muginami and distrust her immensely. Also nice was Muginami (whose skills of deception haven’t dulled one bit) stealing the key and escaping from her prison. These two both understand that they do have opposing views – views that come into conflict when worst comes to worst, but at the end of the day they still remain best friends and are grounded by their love for Madoka and for each other.

Of course, not all goes successfully as planned, as it seems Madoka and Yurikano get into a bit of a fight in their mindsync world. It turns out that Yurikano is very different from her brother; she is composed in her grief and also believes that the ends justify the means. Her reasoning though, is simplistic. Yurikano simply states that she has no desire to tell Viagullio or Dizelmine about her sacrifice because she wants to bear the burden. At least Dizelmine and Viagullio have reasons to fight this war – Yurikano was dragged into it because she had the capability of manipulating the Rinne. Madoka understands this to some extent, so she tries to ‘force’ Yurikano to let go of her regret and pain, though it doesn’t really work. In a shocking reveal, we find out that Madoka and Yurikano have body swapped. What are the implications and consequences of this sudden change? Rinne leaves us with no hints: only solid buildup, a great OST, some pretty visuals and subtle characterization.

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One response to “In Orbit Above the Summer Skies of Kamogawa; Rinne no Lagrange Episode 17

  1. @gallifreyians: Yeah Shounen in general is all about cliffhangers and of course the dreaded evil filler arcs and some of those top series do it well like One Piece which has some very entertaining fillers along with Fairy Tail, but I don’t know many bloggers that keep up with it.

    Yeah I was hoping we would see some interaction between Dizelmine and Lan about their relationship as siblings, but I think his focus was set on Madoka from the start! Also Dizelmine had some evil expressions this week during the experiment scene…damn…he is creeping me out xD

    @illegenes: After this episode I feel the creators finally revealed the true “bad guy” with Dizelmine this week because he was playing dirty when he got Madoka to trust him and participate in the memory recovery experiment for Yurikano? Then again Madoka loves to help people so I imagine it wasn’t hard for Dizelmine to convince her. Not to mention those evil expressions from him, but who knows maybe he was just grinning because he was about to get Yurikano back?

    I can’t wait to see what happens next with the whole body swapping stuff between Madoka and Yurikano! Also Lan and Muginami were so hilarious this week with their sneaky plan and great acting! I died when Lan started to talk about random things like pizza and her “tweet, tweet, tweet comments.

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