One of the things that really hurts anime today is the lack of planning, patience, and care. Rideback is no exception. It’s a show that starts so godly amazing that it just plummets in quality, and no Gonzo did not create this. Madhouse did so there really is no excuse.
The premise behind Rideback is an ex-ballet dancer, Rin Ogata who injured her leg during a ballet performance. She eventually runs into a club called “The Rideback Club” and rides a sort of mecha-motorcycle hybrid vehicle to kill
some time while it rains outside. She discovers that it reminds her of the thrill she got when she would dance. She discovers the name of the mechaish thing is called Fuego. She eventually joins a race and once that’s over the show turns a complete 360. I want to point out that the show gets completely self important and throws in corruption and mysterious militaries out of nowhere in later episodes (around episode 6+). The show has a pretty bland premise, but it delivers in the first few episodes and really gives off a serene feeling that comes from a blend between the music and the animation. The last six episodes are complete throwaway.
I think the biggest issue about this series is it turned into a political drama completely out of nowhere. All of a sudden you are faced with an organization called the GGP that wants to start a war. Where did all of this come from?! Why do I care? . The series comes off as dare I say “overly pretentious”. It thinks it’s a big deal when it really isn’t. All the characters don’t do anything other than to comment about Rin even when she isn’t around. I think Rin suffers from Naoki Urasawa character syndrome where all the characters are so perfect and their only flaws are that they’re too nice or naïve making her so unrelateable. Around episode 10 – 11 roughly translated as It Occasionally Gets Cloudy After It Rains, a character dies. I’m not going to say who, but I assume that during this show someone planned so that it would come as some big shock to the audience. Truth is, I didn’t care. It was so out of nowhere that I just took a glance at it and didn’t think anything of it. I’m the type of person that gets shocked easily when someone dies, and that says something about this show. I think the lack of fleshing out of the characters and so few episodes is to blame for this. The only character that gets any back-story of relevance is Rin and that’s just about it.
The music for the anime itself is actually pretty good. Not just because the opening is by MELL who’s music is completely incomprehensible engrish (which I grew to love after watching Black Lagoon), but it has a really good soundtrack. There are scenes where Rin is just dancing with Fuego, and while I hate 3D it’s very well animated, but what made them so was the music. I really don’t like to comment on Japanese voice actors because I simply can’t tell the difference when people are talking. It’s pretty average, I mean no one stuck out to me or anything.
In reality, this is a show that I recommend you don’t watch even though I ignored people’s advice to not watch it. There really isn’t anything here other than the first half of the show. Sad part is this was Madhouse’s anime for winter and it flat out blew. It’s a show full of angst, weak plot twists and boatload of character development. It’s not that this is a bad show, it’s just a mediocre show. There’s nothing awesome about it, but nothing bad enough to call it a bad show. Simply ignore it. This is one of those shows that makes good fan sub arguments. It’s a show that if you bought as it was coming out (I’m sure this is going to get licensed sooner or later) it would just piss you off if you realized what you bought at the end of it. A series that definitely passes the three episode test, but fails the rest of the semester.