Rio – Rainbow Gate! 2

Like Anya Helsing, the casino’s newest dealer, this second episode fell over itself a bit – lacking anything like the goofy twist and mysterious aura of the first episode. It introduced Anya as well as a the “gate” system, whereby the world’s most skilled dealers duel for one another’s gates, which are specialized cards. The one who collects them all is the best (obviously).

While collecting trophies isn’t a bad concept, if all of the duels are going to be this uninspired, I don’t think I’ll stick around for them. The challenger, Elvis, marches in with his parade of swooning women, and attempts to thwart Rio’s lucky mojo with math. The challenge involves Rio and Elvis getting into bathing suits and playing giant roulette with yellow bowling balls. All I can say is, wtf.

There was never the slightest doubt in my mind about Rio winning and this guy being sent packing, so the whole duel was just one long bore. The fact that this episode seemingly employed even more service than the last didn’t help matters. The next episode is called “Misery”, which might’ve been a more fitting title for this one. I’m not sitting through another Asobi ni Ikuyo. Rating: 2 (dropped)

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Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie: A wakening of the Trailblazer

With no foreknowledge of its contents, I was expecting this film to be a condensed re-telling of the anime, as was the case with Macross Froniter. However, with 50 episodes to cover, this would have probably been more of a mess than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Thankfully, it (a.) doesn’t re-tell the story I already I know and (b.) doesn’t tell a new story about the various earth factions warring over each other to end war, or whatever. Instead, it’s a good old-fashioned alien invasion.

The aliens, Extraterrestrial Livingmetal Shapeshifters or ELS, are quite terrifying. Their swarming ships immediately reminded me of the cylons, but their liquid metal nature is very T2, while their evolution-thru-assimilation was very Borg-like. It’s good to see a Gundam where, for once, the humans put aside their differences and all fight on the same side; for survival, in this case.

Like the Macross film, Gundam was jam-packed with eye candy, in a slightly different style. While at times the repetitive chaotic battles filled with particle beams and explosions resembled screensavers, overall there’s a lot of excellent space battle action going on here. The way the ELS go about dispatching their foes is pretty bone-chilling, and a handful of characters who survived the anime went on kamakaze missions here (although Tieria downloaded back to Veda).

Character-wise, there’s no ground broken; Feldt kinda likes Setsuna but nothing really comes of it; Allelliuja and Marie are the usual married couple, Lockon has his Haros, and Setsuna still has that connection to his homeland in the person of Princess Marina, who is her usual selfless self. Patrick Corlasour and Kati Manequin also continue their courtship dance/chain of command. Setsuna meanwhile is essentially Neo, in that he has to wake up and fulfill the prophecy that Aeolia Schenburg, founder of Celestial Being, made hundreds of years ago.

He wanted to end war on Earth and advance Innovator technology so that mankind would be ready for future threats like the ELS. If Setsuna hadn’t become an innovator and initiated contact with the ELS mothership (ball of yarn outside, gooey and psychadelic inside), humanity would’ve been toast. Instead, he stops the ELS onslaught in the nick of time, saving his friends and his world.

That would have been a fine ending…and then the mothership turns into a friggin’ gargantuan flower. I know, that desert flower was a common motif in Setsuna’s musings – life/beauty enduring in a hostile universe and all that – but a moon-sized flower? You know what, fine…whatever you want, Gundam.


Rating: 3.5