Rinne no Lagrange – 24 (Fin)

Still in Rinne, Madoka, Lan and Muginami find Dizelmine unconscious on the beach with Yurikano. She tells them their will changed his heart and brought him back, and she’ll stay there with him. Madoka isn’t having any of it, and they return to Kamogawa with Yurikano and Dizelmine, who loses ten years in age. Moid evaporates. Youko, Asteria, and Nuvomundus continues its research on the Vox and Rinne. After graduation, Madoka keeps the Sweats Club together and even adds more members, using the Vox to expand the range of their duties across Polyhedron.

Well, not only can three yelling girls defeat one yelling crazy guy, they can make him un-crazy, and save the world by singing the Sweats Club Song! His plans foiled, Moid simply disappears, while the Polyhedron planet collision problem kinda fixes itself. Madoka, Lan, and Muginami stay together after high school and continue operating as the Jersey Club, helping people all over the galaxy. Everyone comes out okay (except the unlamented Moid), and Dizelmine emerges ten years younger and is forgiven for trying to Blow Everything Up.

Too neat an ending for you? Not enough peril, or sacrifice, you say? Well, this was always a series that always throttled back when things got too dark, and was never above lightening an otherwise tense or somber mood with the occasional moment of levity. A series that neither sought nor required Gundam levels of seriousness. It was, for its entire run, presented a pleseant and hopeful vision. Things may have gotten pretty hairy there for a time, but Madoka & Co. pulled through like everyone knew she would, and disaster was averted. We leave the Sweats Club busier and more in demand than ever, as humanity embraces their spacefaring cousins who left Earth twenty milennia ago.

Rinne no Lagrange was never about war between robots or planets or nations or siblings – it was about peace, friendship, reconciliation, and accomplishing great things together…and always having a lunch packed for you.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Rinne no Lagrange – 23

“Beyond the seas of Kamogawa”, Madoka, Lan and Muginami are separated on dark beaches, and launch individual attcks on Dizelmine’s Vox, to no avail. Eventually Midori, Orca and Hupo help their beaten-down pilots reach one another, and the three girls combine their forces to throw Dizelmine across the sea, into the “ceiling” of the realm they inhabit. Meanwhile, Asteria and Youko take Moid into custody, and the De Metrio and La Garite forces agree to a cease-fire.

Dark, creepy skies…red thunder…glass birds dive-bombing bystanders and exploding — things must be getting down to the wire! The penultimate episode of Rinne no Lagrange snuck up on us somewhat, but it’s a very competent, confident episode balancing action and quiet character work, and doesn’t pull any arbitrary stunts. It stays true to the tone and overarching credo of the series thus far: friendship is magic…to borrow a term.

While in an abyss of sorts, the girls see flashes of the young Dizelmine and Villagiulio making a pact to stick together through thick and thin. But somewhere down the line, Villagiuvio betrayed Dizelmine, and that hurt him deeper than even he probably realized. The one who did know was Moid, who used Dizelmine as an instrument to open Rinne because…well, Moid’s kinda the weak link here, because he just wants THE ABSOLUUUTE POWAAAAH.

He knew the right buttons to get Dizelmine to totally lose it, and he pressed them. Even in binders, he gloats that it’s too late to stop what he’s started, but Asteria, AKA Queen Maycun, thinks otherwise (Maycun, who like Dizelmine was a puppet for unscrupulous baddies.) Madoka, Muginami, and Lan can still stop this thing before the world’s engulfed. We’ll see if we’re correct in believing three yelling girls can defeat one yelling crazy guy.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

P.S. Oh yeah, Villagiulio isn’t dead. Guess there wasn’t a need for everyone to break out their Horrified Faces after all!

Rinne no Lagrange – 22

La Garite launches a massive, coordinated sneak attack against De Metrio forces in orbit of Earth and in Polyhedron. A De Metrio ship crash lands not far from Pharos. Villagiulio heads out in his Ovid Arvirium to seek answers from Dizelmine, who goes out in his Magoltul with a half-dozen escorts. The odds are evened when Kirius, Izo, and Array back Giuvi take on the escorts, leaving the two kings alone. Dizelmine initiates a form change and head into the atmosphere to battle, and are briefly stopped by the Jersey Club, but Dizelmine ends up killing Villagiulio. His Vox turns dark and opens the portal to Rin-ne. Madoka, Lan, and Muginami are pulled in with him.

That something big on the horizon? It’s here in full force, and it’s not dicking around. Whatever Moid did, he did it good, because Dizelmine completely loses it this week, even having an evil laughing fit after smashing Villagiulio’s cockpit, much to the horror of Muginami, Madoka, and Lan. So much for never battling in their Voxes ever again! Unlike past times, Lan no longer even attempts to take her brothers side – it’s an untakable side – and the girls end up right in the middle of a new and terrifying world that Asteria warns could destroy Earth and the entire universe as they know it.

Getting back to Dizelmine, it’s clear a past betrayal by Villagiulio – something he had forgiven him for before – was brought back to the surface, and his indignation was amplified exponentially. It’s no coincidence that Moid meeting with Dizelmine preceeded this attack. We gather that Moid is interested in reforming the universe, and fully utilizing Rin-ne – something not done for 20,000 years – is a good way to do that. It’s up to the Jersey Club to stop him. It’s a good thing they brought lunches.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Rinne no Lagrange – 21

Michiko starts to badger Madoka about turning in her “future form” after a less-than-great report card. Madoka is busy with Jersey Club activities and a going-away Christmas party for Kirius and Array. Meanwhile, Moid has made off with the stone tablet, compressed into a jewel he gives to Dizelmine, who undergoes painful testing, presumably to gain the power of Vox. Back on earth, Asteria informs the Nuvomundus team who she really is, and they start researching what Moid’s up to. Right after Kirius and Array depart, a huge La Garite fleet jumps into Earth orbit.

Kirius is going home to help his rich but beleaguered family. Array is going home to teach at the Royal Academy. Izo is staying on earth to become a chef. Lan is going home to help her brother. Muginami is going home to fina a way to help U-Go. Everybody but Madoka seem to have a path for the future. The future makes Madoka uncomfortable. It’s almost as if she was destined to live in times that never stood still. Times in which the present is everything; in which helping and protecting others is everything. Those times may be coming. While events will likely put wrenches in everyone’s plans, she has no plans to ruin. We can easily see Madoka being a great teacher, bodyguard, coach, cafe owner, party planner (seriously, that was a kickass party!) or any of the other things she’s done as a Jersey Clubber. The problem is, she doesn’t want to choose.

Through her actions and ideals, she’s changed many lives for the better; giving them directions while having none herself except forward, dealing with whatever may come when it comes. Well, something’s coming. It apppears Moid is appealling to Dizelmine’s darker tendencies, and a fresh betrayal is in motion. Earth may again become a battlefield, and even the graveyard it was 20,000 years ago when Vox was last unleashed. All things considered, planning for the future is definitely premature. If they want a future, they’ll have to fight for it – or at least talk others into stop fighting. To his credit, Villagiulio wants to believe Dizelmine won’t go to war with him. But Dizelmine may not be himeself after those…experiments.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Rinne no Lagrange – 20

The three Jersey Club members each experience the feeling of being watched and/or stalked. Student Council member Shoko then informs them they’ll have to vacate their clubroom, as the club is not officially-sanctioned. Their solution is to apply for official club status, which means having to recruit a fourth member to meet the minimum. Reiko Miki, the girl who was watching them, comes forward to join, but she proves extremely clumsy. When she asks when she’ll get to ride a robot, the break the bad news to her at the Tanada Night Festival, complete with Vox balloons. The next day, she quits the club to find her own happiness. Moid transforms the stone tab into a talisman of some kind, and prepares to hand it over to Dizelmine.

There’s a two-part answer to the question “With no more conflict between La Garite and De Metrio, what’s next for this series?” First, the down-to-earth day-to-day of the Jersey club will continue. Second, the conflict may not be over after all, from the look of things on this episode’s periphery. A 20,000-year-old weapon has been dug up and now appropriated by Moid, Dizelmine’s right-hand man. Asteria blames herself for causing the catastrophe, but there are holes in her memory that keep her from properly assessing the threat of the stone slab. Now that it’s in Moid’s clutches, things have gotten more complicated.

Moid has always seemed like a pleasant enough guy, but also struck us as a little bit off, with a potential for sinister deeds. It looks like we’re about to find out just what he’s capable of, and whether it will hurt the new and fragile intergalactic peace. In the meantime, we’re treated to a mostly lightweight episode dominated by the enlistment – and prompt resignation – of the fourth Jersey Club member, the bobbed Reiko Miki, who is your classic klutz fangirl who bails as soon as she learns she’s not getting a robot. The clubroom crisis goes away of its own accord. We also enjoyed the brief girls-night-out between Jersey Club founder Youko and her friend Machiko.

Rating: 6 (Good)

Rinne no Lagrange – 19

In the aftermath of the Yurikano incident, Madoka convinces Dizelmine and Villagiulio to cease their warring. At the Kamogawa conference, Dizelmine apologizes, and he and Villagiulio shake hands and announce they’re joining forces to come up with a peaceful solution to the Polyhedron crisis, and welcome the other worlds to join them. Lan and Muginami re-enroll at school with Madoka. They return to the Hill of Vows to make a new vow: never to use the Voxes for war, only for peace. When looking at the ancient stone tablets, Chairman Asteria gets a blast from the past…

This week is a quiet cooling-down point for the Jersey Club and kings alike, though by no means does nothing significant happen. After years of aggression and distrust, Dizelmine and Villagiulio, spurred on by Madoka’s “Kamogawa Dynamite Bombers”, decide to put aside their conflict for the good of the system. After all, not only did Dizelmine’s dastardly plan fail, it’s been exposed to all. He’s certainly lost face, but he can get it back with a fresh shared mandate for a peaceful resolution to a catastrophe still a millenium away. The other worlds, and particularly Villagiulio let Dizelmine off awfully easy considering what he attempted to do.

The Jersey Club’s reunion and settling back to a kind of status quo ante fulfills a promise and overrides the need for Madoka to get over the loss of her friends, since they’re back. Rather than move forward alone, she’ll move forward together with them – only this time, their brothers’ conflict no longer casting a pall. What threatens all of this newfound peace, however, lurks in the bowels of Nuvomundus: that stone tablet Youko’s researching. One glance at its inscriptions from Asteria, and memories of her life as Queen Maycun – who caused the first Rin-ne tragedy 20,000 years ago – flash before her eyes. The series has been pretty stingy with details regarding the pint-sized Chairman. Here’s hoping this heralds a change in that policy.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameo: One of the news trucks is a Nissan NV200 Vanette.

Rinne no Lagrange – 18

Dizelmine’s experiment has made Yurikano and Madoka switch bodies, also causing an anomaly that is causing his flagship to crystallize. Yurikano is led away by Muginami, while guards escort Madoka to an escape pod; neither know about the body swap. Yurikano flees and pilots an ovid, fighting beside Kirius, Izo and Array in the orbital battle between La Garite and De Metrio. The Voxes come to retrieve their pilots, but Midori is confused by the body swap. Madoka inadvertently opens a general emergency frequency, and her astute analysis of Yurikano is broadcasted to all. After touching Yurikano makes her and Madoka switch back, Dizelmine admits he still loves her, but won’t let that get in the way of his plans. She returns to Rin-ne, and the crystallization ceases.

After that dull and plodding Muv-Luv episode, Rinne no Lagrange demonstrates just how much action, drama, and subtle comedy you can cram into a single episode, without overwhelming. Just about everyone is involved in the events of this week, save the crew on Pharos, who watch helplessly as the Voxes launch themselves and a potentially nasty intergalactic battle commences in orbit. And all the various parties have their own missions and agendas that have led them all to converge. Villagiulio wants Yurikano back (finally, Kirius, Izo and Array have something to do!). His hothead adjutant wants to engage La Garite in battle and gets her wish. Dizelmine wants Yurikano in Madoka’s body so he’ll have his weapon. And Madoka, Lan, and Muginami are united in their goal to avoid the brothers from destroying each other. Nuvomundus would be content to avoid Earth being destroyed too.

Amidst all the chaos, there’s still time for light moments, like Yurikano convincing everyone she’s Yurikano, and Madoka floating helplessly in her escape pod, polishing off her rations immediately and accidentally opening a comms channel. We also liked how she thought she was talking to herself, but in fact everyone can hear her, and all stop what they’re doing to listen. In her brief time back in the normal world, Yurikano reiterates her love for her betrothed, Dizelmine, but both of them feel they have higher duties, so the romance she dreamed of years ago isn’t going to pan out. More importantly, Dizelmine’s plot to pull her out of Rin-ne fails, and he’s left with one less superweapon.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Rinne no Lagrange – 17

Madoka, Lan, and Muginami remain aboard Dizelmine’s flagship, the Vishwak. Madoka wants to meet with Yurikano as soon as possible, and after a feast in their honor, Dizelmine allows Madoka access to her. He has her strapped to a chair with plans to transfer her mind into Yurikano’s body, giving him a weapon with which to destroy De Metrio. When Lan gets the news, she pretends to go along with it and has Muginami detained. However, she makes a longwinded fleetwide broadcast that distracts Muginami long enough to reach Madoka…but it’s too late.

One thing’s for sure about the three Vox girls: they’re no fools. When Madoka is away a suspiciously long time and her brother’s attendent tells her where she is, Lan thinks on her feet and “betrays” Muginami in order to gain trust and access to communications from which to distract the entire crew of the ship (her rambling speech is quite exquisite). The attendant believes she’s merely fulfilling her duty as a loyal lil’ sister, and for a split-second, so did we (her ruse was impeccably acted). But Lan and Muginami know each other better than we thought, and they’re on the same wavelength.

Madoka, meanwhile, probably knows she’s taking a risk trusting Dizelmine and communicating with Yurikano telepathically, but can’t pass up what could be her only chance to talk to her planet-crushing counterpart. The Yurikano buried deep within, for her part, has decided to ignore everyone else’s schemes and aims to close the entrance to Rin-ne to eliminate the threat of another Militia Zodia, sacrificing herself in the deal. Madoka’s vociferous objection is true to her fiery character (though we wished their brawl would go on a bit longer). As for the body-swapping, here’s hoping it provides both laughs and substance next week.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Rinne no Lagrange – 16

Dizelmine and Villagiulio arrive at Kamogawa, and Asteria wastes no time luring them into an elevator rigged with cameras that gets stuck between floors. Asteria, Todokoro, the Vox pilots and the two Kings’ delegations watch as they talk things through. In the middle of their chat, an Ovid makes an unauthorized launch and nearly crashes into BWH. The pilot aboard is Yurikano, who escaped her handlers. Dizelmine rescued her from the Militia Zodia calamity, and she’s reverted to a childlike state, and has no memory of who she is of her big brother Villagiulio. She returns to the La Garite mothership with Dizelmine; Lan, Muginami and Madoka tag along.

Former buddies Dizelmine and Villagiulio have a nice, cordial little discussion (not that they have a choice, falling victim to another Asteria scheme), but it doesn’t solve anything this week; war is coming as long as Dizelmine is convinced the only way to save his planet is to destroy De Metrio. The sudden appearance of Yurikano is almost the cherry on top that enrages Villagiulio to action. His sister may not recognize him, but that doesn’t change who she is, and he probably doesn’t appreciate Dizelmine being the sole source of her recovery.

Now that the secret of Yurikano being alive is out, another secret remains: why she talked to Madoka at the end of last season, and appeared in her cockpit in the previous episode. Madoka doesn’t get any answers, and neither do we; Asteria remains tight-lipped. The solution is to go aboard Dizelmine’s ship (in hilariously half-assed disguises) and try to find out more. Rinne’s second season’s first five episodes are reminding us of Eureka Seven Ao’s first five – all very competent, entertaining, fun outings, but nothing that’s categorically wowed us. But we’re confident that wow episode is coming. That’s right…we just used wow as a verb and and adjective!

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Rinne no Lagrange – 15

Asteria, Todoroko, and the rest of Nuvomundus determine that in order to present a peaceful demonstration of Vox, they need to subject Madoka to the same tests Dizelmine subjected Lan to. Despite the risks, Madoka is gung-ho about the idea, so they proceed, with her entering a high orbit. After artificial mind stimulation fails, Asteria resorts to talking about subjects that make Madoka blush and get overexcited, leading to the opening of Rin-ne. Madoka snaps out of a dreamlike state and closes it, destroying all of the ships the phenomenon created – but the damage was done – now the Vox looks more powerful a weapon than ever.

Finally, the episode where conversation about Madoka’s virginity leads to the opening of a Rin-ne, and a red one at that. Where have you been all our lives? In all seriousness, though, Asteria and Nuvomundus took quite a risk sending out Madoka, someone known to be unpredictable when it comes to Vox Aura. Not surprisingly, the trend continues, and Asteria’s gamble backfires. Vox is as tempting a technology as ever to the great powers of the immediate stellar neighborhood…but its peaceful application remains elusive.

Meanwhile, De Metrio and Le Garite are about to descend upon lowly old Kamogawa, Japan, Earth, for a quick exchange of terms. With King Dizelmine determined to eliminate anyone who opposes his plan, and Villagiulio determined to stop him, war seems all but inevitable. In the midst of all this impending doom, Todoroko makes deliciously inappropriate, scene-silencing remarks, Madoka meets that etherial woman who warns her not to open Rin-ne (it destroys planets, dontcha know), and that same woman appears at Dizelmine’s side, calling herself Yurikano and making him tea. Why not?

Rating: 6 (Good)

Rinne no Lagrange – 14

Madoka is able to wake Aura up in time to break up the fight between Lan and Muginami, but only for a moment, as they both retreat and Aura shuts down again. Certain that if they didn’t leave the planet they headed for Kamogawa, Madoka swims to shore from Pharos, and sure enough, Lan and Muginami are in the Sweats clubroom, where Madoka insists that rather than fight amongst themselves, they try to find a way to bring Dizelmine and Villagiulio together. Lan and Muginami are granted asylum on earth.

We’d been wondering what exactly is the beef between Lan and Muginami’s worlds, and this episode answers that question: their home planetary systems are literally on a collision course with one another. The Vox is a potentially planet-killing power that could be used by one world (in this case, Le Garite) to destroy the other (De Metrio) before that collision happens. Better to save one planet than to let two be destroyed, right? Perhaps, but the planet being destroyed has every right to object nonetheless, and it does. Most strongly.

Muginami and Lan aren’t just fighting each other for no reason, or because they’re on different sides. They each believe their cause is the most just, and both believe their actions are protecting Madoka. The thing is, Madoka doesn’t want either’s protection if it means they’ll be at each others’ throats. That just isn’t the “Sweats Club Way” (the Sweats Club Way is everyone kisses and makes up). So before there’s any killing or weapon-harnessing or planet-busting, Madoka believes it’s worth a shot to try to reconcile the brothers. This should be good…

Rating: 6 (Good)

Rinne no Lagrange – 13

Note: we’re labelling the recap of the first season episode 12.5, making this episode 13. Click here for season one reviews.

Nearly a year after the events of the first season, Kyono Madoka is still in the Jersey Club, still waiting tables at her uncle’s restaurant and seasid cafe, and is weary of making plans for the future. Lan is undergoing Vox trials at a La Garite starbase that is ambushed by De Metrio, led by Villagiulio and Muginami. Lan returns to Kamogawa and begs Madoka to fight beside her in Vox Aura. Aura has remained dormant the whole time, but when Muginami arrives and fights Lan, it wakes up and Madoka races after her dueling friends.

This is the seventh Summer anime we’ll be watching. It puts us right back into the thick of things, with a Sweats Club that is back down to only one member, with the other two at each others’ throats, paralleling their civilizations’ animosity. Nearly everyone Madoka talks to in Kamogawa is worried about her being frozen in time; that she needs to move on and think of college and a career. But she can’t stop thinking about Lan and Muginami. She wants everyone back together; one happy family keeping the town safe.

When Lan returns, it’s not a social visit. She’s spent the better part of her time away being poked and prodded by scientists under the command of her cold brother, King Dizelmine. Lan wants Madoka to pilot Vox again. Muginami seems devoted to ensuring that doesn’t happen. We were surprised Vox Aura was back up and running by episode’s end; we thought the series would continue to handicap its heroine with relative powerlessness. But Midori wakes up and she’s back in the game. We’ll see if she can calm her two fiery friends.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

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