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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Rio – Rainbow Gate! – First Impressions

This first new series of the winter season to meet my eyes held its cards close, not immediately revealing to me exactly what of show it would be. Like all of the season’s new series, I went in blind, and so didn’t know what to expect. I can report I wasn’t unimpressed with what I saw. There’s promise here.

The premiere initially follows the sister of the tiny teacher from Index around. Her name is Mint and there’s nothing all that interesting about her. It’s when Mint crosses paths with Rio that things get more interesting. Rio is a cool customer: strong, multi-talented, confident, and beautiful. The latter bit is perhaps expressed a bit to strongly throughout the episode, but remember the setting: a posh and swanky seaside casino city. It’s perfectly reasonable to find women in all manner of tight, revealing garb. Rio is also voiced by Chiri Kitsu herself, Marina Inoue. This is not a bad thing.

What I found interesting is that not only did this episode contain a climactic (and psychedelic) poker game, it was also a kind of game, where its intentions were constantly hidden. The “Queen Killer” and his associates set up the story to seem like some kind of international espionage caper, with Mint’s teddy stuffed with microfilm or some such. The truth turned out to be far more harmless. In other words, the story bluffed...but I didn’t feel cheated. I have no idea if Rio’s stories will continue to keep me guessing, but if they do, I’ll keep watching. Rating: 3