Rinne no Lagrange – 12 (Fin)

After the Rin-ne starts to bloom, an impenetrable shield protects the Voxes while Madoka speaks to a mysterious woman in another dimension, who tells her to choose her own path, as she did. Madoka wakes up, takes the hands of Lan and Muginami, and further develop a giant flower in the sky, but her Vox abruptly goes silent. Villagiulio takes advantage of the confusion to try to take Madoka out, but he’s stopped by the sudden arrival of the La Garite fleet, led by Lan’s brother Dizelmine. Muginami flees with her injured brother, and the De Metrio fleet is either destroyed or retreats.

Two weeks later, it’s time for the La Garite fleet to depart, and Lan with it. After visiting the Hill of Vows and promising to see each other again, Lan departs, leaving Madoka alone. She returns to her normal school life, keeping busy. Array, Izo and Kirius remain on Earth, and Asteria tells a recovering Yuuko that she is a witch who bears the seal of Rin-ne, which she expects Madoka will sever and break the universe’s “cycle of peace and calamity.”

And so Rinne no Lagrange comes to a good resting place, making an interesting choice of how to organize it. Rather than just pick up where we left off – which was a cliffhanger – we jump two weeks into the future, where all is well, then we’re shown why everything is well. In addition to Madoka suspending the battle with Vox Aura, the cavalry finally arrives in the form of La Garite. We were wondering when they’d show up to clean up the mess, and their swift and efficient mopping-up of De Metrio, accompanied by a quieter re-arrangement of the opening (just piano and vocals) made for an awesome climax.

We will say Madoka and Lan’s good-bye dragged on a bit too long, but we’ll give it a pass since neither is happy about separating. Of course, they’ll see each other again, because immediately following this episode was the announcement of not only an OVA, but a second season, to be aired in the Summer. We’re surely learn how the trio of friends will be reunited, how Madoka’s chosen role further affects her life, and what’s up with Asteria being a witch, at that time. Until then, matane.


Rating: 3.5


Car Cameo: There’s a Nissan Juke stuck in traffic.

Advertisements

Rinne no Lagrange – 11

Vox Lympha and Ignis are deployed to repel a large De Metrio attack on Pharos, but both are cornered when they split up; Muginami by Villagiulio, and Lan by a barrage of repelling fire. Madoka enters Pharos and prepares to launch in Aura. It takes convincing from Youko for Asteria to authorize her launch. Madoka turns the tables in the aerial battle, and her classmates at school even launch a firework and form words of encouragement. The De Metrio fleet fires on Kamogawa, but the blast is absorbed by Kirius, Array, and Izo. Still, an enemy ovid lands in the schoolyard, injuring Youko and others, and causing Madoka to lose control. Rin-ne blooms again, and the enemy ovids start to crystallize.

Three is better than two – that’s the main takeaway this week. If you’re going to be defeated otherwise, why not throw everything you have at an enemy, and damn the cautionary legends? We understand that Asteria’s first duty is to protect earth, which means preventing the demons of Vox from reawakening. But her stubbornness almost leads to the destruction of Pharos, Kamogawa’s last line of defense (which is also the episode’s title.) Lan and Muginami fight valiantly, but ultimately two isn’t enough to fight off the multi-vector onslaught of De Metrio. Whatever happens next week, Asteria made the right choice, albeit a bit late.

Very intriguing is the surprise appearence of Kirius, Izo and Array, protecting Kamogawa of all places. Just more evidence their loyalties are uncertain; one could say they’re on their own side. And perhaps visiting the town and interacting with people compelled them to prevent their destruction. As for the fleet up in orbit, they want the Voxes destroyed, and they don’t care how many people are killed in the process as long as that’s done. The final scene is another Rin-ne bloom, instigated by Madoka’s fear her sister/mentor may be dead. The battle was won, but the final cost won’t be known until next week.


Rating: 4

Rinne no Lagrange – 10

Villagiulio prepares an assault on Pharos as Kiss space forces corner a La Garite fleet. Kirius, Array and Izo agree to participate, but they’re doing it for Yurikano. Meanwhile, the Sweats Club surveys the school art festival, visiting all the exhibits they helped out with. Asteria is there to sample a Japanese festival. Both Lan and Muginami are borrowed by classmates who need their assistance, leaving Madoka alone. Asteria makes matters worse by telling her they were ordered to keep it secret they’re sortieing without her. Borrowing a boat, she watches them launch, and vows to go with them. Back within Pharos, Vox Aura powers up…

Poor Madoka. Last year at the festival, she was a Sweats Club of one; helping wherever needed, and praised for said help, but in the end, alone. This year, it’s almost the same, as the two friends she made through her “extracurricular” activities (fighting to save Kamogawa) are branching out much faster than she expected. Tactless but correct, Asteria tells her it’s perfectly reasonable to fear being alone again. Being alone means you have no one to depend on but yourself, and if you fail, the whole dang venture fails.

This was an episode that underscored Madoka’s powerlessness, but by the end, it seemed she was going to find one way or another to re-insert herself in the decisive fight that looms. Her Vox Midori seems to respond to this intense need. Will it start up on its own and fly out to her? She seemed to be okay with Nuvomundus’ decision to ground her, but when it comes down to it, she isn’t going to stand on the sidelines. Maybe that’s selfish of her, considering the risk of repeating a calamity. So be it.


Rating: 3.5

Rinne no Lagrange – 09

Villagiulio orders Kirius, Izo, and Array to do nothing and stay put in a comfy seaside house. Watching a samurai film on TV inspires Izo to slip away in search of Madoka so he can challenge her to a duel. He takes the train, and eventually finds Madoka’s school, but Madoka’s classmates believe he’s her boyfriend. Kirius and Array follow him, and Kirius even unknowingly meets Madoka when she rescues a boy from drowning. Array has a meal at BWH but with no cash, he has to work off what he owes. When Izo learns about Madoka’s past, he loses interest and returns to the house, where the three encounter Villagiulio, who has plans to destroy the Voxes.

This week all the myriad organizations’ plans for the Voxes fell into the background, while the three Vox pilots help out with an arts festival and three Demetrio pilots stay out of trouble. It’s a slice-of-life affair; a good opportunity for them to learn about the girl they’re dealing with – and for us to learn about them. Izo tries his hardest to get into trouble, deciding that reenacting a samurai movie will be more entertaining than sitting around some house. His trip to Kamogawa involves enduring a generous and chatty old woman, beating up some random guys for information, and finally facing off against a growing group of interested high school girls.

But Izo is no evil mindless villain; when he hears about how Madoka grew up to be strong and helpful after her mother drowned, it just wasn’t in him to pursue her further. Array (still dressed as a maid for some reason) ends up at Madoka’s uncles (and gets spanked by an uncle) and hears the same story. Hell, Kirius even bumps into the Jersey Girl herself, even folding her sweats. But as they’d never met face-to-face, he didn’t know who he was talking to. This was a fun and entertaining calm before the storm, which also showed that the three Demetrio pilots could make good allies or friends under different circumstances.


Rating: 4

Rinne no Lagrange – 08

While flying training maneuvers, Madoka, Lan, and Muginami are recalled back to base, as word has come down that the Chairmon of Novumundus is paying a visit to Pharos. Todoroko is surprised when the chairman’s great-grandaughter comes in his place, a curt young lady named Asteria. Novumundus’ goal is to prevent Rin-ne from re-blossoming, causing a similar calamity to one 20,000 years ago, for which there are no archaelogical records, but was the time of an advanced civilization. To that end, she grounds Aura and Madoka. Lan and Muginami lock themselves in the Vox hangar in protest, but a very appreciative Madoka convinces them to stand down.

Okay, so now all three sci-fi series we’re watching this Winter can each claim their own Lolita in a Position of Power, which we shall call LoPos, or lopes. The latest lope is perhaps the most dynamic thus far: Moretsu Pirates’ princess is fairly inoucuous, and we haven’t seen enough of Aquarion Evol’s chairman to form an opinion. But despite her awful aristocratic name (Asteria Lizamarie de Roschefall), we didn’t dislike her introduction. Despite her darling looks, she weilds her authority firmly without being an ankle-biting baby about it.

She’s mature beyond her years, and while she’s on Pharos, her word is law. Sure, she’ll cop the odd feel or pinch the odd bottom, but we can forgive such abuses of power as a glimmer of levity in her otherwise very businesslike M.O. There’s a certain comfort we get in knowing she’s taking this very seriously. After all, the whole reason she and her kind are out in space is because this Vox Aura went berzerk. That’s a very interesting development; these are no aliens, but humans long estranged from Earth. And Nuvomundus is all about keeping Earth neutral, relatively uncorrupted, and…intact (Asteria is to Earth as Madoka is to Kamogawa). Villagiulio? Well, he’s got other plans!


Rating: 4

Rinne no Lagrange – 07

While Todoroko and Moid determine what to do with her, Muginami thinks back to her childhood on the harsh penal colony on planet U-Go, where she was alone and suffering until she found a young Villagiulio washed up on the shore. They had been together ever since – until she came to Earth. Lan tells Madoka that Villagiulio was the crown prince of Demetrio, and everyone thought he would be an agent of peace, but it wasn’t to be. Now understanding Muginami’s position, she seeks her out to apologize. Muginami apologizes too, but sneaks out in the night. Lan, then Madoka stop her, and tell her she shouldn’t go, because they’re all family now.

We may not have learned anything new about last week’s blooming of Rin-ne, but we did learn a lot more about Muginami, whose character got a boost of sympathy. Her Dark Past involves living on a hopeless, horrible-looking planet where it’s always dark and cold and grey – the last place you’d expect her to come from. Of the three girls, she’s had the roughest life – which both belies and explains why she’s so fashion-conscious and perfect at everything now: she had to work that much harder to scrape together a life.

Her life started with nothing, and it would have ended with nothing long ago if it weren’t for Villagiulio. Of course, now he’s a changed man, and it would seem he’s no longer interested in being Muginami’s family, but now she has a new one in the Sweats Club, made official by skinny-dipping at sea. Which brings us to the fanservice this week – there was a lot of it. Fortunately, it was mostly incidental never that overt…aside from the pan of a wet Lan covered in eels, of course. And we’re hoping Madoka eventually learns to pronounce Villagiulio’s name right. It’s not that hard!


Rating: 3.5

Rinne no Lagrange – 06

With only hours until the deadline for Villagiulio’s ultimatum, Madoka and Lan take their Voxes into the upper atmosphere, where they come up against a massive swarm of Ovids. The two hold their own thanks to a sword and rifle launched for them. Muginami takes her Vox to intervene in the battle, but Villagiulio nearly kills her with a powerful weapon that makes impact with the ocean not far from Novumundus HQ. Muginami blocks Madoka’s attack on her brother, and she lashes out at her, inadvertently triggering the “blossoming of Rin-ne”, a shower of glowing flowers that sends all three Voxes crashing into the sea.

After Villagiulio discarded his sister, there’s really only one course of action from Madoka’s point of view: revenge. Interestingly, it’s Muginami who steps in and says it’s not that simple. Madoka thinks she’s doing her a favor, but Muginami clearly isn’t ready to turn the page to the extent she’ll let Madoka hurt Villagiulio. Villagiulio isn’t as charitable, and his attempt to kill his sister is one of the more harrowing moments of the episode. Now we’re wondering what the deal is with this “blossoming of Rin-ne.”

The show’s alternate title is “flower declaraction of your heart”, which didn’t make much sense on the surface until now, when Muginami makes a declaration from her heart (she thinks Madoka is acting for her own selfish reasons) and it results in a very odd and unexpected explosion of flowers from Madoka’s Vox. Both Moid and Villagiulio couldn’t be happier with this development, with the latter even insinuating this was his plan all along. If it was, that required an awful lot of accurate predicting of Muginami’s behavior.


Rating: 3.5

Rinne no Lagrange – 05

Called out by Lan, Muginami admits that the two of them are enemies who will inevitably go to war, but she wanted to enjoy student life with her and Madoka as long as she could. Madoka finally entertains Lan’s suspicions when someone Muginami claims to be her brother shows up, having befriended Uncle Hiroshi earlier. He is actually Lord Villagiulio of the organization known as Kiss, and he’s angry that Muginami took Vox for herself, and doesn’t consider her one of them. He tells Lan to have the Voxes destroyed, or he’ll come and do it for them.

Wow, talk about a lot of development in a short time…some light has finally shone on the somewhat annoying mystery of Muginami, and she shows her true colors, which aren’t that far removed from her manner with Madoka and Lan thus far. It’s very insidious how she talks the same way, only about much sterner things like war and enemies. She not only betrays her underlying arrogance towards her new (and she believes temporary) friends, but also a certain naivete when she acts as though her people’s conflict with Lan’s wouldn’t concern Madoka. This episode left us liking Muginami a lot more, despite her treachery. Also: Madoka is not always right!

Madoka is hurt, but that anger turns to pity when Villagiulio grabs her and dresses her down. Muginami acted of her own accord in binding herself to her orange Vox, which displeases him. That Lan knows him from her past (and even dreams about it the morning he arrives) shows us that Madoka has just stepped into some very complex and dangerous new worlds…and at this point it’s up to her and her Vox to protect Kamogawa. Being shunned and all but discarded by Villagiulio means Muginami has nowhere to turn but the comrades she’d silently looked down upon. This was an episode of bad blood, past wrongs, deceptive personalities, and hurt feelings. The honeymoon would seem to be over for the jersey club.


Rating: 4

Rinne no Lagrange – 04

Madoka’s school grudingly approves of her piloting a robot, as long as it’s something she turly wants to do. It’s suggested they simply give the robot to the enemy, but doing so would aid their plans for interstellar conquest. The mysterious Muginami enrolls in Madoka’s class. At a swimming competition at the shore, Muginami not only wins, but saves Lan, whos boat she accidentally capsized, from drowning, and joins the jersey club. Muginami and Lan then help out at Madoka’s uncle’s restaurant. BWH. Lan then enrolls in Madoka’s class, joins the jersey club, and decides to move into BWH with Madoka and Muginami. Kirius and Izo’s ship is destroyed by Villagiulio, the leader of Kiss, who wants them to work for him. That night, Array escapes from Pharos in his ovid.

This episode sets itself apart from those that preceeded it by lacking any kind of big mecha battle, or indeed hardly any sci-fi content at all. There’s still action here, but it’s much more conventional, i.e. swimming, cafe hijinks, and a competition for Madoka’s favor. Long story short, Muginami is better than Lan at seemingly everything. Despite her obvious merits, however, we still don’t much like Muginami as a character yet, and prefer the more flawed Lan. When Mugi started waiting tables out of the blue, attracting customers with her beauty, Lan said ‘me too’ and exhibited her ridiculous klutziness, which was funny, we’ll grant, if a little out of character. We do hope Mugi gets more depth though. I mean, nobody knows anything about her.

Arguably, Madoka is the best balance between Muginami’s efficacy and Lan’s…inefficacy. It’s nice that the trio is now complete, however rushed Mugi’s introduction and assimilation felt. We should have expected a cool-down episode; after all, Madoka cares a great deal what happens to her town, and we can hardly sympathize if we don’t see the town from time to time. There’s a nice transitioning scene of the post-battle cleanup that really adds to the realism. The episode also shook up a lot of the good vibes it built by letting Array escape. No doubt he’ll team back up with his buds and be back, which may make Madoka & Co. long for these otherwise laid-back trouble-free episodes.


Rating: 3

Rinne no Lagrange – 03

Madoka is locked in battle with Kirius, and makes great pains not to cause excessive damage to Kamogawa, eventually moving the action to a vacant lot. Lan gathers up the courage to go out in Vox Lympha, but Izo’s ovid leaps out of the sea to stop her from interfering with Kirius’ fight. Madoka keeps her spirits up by singing her Jersey club fight song, and by her words helps Lan overcome her fear and unleash Lympha’s warrior mode for the first time. Faced with two Voxes, Kirius orders a retreat. Victorious, Madoka and Lan meet up and name their Voxes Midori and Orca, respectively. In his cell, Array recites the legend Lan fears, in which the three Voxes are harbingers of destruction.

Ignorance is bliss, at least in Madoka’s case. Forced to improvise against Kirius, Madoka resorts to stopping his non-lethal sword strikes with Vox’s hands, and even tries to choke his ovid with an electrical cable. Such tactics throw Kirius off, unaware of just how inexperienced his opponent really is. But that same ignorance helps Madoka press on with Vox, something Lan can’t initially do, because she knows about the legend. Will Madoka lose her edge when she learns of the foretold destruction her green Vox might cause? Who knows; for now, she’s two-for-two, thanks to her obligation to “finish what she starts”, a tenet of the Jersey club to which she belongs (translated as “Sweats club” last week).

Also, she’s helped Lan achieve what she couldn’t before, which is a big boost to her confidence. Making the princess Lan more initially flawed than the tomboy Madoka makes her more interesting, and we like how she has the same seiyu as Chihaya. We were also impressed not only with the gorgeous battle animation, but both the producers’ and Madoka’s committment not to forget where it is she’s fighting: in the middle of a densely-populated town she loves very much. Not only is she holding her own with Kirius, but she makes every effort to minimize collateral damage, and even smashes away a flying vending machine with a baseball swing to save two schoolgirls, punctuated by her trademark “Maru!” (“circle”). We like this kid!


Rating: 4

Rinne no Lagrange – 02

With his comrade Array defeated by the Vox, Izo heads down to earth to take it on. Madoka meets Tadokoro, the fleet captain who runs Pharos along with Lan’s superior, Moid, and a strange girl named Muginami. Madoka is issued a uniform and put her back in the cockpit to battle Izo. When she’s told she holds the fate of the world in her hands, she initially wavers, rendering the Vox ovid inert. After a motivational phone call from her cousin Yoko, who has always been against her piloting Vox, Madoka regains her confidence and the Vox powers up. Izo’s comrade Kirius has joins the fray, while Lan heads to her own Vox.

Not a bad follow-up to the first episode, reiterating how Madoka has been plopped down in the middle of an interdimensional war, a lot of pressure is immediately placed upon her slight shoulders, and she trades her sweats for a tight-fitting uniform like Lan’s. Basically, if she fails, everyone dies, so she’d better not fail. Think Evangelion without all the psychological baggage. Our heroine has never had a problem expressing herself or excelling at any number of athletic disciplines. Since her ovid Vox Aura responds according to the strength of her conviction, it’s important she see this as the life-or-death situation that it is, and not a lark or dawdle. Also, watching her wander the military complex for a decent cell signal was pretty funny.

Meanwhile, Lan, it would seem, seems offput by Madoka’s impression it was ‘easy’ to pilot the Vox. As watching the opening credits, she’s pilot too, but is clear she has some kind of underlying issues that require resolution. As for the third pilot, well, all we know is her name is Muginami, she has big boobs, and her voice is kinda stupid-sounding. She says barely anything and does nothing this week. Madoka, meanwhile, isn’t actually locked in combat all that long. The balance of her two-on-one battle will play out next week, in which she’ll be joined by either Lan, Mugi, or both.


Rating: 3.5

Rinne no Lagrange – 01

Able athlete and “Sweats Club” president Kyono Madoka is one day confronted by a mysterious silver-haired girl named Lan, who escorts her to an offshore installation where she’s brought face to face with a robot she’s meant to pilot. Lan was sent from space by L’Egalite to protect her from Demetria, their enemy. Madoka pilots the robot and defeats the Demetrian counterpart using a kendo move.

This Winter 2012 series has delivered the most visual punch, and if it keeps up this ambitious level of quality, it will certainly be doing battle with Moretsu Pirates, once that series gets out into space and starts flexing its muscles. Still, this series was the first to provide a big action setpiece (Madoka’s first duel), and it was quite well done. This show has a budget and knows how to use it, both in CGI and design as well as really nice use of color, light, and a really appealing futuristic techno score, all working in concert to create a sleek, slick, and optimistic setting, with darker forces lurking beneath it.

We had misgivings when heroine Madoka stripped down in the first minute (she had a swimsuit on underneath), but we found ourselves warming up to her the more we saw her. We certainly appreciate another strong female character this season. She’s great at swimming, tennis, kendo, baseball – all skills that should serve her well as a mecha pilot. She’s got nice quirky details like her track suit with one rolled-up sleave pant leg and her hair bunched by a rubber band. And while the Vox robot seems initially “icky”, she quickly gets the hang of things. It’s suggested this robot may have saved her from drowning in the past, but it seems like her older cousin would rather she not pilot Vox. We’re glad she will, though; otherwise there’d be no show!


Rating: 4