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 – 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 – 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 – 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)

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.

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