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 – 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 – 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 – 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.