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

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Winter 2011 Season Preview

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for – among other things – fewer series to watch. Fall has been fun, but keeping track of so many shows (and not able to let any go) has been taxing. For Winter 2011, only eight shows have piqued my interest so far, but even that may whittle down if a couple aren’t up to snuff. So without further ado, here’s what’s on tap during the snowy time:

Kimi no Todoke Season 2 – Production I.G. – January
Freezing – ACGT – January
Infinite Stratos – 8-Bit – January
Fractale – A-1 – January
Yumekui Merry – J.C. Staff – January
Rio – Rainbow Gate! – Xebec – January
Level E – David / Pierrot – January
Puella Magi Madoka Magica – SHAFT – January