RIDEBACK – 01
In a tumultuous time in which a group called the GGP has taken over governing the world, a ballet dancer named Ogata Rin is in the middle of a big performance when she suddenly hurts herself. Sometime later, Rin and her friend Shouko enter college. Rin has given up on ballet and claims not to regret it, but she’s still not entirely comfortable with the subject, especially when the topic of her mother comes up. Her mother was also a great dancer, but she had died in an earthquake six years ago. Rin had wanted to be like her mother, but she was unsatisfied with her own ballet and quit after the injury.
On one rainy day, Rin stumbles upon the Rideback club and is mistaken by one of its members – a guy named Hishida Haruki – as a prospective member. He offers to let her ride a red one called the Type L Fuego and is impressed by how nimbly she mounts it. With some instruction and help from Haruki, Rin is able to start up the vehicle and move it, and it responds to voice commands. Unfortunately, some of the controls aren’t working properly, and the Fuego takes Rin away from the clubhouse. Although initially startled, Rin soon gets the hang of riding a Rideback and starts really enjoying it, even performing some ballet moves with it. When the Fuego goes into Spread Legs Form however, Rin loses control, and one of the other Rideback club members Okakura Tenshirou tries to help her from atop his own Rideback. He helps her regain control, but it’s too late to stop her from sailing off the edge of an unfinished road, and for a moment, Rin is soaring above everything on top of the Rideback.
Well, the OP isn’t quite as good as I had hoped from the commercials (I hate to say it, but I mainly like the sound of the Engrish chorus), and I ended up enjoying the ED + the images/animation as a set a lot more. There are some interesting notes on the ED too. It’s by Younha who some of you may remember did Bleach’s 3rd ED and a few other anime songs. Well, she’s released some music in South Korea since then, and this song (in Korean) was one of those. She’s recently put her sights back on Japan, signing with Geneon Entertainment, and that’s how RIDEBACK came to have this song as its ED.
Wow, it’s rare that I get hyped about a series from its promotional material and/or manga, and then the series actually delivers beyond what I expected. For starters, the production quality is amazing. The ballet scene to start the episode was beautiful (the immediate contrast to war made it all that much better), and the certain parts of the sakura petals scene even reminded me of 5 Centimeters Per Second. Okay, not quite that good, but you get my point – RIDEBACK is really pretty. Here’s to hoping Madhouse can keep up the level of quality.
The story is nothing to sneeze at either. A lot of this first episode was introducing everything and showing off the Fuego Rideback in action, but they put in a good amount of character development into Rin (particularly in relation to her mother) and hint at the tumultuous state the world is in. They even showed the Ridebacks in combat which I wasn’t expecting till a bit later. It appears that this series is taking the basic elements and characters of the manga and presenting it in a relatively new way. So far so good.
Now normally I’d be keen on blogging a show with a first episode as impressive as this one, but my schedule’s already too crowded, so Trillian will probably blog this in the future (pending Trillian’s own interest in the show of course).