「曇り のち 鴨川」 (Kumori nochi Kamogawa)
“The Cloudy Kamogawa Afterward”
The poverty-stricken past, the female bonding, the midnight skinny dipping, the mispronunciations of Villagiulio — can this show ever do any wrong? There wasn’t a single Vox in sight this episode and it was easily one of the best so far, further emphasizing the multifaceted nature of this original series that keeps me coming back for more. I normally approach series without too many expectations so that they have ample opportunity to pleasantly surprise me, but with Rinne no Langrange, it’s starting to look like I can have relatively high expectations every week and it would still somehow exceed them.
The mood of the series hasn’t changed much since the first episode, but the depth has increased immensely, moving beyond the Vox legends and onto down-to-Earth characterizations that anyone can appreciate. Madoka’s frustration and Muginami’s guilt were developed really well in parallel, and in Muginami’s case we saw just how sentimental apples are to both her and Villagiulio. The depictions were powerful, and as I suspected from the preview last time, made it very difficult not to be more understanding of Muginami’s situation. Even some good ‘ol fan-service care of Lan didn’t take away from the sentimental mood, as I found myself getting a little choked up at the sight of the tears that Muginami couldn’t hold back any longer. It was all very sweet — especially when Madoka pulled out the note that Muginami responded to — and portrayed well enough that the sight of Lan stripping down in a hurry didn’t even take away from it.
Looking back, it’s a bit dumbfounding how three girls stripping in hurry — all of whom are too good for underwear — didn’t even feel like fan-service, as it was a tsundere spur of the moment thing that actually fit what was happening. The same goes for the bath scene between Madoka and Muginami, where the characters’ emotions far outweighed the fact that they were pressing their naked bodies together. So with that, it would appear that this series doesn’t only blend mecha action and comedy perfectly, but characterization and fan-service as well — something that probably warrants an “anime case study” so that future series can learn from it.
All the while, the underlying plot is still moving steadily along, with confirmation here that Le Garite and De Metrio were once allied planets that are now at war, and even the subtle confirmation that Villagiulio is a complex antagonist who put up a mean act with Muginami so that she could break ties with him (and the war) and lead the normal life she’s always wanted with Madoka and Lan. As such, I’m already looking forward to the girls’ next encounter with the ex-Prince of De Metrio, but not before I get to see Lan gush over killer whales. At first glance, the next episode looks like a side-story episode, but as we’ve already seen many times already, things can switch over to a more plot-centric development in a heartbeat. At the very least, I’m willing to bet that there’s going to be more than boob-grabbing.