「今日もまた, 鴨川で」 (Kyou mo Mata, Kamogawa de)
“Another Day in Kamogawa”
A wonderful ending. Though I was pretty down on last’s weeks episode, and was correspondingly worried coming into this one, I must say that the show recovered nicely and ended the series in true Rinne no Lagrange form. It was idealistic, it was upbeat, it was heart-warming, and it was full of wishes realized, friendships renewed, and a bright future ahead for everyone involved. Perfect.
Starting off the episode, we had the peculiar situation where the bad guy had been vanquished, yet the whole world was still going to hell in a handbasket. Yet I knew that Yurikano had to come back before the series could end, and so she did. Uncharacteristically, I don’t have much to say about this scene, though not because it doesn’t deserve it – it just speaks for itself. The atmosphere was right, the colors perfect, the music spot on…but most of all, it was the message that made me smile – forget your silly adult “realism” (cynicism, skepticism, your guilt and regret and pain) and come along with Madoka. She won’t leave anyone behind. Not Yurikano, not Dizelmine, not anyone.
The scene where they busted out of the Rin’Ne with the silliest of songs (the Jersey Club Anthem, yeah!) was perfect in its imperfection. Moid was right – the song of the Rin’Ne should have been something majestic, something grand. Yet subverting such things with the subtle is a trademark of this series, and seeing the sky bloom as their song came to an end was great. Youko-nee and Asteria were right to place their faith in Madoka.
Now let’s talk wishes. If most series did what was seen here, I would cry foul, with liberal use of the phrase “dues ex machina,” but here I’m going to allow it (I know Xebec’s shareholders are glad to have my approval). This series has always thrived on idealism, and the idea that if you wish hard enough in the Rin’Ne you can even turn back time seems par for the course. Plus, they gave themself a very subtle out – we knew what Asteria looked like, and that she used to be older, so once she explained the reason it was easily believed. Really though, I just love the imagery. Wish hard enough and you can turn back time…or even move planets.
Then there’s Moid. Last episode I was put off by how easily he went down, but Xebec apparently wasn’t done with him quite yet. I nodded my head approvingly when it was shown that he had broken free, only to crack up in laughter when he started ranting about how the Jersey Club Anthem was stuck in his head. That was the perfect punishment for him! Yet what it really did was expose how small and pathetic he was, that he would make up a legend for such a silly reason – which I’m beginning to think is exactly how it should be. I just can’t imagine Madoka inhabiting the same universe as villanous psychopaths and evil masterminds.
But of everything else, it was the end of the episode that brought it home to me. A good finale should wrap up all the loose ends and give closure to every character, and this one did. I loved seeing Izo, Kirius, and Array reunite with Yurikano, and grinned like an idiot at the four of them all bantering at Lan’s coronation. Speaking of, Queen Lan was a beautiful sight to see, but it was only right that the jersey came back out to keep the series’ down-to-earth tone going strong. Then there was Villagulio and Dizelmine able to be friends once again, Muginami seeing her home planet bloom, and Madoka juggling so many United Nations that she’s losing count of which is which, hah! But mostly, it’s the fact that at the end of it all, the Jersey Club is still going strong, and Madoka, Lan, and Muginami are still together. A good ending should give closure to the story, while still letting us wonder what could be in store for te future of these characters we’ve come to love so much – though we may never (and probably shouldn’t!) see those stories told. In this, Rinne no Lagrange delivered. More in my final series impressions below.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – #LagRin isn’t about grand things. It’s about little things – friends & giving & laughing together – b/c those are what truly make life grand
- The whole damn world is coming to an end, and they’re cooking. Love it
- As far as I can tell, Moid wanted to trigger the Rin’Ne just to see what would happen. Slap a sign on a big red button that says “Do Not Press”, and you can be sure that some fool human will do exactly that inside of 15 minutes. Sometimes I love our species, Orz.
- Speaking of, care to guess why Moid disappeared? (Ahhh, scary face!) Well, my guess is that if you wish hard enough whilst inside the Rin’Ne, you can turn back time, move planets…or perhaps rid of a pesky little villain.
- I will never be put in a headlock by Youko-nee. So jealous! :*(
- So judging by how they wear their jerseys, Izo is the Madoka, Kirus is the Lan, and Array is the Muginami. (Compare.) I guess that makes Yurikano…Asteria? Youko-nee? Hiroshi-ojisan? Alright, so it’s not a perfect metaphor.
- Together forever, just as it should be. Maru~
Full-length images: 34.
As I’ve mentioned before, when this series first debuted at the beginning of this year it wasn’t even on my radar. Yet now that it has finished, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Of any show I’ve seen this year, this one is perhaps the most encouraging about the state of the anime industry. From a storyteller’s perspective, this was simply a delight. The attention and care paid to the smallest of details is something that’s rarely seen in any medium, anime most certainly included. I remember thinking that on the first episode I blogged after taking over for Divine, and it hasn’t changed since the moment Izo stood outside the school saying nothing, and then turned to head home. Silence, facial expression, saying with images what a lesser series would have said with words. Beautiful.
This was not a series of grand moments. It preferred to use subtlety to tell a joke here, convey a feeling there, throw out some imagery there, or repeat on a theme over and over again until it was woven so tightly into the tapestry that the tapestry would have ceased to be without it. Yet there were a few moments that stuck out. When Villagulio turned on Muginami (in what we now know was all an act), when the girls played naked in the ocean, when Youko-nee went down and Madoka went berserk, almost ending it all. This season had them too, in the now infamous kiss, the other infamous kiss, the girls getting super embarrassed, and damn near everything that happened in Episode 10 (…crunch). I’m not sure if I had a point in mentioning all of those, save that it gave me an excuse to go back through all of our posts and relive the best parts of this series one more time. Wonderful.
But perhaps the most glowing best praise I can give for this series is that it swept you away. From the attention to detail to the ceaselessly and wonderfully idealistic worldview as embodied by Madoka, Rinne no Lagrange knew the world it wanted to paint and it did so relentlessly, and well. I say this because even a hardened cynic like me was swept up in it so deftly that every idealistic maneuver that would have usually sent me howling and cursing at a character’s stupidity passed by without complaint here. Villagulio probably would have been smart to not trust Dizelmine so far that he ended up in a hospital bed, but after getting punched by Madoka – that’s another one of those moments! – I can’t imagine him doing anything else. The music, the dialogue, the imagery, and every little detail on down to the personalities of the bridge crew and Izo’s career plans combined to make even cold-hearted bastards believe in a better world. Fantastic.
In the end, Rinne no Lagrange was not perfect. It nearly was, though! Save for a perhaps unwise dip back into slice-of-life in the middle of the season and the odd pacing in Episode 11 – and a similarly small number of missteps back in Season 1 – this series was almost unflinching in its ability to exceed expectations, no matter how high expectations went in response to its continual surpassing of them. And that’s a mark of true greatness, because it’s easy to be good when no one expects anything from you, but hard to be great when they do. Remarkable.
Earlier I said this was one of the most encouraging series I’ve seen this year, and here’s why: original series always have it tough, coming out without a set fanbase and having to fight tooth and nail to get people to even give them a chance, and that can cause some bad habits. They are liable to frontload the action, trying to draw people in by giving them what they want, without thinking about whether that’s the best way to tell the story. That the producers, writers, and directors of Rinne no Lagrange took the risk and greenlighted this show at all is worthy of praise; that they gave it enough time to slowly and subtly build up, so that it might tell the best story it possibly could – and gave it 24 episodes in which to do it – is worthy of something far greater. That’s worthy of our support. I will always be first in line to watch (and blog) original series, and I heartily suggest you do as well. Yet I’ll now also be on the lookout for the next shows that directors Tatsuo Satou and Toshimasa Suzuki work on. Superb.
At the end of the day, Rinne no Lagrange was an excellent series which I enjoyed watching and blogging, and I hope you enjoyed it all as well. I don’t think I’ll soon forget this one, from first hearing about it from Divine while I was learning how to make these posts, to typing these words today, to in the uncertain future ahead. It was a wild ride, a fun ride, and something I want to see more of – or rather, more like it – as soon as I possibly can. It was beautiful, wonderful, fantastic, remarkable, and superb, but above all else, it was one very simple thing: maru~!