Friday, April 10, 2009

Anime — Rideback

A tale of a girl and her quasi-humanoid motorbike -- Japan really loves the transforming mechs!

It starts off as a ballet story, turns into a sports anime, with motorbike racing, but alas, soon has to turn into something vaguely political -- something which the introduction made inevitable. Ogata Rin is a ballet dancer, as her mother was, until she tears a tendon. At college, she happens into the Rideback club, and is persuaded by its president to take a spin on one of these humanoid motorbikes, which become an almost normal motorbike by folding in their arms, and doing the splits -- and of course discovers that her ballet skills allow her to easily master the most temperamental and dynamically unstable of them all.

Serious national racing ensues -- until a friend gets caught up in a terrorist hostage situation, and the mysterious Rideback girl has to come to the rescue. Implausible geo-politics ensue (though with some nice easter-eggs for the tech savvy), and, being a 12-episode series, the Big Bad turns out to be a paper tiger.

From the cues -- sakura blossoms, to cicadas, to bare trees, to snow, then back to sakura -- the story spans a year; the way it is told, with event following close on event, feels more like a few weeks, which doesn't give that impression of leisurely pace.

Overall, from a fairly thin season, not bad.

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