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Final Thoughts: Rideback

Posted by Doug on April 4, 2009

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An anime that started off promising, but ended most unsatisfactorily…I was afraid Rideback would turn out like this.

I liked this series, I really did.  It had all the trappings of a fine anime series,  and, uncommon for the medium, it was an utterly serious work.  Not since Witch Hunter Robin have I seen an anime series as serious as this one (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is close, but there was all that comic relief the Tachikoma provided).  So I was expecting (or maybe hoping for) something epic, and unfortunately, I was disappointed.

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The eleventh episode, ‘Sometimes It’s Cloudy After the Rain,’ seemed ploddingly slow; the final episode ‘Turn Towards the Stage Spotlight,’ seemed horribly rushed.  The big showdown between the GGP and the BMA…wasn’t.  Journalists (Yoda) and politicians (what was that guy’s name again?) won the battle and defeated Romanov, not Rin & Company.  Romanov’s aide steps onto the stage just to kill Romanov, with no prelude or explanation. And did I just somehow miss the part where they explain what Kiefer’s beef with Romanov was about?  I remember something about Kiefer paying Romanov back for what happened in Arizona, but other than that, I don’t remember them detailing what went on back whenever.

A short montage at the end quickly shows that everything is now Good: Rin’s brother is out of jail and back at home; the Bad GGP is out and the Good GGP is in, and reconciled with the Japanese government; and Rin goes back to college.  It was wrapped up too quickly and not at all neatly.

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So basically, my final appraisal of Rideback is as follows: Rideback had appealing character and mecha design, nice animation, decent music, good voice acting, interesting premise, intriguing political slant, and lousy execution.  Rideback could have been great, but it simply wasn’t, and it’s a pity.

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