Rideback Anime (2009) Review

The anime takes place in 2025, and revolves around Rin Ogata, an ex ballet-dancer who never fulfilled her potential due to a serious injury. Currently, she attends college, but her failure still weighs heavy on her, despite the fact that some of her classmates still idolize her for the prowess she has shown, prior to her injury. One day she accidentally enters a club that deals with ridebacks, a transforming hybrid of motorcycle and robot, and becomes utterly intrigued with it. The series initially looks like a sports title, as Rin and other members of the club race against each other and other riders. However, as the past of club leader Tenshiro Okakura is revealed along with the actual role of GGP, an organization that rules the world, and politicians, journalists and military get involved with the ridebacks, the anime takes a serious turn that ends up in drama, action and some coming-of-age elements.

character

The first thing that the spectator will witness is that the characters, although quite detailed in their design, have distinct western characteristics, rather than oriental. This includes height, eyes, a large nose in the case of Tenshiro and rich buxom for most of the female characters, although this tactic obviously aims at something else. Another attribute of the character’s drawing is that most female ones have permanently drawn on their faces those red lines that in Japanese anime mean excitement. Due to that, the drawing is a bit lacking, at least in that aspect. In terms of the ridebacks though, the design, the coloring, the movement, and the overall animation are magnificent. Particularly the scenes of racing and the action ones are brilliant, in the title’s best feature.

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action

Most of the characters are well analyzed for a 12-episode anime, and particularly Rin, whose feelings, thoughts and general psyche is explained to the fullest. The ballet notions make a nice addition to the action, although, at some point, they come out as a bit hyperbolic.

ballet

The relationships among the characters are quite good, and the fact that, for once, there is no romance is a tick to the pros column. There is also some minor fan service, although not at extreme proportions and actually, quite well embedded with the rest of the aesthetics. The drama, the politics, and the coming-of-age elements also give some depth to the script, which is not very original, however. Atsushi Takahashi’s direction, on the other hand, is kept in decent standards, with the story flowing quite well through the episodes.

fanservice

“Rideback” is a very entertaining title, which will particularly impress the spectator with the concept and animation of the ridebacks, but will probably be easily forgotten.