RIDEBACK Ep. 01 [Series Premiere]

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Series Details – 「 RIDEBACK -ライドバック- (The Official Japanese Website) 」   

Studio: Madhouse   |   Genre: Mecha/Science Fiction   |   Episodes: 12 (scheduled)

1「 ライドバック 」Episode 01: Scarlet Rideback

Summary: Set in 2020, Rideback takes place during a future where a resistance movement, called the GGP, has taken control over the world. By using a new advanced weapon they developed, they were able to overpower the previous government with ease, as the difference in strength between the group and the government were comparable to an elephant fighting an ant.  Due to this incident, several problems arose from the incident, as restlessness and conflict can be seen in the world. None of this matters however to a certain Ogata Rin, the protagonist of this story. She is in the middle of her biggest ballet performance of her life. It also potentially proves to be her last as she suffers a severe ligament injury to her left ankle, stopping her short of her dream to surpass her deceased mother and become the best dancer in the world. After a childhood in which she idolizes and trains under close tutelage of her mother, everything changes for her due to this.

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Sometime later, Rin and her friend Shoko enroll into college, returning to ordinary student life after the incident. After getting themselves familiarized with their new surroundings, Rin receives a call from her grandmother. In the conversation, it is revealed that after the injury, Rin has given up on ballet dancing. She stays firm on her decision as she talks with her grandmother and in the process, other facts regarding her life slowly surface. Along with her younger brother, she has been living with her grandmother since a very young age, as both her mother and father died in an earthquake around six years ago. Rin seems to be very uncomfortable regarding her injury as well as her mother’s death, as she tries to stray away from the subject. Even though her injury was something that can heal perfectly with proper surgery, she decided that she would still give up on ballet as she was unsatisfied with her current state, realizing that she will never be as good as her mother due to it.

The next day, the pair meets with Uchida Suzuri, a fan of Rin’s during lunch. She expresses her admiration for Rin’s performances, revealing that she has been following her recitals for some time before the injury. She views Rin as the next great dancer, comparing her to her mother. Realizing how uneasy Rin became due to the mention of the her mother, Shoko quickly changes the subject, producing a chance for her to escape as more of Rin’s friends slowly crowd around the table. After Rin’s departure, Shoko goes on to explain to Suzuri about Rin’s retirement from ballet after her ligament tear, which saddens Suzuri. 

31A few moments later, Rin stumbles upon a small warehouse, where she takes shelter under to escape the rain. After witnessing a man on what seemed to be a robotic motorcycle with arms leaving the warehouse, she gets curious and takes a peek inside. As the rain gets heavier, she enters the building and takes an interest in a particular red motorcycle hidden in a corner of the building. Mistaking her as a possible recruit to his Rideback club, Hishida Haruki introduces himself to Rin and offers to teach her how to ride the machine. Haruki informs her of the machine’s details, stating that the particular model’s name was “Fuego” (meaning fire in spanish), while the machine type itself was called a Rideback.

After familiarizing herself with the controls, Rin takes the machine out for a spin after the rain stopped. After a short run, she realizes that the controls on Fuego were not registering properly and without the ability to brake, Fuego takes her on a speed run through the school campus. In the process, she discovers that Fuego responds to her body’s subtle movements, allowing her to do some amazing ballet dance techniques. Rather than panicking in the situation, she finds herself enjoying the moment after realizing the machine’s capabilities.

4-copyA couple pirouettes later however, the machine malfunctions further and stops responding to Rin’s commands. Haruki, who at this point is attempting to chase after Rin to fix the machine on his scooter, runs into another member of the club, a blonde girl named Tamayo. The two then go on to chase after Rin. At the same time, Rin is spotted by the man who was previously seen leaving the warehouse, Okakura Tenshirou. Noting that Rin was heading towards an unfinished road, he sprints off after her, barely managing to fix the machine’s controls. It was of no help however, as Rin continues to fly off the cliff, soaring into the sky above everyone and everything. Rather than being scared, Rin seems really happy, as she smiles widely flying into the sky.

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Previews: [ EPISODE 02 ] A Race with Tamayo

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My 2-Cents: After a few nags and even more drags, I finally knuckled under and gave in to the pressure and hype surrounding this series. Granted, I was eventually going to watch this anyways but I thought that I should just start the ride off right from the get go. Honestly, I must say I definitely did not regret watching this episode. In fact, I really can’t wait for the second ep coming out this week. Looking through countless winter anime summaries, Rideback was something that instantly caught my eye among the sea of decent-if-not-great series coming out this season. The premise was really interesting, and seeing the Fuego mecha definitely made me even more intrigued as the days go by. 

Reading through review after review of the first episode, I found that everyone rates Rideback very highly. Judging from the first episode, I definitely see a lot of potential in this so I can see where everyone is coming from. The first thing that catches your eye as you watch this is the incredible production values. Madhouse has done a tremendous job animating this episode, everything just look damn beautiful. From the starting ballet recital, to the sakura trees all the way to the ending scene, everything looks great in terms of art and color. The color truly pops out at you as the episode is adequately saturated throughout (although not as much as the screens here, I did some minor editing to the colors). The attention to detail is also top-notch, as I notice all the little things in the episode being done right. A good example of this is the reflection off Suzuri’s glasses. You can definitely see Rin’s face reflected off the glass’ surface as they interacted. Another good example would be the ground’s surface during the rain, as the reflections themselves are also animated along with the pitter-patter as the rain hits the water pools. I hope madhouse keeps this up, cos first episode looks perfect. Hopefully this is not a case where animation is at a premium just for the opening. I have seen many a series degrade in quality as the season goes by (some of which never again reaching the bar set by it’s first episode). Here’s hoping.

Another aspect I liked were the character designs. Even though at first glance they may seem a bit bland and boring, there are certain elements that make them likeable. Take Rin for example. As a whole, she is a very generic looking heroine. The little touches make her who she is however, as I really like how cute her scruffy hair is. Definitely a nice touch. Her personality and demeanor is also very relatable, as she is polite and quite shy in nature. I can’t wait to see her develop more, especially after her discovery of these ridebacks. The art style is pretty similar to Initial-D, as the characters have pretty long noses and faces. I actually dislike the art in Initial-D with a passion but somehow it works here. It definitely does look nice in this series.

The ridebacks themselves are very nice as well. The animations of the mechas are pretty good and they don’t really stand out too much from the normal animation, which is good. I’m not really a fan of super-CGed mecha, where they just shine like hell and look like they’re not even on the same plane as it’s surroundings so the way they are rendered here is subtle yet good. Fuego in particular is really sweet, with all it’s moving machinery and mechanical parts. The red really pops out at you so it is definitely very appealing to me aesthetically.

As in all technological anime, I always find myself wanting a piece of it’s tech more and more. A Rideback is something that I can definitely see myself riding, since it pretty much is like a motorcycle in nature. I find it similar to Air Gear, in the sense that it’s a mechanical object that lets you soar in the sky. Maybe in 10 years time, we really will see tech like this out and about (the story is set in 2020 after all). The small cell-phones are neat too, quite niche little things =P  I totally want one.

There are some inconsistencies that I found though, mostly in the character faces. In some scenes (like when Rin was calling her grandmother), the face perspectives look a bit off, making her look really weird. There are also some evidence of this during the chase scenes (however since it was pretty fast, you can’t really notice it too much anyways). This is probably just a case of me being OCD-nitpicky as I usually am so you can disregard it. After all, every anime has inconsistent art at times so I’m not gonna hold this against it. It’s still top-notch throughout.

All in all, a pleasant surprise and quite an enjoyable experience. The story started off slow but after the Ridebacks were introduced, my excitement rose higher and higher. I expect great things for this series, even though it might be a short one (12 scheduled episodes). If they can keep the production values up, I can see it ranking quite high on my personal list for this season (I’m probably a bigger art nut than I am a story/plot nut). As someone who doesn’t follow the manga, I can’t wait to see the story develop further (there’s a lot of potential with the Rideback teams and the GGPs). I will definitely be following/blogging this series in the foreseeable future. 


OP SEQUENCE: 「RIDEBACK」by MELL    

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 ED SEQUENCE: 「記憶」(Kioku) by ユンナ (Younha) ft. GOKU

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5 Responses to “RIDEBACK Ep. 01 [Series Premiere]”


  1. 1 Benny January 24, 2009 at 11:33 PM

    I had much the same attitude as you when I first looked at this but it turned out be a very pleasant surprise. On the whole; nice characters, good use of CG and a great soundtrack.

    It’s a shame to hear there’s only 12 episodes scheduled as it already feels like the story could do with more. Though with the quality of the first two episodes I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.

  2. 2 Bass January 28, 2009 at 10:20 PM

    I’m till looking for rapidshare links for ep 2. No luck so far so I can’t blog on it yet.

    I’m guessing that there will be more than 12 episodes in the future, as long as it keeps the quality up :3

  3. 3 CP January 28, 2009 at 11:52 PM

    I had a friend that complained about the character designs being so bland and ridiculous (like Rin’s messy hair or the characters’ eyes too small) and I was so frustrated when he said that. I mean…do all anime characters have to look so moe or something? Jeez.

    But yea, I hope Madhouse keeps up the quality of this show since the premise feels really original despite its mecha genre.

  4. 4 Bass February 5, 2009 at 7:15 PM

    That’s what I like about Rideback. Everyone seems so normal as well as being ordinary looking, not like idols or something like that.

    It’s more believable that way, which makes it quite nice to follow

  5. 5 Vivexin Reviews July 26, 2013 at 11:28 AM

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