by Joe Locastro | Assistant Editor
Get ready for mecha action of a familiar pace…with absolutely perfect adjustments to the formula. Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne is a lot of what we love as fans of big robot shows but that’s just where it starts. Hit the jump for a full review of Lagrange!
Making its grand debut on American shores via Neon Alley, Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne definitely makes a splash. After viewing the first two episodes it’s easy to get excited about more, even if the series tends to lean on the tropes of the genre.
The first episode introduces the protagonist Madoka Kyouno, a prodigy student/athlete/human being who is the sole member of The Jersey Club. The club’s goal is to be helpful, and she performs various favors around town and for her fellow classmates at the drop of a hat, keeping her schedule packed to the brim. A strange girl named Lan shows up and asks her a simple enough favor: come pilot a big robot for me. Before she knows it Madoka has taken on the favor of piloting the Vox Aura: a powerful transforming mechanoid. She swings into battle against another alien force who also has access to giant robots, and begins her adventure with a stylish victory.
Lagrange’s cast of characters is very colorful, and the animation is some of the finer I’ve seen recently. A perfect blend of cg and traditional cell animation lends itself well to the big robot concept, but once the guns are out it doesn’t lose pace. Behind the animation is a great score peppered with memorable and catchy songs. When things get serious the whole mood of the show rises to meet it and Lagrange doesn’t fail to impress. At times the concept feels like it drifts into derivative territory: The lead character is a young student who is chosen to pilot a mysterious and partly autonomous device with two of their peers, one of whom is very out spoken and the other is very timid and shy. This doesn’t really mar the experience however, it just means that Lagrange knows that its up against, knows what common ground all mecha anime shares…and is setting up something for the later episodes. In a show where big robots rule it’s all about the endgame, and where the show takes the relationship between pilot and mecha. Madoka already has a deep connection implied between herself and the Vox Aura, and we haven’t even gotten an in depth look at the other two pilots yet, so there’s a lot of potential for Lagrange to evolve and mature into its own with time.
The English dub is spot on for the show. Kira Buckland and Sophie Roberts have excellent chemistry as Madoka and Lan, and I’m looking forwards to hearing more from the talented cast. For fans of anime music I can safely say the show’s season one OP “Try Unite!” is also excellent. Lagrange is making its debut on Viz’s in-house video channel Neon Alley. If you’ve got the itch for a steady stream of freshly dub new anime I highly recommend looking it up. Episode one aired all this week and episode two debuts tomorrow, so head over to your PS3 and check it out!