Rio: Rainbow Gate! Review


rating: 2

These days it's quite hard to know what you're getting yourself into when you start watching an anime, a lot of them don't have english reviews that you can peruse before you begin to enjoy them, and there's not a massive audience for them outside of Japan. What you're about to start watching could either be a show with a deep and meaningful message that's going to open your mind, or it can be fan service with a cheap plot wrapped skimpily around it. Rio: Rainbow Gate! is fan service, there's no denying it, they've even gone so far as to make 99% of the cast female, and dress them up in the most revealing shows they can without introducing some blurring. But the annoying thing, the thing that makes you want to watch more, is that there's a half amusing, and very confusing, story behind the tight fitting clothes and copious amounts of skin. The premise is cliché enough, there's a collection of items that the protagonist has to collect, only there are other people in her way that, shockingly, also want to collect the mystical items so that they can have the fame and the glory that comes with them. In this instance the items are cards, or 'Gates' as the show affectionately refers to them, and our hero is a dealer in a grand casino resort. Nicknamed the 'Goddess of Luck' Rio is a typical reluctant hero, that plays the game for others, rather than herself. So the story starts, episode one and we're greeted to a minor character first, a young girl called Mint, and her teddy, who was forgettable. I almost stopped watching the moment I realised this character had been walking around for five minutes and nothing had happened, but I persevered, and was eventually awarded with a shot of the main character, at long last. But it didn't actually start the story, oh no, what we had then was even more tedious than the sub-character walking around for ten minutes, we had someone try to steal her teddy... really... that was the plot of the first episode, some greasy casino shark comes out of nowhere and demands the teddy. The purpose for this becomes clear, eventually, it's an excuse for the protagonist to engage the would-be-thief in a fight, but a fight on her grounds, a card game. Here's the only bit in the first episode worth watching, we see this 'power' that the protagonist supposedly had, and it was also the reason I carried on and watched episode two; the power saw her walking through a beautifully designed and drawn card universe, where she was queen of the cards and could decide the fate of the game. I don't know who thought this scene would work, or thought it would be good alongside the swimsuits, but it was amazing, it was a genuine glimpse into the mind of the person that wanted to do a meaningful show and story. Then the scene ends, the protagonist wins the game (it's the first episode, come on,) and we're left guessing as to if the scene really was magic, or if it was just some metaphor for her being lucky when it comes to cards. This question doesn't get answered until much later either, if it's magic, or just some delusion that the entire cast shares to try and make casinos more than just places where the house always wins. There's variety in the story, from competitions down water slides, fights with chicken-wing-obsessed ghosts, and flying casinos in the sky, to sibling rivalry and virtual reality space battles. It keeps you watching, and that's something, if only because by the end of the third episode you just want to know what kind of stupid game they can come up with next to claim the latest Gate. rio_rainbow_gate_01 The story doesn't seem to know what it wants to be, it's either a serious look at the human dynamic, or it's a whimsical and titillating time sink designed to make people gawk. Watch it, just one episode, if you're ever flicking through channels and there's absolutely nothing else on. It gets a two, mainly because I watched the entire series, and if it managed to keep me engrossed that much it definitely isn't a one.
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I spend far too much time trying to find things to fill that time. A little about me, so I'm a writer at heart, hence the reason I'm here, in the future I intend to be a published author, but that's quite far off yet. I'm an opinionated sod, with views ranging from the current state of politics to how Stargate is a far better show than Star Trek.