lelangir and ghostlightning GATTAI! RideBack appears to be an intriguing show, a visually pretty juxtaposition of art and politics, with mecha.
ghostlightning: I loved the dance scene, the performance. The fluidity of the movements foreshadowed the goodness that will come later when the mecha comes into play. I can’t identify the piece, nor am I knowledgeable in ballet, but I get the impression that the performance is well-researched. And, Rin is hawt. Very hawt.
lelangir: I’d say Rin is more cute than hot. She’s pure, the white dress being a symbol of her chastity. At any rate she is super freakin’ attractive.
ghostlightning: Another scene that took me is the massive fall of cherry blossoms in their art school. It reminded me of the first episode of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, only serious.
lelangir: “Sakura blizzard”, as the girls put it, seems to be a cinematic effect i.e. 5cm.
ghostlightning: Yes, it’s beautiful, and sets my expectations for the animation quality for the series. It won’t be just fluid movement, but rather I feel an effort to compose a scene beautifully as well, which I appreciate.
lelangir: The falling sakura petals were a metaphor for Rin’s own falling, when she looks at the one petal that landed on her hand as it falls to the ground.
ghostlightning: Perhaps the first break in the the pace, is when a fangirl accosts them in the cafeteria. Following the falling blossoms, metaphor – this scene brings the petal into the ground. Reality hits. Rin won’t be dancing anymore. The fangirl gets sad for our sake.
let’s talk about politics
ghostlightning: While Gundam 00 is credited for having a decidedly post-9/11 geopolitical setting, I anticipate RideBack to be as equally ambitious, as it is set in the near future of 2025. My hunch is based on Rin’s birthday: September 11, 2001. Can it be more obvious?
lelangir: The exposition to the political backdrop is brief. Rin tells us, her being the historical narrator, that the resistence group calling themselves the GGP “suddenly took control of the world.” Apparently, the GGP achieved world dominance via Rideback’s, a new military technology. While the GGP succeeded in taking political control over the world, their victory was recorded merely as an “historical victory”, whatever that means. I guess historians and publishers still have a degree of autonomy?
ghostlightning: Let us speculate. The GGP’s control must be part of this Orwellian setting, where peace and prosperity (there must be prosperity for such art schools to exist) are traded for human rights.
I’ve read that there will be student-led protests coming up. Human rights violations/control by a totalitarian regime is a convenient enemy, plot-wise. However, it’s very pre-9/11 (Tienaman Square protests were in 1989). The post-9/11 world is largely about lowered barriers to entry – for nearly anything from business to terrorism. And in this world, technology breaks barriers, but anachronistic ties to ethnicity and culture are still very strong, and are still powerful fuel for conflict.
It’ll be interesting for me to watch these things play out from the POV of art students.
lelangir: Well, as the screenshot says, the UN still exists – whether this relation is egalitarian or hierarchical is still up in the air though. There was no background information on precisely where the GGP struck, but perhaps to keep some semblance of a global society intact, they’d need to disrupt America’s domination over things like the World Bank and the IMF. But don’t quote me on international policy, ever. At very least Rideback seems more like a usurpation of hegemony rather than Geass-esque all-out imperial warfare replete with racial resistence. As ghost said, it will be interesting to see student-lead counter hegemony.
let’s talk about metaphors
ghostlightning: I can see how dance can be metaphoric for riding, but is it necessarily symbolic for anything else? Is the mecha here gratuitous? (As if mecha ever wasn’t)
lelangir: I think this anime goes a step further and makes dance as riding – the motorbikething itself was responding to Rin’s moves. There was a brief scene where it was suggested that the motorbikething had some sort of intelligence. I’d say that dance through riding will be a vehicle (no pun intended) for the show’s primary function, a rite of passage. This assumes that the political backdrop is merely there as a backdrop to give a context to Rin’s actions. I haven’t read the manga, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rin becomes an activist and displays her activism via dancing via Rideback. Rin was a performer, and we’ll see some huge character development as she comes to terms with her injury, the loss of her parents, and her status as a “performer”.
ghostlightning: Or, there can be a parallel between her coming of age, and that of the world’s/society; as both come to terms with how power and relationships work.
let’s talk about fanservice
ghostlightning: The fanservice is delicious. Rin flashes her panties everywhere except ‘at the camera’. We are teased into looking down into her blouse, but nothing is really gratuitously served. There was a reason why the Gurren Nishiki‘s cockpit was styled like a motorcycle, it was to provide us maximum Kallenservice.
Her brazenness in handling the RideBack Fuego is awesome. It reminds me of the ‘falling into the cockpit‘ trope, only that she didn’t fall. She was invited. It wasn’t since Saotome Alto from Macross Frontier that you had a pretty willing pilot.
ghostlightning: Seize the reins of history! A willing pilot! Also, a natural joy and talent for piloting that makes me remember not just Alto’s first flight in the VF-25 Messiah, but also the wild tumble of Hikaru Ichijou in the very first episode of SDF Macross. Her face at the end is just pure awesomeness.