Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne Season 1 Review

Anime

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Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne

Studio: XEBEC
Publisher: Madman Entertainment
Format: DVD, Blu-Ray (Reviewed)
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Price: $59.95 – Available Here

Overview
Cute girls, mecha, aliens, jerseys. That is pretty much Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne in a nutshell. You have cute girls piloting mechas to fight off an alien invasion of sorts, one of which has an abnormal love for jerseys. It is a strange mecha anime to say the very least but it is rather fun because of that.

Lagrange is nothing you haven’t seen before from the mecha genre, but it has an air of freshness to it that makes it standout from the crowd. There is a playful heart to Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne that sets it apart from the pack, this isn’t some dark tragic mecha drama, in fact it is quite uplifting and that may very well be the thing that makes Lagrange good: it makes you smile.

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Story
Madoka is your average genki teenage girl, she is kind-hearted, playful and quite sporty. She is the founder of the jersey club, a poorly defined high school club for people who wear jerseys. At the series outset Madoka is the club’s only member. Surely enough she quickly becomes embroiled in an alien invasion which is exclusively targeted upon a remote Japanese beach town called Kamogawa, which just so happens to be Madoka’s hometown which she loves.

In a blur Madoka is suddenly piloting a mecha and engaging in battles with the invaders in order to protect the town she loves. The invader’s motivations are somewhat questionable but regardless of that they serve as a decent antagonistic threat to Madoka and company. While these are all somewhat generic plot points that occur frequently in mecha series, Lagrange’s take on the series is quite unique and that blend of mecha tropes makes for something special.

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The series features quite a lot of fan-service, with many shower scenes and strange public stripping sequences by our heroic trio of cute girls. If you’re an ecchi fan and like these three characters you’ll surely have a lot of candy for the eye with Lagrange. The fan-service isn’t the slightest bit subtle, right down to the on all fours position that the girls pilot their mechs in. If you aren’t into the whole fan-service thing it may be a little bit of a distraction here as it occurs frequently and bares little importance to the story.

The story itself is somewhat muddled and fairly repetitive at times. Things progress quite slowly and it feels like battle after battle with no goal point for quite a while. Ultimately it kicks into gear and the story becomes more interesting. This is really a series that relies heavily on its likable main cast to push things along and with the development for each of the main trio, they quite easily carry the series on their shoulders. The chemistry between them is electric and it is a whole lot of fun just watching them interact with one another.

Ultimately Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne is a light-hearted mecha with a heaping helping of fan-service on the side. It is a lot of fun and the action sequences are well choreographed and know how to build tension and excitement. The real highlight of this series is its great primary cast, it is impossible not to like these girls and it proves to be Lagrange’s strong point. Season 1 concludes in an interesting way and definitely leaves the viewer hankering for some more jersey club fun when Season 2 hits our shores.

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Visuals and Audio
So very fresh, that is how I would describe the style of Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne. It just has a refreshing aesthetic that really doesn’t look like anything else. It is animated superbly and the direction is tight and sublime. The character designs are each appealing in their own ways and the unique visuals of the series ensure a memorable look that won’t be forgotten. The battles upon the sea are impressive visually and the fan-service scenes are rather titillating if you’re into that kind of stuff. The general production on this series is excellent and stands as some of XEBEC’s finest to date.

The series soundtrack is fitting and adds to the aura of a fresh ocean breeze kind of feeling that the show has going for it. The opening and ending themes aren’t really all that special but they aren’t bad in any way. The English dub from Viz Media is decent to a large extent but somewhat hit and miss, some performances come of as lazy, but the main trio of girls are all voiced with a great deal of personality and vigor. This release of course also features the original Japanese audio should you prefer it.

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Extras
Madman Entertainment’s release of Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne is quite an impressive feat, it features a plethora of special features that add a great deal to the experience of the series. Included on the release are an art gallery (which I must say is a special feature that is sadly far too rare in the current anime landscape), the standard clean opening and closing themes and a very special Kamogawa Drama featurette. That is a lot of bonuses for this quality release and it is all the more appreciated considering the asking price.

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Overall
Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne is a special mecha series. It takes and blends some rather trite tropes of the genre and makes them into something fresh and unique. There is quite a bit of fan-service in the series which will be hit or miss for you depending on your opinion on that type of thing. The series strongest point and ultimately its major hook is the chemistry between its main trio, these girls are all likable in their own ways and their interactions are really a lot of fun to watch. The mecha battles surprisingly are not the most interesting part of this mecha series, rather it is watching these three cute girls grow together like the flower that blossoms. In the end Season 1 overall was a solid first entry for the Lagrange series and things look to go bigger and better in Season 2. If you’re looking for a bit of easy light-hearted and at times uplifting fun, then hop on board for Lagrange: Flower of Rin-ne.

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Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Senior Editor & Anime Specialist

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