Title: Rio Rainbow Gate!
Summary: In an island casino called the Howard Resort, Rio Rollins Tachibana is a popular casino dealer with the ability to bring good luck to gamblers just by walking past them, earning her the nickname “The Goddess of Victory”. Mint Clark, a young child, comes to the Howard Resort with her grandfather and encounters Rio, and the two become the best of friends.
Review: After completing this series I felt kind of bad for bashing it in my first look. I was constantly talking about how it is a one-track show with hot girls and sexy outfits. Though I don’t really take that back, it actually resembled more of a story than expected. I would say that roughly eight episode in I was kind of looking forward to the next episode. The level of ecchi and pointless situations reduced. The series turned more into an actual linear story rather than an episodic. However, Rio: Rainbow Gate! still wasn’t a perfect anime and probably not all that great in comparison to the others that came out this season. I’m hoping that I actually enjoyed the anime and not leading you in the wrong direction because I had such low expectations from the get-go.
The art style as I said was very well done, as expected from an ecchi show (if I can still call it that). The variety of different girls, hair styles, outfits, and even scenery were refreshing to say the least. The art did a great job keeping the gambling interesting by throwing the viewer into another world. Instead of watching a simple card game, the viewer is taken into a “roll ruler” which is basically a separate world where one of the gamblers is in control. I actually enjoyed watching the fight between good and evil rollers because of the interesting visuals. Every episode generally had new backgrounds as well, specifically during the gate battles. That was one thing that I praised the random, and quite frankly dumb, gate battles for. Since the competitors usually fought in non-conventional ways, it kept things interesting by coming up with new ideas.
The story was a big shocker to me toward the end. The introduction of gate battles and MVCD (person who controls all the gate battle cards) came early on. However, it wasn’t until the end when it actually mattered. At first, I thought the gate battles were used as an excuse to get Rio into some revealing clothing. Later I discovered that they actually held ground with a pretty decent story… and to get Rio into some revealing clothing. The gate battles became a lot more serious as Rio had to fight them back to back. Rio: Rainbow Gate! did a good job showing the mental strain each battle put on the competitors. Without trying to spoil anything, I want to say that the gate battles become a lot more personal toward the end. Even the previous gate battles come to light as you find out they are all part of a master plan. The one thing that I didn’t understand though were the rules of a gate battle: 1) A challenger can appear at any moment and request a dual that cannot be refused, 2) the rules are on the challenger’s terms, and 3) all cards are given up if one gate battle is lost. It is obvious that the challenger has complete advantage over the situation. I understand that a true gambler would take on any challenge but there should at least be some benefit to being the defender. I found the “cards choose the winner” a bit corny as well. The final thing I wanted to mention about the story was the final two episodes. I was glad that they didn’t do a sudden twist that made the final gate battle one sided. I was happier with the straight forward battle between Rio and her opponent. I feel that it made the series a bit more interesting because it kept the motivations of both players clear, and if you know anything about my viewpoints, motivation to fight is a huge deal to me.
The soundtrack of the series is probably the easiest to review: it was ok. There was nothing special about it, the standard J-pop that I’m not a huge fan of. The opening and ending theme weren’t that captivating. I did enjoy the opening as a background song during the final episode (or was it the ending? I don’t know they both sound the same to me). Everything else was quite standard and nothing really to take note of.
Final statements: Rio: Rainbow Gate! was surprisingly better than I expected. I know that most people still wouldn’t like the premise or want to sit the through the first few episodes so I will give it a low priority watch. I don’t feel that the series was all that bad, and they worked well with what they had: a casino and imagination (corny but true). Give it a go if you are bored or have absolutely nothing else to watch.