March 20, 2011

Rio Rainbow Gate! ep11

Say what you want about Rio Rainbow Gate! (and you'd best believe I will), say that it's nothing more than weak fanservicey crepe, say there's no characterization and a lame plot, say the artwork is poor to meh... you can say all those things, and I'd agree with you.  However, RRG! earned a place in anime history this week.  Following the horrible earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, most shows currently airing were either postponed until a future date or were broadcast with half the screen covered by governmental messages and warnings, as one would expect with a disaster of such wide-ranging scope and size.  But RRG! was one of the very few series to run at its normal time this week, with a screen clear of notifications.  Either the Japanese Authorities thought that what the nation of Japan really needed after such tragedy, such misery, was a brain-dead anime about young busty gamblers in stupid situations... or RRG! only airs on a small UHF station in a tiny fishing village in the far southwest of Kyushu.  Either way, it actually occurred and that's got to count for something in the grand scheme of things, right?  So it's got that going for it.  Which is nice.  It's probably the only way that RRG! is going to be remembered.  Except by me.  By me, this putrid mess will be remembered as a great source of elemental pain and mental anguish.  It tortures me.  Even with the worst natural disaster Japan has suffered since the 1920s, it still aired on time, which meant that I had to suffer through watching it as if nothing had changed.  Can't even give me a week off can you, RRG!?  No, you're too much the sadist for that.  "Production Staff, we've got one person out there reviewing us.  One.  Well, we'll make that one person feel such agony that it'll be worth it for us."  Bastards.  Have you no pity, RRG!?  Have you no shame?  No?  Fine.  But let the results be upon your head.

We open Episode 11 some amount of time after the ending of Episode 10.  The casino is quietly buzzing with happy people losing money, as casinos are wont to do.  Then interlopers are seen in the lobby.

As the theme song to The Magnificent Seven begins to play in the background, Elmer Bernstein begins to spin in his grave Our Heroes, determined looks upon their faces, gaze upon what will soon become their hunting grounds.  Their goal?  Nothing less than to win enough to break Casino Island and buy it back from evil Cartia's clutches.

Men want them.  Women want to be them.  They are...

...The Usual Suspects.  I guess they decided that the bunnygirl outfits weren't classy enough.  It's almost like the Production Staff read my complaints about the idiocy of Our Heroines wearing their old uniforms even though they were no longer employed by a casino.


As you could expect, we now get a montage of The Usual Suspects simply destroying the casino with an irresistible tsunami of gambling prowess their devastating skill at the roulette wheel...

...you know, I think I've hinted at this before, but Illa, the one with the green hair, is far and away my favorite of The Usual Suspects.  Yes, she often just repeats the last few words of her sister Ella's sentences, but she's proven to be the most perceptive and fun-loving of The Gang.  Plus she's got about a billion dollars worth of chips in front of her, which is a pleasant bonus.  Back to the fiscal demolition of Casino Island, we're next treated to the Trap Shooting gallery...

...where Linda proves to be a Terminatrix-in-training when she wins without a rifle.  No, she's got guns built into her fingers.  Rapid-fire guns.  Guns that fire actual bullets, as we see as she goes wild in the shooting range.  As with the artificial leg-mounted gatling gun in Episode 11 of Ga-Rei Zero, it's probably best not to think about the ammo feed problems involved.  Or the location of the ejection port.  I think it's obvious where the rounds are carried though.  Next up, the slot machines...

...where Anya must have eaten an awful lotta Mexican food the night before.  Yes, it's a poop joke in your Rio Rainbow Gate! episode review.  This is what RRG! has driven me to, ladies and gentlemen: poop jokes.  I'm saddened and disgusted by myself.  Rosa and Tiffany, the two grownup members of The Usual Suspects, tear through the poker and craps tables respectively, leaving us with only Our Heroine unaccounted for.

As if there was any doubt, Rio is causing havoc at the blackjack tables.  Havoc like playing five hands at once and getting 21 on all of them simultaneously.  With all this success, The Usual Suspects' rather dim plan appears to be working: according to the evil Cartia's records, they're already up to 15% of the net value of Casino Island in just one night's work.  There is one little problem though... they've gotta carry all their winnings out.  Never fear, they had a plan for that, too.

Cue the most ridiculous transport vehicle ever!

Not to mention the most unlikely method of carrying coins and silly-looking bills I've ever seen... a giant motorized cart that accelerates fast enough to leave rubber behind.  Speaking of those silly-looking bills, did you know that Indonesia, Turkey, Switzerland, Canada, England and Australia all have paper currency that is lavender in color?  I didn't.  Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.  Of course, none of those countries seem to be likely locations for the setting of RRG!, so I guess we're still at a loss there.  If it had to be one of those nations, Australia probably would be the likeliest choice.  If it was Indonesia, I'd guess that Casino Island would be robbed by the cast of Legend of Black Lagoon at least once a week.  While the violence involved would be entertaining to say the least, I'll admit that seeing The Usual Suspects dead or dying of multiple bullet wounds, or being dragged back to Roanapur to likely be sold into slavery or prostitution would be A Bad Thing.  Now, the Production Staff... that's a different story altogether.

Ah, the joys of immense amounts of money.  The Usual Suspects party and discuss the next step in their clever and audacious strategy.  This is where Illa comes into her own in this episode.  While her sister frolics and cavorts in a dangerous manner, Illa acts sensibly:

Eye protection is always a smart move when swimming... particularly when swimming in moolah.  It's all fun and games until someone takes a doubloon to the cornea, and you just don't want that sort of thing in your dumb fanservice anime.  Now, a sharp-eyed viewer may have noticed that someone was missing from the festivities... the token loli, Mint.  Usually she's spot-welded to Rio's side in scenes like these, so where is she?  As if on cue, she comes running into the room in a nigh-on-hysterical state, looking for her bear, Choco. 

Yes, even behind the plant.  Now I understand that if you're panicked and hysterical, you're by definition not thinking rationally, but look at the fourth picture of this post.  Look how large Choco is in comparison to Mint.  Does she honestly expect to find Choco behind the plant?  Maybe if she turned it?  Rio certainly looks sympathetic here... the same way Snorky Capone looked just before the Louisville Slugger came out in The Untouchables.  Of course everybody decides to help Mint look for her beloved bear, and of course nobody can find it. 

Back on the Sky Resort, still floating in the ocean, The Owner is talking to Joker about if, after all these years, they'd really done the right thing.  Um... hello?  RRG!?  Would you kindly explain what in the blue hells you're talking about?  As the moon comes out from behind a cloud and begins to brighten the office, suddenly much becomes clear as Joker is revealed.

*Gasp!*  It's Risa Rollins, the only person to ever hold all 13 Gates and win the title of Most Valuable Casino Dealer!  She's also Rio's mother, who's been missing for all these years.  Not only is she not missing, she's been working for The Owner ever since she 'disappeared'.  Mom's exposition reveals that she went into hiding for Rio's protection, because once Risa became the MVCD the Casino Guild kept trying to kidnap her.  Wha?  Waitwaitwait, the Casino Guild was trying to kidnap the biggest marketing tool they could possibly have, a marketing tool that was willing to do such promotion in the first place?  And that's enough reason to run away from your daughter, break up another woman's marriage (allegedly), and make her daughter's best friend crave revenge in the process?  C'mon Production Staff, I surely don't expect Citizen Kane from you guys, but for the luvva pete, could you please try to write the backstory without throwing darts at random plot elements taped to a wall?  While we try to digest this bombshell, the scene shifts back to the Hunt For Choco, which has gone very very poorly.  Rio and Mint find themselves in the last place they can think to look: the casino.  And who meets them there?

Why, none other than the evil Cartia of course!  The antics of the Usual Suspects has put a serious pinch on her financial empire and the time has come for her to put an end to them.  But who to use?  There isn't a Gate on the line, so using Rina is overkill.  There's also some question as to whether she'd even bother to show up, what with her realizing that evil Cartia is just using her.  Jack?  Turncoat.  Queen's a sniper who really couldn't have won a Gate on her own.  King is even worse, just a musclebound oaf who can't even manage to keep his mouth shut during an internal monologue.  So, she calls for "Ten."  See those two girls in Chinese costume?  They're Yang-yang (blue) and An-an (red).  Interesting, aren't they, what with the whole nigh-identical appearance and all, right?  Well, they're just passers-by... Ten is the guy in glasses and sweater next to evil Cartia.  He pulls out a Heckler&Koch MP5 and puts two rounds into Rio's forehead, ending the whole matter once and for all.  Mint, covered with blood and gray matter from her friend's skull, is traumatized and goes silent for the rest of her life.  However, lawsuits against evil Cartia, filed by the assembled spectators, eventually reduce her to a pauper's status.  The Owner retakes control of Casino Island, but it is a joyless victory.  Nobody tells Rina where the remaining two Gates are.  Grief-stricken, for she still loves her sister, she crawls into a bottle and dies alone, her vengeance unrealized.  The Usual Suspects return to work for The Owner, but it's just not the same without Rio around.  Anya tries to pick up the slack, but she's much too clumsy to be a true replacement.  It falls to Illa to rally the troops so to speak, and while she does her best there's only so much she can do from "behind the scenes."  Nobody expects her to be a leader, and it turns out that she's unable to fill that role.  Casino Island collapses around The Owner's head.  The return of Risa Rollins could have halted the decline, indeed reversed it, but with the death of her daughter she disappeared again, this time for good.  Then Roanapur comes acallin', and everything goes completely to hell.

...

Nah.  Yang-yang and An-an are Ten.  The guy in the sweater and glasses is just a guy in a sweater and glasses.  Evil Cartia challenges the Usual Suspects to a game of Concentration Bomber... if they win, she'll double their winnings to 30% of her empire.  If they lose, they give back the money and go away. Fine, it's a deal but... what's Concentration Bomber?

Evil Cartia found the arena setup for Concentration Bomber closed off in the basement of the casino.  It's a giant game of Concentration... you match two cards, you pull them off the table.  The cards are reshuffled and laid out after each guess.  Yam-yam and An-pan will take on the Usual Suspects.  But the game itself has something it has to do first...

...it changes Team Usual Suspects into suits of "armor."  Red hot sexay armor... except for Mint, of course.  Not sure what's up with that.  Rio and Mint go first, and of course they don't match their cards... nobody is that lucky.

...which means it's Bomber Time!!!  Whazzat?

Oh.  Yes, you get it wrong, you done get your arse blowed up, all the while as an announcer (Elvis, one of Rio's opponents from two earlier episodes) calls the action.  Concentration Bomber!  Yup, that's a game that only could have sprung from the mind of The Owner.

Even Mint isn't immune... she gets blowed up just like everybody else.  It was at this point that Rio says the most ridiculous line in this entire series: "So that's what the armor is for."  Because the requisite fantasy "chainmail bikini" is going to protect your body from blast forces like a bomb, right?  Of course not, anybody could tell you that, but Rio says that line in all seriousness.  There are moments when I love this show.  While Rio and Mint try to reattach their limbs and stop the bleeding, it's Ling-ling and Ampad's turn... and they get it wrong.

And so it goes for a while.

If by chance one side or another DOES get a match, they don't get blown up (yay!) but the annoying announcer does (YAY!).  Well, actually, he doesn't so much get blown up as attacked by a Muay Thai kickboxer.

But more often than not, it's either Team Usual Suspects or Team Yippie and Yahoo getting blowed up.

Again.

...and again...

And again.  Curiously, whenever Mint gets blowed up, An-an is always there, trying to help her up, checking if she's okay.  Mint always refuses the help, but one has to wonder what's going on there... it looks a lot like one-sided loli yuri, to be honest.  It can't be that, even RRG! wouldn't stoop that low.  Eventually, the game of Concentration Bomber progresses to a 12-12 tie with only four cards left on the field... and it's Rio & Mint's turn.  If they get it wrong, they gets blowed up again, and Team Ten will win (never mind that the cards are scrambled after every play and therefore it's not a sure thing that the Chinese girls would win as RRG! neglects to mention... actually, let's face facts: the Production Staff forgot about that little detail).  As this was all caused by Mint's search for Choco leading them into the casino in the first place, Mint wants to make the first choice.  Rio gets her roll ruler going, which leads her little friend to find two matching cards!

A winnar is you!  But a phone call to evil Cartia from The Owner (who can still access Casino Island's computer system, I guess) brings the taste of ashes to everybody's mouth... the reason he had Concentration Bomber closed off is that there was a major flaw in the game equipment.  It has this habit of accidentally exploding.  Oh.  Yes, yes that'd be a problem... and just as predicted, Mint gets blown high into the air.  An-an runs around underneath her, trying to... I dunno, catch her?  Seems rather unlikely, considering they're both the same size.  Unless there's a steroid monster under that robe, it ain't gonna happen.  Thwomp.  Squish.

Mint gets all weepy over An-an's prone form, wondering just why she was being so nice to her.  And then...

*nervous laughter* Should we be watching this?  I mean, this is the sort of thing that should be going on behind closed doors, not on a family-friendly blog like this one...  No, wait, An-an turned into Choco?  Hunh?  Wuzzawhat?  Turns out that Yang-yang has a weird roll ruler, one that allows her to influence or change things, but only if they're made in China.  Things like Choco which, as we learned back in Episode 01, was made in China.  Yang-yang was lonely and wanted a friend, so she took Choco and turned it into... An-an.  Y'know, evil Cartia employed Ten, you'd think she should've noticed if there were suddenly two Chinese kids involved, wouldn't you?  But then, this IS RRG!, the stupid is commonplace and logic is outside in the rain looking in.  Outside the arena, words are exchanged between the Usual Suspects and evil Cartia, halted only by the appearance of...

...Rina.  Mocking words are thrown at Rio by her sister, words that sting, until the two Gates held by Our Heroine are revealed. 

"Rina, I challenge you to a Gate Battle."  Fade to black, roll credits.

Oh my god.  I predicted this would be a filler episode, and indeed that's exactly what it turned out to be.  Other than the scene with Risa Rollins and the last thirty seconds, there was nothing in here that we couldn't have done without.  The whole episode was just an excuse to drop the Usual Suspects into revealing chainmail bikinis and blow them up in various ways.  Which is fine.  More than fine, actually.  But it was so bloody stupid.  Hey, let's have Choco turned human for an episode, then show Mint just how much it loves her.  Blah blah blah, it pains me.  No amount of flaming bamboo shoots under the fingernails will be enough penance for the Production Staff after this is all over.

Except the previews for the next episode look like they're trying to apologize for the entire series to this point.  You see, the Usual Suspects and Rina are going to... a hot springs.

Naked ping-pong.  I just pray that Mint is wearing a towel under there.The rest of this blurb is just to pad the post to get it over 3000 words.. at least I'm honest about it.  But who would have imagined that a Rio Rainbow Gate! episode review would reach 3000 words?  Actually, before I started the padding, it was at 2999 words and I just couldn't let it sit at that.  Thanks for reading this far.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:14 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 3062 words, total size 23 kb.

1 Some very important plot points fleshing out the series which were also revealed in this episode:  

1.  Owner (Howard) is so concerned with the future of his casino that he can be briefly distracted from his soft core idol porn.

2.  Owner's fixation on such probably caused him to fail to oversee proper construction of the Bombardier Concentration Facility (Closed for Your Safekeeping; Pardon Our Mess).

3.  Tiffany wears high-waisted mom jeans on her days off.  Frankly, this makes perfect sense when her days are spent wearing intensely cleavage-oriented swimwear and bunny ears.

4.  Your picture up there of the Mint/Rio concentration mismatch made me think of Hidamari Sketch.  I hate myself.

Posted by: wahsatchmo at March 20, 2011 08:55 PM (zEE+3)

2 So Rio will win (of course!) and Cartia will get sent packing. Rio and her girls will own the place.

And they'll turn it over to Owner, without a peep, right? Right?

Here's my prediction: Owner is Rio's father.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 20, 2011 10:10 PM (+rSRq)

3 God I hate you, Mr. Den Beste, for ever evoking the image of Owner copulating with anything.

Posted by: wahsatchmo at March 20, 2011 10:28 PM (zEE+3)

4 Hmm, ping-pong has suddenly become more interesting to me...

Posted by: Siergen at March 20, 2011 10:56 PM (Gqqsw)

5 That ping-pong scene has "Buy the DVDs!" written all over it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 20, 2011 11:44 PM (+rSRq)

6 I expect the entire episode will have "Buy the DVDs!" written all over it.  Though to be fair, there's been very little of that sort of thing in this series... just the episode with Rio and Rina in the bath leaps to mind.  As far as fanservice goes, RRG! has been rather tame... which is impressive.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 21, 2011 06:08 AM (W8Men)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled.
44kb generated in CPU 0.04, elapsed 0.1343 seconds.
47 queries taking 0.1107 seconds, 242 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.