Rainbow: Final Thoughts

Is it some kind of unspoken rule that particular seasons of shows must adhere to a certain number of episodes? While the episode limit doesn’t hinder some shows (Gurren Lagann; 26 episodes), it definitely hurts a majority that otherwise could have been just as good as the manga preceding it (Death Note; 37 episodes). That said, I was surprised to find that my anime of the moment, Rainbow, came to an end this week, at a measly 26 episodes.

While I haven’t read the original manga by George Abe, checking out its Wiki page alone is clue enough that those watching the anime only have been gipped—the number of volumes totaling at 22. Even assuming that the manga was crazy text-heavy, resulting in the watering down of some volumes when adapted, I still think the series could have easily gone for at least ten more episodes… especially when considering just how little we still know about the main cast.

Without spoiling anything, the series seems to be fully aware of how little time they’ve been allotted and began to rush things significantly in their finale, tying pretty much everybody’s stories in mere minutes, literally hitting up each person’s epilogue one-by-one in a sloppily done narration. From the handful of talk I’ve heard about the series, one gripe most people have had with it was its cheesy narration. Though honestly, considering how the series takes place in a post World War Japan, the drama and cheese factor were practically expected. Every episode was done in this manner, as narrated by a mysterious female who we can only assume must have been one of the handful of female leads in the story itself, but are never actually given a straight answer to… something that seemed to be a trending topic for the series.

Starting off the series, you get a solid introduction to each character and how they relate to the rest of the characters in a world that seems to continuously be working against them. As the series progresses, though, and focus begins to shift from the characters as a group to the characters individually, you begin to see some favoritism in the writing as to just who we should be rooting for the most among the main cast—a rather unexpected move. As much I liked the quirkiness of some guys like Turtle and Cabbage, I was heavily disappointed to find that the series came to a close without Soldier getting an episode of his own. Sure, the whole “life of a soldier” thing has been played out to death, but we barely even get much of a story out of him even though he clearly has one to tell. Meanwhile, we’re expected to be sympathetic for characters like Mario in such little time that when the finale ends up becoming his story, I just feel let down.

Though I guess if I had to choose one character as an allegory on Japan's relations with America...

Another complaint about the series was in its form of villains, at least in the incredibly short first arc of the series. Motivation aside, it felt like if you were given a blatantly creepy character design, chances are you’d end up being a villain. After the “reform school” episodes, though, big changes in the series’ predictability come about, with enemies coming up from the most unexpected places. Considering the narration-format of the series, I would have enjoyed some kind of comment in the show made about this, especially taking into account how the main cast moves out of the frying pan of prison and into the fire of the real world.

Maybe it was some kind of dealie with the show’s budget that led to such a low episode count? Maybe they knew that a series with such sensitive content would ultimately not do well in TV rankings? Maybe the author just wants us to read the manga instead. Whatever the reason, Rainbow – Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin has become one of many anime series to end up with a sloppy ending adaptation due to episode count limitations. It’s just a shame that it had to happen to such a critically acclaimed manga series.

External References:
– Rainbow Simulcast Subbed Episodes (funimation.com / youtube.com)

About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

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