Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ride Back

Few genres are as beholden to their traditions as mecha; few genres are so heavily represented in anime and disastrously represented in manga.
The traditions of both super robot and grim robot shows don't seem to work well on the page, and few people even attempt it.
Likewise, political manga seem to be a dicey proposition in Japan, particularly since the publishers are only too ready to cave in and censor/cancel the series the moment anyone protests.
Except for Ride Back.
Ride Back is both a mecha sci-fi action spectacular, and a political thriller.
While the ballerina heroine is discovering the joys of making ride backs dance the way few others can, she's also getting mixed up in student protests against the new world government.
It has a very late sixties/seventies feel to it - nobody really has protest marches any more. We just have riots.
The ads for the Ride Back anime, which debuts next week, are focusing heavily on the first chunk of the story - the upbeat robot riding college is fun section.
Much like this image, they aren't exactly representing the series accurately.
Few manga transform themselves completely as regularly as Ride Back does; every volume or two it seems to smoothly change genres completely. The rather simplistic understanding of the politics involved that the characters have as students lasts no longer than the cherry blossoms; people diving into the series for cute girls driving mecha around are going to be in for a rather brutal shock.
I'm looking forward to actually being able to talk about the later stages of the series in depth. This new website may be a blog, but we definitely want it to engender discussion. Ride Back is a series worth talking about; hopefully we can do that in the comments below.


  1. Volume 1 was scanlated a while back, and it was pretty enjoyable. Nothing has been done since, so it's pretty interesting to hear it makes a change from the "robot riding college is fun" stuff that's going on.

  2. If the anime is well-made, combined with whatever name recognition you have (that guy who talked about Spice and Wolf, Baccano!, etc. before they were popular), then I can see the scans taking off.

    What little I've read from Ikki hasn't let me down yet, so I'll check this out.

  3. Oh, it's an Ikki title? It definitely sounds interesting, and I hope the adaptation is decent. Hopefully it'll get more attention over here than Noramimi, another Ikki manga.

  4. I have to admit, I saw the art style used in Noramimi, and immediately lost interest. I find it hard to believe the tragic lives of adorable mascots will really be an effective series, especially since it seems to be played totally straight.

  5. To be fair, I had read some of the manga beforehand, so I was used to the art style. I only watched the first episode, actually, because I hated Noramimi's voice. The manga itself is fun and charming, though.

    Ride Back's art is thankfully not as off-putting as Noramimi's, so hopefully more people will give it a shot.

  6. Ride Back's art is really beautiful, but it seems to have been hard to copy - the anime designs look pretty off.