Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~ Set 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)
June 17, 2013 by Dennis Amith
An enjoyable mecha anime series with a fine balance of action, humor and drama. “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” is a story about three teenager girls who must conquer their fears and protect the city of Kamogawa and its citizens with their mecha vox robots against aliens who have come to attack Earth. For fans of mecha anime or for anime fans looking for something not too deep or dark, definitely give “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~Set 1” a chance. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © Lagrange Project. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~ Set 1 (輪廻のラグランジェ)
DURATION: Episodes 1-12 Minutes (275 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9), English and Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Viz Media
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Chief Director: Tatsuo Sato
Director: Toshimasa Suzuki
Series Composition by Shotaro Suga
Original Character Design by Haruyuki Morisawa
Character Design by Chizuru Kobayashi, Takushige Norita
Art Setting: Michie Watanabe
Music by Saeko Suzuki, TOMISIRO
Anime Production: Xebec, Production I.G.
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kaori Ishihara/Kira Buckland as Madoka Kyono
Ai Kayano/Karen Strassman as Muginami
Asami Seto/Sophie Roberts as Lan
Ayumi Fujimura/Erika Harlacher as Ayane Iwa/Haruka Uehara
Azumi Asakura/Midge Mayes as Machiko Iwabuchi
Hiroyuki Yoshino/Ben Diskin as Izo
Hisako Kanemoto/Saki Shin as Asteria Lizamarie De Roschefall
Iori Nomizu/Erika Harlacher as Shōko Igarashi
Kazuyuki Okitsu/Vic Mignogna as Moid
Kenji Hamada/Bubba Chow as Hiroshi Nakaizumi
Kenji Nojima/Johnny Yong Bosch as Kirius
Makoto Yasumura/Patrick Seitz as Shōzō Tadokoro
Mamiko Noto/Wendee Lee as Yōko Nakaizumi
Megumi Nakajima/Cristina Vee as Grania
Rie Tanaka/Laura Post as Eri Watabe
Madoka Kyono is an energetic girl who is full of passion. As the proud, and only, member of the Kamogawa Girls’ High School Jersey Club, she goes around helping people in need. But Madoka’s life is turned upside down when she is suddenly asked by a mysterious girl named Lan to pilot a robot. Motivated by her desire to protect the people and city of Kamogawa, Madoka agrees to pilot the resurrected Vox robot to fight against extraterrestrials that have come to attack Earth.
In the summer of 2012, Xebec and Production I.G. joined forces in releasing the mecha anime series “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~”.
With an ongoing manga serialized in Square Enix’s “Young Gangan” magazine in 2011, a total of 25 episodes were released on television and an OVA was released with a PS3 video game. And now “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media.
The Chief Director on “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” is Tatsuo Sato (“Shigofumi – Letters from the Departed”, “Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars”, “Tokyo Tribe 2”), the series is directed by Toshimasa Suzuki (“Hidamari Sketch x Hoshimittsu”, “Dance in the Vampire Bund”, “Polyphonica Crimson S”), music by Saeko Suzuki (“Brave King GaoGaiGar Final”, “Vampire Princess Miyu”) and TOMISIRO, character designs by Chizuru Kobayashi (“Pandora Hearts”), Takushige Norita (“Broken Blade”) and art direction by Michie Watanabe (“Wolf’s Rain”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “House of Five Leaves”).
“Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~ Set 1” covers the first season and is a series that revolves around a teenager named Madoka Kyouno. The sole member of the Jersey Club, she is a teenager that loves to help people. May it be saving people like a lifeguard at the beach, to helping other clubs in school. But if anything, she feels it’s her duty to help those in need in her hometown of Kamogawa. And she also has the habit of saying “perfect” while drawing a circle in the air. She’s also a very good athlete and tries to excel in sports.
One day after saving a child from drowning (before heading out to school), while saving the boy, someone had taken her clothes. So, Madoka ends up wearing her gym clothes to school. By the time she gets out, she is approached by a unusual girl named Lan, who has the habit of saying “Woof” (she was told that was a human greeting for “hello”).
Lan approaches Madoka and asks her to follow her to an offshore base and asks her if she can pilot the robot aircraft known as a Vox (Ovid).
Immediately when she touches the space craft, she experiences a flashback being submerged in water but is not sure why. Not long after, an enemy from outer space is seen piloting an Ovid attacks a base in Kamogawa and wanting to protect her city, Madoka goes after it with her Ovid. And using her skills she learned through athletics, she surprises the enemy using a wrestling move and defeating him.
Shocked by what has occurred, Lan reveals to Madoka that she is an alien that was sent to Earth to protect Madoka and the Ovid, both which are linked together. She introduces Madoka to the military and learns that the planet needs her help in defeating the enemy because the De Metrio are planning to destroy the planet and a group known as KISS is starting to cause problems with their Vox. So, Madoka is the planet’s only hope!
Not knowing if she has what it takes to protect the planet, she believes as a Jersey Club member, she must fulfill her obligations to protecting Kamogawa from KISS.
Meanwhile, along the way, Madoka becomes good friends with Vox pilots Lan and Muginami who become new members of the Jersey Club.
Can these three working together, protect the city of Kamogawa and its citizens?
Find out in “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~ Set 1”!
The main characters of “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” are:
- Madoka Kyouno – The sole member of the Jersey Club who pilots a Vox. She is the planet’s only hope and she is always want to protect the city, her friends and the people of the city. She pilots a Vox which she has named as Midori and has recruited Lan and Muginami as members of the Jersey Club.
- Lan – An alien who was unable to utilize her Vox, because of knowledge of an unknown fate that happens to Vox pilots. But since she met Madoka, she overcomes her fear and learns to control her Vox which she names Orca. Lan attends the same school as Madoka, keeping her identity of a space alien, secret to her classmates. She is often jealous of Muginami. Lan also holds a secret of her true identity.
- Muginami – A well-endowed, slow-witted person who acts naive. Her brother is Villagiullio of De Metrio, but after trying to infiltrate the Pharos Base to steal a Vox (which she named Hupo), she is abandoned by her brother and left alone. But feeling bad for her, Madoka takes her in as a friend and member of the Jersey Club.
- Youko Nakaziumi – Madoka’s cousin and a researcher on underwater archaeology. She knows a little about Madoka’s past (which Madoka doesn’t remember) and tries to prevent Madoka from getting in contact with a Vox but eventually allows her to pilot the Vox under one condition, she lives her daily life normally. She is a former Jersey Club member and is the one who inspired Madoka to be a protector.
- Hiroshi Nakaziumi – Madoka’s uncle and Yokou’s father who owns a restaurant.
- Machiko Iwabuchi – A teacher at Madoka’s high school and a former member of the Jersey Club and also a friend of Madoka’s mother and Youko.
- Shozo Tadokoro – The Commander of the Pharos base.
- Asteria Lizamarie De Roschefall – The granddaughter of the chairman of Nomundus and is responsible for making the orders for Pharos. She often dress in Lolita fashion and carries a secret.
- Villagulio – The disowned prince of De Metrio who forms a rebellious organization known as “KISS”, and comes to Earth to investigate.
- Kirius – A pilot for Kiss and is the eldest member of the three pilots working with Villagulio.
- Izo – A pilot for Kiss and a hot tempered individual.
- Array – A pilot for Kiss and is the youngest of the three. He often wears maid outfits.
“Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~ Set 1” is presented in 1080p High Definition that combines beautiful backgrounds, wonderful mechanical designs and a colorful series that looks beautiful on Blu-ray. While character designs are well-done, I’m really impressed by the architectural and also mecha design for this series. Featuring CG and beautifully painted artwork, I was impressed by the style, look and feel of the entire series.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~ Set 1” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD MA 2.0. Both are well-acted and will entertain anime viewers with either language. If there was one thing that I wished the series had was a better lossless and immersive soundtrack. For a series with a lot of action, it would have been great to hear a 5.1 or 7.1 soundtrack. But the fact is that a lot of Japanese animation is made in 2.0 and Viz Media tends to not stray from that.
It’s important to note that you can not change audio or subtitles with the usual button, you need to go into the menu and select English audio or Japanese audio with English subtitles.
“Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~ Set 1” comes with the following special features:
- Production Art – Cycle through various production art using your remote.
- Clean Opening and Ending
- Kamogawa Drama – (15:13) A collection of short “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” animated clips about three minutes each. Some feature the characters in super-deformed chibi format. Stories examples include Madoka and friends treasure hunting in a pool, a video game competition amongst the KISS members and more. In Japanese audio with English subtitles only.
Watching “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~”, there have been quite a few anime about the girl who pilots a mecha from “Gunbuster”, “Gravion”, “Super Robot War”, “Macross”, “Evangelion”, the concept is nothing new. But it’s how you keep the anime series fresh and different from the other titles, that make it much more interesting and exciting.
What “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” does quite well is having a protagonist that has is not too weepy, not too weak, not too whiny and if anything, a high school student that is a bit unsure but is determined to protect others.
From her bubbly personality, Madoka wins you over with her naivety but also her determination and her “Perfect” hand gesture. There is none of the overdone self-doubting or underdog nature that we typically see in a mecha anime series, this is a series about a teen who has made up her mind that her life is defending her friends, her city and doing it to the best of her ability.
Throw in other characters such as Lan, the girl from outerspace that is trying to understand her emotions and finds herself joining the Madoka bandwagon and confronting her own fears. While Muginami is your bubbly personality, well-endowed character who actually has more of a difficult pass and also a more difficult situation because her brother, that she has always looked up to, is the enemy.
Put these three teenagers together and the result is a mix between a teenage high school anime series drama and an action-packed mecha battle session. There is no worry of perverted guys, this is not a harem anime series nor is it an anime series that tries to copy other titles. It’s enjoyable, fascinating and quite an uplifting anime series.
The first season tends to deal with character introductions. We get to learn more about what made Madoka so brave and the fears she faced in her past after losing her mother, we learn about Lan’s fears and how Moid doesn’t expect much out of her as a Vox pilot. We also introduced about Muginami and her past and how she is loyal to her brother and how painful it is for her now to fight against him.
While rated TV Mature, that is because the opening episodes tried to incorporate a few fan service with brief nudity and panty shots. In many ways, I’m glad that this series didn’t turn out to be another “Gravion” of even another “Strike Witches”, if anything, it’s about three friends trying to defend the city of Kamogawa from alien enemy attack.
And a storyline with fascinating twists that will surely setup an exciting second season.
As for the Blu-ray released, Production I.G. titles tend to look beautiful when it comes to detail and art backgrounds and while a Xebec produced anime series, it’s the use of characters, the added detail and mecha design that makes “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” so gorgeous on Blu-ray considering it is a TV series.
While I wish the lossless soundtrack was much more immersive, considering the amount of mecha action, the fact is a lot of anime series are 2.0 and it’s up to the company if they choose to added an immersive soundtrack for the Blu-ray release. But Viz Media has typically kept things to its original presentation and so both Japanese and English soundtracks are DTS-HD MA 2.0. Both are well-acted, but I just wished it was a title that would have featured immersive lossless audio and given a 5.1 or 7.2 treatment.
Overall, “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” has turned out to be an awesome, exciting mecha series that is a lot of fun and features very cool characters.
While the series may not be as deep as other mecha series, it does try to keep a good balance of humor, drama and action and so far it’s working!
If you are looking for an upbeat mecha anime series on Blu-ray, definitely give “Lagrange ~The Flower of Rin-ne~” a chance! Recommended!
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