12 Days of Anime #12: Rio: Rainbow Gate is the best worst show of the last few years

Can you believe it’s nearly Christmas already!? I haven’t been with the blog very long but it feels like I joined just yesterday. I know everyone says it but it’s incredible just how quickly the year flies by. Anyway, as is something of an anime blog tradition, we’re kicking off the 12 days of anime with a post about a terribly special show (and I do mean terrible), enjoy!

[For those who really care about Rainbow Gate’s plot, this post contains spoilers]

Rio: Rainbow Gate is an absolutely terrible show, no way around that, but despite (or rather because of) this, I still wholeheartedly recommend that you watch it. For a select group of people, the kind who ironically love horrible movies such as The Room, it could be the most fun you’ll have with an anime this year.

Watching the first episode, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was simply bad, because the first episode absolutely is, it’s only when the series becomes something of a carnival of camp, that the series truly shines.

 One of the reasons I love bad things so much is because I get the feeling that the creators genuinely believed that they were doing something good only for it to turn out horribly, wonderfully wrong. The movie The Room is a perfect example of this, Tommy Wiseau, the film’s star/director/producer/writer (when one man has that many credits, it’s almost never a good sign) originally intended to make a Drama, but after seeing the finished product, it was advertised as “a quirky black comedy”. Even after all of this, when asked in interviews about what it’s like to have made something considered the worst movie of all time, he acts as if he hasn’t made something at all bad, and I love the movie all the more for that. With Asylum, a company that makes movies that are blatant rip-offs of bigger films (and original movies such as Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus), I don’t get that, I feel they knew exactly what they were doing and the product comes off as cynical.

I don’t detect any cynicism whatsoever from Rio, everything comes off as so honest that I can’t help but love it (albeit ironically). We have a show made by a fairly decent staff (many of whom had previously worked on the surprisingly competent Pandora Hearts) working with a fairly good budget in order to spin an anime series out of pachinko games, and what I’m going to assume happened is that Xebec was just told to do anything they felt like doing, and that’s exactly what they did.

This is a series which features a casino dealer who makes everyone who plays with her luckier (which by all tokens should make her a terrible dealer), her evil sister/best friend/enemy who makes everyone unlucky (which should obviously make her the perfect dealer), robots with tan lines, a sky casino, a boy whose family developed telekinetic powers as a result of working in bomb disposal, and an afro samurai rip-off who loves shouting about dairy products. Have I touched on the game of “space pinball” where Rio uses her dealer-powers to fly around on a space shark yet? Because that happens.

Read that last paragraph again, because those things are accepted as commonplace in Rio’s world, barely anyone seems to even bat an eyelid at everything going on around them, and it’s marvellous. It’s the funniest show I’ve seen in a long time, and not one of the times I laughed was because of the series’ intentional comedy.  I can keep describing it, but you really have to watch it to understand just how gloriously awful it is, words don’t do it justice.

Did I mention that it ends with a sequel hook? If that happens the world may explode.

3 Responses to “12 Days of Anime #12: Rio: Rainbow Gate is the best worst show of the last few years”

  1. 1 Dop
    14 December 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Absolutely! It’s a classic example of the “so bad it’s good” type of show. I had this theory that every week the writers would go out and get steaming drunk then decide on the storyline for the next show – the ghost who likes chicken wings (but not the hot and spicy ones), strip skeet shooting, extreme water slides, and so on.

    As for “Hollywood actress Rosa Canyon”, is it me or does that sound like a porn star name?

    I’ll never forget space pinball!

    • 2 Gooney
      14 December 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Oh yeah, I didn’t even mention the ghost thing, or the skeet shooting! there are just far too many great moments to list in one post.

      And yeah, Rosa Canyon sounds exactly like a porn star name.

  2. 16 December 2011 at 5:02 am

    Any anime that is being compared to the “greatness” of The Room, is an anime I must now watch.

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