It may have one of the most misleading titles ever, but it took little time for Rainbow to prove itself as one of the most intelligent and thrilling mature anime series to come out in quite some time. The first eight episodes (which I reviewed here
) told a compelling story of seven juvenile delinquents who are brought together from the harshest forms of reality, yet survive their prison life from a true friendship. But starting at episode nine, things began to change. After an intense prison escape, the scenery changed with the boys continuing to live their lives thanks to their friendship. And although these next nine episodes don't have the desire-to-marathon-watch-all-episodes greatness of the first part, Rainbow still proves itself as one of the finest anime to come out in 2010.
After the drastic change of scenery of episode 9, the boys spend episodes 10 and 11 adjusting. While the members of the team that didn't make the escape (as well as one that makes a sacrificial return) spend the rest of their juvey time accordingly, the likes of Anchan, Turtle, and Mario try to live the wanted criminal life with their nurse friend Setsuko. But in the traditional fashion of the show, things don't turn out so lavishly with one of the members not making it out alive. Even without the change in scenery though, this was an awkward pair of episodes with some overdrawn melodrama near the end.
Episodes 12 and 14 made for a revenge storyline that was one of the rare ones that was cleverly executed with a very satisfying resolution
Episodes 12 and 14 (except 13 which was just a recap episode) actually fared better with an intriguing revenge plotline after a proper one-and-a-half year timeskip. The boys are all out, but they still have to deal with the two low lives from their prison days (one running for mayor and the other now a pathetic drug junkie) if they ever plan to move on with their lives with no regrets. This arc was a great improvement from the previous three episodes with some clever plot twists and a satisfying ending with an appropriate amount of melodrama this time.
Episodes 15 and 16, however, weren't as great. These two episodes revolve around the character Mario, who is both trying to live his life as the only boy in the group who didn't return to the reformatory, as well as deal with his unresolved feelings with Setsuko after Anchan has long left the stage. Unfortunately for Mario, his unredeemed prison hours have caught up to him with a capture and only ten days to prove that he isn't bad enough to be set to the big-boys prison. The problem I've had with this arc was that nothing new really happened here. Mario's five awesome friends saved the day, further proving how powerful their friendship is, but little happened to add any of the shock and intrigue that earlier episodes have shown.
Joe's story arc beginning in episode 17 brought the series right back to greatness after a good-but-not-great Mario-based saga
But thankfully, episodes 17 and 18 returned the series to its full splendor. Mario's situation with Setsuko's arranged marriage actually took a wise turn without being so obvious and now, finally, the rest of the crew had some highlight moments. Scam, for example, had some of the funniest moments in the whole series with some hilariously awkward scenes with him trying to become a ladies man with a resolution that was nothing short of priceless. But the real star of these episodes was Joe who was finally making progress with his singing career. Surprisingly, his arc actually has some of the most thrilling and downright horrifying scenes not scene since the prison days which was very well appreciate. All leading to a cliffhanger on episode 18 that makes episode 19 particularly painful to wait for.
Though the next 9 episodes in Rainbow had some ups and downs, overall it was still a captivating experience with even the low points still better than a majority of the other anime content released this season. The continuing adventures of Mario, Joe, Scam, Turtle, Cabbage, and Soldier still makes for a an anime well worth seeing, even without the thrilling prison life in the beginning.