The further in bed Joe gets with the music industry, the more he realizes his partner is organized crime.
What They Say:
Joe's music industry team insists he cut ties with his old crew. He's touched by the way most of the handle his growing popularity '" but the manager of the Five Lemons is unhappy and making threats.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the show has spent a lot of its time on either the group as a whole, Sakuragi or Mario, it hasn't spent a lot of detailed time with most of the others. They get some good material, but entire arcs devoted to them have not been the order of the day. In a way, that's not a bad thing as Joe's arc as it's started out has been less than interesting at times. Joe's suffered a lot under the time in the reformatory and he's helped out immensely at key times, but his aspirations to a musical career and all that it entails there hasn't been captivating in its opening salvo. In a way, Turtle continues to be more interesting since he puts his fingers into every pie in an effort to make some money for himself.
Joe has aged considerably though since then. A good bit of time has passed and we've seen all of them get a little older and more sturdy now that life isn't quite so rough in a way. Outside of Turtle, perhaps. Joe's softer sides are still there but he has more of an adult edge to him now that gives him a serious look. Unfortunately for him, his manager/handler is moving things forward in a way that has him being told to cut ties with his friends from the reformatory since it could hurt his image. It's a difficult decision, one that you know challenges him, but at his core he still wants to sing for his sister more than anything else. Not surprisingly, outside of Turtle, the others are fine with it as they understand the challenges he has to face in this new arena. Turtle's a bit childish about the whole thing but his attitude isn't a surprise.
His sister is brought up elsewhere as well as we get to see what she's up to these days, at least for a moment or two. A lot of the show focuses on Joe's career though and the way he's being handled, which also ties into its gang backing. When a rival gang wants to get involved, not knowing that a very powerful gang is behind his manager, things start to get more serious and threats become overt rather than implied. It's not surprising to see these kinds of elements in this business at this time the story takes place in, but it's just one more piece that pushes the ability to suspend disbelief in that every one of these kids is still having some form of trouble with the law. It doesn't help Joe's story all that much either.
Rainbow has been an amazing series from the start and I've enjoyed all the arcs it has gone through so far, but Joe's arc is where it's coming up weak. The continued fallout of his music career with how it's getting into organized crime more is certainly an interesting angle to take and a realistic one, but it's not compelling. Joe is losing himself to the dream he has, which may gain him back his sister after being separated from her, but he may not be who he was before and may be unable to extract himself from the things that will be done. The support he gets from his friends is good and I liked seeing that side of it play out, but Joe's story itself has dulled my enthusiasm for the show and has me hoping this isn't a terribly long arc.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.