With everything at stake, Joe's story comes to a conclusion that lacks any sort of real enthusiasm or connection.
What They Say:
On the day of the festival, Tsubouchi and the Five Lemons resort to violence to keep Joe from performing. It's looking bad, and Joe finds a gun pointed in his direction. Luckily, someone's got his back.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Rainbow's story dealing with Joe has moved along fairly quick, similar to how Mario's did when things got out of hand for him at the bar, and the last episode gave us the scene with him and his manager being accosted by the rival gang who wants in on things. The action turns pretty violent with the thugs there to get what they want and instill some fear into them, to the point where you wouldn't be surprised to see him use his gun on them. Where it all changes is when a note makes its way into Mario's hands and they realize that something very wrong has gone on and they head there to help out.
Queue up a fistfight. In a way, it's not surprising to see Mario go this route and use his fists to settle the issue, especially since such violence is threatened there and you can't imagine the cops being pulled into this. At the same time, considering the trouble he just went through with a prison sentence potentially hanging over his head, going fists first into this is a decidedly dangerous thing to do. It is good to watch the bonds of friendship to be shown so strongly here as they take care of the issue and get the battered and bruised Joe out of there, but in the end it's all for naught as his shot at music is ruined because of what happened and his manager wants nothing more to do with him. He rose quickly and had a big shot but it all fell through for reasons mostly out of his control.
Watching Joe go through all of it, I can't help but feel disconnected from what's happening. His desire for music has been there since the start of the series but it never felt compelling, even with the background brought in regarding his sister. As he suffers here in full view of his friends and makes his determination to get back into the game, it's all straightforward and believable but it lacks anything compelling. The big positive side of discovering his sister again after all this time almost feels glossed over and more attention is paid to honoring Sakuragi after all is said and done, to thank him for watching over them from beyond the grave. It's reverential to be sure, but it feels misplaced and not something you'd imagine Sakuragi would want.
Rainbow certainly has been a very engaging series overall, but Joe's arc which does thankfully appear to be done here, has been a real lull in things. Everything about it felt overly forced from start to finish and most of the supporting cast just didn't gel well at all. And when Joe's friends come to help (even after he shunned them for business reasons), they end up making quick work of things before making sure Joe knows everything is going to be alright. It's a bit too sappy, to messy in general to work well and it's all made worse by Joe's character not being strong enough to carry it and pull it off like Mario has in the past or the smaller moments with Scam. Thankfully, everything seems to be relatively wrapped up with it here and the show can move on. The sooner the better.
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.