Rio's final battle with Rina inches closer to a conclusion as the season draws to a close.
What They Say:
Episode 13 - Season Finale
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Rio: Rainbow Gate has built up decent in the last couple of episodes towards this final match between Rina and Rio as they determine who will get all the gate cards that currently exist. There's been some personal struggles to get to this point and Rio has ended up losing a fair bit along the way when it comes to the game itself, especially as it opens with Rina having fourteen wins so far. It's amusing to see how cool and collected Rio is while Howard is off in the audience sweating up enough for a couple dozen people with how he feels. Rio's the kind of player that always has an angle, and she's made it past the internal debates she was having with herself prior to this match, which allows he to be as collected as she is.
The series has built a decent subplot to carry through the episodes that wasn't exactly clear at first but became clearer as time went on with the girls and their mother and all the issues involved with it. Bringing that in to the finale, as the two young woman play against each other when it comes to luck, having her appear before them in the special space that exists for them attempts to build a decent little heartwarming moment that does largely work with the way the show takes itself only a little seriously at times. With the storyline having dealt with the problems the sisters have with each other, or mostly just with what Rina is dealing with when it comes to Rio, having their younger selves put both of them in their places in front of their mother is quite appropriate. And that it all leads towards them playing a hard fought game against each other only amplifies it.
There is a certain magical element to the show that has been there from the start but it goes a little further this time, almost providing us with an authentic magical girl moment that makes you grin. While it does take the show a bit further than you would have guessed from the first couple of episodes, it's that kind of go-anywhere mentality to the show that allowed it to work so well early on because you couldn't be sure what it would do, though it was largely grounded in reality. I'm somewhat ambivalent about some of the places the show went at times, and this definitely falls into it as well, but for the most part it's something that's kind of silly, plenty goofy and yet it fits in with how good natured Rio's personality is and what she wants to achieve.
Rio spends a little time touching on all the elements of the series as it progresses to varying degrees, but largely it juts leaves you smiling and wondering how they're going to pull it all together. Or rather, you know how it will end, you just want to see the silliness unfold. This is a series that screamed that it must be hated from the start, but it had the right level of goofiness and fun to it for the most part, especially in the first half, that it was a show I looked forward to enjoying every week. It does have a larger storyline to it and that kind of hampered things in the second half at times, making it too serious, but when it right its course towards the end, it started to hit all the right marks again. This isn't fine cinema, it's just simple, fun entertainment with no real value to it. Empty calories with a delicious taste.
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.