I originally planned to do this post review-style and save the spoiler stuff for an ending addition, but I just don’t feel like I can do that. I’ll write a review of it later, perhaps, but there’s too much spoiler stuff I wanna get off of my chest for now. Infinite Ryvius is the most exciting show I’ve seen since Toradora or Eureka Seven, and a surefire addition to my top 10 – and this post will contain major spoilers for the entire series.
Where do I start with Infinite Ryvius? There’s so much to talk about! This show was more thorough than any other I’ve seen. SO many characters developed to SUCH extents, the world, the style, the music, the everything. This was easily the most enthralling show I’ve seen since Eureka Seven, and the ONLY reason that Infinite Ryvius will not be rated as highly by me is that it doesn’t have any characters that are as memorable as those in E7. But not for lack of trying! I mean, Ryvius is only half as long as E7! Had it the amount of time to flesh itself out that E7 did, it would have been unstoppably my favorite anime ever. I can’t even imagine making this show even MORE massive though – the amount of stuff that happened in this show was unparalleled and practically ridiculous. I felt like I’d watched far more than 26 episodes.
I guess I’ll start with just some shout-outs to get them out of the way – the animation and art were superb. This was a case of Sunrise showing that they really are one of the best studios around and that they aren’t always inconsistent to the point of laughability. The soundtrack was fucking awesome – great hip-hop style tracks and otherwise cyber flavoring – my question is why did the show never get recognized for it? As much as we seem to hear about shows like Samurai Champloo and Gurren Lagann uniquely mixing hip-hop into their soundtracks, you’d think someone would have spread the word about Ryvius. Then again, It’s not like that many people watched the show!
And I won’t blame them – it’s for a smaller audience. I’ll admit, Funeral bought the first DVD of Ryvius 6 years ago and we hated it. There was no action (unlike Scryed from the same director, which we loved) so we got really bored and he eventually sold it. Later in life I would hear the love for it from Baka-Raptor and The Animanachronism and re-purchased the DVD with the special edition set (still extremely findable for like 10 bucks. A testament to the sales.) Now I’ve finally finished it and been blown away. However, the show isn’t so easy to talk about because it is so straightforward. I could review it and easily not talk about the plot, but it doesn’t do my reaction justice. However, I also can’t really say anything about the actual happenings because it’s not like I need to interpret them for you – it’s very clear what happened in the show.
So I’m going to go ahead and just start off by talking about my favorite character, Airs Blue. I think I related best to Airs Blue, or if I didn’t, I wanted to. He was really the perfect captain – he was able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of everyone around him and not let his emotions cloud his judgment about who was useful. He was honest, but manipulative – he purposefully never made anyone his teammate, and instead let people side with him of their own volition. As many people as there were who saw him as a traitor, he never really had an allegiance with them. He was on his own side, not yours. The only person I think he gave a damn about was Yuki, just because he saw the potential in the hot-headed youngster, and to a similar extent, I think he saw the potential in Kouji to be a great leader not unlike himself, but perhaps with a lot more heart. Blue made a fatal mistake in assuming that he’d won before the battle was over, a victim of bad luck. I was always kind of sad that he didn’t make a comeback after the coup in episode 15, but I did like his legendary badass sort of status.
Which I guess brings me to Kouji, who I also loved. Kouji is the perfect example of the kind of person I’m sad to see a lot of these days – people who are great and have a ton of potential, but have no direction. Kouji finds everything to just be a pain and likes to never take charge, just kind of blending in. However, he is brilliant. He has great tactical ideas, understands people well enough to lead them, and has a great personality and level-headedness that others can’t manage. Airs Blue recognized this and knew that Kouji had to take his place as the leader of the ship. By the time Kuoji recognizes his potential and does what he would have needed to take back the ship, it’s already too late, but I think that the reformed Ryvius at the end essentially views him as their most honored person.
Yuki was brilliantly written, I think. He was a little punk and in many ways I could relate to him through my own little brother. Now, my little brother and I are very close and I still lead him through life, but if he ever decided he was fed up with it, he’d be a lot like Yuki. He’s physically stronger than me, he’s always full of rage, and he’s very headstrong. I could recognize the kind of frustration that Yuki felt, and I loved to see him succeeding as a pilot and gaining the respect of his peers, especially Ikumi. It sort of reflects the way that one of my friends mentors my little brother, and although he knew me first, he gradually formed a strong friendship with my brother because of their shared interests. However, at the end of Infinite Ryvius, it was Kouji who finally snapped Yuki back to the reality that he knew best, and similarly I will always be the one who my brother knows is his best influence.
Now we have Ikumi, the poor bastard. Ikumi constantly reminded me of Harvey Dent from The Dark Knight. Both started as great guys who just wanted to do good, were slowly breaking (compare the capture of Blue to the supposed murder of Capt. Gordon) and then were driven over the edge by the abuse of their loved one (though Ikumi was lucky to have his still alive, which is probably why he was able to live longer than Two Face.) In some ways, Ikumi kind of let me happily see the logical extremes of Dent’s potential had he lived longer. But the most notable thing about Ikumi for me has to be his vocal performance, OMG. I had started to kind of loose interest in Tomokazu Seki after hearing some weaker roles of his, but his performance of Ikumi was one of the outright best performances I’ve ever heard. Fucking brilliant, that one.
Seki wasn’t alone, though – all of the voice acting in this show was brilliant. There was not a single week performance in the entire show and a number were unbelievably spot-on. If that wasn’t so, I don’t think I could have loved Kozue and Aoi to the extent that I did and Neeya would have been a lot less cute. (by the way, lolz at Yui Horie being in this show. She plays Michelle and it’s a good proof that she can sound normal too.) Other notable roles include Norio Wakamoto who played a guy with the same name as myself and basically stood around being moderately evil and having next to no notable qualities other than being voiced by Wakamoto. Nobuyuki Hiyama played Blue which is weird because he goes way deeper than he almost ever does.
The relationship between Charlie and Cliff was incredibly satisfying. It would have been kind of sad but expected to see Cliff run around with all of the other guys, but I’m so glad to see that they went another route and had the two of them grow so close. I can’t see that relationship ending anytime soon, which makes me very happy. Stein Heigar was stupendous – he never backed down from logic and showed himself to be quite the conniving bastard behind the scenes. I was glad to see that all of the various commanders recognized his worth and continued to keep him in a prominent position, even if he eventually started to go mad like the rest of them, dominated by his gay love for Ikumi. Juli Bahana I wanted to like because she was pretty cool, but I found it just a bit disappointing that we never got to see her reunion with Blue (though we can assume it will happen with both of them on the rebooted Ryvius.)
Faina was one crazy bitch. Ordinarily I wouldn’t really have a problem with yandere but she didn’t sit right with me. I didn’t like how stand-offish she was and how she didn’t have the balls to try and kill Aoi on her own. Also, in spite of what Kouji and others were saying, I thought she was probably the ugliest female in the show short of fatty-chan. In the end, I just kind of thought she was a bitch, but I hope that the gang manages to reform her on their little visit.
One of my favorite aspects of Infinite Ryvius was the massive wealth of little background characters, those with and without names. It was a great way of showing us the reactions of everyone on the ship to different situations without just having some anonymous mass acting and in stead having characters whose progress is recognizable. That, and Kibure, who was hilarious and totally pointless, and in that way completely awesome.
I, uh, think that about does it. Ryvius is truly Goro Taniguchi’s masterpiece of society building. Spiritual successor S-Cry-Ed is great, but falls below in the plot department, and spiritual successor 2, Code Geass, was probably intended to be as epic and great as Ryvius, but Taniguchi himself says that it didn’t come out as he intended. That said, each of the three enhances my love for the other two, and Ryvius is definitely the one I can get the most hard for. Amazing show, and an immediate addition to my top 5.