Mecha March 2022 is coming and no one is going to stop it. A part of the tradition that I’ve developed to announce mecha march is writing a post about a mecha show that sums up the ideas in the series I chose. Its all to give a hint to what is going on a month later. Why does Lagrange do that this time? Well, it’s a pretty large modern mecha soap opera, a space opera, has mecha that are technically alive, and it directed by the guy behind Martian Successor Nadesico, Tatsuo Sato. So, it not only is a modern show that comes with a lot of love of its mecha predecessors of ages past, it just is a lot of ideas thrown into an interesting blender that creates this unique product. That is why I chose it other then it just appearing on Retro Crush one day. Yeah. Totally had nothing to do with that. Yup….
Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne is a series that takes place during the present day around a small town in Japan called Kamogawa. One day a girl named Madoka Kyouno is given the call to pilot a robot named the Vox. This was after she saved somewhat sinking in the water with the swimsuit she just happened to wear under her school uniorm and after her uniform went missing where she just walked into school wearing it with no thoughts on her mind at all. This is also after her working hard as a Jersery Club member which helps all over clubs at her school. This was the one day the quiet but attractive alien Le Garite princess by the name of Lana found her in the middle of a shower and asks her to pilot a giant robot. So begins the chaotic story of the war of the Vox units vs everyone else who wants them.
The first part of the series is uniting the three Vox pilots to fight against what threats they have to face from De Metrio. I mean, the Princess we meet is an apart of the intergalactic nation that is at war with De Metrio and is a Vox pilot too. She just never had the will to transform her own unit until Madoka showed up and was in trouble. Then the next pilot is the adopted younger sister of the Prince of De Metrio, Villagulio, and her name is Muginami. A seemingly air headed girl who comes from a prison planet but is very soft and comfy in her own way. I feel like each girl has something the other doesn’t. Lan the very privileged princess of a nation and isn’t endowed, the very well endowed Muginami that comes from a poor background, and Madoka is tomboy in-between who joins them together.
Lagrange takes some time for it to start. The first season or part of this series is the introduction of this world and its characters. The three original De Metrio people that attack, Kirius, Izo, and Array, become some of the defenters of Kamogawa and end up working at Madoka’s uncle’s shop as cooks and servers. Then we also meet Tadokoro who leads the Pharos floating island that the Vox units launch from and Asteria, the mysterious loli who leads the charge and worries about the capabilities of the Vox units. The questionable Moid is also supervising which leads the narrative being the Le Garite point of view because they don’t become anymore important until the end where Lan’s brother Dizilmine shows up.
The real drama of the first season is about Madoka herself. A narrative that centers itself on her loneliness. She is a very well known quantity in her school, but no one trully knows her. Combine that fact with the death mother when she was younger and merged with the Vox by the mark on her rear end, and she is a bit of a tragedy. Even after Madoka modeled her life on her older cousin Youko who was the original jersey club member with that infinite spirit of being able to do anything, that doesn’t change. Carrying some one else’s torch doesn’t create her own and when Muginami and Lan join her club, she still doesn’t understand a single thing about what makes people friends.
With the combination of the robots and Madoka’s loneliness, that is where it all starts. The danger of Madoka actually getting mad when she tried to help Muginami fight her brother when Muginami didn’t want it which activates the beyond Earthly powers of the Vox machines in a situation that can destroy the Earth. The Vox units are special after all. That is an event which eventually bans Madoka from piloting with Lan and Muginami for a while until she is pushed into it to save the Earth. That was the sitaution where could handle what her Vox unit can unleash. That allows us to see why every singular party wants the box units for their own reasons. Everyone wants the mecha that can destroy the entire Earth at a moment’s notice because those units are capable of changing the universe itself.
The second season is centered on the space war and politics between De Metrio and Le Garite. Dizelmine and Vilaguilo are at war with each other over a personal tension. How can we save all the worlds from a great disaster? What is Moid doing? So many things and its honestly my favorite part of the show. Especially when it combined with what Madoka wants to do with her life after high school too, so it’s somewhat grounded. And also, Madoka working hard to get her two girls Lana and Muginami to stop fighting (by getting them to kiss each other) and that’s where the politics start. There are some surprises that I have not discussed here either. Just know that Eva found its way into the series and that modern mecha shows are still embracing it to this day. Eva is just stuck in the mecha DNA and that’s ok.
Produced by Xebec in 2012, I feel like Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne is still one of the most beautiful shows that they have ever produced. Not sure if Production I.G. helped or not, but that doesn’t matter. It’s absolutely gorgeous and each captures the colors of the sea and has such wonderful character designs that I can’t help but love to death. The mechanical designs are a bit hit and mess, but they are very unique and there is some of the coolest mecha scenes too. So many great locations and ideas, space and Kamogawa feels so alive that the viewr could also live in that universe. Combine that with mecha fights and Legend of the Galactic Heroes like space ship combat and this is some of the coolest mecha experiences on a visual level that I’ve seen in a while. Especially since its animation is so good.
What makes me really appreciate Lagrange a lot is how its built on embarrassing its characters as much as possible. That is how the show makes them all so relatable even if you don’t know their names. That one time one of the bridge bunnies had a hair curler stuck in her hair in the middle of a meeting. Or how Muginami told embarrassing stories about Lan not wearing a bra during the rain storm. Or Asteria telling Madoka about the birds and the bees to activate the Vox machines for a test. You know, besides the large number of times that Madoka was kind of messed with on a sexual level because she is a pure protagonist that never had any relationships until now. Poor her getting embarrassed in public.
Which dives into some of the failures of the series. For its two season or two cour run, it felt like the right weight, right? Very small scale, but I feel like there was so many things the story never did or felt too stuffed to get too I suppose? I feel like Madoka had the problem of being too in the right sometimes, despite her flaws, because she was the simple voice of reason through the anime. I also wish the girls were actually allowed to be in a threesome and not just have it be implied. They love each other. We all know it. There were a lot of interesting ideas that dive have enough ideas to at least function together in a cohesive manner, same with the characters, but there is so much that the story could do if it felt more focused. I had a fun experience watching it though. I actually think a lot of people would like this one.
I hope you can are looking forward to the larger Mecha March 2022 announcement that will appear tomorrow. See you guys then!