Up above the trees and houses, rainbow flying high. No, not that Rainbow. The Junkyard presents a review by Daz of the anime series Rainbow:
Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin…Where do I begin with this one? First of all, my nephew recommended this a long long time ago and I thought it was about time I watched it as I was in the mood for something mature. I was massively surprised by this anime. It had me on a rollercoaster of sorts the whole way through which is always a good thing. It reminded me of Charlotte in the way that it was all up and down, but unlike Charlotte it had a much more satisfying and organic ending to it.
Rainbow (Or shall I call it Friendship:the Anime) is set in 1950’s Japan after the war and we are introduced to our teenage protagonists as we enter a reformatory school. There are six of them to start with: Mario, Scam, Soldier, Joe, Cabbage and Turtle. But upon entering their group cell, they find a guy already in there. He’s a little older than they are but they decide to test him anyway only to get their arses handed to them. Is this how life is going to be for them from now on? Is this guy gonna make their lives hell? Turns out their lives get a lot worse but it isn’t at the hands of their new cellmate, it’s the guards and the abusive doctor that sexually abuses the young boys…
By this point, my attention was grabbed. How were these boys going to avoid being sexually and physically abused? Would they die? Am I going to be devastated by the end of this? So many questions. The only way to find out was to carry on watching and hope that these things never happened to them. I can’t stand abuse of any kind and I wasn’t sure I was up to seeing that. Anyway, I’ll carry on.
The older guy takes on a kind of older brother role to the six boys and they start to learn about the do’s and don’ts of prison life. It’s not easy but they knew it wouldn’t be. It’s hard to keep your spirits up in a place like this but as long as they have each other, they can get through anything and this is the overall theme for the entire show.
When it’s time for Bro (the older guy) to be released, they all make a promise that they will meet up in the outside world and make their dreams come true: a promise that they carve into a tree to remain a constant reminder of their hardships they have gotten through to get there. Only it isn’t that easy… Turns out that Bro was witness to a suicide brought on by the rapist doctor and the abusive guard. They aren’t about to let him go free so he can tell his story now are they? What follows is a truly courageous breakout by the boys to save this man, their Bro, their only reason they are alive and have hope. There’s no way he’s going to die in there if they can do anything about it.
Ok, I’m in it for the long haul now. I must see this through. My emotional connection to these lads is alive and kicking and I’m with them, fist pumping every step of the way. Every kick, every punch, every broken limb, I’m there with them feeling every ounce of injustice and anger. They truly are amazing. Their resolve is cast iron. They just will not quit.
They manage to get out. Each making sacrifices for the good of the group. This unbreakable bond that has formed between them can get them anywhere they want and its this that drives them forward. They must make their dreams come true.
This is just the first half of the show…
What follows is the rollercoaster story of these friends and how they try to make their dreams come true. Will Joe be a singer? Will Bro be a boxer? Will Cabbage have money to buy delicious food? Will Scam be a millionaire? Will Soldier be a Soldier? Will Turtle be successful and will Mario see his dream of trying to make all their dreams come true be realised?
It’s a truly amazing story about hardships and friendships that completely mirror real life. I dare say we have all been in bad moments and its that one friend that helped get us through. That bond created by a mutual trust and understanding that cannot be matched by anything else.
I must admit that I found the second half much more enjoyable. I didn’t want it to end. I thought the whole show was going to be about them trying to escape the prison but I was wrong, happily wrong in this case. It also felt effortlessly long. It’s only 26 episodes but I felt like I had been with these guys for years.
Now after all that I have got to say that it isn’t without its nonsense. At times it can be too melodramatic with a very overbearing score to goad you into feeling something rather than it happening organically. I hate when shows do this (5 Centimeters Per Second) and I felt that it wasn’t needed, as the story was good enough. It was seriously hard to sit through that first half simply because it was so forceful at times.
The animation picked up as the show went on which is odd as usually animation and art style get worse in shows. It’s a very dark show and I think they handled it perfectly as with the voice casting. I don’t know if this has a dub but I watched the sub and it was great.
I’m going to give this show a solid 8/10.
It would be a lot higher had it not been for the lazy attempt at drawing you in. It really does ruin an otherwise brilliant story.
Well, there you have it. Rainbow, a great tale about friendship and the human spirit. They meet some remarkable people on their journey too and they prove that the effort put out there comes back tenfold. I could talk about this for a lot longer: will Joe be re united with his long lost sister? or will Scam leave his friends for a woman? but then I’ll be going into spoiler territory… Wait…have I already done that? DT