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Manga / RideBack

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Rin Ogata and her Rideback, Fuego

Rideback is a manga written by Tetsurō Kasahara and first published by Shogakukan from 2003 to 2008. It was made into a 12-Episode Anime produced by Studio Madhouse in 2009. In the near future, an organization called the Global Government Plan, or GGP, (known as the Global Government Force, or GGF, in the manga) had taken control of the world. As they maintained order in society, the citizens quietly accepted their existence. However, a smaller resistance group, the Border Military Alliance (BMA) wished to overthrow the GGP and their authoritarian rule.

Following Rin Ogata, a promising up-and-coming ballet dancer, Rideback chronicles her story after she suffered a serious injury and subsequently quit ballet. Years later, during university, she comes across a club building and finds herself intrigued by a transforming motorcycle-like vehicle called a Rideback. She discovers that her unique ballet skills with balance and finesse make her a born natural on a Rideback; as Rin becomes entangled in the government's affairs, she finds herself struggling to come to terms with both herself and the world around her.

Rideback provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The Ridebacks and other vehicles are clearly CG compared to other elements in the show.
  • Ace Pilot: The three most notable Rideback operators are Rin Ogata, Badass Biker Tamayo Kataoka, and Kiefer.
  • Acronym Confusion: The anime never notes what "BMA" means (it's shown as "Borderless Military Alliance" in the manga), and chooses "GGP" over "GGF" (Global Government Plan vs. Forces) in the anime.
  • Adapted Out: Several characters with key interests in the manga are missing from the anime adaptation.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: GGP's automated Grimores, which are programmed for search and destroy operations.
  • Alphabet News Network: SNN
  • Badass Biker: Rin and the Mushashino Rideback Club's members are highly skilled in operating Ridebacks.
  • Beergasm: Dota enjoys his beer on outings with the Rideback club.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rin has quite a few of these, along with Okakura.
  • Big Heroic Run: To save Shoko from the TV Tower, Rin boards Fuego, rides atop a thin train rail, busts into the TV Tower for the rescue and then breaks through several military blockades with agility only a few others in the series have witnessed.
  • Bury Your Gays: The first main character dying during the series is Suzuri.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Shouko to Hishida
  • The Chase: Most of the action outside of Rideback racing boils down to chase scenes.
  • Cool Bike: The Ridebacks are essentially transforming motorcycles with advanced balance and control mechanisms.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In the final episode, Rin evades twelve Grimoire robot Ridebacks simultaneously in an impressive dance of destruction.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Tamayo: when she ditches her hat, it suddenly becomes a Badass Longcoat.
  • Dance Battler: Rin lives and breathes this while on her Rideback, since her skill comes from dancing.
  • Disappeared Dad: While this is the case in the anime, he appears in the manga.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: RideBacks have a mode called the 'Spread Legs' form.
  • Driving Question: "What happened at the Battle of Arizona?" Okakura was badly scarred. Romanov Kallenbach became obsessed with killing Kiefer.
  • False Flag Operation: In episode six, the GGP deliberately arm and provoke the enemy to create a pretext for fighting them, capitalising on a weapons test to eliminate the terrorists and capture a survivor, Kenji Ogata(Rin's younger brother), with the aim of having him confess for the death in order to justify the GGP's continued action.
  • Famed In-Story: Tamayo is known to be a national Rideback champion. Rin is well recognised by her Red Baron title.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: The Borderless Military Alliance as an anti-GGP/GGF guerrilla force, though the latter considers them to be terrorists
  • Fell Into The Cockpit: Rin encounters the Ridebacks by chance after wandering into the Rideback club's warehouse on campus and immediately finds herself at home with one.
  • Final Battle: One Dance Battler against a squad of enemy robots. Sadly, we don't see as much of the fight, only just described, as an amazed news crew gives a play-by-play account.
  • Foreign Language Theme: The anime's opening is a Mell song (who also did the Black Lagoon intro) that is performed in English.
  • Four Is Death: The show takes a darker turn after the fourth episode and culminates with Suzuri's death in episode ten.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: BMA. The higher ranking GGP troops stick with military-style helmets and Cool Shades.
  • Genki Girl: Suzuri Uchida.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Rin is unsure of herself in the time after her injury that compels her to leave dancing, but her discovery that a Rideback responds to her commands as her own body in dance leads Rin to regain her confidence.
  • Grasp the Sun: Rin, after suffering her ballet injury. Similarly, Fuego grasps the sun when it suffers an identical injury in a very symbolic scene.
  • Gratuitous English: "ALL GET FREED" is one of several lines from the opening song's lyrics that comes across as this.
  • Guilt by Coincidence: Suzuri becomes a target of this when she is mistaken for an escaped Rin at a protest rally while riding a Rideback. She is chased and killed by the police while trying to just get a message of encouragement off to Rin, who was passing by on a train.
  • Heroic BSoD: Rin remains in one of these throughout the second half of the series, but especially after the death of Suzuri. She reboots at the end of episode eleven.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The GGP/GGF forces shoot at enemy Ridebacks. However, either the Ridebacks are too swift or the armed attackers are just plain terrible, resulting in fewer hits than they should. In one scene, Rin blocks incoming gunfire with one of Fuego's arms just before leaping over a blockade line. Justified that Rin's remarkable agility aboard a Rideback takes the forces aback as they watch it move away.
  • Instant Expert: Rin borderlines with this when using an extremely advanced Rideback. Though it took a while to fully master the controls, her ballet skills allowed her to balance and move the vehicle beyond automated systems.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Megumi Yoda, without very much regard for her own safety. One noticable instance was her reaction to a terrorist attack in the middle of a press conference, where she wished to continue gathering news rather than retreat to safety.
  • Kill the Cutie: Suzuri's death at the hands of the police.
  • Killed Offscreen: Rin's mother. As Suzuri implied in her Fangirl excitement, Rin's mother died in an earthquake six years earlier. Viewers get to see memories of young Rin with her mother.
  • Let's Dance: When Rin is riding Fuego, her talents allow her to neutralise armed robots, and Shoko almost declares this as she watches Rin in one instance.
  • La Résistance: There's a nested example, as the GGP was originally a resistance group which opposed American interventionism. No one was more surprised than the GGP when they won, taking America's place as the world's only superpower. However, in the ten years since then, increasing abuses on their part has made many of its former supporters (among them RideBack Club president Tenshiro Okakura AKA "Goblin") to appreciate that it was a Full-Circle Revolution. This has, in turn, led to the rise of the BMA.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: Rin Ogata was a rising ballet star who suffered a Game-Breaking Injury. But it turns out ballet training synchs up pretty darn well with Mini-Mecha piloting.
  • Magic Skirt: Rin's skirt generally avoids unnecessary exposure while she rides the Fuego. Averted in the climatic last fight.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Grimoires.
  • Mini-Mecha: The smallest units are essentially a motorcycle chassis with arms, with the wheels capable of "standing" to become legs.
  • The Mole: Kalenback's second-in-command in the anime. She's not a warmonger and shown to question his aggressive behaviour, following his orders only to the end when she forces him to stand down—and then shoots him when he tries to kill Kiefer.
  • Never Be a Hero: Rin doesn't actually want to be a rebel nor understand the cause that others think she represents, she just impulsively uses the Rideback to try to help those she knows and unintentionally gets dragged into more serious conflicts.
  • New Technology Is Evil: A Discussed Trope. The GGP invented the RideBacks and used them to Take Over the World. When the tech trickles down to the civilian level, Rin's obsession with Fuego leads her to actions that draw the GGP's attention and subsequently finds herself involved in their campaign to consolidate their power in Japan - and La Résistance against it.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever happened during the Arizona Campaign between Kiefer, Goblin and Kalenback is hardly discussed in detail, but serious enough for the three of them to go through great risks to fight each other from their respective sides.
  • One-Man Army: Rin's motivation is to dance, not fight. But when she's cornered, her dance reflexes make her swift and deadly, especially aboard Fuego.
  • Opt Out: When Rin's brother is framed for murder and she realises that she might have to hurt people, Rin proves unable to bear the burden of being a member of La Résistance and quits just as the rebellion prepares to strike.
  • Police Brutality: A prevalent theme throughout the series, but the instances within episodes 6 and 10 are especially prominent, where law enforcement officials have little objections towards application of lethal force towards civilians.
  • Porn Stash: Rin's brother Kenji, who has one mixed in with his much larger Rideback Stash.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime shaves off a couple of aspects from the original manga in order for the story to be completed with its twelve episode run, particularly a certain totalitarian feel not quite experienced in the anime.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The "Great Gate of Kiev" from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky is a frequently played as Rin's motif.
  • Red Baron: Rin's media given title of "Mysterious Rideback Girl" and later just "Rideback Girl."
    • Tamayo Kataoka, also known as the "Rideback Princess" for her racing achievements.
    • Tenshirō Okakura, better known in the GGP and BMA military circles as Goblin.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: During the TV Tower attack and Shoko's rescue, Rin's Rideback temporarily gains a cape made from a curtain, which only adds to her notoriety as the "Mysterious Rideback Girl."
  • Super Window Jump: Rin often bursts through windows while on board the Fuego despite wearing nothing more than clothing that offers little protection against glass shards.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: GGP acts like this, first. Later, it degenerated into The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized, and another group called the BMA plays both tropes straight.
  • Transforming Mecha: Ridebacks can transform into Mini-Mecha.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Just a slight example. More often than not, Rin's hair is messy and needs combing.
  • Wham Episode: Episode ten — Suzuri is mistaken for Rin at a protest rally and is killed by the police.

Alternative Title(s): Rideback