Rio Rollins Tachibana Is My Goddess

You are missing out if you did not watch Rio: Rainbow Gate!

I know what you are thinking: “That anime is the dumbest thing in history. It’s based off a pachinko game, is stuffed full with sleazy fanservice and all the characters are stupid, lazy moeshit.” All valid points. But those obscure the true brilliance of Rio.

A lot of shitty anime exists, but I don’t believe creators are stupid. They know a bad show — a bad idea — when they see one (doesn’t mean they aren’t cynical, though, but that’s a post for another time). Nobody in his or her right mind could look at the genesis of Rio and think that this series could even be average, much less good. And that’s where the genius of Rio comes into play: The creators don’t try to make something good; rather, they go the opposite direction. They make Rio into the goofiest, most god damn absurd show I’ve watched in quite a while . . . and some way, somehow, Rio is endearing in its utter awfulness.

Rio: Rainbow Gate! is not just bad — it is memorably terrible, the kind of show that Ed Wood might have created were he into moe anime rather than horror. Its logic is along the same lines as the recent Cobra TV anime, where it will toss whatever the hell comes to mind into the story no matter how ridiculous it is, but where Cobra‘s world seems specifically constructed for the oddities that inhabit it (jet piranhas!), the world of Rio comes off more like it was constructed from some bizarre moe nightmare.

Everything in Rio is just . . . off, somehow. There are ghosts with an insatiable desire for chicken wings. Flying space sharks who shoot lasers in games of space pinball. Magical twins whose magic works only on things crafted in China. Foreigners who speak heavily accented Japanese despite the fact that the series ostensibly takes place in America. A dealer who somehow has a job even though her claim to fame is that she gives luck to casino goers, so she actually loses the casino money. Red dots on everyone boobs that look like pulsating zits. Every possible situation where fanservice can be unleashed is capitalized upon with glee.

And on and on. What is this show? What could possibly have gone through the minds of the creators as they penned these absurd scenarios? I have to think this was cathartic for the creators. Anime folks have to work on a lot of crap. And Rio: Rainbow Gate! was just going to be next in line. It’s a character from a pachinko game, for fuck’s sake. There’s nothing to work with there. But that gave the creators ultimate freedom. They could do whatever they wanted, and who would give a shit as long as the audience got plenty of tits and ass?

If you think about it . . . is Rio really any less absurd than anything we watched as kids? Yeah, Rio isn’t anywhere near as smart as a lot of the great shows like Rocko’s Modern Life or Angry Beavers or whatever, but it has that insane spirit in the body of moe nonsense. Rio might be total shit, but when you watch it, you can kind of feel that the people behind it at least had some fun with it. I mean, how couldn’t they? Could you imagine being paid to put this insane shit on TV? I am legitimately jealous of the writers who penned this stuff each week. I’d be proud to have Rio: Rainbow Gate! on my resume, if only for the stories I could tell. “Yeah, I’m the one who wrote that episode where they went to the beach, met a bear on drugs and played ping-pong even though we were in the middle of a big storyline, and it was the second-to-last episode of the season! Also, I designed Rio’s heart ass bikini. Ah yeah.”

Rio: Rainbow Gate! exists in a bizarre universe all its own. It’s a special show. I’ve watched some bad anime weekly, but none was so memorably bad as this. I legitimately looked forward to each new episode of Rio, just to see what in the holy fuck the writers would pull out of their asses in the next episode. And the show never disappointed. There was always something crazy, something beyond the realm of logical thought, just around the corner. It’s a total piece of shit, but it’s crafted with such love and care that I could not help but love it.

And you all should love it, too.


11 Responses to “Rio Rollins Tachibana Is My Goddess”

  1. I would’ve liked to sit in on the creative meeting for the last episode.

    Director: OK, we need ideas. We’re gonna have a big sequence where everyone in the world gets great luck. And I don’t mean your everyday ordinary good luck, but super duper kick-in-the-pants kind of luck!

    Staff 1: I know! Everyone scores the 10 million yen jackpot, at the same time.

    Staff 2: A boy wins the prize on a popsicle stick!

    Staff 1: Lasting peace is finally brought to the war torn Middle East.

    Staff 2: Old ladies find their cats!!

    Staff 1: A couple pulled apart by the cruel hands of fate find one another in the unlikeliest of circumstances and rediscover the meaning of true love.

    Staff 2: TWO YOLKS IN ONE EGG!!!

    Director: Brilliant! We’ll use them all!

    • How could anyone not love a sequence like that? And, yes, I would pay anything to have been in the room while the writers came up with these stories.

  2. One aspect of Rio that ‘impressed’ me was how it actively went against even its own logic. The holographic space pinball was the most obvious of them all, but so were scenes like the armoured bikini, the American accents in America and a casino hiring Rio in the first place.

    If only every bad anime was as truly terrible as Rio

    • LOL I forgot about the armored bikini. I also loved the psychic “disguising” herself by dressing exactly as she does in each episode.

  3. fathomlessblue Says:

    For me a terribad anime, whether unintentional or aware of it’s stupidity, is still ultimately shit. If I was watching the show with friends it would probably be a different story, but I just can’t laugh at a series’ awfulness on my own.

    Saying that, I do like the idea of the studio going all in the dumb stakes, out instead of actually working hard try to create, at best a mediocre series that would be completely forgettable; If your screwed either way, I say take the piss! At least it’ll get more attention. 😛

    I’m gonna wait until the tv version of Hen Zemi airs before I make a serious judgement on the director, but after the two previous ova’s, he’s got pretty big shoes to fill.

    • Rio is the kind of bad anime I can laugh at on my own, because it’s so absurdly terrible. It’s beyond the realm of normal badness; there’s something that draws the viewer to the screen. It’s bad, but a FUN kind of bad. I can understand other folks not getting into that kind of thing, but I do feel sorry for ’em. They can never know the true love of Rio.

  4. I think Rio was a classic example of “So bad, it’s good”.
    I suspect the director went “Look, this is a terrible idea for a series. Let’s just have fun!”

    I also suspect all production meetings were held in the pub. They’d get really drunk, then work out the plot of the next episode. That would explain everything!

    It was, on the whole, gloriously stupid. And that’s why I loved it!

    • “I also suspect all production meetings were held in the pub. They’d get really drunk, then work out the plot of the next episode. That would explain everything!”

      Haha, seems like a likely scenario to me.

  5. This article has renewed my interest in creating the ULTIMATE Rio Rainbow Gate drinking game. If you don’t hear from me for the next few months, I will be drunk, errr… perfecting my creation.

  6. […] favorite series of the year. It’s stupid, ridiculous fun, and I’m of the opinion that it’s intentionally made that way. Of all the crazy, dumb shit you see in Rio, what sticks out most is the final montage when Rio […]

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