on August 23, 2003
After a chaotic season 1 finale, the people of Musashino has returned to their daily business... although life is anything but ordinary when Neo Ranga is looming over your backyard. After the Kyoshin was defeated, the Japanese government passed a legislation to officially declare Musashino as a land rightfully belonging to the kingdom of Barou. It should be happy times for the Shimabara sisters, but with the city borders surrounded with barbed wire fences and wrath of the entire nation against them, nothing seemed merry.
Again, we see the focus shift back to the personal dilemmas of the Shimabara sisters. Ushio is sad because everybody in Japan seem to be against them, despite her goodwill to help others using Neo Ranga. Yuuhi is angry because she was betrayed by one person in this world that she trusted, Kazuo Fujiwara (who turned out to be a leader of the syndicate Kyoshinkai). And Minami is flustered with the family's financial situation as usual, and is haunted by recurring thoughts of their long lost brother Masaru. Matters become worse for the sisters when Kyoshinkai step up their attacks against Neo Ranga using cruel tactics and increased manpower.
The tone of the series is serious as usual, but there are some lighter moments that will make us all smile. Neo Ranga accidentally (?) digs up a hot spring in the backyard of Shimabara house, as Ushio ponders about her potential love interest. We will see a good dose of other series favorites as well, like Ushio's classmate Adachi, alongside Kurogane and the ASE pilot girls (who now work security shifts for Musashino).
These episodes are fun to watch as much as they are thought provoking, and "Neo Ranga" continues to prove itself as a force to be reckoned with.
on October 1, 2003
Okay, mine wont be as long as the others but oh well. Anyway, this was a great disc, opening more questions about what's going to happen at the end of this series. The only disappointment was the battle that season 1(disc 3) left off with. Other than that I enjoyed watching this disc as always, and can't wait to get the 5th soon, whoohoo! Neo Ranga is intriguing because it gives you a mystery that you're racking your mind to solve but can't yet because it's not the end. Anyway, yeah if you haven't see Neo Ranga, or this disc, you better see it soon!
After a first season close that to promised that this series was on the way to displaying a bit more depth and meaning, I am proud to announce that this new series has started out with a bit better art and writing. As far as depth... I'm afraid that the basic structure of using 15 minute episodes was simply too much to overcome. Expect to find yourself back in Musashino, every bit as confused by the antics of the Shimabara sisters and their handy-dandy, giant god Ranga. Never sure whether this is a comedy or a tragedy.
The first episode sets the tone, with Ranga building a hot bath for the thirsty residents while the sisters foil both government plots and the machinations of the Kyoshinkai Syndicate. Kyoshin, by the way, means 'mind like a mirror - when it doesn't mean one of several other things. In a sense, the confusion in the use of this word is reflected in the chaotic way the episodes seem to jump from one subject to another. And yet the phrase implies a loss of illusion, and, at unexpected times, Neo Ranga provides some brilliant and bitter insights into human behavior.
In any case, the episodes are small dramas about life in a Tokyo neighborhood that suddenly finds itself a foreign country, with its own god. The Shimabaras are the unlikely kings of this micro-country - with all the flaws and self involvement of us ordinary folks. Whether they are worried about their first date, taking on giant, robotic Kami, or just being willful - they behave just like normal human beings. But, since they have a god on their side, the results that range from funny to catastrophic.
In an off-hand remark, one of the characters describes the formula for a successful television show as "the ones that show the most skin, and the ones that show other peoples screwed up lives... with two giants duking it out." Sure enough, that's the primary formula for Neo Ranga. The shame is that the series has a unique and non-conformist outlook that often gets lost in the flesh and the fighting. So far this is a series that will be remembers for its moments rather than for its story arc