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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One - or Two - Gods too Many, July 29, 2003
This review is from: Neo Ranga - The Right of Kings (Vol. 3) (DVD)
While this DVD starts out innocently with the typical tales of the Shimabara women, who have discovered that they have become kings of a far island paradise and are now served my a mysterious 'giant robo' creature who is the god Ranga. Since Ranga is as likely to be used to take Yuuhi (the youngest and most obnoxious) to school as he is to fight organized crime and corrupt politicians, the tone of these episodes is light, with an occasional personal touch.
I've muttered before about Neo Ranga's by-and-large empty plot. At first, I thought I was going to see more of the same, but I failed to take into account that this DVD encompasses the end of the first season. Apparently the director's realized that something had to happen that would ensure that viewers returned for the next season, because many of the loose ends have come together into something that resembles a story arc.
Don't take this to mean that this is a badly written series. It touches on many significant issues - corruption, responsibility, friendship, revenge, etc. But its flaw is that it has never really exploited them enough to make this series compelling. Contributing to this is the fact that the series is limited to 15-minute episodes and has an extensive cast. I experienced a similar issue with Blue Seed. There was so much slapstick and kidding around that the viewer is caught by surprise when the plot suddenly developed seriously.
The last four episodes if this DVD reflect a change in emphasis. Resistance to Ranga has built among the syndicates, politicians, and governments. Each either sees a power to get control of or a threat to destroy. Thus both Ranga and the Shimabara's into retreat, returning to the island where Ranga originated. In addition, Ranga must now face other gods, who are competing for power. Gradually, the women's vision of what they are doing and what their responsibilities are sharpens. Until, at the end, each is questioning their initial thoughtlessness.
If this trend continues into the next season then the series may show some sparks of excellence, since the nature of authority is not often the main focus of an anime series. So far, Neo Ranga has lagged other releases for this year in depth and level of artwork. Worth watching, but not worth seeking out and purchasing. Time has a way of undoing mid-series assessments, though, so continue to watch this space.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LIFE IS COMPLICATED, October 3, 2004
Sesho (Pasadena, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Neo Ranga - The Right of Kings (Vol. 3) (DVD)
You know, when you have your own Godzilla-sized monstrous god to do your bidding, it can make life complicated for you. In Volume 3 of this ever-improving series, we get to see the Shimabara sisters and Neo Ranga face some escalating threats. When the sisters return to Barou Island for a festival celebrating Neo Ranga, the girls find that Ranga isn't the only god on the block. Meanwhile, the military forces of Japan and the United States have written a new treaty that will force Ranga to leave the country or to become the property of the government. Lurking on the fringes of all this are a corrupt Japanese senator and the mysterious Kyoshinkai organization whose purpose is to awaken all of the old gods, not just Ranga.

This series just gets better and better. It really shows how power corrupts. Even the sisters from time to time use Ranga to express their temper tantrums or selfishness, such as when one of the sisters is forbidden to ride Ranga to school, but stubbornly refuses the demand, no matter what the danger of a skyscraper sized monster stepping on the city streets. It brings up many moral dilemmas as to when power should and should not be used. As always, with great power, one questions just how much control the sisters really have over Ranga, or whether he is just humoring them. The characters, as always, are intriguing, and the plot is well written. This series has progressed from the stupidity and b-movie level of Volume 1 to this masterful Volume 3. Check it out.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never say never until the very end, July 28, 2003
yosh (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Neo Ranga - The Right of Kings (Vol. 3) (DVD)
From the lack of customer reviews here, it seems that most people that decided to check out "Neo Ranga" have abandoned the series after watching the first 16 episodes (DVD 1 & 2). It's not hard to understand why, as even I used to believe that the show started off on the wrong foot. Stretching the first four episodes on images of Neo Ranga turning the city of Tokyo into a rubble didn't resonate well with most viewers. The episodes following focused on the daily lives of the Shimabara sisters, as they rode around their neighborhood on their newfound 'God' as if he was some kind of family pet.
For most people, these episodes were just too weird. For some, they were even yawn-inducing. But I still had a feeling that this series was about to take off into some unprecedented direction.
My patience was rewarded in this third volume, as "Neo Ranga" turned out to be a story much deeper than I have initially anticipated. I have read many expert reviews in anime magazines and websites dubbing this series as an 'kaijyuu' (i.e. Godzilla and Gamera) genre. Some have even labelled it as domestic comedy. Neither is correct, as "Neo Ranga" is something far more significant.
"Neo Ranga" is about people's loss of faith. Loss of faith in their country, government, religion, and the way of life that they and their ancestors have accepted without question for centuries. And when all hope in the world is lost, where will people turn for the ultimate answer? What defines an right answer? And what is the meaning of human life where we all seem to seek for that one answer until the day we die? The first season ends on a high note, as the Shimabara sisters and Neo Ranga prepare for a apocalyptic battle that will decide Japan's future.
Writer Sho Aikawa created a excellent socio-political satire depicting the state of late 1990's Japan. But the theme can be applied to just about any culture in today's increasingly chaotic and insecure world.
Is "Neo Ranga" the new Evangelion? It all depends on what you think, but I personally prefer the originality of "Neo Ranga" over the recycled cliche of "RahXephon".
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Neo Ranga - The Right of Kings (Vol. 3)
Neo Ranga - The Right of Kings (Vol. 3) by Artist Not Provided (DVD - 2003)
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