Genre: Drama, Thriller, Seinen
Personal Rating: 7/10
Rainbow is a show that brings a whole new concept to its genre. It´s pretty popular, even though only 12 of the 22 volumes of the manga were adapted. This is the kind of show that everyone likes to watch, some for the drama, some for the characters, and some for the plot. Rainbow has everything! Now, I came across this show when I saw it on a friend´s list. He had a nice rating for the show, so I decided to check the first episode out. And I was stunned. The main theme of this show is “Friendship”, and it does a good job exploiting it.
Story (9/10): Six guys were sent to a reformatory of Shio. Each of them for a different reason, which are explained later on. There, they meet Dr. Sasaki, who inspects them before sending them to their cells. When they arrive at their cell (which is codenamed 2-6), they realize they are not alone in there. A seventh person is there. After some punching and kicking, these seven guys become best friends, and will help each other survive in this hell known as a reformatory. However, there are plans behind the scenes to make life difficult for the seven friends, and they will go through many hardships to be able to finally get out. Each one with their own goals in mind, they try to survive for two years (though one of them is going to be released after only 1 year). Friendship is all they can trust in there. Will they be able to survive? If so, how is life afterwards? Is friendship enough to survive in this hell?
Art (8/10): Being from madhouse, I expected crazy good animation. Also, this anime is quite recent (from 2010). As always, I wasn´t disappointed: the animation was amazing, especially during the action scenes, it fits this kind of anime. The art is kinda dark (but not too much), which is suitable for an anime with this much violence in it. The character designs are VERY good and realistic (which is good for a drama anime, that way you can feel more for them). Overall: the art is good, and Madhouse delivered.
Soundtracks (7/10): While I didn´t like anything in particular here, the opening was perfect for this anime, and some of the insert musics that played during the narration were completely stunning. The ending wasn´t anything special, but it wasn´t bad either. There were OSTs for action scenes, drama, “slice of life”, etc. Also, I have to mention that the voice acting in this anime was superb (which is something rare for me to say), I checked all the voice actors for this show, and most of them are really good. What I thought was sad was the lack of epic OSTs that I usually find in these kinds of shows. I think one of those would have been a great adition to the anime. Nonetheless, the background musics are great.
Characters (6/10): Now, here is the main reason I rated this show so low. Most people are going to hate me for it, but I didn´t really like any character. Its true we have all kinds of characters: Sakuragi is the strongest of the group, he has a superb will to live, and will never let anything happen to his friends/family; Mario is kinda reckless at first, which caused him some problems later on; Cabbage is the fat guy from the group, he is a very kind man who always puts his friends before him, and he´s also pretty strong; Uncovered, the “nerdy” guy, he likes to study, and at first he didn´t believe in friends or trust; Soldier is a strong willed guy, he seems to like the military alot, he also seems to be very protective of those close to him; Turtle is the midget guy, he is willing to go as far as to bite his own arm to help a friend out, and receiving punishments for them; Joe is weak, though kind to his friends, his main goal in life is to reunite with his sister, and he is willing to do anything to accomplish this; Maybe it was because there were too many main characters, but I didn´t really see enough development from any of them (Mario is kind of an exception here, but still). Later on, each of them wil have their arcs, so there is no need to worry about the anime discarding characters. The main antagonists are Ishihara, a guard of the reformatory, and Dr Sasaki, who is the main doctor in there. They are working together behind the scenes, and a cruel punishment befalls anyone who dares finding out about this. Overall, the characters weren´t horrible or anything, but I felt a lack of development.
Enjoyment (8/10): While it had major flaws, especially on the character department, the anime managed to keep me entretained for its duration, the first 12 episodes were superb, but I felt a quality drop after that. It seemed the plot had totally changed, and I was watching an entirely different show. Still, enjoyment is the most important factor (because if not for entretainment, why do you watch anime anyway?), and it did a great job keeping people hooked up until the very last episode. There were also some arcs that weren´t interesting enough, at least when you compare them to other ones. I feel like Cabbage arc was too small when you compare it to, let´s say, Turtle´s arc. That´s just a minor detail though.
Overall (7/10): The main reason I am rating the anime so low, despite having said the plot and the art were amazing, is because of the fact that the show kinda died for me after episode 12. The quality dropped quite a bit, though not enough to be a waste of time. Rainbow is a must-watch for the Thriller genre fans out there though. If you like the kind of anime in which people try to survive the ultimate challenges, this is for you. If you have problems with rapings, gore, forced drama, etc, that I don´t recommend you watching this. At least not until you finished everything else you have on your plan-to-watch list. Also, this show is an incomplete adaptation of the manga of the same name, so you might be interested in reading the manga to know what happens after the ending of the anime. Rainbow is a one-of-a-kind show, so definitely check out the first episode, and go from there.