You’re going to have to bear with me on this review because I’ll be going on on a bit of a tangent on the attitude of some critics who follow the mantra of “it’s dark violent and serious, therefore it must be good”. Remember, this is coming from someone who doesn’t like moe and fanservice shows. The fact that Rainbow tries to do something different from your standard anime is commendable but not what a review should be solely based on. Because Rainbow is a very flawed work.
Lets talk for a minute about Monster. It’s a very good anime, there’s no denying that, but so many of the reviews seem to focus on the fact that because it’s dark and dreary that means its automatically better than anything else. That thinking process isn’t that far away from people liking moe anime because it’s moe or liking an anime just because it has a tsundere character in it. Monster is a flawed piece of work. It’s too methodical about exploring the plot that it gets bogged down in uninteresting side stories for large periods of its run. But it’s dark and gritty and features adults and therefore is an untouchable masterpiece.
With Rainbow the flaws are far more pronounced. There’s not an ounce of subtlety in the writing or directing. The prison guard is horribly overacted to the point that I couldn’t take any scene with him in seriously at all and the constant narrating of how everything is going to get even worse induces severe eye-rolling tendencies. There are some good things of course. With Madhouse doing the animation it’s pretty unsurprising to see animation and artwork done as well as this and…umm…I actually can’t think of any other praise. I was going to say they set the scene well but that would be a total lie. It was horribly overdone and in desperate need of a clever hand at the directing side of things to give us some smart foreshadowing that does not consist of a voice-over explaining how miserable life will be for these boys.
If the elitists of the anime world keep praising every dark and dreary anime that comes out, the rest of anime fandom will miss out on the actual good stuff. I had a little go at Monster earlier but that’s an example of one of the better dark and dreary anime. Rainbow is not. Maybe I’m being a little too harsh but at the same time I would bet my house on both of the upcoming Noitamina anime being better directed and more interesting than this.