Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lime-iro Ryuukitan X Cross

So at long last, Lime-iro Ryuukitan X Cross is complete.

This sequel to Lime-iro Senkitan has had a checkered history, to say the least. Released in 2005, it was started, and dropped, by no less than three fansub groups. Despite the availability of decent DVD raws, it remained untranslated and unloved until KiteSeekers added it to the backlog about three years ago. I joined KiteSeekers specifically to finish this orphan series.

Even with my constant nagging, progress was slow. Although the episodes had been translated, the translations were a bit suspect. Fortunately, Zalis116, who in the guise of ReDone Subs created the excellent DVD version of Lime-Iro Senkitan, agreed to translation check the scripts. It still took a year to finish the series, as higher priority was usually given to the Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream and Tantei Opera Milky Holmes franchises. Lolis trump historical mecha, I guess.

As a sequel, a drop in quality would not be unexpected, but it’s the shift in tone that’s more bothersome, at least to me. Lime-iro Senkitan was a guilty pleasure, gleefully mixing action, comedy, harem, and mecha with a healthy dose of eye candy to utterly subvert the tropes of the genres. The hero, Shintaro, far from being the usual ineffective harem lead, scores with almost every female who’s both of legal age and human. He never really takes the lead in the fighting; his role is coaching, mentoring, and sexual healing. It’s good, dumb, ecchi fun.

Lime-iro Ryuukitan, on the other hand, plays by all the rules of the shounen and harem genres. The lead is clueless about women, tongue-tied and embarrassed about emotions, and generally only good at charging head-first at the enemy. The girls are all in love with him, but none of them makes an impression on his heart of iron. Instead, he teaches them life lessons about believing in themselves as well as about wrestling wild animals and patching up scrapes and bruises. In the end, he is the HERO who defeats the enemy, and the girls are supporters. As a result, the show plays as a series of cliches, with only occasional flashes of humor to lighten the endless tropes. The villains, named Chiffon, Linen, and Cashmere (what are they, an 80s girl group?), have no personality to start with and don’t develop any along the way. It’s a big come down from the original.

I’m glad it’s finally subbed, and the Lime-iro series can be viewed in its entirety. Nonetheless, Lime-iro Ryuukitan serves to point up an important lesson about orphan series: when a show’s been dropped by lots of groups, it’s probably for a good reason.

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