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After an injury forces Rin to trade her stage career for college life, she finds new thrills as a member of the RideBack Club. When she discovers an unusual connection with one machine in particular – Fuego – she is forced into the middle of a revolution. The tyrannical new government rules with an iron fist, and Rin is reluctant to take them on. But as her dearest friends suffer, and the insurgency struggles to topple the increasingly powerful regime, Rin may have no choice but to gun Fuego’s engines and speed directly into the heart of the fight for freedom.
The mecha adventure RideBack (2009) takes place in 2025, when the sinister cabal GGP rules much of the world. Rin Ogata was a rising ballet star but sustained an injury that ended her career. She rediscovers the excitement dancing used to bring her when she begins piloting a RideBack, a robot-motorcycle hybrid. Applying the coordination and skills she learned in ballet, Rin forms a mystical bond with her machine as solid as any Gundam pilot's. She quickly surpasses the other riders at her college, even reigning champion Tamayo Kataoka. But those piloting skills get her into trouble when she and her roommate Shoko find themselves caught between the "antiterrorist" forces of the GGP and the rebels of the BMA. RideBack often feels like two series spliced together. Rin's journey to regain her confidence is an interesting and original shojo adventure--her back story provides a convincing reason for her piloting skills, unlike the usual superstacked female mecha jockeys. The BMA-led revolt against the dictatorial GGP is just a standard-issue sci-fi saga with fanatics on both sides seeking revenge. The filmmakers don't have enough time to tell either story well in just 12 episodes--the underdeveloped subplot involving collusion between the leader of the GGP in Japan and the mecha manufacturer feels tacked on. But despite its flaws RideBack has a spark of originality many recent anime titles lack. (TV 14: brief nudity, violence, violence against women, torture, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon