Throughout the twelve episodes of Lagrange, I don’t think I was ever disappointed or dismayed at the least. Part of it has to do with the very low expectations I had for this show (more on that in a bit), but I think part of it has to do with something I’ve noticed with many Winter series: the less they take themselves seriously, the better the experience is. Now that’s not to say the darker episodes of Lagrange were weak, but the transition from the carefree and silly first few episodes to what we’ve seen these last few weeks has been a very good transition.
With Lagrange being an original series, there wasn’t much to expect for the most part. But throughout these twelve weeks, I’ve grown not only to the characters but the overall plot of the series. It did start off kinda slow, but that didn’t last for very long. My view for most anime series that if there isn’t much plot, then at least give us really interesting characters. Lagrange accomplished this quite well, Madoka is by far one of the best characters to come out of the Winter season. Usually, characters like her annoy me instantly but this series is almost like a mecha series and if you’ve seen mecha series (who hasn’t?) then you should know that almost every one of those series features a main character who is: emo, pretentious, insane or all of the above. So it’s a huge relief to find that Madoka doesn’t exhibit the same annoying characteristics as say Setsuna F. Seiei or Shinji Ikari.
The transition from the more goofy and lighthearted episodes leading up to episodes like these has been quite well done. What kept my interest in this series was seeing our main characters behave so normally despite all of the chaos and serious events surrounding them, but seeing their eventual maturity was well worth the wait. The villains in this series were also fun to watch, despite their status as an actual villain constantly in doubt. Another good thing about this show is despite the differences, every character really contributes to the main plot equally.
This episode also had some really nice storytelling, at first the lack of Muginami was a huge red flag, but afterwards my fears faded away. Indeed, everything came together nicely – almost too nicely. The visuals were in full effect this episode, something that still manages to keep me in awe. Having the opening theme (a piano rendition, no less) play during a key scene with Madoka and Muginami was a very nice touch. All of this comes from an animation studio with a less than stellar background.
When I first heard that Xebec was the studio behind this series, my first reaction was “Oh, boy. Another fanservice anime with the same ugly character designs, lackluster plot and 2-d characters?”. Really, that’s the only type of series they really only do. But to my surprise, this has been a fantastic effort from them and the sheer amount of support that they’ve given to this series is also very encouraging. At the same time, I found out this series was actually conceptualized by Production I.G. (Xebec is actually part of Production I.G…hard to imagine), but for whatever reason I.G. gave Xebec this series (you know because they couldn’t handle two original series, but it’s easy to figure out which was better overall in the end). How ironic, one of the weakest animation studios gives us a really good series like Lagrange and one of the best animation studios gives us a really crappy series like Guilty Crown.
Overall, this was one of Winter’s best series and definitely turned out much better than I thought, with low expectations and all. I’m very glad that there’s a season 2 (scheduled to air in July!), and you can bet I’ll be (im)patiently awaiting for some more Maru~ goodness!
Animation – 8/10 (B)
Story – 11/15 (C+)
Sound – 7.5/10 (C+)
Characters – 16/20 (B-)
Enjoyment – 34/45 (C+)
Overall Score – 76.5/100 (C+)