Rio Rainbow Gate is a very recent anime that aired in Japan between January and March 2011. The series has become quite popular over different internet forums and other websites that cover otaku and other geeky subjects.
The series takes place in an island filled with elegant hotels and a huge casino called “Howard Resort” where all the characters work. The main protagonist is a beautiful purple-haired girl named Rio Rollins who is the best dealer in the casino; she earned the nickname “Goddess of Fortune” because most of the customers who gamble by her side win a lot of money in the place.
The story focuses on how Rio needs to defeat other great dealers in different gambling games to earn one of 13 “gates”, a special kind of card delivered only to the best dealers in the gambling world. At the beginning of the series, Rio only has one of these cards and slowly starts “fighting” other dealers to win the rest, with the purpose of becoming the “Most Valuable Casino Dealer” or MVCD as the series usually call it.
As the storyline starts to develop, the viewer gets to know many other characters who participate on it, for example, there’s a little girl named Mint who is staying in the island with her grandfather. She always carries a stuffed bear named Choko around and quickly becomes very close to Rio. There are also a couple of very funny twins named Elle and Ille who are always dressed as bunny girls and work as dealers and waitresses in the casino. Ille’s dialogs are usually just repetitions of the last couple words Elle said which turn into very awkward moments in the series.
There are more characters like Mr Howard, the owner of the casino who is always making Rio fight for the gates while wearing sexy costumes, and Rina, who is Rio’s childhood friend and another great dealer who later becomes vital to the event.
But to be completely honest, the series’ negative aspects outweigh the positive ones by a lot. For example, the story is quite bad, very uninteresting and doesn’t make any sense most of the time; it is filled with a lot of stupid moments and dialogs where it tries too hard to be funny or “ecchi” but fails horribly.
Most of the characters aren’t developed properly, making the viewer unable to grow any affection for them. The only ones with actual personalities are Rio, Rina and Mint. Ironically I found that the best character in the series is Ille, the bunny-girl who always repeats the last word of what her twin sister said. She’s the only character that I found cool.
Another negative thing is that, in the first two or three episodes, the series sells itself as an ecchi anime, trying to focus a lot on the sexy moments and Rio’s outfits. Sadly, after a while, all of this is completely forgotten to try and fix the already destroyed storyline and characters.
I saw a lot of potential in the dealer fights part of the series. In it, the dealers are supposed to play any gambling game like Black Jack or Poker to determine which one is the best. But when the actual games start, the characters use a very retarded power called “Role Rules” to change into a silly outfit and alter the environments to play something stupid like “hit the target” or a videogame like Space Invaders which obviously has nothing to do with gambling and the game they were supposed to be playing.
But among the horrible story and characters with nonexistent personalities, I have to admit that the art is great, far from the best I’ve seen but the quality of the drawings in both the characters and environments is very good, colorful and with tons of details.
The voice-acting is good as well, it is very sad that the dialogs have to develop such a bad storyline but even with that, the voices aren’t bad, all of them fit their characters perfectly so I didn’t really see any problems here.
For closing comments, I can say that the series isn’t very good, as I elaborated before; the biggest problems are the storyline and lame characters. Fortunately, it’s very short, only thirteen episodes (for now) so If anyone wants to give it a try, they won’t waste much time on it at least. The art is very good but I don’t think anyone will find the story and characters interesting as to consider it a good series.