Company: Studio Madhouse/IMAGIN
Format: 24 episodes
Dates: 4/2/2002 to 12/21/2002
“I was tossed into the setting sun by my husband for the first time!”
Fifteen-year-old Iwaki Tomonori is in quite the predicament. The woman he loves has recently been engaged, which crushed his spirit. To make matters worse, that very day he found out about the engagement, Iwaki finds himself married to a genetically created twelve-year-old girl named Rizel. Unfortunately for Rizel, Iwaki only likes older women. Unfortunately for Iwaki, Rizel’s papas will do anything for her, even if it means plotting to get closer to him. Don’t make Rizel cry, Iwaki-kun!
summary by Kei
Highs: The Papas; can be very funny at times
Lows: The second season; disturbing amounts of fan service
There’s always that kid you knew in school that would do great in his classes the first semester, but totally slack off for the second, more important semester. That pretty much sums up Rizelmine; the first season makes you ask for a bit more, and the second season ruins it completely.
The premise, as a whole, is somewhat familiar: girl falls in love with guy, guy dislikes girl and chaos ensues. Rizelmine takes that to the extremes throughout its run; amazingly so, considering each episode is roughly fifteen minutes in length. The humor is rather… different. To be honest, the show just had a few running jokes, yet for the entire first season, those handfuls of jokes were always funny. Much like the violent “relationship” of Keitaro and Naru in Love Hina, there is a limit to where the love/hate relationship of Iwaki and Rizel is still entertaining. Let’s just say that limit was crossed during the second season.
The first season had its jokes (mainly consisting of Rizel being beaten and then asking her Papas for help) and somewhat of a plot. It was thin (and with fifteen minutes per episode to work with, it’s amazing they got as far as they did) and had a happy-go-lucky feel to it. The second season tried to incorporate a few things that just didn’t work out well at all. First off, for some absurd reason the fan service in the show quadrupled. This usually isn’t a massive issue in most shows, but I really have no desire to see a twelve-year-old running around half naked. Second, the show tried its hand at drama; one would think that this would be a good thing. It would have been a good thing had problems just not appeared out of nowhere, only to be solved in the next episode. Any attempt at real drama is sadly laughable. Not only that, but the second season was just not funny at all to me. In fact, I can easily say that there are a few episodes that I consider the worst episodes of any anime I’ve ever seen… ever.
Rizelmine, despite its flaws, surely deserves an “E” for effort for its first season. However… well… honestly, you’re better off making up your own ending for the show rather than sticking around for the second season. Don’t trust me? Watch it for yourself.
Reviewed: 10/19/16 by
Highs: Lots of laughs; lots of fun side characters; some touching moments
Lows: Some disturbing loli-ecchi
I think a lot of this series, the provocative dialog and discussion regarding loli issues, is meant to be very much parodic and satirical. The music is lively and reminiscent of classic American cartoons. For that matter, so is a lot of the slapstick and mock violence — Rizel being thrown around, falling out of an airplane, etc. In fact, Rizel’s relationship with Tomonori is much closer to that of Tom & Jerry than Romeo & Juliet. The use of suggestive dialog and semi-obscured action, revealed as a punch line to be wholly innocent, also gets used to good effect. Only toward the end does this technique push the boundaries uncomfortably. And as pointed as a lot of the satire is toward the whole lolicon motif — it is still lolicon. One cannot just ignore the fact that Rizel, although an artificially created being, is for all intents and purposes: TWELVE YEARS OLD.
Much of the romantic & sexual humor follows classic motifs of mistaken identity and misguided intention, such as a misdirected love potion as well as a modernized riff on that theme involving mind-control helmets. Along with all this is also the traditional comic vehicle of A in love with B, who is in love with C, who only has eyes for D. I agree completely with Kei that “The Papas” are one of the best parts! I found the dramatic turn of events beginning in 14 and playing out in 15 very powerful, and we get some unexpected character exploration and development as Tomonori begins to accept Rizel’s love and return it — even if that theme does end with a predictable punchline. The satire continues as a number of pop-culture references pop-in, and even a transforming giant robot comes on the scene! (“Why not just have it start out in the robot form?” “It’s pretty much a requirement that a transformation process be shown.”).
And yes, there are some quite disturbing and inappropriate bits. Some of the nudity, including full-topless shots of Rizel and other under-18 girls is completely realistic. The “Next Episode” trailer concluding 16 includes a rather bawdy double entendre poem contemplating the pleasures of matsutake — a rare type of mushroom with quite a suggestive shape. Rizel, still innocent of its meaning, dresses in some very ecchi cosplay outfits, including bondage; some of her remarks border on explicit rather than humorously suggestive. Tomonori’s father suffers from the classic nosebleeds contemplating his son’s expected romps with Rizel. Even bestiality is explored, with one of the other girls. (Some of this material might be technically illegal in some jurisdictions. Be warned and be wise.)
To conclude, Rizelmine is uproariously funny at its best. It has a few dramatic and tender touches, too, which I think work well. But . . . SHE’S TWELVE.
Rizelmine can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.