Genre: Mecha political action
Length: 12 episodes
Score: Very good

Rin was a ballet dancer, until she stopped dancing due to an injury. At university she stumbles across a club dedicated to ridebacks, strange bipedal motorcycle mecha, and discovers that riding these machines can give her the same sensation that she felt on the stage.

This is weird story because it doesn’t go the way you expect. Rin starts out joining the rideback club purely out of curiosity, but gets gradually pulled into political events that see her caught in firefights, arrested, labelled a terrorist and eventually sparking a small-scale war.

The ridebacks themselves are basically like a motorcycle that can transform into bipedal mode, where the two wheels move side by side and the rider is raised up. With sophisticated computer control and segway-style gyros, this allows an unprecedented pairing of speed with agility, allowing the machine to walk on stairs and to jump, dodge and weave past obstacles in a way no bike ever could. They also have arms, which they use for balance and also to bounce off walls etc. What it doesn’t provide is much protection to the rider. Given the way it focuses on them, I’m assuming that the series was made as a way of selling toys.

Less than a decade before the story, a small local ‘resistence’ group used the tactical advantage provided by ridebacks to overthrow an ‘expansive regime’ (they don’t actually say America), and then conquer pretty much the whole world. Though the GGP is now firmly installed across the globe, they aren’t yet stable. Their role seems to be to liase and interfere with local governments rather than replacing them. Their behaviour is typical of a very young regime: they haven’t yet learned what checks and balances are for, and act out of immature fear, deploying heavily armed anti-terrorism troops that blur the line between the police and armed forces, using utterly disproportionate force against even peaceful protesters, and generally creating more of a social problem than they solve.

A lot happens in a short time, making this strange little series well worth the investment.