Rideback (2009) is one of my favourite anime serials of all-time. I’m currently re-watching it for a special post that shall go live at the end of the week, and during my re-watch I’ve come to appreciate the main character, Rin Ogata, so much more than ever.
Rin was a ballet prodigy who was set to follow in her late mother’s footsteps as one of the greats of the industry. Then one evening during an impressive performance, she broke her ankle and it changed her future. After recovering from her injury, Rin understood that she would never be able to perform the way that she used to, that she’d never be as good as she once was. Accepting her reality, she begins to attend a local university with the hopes of figuring out what comes next for her.
In many ways I feel that I can relate to Rin. While I wasn’t a prodigy at anything spectacular like ballet, I did have a gift for writing. My teachers encouraged my craft as a child and my mother tried to push me into being a straight-A student so that I could make the most of this inherent skill. Similarly to Rin, I had followed the steps that was expected of me until life one day threw a curveball my way in a drastically unexpected manner. The big difference was that rather than a couple of years, it took nearly a decade for me to recover from that unexpected turn of events.
As we watch Rin awkwardly find her footing again, especially when it comes to navigating through the choppy waters of her celebrity status—an ocean of expectation that she is trying to pull herself out of—that won’t allow her to forget who she is and what she used to be, we see an individual find her wings. The biggest obstacle in life is developing your own identity. Something that sets us apart from all of the facets that are placed upon us by outside sources. To be able to look within ourselves and come across a person or item or experience that is one-hundred-percent authentic to us and our own joy, is what many people spend their entire existences searching for.
When Rin comes across a local club at her university that has a very unique focus, she finally discovers a means to explore who she is and allow herself the freedom to bask in the euphoria that comes with that realisation. It makes her stronger and more emotionally assured. It also makes her very considerate and empathetic to the people around her. Because of all the growth and development that she undergoes, and the ways it influences her life and passions, I have grown to admire Rin Ogata.
I’m currently in the midst of another phase of self-exploration and identity moulding, so being able to revisit Rin and her experiences have been so wondrously inspiring to me. That is why I wanted to briefly showcase her today. A young girl who goes from being a brilliant celebrity of ballet into a woman who encounters Ridebacks, motorcycle-robotic vehicles that are absolutely bitching to ride and to race. This then leads her to see outside of her small bubble to the world surrounding it, bringing her face-to-face with current affairs that helps her become stronger and more independent and more self-confident in being Rin Ogata—friend, club member, sister, daughter, human.
If you have not seen Rideback, then I highly recommend that you do so. Later in the week, I shall be discussing the main reasons as to what makes this series so breath-takingly fabulous. However, in the meantime, if you are someone that enjoys character-centred narratives, then this isn’t one you’ll want to pass up.