Review of Rio: Rainbow Gate


Rio Rollins is Howard Resort’s most popular croupier. Dubbed “the Goddess of Victory” she has the magical ability to bless gamblers, who visit her table, with good fortune. I wonder why her employer keeps Rio around, given the liability her winning touch must incur. Oh well, never mind. Rio: Rainbow Gate isn’t a show that concerns itself with logic. In addition to her regular duties, Rio competes in the MVCD tournament that pits casino dealers against each other. Winning a duel grants the victor a mystical Gate Card. Once a participant has amassed all thirteen cards the titular Rainbow Gate shall open, which could potentially answer the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Rio’s mom.


Proving that you can make an anime about virtually anything, Rio: Rainbow Gate is based on a fictional character that is used to promote pachinko machines over in Japan. The folks at studio Xebec didn’t have much material to work with so they have opted to entertain with humour and lashings of eye candy. Rio’s default uniform showcases her breasts and the garments she wears during Gate matches are even skimpier. Not to be outdone, the support cast includes a trio of bunny girls and some well-endowed ladies who are dressed in gowns that flaunt their ample cleavage.

Speaking of the cast, the show’s characters are nothing more than one-note caricatures. Rio’s protรฉgรฉe Anya Helsing is a klutz, whose sole standout feature is that she trips over in ever scene. Busty android Linda meanwhile hides her lack of personality by getting decapitated whenever onscreen. Just like the cast, the duels that Rio participates in lack depth. Blackjack and Roulette are games of chance, rather than skill, so the anime tries to spice up the encounters by pitting Rio against rivals who possess super strength, telekinesis and influence over probability. After a while the show gives up on casino games, opting instead to have Rio compete in a waterslide race and various virtual reality arenas.


My rating for Rio: Rainbow Gate is a two and a half out of five. I expect most people will detest this series. If you can forgive the weak storytelling however it can be fun to watch, in a “its so bad its good” sort of way. Thirteen episodes of mediocrity can be overlooked if you have a soft spot for corny gags and beautiful women. I think the series is at its best when it focuses on silly episodic tales, such as the time when Rio crossed swords with a KFC loving ghost. The script fares less well when it tries to add some drama to the mix. Perhaps the sombre story arc that sees Rio challenge a tycoon, named Cartia Goltschmidt, would have worked better if it didnโ€™t hinge on a betrayal you can see coming a mile away.

Another thing that didn’t work for me was the finale. The way that Rio: Rainbow Gate’s conclusion plays out must rank as the most cringe-worthy/ridiculous thing I have seen in 2017. Given that I watched Wonder Momo a few weeks ago that’s saying a lot! I can only speculate that the series was performing poorly with audiences, so studio Xebec stopped caring and decided to go out full retard. If that were the case though, why would they end episode thirteen with some sequel bait? This anime has niche appeal. Gambling on a second season is a wager that not even the Goddess of Victory can help you win.

29 thoughts on “Review of Rio: Rainbow Gate

  1. Happy new year! While I love playing cardgames of any kind, and I honestly love watching movies/tv series/anime that focus on them, this one sounds pretty as you say: detestable. Really too bad as it seems the character designs themselves look pretty fun. I don’t mind a bit of a fanservice, but when it doesn’t have any function and the story takes a backseat, I guess that’s where I draw the line. Great review as always ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Happy new year! I have a soft spot for fan service so I would have been content to give this show a 3/5. The ending was so dumb though that I had to reduce the score. Pet owners find their cats, two people arguing propose to each other and peace is declared in the Middle East within the space of a minute. I could feel my brain cells dying as I watched the sequence.

      • Lol……the way you are describing that one, I think my braincells would have pretty much died as well. That sounds especially horrid lol ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  2. Ah yes. I somehow managed the whole series of this. It was one of those “distraction” anime I used to watch in the morning while having my breakfast to break before there was daily wrestling on.

    Wasn’t there a little girl who hung around with Rio? I always feared they’d sex her up, but can’t remember if they did or not… :/

    • Out of your breakfast shows I enjoyed MMO Junkie much more than this one. Yes, Rio has a child sidekick in this show called Mint. Aside from dressing her in a gladiator style outfit she was spared from the fan service. I’m not sure that allowing a minor to roam around a casino unsupervised is a good idea though.

      • Ah yes – that’s it, Mint! I kept thinking of something “green”…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        But I agree, a casino full of half naked women is not the best place for an impressionable youngster to be but you know, anime…. :/

  3. The only gambling anime series I’ve seen that I liked were Akagi and Kaiji, and those are both really great. This just sounds like fanservice. I guess that’s fine, but it’s not that interesting, is it? May as well watch Queen’s Blade or a similarly pervy series.

    • I haven’t watched either of those shows, but if they are good I imagine it’s because there’s an element of strategy to the games or the story warns about gambling’s dangers. Rio is just an echii anime that happens to be set in a casino. The series has some funny moments, but if you want comedy or eye candy there are certainly better examples out there.

  4. An anime based on a character from a pachinko machines. That must have been one hell of a pachinko machines ๐Ÿ˜€
    This does sound like a pretty terrible anime, but I can see its appeal. hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. The fanservice definitely sounds like a big warning bell, but I do like the concept. Like you said, we’ve had anime on just about everything at this point so one about a magic gambler/dealer sounds interesting to me. I think virtually any concept can be made good if made right, like how a series about kids playing with Spinning Tops turned into such a fantastic franchise. I do agree that having someone who blesses gamblers at a casino is a bit of a conflict of interest though…

  6. I liked it for the exact reasons you said some would forgive it: sexiness, lots of pretty colors and weird gambling challenges. Of course this is a no-no for peeps expecting great depth or an intricate look at the world of gambling.

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