Genres: drama, psychological, romance, science fiction
Themes: Mecha, Space
Plot Summary: The year is AD 2225. Kouji Aiba and Aoi Housen are serving as astronauts in-training in Liebe Delta which is located on the edge of the Geduld Sea. When saboteurs with unknown intents suddenly strike during a routine dive procedure, the space station plummets into the Geduld, a plasma field that links all the planets like a nervous system and crushes any ship that strays too far into it. With all the adults onboard killed, the young astronauts will have to survive this long journey home in midst of the growing tension amongst each other. Meanwhile the organizers of the sabotage look on and prepare to attack once more.
Okay, so the premise for Infinite Ryvius isn't exactly the most thrilling concept ever imagined; basically, here we have Lord of the Flies in space. Fortunately, this production was blessed with a talented staff, and what could have become a dreadfully dull exercise in routine science fiction is instead a mostly entertaining exploration of adolescent angst. It's a little on the slow side at first, but this is the kind of series that rewards the patient.
What's unique about Infinite Ryvius is that it manages to set up a lot of the drama before the kids are in confinement together. Most shows would use the Ryvius as a contrivance, a way to force drama into a show that previously had none.
The first episode (which is a little on the slow side; if you like listening to technobabble, you'll love this. People who are bored by endless unintelligible chatter at computer screens might have a harder time) sets up most of the problematic relationships, and establishes a lot of the tension that will break later in the series. The show is elegantly written, which is more than most anime sci-fi series can say.
The show starts to heat up when the kids are all crammed inside the Ryvius and forced to work together. From memory, I believe the ship starts off with 300 teenagers on it. Throughout the entire 26 episodes, there are about 12 major characters, and about another 12 side characters. Most of them don't really want to work together and one half seems to hate the other half, which makes for some really tense situations and a few scary outbursts. The show never devolves into wall-to-wall mech pounding action or solid dry drama; it manages to find a balance between the two and sticks to it. I would have been fine with 100% drama, but, oh well. The mecha scenes are reminiscent of The Hunt for Red October, in my opinion. One thing the show does seem to be lacking is humor. This is a fairly laugh-free affair and it takes itself dreadfully seriously. I'm not very fond of light-hearted anime.
Bascially, if you're looking for a science-fiction series that sidesteps the cookie-cutter tendencies of most other genre series, Infinie Ryvius is a can't-miss. People who find themselves bored by the genre, though, might be better off going elsewhere.