Anime Vice News

Vice Interrogation: Rinne

Gia checks out the first print release of Rumiko Takahashi's simulreleased manga Rinne.

Vital Stats

Title: Rinne
JP Publisher: Shogakukan
Licensor: VIZ Media
Mangaka: Rumiko Takahashi
Release Date: November 3rd 2009 

The Review (Video)


The Review (Text)

 Rinne is the latest manga by Rumiko Takahashi, the creator behind some of the biggest anime and manga franchises in Japan: Ranma 1/2, InuYasha, Urusei Yatsura, Maison Ikkoku, all part of the Takahashi experience. Unlike any of them, however, Rinne was (I believe) the first ever simultaneous manga release in both the US and Japan, with VIZ uploading translated chapters to every week.[/INTRO]
So, the story is that Kagome from InuYasha apparently woke up one morning and decided no go to to the feudal era anymore, so she changes her name, puts her hair in braids, and heads off to school. Unfortunately after all her time fighting yokai leaves her with the ability to see ghosts, as well as her classmate Rin-ne. Rin-ne is a shinigami, "sort of," with bright red hair, so I assume he's actually the love child of Rukia and Ichigo from Bleach.

Rinne is a shinigami, so it's his job to help dead souls make their way to the afterlife and, eventually, reincarnation. Unfortunately since he's not a full-blooded shinigami-- and here comes the classic Takahashi twist --he has to pay real Japanese money in order to use powers and other items to do the job. Why he's obligated to do this instead of living as a normal human being would be a spoiler, so I won't go there just yet, but Takahashi's classic matter-of-fact comedy style a la Ranma 1/2 or Urusei Yatsura is in full force here, where it was a bit less prominently featured in InuYasha.

Rinne an his troubles are interesting fodder for volume one and presumably volume two, but our heroine, whose actual name is Sakura Mamiya, is a little bit less intriguing. She can see ghosts, and the why of that is explained in volume one, leaving no obvious depths to mine for character development, at least for now. (You never know what twist Takahashi will throw in later.) She looks like Kagome in twin braids and she's kind, thoughtful, relatively nonplussed by the abnormal things that go on around her, and...that's about it.

At the moment the story amounts to several short ghost stories featuring Sakura, Rinne, and a couple of other characters who pop up. They're pretty standard Takahashi fare: with the exception of the surprisingly indistinct (so far) Sakura, the characters are lively, quirky, and fun.

The paper version is a pretty standard VIZ release. The first few pages, which were in color in the online version, are in black and white here, which is mildly disappointing but may have been required in order to keep the print costs at a once-standard, now-low price of $9.99. Currently you can read the first two chapters of this volume, and you can read the second and part of the third volume online, but you can't read the entire first volume anymore-- presumably to drive sales for the book version.

All in all, I can tell you this: if you like Takahashi works, you'll like Rinne. If you don't like her stuff, you probably won't. And if you're not familiar with enough of her work to know? It's probably worth giving this a shot since you can read the first couple of chapters online-- but if the book is your only option, you could definitely do worse than spending $10 on Rinne. 
On the other hand, if Takahashi isn't your specific aim, you could also probably do better.
JackSukeruon Nov. 12, 2009 at 8:43 a.m.
No go toto? 
I knew it!
giaon Nov. 12, 2009 at 11:36 a.m.
@RockmanBionics: It's decent, it's just not amazing. I may have reservations because Takahashi's works tend to wind up so long, and it doesn't feel like we're in the "real story." I don't remember how long it took InuYasha to get going on the ongoing plot (e.g. collecting the jewel shards, even if it was prior to learning about Onigumo/Naraku), but I'm pretty sure it was within the first or second volume.
This one's definitely going to require a follow-up review later, when another volume or two is out and I feel like I really know just what kind of story this is going to be. It's entirely possible that Takahashi will keep it primarily short ghost stories rather than having an over-arching plot. (See also: Rumic World Theater.)
king_mon Nov. 12, 2009 at 1:12 p.m.
that Kagome thing was a joke right?
FoxxFireArt moderator on Nov. 12, 2009 at 1:18 p.m.
First off. I don't recommend anyone buying VIZ manga, but that's a whole other issue not related to this review. Normally, I would of avoided a review of a VIZ series, but seeing how critical I was of that previous review. I felt I should check this out.
Now about the review. SPECTACULARLY better!!
This is such an improvement from the previous review. You have brought some humor in to the description of the story, told us about the characters, filled in gaps for someone who might not know about the series, told the price, and uses some nice images to illustrate your points. It was a nice touch to compare the manga volume to the online version. I really wouldn't of thought to do that,
Only critique I could have on this. The AnimeVice graphic feels a bit too dark, and that 'out take' moment went on for a trifle bit too long.
FLStyleon Nov. 12, 2009 at 2:10 p.m.
:S why wasn't 00:20 - 00:38 cut out? Awwwwkward.
Review was good other than that!
JackSukeruon Nov. 13, 2009 at 10:14 a.m.
@gia:  I was just obnoxiously pointing out a grammatical error in the text review (second paragraph, first line) 
As far as my feelings on Takahashi's works go I enjoy them, while hating them at the same time. I've read maybe 12 volumes of Ranma 1/2, but that was a whole bunch of years ago so I don't recall much of it besides those annoying 2-panel cameos. Inuyasha was wierd in that it just sorta started and then came to a standstill, it's story lacking any villian or an ultimate goal to drive it forward. It still bugs me a little how the story came to revolve around collecting the shikon shards. Not that assembling pieces of a mystical artifact and putting it back together is a bad driving force in narration, quite the opposite. It's just: THEY HAD THE WHOLE THING FOR SEVERAL CHAPTERS AT THE VERY START, IT WAS RIGHT THERE GAWD!  
This removes any excitement from wondering what will happen when the jewel is fully assembeled, since we've already seen it. 
In any case the manga was recently discontinued IMC at volume 42, which is a bummer to me since I did actually enjoy it enough to follow it through to completion.

Dig Deeper into Rin-Ne

A young woman who can see ghosts befriends a "sort-of" shinigami who is also her classmate in this new manga by Ranma 1/2 and InuYasha creator Rumiko Takahashi.

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