Earlier this year, Sentai Filmworks began releasing the supernatural action/comedy series, “Rin-ne,” on Blu-ray and DVD, and we decided to check out the first collection of this series, based on the manga from best-selling author, Rumiko Takahashi.
The story of “Rin-ne” follows Sakura Mamiya, a high school student who possesses the ability to see and interact with ghosts, following an accident when she was a child. Although she wants to rid herself of this “curse,” she finds it becoming much more useful, when she meets Rinne Rokudo, a student in her class that is almost never around.
Rinne is the child of human and Shinigami bloodlines, giving him the ability to live in both worlds, and work as a Shinigami, guiding souls to the “Wheel of Reincarnation.” Sadly, Rinne’s life isn’t an easy one, and despite his hard work, he is often struggling just to get by, which is even harder, when he is forced to purchase special tools to help in guiding spirits back to where they belong, something a full-blooded Shinigami wouldn’t require. With Sakura’s ability to see ghosts, she becomes someone that Rinne can speak with about his life, after accidentally getting dragged into the other world, again.
Although there isn’t a main story early on, the series does introduce several characters who play big roles, including Rinne’s grandmother, a well-known Shinigami named Tamako, Tsubasa, a young exorcist who believes all spirits are evil, a wealthy devil determined to get revenge on Rinne, named Masato, and Sabato, Rinne’s father. While Masato presents a few interesting challenges for Rinne, and Tsubasa serves as Rinne’s rival for Sakura’s affection, the one who serves as the main antagonist for these early episodes, is Sabato.
Sabato is the best example of a deadbeat, stealing money from Rinne, and often using his name to pile on even more debt for the young man. His main goal however, is to bring Rinne on as the heir to his Damashigami Company, whose goal is to steal souls to meet their quota, whether it is their time or not, which goes against everything Rinne believes in. To meet that end, he is willing to do whatever it takes, which includes using Sakura, and any other dirty trick he can think of.
The episodes of the first collection don’t focus on a main story arc, apart from the relationship between Rinne and Sakura. Many of the episodes are short adventures that see the pair helping to bring a spirit’s story to a peaceful resolution. While early signs of feelings from both Rinne and Sakura are apparent, the series is still in the early stages in these first episodes, so things don’t get anywhere on that front.
Visually, the series looks good. Not detailed, but it does have good quality, and the battle scenes are handled well. Produced by Brain’s Base, who worked on the anime adaptation of “Kiss Him, Not Me,” the “Rin-ne” anime has the look, feel, and story of a series from the early 90s, and that isn’t a bad thing.
The audio options for “Rin-ne” only include the Japanese audio option, but the cast does a great job in matching their characters, and expressing themselves well. While the option for both would be nice, it doesn’t hurt that you have just the one option. The subtitles are clear, easy to read, have a good flow, and remain on screen for a fair length of time.
The series comes packaged in a regular Blu-ray case, with slots for both discs to be held, with little worry of scratching. The cover art is well done too, and features a colorful blue background with a red border, and an image of Rinne dressed ready for battle, Sakura, and Rokumon, Rinne’s black cat companion. There aren’t many extras to speak of with this collection, as the only on-disc extras are trailers for other Sentai Filmworks releases, and the clean opening and closing. The opening was my favorite between the two.
Because it is early in the series, it is hard to tell just how enjoyable it will be by the end. But for now, “Rin-ne” is an entertaining supernatural action series with a nice blend of comedy thrown in. The short adventures make the series one that is easy to watch in short segments, instead of marathoning, and the story stays interesting throughout. The character interactions also make the anime a fun experience, from Rin-ne and Tsubasa clashing over Sakura, to the deadpan stare that Sakura gives Rin-ne, when she thinks he is giving another girl attention, there are always moments that make for a good laugh.
If you are a fan of Rumiko Takahashi’s other popular series, “Inuyasha” and “Ranma ½,” or if you are looking for something like “Noragami,” then “Rin-ne” is a good option. If you are interested in the manga, the series is currently published in North America by Viz Media.
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Runtime: 325 minutes
Format: Blu-ray (also available on DVD)
Number of Episodes: 13
Languages: Japanese audio, English subtitles
Age Rating: TV-14
Release Date: July 12, 2016
(A review copy of “Rin-ne” collection one on Blu-ray was provided by Sentai Filmworks.)