As you may know I (Yosei) am a liiiiiitle bit of a fan of Rumiko Takahashi’s work. And by a little, I mean fairly considerable. I would not go so far as to say I am her biggest fan, but I am enough that I buy all the manga in English. I love to talk about her work, as it is so delightfully varied, but the more I have been talking about her work, the more I have realized that the people I am speaking with are unaware that she has a series currently in publication–Rin-ne or Kyōkai no Rinne.
This just seems like such a travesty, especially given how popular and gifted of a manga-ka she is. So let’s talk a little bit about Rin-ne. Like many of her series, it has a significant supernatural element. The two protagonists are Rinne Rokudo, who is a Shinigami (essentially a grim reaper) of mixed shinigami and human parentage and Sakura Mamiya, a high school girl with ESP who is able to see spirits. It is a contemporary series, that follows the adventures of these two characters and their supernatural shenanigans.
It definitely has some of the classic features of Takahashi’s work, with its blending of contemporary settings and Japanese folklore and mythology. It’s quirky outlook and the absurd situations the pair find themselves in is also typical of her work. It blends some very prosaic motifs along with her classic juxtaposition of ludicrous situations and interactions. Plus her usual character design. If you
enjoy those aspects of her other work, such as Urusei Yatsura (the second movie is being released on DVD in the US again. WOOOOOO!!) and Ranma 1/2 I do recommend this series. It is slightly more reminiscence of these works to me than Inuyasha. It is definitely a more lighthearted series, despite the somewhat more serious backstory and commonplace surrounds. Maybe a little Maison Ikkoku thrown in? The Buddhist elements are especially interesting in many ways, due to the personification of spiritual elements such as the Wheel of Becoming.
I do find that the relationship between the two protagonists is better defined than in her previous works (or maybe the characters are just slightly more self-aware, I leave it to you to judge). With the 25th volume of the manga just being released and the series has the distinction of being the first manga Viz is releasing simultaneously digitally and hard copy, I hope it is not going anywhere for a while. And it is definitely a bit of an investment-totally worth it. If you are more into the anime side of things, there are is a three season, 75 episode anime out and two of them are available on Crunchyroll. It is not being simulcast as far as I know, but I could be wrong.
Anyway, I hope all of you Rumiko Takahashi fans out there are pleased that she has a current manga and anime if you were not already aware. Enjoy the series 🙂