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RIN-NE Volume 8 by Rumiko Takahashi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

February 22, 2012 by  



Popular mangaka Rumiko Takahashi (“Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2”, “Inuyasha” and many more) continues the ghost/spirit-busting  fun with her latest manga series “RIN-NE”.  Definitely a manga series worth checking out! Highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2009 Rumiko TAKAHASHI/SHOGAKUKAN. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: RINE-NE Vol. 8

STORY AND ART BY: Story and art by Rumiko Takahashi

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Teen

Released: March 6, 2012

Rinne finds himself acting as a mentor for the shinigami Shoma, an elementary school student from the afterlife. Although Shoma is supposed to be learning how to help spirits pass on, he only wants to go after the biggest evil spirits he can find – despite the fact that he’s never done it before! The devil Masato offers Shoma an easy road to success, but can Rinne show the young shinigami the right path?

Rumiko Takashi, probably the most well-known mangaka in the world is back with a new manga titled “RIN-NE” (known in Japan as “Kyoukai no RINNE”) and is currently published in Japan in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shonen Sunday and now available in the US courtesy of Viz Media’s new imprint “Shonen Sunday”.

Known for popular hit manga (and anime series based from her manga) such as “Urusei Yatsura”, “Maison Ikkoku”, “Ranma 1/2” , “One Pound Gospel”, “Mermaid Scar”, “Inuyasha” and many more titles.

In “RIN-NE” , we are introduced to a high school teenager named Sakura Mamiya. What we know about her is that when she was a little girl, she saw a ring in the sky and an older woman.  Flash forward over a decade later and we learn that what Sakura saw was a ghost and now a high school teenager, her ability so see ghost is quite uncanny.

One day during class, she sees for the first time, a boy named Rinne Rokudo who has been absent from his class for a long time.  Rinne finally started to appear in class one day, but despite the teacher starts calling out his name, everyone acts as if he’s not there.  Sakura finds that quite odd because he’s there, yet no one can see him.  He’s not a ghost?  So, she’s trying to figure out why everyone is behaving so oddly?

Eventually, Rinne Rokudo learns that Sakura has the ability to see ghosts and as the two begin to talk, he tells her that he is in the world of the living and his job is to make sure that he makes the dead and their ghosts rest in peace.

A ghost that constantly follows Sakura on her way to school then asks her who is the guy. And to her surprise, Rokudo answers the ghost and telling it that he needs to rest in peace.

Rinne tells her that he is sort of a “shinagami” (death spirit) and then he hypnotizes her after she sees him bringing a stuck spirit and sending them off.  Thinking that she will not remember anything at all, somehow the hypnotism doesn’t work and Sakura remembers everything.

So both become partners in taking on spirits that are stuck in the world of the living (especially those haunting the school and the students) and sending them off.

Joining the two is a black cat named Rokumon (who is contracted to help Rinne with his work) and along the way, they get some help from a young exorcist named Tsubasa Jumonji and also help from Rinne’s grandmother Tamako.  But meanwhile, a demon named Masato , who has a grudge against Rinne has been trying to cause trouble.

In volume 8 of “RIN-NE”, training for the Shinigami children begins and the students of Shinigami elementary schools must do a homestay in the human world and practice sending spirits off to rest in peace.  All these children need to do is earn 50 points and it seems quite easy as they just have to focus on goldfish, birds and animals, but for fifth grader Shoma, he has to stay with Rinne during his homestay and he has no intention of sending things off that are easy.

Being the hard-headed shingami kid that he is, he wants to focus on real evil spirits which are worth 50 points.  But these are the evil spirits that Rinne, goes after.  Yet Shoma thinks he is up to it!

But there are right ways of doing things and incorrect ways of doing things and because Shoma is so hard-headed, he would rather not listen to Rinne and listen to the demon Masato, in which Shoma thinks that Masato is trying to help him.

What will happen when Shoma finds out that Masato is an evil demon that is trying to cause him problems?

Also, included are more stories involving Rinne and Sakura working together, and also Ageha making her appearance once again and try to get close to Rinne.

For anyone who has read manga series from Rumiko Takashi, one thing that she excels at is creating many characters but also doing a great job in character development.  These characters are not one-shot, they tend to re-appear throughout a series and have some importance to a story arc.

And with “RIN-NE”, Rumiko introduces us to the child shinigami Shoma.  And for many manga series that Rumiko has created, the child character has played a major part in a series.  From Ten of “Urusei Yatsura”, Shippo of “Inuyasha” and even Kentaro of “Maison Ikkoku”, the child character tends to bring a child-like perspective to the manga series but also some trouble.

While the manga series does have Rokumon the human/black cat, she introduces another young character.  This time, a fifth grade shingami named Shoma who needs to collect 50 points during his homestay with Rinne but he’s a kid who likes to do things his way and doesn’t like older people telling him what to do.  Needless to say, it gets him in a bit of trouble.

Also, prevalent in Rumiko Takashi anime series is the “love triangle” or often a harem aspect.  While Sakura and Rinne work together, Ageha looks at Sakura as her rival in terms of getting closer to Rinne.  So, once again we see Ageha doing all she can in order to get close with Rinne.  But the problem is that wherever Rinne goes, Sakura and others will also follow.

And we are also given two fun and enjoyable chapters as Rinne and Sakura work together to help a ghost haunting the home economics classrooom and also a story about a haunted scarf.

So far, “RIN-NE” has been a fantastic, fun and enjoyable series thus far.  The chapters are fun and no deep storylines that have shown up yet.  If anything, the manga has been about introducing newer characters to the series but also focusing on the working relationship between Rinne and Sakura.

In some way, the two characters sort of remind of Inuyasha and Kagome (the two main protagonists of the series), although Sakura doesn’t have that hot of a temper like Kagome and it’s way to early to show if there are any signs of future romance between the two.

But for now, “RIN-NE” is a lighthearted manga series that is easily accessible to fans who enjoy ghost/spirit hunting action and that enjoyable Rumiko Takahashi humor and her beautiful illustrations.  Definitely a series worth reading!

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