Monday, August 30, 2010

Manga Monday: A classic manga author plays with Death.

Rumiko Takahashi is a name that’s almost forgotten among anime fans in the US.  A few of the fans that started watching in the last five years followed Inu Yasha, but they probably never watched old VHS tapes of Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura, or Maison Ikkoku.  Older anime and manga fans know the name, and know the consistent quality that she produces.

Rin-ne is the story of a half-shinigami (a death deity), half human who is trying to pay back the debt of his grandmother by helping to bring ghosts over to the Wheel of Reincarnation.  Of course, since it’s a Rumiko Takahashi story, it’s not nearly as dark as it sounds.

This GN also stars Sakura Mamiya, a girl who disappeared for a week when she was a little girl.  She doesn’t quite remember what happened, but she recognizes the Wheel of Reincarnation when she sees it later.

Oh, and she can see ghosts.  And Rinne.  Who sits next to her at her new high school.

The story runs along quickly, just as any other Rumiko Takahashi story does.  Rinne resents having to work to make up the debt of his grandmother, so he refuses to live with her, or take any help from her.  Ever since his father died, he’s been living on school grounds, making do as he can.  So he has no problem asking the people at the school for convenience food and pocket change to make the ghosts in their lives go away.

Rin-ne moves a bit more slowly than Takahashi’s other, more popular works, but it’s rather appreciated in the world of Death Note and Naruto.  Older manga and anime fans will certainly appreciate it, and the newer fans might find  an author that they never really knew existed.

Highs:  The interaction between Sakura and Rinne, which is innocent and very amusing

Lows:  The pacing will be very slow to readers of most contemporary manga

Verdict:  A great start, which leaves a lot of room to grow

Further Reading:  Maison Ikkoku, Honey and Clover

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