RIN-NE Manga Volume 01 Review

境界のRINNE/Kyōkai no RINNE
RIN-NE Manga Volume 01 Review

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I’ve read only two of Takahashi-sensei’s manga titles completely through — Maison Ikkoku and Inuyasha. I’ve read parts of Ranma 1/2 and I’ve never read any of Urusei Yatsura nor any of her smaller manga titles. So after Inuyasha completed and RINNE was announced to not only be started by Takahashi-sensei in Japan but also to be published online in English by Viz as the chapters came out in Japan, I thought I’d give this a try. I liked what I saw enough to buy the first volume.

*SPOILERS!*

RIN-NE Manga Volume 01Takahashi-sensei has no trouble getting a manga title off, in my opinion. Her start here is no different. We have the character of MAMIYA Sakura, a high school student who can see ghosts and other supernatural things thanks to an incident in her childhood. Sakura is similar to other lead females from Takahashi-sensei, though I’d say that Sakura is closest to Kyouko from Maison Ikkoku. She’s rather level-headed, patient, and takes things in stride. So when the ghost boy is always ready to walk her home, she just goes through him. When the giant ghost dog appears in her class and eats Rinne (whom no one else can see), she’s amazed by the sight but otherwise unfazed.

ROKUDO Rinne is the male lead of the series and he too follows the traditions of previous male leads of Takahashi-sensei. Like Inuyasha, Rinne isn’t completely human but instead of being half-youkai, he’s part shinigami. As such, he has to use small offerings to do the work of a shinigami, which he does to pay off his grandmother’s debt after she was granted permission to marry a human and extend his life for 50-years. As Rinne is poor, he survives by living in an abandoned building on the high school campus and eating the food offerings left in the weather hutch at school. He also makes fake roses to sell.

The premise of the manga has Sakura meeting Rinne’s grandmother Tamako in the land of the dead as a young child. Tamako takes Sakura back to Earth but because Sakura ate something in the land of the dead, she can see ghosts, youkai, and other supernatural things. Because of this, she’s able to see Rinne, even when he’s wearing his Haori of the Underworld, which makes him invisible. When Rinne realizes that Sakura can see him as he tries to get a ghost chihuahua to move on to the afterlife, he ends up helping her with the ghost teen male who has a crush on Sakura.

After sending another ghost student to the afterlife (he couldn’t leave because he was attached to his special gym uniform), Sakura gets to meet Rinne’s grandmother Tamako for the second time and even tag along on a trip to the land of the dead, where she almost dies after nearly getting on the Wheel of Reincarnation. She ends up being saved by Rinne and eventually remembers being in this place as a child.

Returning to Earth, Rinne tells the story of his grandmother to Sakura and why he’s having to work as a shinigami. After Sakura and her friends encounter a bakeneko, Sakura saves a kitten which turns out to be a supernatural cat named Rokumon, who worked for Tamako and now aides Rinne. Rokumon is very much like Shippou from Inuyasha, only a different species. However, at this early stage of the manga, Takahashi-sensei is giving Rokumon a more meaningful role than Shippou ever had.

The manga concludes with Rinne and Sakura becoming involved with an ochimusha haunting a 2nd-year girl in their school. Whenever Kaori falls asleep, the ochimusha visits her and she sees him in her dreams. It turns out that this wounded ghost soldier sees Kaori as the reincarnation of the hime he once served and loved. Rinne sees this as a complication to sending the soldier to the afterlife.

So in this first volume, Takahashi-sensei has set things up rather nicely. I like that Sakura is so down-to-earth and the adventures thus far have been interesting and entertaining.

As to Viz, they’ve finally done something I’ve long called for — the inclusion of translator notes. It is only one page but hey, at least they have them. Viz also is using full honorifics, though they do have Rokumon address Sakura as “Lady Sakura” sometimes and “Sakura-sama” other times. I’m not sure why “Lady” was used at all.

Viz is also making use of Japanese supernatural terms, which I fully approve of. Not having seen the raws for this series, I can’t be sure what “evil spirit” was in the original Japanese. I suppose it could be “youkai” since Takahashi-sensei is fond of using them, but it could be something else as well. I wish the Japanese term had been used here as well but oh well.

As I mentioned earlier, Viz started out by publishing this series online. Unfortunately, as they publish a volume of manga, they pull all but a chapter or two from the series off the website. I realize this is an attempt to try to force people to buy the manga, but I personally think they should leave them up. After all, had I not read volume 1 from the website when it was still posted, I wouldn’t have purchased this volume of the manga.

Because the first volume entertained me, I’ve decided to press ahead and get volume 2 as well. I can’t say there’s anything special about RIN-NE, but as long as it entertains, it will be worth a buy.

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10 Responses to “RIN-NE Manga Volume 01 Review”

  1. I love Kyuokai no Rinne, and I hope it’ ll be licensed soon in Spain, but…

    Why is the English cover so different from the Japanese one?

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I don’t know why the cover is different. I didn’t even know it was so different until you mentioned it. I suppose Viz thought the original Japanese art wasn’t snazzy enough.

    For volume 2, the cover art is the same though.

  3. ku_fei lover says:

    this is in english already?

    grr….I need to look for a place that has this translated…only read chap 1

  4. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Viz has volume 3 and 4 online. I don’t think that volume 1 or volume 2 are going to be online though since Viz cut off scanlators and now have removed volume 1 (sans the first two chapters) and volume 2 (sans 1 chapter) from their own site.

  5. BlackSun88 says:

    glad that u enjoyed this series. as takashi rumiko fans, i really enjoyed this series too. however, as i read it in chinese, i dont have much problem like u (the nature of similarity between both language?)

  6. jedko says:

    Adds to the *will check out* list.

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @BlackSun — I’ve read volume 2 now. I haven’t blogged it yet, though I’m going to try in a few days.

    @jedko — yeah, it’s fun so far. ^_^

  8. O-chan says:

    I’ve read most of the stuff covered in the first two volumes but have since then trailed off. One of the downsides to having a lot of manga and anime free online is it’s so easy to lose track jumping from series to series. I’ll probably catch up after I get Volume 2.

  9. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I haven’t read volume 3 or 4 even though they are online. At this point, I figure I’ll wait for the actual volumes to come out in print.

  10. […] recall wondering why in the first volume of the RIN-NE manga, Rokumon sometimes called Sakura “Lady Sakura” and sometimes […]

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