Kyoukai no RINNE Review (Final Thoughts)

境界のRINNE Review (Final Thoughts)
Kyoukai no RINNE Review

***SPOILERS***

Kyoukai no RINNE - 01I’ve been a longtime follower of the major works of Takahashi-sensei, titles like Maison Ikkoku, Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, and Inuyasha. Urusei Yatsura was purely an anime-only affair for me (I keep saying I need to read the manga some day). For Ranma 1/2, I read some of the manga, but saw all of the anime. For Maison Ikkoku and Inuyasha, I read both series in their entirety, then watch all of the anime. With Inuyasha, I had grown bored and weary of Takahashi-sensei’s works, but when RIN-NE came out as a manga, I did get the first nine volumes from Viz before growing weary of it. Despite my weariness, I took a chance on watching the RINNE anime. That ended up being a good choice.

Kyoukai no RINNE - 21For those who don’t know, Kyoukai no RINNE is the story of a part human, part shinigami teen male named Rinne, who’s living on his own and barely making ends meet while paying off the massive debt put on him by his despicable father, Sabato. His classmate Sakura can see the supernatural, thanks to an incident as a child when she met Rinne’s grandmother, and as such often accompanies Rinne on his exorcism jobs. Tsubasa is a transfer student who can also see the supernatural and is a Christian (though the anime downplays this) exorcist who is in love with Sakura after briefly attending elementary school with her. There’s Ageha, the pure, shinigami ojousama who falls in love with Rinne and who’s older sister is connected to Rinne’s father. Then there’s Rokumon, the black cat shinigami assistant to Rinne.

Kyoukai no RINNE - 12Long time readers of my blog (or other reviews) know that I’m usually a big stickler for an anime adaptation following the source manga and not try to go off on their own. I can point to quite a number of anime titles that aren’t as good, or are totally unwatchable when compared to their original manga source material — Love Hina (inferior to the manga), Negima (terrible to the manga), Fruits Basket (good anime, but the ending kills it, more so when you’ve read the manga), etc. So when an anime goes well off from the source material, I usually go off the deep end because the result sucks. Kyoukai no RINNE goes way off the source manga, but this is one of those rare exceptions where the anime is superior to the manga.

Kyoukai no RINNE - 01The RIN-NE manga (as Viz calls it) started off fairly fun, then became wearisome to me thanks to its random plodding from adventure to adventure. Takahashi-sensei usually opts to bring in new characters to add to the conflict rotation list rather than have characters actually develop and grow. This also added to the tiresomeness of the manga. Brain’s Base, the production team in charge of the RINNE anime, correctly deduced that following the manga’s plodding, meaningless path would not make for good storytelling, so after the introduction story for Rinne and Sakura, Brain’s base reorganizes things, trashing the stupid stories and taking what’s left to make something pretty nice.

Kyoukai no RINNE - 04The flow of Kyoukai no RINNE works pretty well for the most part, which is more impressive when you consider that they literally took chapters from all over the manga and placed them in a completely new order. By doing this, stories no longer feel random, but instead progress one to another. That’s not to say that all of the episodes are linked, but there is a natural feel to how things progress. Characters do have a feeling of growth in the anime, unlike in the manga, though the anime is somewhat limited by the constraints of the manga. Still, I applaud Brain’s Base for doing the best they could, considering the circumstances.

Kyoukai no RINNE - 09Another thing Brain’s Base did is improve on the comedy aspects of the RIN-NE manga. While some things in the manga made me laugh, other things that I knew were supposed to make me laugh didn’t. When animated, Brain’s Base made these flat jokes from the manga turn into something actually funny or at the very least, amusing. Things I found funny from the manga, I actually found funnier in the anime. I think it was the improvement in the comedy aspects of the manga for the anime that really won me over. It let me know that Brain’s Base was dedicated to finding those rough gems and making them something special.

Kyoukai no RINNE - 24One of the things I dreaded while watching Kyoukai no RINNE was the introduction of Rinne’s father, Sabato. Sabato continues the long line of despicable fathers/grandfathers in Takahashi-sensei’s various manga titles, only I think he’s the absolute worst. His character is supposed to be funny, but is so heinous, I never laughed. All I wanted to do was club the character like a baby seal (if you’ll pardon the expression). Brian’s Base deftly handles the character, still making Sabato detestable, but tolerable. Indeed, they have an episode (which did originate from the manga), where they caused Sabato to get his comeuppance, which was much more satisfying than the manga.

Kyoukai no RINNE - 04In the end, Kyoukai no RINNE ends up being a superior title to its source manga, due to the fact that Brain’s Base able to take the lackluster efforts of Takahashi-sensei and turn them into something that han very good humor at times, characters that were better than they were in the source manga, and stories that while mostly based from the manga, were rearranged in such a way so as to make the anime series flow in a more natural way and make the characters feel as though they are actually growing. With all of this, I can highly recommend this anime series for those looking for something fun. I look forward to seeing the sequel series when it arrives.

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10 Responses to “Kyoukai no RINNE Review (Final Thoughts)”

  1. arimareiji says:

    Dadgummit. Your reviews have me interested… but if I watch this, I won’t be able to use one of my favorite expressions any more: “I can count on my thumbs* the number of anime I’ve seen that significantly deviated from the manga and came out better for it.”

    Maybe it’ll still count if I never read the manga and can’t attest to it myself? (^_~)

    * – We disagree on one: After rewatching the first Negima’s ending several times and noticing more and more nuances, I’ve come to love it. The other would be the ending of Kashimashi (minus the godawful OVA).

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Maybe it’ll still count if I never read the manga and can’t attest to it myself? (^_~)

      That’s what I’d opt for. I didn’t count Planetes until I actually read it. 🙂

      As for Negima, I’ll take your word on that. I was so angered by the changed from the manga’s story, I’ve never watched it again.

  2. Alliriyan says:

    ‘part human, party shinigami’

    How’s that for some inspiration 😀

  3. You know I actually agree with your review spot on. With RINNE be the newest in a long line of Takahashi series I thought the anime was going to suffer “Takahashi-lag” after Inuyasha was dragged out. While the anime was never a high priority series for me it was a nice watch with fun characterization. It always amazes me that Takahashi is extremely lucky when it comes to the anime staff of pretty much all her shows:

    Urusei Yatsura: All the staff went on to be the backbone for most known anime of the 80’s and 90’s. It pretty much also pioneered 80’s anime look and feel.

    Maison Ikkoku: Same as UY, plus it’s the easiest series to introduce adult fans to.

    Ranma 1/2: Worst manga to anime transistion but was an early pioneer in building the Western anime fandom. One of the earliest “good dubs” (subjective but most stable long-running pre-Cowboy Bebop dub). Went on to define Atsuko Nakajima’s career. 1st Season, Movies, and OAVs are the strongest parts of the anime.

    Inuyasha: Broke away from the Kitty-trinity by being animated by Sunrise. Improved on many of Ranma’s flaws (stronger characterization, consistent animation, more realized character arcs). Thankfully it went on hiatus just when the manga was beginning to drag and the Final Act improved upon that pacing by abridging the last 20 or so volumes of the manga.

    Also side commentary on Fruits Baskets. I felt for the material the anime people had to work with they did an excellent job. Yes, there was that glaring “misunderstanding” in regards to a character’s gender but the anime-original ending seemed like a natural closure point for that aspect of the series. I loved the manga continuing the character building for a more deserved ending but it didn’t make me feel short changed by the anime ending.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thankfully it went on hiatus just when the manga was beginning to drag and the Final Act improved upon that pacing by abridging the last 20 or so volumes of the manga.

      Although there were a few things I seem to recall wishing hadn’t been cut from the anime, but yeah, they certainly cut out a lot of the “lather, rinse, repeat” stuff.

      Also side commentary on Fruits Baskets. I felt for the material the anime people had to work with they did an excellent job. Yes, there was that glaring “misunderstanding” in regards to a character’s gender but the anime-original ending seemed like a natural closure point for that aspect of the series.

      Yeah, but it was this stuff that apparently angered Takaya-sensei. When I saw the anime, I loved it. When I read the manga, the end of the anime just became unwatchable. It made me question why the anime production team did what they did and I even wrote a piece about why there would never be a Fruits Basket 2 anime.

      Speaking of Fruits Basket, are you aware of the manga sequel, Fruits Basket Another?

      • Tim says:

        If I remember correctly, the Fruits Baskets anime ran into the same problem the first Full Metal Alchemist did. It ran out of material to animate (i.e. ‘caught up to the manga’) and ended up having to come with it’s own ending. Though that brings up the question why they didn’t just go on hiatus until the manga had a lead again. My guess it’s probably because FB isn’t as popular as the Shonen Jump titles that could have guaranteed a second season. Better to cut their loses and come with their own ending.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          With Fruits Basket, it is a bit more complicated. Takaya-sensei was not happy about the changes made to the story. I wrote a piece about it years ago, but in short, the director Daichi removed a very important plot element from the anime — the hat story. We’d seen it from Tohru’s perspective in volume 2 of the manga, but it wasn’t included in the anime (and the hat wasn’t there at all). I’m told that Takaya-sensei was really ticked off about this (and to the changes to Akito) and thus she refused to allow a sequel to be made. Indeed, she’s not allowed any of her other manga works to get anime adaptations (at least, not that I’m aware of).

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