Rin-Ne Volume 5

Ageha, a young shinigami girl with a serious grudge against the evil Damashigami Company, searches for her missing sister with Rinne’s help. Ageha is head over heels for Rinne, but he’s got Sakura Mamiya on his mind. And how does Sakura feel about this odd ghost-busting love triangle?

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By: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Supernatural/Romantic Comedy
Price: Free Online ($9.99 print) (Chap 39-48)
Rating: ★★★★☆

It’s all about the relationships in this next volume of Rin-ne,and as is typical of a Takahashi rom/com, it can’t be a simple love triangle. New sides have to be constantly added, and that’s just what happens in this volume, with the addition of Ageha, another Shinigami.

Ageha was introduced at the end of volume 4. She is a rich shinigami who is hunting the Damashigami in place of her sister, who had gone off after the Damashigami, but instead found a boyfriend and disappeared. Ageha is short-tempered and very determined. She will stop at nothing to find the Damashigami company headquarters. She is also rather gullible. She falls for all of the Damashigami tricks and traps. So it’s no surprise she doesn’t realize who Sabato’s secretary is. The mask shouldn’t fool anyone.

Rin-ne comes to her aid against the Damashigami, so of course, she has to start having feeling for him. This sets up the focus of the rest of the volume as all of the stories feature either a ghost with unresolved feelings or one of the main characters trying to get with another. Ageha tries to get together with Rin-ne, but he wants to be with Sakura, so he spends a good portion of the volume trying to explain to her that nothing is going on between them, despite how it looks every time she arrives, while Jumonji tries to get together with Sakura.

Sakura, who seems to the pivot of the love polygon that’s forming, doesn’t seem interested in a relationship with anyone. She definitely wants to be friends with Rin-ne, and keep helping him with his Shinigami duties. She does notice Ageha’s interest in Rin-ne, but it’s hard to tell if it really bothers her. This is an unusual turn for a Takahashi manga. Usually the leads have feeling for each other, and one or both won’t admit it. Here, Rin-ne definitely likes Sakura, but she doesn’t seem to feel the same, inwardly or out. It’s a nice change of pace.

The stories feature more disembodied spirits than ghosts, but they still have unresolved issues that need to be resolved. I liked the chapter with the Tosa dog spirit guarding a book in the library. Ageha actually helps out in this story, instead of causing the trouble. There is also a glimpse into Sakura’s past, as she goes back to her elementary school with Jumonji. Apparently she used to be really good with a yo-yo.

While I enjoyed most of the volume, something became very noticeable, to the point of distraction, that I don’t recall from the earlier volumes. Word bubbles were constantly popping up to explain things that by the fifth volume of the series, shouldn’t need explaining, such as the uses of Rin-ne’s Haori of the Underworld. It’s been used enough times that there shouldn’t be a need to have it constantly explained, even in the same volume! It started to really get annoying by the end of the volume.

Rin-ne is still not a must read, but it has improved from the first volumes. Rin-ne being in debt was barely mentioned, though his enthusiasm to take out a Damashigami with a million yen bounty was amusing. The changes in the way Takahashi handles relationships was what made it most interesting to me. I’m curious now to see where Takahashi will take it from here.

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