Rumiko Takahashi is a big name in manga – creator of the immensely popular Ranma 1/2 and InuYasha, she knows what it takes to write an enjoyable story. Arguably one of the most influential manga writers still writing today, she is the one manga-ka who could pull off the feat that is Rin-Ne.
By: Rumiko Takahashi
Publisher: Viz Media – Shonen Sunday
Age Rating: Older Teen
Rin-Ne is a bit of an odd case. When it first debuted in Japan, it also debuted in the United States (except, instead of being in a weekly anthology in the US, it debuted online at www.therumicworld.com. Chapters of the manga were released concurrently, translated and available on both sides of the Pacific at the same time. Rin-Ne is a grand manga experiment, and it’s still running on Rumic World.
Rin-Ne focuses on a girl named Sakura Mamiya, who was “spirited away” to the spirit world when she was little, and can now see ghosts as a result. It leads to her having some pretty unusual experiences. Imagine her surprise when she runs into a shinigami trying to send spirits to the wheel of reincarnation, and then later, finds out that is in her class at school. His name is Rinne Rokudo, and this odd, yen-pinching shinigami and our plucky heroine seem linked by some sort of fate.
What Takahashi constructs from this fated meeting turns out to be less of an action/battle manga, and more of a situation character comedy. This is probably a happy change for her, since InuYasha, which just finished serialization here in the USA, ran for 12 years! Still, it has all the requisite action to keep the shonen crowd interested in it.
More interestingly, the series has a subtle dark tone to it that gives it a bit of depth. But as I read through the first volume, my thoughts drifted to InuYasha. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been reading the series for so long, or if her characters in Rin-Ne are very similar to characters she just finished writing.
As a comic, it’s funny, generally fun to read, and what I would consider a great piece for Rumiko fans. What it hasn’t really cleared up yet is if the series will diverge from InuYasha and become something of its own entity. The first volume definitely has me wanting more, but I want more Rin-Ne. Let InuYasha rest in peace.