Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Rumiko Takahashi
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Sunday)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
Love is in the air and exorcisms will never be the same again.
If you’ve read our reviews of past Rumiko Takahashi titles, you know we have a sort of fanatical love for the manga-ka who gave life to Inuyasha among so many other favorites that make up her extraordinary career. We add one more to our list of favorites as VIZ Media brings us the RIN-NE series about a young exorcist juggling school, poverty and his wandering spirits looking to move on. In Volume 3, our young friend discovers that he’s not the only exorcist in town.
In the first two volumes of the series, we met Rinne Rokudo who, on top of being a penniless High school student, also happens to be an exorcist that helps ease spirits into reincarnation (thanks to his Wheel of Reincarnation) or eternal rest. You see, Rinne also happens to be a human Shinigami,a sort of Death God, but the mystery of his true nature is still yet to be truly revealed. Along with fellow classmate, the attractive Sakura Mamiya (who was able to see spirits since early childhood), they’ve been exorcising spirits together.
Then again, as we can see from Volume 3, this is about to change with the entrance of a young exorcist who tosses scared ashes at Rinne and a friendly spirit that the Rinne is trying to exorcise peacefully. Surprisingly enough, the same young exorcist shows up at class as a new transfer student named Tsubasa Jumonji but even more surprising is the fact that he knows Sakura. In fact, he claims he has fallen in love with her since grade school where they met during a school field trip. Seeing as Sakura can see and communicate with the dead, Tsubasa sees them as a perfect match so he bluntly asks her out.
Rinne, on the other hand, doesn’t find Tsubasa all that likeable. On top of the fact that he confused him as a spirit, Tsubasa’s unfriendly approach at putting a spirit to rest annoys Rinne. You see, the friendly spirit cannot pass on because he died before he could even muster the courage to ask a classmate out on a date. Luckily, said classmate is a friend of Sakura and they set up a double date only Sakura is talked into going on the date with Tsubasa.
Interestingly enough, Rinne seems a tad miffed by Sakura and Tsubasa’s “date” and decides to ask out a classmate so he could watch over the spirit … or perhaps even Sakura. While he says he’s not interested in dating or Sakura, the cute black cat, Rokumon, thinks differently. Even Sakura sees that Rinne isn’t comfortable with having Tsubasa around but at least the date worked out and the spirit of the young student finds peace.
In another supernatural case, Rinne finds out that there’s a huge reward for the cleansing of a most unusual-looking evil spirit. Deciding to take the case, Rinne also makes another discovery, a spirit has been going nuts in the school halls and bathrooms leaving handprints everywhere. It seems that the legendary ghost called Hanako of the Toilet is angry and that anger is directed at Tsubasa who tried to exorcise her and failed. Now, she has found an ally in the giant evil spirit that Rinne is trying to cleanse for the reward money. Things get very interesting as Rinne reveals a bit more about his Shinigami side.
After that, a spirit makes his appearance during the school festival and turns his attention of one of Sakura’s classmates. When other girls start disappearing, however, Rinne and Tsubasa start looking into what may be going on until they meet another spirit with a pumpkin for a head. It seems that this mystery pretty boy stole the pumpkin head’s face to lure girls into a dimension that is the crossroads between the living world and the realm of the dead. In order to face off against the culprit, Rinne goes as far as disguising himself and setting a foolproof plan to reach this other dimension. This is one of the funniest chapters in this volume that you just have to see for yourself.
In the final chapter, a faceless female entity is haunting the art club and asking the boys in the club to draw her. However, dissatisfied when the art students aren’t able to draw her face, she slaps a coat a paint on them. Looking into the case, Rinne, Sakura and Tsubasa try to unravel the mystery behind the entity and its connection to the art club’s president.
Once again, Rumiko Takahashi does not fail to grab her reader’s attention from the very start and doesn’t let it go until the final page. You can count RIN-NE as yet another brilliant piece of work as we can see from Volume 3 and you can bet we will be following this one very closely. If you’re looking for yet another Takahashi manga title filled with her brand of amazing storytelling, charming art and genuinely likeable humor, give this series a try.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
There’s a new transfer student and his name is Tsubasa Jumonji who just happens to have known Sakura a long time ago. As it turns out, though, Tsubasa is an exorcist with a less than graceful style performing exorcisms and quickly gets under the skin of Rinne who suddenly finds himself wondering if he might have some feeling for Sakura. Watching these two butt heads while trying to help a few spirits who keep showing up at the school.
Rumiko Takahashi’s art has always been reliably charming, nicely detailed and original and it no different when it comes to RIN-NE. It’s no wonder we love her work so much.
Volume 3 of RIN-NE introduces a new character and rival in the life of the Shinigami named Rinne and thus complicates things in the best way possible. Love seems to be the theme of this volume as some characters – both the living and the dead – try to make sense of their feelings.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media