RIN-NE, Volume 4 – Manga Review

Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp

Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Rumiko Takahashi
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Sunday)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T+ (Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

So no father-son picnic for these two, right?

Whether it’s Inuyasha, Ranma ½ or even Maison Ikkoku, Rumiko Takahashi knows how to keep us interested and invested in her stories and while this is the fourth volume of RIN-NE, the series has certainly kept our interest so far. While we know Rinne has a youthful grandmother, we know very little else about his family … until now.

Volume 4 finds Rinne Rokudo suffering from the flu but not just any kind of flu but rather one that happens to be associated with the Afterlife. Since he didn’t go to school, Sakura Mamiya (as well as Tsubaka Jumonji who now tags along) decides to pay the young man a visit in his low-income apartment. Then a “doctor” from the other side arrives to administer a shot but Sakura and Tsubasa realize that the so-called physician is really a Damashigami in disguise trying to poison Rinne.

Somebody is targeting Rinne and it doesn’t take look for the culprit to show his face. We meet a slightly older man with the same red hair as Rinne who happens to be the President of the Damashigami Company. He is Sabato Rokudo, Rinne’s father who also happens to be a deadbeat dad who left Rinne to live with his grandmother. It’s shocking to Sakura and Tsubasa that Rinne’s dad not only steals money from his own son since he was a child but is determined to transfer all his debts on him. It’s no wonder that Rinne hates the guy.

Unfortunately, Sabato hatches a plan to bring his son over to the afterlife by way of cute Damashigami girls that were attempting to seduce living boys into the afterlife. In order to save them, Rinne crosses over with Rokumon, Sakura and Tsubasa. They all head to the main building of the Damashigami Company where Sabato springs another surprise … he wants Rinne to inherit the company and marry a Damashigami girl. Oh yeah, the company is swimming in debt so it’s a lose-lose situation for him.

Of course, only one person is happy that this is happening to Rinne and that is Tsubasa who wants Rinne out of the way in order to win Sakura’s heart. Meanwhile, Sakura looks into the company itself, searching for clues and trying to figure what made Sabato such is despicable man. As Sabato challenges his son to a battle where if Rinne loses he just accepts to become the company’s president and take a wife. It’s just too bad that the man doesn’t fight fairly and uses a weapon that makes everything it touches disappear.

Thankfully, Sakura discovers the secrets of the company and Rinne and his friends manage to beat Sabato at his own game and somebody steps in to put Sabato in his place. The Damashigami girls, however, won’t accept no for an answer until that somebody that stepped in at the last minute that Rinne is dating Sakura. Now there’s an awkward moment but Rinne notices Sakura’s didn’t exactly protest at the thought of dating him.

With the trouble with Sabato behind them, though, Rinne and his friends discover a Damashigami case involving a mechanical pencil that is said to make a student smart but once a student gets 100 on their test that person mysteriously disappears. As Rinne is about to face the Damashigami responsible, a mysterious girl appears wielding a Shinigami scythe who helps him trash the Damashigami and save the students that were kidnapped by them.

Intrigued by Rinne, this pretty girl named Ageha tracks him down and reveals that she is a Shinigami who wants to rid the world of Damashigami as well as find her sister who disappeared after going on a mission. Rinne decides to help her but not after Sakura finds the two together. Is Sakura actually jealous? Did she get the wrong idea when she just barged into his apartment? These are intriguing possibilities.

Oh, there’s more as the only photo that Ageha has of her sister includes a very familiar-looking boyfriend connected to Rinne. On top of that, Ageha’s sister seems to have been taken with this individual to the point that she now servers him so it is up to Rinne and Ageha to work together to discover why she crossed over to the side of the enemy.

Add RIN-NE as yet another highlight in the career of Rumiko Takahashi as Volume 4 of the series introduces new elements while continuing to be engaging. As it did with the last volume when it introduced Tsubasa to the mix, the series surprises us with a different kind of foe and a girl whose presence is already shaking things up. More importantly, however, RIN-NE is a good read so if you haven’t started reading it you are seriously missing out.

MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
Having caught a nasty flu from the afterlife, Rinne gets a visit from his father who is not only the president of a Damashigami company but is also a deadbeat who is trying to pass his debt on to his own son. On top of that, he hatches a scheme that will have Rinne inherit the company on the verge of collapse. Then, Rinne meets a female Shinigami who is looking for her sister that might be connected to his father.

ART: A+
As I said before, Rumiko Takahashi’s art is completely her own so her style is certainly unique enough to be recognizable right off the bat. The highlight here are the various otherworldly Damashigami that Rin and the others must face.

OVERALL: A
Things are certainly getting more interesting in the world of RIN-NE as we can see from Volume 4 and as we introduce a two characters that add a new and intriguing element to the story. Not only do we get a different kind of villain but also introduced another possible love interest for Rinne. Oh yeah, we definitely cannot wait to see what happens in the next volume.

Review copy provided by VIZ Media

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