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
Is this the beginning of a shinigami love triangle?
Rumiko Takahashi is one of those few manga-ka that quickly either wins you over with her powerful storytelling or her enchanting cast of characters she creates. Already at five volumes, the RIN-NE series is turning out to be a fun series to follow although not quite as brilliant as Inuyasha or Ranma ½. In Volume 5 of RIN-NE, the volume doesn’t take us through a real main story but there’s still some shinigami fun to be had anyway.
Picking up after the fourth volume, Rinne and his friends (that now include the cute shinigami named Ageha) encounter the “hot secretary” who works for the Damashigami Company that is run by Rinne’s no good father, Sabato Rokudo. In their scuffle with the girl, her mask is cracked and her identity is finally revealed … although it isn’t much of a surprise, really. The bigger revelation, however, is the one Ageha makes regarding Rinne and Sabato’s obvious connection and the result changes things between them but only momentarily.
As Sabato and his hot secretary take off, Ageha chases them both into the Spirit Way but Sabato manages to trick her into following the wrong path. Thankfully, Ageha has Rinne and his friends tagging along to get the girl out of trouble and she manages to do exactly that by comically falling for every trap along the way. To Rinne’s surprise, the girl easily pays off each damashigami’s outrageous fees and thus making it clear that Ageha must be rich is she’s willing to pay her way out of trouble.
Rinne does save her from getting killed in the Spirit Way, however, and this makes Ageha see the young shinigami in a different light. In fact, it’s very clear that she is falling for him and both Sakura Mamiya and Tsubasa Jumonji notice it as well. Of course, Rinne doesn’t want Sakura to get the wrong impression but his relationship with Ageha but – every time he tries to explain that nothing is going on – Sakura keeps catching them in awkward moments.
Of course, the only one happy that Ageha is definitely into Rinne is Tsubasa who is still deeply in love with Sakura. He is the one that encourages Ageha to give the penniless Rinne a bento. Since she was meaning to thank him for saving her life, Ageha goes all-out and makes him a big lunch in an extravagant Jubako box. Little does Ageha know that the Jubako box itself contains an evil spirit that grants three wishes at the cost of the person’s soul … thus the name Soul Eater.
Not knowing this, Rinne wishes he could talk to Sakura alone about the recent string of misunderstandings as the evil spirit within the Jubako box takes the form of an octopus-shaped wiener that wants Rinne to complete the rest of his wishes in order to eat his soul. While not the strongest story in this volume, it does go to show that now Rinne has somebody looking to win his heart.
The rest of the volume is dedicated to unrelated cases that Rinne, Sakura and Tsubasa take on as part of Rinne’s shinigami duties. In one case, Sakura finds out that a section of bookshelves in the school library might be haunted because something is keeping them from the books within the shelves. Rinne and Tsubasa look into the matter but, not far from the school, Ageha meets the wandering spirit of a young girl who is still obsessing over the fact that she couldn’t confess her love to the boy she liked. Working together with Ageha, the group finds a connection between the ghost girl and the spectral figure of a dog that is guarding the bookshelves.
In another story, Sakura and Rinne look into a case involving the freshman star of the track team and the team’s senior captain who happened to have been injured before the younger track runner started experiencing a strange presence on the track that is holding him down. Could it be an evil spirit or something else? As they investigate, they make some interesting discoveries.
Then, in the final chapter, Tsubasa invites Sakura to accompany him to their old Junior high school to dig up a power stone that Tsubasa buried near a haunted cedar tree. Happy to get Sakura all to himself, their outing turns dangerous when they encounter the spirit of a young boy using a yoyo to attack them. Interestingly enough, Sakura recognizes the boy as somebody connected to her past.
While reverting back to solving the usual assortment of supernatural-themed cases, Volume 5 of RIN-NE is still a fun read anyway you slice it. We love the story arc that introduced us to Ageha in the first place since it didn’t just have the cast of characters back to solving a variety of supernatural mysteries. Still, these chapters add some solid moments worth visiting.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
As they finally face the Hot Secretary who happens to be working for Rinne’s deadbeat father, Ageha and the others are revealed her true identity. While she plans to distance herself from Rinne, Ageha finds herself being drawn in by him and becoming jealous of Sakura. Meanwhile, Rinne and Sakura look into the case of a young track team star, a cursed Jubako box and the case of a haunted section of the school library. Then Tsubasa takes Sakura to their old school where they discover a lost soul.
Rumiko Takahashi’s signature art style makes all her titles look good and RIN-NE is no exception. You just have to love her character designs, most especially when it comes to the supernaturally themed ones.
Volume 5 of RIN-NE has its finer moments despite straying from an actual continuing storyline and – thanks to the characters – you’ll still have a blast reading this particular volume. The addition of Ageha adds to the fun in ways that Tsubasa should have as the series continues to be very entertaining either way.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media