I don’t know if Kyoukai no Rinne is just growing on me, of if the anime is better than the manga. Either way I find myself not just enjoying this series more week upon week, but rather more than I expected to enjoy it based on my recollections of the manga. If there was any series this season I wasn’t expecting to surprise me either way, it was this one – but so far, it’s definitely overperforming.
As I mentioned last week, Rinne is definitely more humorous in tone than Inuyasha (maybe closer to Ranma 1/2, but that still isn’t quite right). But somehow I didn’t remember it being this funny. The second ep was very amusing, and there were several moments in this one that prompted serious laughs from me. It starts out with the whole “Mitai” (“sort of”) thing with Rinne’s Shinigamai/Human status and just builds from there.
What makes that gag work – and indeed, what drives much of the humor in this series – is how totally deadpan Sakura is no matter what weird shit happens with Rinne. Rumiko throws all kinds of silliness like Rinne’s grandfather being reincarnated as a mackerel in there, and Sakura just takes it in stride. And then there’s Rinne’s earnest devotion to money – his reaction when a fearsome spirit is vanquished is “I saved ¥500!” (because he didn’t have to spring for a Shinigami tool).
The one who vanquished that overpowered rat spirit is Rokumon (Nabatane Hiromi). And the reason Rinne would have needed a tool is because he’s only 1/4 Shinigami – Tamako fell in love with Rinne’s grandfather on his deathbed and finagled a 50-year life extension for him so they could marry. Sadly, she agreed not just to do 10X the normal workload, but to pass the debt onto her grandchildren if she didn’t meet the quota (which she naturally didn’t). And because the old man has finally died and now swims the deep, Rinne is left busting his ass to do a job he’s underqualified to do.
As for Rokumon, he’s a black-cat contractor that’s just been fired by Tamako. And a cute little fellow he is, too, though quite the scamp. Another of the ep’s comic highlights comes when Rinne refuses to sign a contract hiring Rokumon, and Rokuman tries to forge Rinn’e thumbprint. Rokumon is fun, and adds a nice element of energy and zaniness to the generally droll comic style. I like the little comic touches, too, like Rokomon catching and eating a bug while Rinne and Sakura talk, and the face he makes after taking a bite of roll cake. All in all things are shaping up rather nicely here, and if you’d been giving this one a pass, you may just want to give it a look – it’s exceeding my expectations by a comfortable margin.