Kyoukai no Rinne – 23

Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -7 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -29 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -30

Sometimes it takes a little spirit possession to let our true natures show themselves.

A funny thing happened in the world of Kyoukai no Rinne this week.  Weekly Shounen Sunday announced that Rinne will have an “important announcement” in the next issue (yes, an announcement of an announcement – a regular occurrence in Japan).  As always one needs to step back and take these things in context.  The series was a dismal seller on disc (a DVD only release) but surely wasn’t expected to sell.  It’s also an NHK show, and multi-season NHK series are very common.  It could be Rumiko announcing she’s ending the series too, though – given her age and the manga’s good-not-great sales, that’s possible.  For now all we can do is wait and hope.

In the meantime we get an episode focused on Tsubasa, which of course means a chance for Kimura Ryouhei to shine.  This is the second time we’ve seen Tsubasa-kun engage in some pretty dodgy behavior under the pretense of being cursed/possessed, which I think has to make you wonder if it’s not more of a case of the inhibitions being lowered than anything.  I’ve long suspected that there’s a real darkness in Tsubasa’s soul, and episodes like this one don’t do anything to convince me otherwise.

The possessing culprit is a Kyuubikitsune (nine-tailed fox), one of the most legendary youkai of the Shinto pantheon and a manga/anime staple.  This one was sent to the spirit cleaning room by Grandma Tamako a century ago, and it’s back for revenge against her progeny.  This gives the series a chance to engage a hilarious sight gag around spirit cleansing rooms down through the ages, and Kain a chance to not act like a total douchebag for once – he shows up to warn Rinne-kun that the kitsune might be coming for him (though his eagerness not to be at the heart of another scandal is his main motivation).

Meanwhile, Tsubasa has come down with an anime cold, and used that as an excuse to lure Mamiya Sakura to his palatial house to care for him.  Sadly for him she tells Rinne, and he and Kain show up and generally act like ants at a picnic.  It’s a delicious turnabout is fair play scenario for Rinne to ruin Tsubasa’s alone time with Mamiya Sakura (he even eats her delicious get-well Okayu rice porridge) but Tusabsa jumps at the chance to exact his revenge when the fox youkai (Miyata Kouki) possesses him.  -con.

So what’s really going on here?  All I know is that the Kyuubikitsune’s “-con” (which Rokumon calls a “dumb speech pattern”) seems to come and go at will, even as Tsubasa takes his potshots at Rinne (and Kain).  The synergy of Tsubasa and the fox makes a far stronger opponent than either would be alone – especially when Tsubasa unleashes his power sprites (remember them?) which bitch-slap the enemy and score +2 damage because of the annoyance factor.  Tsubasa-con even proves resistant to the spirit separation fogger-in-a-can (not effective against cockroaches, either) but for once Kain saves the day, retreating into the Reidou and fetching a washbasin that’s a portal to the spirit cleansing room (which apparently works this time).

The kitsune may have finally gone on to the afterlife (I felt more sorry for him than anything, so that’s good) but that beatific smile and gleaming skin on Tsubasa isn’t fooling me one bit.  And from the looks of things not Mamiya Sakura either (though that’s pretty much a given with Mamiya Sakura).  Tsubasa is so totally out of the game that’s it’s almost possible to feel sorry for him in spite of his nasty streak – he really believes he has a chance in hell.  It would almost be kinder for Mamiya Sakura to confess to Rinne already and put Tsubasa out of his misery – but I don’t think we’ll be seeing that anytime soon.  But hopefully, next season…

Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -8 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -9 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -10
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -11 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -12 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -13
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -14 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -15 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -16
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -17 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -18 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -19
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -20 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -21 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -22
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -23 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -24 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -25
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -26 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -27 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -28
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -31 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -32 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -33
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -34 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -35 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -36
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -37 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -38 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -39
Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -40 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -41 Kyoukai no Rinne - 23 -42
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4 comments

  1. m

    I've forgotten how mean-spirited Rumiko's rival characters can get, often openly plotting the protagonists' deaths. Though usually, the protagonists give as good as they get.

    I'm like you: I read the manga with minimal interest, but found myself getting sucked into the anime. Fingers crossed that "important announcement" is a sequel…

  2. w

    I love this show's running gags.
    -The other students only ever seem to spot Tsubasa interacting with spirits. (Rinne is invisible when he fights spirits and Sakura is smart enough to just sit there and watch whenever anything happens.) So Tsubasa is the only one who gets a reputation for being possibly schizophrenic.
    -Sakura's friends run away waving their arms and screaming every time anything even slightly odd happens. This conveniently removes them from the conflict, but how many times have they abandoned Sakura to save themselves?
    -I can't shake the feeling that, for all his selflessness, Rinne intentionally trolls Tsubasa (kind of like how he did Masato when they were kids) by mooching meals off him and preventing the exorcist from ever having any alone time with Sakura…

  3. l

    As a character Tsubasa does seem to come from the same mold that Ryouga and Kouga came from. His true feelings for Rinne do seem to come out when he is cursing him or using the fox to attack . I agree with you that Rinne does seem to treating him in the same manner that Ranma treats Ryouga. It is amazing that Akane, Kagome and Sakura put up with this squabbling over her.
    Re important announcement A year ago we had a similar "very important announcement which turned out to be anime

  4. N

    This show has taken the art of the running gag to new heights, to the point where this entire episode is a retelling of the previous Tsubasa episode. And yet, it works.

    It hasn't been mentioned, so I'd like to point out that the nine tailed fox, the replacement technique and the shadow-double technique are all hilarious references to Naruto. And hey, who was that guest seiyuu that appeared on that other episode that was basically the same as this one?

    such a fine touch, absolutely genius.

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