In case you haven’t heard, the “major announcement” for Kyoukai no Rinne turned out to be what most of us were hoping it would – a second season. That will premiere in Spring of 2016 with the same main staff and a bunch of new manga characters. It’s great news given how criminally underrated this series is, and a reminder of how NHK shows don’t rely on the same metrics for success that most other anime do.
To celebrate, we get a ramen episode – certainly not the first in recent anime history (Space Dandy comes to mind) but always welcome if you love ramen as much as I do (which Tsubasa apparently does). Ramen has indeed experiences a huge boom in Japan in recent years, and in parts of America too, and it’s easy to see why – it’s usually cheap and filling, and at its best incredibly refined – the true people’s food of Japan, enjoyed by all independent of class and status.
As Tsuabasa says, every region of Japan has their own takes on ramen, but at Kaedama (which means a second helping of noodles) it seems a pretty straightforward Tokyo style – shoyu-based broth, roast pork, menma, negi, nori. The twist here is that it’s prepared by a Damashigami, none other than Sabato himself. He’s set up Kaedama as a front to lure students in with hundred-yen ramen and suck out their souls, but in the process he’s been possessed by the spirit of the original ramen chef of the building, who collapsed and died the night before he was to open his shop.
That guy had a pretty damn sad story – a common thread in Rinne, sad stories mixed in with massive silliness. Anytime Sabato is involved you know he’ll find a way to game the system to favor hmself, which he does by setting up the disembodied spirit with a marionette body and a bunch of soul-sucking noodle balls. Tsubasa and Ageha once more cement their status as the top baka in the class – he by getting his own sucked out by Sabato’s noodles, she by failing to recognize her sister despite having her identity protected by a pair of glasses no more magical than the Scarlet Bloom’s.
In the end it’s always going to fall to Rinne to set things right, especially when it’s his deadbeat dad causing all the trouble. This he does with some clever aplomb, phoning in a crank order for 500 bowls of ramen that both overloads Sabato’s dummy (which is still smarter than several of the cast) and giving the tortured ex-ramen chef the satisfaction he needs to move on to the next world. It’s a happy ending of sorts – except for the students at the high school, who had unlimited ¥100 ramen (and top-shelf at that) snatched out from under them…