The thing about Kyoukai no Rinne is that it’s like a comfortable sweater you can slip to anytime you just need that feeling of something familiar and pleasant. This is an incredibly easy show to enjoy, because no matter what the rest of my schedule looks like and what mood I’m in, I can plug in Rinne and it just works. I find with a lot of anime I blog that I need to watch it at a certain time of day or be in a certain mood for it to click, but with this one it doesn’t seem to matter. To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, I could watch Kyoukai no Rinne if my hair was on fire.
This was another one of those comedy-forward episodes that shows off Rumiko’s peculiarly cheeky mood with this series. The MacGuffins this time are the bunny-eared (and tailed) Mikazuki twins, Raito (Itou Shizuka) and Refuto (Konishi Katsuyuki), the current generation of a scythe-smithing family with a checkered history. She’s the pushy marketing half, he’s the moody and surly “talent” – and between the two of them they haven’t managed to make much of the business their father left them when he headed back to Earth to be reincarnated after a 700-year run as head of the family.
One of the joys with Kyoukai no Rinne is that this is so obviously a show that’s not targeted to otaku that there’s no incentive to cast the trendy seiyuu names to try and sell event tickets. Pair that with the fact that when it’s a Rumiko series the old stalwarts aren’t likely to say no and you get actors like Itou-san and Konishi-san in roles like this, cutting up and clearly having a great time. All of Refuto’s recipes for forging scythes are based on a book of failures (he never bothered to read past the “Alas” and “However”, but he did misread the “Hansei” Kanji on cover from “Mistakes” to Memoirs”). As a result, the twins operate on the knife’s edge between abject scam artists and pushy self-promoters, with Rinne (naturally) caught in the middle.
After a string of defective repair jobs (like the version that gets Rinne punched every time he purifies an evil spirit) Refuto finally agrees to give Rinne a “normal” sharpening. But Raito has one more trick up her sleeve – she unleashes a small army of Tsukumogami to make everything around them filthy so she can sell Rinne special “Mikazukido Wax” to keep his scythe sparkling clean. Absolutely the comic highlight of the episode comes in the form of the promotional film Raito shows Rinne and Mamiya Sakura, detailing the origin story of the rugby uniforms whose abandonment by a (justifiably) exasperated team manager turned them into evil spirits.
In the end, as so happens with Kyoukai no Rinne, it all comes down to money – just how much can Rinne get out of Raito for 300 Yen? Turns out quite a lot – six jars of wax plus a special microfiber cloth and a Shichi Fukujin wallet! Unfortunately that proves to be about 280 Yen too much, as the scythe never needs cleaning after the first application of wax and filthy evil spirits never again show up at the school. I almost feel bad for the Usagi twins, even so. Next week looks like an episode built around Rokumon and the black cat contractor element of the story, which should be great – but where the hell is Tsubasa-kun for crying out loud??