OP: “SHINY” by Yoru no Honki Dance (夜の本気ダンス)
“Most underrated” is an awfully broad term, and of course subject the vagaries of personal taste. But for me any short list of must underrated anime of the past several years has to prominently include Kyoukai no Rinne. This series gets pretty good TV ratings in Japan and the manga sells decently, but in the anime community it seems at times as if it may as well not even exist. And that’s a real shame, because Rinne is one of the best anime comedies of the decade.
This series is just damn funny, plain and simple, and it’s so consistent about it that even I find myself taking it for granted sometimes. Like all good anime comedies it has many different veins of gold it can mine for humor, and the third season starts out with some actual (well – mostly fake) gold and a visit with Sabato-san. Anime’s worst dad? He’s in the conversation, that’s for sure – and his latest scheme is distributing fake gold Shinigami licenses to unsuspecting Shinigami trying to shortcut their way to higher wages and shorter lines to get paid.
This premiere is full of the usual Rinne comic touches, including the funniest use of narration in anime (“It’s definitely not for plot convenience”). As usual when Sabato is involved there’s people being cheated and family conflict, but the big shoe to drop here is that Sabato was once the holder of a gold license (normally available only through very hard work and slow progression) himself. How? He got it through a fight with his teacher – a little-known method for procuring a gold license without purifying the requisite 2000 spirits.
Kyoukai no Rinne has always been very good at poking fun at manga tropes and at itself without seeming too precious about it, and this premiere is no exception. The secret is striking a perfect tone, and I think the secret to that is the supreme confidence and easy Rumiko-sensei has in her own writing. Of course, it shouldn’t be remotely surprising that Rinne hit the ground running because when it comes to consistency, there just isn’t a lot out where that can hold a candle to it. Knowing what you’re going to get every week is one thing – being glad when you do is quite another. And Kyoukai no Rinne checks both boxes with aplomb.
ED: “Suki nano Kana (スキナノカナ)” by Softly