There isn’t going to be a break in-between cours of Kyoukai no Rinne – unlike many ongoing anime it will continue straight through into the summer season next weekend (though as I’ll be at Anime Expo, my coverage will likely be late). There will, however, be a break from tradition in that unlike almost every episode in this cour it won’t be a three mini-episode (or even two) ep, but one storyline from start to finish. In fact, I believe it’s going to introduce a heretofore unseen character from the OP. I wonder if Brain’s Base front-loaded the shorter stories into the first cour with the idea of going more plot-driven in the second – I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
I have mixed feelings about the multi-chapter structure, as you know (at least when it’s uninterrupted), but Kyoukai no Rinne picked a pretty good trio of comic tales to round out this cour. I mean, we (and Rokudo-kun) got to see Mamiya Sakura in both a bikini and a yukata, for starters. The former comes as part of a “job” exorcising an evil spirit at a beach house, which is a thinly veiled excuse for Rinne to have a beach trip with Mamiya Sakura. But this is the matsuri of unrequited teenage crushes, as Matsugo is on hard to pine for Rinne – and not only that, the long-absent Anju is here too, crushing on Matsugo. Tsubasa is also here and hilariously ignored (“Why am I sleeping with the cats!?”), and of course he has his own one-way attraction to deal with. The poltergeist turns out to be a tree spirit that had always wanted to see the ocean, only to have been turned into the beach house’s central pillar and pointed in the wrong direction. That would seriously suck.
Next up is a story about eggplants. And cucumbers, too – those being the two vegetables the departed ride to and from our world during their visits for Obon. When the spirits return Kain is one eggplant heavy, which means he’s one spirit light. That turns out to be an old lady who Mamiya Sakura spots outside her unkempt former house, where she grew eggplants and had a “romance” (this is the episode of unrequited crushes) with a young man who liked her eggplants. What really kills me here is that it was seeing how ugly he was that apparently killed her (she nicknames him “Nasuo” – Mr. Eggplant) but in the end, his kindness wins out and she overcomes her fear of nasu.
Finally, it’s natsumatsuri time – and that means Mamiya Sakura in that yukata. And Rinne-kun too, oddly enough – because he’s been given a rental one (and 500 Yen) to go undercover and find a damashigami stealing souls while working at the festival. Poor Rokudo has a distorted view of what 500 Yen will buy these days (especially at a matsuri). It turns out to be Renge who’s stealing the souls – and let me just point out, not only does she appear to think this is perfectly fine but none of the others seem nearly bothered enough by it either.
This is the real story of Kyoukai no Rinne Season 3, I think – seeing all this absurdity (and poverty, in Rinne’s case) for three seasons seems to have made everyone preposterously jaded. It’s almost as Rumiko’s snark has worn down their resistance and sapped their will to fight. The real irony here is that it’s Mamiya Sakura, who was so deadpan right from the beginning, who’s now the most demonstrative when it comes to common decency. It’s not so much that she’s changed – more that she’s stayed the same while everyone else has embraced the absurdist vibe.