Needless to say, I’d have preferred if this episode of Kyoukai no Rinne had been any other week but this one. It has more meat on its bones than the rest of the season’s eps put together (amusing as they were), and it comes on the weekend I’m most strapped for time.
The headline-grabber here is that we finally meet Rokudo-kun’s mother (unless this is a massive head-fake, which doesn’t seem entirely impossible). Her name is Otome, and she’s played by no less than the great Hayashibara Megumi. As full of seiyuu legends as Rinne is, it figures they’d get one for a role as crucial as this one. She was a platinum-level Shinigami, hugely popular, who disappeared a decade earlier and hasn’t appeared in public since. Rokudo happens to buy her scythe as an unclaimed item from a pawnshop (it’s the platinum license he’s after more than the scythe), and things spin off from there.
There are great comic moments in this episode as always, but this is an order of magnitude more serious than anything Kyoukai no Rinne has given us this season. Lots is strange with otome-san, though given that Sabato was her husband her leaving doesn’t seem so far-fetched. In fact it happened on the day he pawned her scythe, but there’s obviously more to the story that that. When Sabato finally manages to lure her out into the open (after she’s stolen her scythe back) it turns out that she has no memory of anything since Rinne was a toddler.
Somehow tied into this is the story of a little girl named Ichigo-chan (she is indeed lucky her parents decided not to call her “Durian”), who seems like a normal human but can see spirits. She’s being spied on (by the guys from the Japanese anti-piracy commercials) from the other world, and even more oddly, she knows Otome-san from somewhere. I’ve no idea how all of this fits together but it’s quite the puzzler, and a fascinating one. Also fascinating, I should point out, is the new ED – it’s full of images that beg to be analyzed for significance. It’s a good song as well (so is the new OP) but even if you’re not a person who watches OP/EDs, watch this one at least once…