Kyoukai no Rinne Kyoukai no Rinne 3rd Season – 25 (End) and Series Review

It was both cruel and kind of Kyoukai no Rinne to end with such a magnificent episode.

If any anime ever epitomized the concept of “taken for granted”, it’s Kyoukai no Rinne.  Over the course of six cours this show has never once been at the top of my season leaderboard, and almost never engendered a long blog post.  But more than anything else as I watched this final episode play out so splendidly, I thought about how much I’m going to miss Rinne.  And of course, how much I’d like to have it back for another season.  Sadly, there was no announcement at the close of the episode this time – which leads me to believe that our string of miraculous renewals for this series has finally run out.

If indeed this was the final episode, I can honestly say that Kyoukai no Rinne has gone out on top – this was surely one of the finest handful of episodes in the show’s entire run.  Superficially there was nothing “finale” about it – though it did give us a rare this season full-length story – but it was the perfect balance of snark and seriousness.  I haven’t always loved the chapters featuring Matsugo, but he was the instigator for one of Rinne’s most winning stories here.

Let’s say a word or two about arguably the series MVP and certainly its unsung (until today) hero, the Narrator – played with notable aplomb by the great Genda Tessyo.  He’s Kyoukai no Rinne’s one-man Greek chorus, peppering the narrative with wry observations like the one about how school festivals aren’t supposed to be set up to make a big profit.  Fittingly it was in a tale from Greek mythology that Narrator-san actually got to sing – in a hilarious illustration of the “Orpheus Rule” in Matsugo’s haunted house.  This was done in song – for no other reason, it seems, than because it was ridiculous.  After Orpheus and Hades had their say, Narrator-san delivered the coda (when Orpheus turns around to look at Eurydice) in song himself.  I don’t think I’ve laughed harder at an anime this year.

I love moments like that in Kyoukai no Rinne – no anime embraces random absurdity in such a delightfully understated way as this one.  And Rinne and Mamiya Sakura’s trip trough the “Cursed Promise in the Underworld” (if a couple successfully finishes, they’re sure to break up) is full of such moments.  Of course the attraction itself is the real curse for couples, as the girls  become furious at their partners for refusing to turn around when the various accoutrements elicit their screams.  Waiting at the end, too, is a ticket for free yakisoba if a couple finishes – setting up the eternal conflict for Rokudo-kun, food or Mamiya Sakura.

“Kawaii…mitai! Yakisoba…Mamiya Sakura!”  Poor Rinne-kun, faced with such impossible choices.  Meanwhile Rokumon-chan is taken out by konjak jelly (disgusting stuff, by the way), and Mamiya Sakura manages to fall into every pitfall trap in the path.  There’s so much great stuff here – like the hands on Rinne’s back belonging to a giant (and rather affectionate-looking) caterpillar, and Rinne-kun stepping on Mamiya Sakura’s head.  Inoue Marina and Ishikawa Kaito are both really phenomenal here, but then they pretty much are in every episode – as is this entire cast.  That’s one of the notable things about Kyoukai no Rinne of course – the seiyuu work is some of the best in modern anime, period.

Of course, this being Kyoukai no Rinne, the food at the Shinigmai First Festival turns out to be truly awful (pigs preparing pork buns and octopus making takoyaki can’t possibly be a good idea).  But while Rinne doesn’t “win” by making it out of the Promise in the Underworld, he wins bigger by going back to search for Mamiya Sakura and choosing her over bad noodles.  We even get a final scene where Rokundo-kun gets a magnificent spread and actually gets to eat some of it, and not only that – a private moment with Mamiya Sakura where he actually calls her by first name only.  But this is still Kyoukai no Rinne, so we can’t go with an outright happy ending – though bringing everyone together “because it’s the last episode” is a suitably cheeky way for Rinne to close.

I sincerely, wholeheartedly hope this isn’t the last episode we see of Kyoukai no Rinne.  I never paid as much attention to it as I should have and in truth, the second season was actually the best one, but damm it – I love this show.  Unabashedly, sentimentally love it.  To be as consistently funny for as long as this series has is a real achievement, and its absence will leave a far bigger hole in my anime life than I probably ever realized while it was airing.  I wouldn’t say I’m terribly hopeful that there will be more Kyoukai no Rinne in anime form, and while I enjoy the manga this is a case where the experience just isn’t the same – anime is the medium that suits Rinne best.  If this is it, all I can say is “thanks” – you’ve made my Saturdays a whole lot better over the past few years.

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8 comments

  1. T

    Thank you for blogging this for all three seasons. It’s always fun to read someone else’s reaction to a show you enjoy, especially when you don’t know many other people watching it. Thanks again.

  2. Blogging the obscure ones is always the most rewarding. Thanks for following.

  3. I

    Thanks from me too. Its not really a show that needs long detailed posts, being a simple and entertaining comedy, but it was a nice reminder that each episode was out. Time to chuckle.

  4. Rinne is that show that embodies the concept of “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. While I’m betting on a miracle that would give us a season 4 (or whatever is needed until the story is done), I’m not holding my breath for it.

    Enzo, thank you for blogging this severely underrated gem. Your on-point commentary is a essential to this show as the exceptional narrator is.

  5. R

    Thanks Enzo for blogging this show for all three seasons. Rinne has become such a staple that I, too, forgot one day it would be gone… Yes, another season would be great, as slim a chance as we could get. If only, they could make this show an ongoing one…

  6. b

    Thank you for covering this show, Enzo. It’s been a pleasant ride. I really enjoyed the characters introduced this season (Annette and Ichigo were some of my favorites, actually,) and I hope we get more of this series sometime.

  7. Z

    That Orpheus scene was one of the funniest bit of anime, *because* it was played so straight.

    I might not have commented much, but I always watched, and always read your review when you posted for it. I’m gonna miss both of those things now.

  8. Yes, that scene was a comic masterpiece. It really felt like they were thanking Tessyou-san for his legendary work over three seasons by giving him that moment.

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