Years after the cultural phenomenon of Inuyasha, which came years after anime classic Ranma 1/2 , comes a new story from Rumiko Takahashi. And believe it or not, she’s still able to crank out stories that are both hilarious and rich with Japanese culture. Praise be her name!
A mixture between the comedy (and randomness) of Ranma with the demon butt whooping of Inuyasha, fans are now introduced to Rokudou and Sakura. An unlikely pair facing restless spirits and demons. Sakura is a girl who has been able to see spirits since she was young, she lives a pretty normal life until one day seeing Rokuduo fighting a giant Chihuahua ghost. I’m not kidding. I’m also not kidding when I say the Chihuahua eats Rokuduo and then flies off.
I can’t make this stuff up, but Takahashi can and she does so brilliantly. Rokudou is a shinigami kind of thing and a human kind of thing (this is word-for-word people!) Basically, he has both shinigami blood and human blood and must escort spirits to their next reincarnation. Unfortunately the gig doesn’t pay very well and he haunts a high school weather box in order to mooch the offerings.
Like Inuyasha this story is rich with references of Japanese Yokai and religious beliefs. For example, Rokudou’s job means he takes spirits to the Wheel of Reincarnation where they will either move up or down the totem pole. There is also an entire episode dedicated to Hanako, a Japanese ghost who is said to haunt bathrooms.
Rinne manages to merge the Yokai story aspect of Inuyasha with the dead pan humor of Ranma ½ . The manga is humorous, but the direction given for the anime, along with the talented voice actors escalate the humor to a whole new level.
I outright giggle throughout every episode (and that’s usually pretty rare for me.) But it’s hard not to when you have incompetent exorcists, demons who can’t spell their own name (kanji is hard guys), and shinigami shenanigans. Alright, I’ve been waiting a while to write shinigami shenanigans!
It’s been great to see how Takahashi’s stories have translated into anime form throughout the decades. Rinne is overall a very clean anime that utilizes its 3D mechanics well as Sakura and Rokodou travel between the spirit world and the world of the living. It also manages to stay true to Takahashi’s artistic style, which I’ve always found very unique and appealing.
Plus the score for the show takes me back to those late nights of watching Inuyasha on adult swim. A combination of classic Japanese instruments to a modern tune definitely sets the tone for a show like Rinne. One that merges traditional and modern Japanese culture. The ending theme is tons of fun as well; it builds up as the cast grows for the show.
Overall, this show will delight fans of all genres. It has action, humor, demons, and apparently love. Though, I fully expect Sakura and Rokodou’s relationship to be stretched out for the full length of the series. Usually it is difficult for me to keep up with streaming series but this one I can’t help but comeback to. Currently the show is airing on Crunchyroll and just started showing on Hulu.