Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chapter Review: RIN-NE, chp. 8

The story: In this week's chapter, "Afraid to Fall Asleep," one of Rinne's and Sakura's classmates is haunted by an ochimusha, or a samurai who ran away during battle. Every time Kaori falls asleep, the ochimusha appears and tries to give her sake to drink. Since Kaori is so troubled by the dream, not to mention sleep deprived, Sakura wants Rinne to help.

Reaction: The ochimusha is an interesting character and his presence brings up an intriguing question: who is this "Hime" that Kaori reminds him of and how is she related to his predicament in the afterlife? Whenever I see a wounded warrior or soldier it automatically signals a tragic story in my mind. Who is the ochimusha and why is he stuck in this world?

Deep thoughts: Again, I'm fascinated by the Japanese language, which seems to give deeper meanings vis-a-vis a single word, as opposed to English which simply employs compound modifiers and adjectives. While we would say a "defeated warrior," or some variation thereof, the Japanese encompass all that meaning in one word. I guess my friend, a native Japanese speaker, was right; Japanese is more beautifully descriptive than English!

Artwork: While the storyline in this chapter is much more grim than previous ones, the art helps in setting the tone, too. In one panel, Sakura appears with a greyish blood spatter behind her. There are also great illustrations that are great at "showing" emotion, as opposed to "telling" it. For example, Kaori's quiet desperation is illustrated by dark circles under her eyes and a desperate sigh -- all in the space of five panels and four words.

The verdict: If only... This is really on the brink of being moved up to highly recommended, but I won't change it until I have more material to review. Regardless, this chapter really captured my attention more so than those before it. At long last, Rumiko Takahashi is beginning to draw me in with her storytelling style. Here's to hoping my attention stays captured! RIN-NE is serialized online by Viz and can be read here.

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