Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chapter Review: RIN-NE, chp. 9

The story: In this chapter, "Nuptial Cups," the ochimusha, or defeated warrior, is still stuck in the real world, waiting for his "Hime," or princess. Unfortunately for Sakura's and Rinne's classmate, Kaori, she'll continue to be haunted by the warrior unless she participates in the "nuptial cup" ceremony. In the wedding ceremony, the man and woman drink from the same sake cup in order to join together as one. While Rinne hopes it will go smoothly and that the ochimusha will go to the afterlife as soon as it's done, the warrior has different plans entirely!

Reaction: Maybe it's because I'm married, but I didn't things would go smoothly at all -- even a "fake" marriage to a ghost seems pretty serious and not something to be done so easily. I also loved that Rinne's reputation as the red-headed boy always wearing a track suit preceded him. Despite his "keep to himself" nature, it looks like people can help but notice Rinne!

Deep thoughts: Sharing a sake cup in Japanese culture is a big deal and ties those sharing it to one another, for better or worse. Another use of the sake-sharing ceremony is seen in yakuza, or Japanese gangster, culture. When someone becomes a member of a gang, or when two yakuza groups affiliate, the inductee and his senior, or the two yakuza leaders, will share a cup of sake. Whoever gets more sake in these ceremonies is indicated by their amount of power, and it's expected that the person with less seniority will only take a small sip of the sake, leaving the bulk of the drink to his superior.

Artwork: I loved, loved, loved the color pages that opened this chapter. It really brightens this manga, especially since it isn't complex in terms of scenery or character design. I think it breaks up the "monotony" of the story, although this week's continuing plot has helped do that, too.

The verdict: Highly recommended. I think this week's developments and continuing plotline helped win me over. It took a little while to develop, but I'm beginning to see the distinct personalities of the characters and enjoy the story. While I can see the continuing gag already, it should be interesting to see how Rumiko Takahashi continues to keep this story going. RIN-NE is serialized online by Viz and can be read here.

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