Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chapter Review: RIN-NE, chapter 10

Since I've gone a full ten chapters into reviewing Rumiko Takahashi's newest series, RIN-NE, I think I'll discontinue my weekly reviews. While I'll still be reading along, this will allow me to focus more on volume reviews of manga, graphic novels and, soon enough, manhwa. Hopefully, I'll be able to review RIN-NE in its collected volume form later this year.

The story: This week's chapter, "Reunion," is a continuation of the story from the past two weeks. Rinne and Sakura are trying their best to help an ochimusha cross over into the afterlife, but he's held back by his obsession with his lady, Hime, who he has spent hundreds of years looking for. Hoping that their classmate Kaori might be the soldier's long-lost Hime, they have her look into the ungaikyo mirror, which shows one's past lives. Unfortunately, Kaori wasn't Hime in a past life. Following up on the one lead they have, they're surprised to find out just who was Hime in a past life.

Reaction: Reincarnation is a funny thing -- you could have been anything from a grasshopper, another person or, like in this week's chapter, a sea turtle in your past life. When the mystery of Hime was finally solved, I can't say I didn't enjoy the twist. Thankfully, everything is resolved and the ochimusha has a happy ending. Of course, I also liked the ending with Rinne and Sakura sharing lunch; it was a sweet moment.

Deep thoughts: While Rinne's money troubles are laughable, it reminded me of an article I read earlier today. The article, published yesterday in the New York Times, interviewed several young people about the protests in Japan regarding the economy, unemployment and other social services. As an American, it's hard for me to imagine not being able to protest. However, in Japan, things are very different. And, while it isn't necessarily illegal to protest, it's highly discouraged and people have to be trained in order to learn just how to protest. So, while Rinne has his money troubles, they seem to pale in comparison to what people my age in Japan are dealing with when it comes to the recession and high unemployment.

Artwork: While Takahashi has a very distinctive style, I was pleasantly surprised to see some realism in this week's chapter. In one scene, there's a very lifelike sea turtle; it's a nice change-up to the usual cartoonish animals she has drawn in the past. I also enjoyed the dark reactions Rinne had when learning just how much it cost to use the ungaikyo mirror!

The verdict: Highly recommended. I like where this story is going. While I'm sure it'll be another long, drawn-out series from Takahashi, I think it's finally grown on me enough to want to keep reading along for now. Here's to hoping she keeps it interesting and entertaining! RIN-NE is serialized online by Viz and can be read here.

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