A very strange thing happened to Mamiya Sakura as a child: She disappeared in the woods behind her grandmother's house. Of course, Sakura doesn't quite recall what happened next, but she's been seeing dead people ever since—ghosts at home, ghosts at school, and even ghosts on the street.
Now that she's in high school, another strange thing has happened in her life. A desk next to her that's sat empty all year is suddenly filled by an oddly-dressed boy named Rokudou Rinne. Rinne seems to be capable of seeing the same things Sakura does, and sometimes, other people can't even see him. What sort of secret is Rinne-kun hiding, and how is he connected to Sakura's strange power? In Kyoukai no Rinne, another world exists alongside the one we live in. Thanks to Rinne, Mamiya Sakura will get to know this world and the wacky characters that inhabit it.
When talking about any show, I often take extra precaution to avoid marginalizing the work by use of buzzwords. This isn't to say that the usage of certain words don't help others to understand where you're coming from, but rather, when a word is overused, it begins to lose value to many that have grown accustomed to it. After a while, it's desensitized to the point where people would write you off as just another "pseudo-critic" with nothing left to say, and understandably so. But sometimes, I find the usage of commonly used words to just be unavoidable. Sometimes, no other word works better to
describe the title at hand. And when it comes to Kyoukai no Rinne, no matter what angle I approach it from, no matter how much I try to better articulate what's the main issue at hand, the conclusion is always the same; the show is simply mediocre.
Following the comedic misadventures of a Shinigami named Rinne Rokudou, we're introduced to a world where the afterlife and the physical world intertwines on a constant basis. Performing his job as a Shinigami eventually leads him to befriend a peculiar girl named Sakura Mamiya, and the rest of the show is dedicated to seeing the comedic mishaps that the pair find themselves getting in. The setup is decent enough but the perpetual state it places itself in just turns it into amnesia-inducing content. A purgatory where every episode repeats itself. And no, I'm not joking, they quite literally repeat the same setup and comedic gags every time with only slight variations stuffed in:
Rinne and Sakura are going through a typical day--> some supernatural occurrence disrupts everything--> Rinne attempts to solve the issue--> problem solved--> rinse and repeat.
The show limits itself to the point where watching it feels like a massive case of groundhogs day, where nothing is moving forward, and you're simply stuck in a state of viewer's limbo. Everything that it tries to establish just goes nowhere. From the romantic subplot to even the character's issues. They're merely brought up, only to be left on the back burner, due to the show's overbearingly pronounced complacency.
The humor of Rinne was all over the place, but more often than not, it was lackluster and had little to no comedic impact to speak of. It tried to use a more deadpan kind of approach when dealing with the ghosts and conflicts that arise in the show. And while it did have its moments of effectiveness, those were usually sparse and drowned out by the many times it dropped the ball. Whether this type of humor will resonate with you or not all depends on your taste in comedy. As for me, It wasn't consistent enough to keep me amused for long, as I often found most of it to be NyQuil levels of sleep-inducing.
The characters themselves all felt like watered down versions of the ones found in InuYasha. Not surprising, though, given that Rumiko Takahashi, the creator of InuYasha, was also the one behind Kyoukai no Rinne. It almost feels like she's trying to ride off of the coattails of InuYasha to make Rinne relevant, and sadly the mark was missed by a long shot. It's hard not to look at Rokumon, Rinne's residential mascot, and not think about Shippo, a character with arguably more characterization and importance to the series he was a part of. Or to even look at Sakura and not feel like you're just looking at a more dull version of Kagome. This isn't to say that the characters of Rinne are an exact clone of Takahashi's prior works but that Rinne is engulfed by the shadow of its predecessor, both in terms of quality and relevance.
Almost like an attempt to match the quality of the script with the presentation, the art and animation of Rinne were painfully average. There were no visible attempts to stand out nor was there any proper use of lighting, shading, color placement or any other technique that could have been used to heighten the visual experience. It was generic across all fronts. This was also the case with the sound mixing, with background music that felt overplayed and lacking in variation or drowned out to the point where you don't even recognize it at all. If there was an attempt to make the presentation better in the show, it was never made visible enough for me to take notice.
And that's my experience with Rinne as a whole, too middling for me to ever take notice of anything it offered.
I wasn't offended by Rinne, but at the same time, I wasn't impressed either. It's a title that's almost predestined to be forgotten. And looking at the small reception it got from viewers, it seems like that fate will happen sooner than later. It had decent moments every now and then but was entirely too aimless for its own good.
Kyoukai no Rinne was a giant ball of "meh" that seemed to have set its bar low from the get-go. There was nothing here that I can say was satisfactory and with a setup that went nowhere, it's hard to recommend this title to anyone. It's a title that leaves no final impression and has taken its one-way ticket to obscurity before it could even plant its feet in the ground.
The story is not really original or complex, it is another Rumiko Takahashi works, and that is the best and maybe the worst you can say about this anime. If you enjoy Ranma, Inuyasha or Maison Ikkoku then you would probably enjoy this new work, otherwise better try to look for something else. It has the same kind of comedy, similar drawing style, similar kind of romance... this anime make me feel like watching a 90s anime, I mean the drawing style is old, characters as well give me a feel of old style (that do not correspond to the typical cliches that we
find on 80% percent of current anime) and besides it lacks of recurrent ecchi and fan service, (which is for me a good point but I think many people disagree about this). I personally find the characters very cool and funny, story is very slice of life so most of time every episode is a new story and general development is very slow.... but come on is a comedy, ¿what are you hoping for?. I am a bit old generation and I find Rumiko style very enjoyable, but maybe new generation are not fit for this old style and probably that explain why Rinne is so poorly rated by the community in MAL, but if you are not a Rumiko hater then you should give it a try, Rinne and Mamiya deserve it.
Kyoukai no Rinne is a character driven adventurous comedy, that has a simplistic story with a slice of life type of plot progression. This anime only plays with a few elements; that being comedy, slice of life, and supernatural since this anime deals with ghosts/spirits. Kyoukai no Rinne is a show that runs on a simple set formula and doesn't expand upon its own boundaries. It doesn't take risks, it doesn't surprise us, and it doesn't try too hard to entertain us. It's a fairly dry watch. I wouldn't consider this anime fundamentally bad; just bland. Anyways, what's up with this anime?
The setting of
Kyoukai no Rinne is based in a realistic modern town where the show follows the characters' daily lives. This town has the typical schools, stores, homes, parks, but also has some supernatural settings, where the characters adventure through. None of them are too interesting though. Despite this anime being about catching spirits, the atmosphere is fairly lighthearted, due to the setting, the comedy, and the adventurous aspect of the show. I'd say the setting is fairly industry standard for slice of life anime.
Honestly, there really isn't much happening at all in terms of story/plot. It's a slice of life adventurous story about Rinne and Sakura going around helping lost spirits pass on to be reincarnated, along with other various tasks. The story opens up with Sakura at class where she notices Rinne, that hasn't been in school ever, finally shows up for the first time. She's the only person that can see him, so she confronts him about it. Rinne tells her his situation and what he does. After that, they just kind of hang out and go on about doing various tasks. That's all there is to the story aspect of this show.There is some backstory into the main characters, but nothing that adds any real depth to them. The plot is either episode-to-episode or some plot device overarching for a few episodes, at a really slow pace though. It's a very simplistic plot, where nothing really changes from beginning to end. While there are a significant number of various tasks the character try to accomplish, the situations boil down to the same few plot devices. They either have to:
1) Help a spirit pass on
2) Rinne tries to get more money
3) Go on a rescue mission
4) Fight off another spirit or being
I mean that's pretty much it and nothing really changes because of the show's simplistic nature. The comedy aspect is told in I think two different kinds of style. Some of the comedy is expressed through the character interactions and situational humor, which is fairly standard for a comedy of course. There's also narrator that, for the most part, explains the situational humor for the viewers. The comedy itself is not over the top crazy or anything memorable even; instead, it's delivered in sort of a dry and simplistic fashion that can be witty or down right silly with lightly tormenting or teasing the characters, that may put them in an unfavorable or tight situation. Not much else to say about this anime story wise. If you're not into simplistic stories where nothing happens or changes, you might just want to skip this one.
While the character cast of Kyoukai no Rinne does range in size and personality traits, individually, the characters don't stand out as engaging on their own too much. The characters are likable, tolerable and there's no character that really annoying or anything like that. However, most characters here aren't engaging or unique. They all have stale personalities that never develop or change at all. They really can't engage viewers just on their own. The character cast is basically "what you see is what you get".
Kyoukai no Rinne follows a few primary characters. We have Sakura Mamiya, the female protagonist in the story. As a child, she sort of accidentally gains a supernatural ability to see ghosts/spirits. Other than her ability, she pretty much a normal school girl. She's like a neutral character. I mean she's easy going and likable, but she doesn't really have emotion or much of a personality. She's sort of a quiet type that doesn't have too much going for her. It's because of her ability to see spirits that she meets up with Rinne Rokudou; a half human and half spirit known as "Shinigami". As a Shinigami, Rinne has the job for finding and helping spirits to find peace so they can pass on and reincarnate. He has a problem with money and because he's poor. he's always finding ways to get some material value; whether it be money, food, gifts, etc. Metaphorically like me, he pretty much just hates his poverty-riddled day to day life, where nothing engaging happens other than the same monotonous task of making other spirits happy, while he lives a shit life. It's because of that he sort of comes off as a stubborn ass. Not that he hates people, but when he gets angry, that raw emotion probably comes from him hating his life. On the inside, he can be a gentlemen whenever it conveniences him. Actually, I could be reading into this character a little too personally since he's poor. Anyways, Rinne has a sort of an assistant named Rokumon. This somewhat obnoxious creature tags along with Rinne to help out with his work. Rokumon really has no personality of his(?) own; he's pretty much comedy relief for the most part.
There are some other characters that get a significant screen time as well; however, some of them don't get mentioned until later on. Overall, the main characters aren't as bad as harem tropes, but they don't have an engaging personality. The characters are boring on their own and the only thing interesting about them is the interactions when they're together. They're not bad; just bland. The supporting cast is primarily made up of the random ghosts they encounter. Even though the anime does try to give them some meaningful backstory of why they haven't passed on, they're forgotten anyways, once they're dealt with. Nothing to say about them as they're just plot devices for Rinne to pass on.
Honestly, there isn't much I can say about the art. It's not really modern, but it looks fairly low-budget. It's because of that the anime achieves a simplistic and lighthearted style. The colors seem dimmed and nothing really stands out as appealing. The settings, including the supernatural locations, aren't that interesting looking, The character designs are fairly traditional when it comes to the human characters and the ghosts/spirits. They're are bit bland and not really creative or appealing, but the designs are okay.
The animations are fairly slow-paced and relaxing for the most part. There's nothing really over the top or dramatic. The comedic reactions aren't exaggerated. The animations of the various attacks the characters use with their weapons and equipment are simplistic. It's not bad, but it's bland like the art.
I'll try to keep this section shorter than the short bus I ride on. In this section, I try to justify my rating with what I liked/disliked about the show, while further explaining if this anime could be worth your time. Despite the score I gave this anime, I moderately enjoyed this, at times. There were moments were I was getting into it a bit; however, there was also moments were it became a struggle to even keep up with the show on a week-to-week basis. Overall, I didn't like it too much, nor disliked it too much. The comedy can be funny and I like the relaxing and lighthearted feelings of the show. Though everything else, like the story, characters, art/animation, didn't appeal to my fancy too much. I just found this anime to be mostly bland that did manage to get a chuckle out of me once in a while. I would've enjoyed this more if perhaps the characters and comedy were more engaging. Despite the low rating, it's actually not really that bad. My overall rating for this anime is "Didn't Enjoy Too Much Because Either It Was Totally Bland Or Probably Frustrating To Watch".
To put it bluntly, I wouldn't recommend this show to anyone. You should probably only watch this show if you're confident enough you can handle bland lighthearted shows, with simplistic characters and comedy; or if supernatural entities and settings peek your fancy.
In all honesty this series is about as basic as it gets. Its an episodic comedy anime. And just from that you pretty much know exactly what to expect.
As far as story, the series is....pretty mediocre. As I've already said, the series is very episodic. This can be fine in shows like Mushishi or Death Parade where you have an overarching character story that shows the progression of each character throughout the series. However, no such story is present in Rin-Ne. Or at least its not all that prominent. Sure there is sort of a romance plot, but by the end of the first season
it's pretty much stayed in the exact same place as it has been for the entire series thus far. For the most part you could watch episodes out of order and get the exact same experience. The show is episodic down to a formula at times. At first everything is normal, then someone puts in a request to the prayer box or a main character comes across a spirit or a character from the other world comes in and causes chaos, Rinne and Mamiya try to resolve said problem (or Rinne tries to do it on his own), while Juumonji and Ageha try to interfere because they don't want Rinne and Mamiya to get too close, and then at the end all is resolved and in the next episode we're right back in the same place. Now this isn't to say that this show doesn't have at least some continuous episodes, they're just few and far between.
As for the comedy, it can be pretty hit or miss. The series has some decent jokes, particularly in its rare moments of slapstick. My favorite episodes have to be the ones with Masato because his reason for hating Rinne and the ways he tries to get back at him is hilarious! But unfortunately a lot of these jokes are often ruined with this narrator that always has to explain the joke, even going as far as to explain plot elements that we already know about (seriously how many times do you need to say that normal people can't see Rinne when he's wearing his jacket?). In the end this becomes really annoying and often feels like the narrator thinks the audience is stupid and can't figure things out on their own. There's also a runnng joke where Rinne's grandmother doesn't like being called a grandmother and does this ear thing to any character who calls her that or does something to remind her of her age. Moderately funny at first, but incredibly overdone by the end of the season.
Apart from Rinne, characters are either 1 note or entirely bland. Although not perfect, Rinne has an alright amount of personality. The series does a deent job of capturing the duality of his life through his constant struggle to maintain a normal student life and how his job as a Shinigami is a constant deterrant to any form of normalcy and how this "job" is so demanding that he can barely afford to live. How he is affected by his relationships with others is handled fairly well as well. His resentment towards his father is more than understandable because he's a neglectful crook who steals from his own son at every chance he gets. His feelings towards Mamiya are totally reasonable because of how her mere existence plays off of his duality. It's easy to see how she can be attractive to him because he can relate to her as, due to the fact that she can see spirits, she (sort of-ish) is going through the same duality as him. Therefore she can both be an escape for him as well as a way of remaining connected to his life in the other world. Bottom line, he doesn't have to hide anything from her. He understandably wants to be connected to both his human and Shinigami side, as these are integral parts of his very being and Mamiya is his only option for retaining both connections simultaneously without alienating anyone.
As for the other characters, the majority of them have "personalities" that are based solely on a few running jokes.