Sep 28, 2015
Mixed Feelings
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 aid 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.
Reviewer’s Rating: 5
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