May 10, 2010

Rin-Ne by Rumiko Takahashi

Rin-Ne by Rumiko Takahashi

(Viz Website)

Ever since a strange encounter when she was a child, Sakura Mamiya has had the power to see ghosts. Now in high school, she just wishes the ghosts would leave her alone! When her mysterious classmate Rinne Rokudo shows up, Sakura finds herself following him into the amazing world between life and death! (Synopsis from publisher site.)

Rumiko Takahashi is one of the most unique voices of manga. Her stories are always infused with humor, love, fantasy, and wacky antics. Her most popular series, and possibly most well known, is Ranma 1/2 where a teenage boy and his father are cursed to change into different bodies when splashed with cold water. Her second most popular would be Inu-Yasha, the story of a school girl who falls down an old well and into feudal Japan meeting upon the half-demon half human Inu-Yasha.

Rumiko comes back with her most recent series titled Rin-Ne about a teenage girl named Sakura whose path crosses with the spirit world. The first two volumes of Rin-Ne are currently published in a traditional paper format. What is really unique is that the series is also being published online by the U.S. publisher VIZ in synchronization with it's Japanese publisher for free online. (Start with Chapter One.)

I picked up Rin-Ne at the book store as soon as I heard about it, which was, of course, late. While I used to be pretty into Japanese graphic novels when I was teenager I've culled my recent readings into just a few authors and series'. Rumiko Takahashi is one of those authors I'll automatically pick up. Her previous works like Inu-Yasha, Maison Ikkuko, and Rumic Theater were and still are pretty high ranking comics for me. Although Rin-Ne is a new and available online I haven't read all 48 current chapters. However, Rin-Ne seems to carry over all the same elements of a Rumiko Takahashi story. A fairly normal girl is thrown into an unrealistic situation she can't quite seem to avoid.

The difference between Sakura and the other girls in Rumiko's stories is that I haven't once seen one of Sakura's family members. Every time Sakura is at home she's in her room. She doesn't talk about brothers or sisters or parents which is usual for Rumiko's stories. Normally there is a full cast of family members that makes the series feel fuller and the world Rumiko is creating rounder. Perhaps it's just too early in the series, but from what I've read on other sites the cast for Rin-Ne is small. When you're used to a creator making such large and diverse worlds I have to wonder why the small cast and what this might mean for the stories.

So far though Rin-Ne is still a funny, wacky, romantic story. It holds all the same qualities that past series by Rumiko has created, and is still a very enjoyable read. If you are a fantasy fan I'd really recommend looking into this series. Especially since the fantasy and culture are so different from my own I really enjoy learning about and seeing Rumiko Takahashi's interpretations of Japanese legends and other-worldly creatures. Rin-Ne also touches on the belief of reincarnation after death, and that we all have many past lives, both as humans and other living creatures. All of it is so interesting to read and makes this story, for me, all the more fun to follow.

1 comment:

T.V and Book Addict said...

Ah! I'm so curious about this manga! My sister loves it! :)

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