Kyōkai no Rinne
by Lauren Orsini,
Episode twelve might seem like a tardy time to introduce a new main character, but Rumiko Takahashi is working on a large canvas. This week's Kyokai no Rinne welcomed Ageha, a shinigami ally who looks more like a magical girl than an exorcist. This brought us a comedy of errors in which misunderstandings and mishaps ruled the day. If you look too closely at the logic behind it, it'll all unravel, but fortunately this is a skin-deep show.
With the introduction of Ageha, we've now met every character who appears in the opening sequence. She's a bit of a wild card, and I wasn't sure if she was going to be on our protagonists' side. However, it quickly became clear that Ageha's mean streak simply comes from her status as a tsundere. She's a privileged girl with a bejeweled and be-ribboned scythe, and she's going to indiscriminately go after whatever she wants, in love, war, and vengeance. This time she's committed to going after the president of Damashigami Company. “I'll beat the crap out of anyone who's related to him!” “But I need my crap,” Rinne mutters, in a textbook example of this show's rimshot humor.
Ageha is a ditz and doesn't realize that Rinne's dad is the president, and Rinne isn't doing anything to enlighten her on that count. Though honestly, with the hormone-to-brain-cell ratio these characters seem to have, it wouldn't matter if he did. Sakura walks in (of course) on Rinne clasping Ageha's hand and promising to help her bring down the Company. He attempts to explain that Ageha is a stranger he just met, but Sakura isn't convinced. When Rinne holds Sakura's hand the same way, she flippantly observes, “You hold hands with anyone, don't you.” As the episode continues, Sakura, Ageha, and even Rokuman-chan revisit the scene with increasingly embellished memories of what happened. It's clear that Takahashi is running with this joke just to see how far she can go.
As the episode progresses, it becomes clear that this is a two-parter, because there's this subplot with Sakura and a spycam from the beyond that isn't going to get resolved. (While many other spring season shows are concluding, Kyokai no Rinne will continue.) There's still a bunch of other stuff we still don't know yet. For example, why is Rinne always crafting paper roses? How can an all-purpose afterlife exist in an afterworld that also has a hell? Kyokai no Rinne has a lot of material to work with, and it hasn't revealed even most of its hand. Sure we've seen every character that appears in this opening sequence, but who wants to bet they'll upgrade to a new opening for the second cour?
As we continue to explore Takahashi's latest world, there are plenty of funny quips to keep us entertained, and the characters' middle-school emotional levels are responsible for many of the gags. Many of the comical misunderstandings these characters face could easily be resolved with direct communication, but that wouldn't be half as fun. This season mid-point leaves us with slight frustrations unassuaged, but enough humor to make it go down easy.
Kyōkai no Rinne is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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