Kyōkai no Rinne
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 14 of
With a new OP and ED song (but generally the same animation), Kyokai no Rinne is settling in for another 12 episodes. It's no surprise that such an energetic all-ages show can garner a double season run, but my one concern is that we're running out of steam. In episodes 13 and 14, we revisit plotlines and jokes that are echoes of previous weeks.
The first indicator that the story is running out of gas is that these episodes are pretty plotless. Rather than resolving the issues of episode 12, episode 13 explores character relationships through a series of loosely connected vignettes. Ageha, Rinne, and Sakura each wander through the afterlife as they encounter and defeat idiot damashigami.
It's hard to imagine how a character like Ageha even functions in the world, which is part of her charm. It takes her two episodes to discover that the blonde woman in glasses is actually her sister (and then only when the glasses fall off.) It takes just as long for her to discover that Rinne is the son of the Damashigami Company President, and only after plenty of stage whispering about the issue takes place in her presence. From here on out, we see increasingly appalling examples of Ageha's gullibility as she drops thousands of yen on damashigami tricks—in one instance a crooked saleslady sells her a ticket on a sinking boat, and then a life vest, at highly inflated prices. No matter how many times Rinne and Sakura unzip the backs of unscrupulous people, discovering damashigami beneath, it just keeps happening. It's a staple of Rumiko Takahashi's humor to constantly repeat the same joke, but it's the escalation, not the repetition, that makes the difference between a joke working and falling flat.
The second indicator that there's not much left to go on is that episode 14 revisits the same setting and even basic plot of episode 4. A lonely spirit wishes he could have gone on a date to the amusement park, but died before he could. Now Rinne, Sakura, and Tsubasa are picking up the pieces of that mess with their new ally Ageha along for the ride. At least the character designs for this episode were totally new. I love the attention to detail in Sakura's spiral braid hairstyle and in both of the girls' yukata. Since the episode was limp on plot, it served mainly as a vehicle to explore these hapless characters' romantic relationships, which also haven't changed since episode 4. Rinne and Sakura are still crazy for each other, but ten episodes later, they haven't told each other yet. Now their romance is complicated not only by Tsubasa, but by Ageha too! The funniest part of the episode is when Tsubasa and Ageha grope each other in the dark, Tsubasa convinced that Ageha is Sakura and Ageha convinced that Tsubasa is Rinne. Actually, I'm all for these two getting together instead.
Is anything going to change, plotwise or romantically? I doubt it. Rinne can't get his dad to stop charging purchases to his account if our protagonists can't even find the Damashigami Company, and Sakura isn't going to believe Rinne isn't involved with Ageha when she continues to walk in on them in compromising positions. The jokes keep repeating themselves, and it's gotten to the point where they're not funnier the second time. For me at least, the Kyokai no Rinne honeymoon is over.
Kyōkai no Rinne is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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