Izumi KittashinigamiKyoukai no RinneRumiko Takahashi
Kyoukai no Rinne: Season 3
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2017: K
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Director: Hiroshi Ishiodori
Writer: Michiko Yokote
Original creator: Rumiko Takahashi
Actor: Akira Ishida, Aya Suzaki, Emiri Kato, Hitomi Nabatame, Izumi Kitta, Kaito Ishikawa, Kappei Yamaguchi, Katsuyuki Konishi, Marina Inoue, Megumi Hayashibara, Miyuki Sawashiro, Rie Kugimiya, Rie Murakawa, Ryohei Kimura, Satsuki Yukino, Shizuka Ishigami, Shizuka Itou, Soma Saito, Sora Tokui, Suzuko Mimori, Taishi Murata, Tetsuya Kakihara, Tomomichi Nishimura, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yuko Sanpei, Yumi Uchiyama
Keywords: Kyoukai no Rinne, anime, fantasy, shinigami
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Episodes 51-75
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=18755
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 20 May 2019
It's a bit disappointing, to be honest. It's okay, but it's by Rumiko Takahashi. I'd been expecting better. Urusei Yatsura, at its best, is one of the most explosive TV shows ever created. Maison Ikkoku shredded my sanity. Ranma 1/2 gets very very repetitive, but I watched it all and I'd happily watch it again. Inuyasha I love. Rinne, on the other hand, has plenty of funny jokes and comedy situations, but somehow feels kind of staid anyway.
I think the problem is that the show's premise isn't dynamic. It's a sit-com with an underwhelming "sit". Rinne is a shinigami who's basically a good person, but dirt poor and easily swayed by amusingly tiny amounts of money. Sakura, on the other hand, is a schoolgirl who underreacts to everything. They're the show's lead characters and they're basically static. Sakura is calmly unreadable and there's no way of knowing if there's anything she wants at all. She quite likes Rinne and is always hanging out with him, but in a detached way that basically just observes and passes deadpan comment. It's hard to argue that she has a significant amount of romantic feeling for anyone, despite what you'd expect from this genre.
Rinne, on the other hand, definitely likes Sakura and is even fonder of money, but it's a law of the universe that nothing's ever going to change for him. His lifestyle is set in stone. He has a job, as a shinigami. He works hard at it. He lives in his flat. If he ever stopped being poor, the show would immediately end.
Stories often involve Rinne's clients, i.e. spirits who need his help to depart this mortal plane. In other words, lots of one-off characters we'll never see again. This sense of lots of bitty unconnected stories is further reinforced by Brain's Base often adapting two or three storylines per episode. That's effectively a series of 5-10 minute episodes. I don't dislike the show, but you wouldn't expect to get much momentum from that. (Maybe it's better in manga form?)
Even so, though, the cast don't provide much momentum either. I was watching as if everyone's relationships and life situations were fossilised. (The relationships are a big one, since I think it's a big deal that we've lost the romantic tension of other Takahashi shows. Theoretically it's there with Rinne and Sakura, but... yeah, well.) Our two heroes aren't going anywhere. Rinne's dad used to be unbelievable in Season 1, but he's not shocking any more and he's just one of the gang now. He's not evil any more. Jumonji is useless. (The only thing he ever does is throw sacred ash and that never achieves anything.) The Damashigami have stabilised into a status quo. Rinne's mother is a big surprise and I liked her, but she's not really changing anything either.
The music's also a bit too relaxed for a comedy, I think. (Ep.61 had some funny music, though.)
That said, though, this season is often very funny and its best episodes are well worth watching. Takahashi's still got it. Her central joke is that these people are weak, sleazy, stupid, easily bought and/or just scoundrels. Rinne himself is appalling. He means well and he's the complete opposite of his scumbag father, but you can buy him for pennies. He's so poor that he can weep tears of joy on being given spare change or a cup noodle. Destroy a thousand-yen note (which happens in ep.67) and he'll turn into a red-eyed demon of vengeance. (That made me laugh.) In fact, the pathetically low level of the money-grubbing and amorality reminded me a bit of The Goon Show. (For what it's worth, one Japanese yen is currently worth about 0.7p in UK money, which is important to know when Rinne's being fatally distracted by a ten yen coin. Similarly, lines like "500 yen? You'll pay such a huge amount up front?" are still comparable with, say, the price of some coffee and a biscuit.)
Ep.70a comes to life. It's as if Masato's from a different show. He's a demon who's determined to be evil and do bad things, except that here he gets turned into an angel. That was funny. There are also plenty of episodes where the cast's antics degenerate into a scumbag free-for-all, which is exactly the kind of thing that used to be killingly funny in Urusei Yatsura. Even here, sometimes it's still pretty good.
(Sakura's mother is played by the actress who voiced Urusei Yatsura's Lum, incidentally. She's mostly retired from anime these days, but she accepted this near-cameo role and there are moments where they're really playing up her Lum-ness. Similarly, Rinne's parents are played by the male and female Ranmas.)
I don't dislike the show. You could make a pretty good comedy by picking the best episodes, which on reflection might be the best way of watching this. The show's full of disgraceful characters, although they're inoffensive because they're so rubbish at it. I just think the show feels like Takahashi in second gear, with lots of material and jokes that should have been funnier. It was probably a stronger show in the early days when Sakura was the lead character, rather than Rinne.
I'm still going to read the manga, though.