Kyoukai No Rinne

January 16, 2016

From time to time when I’m feeling a little nostalgic about anime, usually I would go back in time and think of all the animes that I could remember that I have watched. And without a doubt that I have the anime series Ranma 1/2 to thank for as it is the very anime that got me hooked into Japanese animation and turned into a self proclaimed otaku. Ah, those were the days. So when I heard that there was going to be another anime adaption from the author of Ranma 1/2, I didn’t hesitate to put it on my watch list. No, it is not a remake of Ranma 1/2, but another work of hers, Kyoukai No Rinne. I have not read any of her manga works and so far the only anime adapted works that I have seen from her are Ranma 1/2, Inu Yasha and Maison Ikkoku. But having watched the latter trio, I can safely assume that there is going to be some sort of pattern and trademark that is uniquely Rumiko Takahashi. Right? Supernatural. Polyamory romance. A bit of action. Comedic moments. Yeah. Sounds a lot like her work. Ah well. Time to dive into more nostalgia even though the setting is in the current modern era of Japan.

Episode 1
When Sakura Mamiya was young, she found herself at the border of this world and the next. Though, the ghost lady tells her to leave and forget about this place. Fast forward to the future, Sakura can still see ghosts but chooses to ignore some of the pesky ones. There is a seat in class next to Sakura by Rinne Rokudou who has been absent for a month. Today he makes his debut. However judging from the reaction of the teacher and classmates who still act like Rinne is absent, could this mean he is a ghost? She witnesses him summon a giant Chihuahua that eventually devours him. The next day, here he is again but surprised! Everybody can see and talk to him. When Sakura talks to her friends, Miho and Rika about some haunting ghost call, Rinne interjects and he knows a solution. He tells them to leave some food offering in some thermometer shelter. Although Sakura sees Rinne blatantly take the food and eat, her friends see it as the shelter opening and the food disappearing. They freak out and run away. Sakura grabs Rinne and wants an explanation. Seems this robe from the Underworld allows him to be invisible to human eyes but somehow Sakura is an exception. She is not amused he created some superstition to trick her friends but he asserts he did not and needed to support himself. After Rinne picks up a call from Miho (Rika dropped her handphone), subsequently another threatening call from a guy to meet behind the gym. As they wait, he never turned up so it is concluded he might have died. It is time for Rinne to do his job. Sakura wants to help but is told to go home. Although she could see spirits, she has never done any exorcism job before. Rinne’s job is to guide lost spirits for reincarnation. But since he needs some money to make a call from his ghost phone to trace the call, he lets her tag along.

They find a student cycling when a pot was dropped on his head. They bring him to the gym but he is amnesiac and without any clues it will be hard to find his lingering attachment and make him pass over. When their teacher, Suzuki passes a second-hand jersey to Rinne, he is so happy to keep it but the ghost reacts. Sakura asks Suzuki for a back story so he explains this jersey belonged to his friend who also shared the same name. They accidentally swapped jerseys and he wanted it back. That is why he called to meet. But he never turned up and he has been keeping it ever since. But Rinne doesn’t want to let go of the jersey! Sakura shows the ghost guy to Suzuki and he confirms it is his friend. Rinne reluctantly gives the jersey and passes over. Suzuki remembers getting a haunting call after the day he died so he changed his phone. That number eventually ended up in Rika’s phone. On the way back, Rinne catches that Chihuahua ghost. That pesky ghost is also here and it seems his lingering attachment is that he never got the chance to talk to girls but Sakura was the first one. Somehow he merged with the dog and Rinne could sense he is becoming an evil spirit. When ghost guy asks Sakura out, she rejects him. He turns malicious. Rinne takes Sakura and flies away to the border world. He explains his attachment to Sakura is what made him stay. He dragged her along so as to guide him back to reincarnation. He begs her for 500 Yen so he could buy some fire wheel to separate them and send them over. That is just what it did. So how do you convince the lonely guy to pass on? There are girls on the other side too. And he is on his way… Sakura has a familiar feeling she has been to this place before so Rinne apologizes for bringing her to this place as no living thing should be here. She asks him who he is. A shinigami. Sort of. Back in school, the thermometer shelter rumour spreads and Rinne takes full advantage of it…

Episode 2
Sakura hears all her classmates having the same threatening dream to leave offerings at the thermometer shelter or risk being cursed. Thinking this is the work of Rinne, she catches him in the blatant act of hauling all the offerings (he is invisible of course). However he denies ever doing such evil things because whenever there are offerings made, he still helps out with the wishes. Tamako pops out behind Rinne. Woah! This young lady is his grandma???!!! She hates being called that and loves being praised as young. Sakura has a strange feeling of seeing her somewhere before. Tamako admits she was helping Rinne out with the threatening dreams. Otherwise how could he have gotten so much offering? Since he is unappreciative, she confiscates it. He follows her back but Sakura accidentally tags along. His robe rips and she falls down into the woods. Luckily she manages to find her way out to the temple festival and after dodging a persistent granny trying to sell her some golf stick, a rabbit urges her to come along with her on a boat ride. Rinne enlists Tamako’s help to find Sakura and bad news she is at the lake that will lead her to reincarnation. Since Sakura is alive, this act is very much like killing herself. It took Sakura a while to realize that all around her are contented old folks. They even ask her if she is sure to move on and has got her affairs in order. She is so affected by their contentment, she believes she has no regrets. However the thought of not giving back Rinne’s ripped robe bugs her. This causes the platform below her to give way. Rinne saves her but the rabbit intercepts. While he fights and defeats the rabbit, Sakura remembers something familiar. When she was young and went to visit grandma, a rabbit lured her and she found herself at the temple festival. If not for Tamako, she could have been dead meat. That is when she remembers of coming to this place. As explained, that rabbit is a Damashigami (fake shinigami) and is trying to trick living humans into reincarnation to fill their spirit quota. Remembering who Tamako is, she asks her the reason why she is able to see ghosts ever since. Normally you can’t unless you eat something in this place. Oh wait. Tamako may have bought her some snacks when Sakura requested. So it’s her fault? Rinne leaves with Sakura back to the living world. He declines Tamako’s invitation to live with her. Sakura wonders why he can’t do that. It’s because she is a shinigami. So? Rinne isn’t one but a human. Sort of. Hey wait. What? I’m confused. Meanwhile, Riko and Miho see Sakura and think she is going out with Rinne.

Episode 3
Confused, Sakura asks about Rinne’s background. It all started 50 years ago when Tamako went to collect the soul of a handsome young man whose life was shortened by illness. Charmed by his sweet words, she fell in love with him. They married and due to some arrangements, his life extended for another 50 years before passing on. You can guess Rinne is their grandchild. As she asks for his parents, he is not willing to speak. Miho calls Sakura about the will-o-wisp she saw at the old clubhouse. She wonders if the spirit is mad due to its upcoming demolition. As she wants to ascertain it, she hopes Sakura could follow her. The next day they go there but a giant monster cat scares Sakura’s pals. Rinne shortly chases it away. This leaves Sakura wondering if the monster cat is a ghost since her friends can see it. Along the way, she sees an injured kitten and takes it home to treat it. She then sees it trying to steal some rice tuna she offered. As she chases it, she enters a portal that brings her to the clubhouse. The kitten turns into a little cat kid, Rokumon who claims he is doing this for Rinne. That will-o-wisp is just a candle. I suppose some explanation is in place. Because he is so poor, he needs a place to live rent-free after being evicted from his grandpa’s place. Rokumon as he came from orders from Tamako, wants him to sign a contract since shinigami and black cats work together but he won’t citing he cannot pay him. Rokumon tries all dirty tricks to make him sign including tempting him with freebies but Rinne just won’t.

After Rinne sends Sakura home, Rokumon continues explaining about Rinne’s predicament. After Tamako married grandpa, there were some conditions. One of them was to allow her to stay in the human only when her husband was alive and the other she must meet the spirit quota 10 times. She agreed and of course failed. This means Rinne has to bear the debt now. As he is not a full shinigami, he needs to consider buying to tools to help in his exorcism. That is why Rokumon wants to help him. He has a favour of Sakura and that is together a crowd at the clubroom. His plan is to scare them so they will offer lots of offering and thus end up with a high paying contract. Too bad Rinne sniffed out his plan as he found the real letter from Tamako. He was fired and was told there might be a job opening with Rinne. The clubhouse demolition is about to begin but ghost mice start running out in frenzy before turning into a giant rat. Looks like it doesn’t want his home destroyed. Rinne fights it and doesn’t want the freeloader to hog his home. Look who is talking. Rinne needs to borrow money from Sakura to buy shinigami tools but she forgot her purse. They can’t win at this rate. Suddenly Rokumon pounds and defeats the rat. All for free. The demolition is cancelled as they think it is a warning from the gods. Rokumon is about to pack his bags and leave but Rinne offers him to stay by his side. Though happy but poorly paid.

Episode 4
When Rinne goes to see any requests from the thermometer shelter, he sees a ghost guy pleading for help before being attacked. Rinne is also attacked by Tsubasa Juumonji thinking he is a ghost (as he is in the robe) but he manages to flee. Rinne picks up a dropped picture of young Sakura with several ghosts around her. Tsubasa turns out to be the new transfer student in Sakura’s class. First thing he goes up to Sakura and asks if she remembers him even though they were in the same elementary class for a short while. Of course she doesn’t. Heart breaking, isn’t it? Time for a short flashback. As Tsubasa could also see ghosts, it makes him awkward to make normal friends. As he was to give up, that is when he met Sakura and learnt she could also see ghosts. They become friends and he instantly likes her. However as he comes from a family of exorcists and his dad frequently has to move around the country, Tsubasa was forced to follow him around and left without saying goodbye. Now Tsubasa asks if she would like to go out with him! But here comes Rinne. Tsubasa is surprised he is not a ghost. Is the cat fight starting? Although Rinne claims he is not interested in such stuffs (and Sakura doesn’t belong to him, blah, blah, blah) but you can clearly see his annoyed reaction. Like as though he cares but is too tsundere for it. Tsubasa continues to be persistent in asking Sakura for an answer. But since it is not like she is dating Rinne, I guess she’s fine starting out as friends with him. Happy enough? Rinne is trying to help that ghost guy hook up with Miho since he likes her and died before he could have a chance to enrol in this school. Miho agrees to go out with him when Tsubasa interrupts. With Sakura trying to intervene too, Miho suggests a double date. Well… Tsubasa doesn’t know what he did but he is so happy he already is going on a date with Sakura. You gonna be okay, Rinne? So as not to be left out and for more excitement, I guess that is when Rika asks him if he would like to join in with her too.

At the amusement park, while Tsubasa pays for Sakura, since Rinne is willing to pay for ghost guy (seriously, he has no money), he is also forced to pay for Miho and Rika. Sakura sees through Rika’s plan to clean him out. This month is going to be really tough. Because of his poor state, Rinne aces at the crane game as a way to save money. Tsubasa tries to impress Sakura with it but sucks so Rinne takes over and gets the dolphin doll she wants. She is grateful and will forever cherish it. He is somewhat smitten with her sweet smile. While taking a break, Rika talks to Sakura if she plans to go out with Rinne. Although he was her date, she could see him staring at Sakura all the time. Well, now he is staring at his empty wallet… During the Ferris Wheel ride, the ghost guy is very happy with his date that he passes over. The girls are distracted by the fireworks so they didn’t see him disappear. But they start realizing he is a ghost at the end of it. Luckily they didn’t fear him since he was such a good ghost. Back home, Rokumon asks Rinne about his date but he denies it is that and all part of his exorcism job. Yeah, that was one hell of an expensive exorcism job. Rinne can’t get Sakura’s smile out of his mind. Starting to think she’s cute?

Episode 5
Rinne is happy to see a wanted ghost poster. This means he can earn some money. Meanwhile in Sakura’s class, there are child handprints all over the place but on Tsubasa’s table, it is even worse with writings of vengeance. When Tsubasa smokes the ghost out, it runs. Hey, doesn’t it look like the wanted ghost? Rinne sees it and captures it. Back in his room, his joy is short-lived when the ghost turns into the world famous elementary school toilet ghost girl. Unfortunately Rinne has no idea who Hanako is! She relates her aggravation that Tsubasa exorcised her out of her favourite toilet and she was left wandering in the sky (that is why people heard less about her these days). She is back to get her revenge and won’t pass on till she does so. Well, the rematch with Tsubasa… She wraps him up with toilet paper and flushes him down with toilet water. Literally, isn’t that playing dirty? But she’s not done yet. She wants more revenge. She has that wanted ghost, Toichi to help with her vengeance. Rinne talks to Tamako to find out more about Toichi. It is made up of many evil spirits and it is giving Hanako its power. As Hanako initially didn’t possess the power to harm others, she must have taken out a ‘loan’ with Toichi’s power to do so. This means if she fails to repay it, then it might take payment another way.

Now Hanako is ‘vandalizing’ the toilets with her trademark. Sakura feels sorry for her after hearing her story but Rinne notes they have to act fast for Hanako’s sake. Tsubasa has returned with a special bazooka with more power to exorcist Hanako. She runs and wants Toichi to grant more power. Before she could take it all, Rinne saves her and reminds her about the fine print. In exchange for all the power she gets, the price to pay is ultimately herself. Toichi preys on weak spirits and will soon absorb her and make itself bigger. Tsubasa thought he could do the honours by finishing Toichi but his bazooka only made it split into several smaller parts. Rokumon returns with Rinne’s scythe. He once had it but had to pawn it off to cover his living expenses. He took a loan for it. The scythe purifies some of Toichi. Who’s next? Toichi decides to target Hanako as a ghost like her is a great power source. Tsubasa realizes it was his fault that made Hanako’s grudge. After apologizing to her, he takes out his Bible and starts whacking Toichi! Now I know another use for the trusty heavy book. Rinne then purifies the rest. Hanako wonders why Tsubasa saved her. Had he allowed Hanako to be absorbed, his conscience would never let him rest since it was his fault that she lost her home. Hanako forgives him and with no more regrets, she is ready to pass on. Rinne thought his poor life is over after collecting the reward. However it was immediately seized to cover some of his debts. Back to square one. Tsubasa wonders if Sakura likes Rinne because she can smile to him like that. Or maybe she is just pitying him.

Episode 6
When Miho helped a lady, she warned her about a shrine by the street that has voices. Curiosity got the better of her as she brings her friends there. They really hear voices. But the voice of several kids. Sakura even sees ghost of hands of the kids stretching out! She goes to report this to Rinne but he is in the middle of attending a client. This guy feels something is wrong with his little brother, Hiroshi. When they visit the family home, they can tell this is not the real Hiroshi. This monster cat is impersonating as him and wreaking havoc in the home. Rinne is going to exorcise him but his scythe breaks! As Tsubasa goes after it, the rest learn that Hiroshi’s friends have gone missing except for Taichi who is still safe. Sakura senses something amiss and brings Rokumon to the shrine. They confirm those voices are Hiroshi and his friends trapped in here. Even Taichi is here. Eh? When Tsubasa follows Hiroshi to Taichi’s place, it seems Taichi is also being impersonated by the monster cat as they paralyze him. Hiroshi explains who it all happened. When the friends walk home one night, they stumbled upon this lady who told them about a monster cat sealed inside this shrine. Curious, they accidentally break it open but found nothing. On the way home, the monster cats attack Hiroshi and Taichi for breaking their home and subsequently capture the rest and place them inside the shrine. Rinne comes to Tsubasa’s rescue but since his scythe is broken, he has to use his fire wheel. Since the monster cats love moving things, they chase after it.

Rokumon thought he could scare them but he got bullied. Thanks to his encyclopaedia, Sakura informs Rinne the method of sealing the monster cats to free the kids. They have to put stuffs they like as bait to lure them back inside the shrine and seal them. So what are cats’ favourite stuffs? Fatty tuna! Rinne shoots down that idea because fatty tuna is freaking expensive! Is there any other cheaper way? Rinne uses his broken scythe as a cat toy to lure them back into the shrine but the lady won’t allow it and knocks a kettle on his head. Although the kids are freed, Rinne and the monster cats are trapped inside it. The lady is actually a Damashigami. Tsubasa reluctantly frees Rinne (because Sakura is pleading) and calls it even. He takes over the exorcism. First, he orders a jumbo plate of tuna sushi the monster cats can’t resist. Then he fires a special flavoured holy ash filled with catnip to make them drowsy before exorcising them. The kids regret what they do and will reflect their actions after being lectured by Rinne. Hiroshi gives a thousand yen as thanks and suddenly that guy starts prostrating as thanks. Suddenly no class… With this money he is able to fix his scythe. Meanwhile the Damashigami reports back to her boss about her failure thanks to a certain shinigami. As he asks her to describe that person, she says he has the same red hair as him.

Episode 7
When Sakura hears her friends talking about some biker dude crashing into a pole in an accident, she sees his spirit stuck there. Then there is this bat guy (sorry, not Batman) writing a curse on his forehead (he spelt wrongly) before taking him away. In school, Sakura sees Rinne dumbfounded with a request. She notices the note has lots of spelling errors. Then they go meet their clients, Suzu Minami and Tomoya Tadano who also have the similar letter. Sakura takes a look at it and recognizes the same handwriting and spelling errors. Suddenly the biker spirit tries to strangle Suzu but thanks to Suzu’s wrestling moves, the spirit runs away. She explains the biker guy is her boyfriend, Reiji. He was on his way to pick her up when he got into an accident. Rinne realizes he is not dead yet. They see him in coma at the hospital. They must quickly retrieve his spirit and bring it back to his body to wake him up. When Reiji comes back, Suzu and Tomoya can see him. Seems Reiji is jealous thinking Suzu is dating Tomoya after he crashed. Of course this is just a great misunderstanding. Rinne is going to use his underworld vacuum to suck him back into his body but intercepted by that bat boy, Masato who is a demon. He knows Rinne and has a deep grudge. 6 years ago when Masato was out to collect souls as his school project, he tried to reap the soul of a dying rabbit but was intercepted by Rinne who told him the rabbit isn’t really dead yet. He even nursed the rabbit back to health. Each time Masato tries to reap a dying soul, there Rinne is to foil his plan. And so he failed his assignment and that is when he vowed to get his revenge. Yeah, so petty and narrow minded. I guess that is why his name is so. Oh, he even spelt his name wrongly! Masato takes Reiji’s spirit back to hell and is going to let Rinne pay back all the humiliation with interests.

With Masato twisting Reiji’s mind, they have to bring his spirit back fast or he’ll turn into an evil spirit. Sakura suggests talking about good memories to hasten his will to want to come back. Let’s see, all the good memories are those of her doing wrestling moves on him. Those are their happy memories? Or is it hers? It’s amazing he is still with her. Rokumon is not pleased that Rinne is going to work on this case free since Reiji is a casualty of their spat. However Masato left a cash card and Rokumon thought of cleaning it out since an easy pin number is written on it. Could it be a trap or is he just stupid? Although Reiji’s ghostly haunting on Suzu is weak, Tomoya gets motorcycle tracks run over him! This causes Suzu to be upset over his stupidity. She hates him and won’t visit him anymore. Reiji feels heartbroken and this is all part of Masato’s plan to break their bonds. He also mentions the cash card trap but it is lame and non-life threatening. Just a Jack-in-a-box trick? Sakura tries to convince Reiji to get back on track but as long as the curse is on him, he will still be under Masato’s influence. It gets even worst when Masato throws him a Photoshop picture of Suzu and Tomoya kissing. Rinne returns and uses cleansing sheets to remove the curse. Although Reiji regains his normal personality, what he has done cannot be taken back. He believes Suzu must hate him. Resigned to his fate, he tells Sakura if Suzu ever finds it, throw it out. Masato traps him in his bottle and brings him to hell. Rinne follows closely behind. Sakura tries to find out what Reiji meant but Suzu is unsure of what it is. Because on the day he crashed, it was her birthday. He must be trying to give her something and Sakura believes he lost it at the crash spot. It must be very important to him since he became a living spirit to look for it.

Episode 8
How can Rinne enter hell without a pass card? He needs to pay if he wants to enter. He just breaks through! The guard is going to arrest him for illegal entry but Rinne uses a conveniently placed banana to slip through. That banana was placed by Masato to see how far Rinne will go to save Reiji. Sakura and Rokumon scout the area for Reiji’s lost thing. They find a little present and give it to Suzu. Inside is a pair of rings she always wanted. That guilty feeling now. Rinne continues to chase Masato wondering why he is interested in Reiji’s spirit. After breaking a few more stuffs, Masato reveals his plan to make Rinne rake up debt in hell and be put in the lowest level of hell. Because the eternal manual labour is never paid, the debt can never be fully paid. That is where Rinne will forever perish. Reiji’s spirit is just bait to lure him here. Masato throws it deep down into the depths but Rinne dives down to save it. Rokumon brings Sakura to hell and explains about the many hell sections as well as the sophisticated technology it currently adopts. They see all the destruction Rinne left behind and this is not a good sign. Sakura clearly has not enough to pay all this. Don’t worry. Rokumon kept all the cash cards Masato threw at him then. One of them is real because it written on it. Is it a trap? Or is he that stupid? The ATM is gushing out with cash!!! Rinne grabs the bottle but it is fake. Masato shows him the shopping arcade in hell. There is also the branch of the repair shop where he sent his scythe. Because Rinne has no money, he cannot claim it so Masato buys it on his behalf and tries to kill him with his own scythe. Rinne thought he could work part time fast to earn fast cash but since he is dealing with a typical government, he isn’t going to get paid soon.

Sakura and Rokumon fly down to throw him all the money from Masato’s savings. But Masato isn’t alarmed. This is yet another trap because that account is filled with fake money and the moment they use it in a shop, they’ll be jailed. However Rinne uses the bills as part of his tornado technique to slam Masato down. The guards want to know who forge the bills and this is severely punishable. Surprisingly, Rinne stops Rokumon from revealing the culprit and instead says he doesn’t know. Although he admits he did damage some property, he claims his ‘friend’ here will pay for him. Why would he go so far as to defend Masato because had he revealed the perpetrator he could be exempted from paying the admission and all the repair fees. Instantly Masato would gladly pay for Rinne’s part. After retrieving Reiji and making their way out, that guy is still gloomy. Sakura tells him to look at his left hand. He sees the ring and remembers. Soon, he wakes up in hospital and Suzu and Tomoya couldn’t be happier (the latter because he wants him to pay back the money he lent for the rings!). With the case solved, Rinne is impressed with Sakura and says she could be a first rate shinigami with training. Not interested but instead she reminds him the money he owes her. He quickly changes the subject back to shinigami training…

Episode 9
It is the cultural festival at Sakura’s school. While taking out the trash, a blonde wig flies out and back to the drama club where it continues to fly around and annoy the members. As the gang finds out, the drama club found some old props in the storage and wanted to get rid of it and that’s when this wig started harassing them. No matter how they get rid of it, it comes back. Rinne deduces this wig is some sort of tsukumogami, an object old enough that a spirit inhabits it. Talking to it, they find out it was cut out from some play and the only way it is ever going to find peace is to be reinstated in that play. However the drama club has been playing so many plays, it is like a middle in a haystack. The wig doesn’t remember its role except that one of the props was glass slippers. Isn’t that Cinderella? However no girls would want to wear this creepy wig. Then it hints to Sakura. She has no qualms wearing it but warns she can’t act. As they rehearse, when certain lines take place, it isn’t happy and starts kicking. When they go through the script, they find a line cut out. Seems like the Cinderella play didn’t want a horse then and cut it out from production. So this wig is actually a horse’s tail? Case solved. When Rinne returns to his home, he sees a ghost pumpkin seeking his help. Back in the maid café classroom, Sakura’s friends point out to her that their friend Mari is talking to herself. But Sakura sees her talking to a handsome guy. Could it be a ghost? Tsubasa senses and evil spirit and smokes the entire place. Although the spirit is gone, it left a note for Mari to meet at the rooftop. He is trying to lure her to jump but luckily Rinne smashes the pumpkin into her face. Rinne is not pleased this Damashigami is using a dirty trick to lure those to their untimely deaths.

When Mari comes to, she has no memories of trying to jump off. She says that guy is Kimura, a senior from her middle school whom every girl admires. She tried to confess but he already graduated by then. That’s why she felt so happy when he came to see her today. Rinne breaks the bad news that Kimura died a year ago. This pumpkin is him. Apparently some pumpkin guy approached him and switched his face before he went to heaven. Now he is running rampage as all those admirer girls are swooning over him. He tricks them to vanish into his castle by luring them with their love letters. Mari cannot resist and also follows the fan girls. Rinne believes he will come back because he has laid out a trap. What trap? Next thing we know, Rinne dresses up as a maid! True enough that greedy fake comes back. I wonder how Rinne wrote that love letter amidst the chaos so fast. The fake mistakes Sakura as the admirer and takes her away. Rinne struggles with him and they get transported to his castle. Inside the room, they see all the fan girls being smitten by Kimura clones. It is the Damashigami’s plan to gather all the victims and send them to the afterlife all at once. Rinne uses some magic wand to turn the clones into dolls and switch Kimura’s face back. But now all the girls are fixated with the real Kimura. While Rinne fights pumpkin dude, the latter is disappointed to find out Rinne is a guy. He really believed he was a girl?! But there is a problem. Because the girls are willing to die to be with Kimura, they can’t leave this place till their obsession with Kimura is overcome. This is when Kimura reveals that he likes older woman! MILF lover! Oh, the heartbreak… The disappointment! So disappointing that pumpkin dude just ‘died’ and that is how everyone is freed and returned to their world. In the aftermath of the festival, Rinne wins the drag queen contest and receives supplies of instant noodles. Not bad, eh? All thanks to the maid outfit! All hail the maid outfit!

Episode 10
Rokumon tells Rinne they can earn some money if they catch Damashigamis. However Rokumon has flu and it spreads to Rinne. A doctor and nurse come to check on Rinne as sent by a relative. However it is soon discovered that they are Damashigamis in disguise targeting him. Rinne easily defeats them but before they could talk, something shut them up. After Rokumon goes to get the reward, he tries to cash it out but finds the account not only zero balance but negative balance! Then pops up Rinne’s twin brother, Sabato. Wait a minute. You mean this young looking dude is his FATHER???!!! It seems Sabato is the one responsible for the ‘vanishing money’. Because Rinne is the guarantor, whatever loan Sabato fails to pay will fall back on the guarantor. So Rinne is working to pay back this loan and not Tamako’s? Sabato claims he perpetrated the Damashigami attack for his sake. Outside, Sabato’s underlings are trying to reap the souls of all the guys in the school but were quickly stopped in their tracks. Sabato wants Rinne to return with him and become a Damashigami. He is sure his son will come. His mother wished for it too. For the record, Sabato is the boss of his own company, Damashigami Company LLC. Now that Sakura and Tsubasa heard this, I guess there is no point in hiding this embarrassing story. Rinne thought he could go back and rest but Sabato took his tatami! Why that evil father! And so Rinne chases after him (see, what did Sabato said about him coming to him) but it is just bait as he gets absorbed into the tatami. Flashback shows 10 years ago when Rinne was still living with his grandparents, Tamako had just successfully cleared her loan. Sometimes Sabato would come home to steal Rinne’s piggy bank, cooking up lies he is saving to go see his mom. Gee, Rinne clearly remembered he told him she died.

Sabato takes Rinne to a hall where a bevy of beauties are excitedly waiting for them. What is this? They are all part of a competition to see who gets to become Rinne’s mom? And it feels like an audition because there are going to be several rounds… Interestingly, they are all Sabato’s girlfriend and they love him not because of some spell. Well, he does provide them luxurious items. So that’s where the money went. That’s where the debt came from. So I suppose this guy loves them all so much that he can’t choose which and decided to hold this tournament, eh? Son is not amused. But Sabato captures his friends and threatens if he doesn’t get engaged and take over his company (which is of course filled with debts), he will send his friends for reincarnation. Too bad Rinne didn’t stay long to hear him rant as he is already starting to look for them. Although Sakura and Tsubasa are separated, they easily escape their cage since it’s unlock. Sabato isn’t fazed because getting out of it means food for the Damashigamis. But he didn’t count of them being such weak asses. Rinne has a hard time trying to fend off all the girls trying to get a hold of him. Tsubasa is displeased that he is frolicking around with other girls (does he look like it?) but still saves his ass. He wonders what Sakura sees in him. A shady fortune teller wants to sell him a charm that will increase his love chance. Tsubasa knows it is a scam but eventually succumbs to it. Sakura is about to get owned by a couple of Damashigamis but Tsubasa saves her. This has him to believe the special love charm he bought for 5,000 Yen worked. Yeah, he just got ripped off. They arrive in the banquet hall where the ceremony is to take place. It seems this isn’t only the induction of the new president but an engagement announcement too.

Episode 11
Sabato thinks he can fool everyone with a puppet of Rinne saying he agrees to get married. But here comes the real Rinne to dismiss all that. Why would he not want to marry a pretty girl? Unless… There is someone he likes! Is it a human girl? With Rinne trying to change the subject, everybody knows he is a big failure in trying to hide this. Rinne is here to take down his company and not inherit it. I’m sure all those memories of how daddy swiped his money with lame excuses that he’ll hold on to it or get better stuffs for him is making his blood boil. Thus Sabato accepts his challenge but of course if Rinne loses, he’ll have to inherit the company. Sabato has a trick up his sleeve. With his blood sucking fire wheel, anything it touches will turn the objects into money! I don’t know what the idea is when Tsubasa buys all the cutlery for Rinne to throw as it only turns it all into money and Sabato could be laughing all the way to the bank. Even if everything he converts is company’s property. A mysterious seal returns Rokumon to Sakura as well as a map to Sabato’s office. When a supplier is here to collect payment, Rinne uses his tornado technique to direct all of Sabato’s earned cash to the supplier and paid off all the bills! Sabato is defeated but is confident Rinne can never escape from him for he has a forged seal in Rinne’s name and with that he can use it to access his account and use all his money. Speaking of that, Sakura and Rokumon are in Sabato’s office and find a safe. It’s a really easy to remember password (based on Sabato’s name). Inside contains all the stuffs that Sabato converted to cash with his fire wheel.

When the safe security alarm goes off, everyone rushes to there to stop Sakura but Tsubasa and Rokumon get in their way. Sabato won’t let Rinne got to Sakura’s aid and instead will take drastic measures. He is trying to force Rinne to put his thumbprint on his loan debt! Luckily Sakura returns with his scythe, earning the ire of the other girls who think she is trying to get ahead of them in Rinne’s hand in marriage. Sabato can’t use his fire wheel because the seal is juggling with it. Suddenly marriage registration forms scatter. Sabato shoots paint all over Rinne and uses banana peels to make him slip. Aha! Now he’s got his hand mark on the form. Sabato is about to declare Rinne’s bride when he realizes this is actually a loan form guised as a marriage registration form. It was his own doing. All the girls are upset that Sabato duped them. They want to settle this themselves when Sabato surprisingly admits defeat and wants Rinne to smack him in the face. The rest knows it is a trap because it is his scheme to get his handprint. Luckily Rinne punches him. The seal reveals to be Tamako who puts her foot down on Sabato’s farce. The other girls wonder who this old grandma is. Wrong word! Please respect the president’s mom! Hope they learn their lesson. Tamako then announces Rinne is dating Sakura! Rinne know this is a lie to get them out and end this situation but is Sakura okay with this? Well, she doesn’t seem bothered since it’s just a lie, right? Tsubasa must be damn relieved. Sabato wants to shake hands to make up. Why is he wearing gloves? He doesn’t learn, doesn’t he? Rinne and co return not only with a new tatami, but also his account book, forged seal and some cash to pay off the debts. Though, Tamako said he couldn’t get him out as the guarantor. Maybe Rinne is cured from his influenza illness. But I can make a good guess from another kind of ‘illness’ he is suffering since he continues to be bothered if Sakura was bothered by that turn of events.

Episode 12
When Ageha was young, she admired her sister who was a great shinigami. One day she left to defeat the Damashigami boss and never returned. Rika is happy she scored 100% in her test thanks to this pencil. Hmm… Doesn’t it look creepy? Rumours have it that the pencil is only sold by some shady salesman and those who use it and get 100% in their test will go missing subsequently. Rika brushes off the rumour and makes her way. To where? Rinne spots Rika and the rest of the other students with the pencil entering a portal. Rinne follows them in hopes of catching the Damashigami behind this. However he is attacked by Ageha who mistakes him for the Damashigami. When the shady salesman pops up, she realizes her mistake. They go after him to his shady warehouse. Rinne gets motivated to take down the warehouse because there’s bounty. In the end, all of them are rounded up and the victims are freed. Ageha is impressed with Rinne and the way he thinks especially he was thinking about the victims unlike her who was only obsessed in taking down the Damashigami. She tells him he can keep the bounty as there is a reason she is chasing down Damashigamis. Too bad he isn’t here to listen to her entire story. Sakura is relieved Rika has thrown away the creepy pencil but notices a camera staring at her. Rokumon and Rinne joke about Ageha willing to give them all the bounty and she might come back after changing her mind. You don’t say… Here she comes! Instantly Rinne hides the money and kicks her out! Don’t worry. She still doesn’t want your money.

She tells him about her family background. Her family was once an elite shinigami doing their responsibilities well. But over a year ago, her sister vanished. Then recently she got a postcard from her sister. Seems she is having the time of her life with her new boyfriend! Hey wait! Isn’t that Sabato?! OMG! Good thing or not, she cannot see the resemblance between father and son. Suddenly a Damashigami pops up to pass Rinne an invoice. It is for the emotional damages he suffered thanks to the flu he passed. He quickly tears up the invoice and will help Ageha in her quest. She is so happy that she holds his hands. Sakura walks in and sees this. Oops. Ageha runs away in embarrassment and I supposed when you’re in love, her memories start to get a little off. Her mind portrays Rinne as a cool guy. Rinne explains the misunderstanding to Sakura that Ageha isn’t her friend and just met her the first time today. They catch the camera spying on them before it self destructs. They figure somebody is spying on Sakura from the afterlife. But who? The culprit is no other than Sabato. His secretary is Ageha’s sister, Bijin. She wonders why Sabato is fixated on this. He believes Rinne is attached to the mortal realm is because of this human girl. He needs to do something about this. Sakura walks home and her mind is bothered by that holding hand incident. It’s really bugging her. Before she knows it, she is surrounded by lots of ghosts. Meanwhile Rinne is also bothered by Sakura sawing them hold hands. I guess his worrisome means his memories are off too because what the heck is that staring competition between Sakura and Ageha?! He senses a portal opening and that Sakura may have gone into it. Time to go after her. Ageha returns to Rinne’s place but he is not around. She sees the portal and also heads in.

Episode 13
The ghosts are bugging Sakura to help them rest in peace. She tries to ignore them and wandered into the portal. She senses something amiss when they tell her to deposit a large sum of money for them to pass on. Noticing a zipper, she unzips them to reveal their Damashigami identity. Now it has come to this, they’re going to take her to the afterlife. Luckily Rinne saves the day. Bijin pops up and is impressed with Sakura for she had watched her all day (revealing herself as the peeper). She gives Rinne an engagement ring to give to Sakura because if they’re married, they can inherit the company. She also gives them an invoice for the ring! However Sakura says she can’t accept it as they are only classmates. Still bothered about that hand holding incident? I wonder how Rinne is holding up after hearing this. Not good. Ageha pops up to fight Bijin. The latter’s mask cracks and Ageha is shocked to see her sister. It gets complicated when Sabato is here too. Bijin explains she fell in love with Sabato on her own will and not by some trap or something. She became her secretary to be close to him. Sabato takes the engagement ring and thinks of giving it to Bijin. I mean, they’re going pretty steady, right? After all, the ring is paid for by his son. More complication when Ageha realizes Rinne and Sabato are related. She is mad for being deceived. Sabato escapes so the rest give chase. Ageha wants to know where Damashigami Company is but Rinne isn’t sure. Weren’t they there the last time? They were brought there. And since Sabato changes the route every day, getting there is tough. Like how Ageha fell into a pit trap after following the fake signs.

She is trapped in a spider web but a fellow undercover shinigami saves her and needs her help. Just sign on this contract. She is about to when Rinne saves her from being conned by this Damashigami. She almost got herself swamped with debts. Rinne painfully watches how Ageha casually dishes out large sums of cash to Damashigamis outright swindling her. He can’t believe she is this sheltered and naïve. Not sure if she’s being tsundere because she still won’t thank him after countless savings. Meanwhile Sakura also has her fair share of Damashigamis trying to con her. Especially Rinne clones! They’re trying to give her their engagement ring! Of course she refuses them all. Then the real Rinne cuts them up and claims to have gotten their engagement ring back. However he slips before he could put it on her finger and Sakura unveils him to be yet another Damashigami. Rinne returns to help Ageha defeat a monster (because it had a million yen bounty on its head). He continues reminding her that he also hates Damashigami. That is when she starts hugging him because she felt so scared! And then Sakura sees this. Oh no. Not again… Rokumon collects the bounty and Sakura has never been this eager to leave for home. By the way, Ageha is still clinging onto him. Rinne cannot sleep that night thanks the incessant worrying of that misunderstanding. Ageha too can’t sleep but for a totally opposite reason. Sakura on the contrary is soundly sleeping. But she seems to be sleep talking how naggy everyone is.

Episode 14
Sakura spots a ghost girl at the pool. She cannot hear what she says but it seems she is trying hard to communicate. Instead of always relying on Rinne (I think it is still getting to her), since Tsubasa offers himself, she tells him about this. Almost every photo taken has this ghost girl in it and a weird signature. So I guess this is an excuse for Tsubasa to go to the pool with her. Like a date, huh? Meanwhile Rinne is hearing out a couple. A boyfriend is in some spaced out state ever since coming back from the pool. With some information from Ageha and to meet at the pool’s haunted house attraction, I guess he is going too. Tsubasa must be happy to be alive to see Sakura in her swimsuit. They see the ghost girl, Rina Mizuki and try to talk to her. Seems she is some sort of idol trying to make her debut. Tsubasa misinterprets her to be a bounded ghost and fires his holy ash. This only scares away the customers and upsets Rina as she flees. I guess this proves she isn’t a bounded ghost. Meanwhile Rinne thought Ageha is here to play since she is all dressed up. She explains the haunted house has ties with Damashigami who are targeting couples. The only way to find out is to enter as a couple. I can think of another good reason why she is doing this. Rinne has to accompany her since she is loaded with cash. Sakura spots them… Tsubasa and Sakura’s investigation also takes them to the haunted house. Tsubasa thinks he can protect Sakura but he forgot Sakura can see ghosts and isn’t afraid of them. Seems there are real ghosts in here too so they try to go after it. Tsubasa is so happy he got to hold Sakura’s hands that his spirit almost came out from his body! Luckily hiding Rinne threw his sandal to knock him out. Actually he isn’t so pleased to see them ‘dating’.

Ageha steals Rinne and in the well she is trying to seduce him! Is she getting desperate now? She has information that whenever a girl gets close to a guy, after he blushes, his soul will get fished out. It means whenever the guy gets dirty thoughts, his soul is pulled out. Using this reason to catch the Damashigami, she wants Rinne to do perverted stuffs to her! Unfortunately… That’s right. Sakura heard the commotion in the well and takes a peek. Oh… Sorry to interrupt. Rinne goes after her and tries to clear things up but she ignores him. Ageha feels upset for being abandoned and unleashes her graveyard maze. Great. Now everybody is lost. Rinne explains about the fishing spirits thing and several of those ghost guys confirm it. Ageha is trying to find Rinne and stumbles several Damashigamis trying to fish souls and knocks them out. Sakura wonders what happened to Rina. She is at the stage trying to get everyone’s attention. Obviously they can’t see her and she gets mad they’re trying to ignore her. In her rage, she causes a power outage. Just when our gang reunites, the power goes out. Tsubasa and Ageha mistakenly hug each other thinking the other is Sakura and Rinne respectively. Their soul gets fished out. Rinne and Sakura discover a lonely ghost guy is the one responsible for this. He explains his story of wanting to come here with a girl once but died before he could do that. That regret has him ended up here. He gets jealous seeing couples close together. The Damashigamis? He thought they were interested in fishing and joined him. Rina is about to go berserk so what did Rinne do to calm her down? Ask for her autograph! Yeah. All she wanted was just to get noticed. Lining up all the other (temporary) ghost guys to shake hands with her, she is filled with happiness but why isn’t she passing on? She has bigger ambitions of appearing in shows, making albums and her debut in Hollywood! When the lonely ghost guy talks to her for one last time since she will be out of his league once she becomes a mega star, she realizes she is his type and suddenly retires. Now she passes on. Happily ever after? Not for our friends. Sakura cannot get that well incident out of her mind, Rinne regrets not clearing up the misunderstanding with her and Tsubasa and Ageha continue to be deluded. Hmm… At least somebody is happy.

Episode 15
Ageha wonders if she is in love. You mean she wasn’t sure?! She thought it was some sort of misattribution of arousal. To test it out, she goes to hug Rinne again. Sakura is looking… For the umpteenth time… You can tell that Sakura is being a typical mad woman. She totally ignores Rinne! Even if he is right before his eyes. Ageha thought a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and gives him her bento. Along the way, Tsubasa mistakes her for a spirit and attacks. She almost gets the wrong idea Tsubasa is gay when he declares he is Rinne’s love rival! After learning Tsubasa likes Sakura whom he feels pities Rinne because of his poorness, they both decide to cooperate. Rinne is forced to take Ageha’s bento since he is poor but the need to clear up the misunderstanding with Sakura remains strong. The silent treatment continues… Rokumon brings Ageha’s lunch and everyone is amazed at the extravagance. Rinne explains it is just for thanks but the way she draws a heart shape there? It’s got to be more than that. Sakura notices an evil aura permeating from it. Ageha gets a call from her grandma about the bento she used. Although it grants any wish, it is done so via a sealed evil spirit in it. In exchange for the wish, the ones receiving the bento will have their soul consumed by the evil spirit. Better get there fast. The classmates are somehow teleported outside the class (there’s a barrier barring their entry) and Rinne thought this is his chance to clear things up with them alone. Don’t look now but there is a giant wiener behind!

The wiener is bugging Rinne for his second wish (because his first was to talk with Sakura alone and thus the teleportation) so he wastes his next wish telling it to shut up. Rinne finally gets his message across. So? Now he is lost what to say next. Was he just imagining that she was mad? The wiener now bugs him for his third wish. However Rinne realizes that if such wish can come true, this could only mean that this is an evil spirit! The busted wiener attacks but is luckily defeated by Ageha. Rokumon bought a spray that dispelled the barrier. After all those crazy conspiracy theories Ageha and Tsubasa came up about them, I hope they’re relieved to see nothing happened. I think. Ageha then throws down the ultimatum to Sakura to stay away from Rinne. Why? Ageha is shocked at her nonchalant response. Seeing how calm she is, she thinks they are already dating and could it be she is just a third wheel? In her embarrassment she flees. Seems the wiener has divided itself and Tsubasa who knows better, is tempted about his wish to do anything with Sakura. Luckily Ageha snaps him out and needs his help to purify the remaining evil before it grows. Tsubasa wants to get Rinne’s help since there are too many but Rinne disagrees. She’ll ask him instead. The mini wieners are trying to grant others wishes but thankfully all ignore except for this broken hearted girl who found out her crush already had a girlfriend. She could have fallen into the trap if not for Ageha. Ageha learns a valuable lesson from her that falling in love isn’t something to be ashamed of. Meanwhile Rinne and Sakura finally get their much needed time to talk and reconcile. He still needs her help. So could she please lend him 500 Yen? Of course. And when things are seemingly going well, it goes downhill when Ageha comes swooping down, holding his hand and pleading he needs his help to hunt down evil spirits and she’ll pay him! Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s just a side job, right? Right?! The ignoring has made its return…

Episode 16
Sakura remembers the Haunted Cedar tree in her elementary school. Despite its name, she always felt warmth from it. Tsubasa asks Sakura to accompany to dig up a power stone he planted at the base of Haunted Cedar. Due to nostalgic reasons, she would love to come. Her friends are ‘disappointed’ Tsubasa isn’t asking her out on a date but I guess he doesn’t dislike the sound of that too. Then they seek Rinne’s opinion that Tsubasa has ‘asked out’ Sakura. It’s none of his business. Oh really? But the haunted tree did spark some interest so he might come. Ah… Tsubasa is so excited that he waited in front of the elementary school gate since early morning. I hope he can contain his excitement. But luckily we know how Sakura always is, right? They are shocked to see deep hideous scars on the tree. The groundskeeper warns them not to get close to it as something bad always happens. There had been talks to cut it down but those assigned to cut it down were met with some accident. Ever since, everybody has become afraid of the tree. Sakura could also feel something strange. The tree is not as warm as it used to and cold. Tsubasa blocks an attack targeted at Sakura. Turns out an evil young boy spirit with giant razor yoyo is the one behind this. Sakura recognizes him as Youta, her classmate who supposedly died in an accident. He is shocked that she recognizes him but vows to continue attacking her. This time Rinne blocks the shot. So he came, huh? Just taking a stroll and coincidentally wandering into the place doesn’t sound convincing. Tsubasa notices his power stone is embedded on his yoyo and has been corrupted. Youta blames it is all Sakura’s fault.

Flashback reveals Youta is very adept in his yoyo. However he has a bad habit of mocking those who sucked and also used his yoyo tricks to flip up girls’ skirt. The only girl he couldn’t flip was Sakura. She was as good as him as she countered every yoyo move with hers. In the process, Youta always hit his own head with his own yoyo. Wait. Don’t tell me. He isn’t going to pass over till he flips up her skirt, is he? Rinne uses a special incense to choke him. He heard another voice and believes Youta has been possessed by an evil spirit. True enough, the true evil spirit detaches. However, it is still invincible as long as it has Tsubasa’s power stone. Rinne and Rokumon coerce Tsubasa into buying a launchable incense at a marked up price so that the evil spirit could cough out the power stone and Rinne purify it for good. It is concluded the evil spirit got attracted to the power spot and took advantage of its power. Youta wasn’t exactly stuck here and being manipulated ever since. Because now with the evil spirit gone, he is still reluctant to leave the tree. Noticing he has been staring at the same spot ever since (after his death, Sakura noticed his ghost kept staring there but when she approached, he disappeared), could it be the spot where Tsubasa planted the power stone? Actually it is the spot opposite. It is Sakura’s lost yoyo. He thought of burying it here for a while as a prank to get even with her as he could never best her. Now he wonders if Sakura is still mad at her. Sakura assures she isn’t anymore and will return this yoyo to her. Youta is happy and passes on.

Episode 17
Tsubasa is cursing Rinne. Last week’s Haunted Cedar trip was supposed to be a memory-filled trip with Sakura but that guy had to cut in. Worse, he ate with them (sitting between them too) and Tsubasa paid the bill! He also needs to do something about his power stone as it could feel it is getting more corrupted. Masato pops up before him but Tsubasa’s holy ash can’t exorcise a high level demon. Masato mentions he hates Rinne as much as him and gives him a Demon’s Tome. All he needs to do is put his hands on it and curse the person he wants. Tsubasa has not sunk this low to do that and declines this ‘gift’. Later Sakura gives Tsubasa some cookies. Her mom made them but he was so happy he thought it was she who made it. Then he saw a bag of cookies to give out. Rinne is one of them. Oh, speak of the devil. Here he comes and after hard deliberation (crying tears of blood), he wants to give Sakura an expensive canned peach. When Sakura returns Demon’s Tome to Tsubasa (Suzuki saw him throwing it away and thought of giving it back to him), suddenly lightning almost strikes Rinne but the can is destroyed. Tsubasa is shocked that the curse works and runs away. Back in Rinne’s room, he is delighted that Sakura gives him the entire bag of cookies when suddenly crows start eating them. Once more, Tsubasa is shocked that the tome returned to him and that the curse once again had worked. Is he going crazy? Well, the power stone is getting even more corrupted. As Masato notes, no matter how he tries to get rid of the tome, it will find its way back to him.

Rinne finds a locket charm in the thermometer shelter. It is supposed to deflect any curses. Of course it was put there by Tsubasa who thinks he has gone soft on Rinne. But when he sees Sakura and Rinne coming together (and Sakura having the locket instead), he starts getting jealous. He starts cursing and it only rains around Rinne! His food is ruined… Sakura requests Tsubasa’s help to find the culprit and this of course puts him in a spot. She’ll hate him if she finds out. He starts thinking when that happens, it is all Rinne’s fault! Another curse! A washbasin falls on his head. Tsubasa rushes to the temple to burn the tome. Masato watches as he notes the more curses he does, the more corrupted his power stone will taint his soul. It will be killing 2 birds with 1 stone because with Rinne defeated, he will then pull Tsubasa’s soul to hell. Rinne finds out Masato is behind this and fights him. Tsubasa makes a contraption to summon Masato when Sakura is here to return the tome. Oh no. With Masato and Rinne summoned, Tsubasa accidentally curses and the contraption falls on Rinne. Masato commends him for a good job and one more curse is all it takes to eliminate Rinne. Now that the cat is out of the bag of who is cursing Rinne, will Sakura hate him? However she still believes that Tsubasa isn’t that kind of evil person. Such a sweet girl. Tsubasa is in a dilemma. He is in a position where he’ll be damned if he curses and damned if he doesn’t. Especially with Sakura concerned about Rinne. He can’t forgive himself for being weak and curses himself. By dropping tofu? His power stone is half purified. As he is going to curse Masato, he dares him to do so because cursing others will only taint himself. That is when Rinne takes the locket and throws it at Masato, thus causing damage to Tsubasa. With his power stone completely purified, he summons its sprites (Humpty Dumpties?!) to send Masato back to hell. Tsubasa allows Rinne to punch him for the curse but is surprised he congratulates him for eradicating Masato. I think he can’t seek vengeance on an empty stomach. Get the hint? Yeah. Tsubasa has to treat him to food again. And he’s sitting in between again. Hey… The power stone is getting a little corrupted…

Episode 18
Ageha stops another Damashigami. However she is interrupted by Kain the Shirushigami who blames her for foiling his plans. He wanted the Damashigami to lead him back to its HQ and Ageha had to ruin it. Then he badmouths her for being a stupid shinigami especially having a sister who defected to that company. Of course Ageha is broken hearted but does she have to come sobbing to Rinne right in the middle of class? Remember, other mortals can’t see her. So they have to hear her out. Shirushigami is a bookkeeper who keeps records of lifespan of others. Kain suddenly attacks Rinne and reads out his debts so large that he couldn’t pay back in his lifetime. So what? What does this have to do with his job? Kain tries to kill Rinne and claims Rinne owes him a lot. He is here to collect the debt. Time for a little flashback. Kain was raised singlehandedly by his divorced mother. One day she took him to meet their new father who is no other than Sabato. You can tell she got conned right away. When Rinne popped up to stop his father, Sabato vanished and left behind junks and loan collaterals. Kain has been so poor that he had to give up going to high school and went to a census bureau. Blaming Rinne for it all, he is going to enforce the contract by force since there is a loan collateral in which Rinne is the guarantor. After Kain breaks his scythe, he takes his life force and robe that could fetch a good price. He gives the rest a chance to reclaim back Rinne’s soul. They must find Damashigami Company’s HQ by tomorrow 10am because that is when he will sell Rinne’s life and it will be over once that happens. Sakura feels the need to do something when Rinne’s spirit returns (he got plucked out when his life force was taken). He doesn’t want them to get involved as he goes in search of Kain but you know, they can’t just sit back and let him do all the work.

They are outside the census bureau where Kain works but the guards stop them. They have to flee seeing they sense living humans among them and want them captured to be returned to the mortal world. Kain realizes that if they are here, it means they don’t know where Damashigami Company is. As the gang hides, they are picked up by Kain’s mom. She brings them back to her huge mansion though it is still without electricity. She even orders lavish sushi and puts it on her tab. Since it is a bit dark, she uses Rinne’s life force as lighting! Rinne only gets back his robe. With Kain back, the friends learn she is the one who was conned by Sabato. Mom doesn’t think Sabato is a bad person as he sends her love letters every month. They are all asking for money anyway. So she still doesn’t realize she is being conned? Kain doesn’t want her mom to know about this. After Sabato fled, he discovered that Damashigami Company was formed and it means he used mother’s money as capital to form the company. Imagine how sad she’ll be when she finds out. Of course there is a loan agreement with Rinne’s fake seal. After Kain puts the rest to sleep and locking them in the shed, Sakura’s advice of not taking Rinne’s life out of revenge fell on deaf ears. Kain is going to force Rinne into reincarnation.

Episode 19
When they wake up, they see a box with a message instructing for Rinne to read aloud. Ageha tries to break it but a barrier zaps her. Rokumon says to bring it to Rinne as only he can open it. There is a hidden message on it that only he can read as this is to safeguard packages. Ageha blasts the shed as they try to deliver the box to Rinne who is in the midst of fighting Kain. Rinne recognizes the box as a gift from Tamako although he never got to open it because dad stole it. After reading the hidden words aloud, out comes a hoop. Kain steals his robe and this causes him to be attracted into the reincarnation circle. Sakura stretches out to give him the hoop. Did she make it because they both have disappeared. Kain knows he will be punished for letting a human girl get absorbed but he’s not panicking yet. That hoop is the Hoop of Judgment and a tool that brings its bearer to the criminal of their wish. This means they might be at Damashigami Company. However they are back in Kain’s house. And look what Kain’s mom brought in? Sabato! He is here to ask for money and wants to sell this life force. When Bijin comes looking for Sabato, Kain’s mom wonder who this girl is. Sabato of course lies she is his long lost sister and just got reunited. That’s why he needs the money. It doesn’t help when Bijin plays along. Rinne tries to take back his life force. Kain intercepts but the hoop protects Rinne. Sabato steals the life force instead and runs. But he cannot run far as Kain is before him. He tells him that life force is fake. Since the real one is collateral, he has prepared this just in case. Wondering where he could have hid the real one, Sakura thinks it is in the shed. But they find lots of life forces. One way to test it out. Tsubasa plays baseball with it and the real one will be absorbed into him. None. All fakes. Mom orders the finest unagi for their time out. As Rinne feels cold since his real body in the real world is being neglected, Kain’s mom shows him the fireplace. Being lit by a life force? He senses this is his real one and absorbs it. Sabato and Bijin escape but they return shortly to steal all the stuffs. Kain and Rinne anticipated this and corner them. Rinne’s hoop binds them. Although they still manage to escape, the goods are left behind. Sakura hopes Kain would stop targeting Rinne as he is also a victim of Sabato. But as much as Kain wants to torment Rinne, he can’t because his hoop is protecting him. But as long as he is Sabato’s son, Kain will continue to view him equally as guilty. Mom cools things off by ordering melon. Can you guess why she is always poor now? But the hoop cannot take them to Damashigami Company as Sabato has put a security lock on it.

Episode 20
Sakura notices that lots of spirits are passing through her house. Rinne is surprised to hear her bothered by it although they’re pretty harmless. He agrees to come to her house and take a look for a solution. You can tell how happy he is to visit her house the first time by the way he skips so gaily. Of course Tsubasa and Ageha sense something amiss and with Rinne skipping some shinigami workshop, they tail him. Sakura is surprised to see the entire gang at her doorstep. My, Tsubasa is dressed in his tuxedo and a bouquet of roses for her. What can Rinne offer? A can of mixed fruits? Since Sakura politely declines, he takes it back. The guys aren’t happy when they hear Rokumon has been here many times. Is it because he is a cat? Tsubasa wonders why Sakura didn’t consult him as he could have taken care of this easily. His dusty holy ash, that’s why. Ageha thinks her watchdog collar would do the trick. Although the ghost dog scares off everyone, it is untrained and chases Ageha around. Could it be just a trick so she can get close to Rinne? Sakura is about to lose hope in solving this. After all, they’re just harmless passing spirits. But this won’t do for Rinne. He vows to come up with a solution but needs to get rid of Tsubasa and Ageha first. Meanwhile Tamako is holding the shinigami workshop on its tools. She wonders why Rinne isn’t here as he never missed it since it gives out free samples.

So now Rinne uses all those past samples while Sakura is out in an attempt to get rid of the ‘pests’. Each time they come back, he uses more of those samples. The samples were discontinued because of some defect and putting it on them feels like he is being a bully. Finally he places a sticker barrier to stop them from entering. FYI, this product is real and on the market. Rinne asks Sakura if there is something she has thrown away or moved because the spirits never appeared up till yesterday. When she sees his samples, she remembers after meeting Tamako and leaving the border, she met a shinigami who gave her a free sample. She takes out that mini hourglass she has been keeping in her closet. To her surprise, it used to have shiny sand but now it is all black. Rinne now knows the root of the problem. That hourglass is an exorcism tool. Since it expired 2 days ago, that is why the spirits passed through her house. He has new sand that will make it as new again. Ageha and Tsubasa barge in (Sakura’s mom let them in and accidentally ripped the barrier after they simply ring the doorbell). In the process, the hourglass is broken. Don’t worry. Rinne goes to see Tamako to get a replacement. Unfortunately she says there are no more samples. It is not because it has been discontinued but rather it is now selling on the market. That will be 20,000 Yen please. Before taxes. The debt has just gotten higher. Rinne hands over the new hourglass to Sakura and since she is so happy and grateful, he cannot bear ask her for compensation. Just bear with it. Here’s a canned fruit for self reward then.

Episode 21
Kain returns with the bonus for the census. But upon opening the briefcase, there is an expanding balloon as it pops into party crackers. Word of the missing case goes around. Say, how come Rinne has that same case? When they open it… Loads of cash!!! OMG! Rinne ‘died’!!! He has never seen so much cash before! So did Rinne steal it? Maybe it is part of Kain’s plan to set him up. Before they can discuss what to do with the money, angry came barges in and suspects him of stealing the money. Well, at least we know this wasn’t part of his plan. To make things worse, Rinne runs off with the case! Rinne bumps into Masato whom he believes is the culprit. Not quite. You see, Masato went to buy a suitcase of party crackers. When he exited the shop, some Pegasus carrying lots of similar cases crashed into him. He was out for a good 5 minutes and when he came too, the mess was cleaned up and he didn’t suspect anything since his case was still there. His plan was to put the case in Rinne’s room and when he opened it, he’ll be surprised. But somebody switched it. When Kain comes hunting Rinne, Masato handcuffs Rinne to the case. He will enjoy seeing him suffer for a crime he didn’t commit. But Rinne won’t go down alone. When Kain comes breathing down his neck, he drags Masato with him and makes him sound like he is the accomplice. Masato wants to spend all the money since they’re accused of being guilty. Rinne knows better not to listen to him. Instead, he will prove Masato is innocent. Outside the firecracker store, the owner testifies that after Masato collected the goods, he didn’t pay. He even set off a firecracker prank that burnt down the shop! Masato acts dumb and wants to pay him off with the stolen money but Rinne won’t allow it.

Meanwhile the friends hear from Kain’s side of the story. After he collected the bonus, a trader and his Pegasus were passing by selling the similar suitcase. Suddenly the Pegasus goes berserk and it crashed into him, knocking him out for almost 3 minutes. He believes Rinne planned this in advance to set him up. Rinne returns to object to that theory and that Kain is the culprit. Everybody starts fighting everybody so the firecracker store owner gives Sakura a big net to ring everyone in. Once calmed down, Rinne begins his explanation. As the bonus case had the mark of ‘M’. It seems Masato’s case also had the similar initial. After the store was set on fire, a little piece of firework got onto the Pegasus’ skin. Of course it went berserk. First it bumped into Kain followed by Masato. In the process of the helter-skelter, the cases jumbled up. When Kain woke up, he picked the first ‘M’ case he saw, not knowing there is another similar one. The trader picked up the other cases and left the other initialled case next to Masato. Now that it is known it is Kain’s fault, Ageha wants him to apologize. Kain’s pride won’t allow him to do so and Masato is supporting him. Masato then steals the case and is going to burn all the money. Luckily Rinne has put a sticker seal on the case that turns it into some biting dog. In the end, Rinne doesn’t want an apology from Kain since it doesn’t sound like him. Instead, he takes a bill from the bonus as compensation for the sticker. Kain calls it even. But if the stickers cost only 10 Yen each, how come Rinne took a 10,000 Yen bill? For his troubles? Really?

Episode 22
Christmas. The day to steal your lover’s heart. So Ageha thinks. She goes on a buying spree and gets duped by a shady salesman to buy some Friendly Square contraption that is said to further a relationship between a man and woman. On her way back, she passes by a house with a dark aura. Rinne who is fresh from buying a little Christmas cake, spots a letter crying for help from a nearby house. As he enters, he thought Ageha was fooling around. Then he realizes he cannot leave. A barrier is preventing them in doing so. Sakura’s friends talk about the rumours of a decrepit house. When they pass by and see how lively the Christmas decorations are, they freak out. Sakura thought she heard something from inside and checks it out. Oh, it’s only Rinne and Ageha. Oops. Now she can’t leave. As they discuss about the previous family of the house who loved to celebrate Christmas and this might be the regrets left behind by the spirit, Tsubasa comes in to shoot down their theory. They are celebrating Christmas somewhere else and when they heard this house is celebrating Christmas on its own, they hired Tsubasa to offer some chicken. Unfortunately he left it outside the house. Now he’s stuck too. Because Sakura and Ageha bring out party goods and candles respectively, this makes Rinne in a dilemma if he should share his Christmas cake. Afraid Sakura might hate him, he is about to share them but the rest are preoccupied with how to take the chicken in. As tools can move through the barrier, Ageha uses her scythe with Tsubasa’s help to drag it in. Unfortunately the bucket is cut in half and all the cats and dogs finish the finger licking good chicken. As they argue, the commotion causes Rinne to slip and drop out his Christmas cake, dissipating the barrier. The cat is now out of the bag. Prepared to be admonished, he is surprised that Sakura thinks he wants to have a party. Ageha won’t be usurped by her and suggests a real party. She still has that Friendly Square she bought and is going to put it to good use.

Rinne is surprised to find a kotatsu in his place courtesy from Ageha. So this is the Friendly Square she bought. It’s just a normal kotatsu. It’s so warm. So nice. Don’t feel like moving. All is well till Sakura and Tsubasa had to pop up by bringing food. When Tsubasa suggests playing cards, Ageha gets an idea for the loser to do anything a loser wants. This is part of her plan to send the third wheels home and then make Rinne marry her. Unfortunately she lost to Rokumon. Many times. She is forced to go buy stuffs for them. It’s no fun anymore. The rest wanted to stop but she insisted in carrying on. Well… When she goes to collect the Christmas cake Sakura booked earlier on, she realized Friendly Square is a scam and is going to get her revenge. She trips and ruins the cake. I guess at this point you’d feel pity for this idiot who is so close to tears. All she wants is just to spend time with Rinne. Surprisingly here he comes putting a scarf on her. Everyone has the same and they wish her Merry Christmas. The scarves were knitted by Sakura’s mom for everybody. They return to the warmth of the kotatsu and as they’re about to open the cake box, they see a bomb placed by Ageha. Quickly she throws it out of the window and pretends all that never happened. Rinne is in tears after tasting the heavenly Christmas cake. Then it is back to more cards for Ageha. It’s getting late and everyone is sleepy but nobody leaves till she wins!

Episode 23
The census bureau is also responsible for cleaning evil spirits and turning them good for reincarnation. Via washing machine? Of course there is one that is too strong and escapes. Kain tells this to Rinne. In Tsubasa’s house? Seems this guy is sick and although it has got its perks like Sakura making porridge for him, the presence of those guys ruined it. Kain shows details of the escaped spirit as he believes it will appear before him. It is a nine tailed fox. Tamako caught it 100 years ago and sent it for cleansing. However its grudge was so deep that it still harbours the same hatred. It is believed it wants to get back at Tamako’s offspring. Therefore Kain is here to watch over him (not protect him) and catch the fox when it shows up. After everyone has left, the fox possesses Tsubasa. Next day he looks like he is fine but Kain tries to attack possessed Tsubasa to flush out the fox. He knows it needs a body to carry out its revenge. As Tsubasa is interchanging between personalities, it proves the fox’s powers are weakened and they’re fighting control of the body. Rinne has returned with information from Tamako about the fox. It is actually quite weak. But as to why she won’t tell him a way to defeat it, he unknowingly said that age related taboo word… When the guys try to force out the fox, its bag of tricks deflect and hinder their efforts. Since it could read Tsubasa’s mind, it can improvise his attacks to deal greater damage and even clone itself. Kain uses an incense to separate them but it only work halfway. Over the course of fighting and tricks, the rest start to notice that Tsubasa is being conscious and attacking Rinne on his own rather than under the fox’s control. Trying to impress Sakura and get back at Rinne? Finally a wash basin drops on them. This isn’t an ordinary wash basin. It is connected to the census bureau when dumped inside. A few hours later, the fox is purified and sent for reincarnation. As for Tsubasa, he is so squeaky clean that his skin is so shiny! Since he insists and continues to fault the fox for his actions, Rinne notes his heart is still not cleansed yet.

Episode 24
Rinne receives a request from the thermometer shelter that the boss of a newly opened ramen shop is being possessed. The payment in advance is tickets for free ramen! Would Rinne pass this off? You guessed right. The place is teeming with students but Rinne and co are shocked to see Bijin serving! Even more shocking she pleads for them to save her boss. This means the boss of this place is no other than Sabato who is working hard to make ramen! Are my eyes deceiving me?! Sabato working?! Is the world ending soon?! When everyone notices this place only serves ramen and no other side dishes at all, Tsubasa believes this means this place is pretty confident in its ramen. He takes up the challenge to order the best ramen. Sabato’s technique to prepare the best ramen seems impressive but will the taste be so? Then it becomes like those typical food themed animes. Tsubasa finds it so delicious and rants-cum-exaggerates his analysis on this exceptionally good ramen. Yeah. Whatever. When Rinne asks Sabato if he is already reformed, the latter replies that he really doesn’t want to work! Bijin explains that when they took over this abandoned building, they intended to masquerade as a ramen shop for their Damashigami operations. That is when the spirit of this place possessed Sabato and made him work like hell. Got what he deserved?

After they separate the spirit from his body, it is discovered this young man loves ramen and wanted to make it his life. He worked hard to open his shop but on that day he just died. Therefore he has regrets and wants to keep selling ramen like today for 100 years! Surprisingly Sabato agrees to help him. Hmm… That scheming look. Next day as Rinne and co visit the shop, they see the customers act strangely. The spirit is now working in a doll version of Sabato’s body and the ramen has some funny ingredient that sucks out the customer’s soul. When confronting Sabato (who is slacking as usual), seems he convinced the spirit to use the doll as he could use his body 24/7 without rest. Also he could use a special ramen ingredient his company created. They know the spirit is being manipulated but whatever they say or do cannot reach him. Because as long as the customers are happy, he doesn’t care. Sabato chides Rinne for his naivety he doesn’t understand the spirit’s true nature and that is how he manipulated it. Surprisingly Rinne admits his defeat and runs away! Later he calls and orders 500 ramen to be delivered to Damashigami Company. Revenge motive? Actually this is part of his plan to swap the spirit’s goal. As selling 500 bowls would be pretty satisfying for him, this would make him enough to pass over. But now the doll breaks down! Sabato who is going to return after a good haul of souls, the spirit possesses him and he is forced to continue working till he breaks down! Deserve it! In the end, the spirit passes on and all the stolen souls are returned. The ramen shop closes down and the customers lament they couldn’t eat anymore of those delicious ramen. They decide to leave a thank you note but of course in their eyes it is that Sabato guy. Don’t count on it that he has rest in peace.

Episode 25
Tamako gives Sakura a candy that will allow her to not see spirits anymore. If you’re wondering why it’s free, it’s because it is a prototype. Ah, the guinea pig… At the same time, there is this A-1 Grand Prix whereby evil spirits in a competition try to curse their target. As Sakura cannot see spirits anymore, she accidentally breaks a seal of a well and this is a sign for the competition to start. She has become targeted. Rinne works his ass off trying to fend off those spirits all while Sakura is unaware what is going on (she can’t see him too when he wears his robe). She might be relishing being normal for once but Rinne is going to get real tired in keeping all those occupation-themed ghosts at bay. Yeah. 5,000 competitors in total! Thanks to him, Sakura is saved from death many times. Tamako then plucks a hair from Sakura to insert it into some decoy doll. The doll will grow into a full size figure of Sakura and act as a decoy for the evil spirits. Furthermore, the moment they touch it, they’ll be paralyzed. It costs a whopping 30,000 Yen but don’t worry, Tamako is covering the cost. Rinne uses the highly effective doll as decoy. But Tsubasa thought it is the real Sakura and moves it out of harm’s way. After Rinne explains about the doll, Tsubasa gets the wrong idea that he is a pervert who makes this doll! The misunderstanding enhances when Sakura and her friends see this. They think it belongs to Tsubasa but he tells it is Rinne’s. They get the wrong idea that the reason why Rinne has been missing for a while is because he was making this doll!

Thanks to the doll, Rinne is able to purify many of the evil spirits. But the doll can only last 3 hours. Such a high price for such a short period. Rinne claims he is doing this not for Sakura but as his job as a shinigami. But why does he look like he is in a dilemma whether if Sakura is fine carrying on her life like this? At the end of the competition, Rinne helps Tamako to pick up the number bibs from those purified spirits because they get 5 Yen for each bib handed in. Although not enough to cover the cost of the doll but at least they get something back. Sakura goes to visit Rinne’s place but he is not there and she feels sad. When Tamako hands in the bibs to get her money, it is counted there is a bib short. The last spirit is going to have Sakura’s life. Luckily Rinne is there to protect her and get the job done. Sakura leaves and this makes Rinne a sad and lonely guy. I just keep thinking why doesn’t he just take off his robe if he wants her to see him? Anyway she suddenly trips on him. Looks like the candy effect has worn off. Glad to see each other again? She hands back the extra candies to him and wants Rinne to return them to Tamako. I guess she prefers seeing ghosts, huh? Knowing that Rinne worked hard behind her back, she makes him a delicious bento. Itadakimasu! Hard work does pay off.

Binbou No Rinne
It was fun. It was enjoyable. As expected from Rumiko Takahashi. I read a handful of comments saying that although this anime is still watchable, it isn’t as great compared to her other works as it is predictable. Hey, it is Rumiko Takahashi after all. How far do you want her to deviate from her trademark? Well, as I have said I have not read her manga and only watched some of her adapted works, as far as I am concerned, this is still a good watch as there are some pretty funny moments although very much done in her usual predictable ‘silly’ style. Of course it still cannot top Ranma 1/2, as it will still remain my anime of animes. But I can rank this series higher than Inu Yasha since that show has too much youkai and demons of the Japanese folklore and I am not really into that.

This series will get its chance to prove it can match and rise up to the rest of the other adapted series. You know what I’m saying? Yup. This series is going to get a sequel in early 2016. I guess it would be a shame for it to end with just more than 2 dozen episodes because many of Rumiko Takahashi’s adapted works usually cross over a hundred episodes. Yeah. Ranma 1/2, Inu Yasha and Urusei Yatsura all easily surpass the double digit number into triple digits. Maison Ikkoku could have been too had it not been short of 4 episodes of a century. So far the only series I know that didn’t go beyond a season was Mermaid Forest and other OVA adaptations which of course I didn’t watch but that isn’t the point here. So my conclusion is that if Kyoukai No Rinne is going to be awesome and great, maybe it will have more subsequent season and breach over a hundred episodes over the next few years as you know this series still has a lot of material and potential to cover.

The characters here are fun although I have to say that they are generally so Rumiko Takahashi-like. Somewhat familiar with her other works’ characters. Yeah. Maybe that is why they said it was kinda predictable. For example Rinne himself. As the main character, he is like Ranma and Inuyasha and you can tell he is the main hero because, heck, like the other duo he also has his name in the title. Sakura is like the Akane and Kagome of this series. The girl who is always by his side and potential lover who will constantly irritate viewers and make them scream out for them to confess their feelings to each other already. Ageha as the other girl who likes our main character is somewhat similar to Shampoo, Ukyo, Kodachi and perhaps Kikyou? Tsubasa is also familiar as he is like the Ryouga and Kouga of the series (hey, don’t they all look pretty close to each other?). The friend-cum-rival (but more of the latter) who has a crush on the main character’s girl as well. Kain is more of a rival than friend so he resembles somewhat like Mousse, Kunou and Sesshoumaru. Ah, the pet mascot. You can’t have cute series without this. So Rokumon is the P-chan and Shippo of that. Then you have the baddie of the series (antagonist may be too harsh for a genre like this) like Sabato who is equivalent to Happosai and Naraku (okay, so this guy is so vile that he is really an antagonist). What about grannies? I suppose Tamako’s counterpart would be Cologne and Kaede. I could go on and on and relive the nostalgia times thinking about old characters but I think it is best I stop here.

Another series which has many viewers comment how similar Kyoukai No Rinne is would be Bleach. No, not the action fighting parts but rather the afterlife. As opposed to Soul Society, there is indeed a temporary place for souls to go and live before reincarnation. But the fact that there is some sort of administration that oversees this process makes it feel a bit like Soul Society again. Also, you thought that if the afterlife would be a place of peace and fairness, you have to deal with Damashigami who are a milder and comical counterpart of Hollows. Even more mind boggling is how the life in the afterlife takes so much after the living world. The process, the procedures and even some of the infrastructure are taken after what we normally see when we are still living. Even to the point that there are money transactions involved. Even hell too. It’s all about the money, money, money… Truly, it is a sin to be poor so you better not die a poor soul! So it goes to show that we can never escape this kind of ‘life’, huh? Well, at least it is good for the recently departed souls as they won’t get culture shock. Also, the use of the shinigami term is another reason why some see the similarities with Bleach.

So to sum up Rinne as the main character who must always have his own trademarks like in any other series, poverty is what sums him up best. You can’t blame him for being a scrooge or make cost-like decisions or display attitude like a miser. After all, money makes the world go round. Heck, you even need money in the afterlife to buy stuffs and all. So if he has to spend more or relinquish his ‘valuables’, the greater the value of that commodity will be represented in how much he cries blood out of it. Seriously. Parting with a treasured one is never an easy thing to do ;p. Considering his ‘tragic’ past coming from a mixed heritage of human and shinigami and a father who loves to con the hell out of his hard earned savings, Rinne is a pretty tough and cool guy if you think about it. I am not sure if all that made him numb throughout the years but he seems pretty cool headed instead of getting his raging emotions the better of him. Well of course the occasional sarcasm and taking out on Sabato when he crosses the line (like he always does).

Sakura’s only ability is to see spirits and thus the reason (or excuse) for her to join Rinne and the rest in their other worldly adventures. Otherwise she is just a plain girl and if I may say, a boring person! Sure, at times I feel her role is to play the rebuking role with her retorts. But saying with that kind of emotionless face, I don’t know whether it is supposed to be funny or not (of course it’s meant to be funny and a joke). There are times where she does put up a smile but that is as rare as it can get because mostly you’ll see her putting up that poker face although she’s born with it and it’s stuck for the rest of her life. I am guessing there is a reason why she is given this emotionless face in the first place. To confuse and troll viewers if she has any feelings for Rinne. Veterans would know she does and definitely Rinne too for her. There are some obscure hints but we veterans know better. After all, we’ve been through the ‘agony’ of waiting to hear Ranma and Akane say those magical words (which never came in the anime) and finally Kagome married Inuyasha and stayed with him at the end but that is only after over 150 episodes and another season. So would it be any different for Sakura? We veterans know better :-).

Other characters are fun too with their own unique and ‘idiotic’ personality. Tsubasa as Rinne’s rival only because he has a crush on Sakura but you know it will be unrequited forever. Unless… Ageha feels like the dumb blonde of the series (she’s purpled hair by the way) due to gullibility and her tendency to be easily conned. Yeah. Money is no issue to her since she comes from a rich family so I guess this spoils it for her. With her in the picture, there comes the love polyamory but so far, romance has been one of the weakest parts of the series and something you shouldn’t get your hopes up. Even if there are some seemingly romantic moments, it is all for the sake of comedy and you’d be much disappointed if you think it is going to come true. Seriously. Rokumon is needed as the cute loyal pet and sidekick if you’re tired at looking at all the dumb humans and human-like characters. Just kidding. No, really. But you get what I mean. I suppose somebody there is needed to share his pain and poverty and who better than his pet cat for it. Tamako… Nice old lady who might look irresponsible but she does have a caring and responsible side. Oh sh*t! I just said the taboo word! “Don’t me babe granny”. Better remember that even if you’re her grandchildren.

Then you have villains like Masato and Sabato who aren’t vile enough to be hated but ‘dumb’ enough to be lovable. Especially Sabato is such a sly character who tries to squeeze every penny out of everybody with the slightest chance he get, sometimes he fails so badly and get what he deserves but is always a step ahead from being captured, our ‘hatred’ for him is more like being tsundere instead of actual loathing. In short, he never learns. That’s why he has the most fun in the series. No wonder Bijin falls for this guy. Of course she was conned into it but if you can have so much fun without a care to others for the rest of your life, why the heck worry, right? In a way I feel she fares much better than her poor little sister (poor as in circumstantial). I feel there is some sort of running joke (that’s what I’d call it) for Miho and Rika. Well, in the sense that they usually talk to Sakura about some haunted rumours. Then when they go investigate it and something hauntingly pops up before them, they get scared out of their sh*t, running away and leaving Sakura behind, which is a reason for her to get involved with Rinne and the other supernatural beings. Typical, isn’t it?

Action and fight scenes aren’t intense but they are mostly for entertainment purposes and sometimes for laughs. Maybe it isn’t the focus but sometimes I can’t feel that the moves the characters pull off are repetitive and boring. For instance, Tsubasa’s holy ash. Is that all he has got as an exorcist? Sometimes he uses that corner of the bible book (for comedic effect of course) but other than that, holy ash seems to be the only thing he carries around all the time. And with that new power stone weapon, I haven’t seen him use it properly and if it was, it was against him! (Technically it was Kain who got owned by that familiar slapping farce but still, it shows Tsubasa wasn’t using it right despite he was possessed).

Rinne’s scythe is his trademark weapon but from time to time he would use his tornado technique or other accessories that he needs to buy in his aid to stop the menace. It is interesting to see that from time to time when he pulls out a new tool, the narrator would explain to us its effect and even how much it costs! Yeah well, if you actually need to buy such stuffs to fight and bring in evil spirits, it clearly shows that money is truly indeed what makes even the afterlife go round. Heck, that bonus money for the census bureau spills it all. Ageha in addition to using her scythe, I’m not sure if that coin tossing move is an actual skill or she’s just throwing away money. Sakura doesn’t possess any fighting ability and it is understandable but at the same time that is why it makes her so boring. Sometimes she does have a hand in help stopping whatever mess but she can’t usually do it alone. Even at least Rokumon has the ability to transform into a scary monster cat head although that is pretty much it can do.

I shouldn’t be pointing this out because it will be annoyingly the umpteenth time because you know, how freaking familiar the art and character designs are to Rumiko Takahashi’s previous works? Duh. You can see shades of certain characters from other of her other animes here. Because of that, the overall art style is not like today’s conventional Japanese anime. There is a slight retro feel to it although much of the artwork and even the setting are updated for today’s modern setting. Generally, the characters do look pretty and for non-human characters like animals and spirits, they are more of cute instead of scary. This might be trivial but I want to point out that Ageha looks a bit weird than pretty. I don’t know. Maybe it’s that lipstick. It enhances her dumb character. I thought Masato was some sort of vampire initially. With those bat wings and tuxedo (Dracula wears them, right?), I sure thought so.

I am not sure if other references from other works appear here but I do notice one and it prompted me to think of this. If you have watched Ranma 1/2, you would have known that Ranma’s dad turns into a panda. He makes his somewhat cameo here as he is the face of the afterlife’s currency! That panda too makes very few and short cameos as perhaps a part timer in such a suit handing out flyers. This is so far the only trivia I’ve spotted and I’m not sure about the rest. On another trivial note, I thought the mid-intermission and end card eyecatch are boring. They use the same picture every time. Sakura’s mug hogs the mid-intermission while Rinne bags the one after the end credits and next episode preview. The only exception was the Christmas episode with a Christmas theme. I mean seriously, couldn’t they just add a few other eyecatches of other characters?

Hearing Marina Inoue behind the voice of Sakura, I think she did quite a good job in making the character emotionless. If I am not mistaken, this isn’t the first time she has voice such a character role although rare. Because similarly she did Matsurika in Maria+Holic before. Surprisingly, I didn’t realize it was veteran Kappei Yamaguchi behind Sabato’s voice! It was shocking for me to find out because he certainly didn’t sound like his Usopp in One Piece or even his other main character of Rumiko Takahashi’s adapted works, the male Ranma and Inuyasha! He sounds more like a cool operator that befits the sly thieving fox Sabato is. If Tamako sounds pretty familiar, that is because she is voiced by Satsuki Yukino who is no other than the voice of Kagome from Inu Yasha. Same case for Masato because that’s Fairy Tail’s Natsu’s Tetsuya Kakihara. Other casts include Kaito Ishikawa as Rinne (Ledo in Suisei No Gargantia), Hitomi Nabatame as Rokumon (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Ryohei Kimura as Tsubasa (Judal in Magi), Rie Murakawa as Ageha (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Souma Saitou as Kain (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill) and Izumi Kitta as Bijin (Tomoko in Watamote). Youko Hikasa makes her cameo as Rina.

One of the best features is the first opening theme, Ouka Ranman by Keytalk. There is this very catchy tune to this rock piece with a slightly traditional tune to it. I wish they had not changed it halfway because the second opening theme, Ura No Ura by Passepied sounds so odd and it just takes the fun out of it (listening to the opening song, that is). The second one I feel the singer’s voice is so flat that even a tone deaf person could do better than her. I don’t know if she’s just reading the lyrics or something. But the funny thing about the second opening animation is how the main characters get a noogie by Tamako!!! Real funny. Other secondary characters get bonked on the head!!! Passepied who also sings the rock based first ending theme, Toki No Wa although I personally don’t find it attractive (that flat voice again), it is hell better than the second theme, Futatsu No Sekai by Quruli. I thought they were making a joke singing this song. I thought this is the kind of song that you will play at a low cost carnival seeing how ‘minimal’ it sounds especially using a voice with synthesizer effects feels kinda lazy.

Overall, this series is a fun and enjoyable watch from start to finish although it won’t be breaking any new grounds. And if you’re a big fan of Rumiko Takahashi, add this to your list. Indeed watching this and completing this does bring back memories of my early days of anime and especially Ranma 1/2. Oh yeah. Those were the good ol’ early days. If reincarnation is ever true, I would love to relive the same life as an otaku again, over and over. Won’t that be boring? With so many animes coming out each year (not counting the manga, games and other anime related events), I think I need more than a lifetime to cover it all! And I hope I have enough cash to buy it all too!

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