February 5, 2012
Rumiko Takahashi – Viz – 2012 – 8+ volumes
Every volume of this series that I read makes me like it a little more. I’m a little sad that it’s taken this long for me to warm up to it, but Rumiko Takahashi is always worth it.
This book introduces a new character, the shinigami-in-training Shoma. Shoma is doing a home stay with Rin-ne, and was disappointed to learn that the grandson of the very famous shinigami Tamako was dirt poor. While most shinigami-in-training finish their homestay by earning points slowly shepherding the souls of dead pets and animals to the afterlife, Shoma wants to take care of all his points in one shot by exorcising an evil spirit. Since Shoma is approximately a fifth grader, you can imagine how this goes. A devil gets involved after a time, too. Shoma is fairly hot-headed and impatient about exorcising his evil spirit, so the lesson becomes one of caring about the spirits of the dead and not being over-eager to take care of things. His hurry is usually what creates the evil spirits in the first place, which Rin-Ne usually has to take care of himself.
This longer story/series of stories is followed by three adorable one-shots. In the first, Ageha, the shinigami with a crush on Rin-ne, is conned into buying a kotetsu she believes has the power to make Rin-ne hers. While it can’t do that, it does bring her closer to the other characters in the series in a nice, friendly way. Plus, it’s the middle of winter and Rin-ne and Rokumon don’t have heat in their apartment, so…
The second story is about a “haunted” cooking table in the home ec room. This involves the usual suspects: a disgruntled ghost and the ruining of food that Rin-ne was dying to eat. He eats it anyway, even after the ghost ruins it. I’m not sure why, but sadly, Rin-ne’s constant poverty and the jokes associated with it are quickly becoming my favorite part of the series. I particularly enjoy Sakura Mamiya’s complete indifference regarding this. One of my other favorite things about the series is the slightly eccentric use of Sakura Mamiya’s full name by Rin-ne. It’s a little awkward every time he speaks to her, but not in an overt way.
The last story is about a scarf that is showing up to strangle people who are receiving hand-knit scarves with their love confessions. This is a cute story, and involves Sakura Mamiya knitting a scarf for Rin-ne.
All of the stories in this volume were cute, fun to read, and very much gave me the flavor of this series. Sakura Mamiya and Rin-ne still aren’t very distinct characters, but they’re growing on me, and I’m enjoying their stories more and more. They’re more comedies than anything else, and I doubt anything about this series is ever going to be over-complicated or plot-driven. But I’m still enjoying it, and I like it now that I’ve hit a comfortable groove.
This was a review copy provided by Viz.