What They Say:
If you’ve got a ghost in your Japanese neighborhood, the spirit-moving specialists to call are Rinne Rokudo and Sakura Mamiya. Sure, they’re both still in high school, but Sakura’s been seeing the dearly and not-so-dearly departed since she was a child, and Rinne’s part shinigami, which comes in handy when dealing with the more assertive supernatural incursions.
What Rinne isn’t good at is working his way out of a perpetual state of debt, and the need for quick cash can lead them onto unhallowed grounds where other exorcists fear to tread. Cleaning the Wheel of Reincarnation? Repossessing magical artifacts? What about REALLY dangerous tasks like trying to train a cat? It’s all just another paranormal day’s work in Rumiko Takahashi’s RIN-NE SEASON 3!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track only in stereo encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that works a familiar style of mix to it where it’s mostly dialogue based with some physical comedy elements thrown into it as well while providing some action in each episode that works the forward soundstage well. It’s not hugely dynamic but it factors into how Takahashi based shows tend to go so there’s some fun aspects to it. Dialogue itself is solid throughout with some minor placement here and there that helps a bit while the overall design brings everything through in a clean and clear way with no problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twenty-five episodes of this set are spread across three discs with nine/nine/seven format to give it all plenty of space. Animated by Brain’s Base, the show is one that hews towards traditional Takahashi design elements with its color style and the character designs so it has a bit of a throwback feeling to it while coming across smoother with the fluidity of the animation. The colors work a somewhat softer palette overall that feels like it’s a bit closer to the manga in a way that works in its favor. The transfer is a solid one that’s clean and solid throughout it where the shading works well as needed. Though the series may not be a standout in terms of design and detail, it’s one that looks good and will definitely please fans of the show.
The packaging for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds two discs on a hinge with the third against the back wall. The front cover works another familiar key visual from the broadcast season that runs with a lot of the supporting cast while keeping our leads in the foreground. With some nice blue border framing it all, the cover has a very busy look to it that works in its favor because of the variety and general pop to it. I’m typically not a fan of busy covers like this with all that it has going on and the varied fonts, but the end result is more appealing than I’d guessed. The back cover carries the same framing as the background here for a good part of it while we also get a solid chunk that works the red and orange from the front cover as well. It’s in here that we get the summary of the premise covered well along with some shots from the show and some character artwork of Rinne. The set’s extras are also clearly laid out alongside the production credits and technical grid that breaks down the show cleanly and accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design works a lot of the elements from the cover design into it and it works well, though it’s fairly busy as well. The background uses blues and purples to give it a softer look while laying various pieces of character artwork for both sets, though it’s amusing that with the first disc the lead characters are pushed to smaller background roles. The logo is off-center here as it brings in its own colors while the navigation to the right works the cover colors of orange and white with a different shade of orange as the highlight. It fits in with the overall design and the logo colors in a good way that, even as busy as the whole thing is, it feels appropriate for the show. There’s not much to the menus in term of navigation but what we do get works well and is quick and easy both as a pop-up menu and as the main navigation.
The only extras included with this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the general popularity of anything Rumiko Takahashi and it being produced for NHK, which means it has a different set of performance expectations, Rin-ne hit up a third season in the spring of 2017. The show brought in a new director but was largely the same overall as it added another twenty-five episodes over the two cour that it ran. The original manga found itself wrapping up not long after the anime finished, which was a pretty good run as expected as it lasted for forty volumes. Takahashi’s works are either quick little one-off things that might get a couple of volumes or they end up running for a decade or more. Rin-ne worked the familiar style of the creator, which is what brought her fame over the years, and there’s no denying enjoyment of the property.
With this season I find myself in the same boat as the second season, which makes me feel kind of bad about it. In watching the twenty-five episodes here over the course of two days with some breaks between batches of episodes, it’s a series that really does remind me that it’s best when watched in weekly installments rather than marathoning it. The general gimmick is what it is in that Rinne is poor and continues to take all manner of odd jobs in order to make a couple hundred yen to be able to, well, exist. He and Rokumon continue to have an amusing relationship in how they interact with each other but it’s not something that really changes from when we first met them. The same can be said with Sakura as she’s still pretty much as we know her and their relationship really doesn’t change here, though they play with the small teases of something more between her and Rinne from time to time in classic Takahashi form.
Beyond that? It’s simply episodic with nothing that really sticks in the long term. And that’s where my frustration really comes in with this. Rumiko Takahashi got her career underway with Urusei Yatsura in 1978 and that was the epitome of episodic work in both manga and anime. What helped it was that it established such a wide cast of characters that it wasn’t reliant on the main characters in every episode unlike Rin-ne, which doesn’t have the pool of characters to really work with. Ranma ½ was somewhat similar in that respect but it didn’t manage it as well as time went on – though it saw greater sales because of how mainstream it went. Inuyasha had its own kind of audience and worked the slow episodic approach within arcs and, to me, was stifling at times because of the way it handled the supporting side. The end result is that as an anime adaptation, Rin-ne can’t be more than it was in the manga and that means smaller stories with the same characters. It has moments where it goes a little bit bigger and it has some fun with the shinigami side but even there it doesn’t get anywhere near as weird as it could with the creativity.
Rumiko Takahashi is one of the creators that got me into anime and manga thanks to Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku. Ranma ½ was the first of her work I’d seen in anime form in the 80’s at a convention and got me really curious when the manga started coming out. Rin-ne as a property itself isn’t bad and the anime adaptation is a solid one throughout with what it does, adapting the stories and everyone putting in good effort combined with a clean and appealing release from Sentai Filmworks. But Rin-ne simply didn’t click in Japan – 3 million sales over 40 volumes compared to the 45 million sales for 56 volumes of Inu Yasha? That doesn’t speak well. It continues to make me surprised that NHK put it together for 75 episodes and that Shogakukan kept it going for almost 400 chapters. Fans of the series will enjoy this release as Sentai mirrors the second season with a good complete collection but this is once again a “for fans only” kind of show.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Running Time: 625 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.