Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne Complete Series Blu-ray Anime Review
I wanted to say something like “Sexy girls doing things in sexy ways.” But frankly, that just wouldn’t do this series justice. Even if it is true.
What They Say
Rin Asogi is an immortal private detective with a thirst for vodka and a talent for attracting things that go bump in the night. In a series of nightmarish vignettes spanning sixty-five years, Rin’s lush body is sadistically pierced, blown up, and mulched to a bloody pulp. The fiend behind her tortured existence is Apos, an eternal being obsessed with sacrificing Rin to Yggdrasil, the tree of all life.While Rin struggles to unravel the secrets of her endless agony, Apos lurks in the shadows, eager to tear into her ripe body and devour the memories of her countless lives. Rin’s no stranger to the realm of the dead, but her next visit could last forever.
Contains OVAs 1-6.
Both language tracks for this release are offered in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. For this viewing, I checked out the English dub. Each channel and track came through clear with no dropout. Dialogue was central, but there was plenty of directionality in the sound effects. My only issue, and it is admittedly minor, is that this is a series that is either very loud or very quiet, and it fluctuated between the two with no warning. I would have liked to have seen them balance it out a bit more.
As with most BD anime releases from this time, this is an upscale of the DVD transfer rather than a true HD transfer, and as such, it should have gotten a lower grade than I am giving it. With the upscale, a few flaws—such as some background noise and the occasional soft focus—come through, but it is nothing major. Otherwise, even with the upscale, this is a gorgeous release. I can only imagine how it would have looked with a true HD conversion, because this one is beautiful. The animation and coloring are both brilliant, and aside from the minor issues noted above, the transfer is great. Just an absolute visual treat.
The menu has a loop of video from the series. The main part of the loop is from the running gag from the early episodes where Rin wakes up with a hangover demanding that Mimi bring her water. Randomly breaking in are quick cuts to various action scenes from elsewhere in the series. This reminds me of one of the uncensored trailer that does the same thing. It is strange, because the series does not have any of these quick cuts, but it does do a good job of showing how Rin attempts to have a quiet life despite the chaos that follows her. Along the bottom are the selections; like any other BluRay release, the submenus just pop up over the main screen, so the animated loop never gets interrupted. Very nicely done.
There are also some good extras on this release. The first disc has a commentary for episode two with J. Michael Tatum (director), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Rin), Jamie Marichi (Mimi), and Robert McCollum (Koki). The second disc has a Japanese interview segment with Mamiko Noto (Rin), Rie Kugimiya (Mimi), Sayaka Ohara (Laura), and Rie Tanaka (Sayura). This runs about 14 minutes and is filled with the typical sorts of silliness these things are known for. The second disc also has clean versions of the OP/ED, the original Japanese promo trailers, and all three versions of the Funimation trailer (Clean, Uncensored, and TV).
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is a relatively short series of OVAs—coming in at six, 45 minute episodes—about an immortal woman attempting to live in the mortal realm but being drawn into a power conflict among other immortals. While the rampant sex and violence are a selling point, the intrigue in the story is really what powers it along. Frankly, I wish it had lasted longer.
Rin Asogi is a seemingly normal young woman who, along with her partner Mimi, runs the Asogi Consulting Firm—a do-it-all company more akin to a private investigation agency than a consultancy. She takes on any job, as long as it interests her, from finding lost pets to recovering lost memories. Regardless of the case, she is not afraid to get down and dirty and eliminate people if need be, but she would rather just take her time and let things develop naturally if she can. While her laid-back nature comes across to her clients as uncaring, it helps her not overreact to any twists her cases might have.
This is important because chaos seems to follow Rin, as she is an immortal and is being chased by others of her kind for her power. Sometime in the past, Rin accidentally swallowed a Time Spore, the fruit of the world tree, Yggdrasil, which granted her immortality. She can be killed, but she will never stay dead. No matter how badly her body is mutilated, it will always restore itself to the 25-year-old state it has been in for countless years.
That is, of course, as long as she can stay away from Angels. Angels are males who have absorbed the powers of Time Spores. While females get to retain their humanity and live normal lives, males lose themselves and are overcome with the urge to mate with an immortal female. The mating process ultimately kills the female as the Angel generally devours her, but when in proximity to an Angel, the females are powerless to their own sexual urges.
As if this was not enough of a problem for her, Rin is also being hunted by APOS, a self-aware Angel who wants to manipulate Yggdrasil for his own ends. Typically, Yggdrasil is guarded by an Angel who was born from the union of the previous Guardian and his mate, but APOS wants to circumvent that and claim Yggdrasil for himself. And for this, he has chosen Rin for his mate.
As mentioned above, Rin is a series charged with sex and violence. Each episode sees Rin have a run-in with APOS or one of his underlings, and she spends a lot of time getting shot, stabbed, dropped off buildings, sucked through a jet engine, and mutilated in various other gore-tastic ways. The scene where she is forcibly given roughly a thousand body piercings is particularly shudder-inducing. But in the end, she always walks out without a scratch.
And then there’s the sexy side of the series, which is just as prevalent. Rin, with her tight-fitting suit and half-rim glasses, has a bit of the “sexy librarian” thing going on, and she is not afraid of getting intimate to get the information she needs. One informant in particular only likes to be paid with sexual favors, and while Mimi might rather try to pay cash, Rin does not hesitate to give this woman what she wants.
Of course, there are also the times when these two sides of the series mix, which can be uncomfortable. Some of the tortures that Rin is put through are tinged with sexuality; in fact, the non-stop body piercing mentioned above had a definite air of S&M to it. And at one point, Mimi is forced to have sex with another woman while Koki—a longtime co-worker of Rin’s and Mimi’s—is forced to watch in order to find out what they need to save Rin. These scenes do a great job in really ramping up the tension of the entire series.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne also has some interesting pacing. While each OVA builds on the last, they are each their own complete story as well, and a significant amount of time passes between each one. The first takes place in 1990, and while the second is only a year later in 91, the one following jumps ahead to 2011 followed by 2025, with the last two episodes in 2055. This does a really nice job of showing how Rin’s and Mimi’s lives never change regardless of what goes on around them. They are the same people in 2055 that they are in 1990, while all the people around them get older. Koki is a young man when they first meet and employ him in 1990, but is a middle aged man in 2011. 2011 introduces us to Koki’s young son Taruki, who is in turn middle aged by the end of the series.
This also shows us how much time tends to pass between Rin’s encounters with APOS and how quiet her life tends to be otherwise, which in turn underlines how little time really means to immortals. One does not respect time if it is nothing to wait 30 years before proceeding on a plan. It is pretty effective.
But it is also my only real disappointment with the series. I would have liked to have seen Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne be fleshed out into a full 13 or (preferable) 26 episode series so that we could see this downtime. I would envision it as having a build something similar to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex where we would be introduced to the main problem early, but would take frequent breaks to stop and take care of random issues. And while we would still have frequent jumps in time, we would still be able to see the random day-to-day issues surrounding Rin and the other characters, which in turn would make us sympathize with them more.
Aside from that, it would also increase the tension when things get serious. Having tension always cranked up to 11 lessens the effect after a while, but if we were allowed some breaks here and there where the tension went down to 4 or 5, then it means more when it cranks again. Individually, the episodes paced well, but collectively they were too compact. This is a minor complaint, and really the only one I have, but I could not stop thinking about how I wished it had time to pace itself.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is a fantastic series only slightly hindered by some flawed pacing. That likely will not bother some people like it bothered me but it is an issue. Otherwise, I have no complaints here. It is sexy, violent, and has a wonderfully crafted story; even better, there was never really a point where I found that the sex or the violence to be gratuitous. It all made sense in the context of the story. That’s the best kind. If you have a spare four-and-a-half hours, it would be well worth checking this one out. Highly recommended.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 2 Commentary, Promotional Videos, Japanese Cast Interview, Textless Songs
Content Grade: A- Audio Grade: A- Video Grade: B+ Menu Grade: A Extras Grade: A
Released By: Funimation Release Date: July 20th, 2010 MSRP: $59.98 Running Time: 300 Minutes Video Encoding: 1080p AVC Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony BDP-S360 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System
Mark teaches English in Florida and learned the awesomeness of anime through Akira and Dominion Tank Police while growing up in England. Since then, he has spent most of his life watching anime and playing video games–sometimes at the same time if he can arrange it (ADD-much?). Feel free to follow him on Twitter @mdthomas9