RIN-NE: Episode 4 – “If You Don’t Mind Starting as Friends”

RIN-NE focuses on two characters: Sakura Mamiya (a girl who can see ghosts) and Rinne Rokudo (a boy who can guide restless spirits with earthly regrets to the Ring of Reincarnation). These two keep finding themselves teamed up to take care of issues that involve ghosts and spirits.

Episode Four introduces a new character named Tsubasa Juonji, a high school boy who comes from a family of exorcists. He knew Sakura for a short time when they were in elementary school, and she was the first person he met who could see spirits besides him. She became Tsusaba’s first love, and he transfers into her class at school. Tsubasa is also an exorcist, but he does things quite differently from Rinne. Tsubasa and Rinne first meet before he goes to class, and they don’t get along. Right away, it was obvious that these two would become rivals.

Tsubasa has the gall to ask Sakura to go out with him when he makes his first appearance in the classroom, and people comment that they thought she was dating Rinne. When Tsubasa learns that Rinne is the guy he encountered before class, he becomes competitive for both Sakura and exorcisms.

Episode Four finally introduces the potential for Sakura and Rinne to have romantic feelings for each other, but not realizing what it is they they’re feeling. I wish this could have somehow been conveyed before Tsubasa’s arrival, because I think it could have made his introduction a little stronger.

The story ultimately reveals a spirit of a boy who had wanted to come to the school to be with Sakura’s friend, Miho, but he was sickly and died before he could ever come to school. With help from his haori, Rinne can make it so others can see him, and manages to get Miho to agree to go on a date with him. When Miho tells Sakura she wants to double date, Tsubasa jumps at the chance to go with her. Sakura’s friend Rika ropes Rinne into going since she wants to be part of the date as well.

Most of the rest of the episode takes place at an amusement park, and Tsubasa becomes a little competitive with Rinne. We see that Rinne is skilled when it comes to claw machines and manages to get a stuffed animal that Sakura was wanting. There was a rather cute scene here, and I have to admit that it almost made me want to ship Sakura and Rinne.

I have to give the character designer some credit that they were able to change Takahashi’s design for Tsubasa just enough that he doesn’t look like quite as much of a clone of Miroku from Inuyasha as he does in the manga. While I can still see a resemblance, his design in the anime lessens the obvious similarities between Tsubasa and Miroku.

It’s starting to look as if RIN-NE may be a “slow burn” series that takes time to develop. Some chemistry is finally starting to appear between Sakura and Rinne, and there’s now already a rival for Rinne in the mix. The biggest weakness of this series is the fact that Sakura still doesn’t have much of a personality. In this episode, the most notable thing outside of the scene with Rinne at the claw machine, was how often she was heard saying, “Huh?” At this point, there’s still only a very minimal amount of character development for Sakura, but I’m hoping that this may change as the series continues. Also, I hope she becomes a little less unemotional and detached.

RIN-NE is taking its sweet time to develop the characters and get the story going, which has made this one of the series that I’ve been looking forward to watching the least during the Spring 2015 season. It’s not a bad series, but it’s taking a little longer than I would like to try to hook viewers in and keep them interested.

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