12 Days of Anime #6: Thrift in Kyoukai no Rinne

Here’s a scenario. You load your cash/debit card into your ATM and then, BAM, the ATM explodes and you’re flooded in a pile of money. What do you do with the moolah?

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A. You take that money straight to the bank and slap down a payment for that juicy piece of real estate you’ve been eyeing on.

B. You scream ridiculously like a little girl and just smother yourself with those lovely green bills. Who needs dignity when you’re rolling in cash?

C. You’re too conscientious for your own good, so you notify the police of the ATM malfunction and dutifully hand back the money (it could have been yours!) back to their rightful owners.

D. You’re tight on cash, literally in Debt Hell, and the sheer sight of so much money gets you so excited that you instantly splurge the cash on an extravagant whirlwind attack worthy of any respectable shonen protagonist.

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The struggle is real in Kyoukai no Rinne (lit. “Rinne of the Boundary”).

Possibly one of the more under watched titles of the year, Kyoukai no Rinne is a tough one to pin down on. It’s a casual supernatural watch with a fetish for episodic gags, puns and slapstick humor. And while the character designs are very similar to Takahashi’s past works (i.e. Ranma 1/2 or Inuyasha), the tone couldn’t be more different. For such a rich and vibrant showcase of the realm of the afterlife and the supernatural, the show remains ardently fixed on the simpler aspects of life.

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Money. There’s no denying that money is at the heart and core of every Rinne episode. Our poor protagonist–and yes, he is poor both figuratively AND literally–is just trying to survive high school while chipping away at the enormous debt his deadbeat father leaves behind. He’s thrifty to the point of obsession. Even the thought of purchasing a cheap bun from the convenience store is enough for him to bleed streaming tears.

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Which is why it is so satisfying to see that occasionally, very occasionally, he comes out on top. Which seems to be the case whenever his opponent is the laughably incompetent demon, Masato, who loves concocting ridiculously roundabout plots to make Rinne’s life hell–and in episode 8, his plot does this quite literally.

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Takahashi’s dry humor (which is really her humor at its finest) makes itself quite plain in her depiction of Hell as a bureaucracy not too far different from the society we know. There’s an exorbitant entrance fee for heaven’s sake and Hell runs in a frighteningly efficient manner.

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Masato’s plans to cast Rinne into Debt Hell only backfires when he underestimates the shinigami’s zest to work and penny-pinch his way out of trouble.

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Most epic moment of the episode? Aside from Rinne extravagantly using Masato’s counterfeit bills in his Thousand Winds Tornado attack, it’s really his handling of the Hell Ogre’s interrogation over the counterfeit bills that really takes the cake. For such a straightforward guy, he’s actually got a streak of vicious deviousness hidden underneath and when money’s at stake, our homeboy Rinne’s not afraid to get down and dirty and blackmail our resident idiot demon into covering his reparation and entrance fees.

2 thoughts on “12 Days of Anime #6: Thrift in Kyoukai no Rinne

  1. I agree. Takahashi’s dry humour is the best.

    Also, there’s something strangely adorable about Rinne (the character). He’s so earnest and straight-faced. It makes me want to root for him, but at the same time I want to see him spiral further into poverty. Such cognitive dissonance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, we want Rinne to succeed but only moderately because it’s much more fun watching him struggle with poverty. Such sadists we are…

      It does help that most of his opponents are complete bakas of course…


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