by Shannon H.
The manga gods (aka Japan) have bestowed upon us some pretty badass titles this week. There is a new volume of the Neon Genesis Evangelion: Raising Shinji Ikari project to help satiate you until Evangelion 2.2 drops on DVD and Blu-Ray later this month, as well as another issue of Dogs, Detroit Metal City and Twin Spica, to name a few. There is even a new addition to Arata, which is the first foray into shonen by Fushigi Yuugi creator, Yuu Watase, and is a great spin on the fantastical shoujo she is already famous for.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. Today, we are going to talk about the new volume of Rin-Ne, Rumiko Takahashi and why she’s awesome. If you have no idea what I’m on about, then you better keep reading, or you’ll lose your otaku card on the spot: I will be the one to personally take it from you.
Rumiko Takahashi has been drawing manga since the 70’s and has had a generational hit every decade since. She is not only the richest and most successful manga-ka in Japan, but also the richest woman there in general, which is saying something considering that she draws comics for a living — and shonen, at that! The uninitiated may recognize her as the creator of Inu Yasha, the series I personally attribute to the sudden explosion of anime popularity in the States, while the rest of us older geeks will remember her most fondly for Ranma 1/2, the hilarious martial arts comedy she was drawing in the 90’s when anime was still a big secret hobby. Before that, she had her breakout hit in the 70’s with Urusei Yatsura, perhaps more well-known as simply Lum, and it is sad to think that many current anime fans don’t recognize our favorite alien’s familiar, tiger-striped bikini anymore, or what tacking -chaa onto the end of everything you say is adorable. After that came Maison Ikkouku in the 80’s, which is a hilarious romantic comedy about misfit Godai and his quest to prove himself to the girl of his dreams. Both are sadly out of print, but definitely worth the quest to find… if only for your anime education!
Now we have Takahashi’s current project, Rin-Ne, and we are lucky that Viz is printing the English version almost simultaneously with the Shonen Sunday releases of the series in Japan. The story is like the lovechild of Ranma and Inu Yasha, following the exploits of schoolgirl Sakura, who can see ghosts, and Rin-Ne, the boy stuck with his Shinigami grandmother’s soul-reaping debt. With a revolving door of hilarious rivals from the spirit world and the ridiculous hijinks that could only come from one brainbox, Rin-Ne is sure to keep you entertained nonstop.
No wonder that I’ve convinced myself that the author of my life story could be none other than Takahashi-san.