Immortal women deal with the difficulties of a long life while avoiding angels they're attracted to which end up consuming them as sustenance.
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 all 6 OVAs.
This release makes out well as it is one of the few shows to come over from Japan with a 5.1 Japanese track. That makes the English 5.1 track even better this time around with both of them encoded at 448kbps. There aren’t a lot of big moments with the rear speakers being used, but the whole release makes out better for this mix because the forward soundstage in both mixes sound so distinct and with solid placement and depth throughout where needed. It’s not an overly immersive mix but it is one that uses the format to its advantage and provides a solid sounding show that works well for the big loud moments but also the quieter ones throughout.
Originally airing in 2008, the transfer for this six episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The series is spread across two discs with three fifty minute episodes per disc so there’s a fair bit of space and plenty of room to work with. The show has spectacular animation throughout it but a lot of it takes place with dark colors around and night time sequences. There are quite a few done with a stylish manner but a number of scenes have a good deal of background noise to it that’s likely not intentional. Still, the quality of the animation shines through the bulk of this and it’s a very appealing show overall but the transfer has an ebb and flow to it with scenes that are busier than others with the noise. It avoids any serious blocking problems and cross coloration as well as line noise is non-existent throughout.
Rin has a fairly standard packaging format for a FUNimation release with a slipcover that holds two clear thinpaks. The slipcover makes out better than most others in its style, though I wish it was a little more solid, as it has some foil on it in green for the logo while also having a bit more texture to it so that it doesn’t feel as smooth. This adds a little something to it that’s hard to put my finger on, but it’s an appealing texture that keeps it in your hands a bit more while also making you notice it in contrast to other releases. The front slipcover has a great image of Rin in all white with bodies arrayed around her and she has this look like the thought that you’re looking at her is bothersome. With the texture of the cover and the way the coloring works, it feels very rich and powerful. Unfortunately, they push the 6 hour aspect here but I’m not sure where they get it as the show itself runs about four and a half. The back of the slipcover is a darker piece with the cityscape at night visible but also an image of a naked Rin mixed into it that’s quite appealing. The summary breakdown is slim but it provides a lot of good hooks for it as well as some small but striking shots from the show. The extras are all clearly listed and they make a push for the directors name, but strangely use the Serial Experiments Lain credit to tie him in for US fans. Considering his extensive credits, it’s an unusual choice.
Within the slipcover we get two clear thinpak cases that hold the two discs for the series. The first volume is dark and murky but definitely appropriate as it has Rin, Mimi and Maeno together along a railing overlooking the city where the tree is visible in the distance. There’s that serious edge of darkness to this that works well while being so detailed yet hiding so much. The second volume has a gorgeous piece of Apos holding Rin who is wearing her brides outfit while looking drugged set against the church-like architecture in the back as the time fruit float around them. It’s detailed in a different way as so much is visible and the contrasting expressions of the two characters is something that I can’t help but to feel drawn in by. The back covers are very murky extensions it feels like of the scenes themselves but it’s hard to pin it down well enough to discern outside of a few patterns. The episode numbers and titles are listed here clearly as well as what extras are included with that disc. The reverse sides have artwork as well with the first volume showing the scene of Rin by her window drinking wine as the city unfolds behind her while the second one has her in the streets at sunset with numerous fruits floating around them. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
For a show like this, I definitely appreciate the approach taken and the straightforward feeling of the sexuality of the show. FUNimation hasn’t released anything like this that I can think of, that reaches this kind of level at least, so it’s an interesting first foray into this arena.
The menu designs for Rin are a bit bland in a way but they work since each volume uses the artwork from the thinkpak of that respective volume. The expanded shots work nicely and you see more of what makes up the back cover of each of those volumes since the detail can be seen a lot better. The logo through the center off to the left a bit looks good and the navigation strip is simple and effective with no problems in moving around or accessing everything. Submenus load quickly but the usual problem of the discs not reading player presets continues.
Rin gets a fair bit of extras for this release, though the bulk are on the second volume as the first volume gets only a commentary track for the second episode. The second volume has the familiar with the clean opening and closing sequences which are very welcome considering the detail in them. The promotional videos selection has about ten minutes worth of material that shows the various promos made for the series and the way it was tied to various creators. These early promo videos are always neat to see as they tease and tantalize in a really cool way, particularly at the start with the soft whispers of Rin. The other good extra here is a thirteen minute interview with a few of the voice actors from the show that was part of a pre-show event before the first episode aired. Like a lot of these, it’s fairly fluffy but it’s cute and fun to see how they hyped it up just before it aired.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on a light novel series by Hiroshi Onogi, who has scripted some of my favorite series in the last twenty years, Rin is a six episode series that aired on the AT-X network to commemorate its tenth anniversary. The series is quite different from what's out there these days as each epsiode runs about fifty minutes, harkening back to the days of short run OVA series that feature tighter writing and a much more targeted plot. With very strong production values from Xebec, Rin is the kind of series that reminds me of how a show can push the boundaries a bit while still playing in fairly familiar territory.
Rin is a very intriguing series that appeals to a lot of what I like out of both anime and this particular genre. The story focuses on a woman named Rin and her close friend Mimi who run a private investigator agency out of Shinjuku. The two of them take on all sorts of odd jobs to eke out a living, though Rin tries to avoid some of them since she'd rather do nothing on occasion. Some of the jobs she takes are pretty rough though, such as the first one we see as she ends up getting pretty bloodied up and even losing a limb. When we see her just a bit later and she's back to normal, the mystery of who Rin and Mimi are starts to get explored. With its starting point in 1990, the series follows these characters up through 2055 with flashbacks to something close to a thousand years earlier.
Across these years we follow the story of Rin as she spends her time as this private investigator – something that she finds interesting to pass the time right now – while also slowly uncovering a plot orchestrated by an opponent named Apos, who is in the employ of a man named Tajimamori. Apos serves as the primary “villain” of the series who thrives on eating the fruit within people who deal in suffering as they provide the sweetest of all fruit. And the best fruit of all are these immortals who have acquired the Time Fruit from the tree that only a select few can see standing massively tall over the skyline around the world. These fruit only touch a few people here and there over the years, but when women are touched they become immortal in the bodies they have at that time. Men on the other hand become angels, creatures who must eat the immortal women who find themselves unable to resist them sexually.
While Apos is definitely the one orchestrating the hunt for Rin, as she has so many years of memories and suffering within her that will taste the best and fulfill her ultimate needs which are quite impressive as the series crux, the main opponent that Rin has to deal with is a woman named Sayara. Sayara's taken on a contract from Apos that has her spending all her time tracking her down and doing her best to eliminate her. Saya's not quite normal though as is slowly revealed over the series but she's exceptional in many ways as she tracks her and sets up various attempts to wound her enough to take her down completely. There's a really intriguing relationship set up between the two of them as the decades go on and the come across each other in different forms. It turns slowly into the kind of grudging respect even though they both end up doing very cruel things to each other.
With the bigger scale given to the show, they have a really good way of tying Rin to each time period we float into. At the start of the series she encounters a young man named Maeno who has lost his memory and that serves as our introductory investigation. Maeno ends up working with Rin through this, but his family line is key to events in the future as well as we see his son and eventually his granddaughter becoming involved with Rin and her fight against Apos and Saya. Watching the generations of this family's involvement is really highly engaging as it adds a lot of replay value where you can see the ties that bind it all together more clearly each time you go back. There are so many little moments, phrases or background nods as time goes on that plays back to previous elements. It pays so much attention to detail that you can get a lot out of it even after several viewings.
When it comes to the visual design of the show, Rin really has a very strong sense of style and design. While Mimi is a bit younger in design she still has a teenage feeling about her that doesn't feel out of place. Rin's design is very strong where she fits a lot of the cliches – tall, glasses, skits, serious look – but it fits for the kind of life she's living and coping with. The character designs are all very sexual and erotic, an aspect that fits in heavily to the show as it tries to play the mature angle in that regard to balance out the heavy doses of violence throughout it, and they don't shy away using the sex within the story to progress it as well as to simply titillate at times as well. It's easy to see how it would turn some people off or come across as an attempt to look more “mature” because of it, but I found it to fit well within the story and added to it rather than detracted from it. It wouldn't be quite as engaging a show without it as it added a more real element to it.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Rin going into it but it turned out to be the kind of series that had me completely taken with it by the end of the first episode as it started to reveal what it's about. As each episode progressed and more layers were revealed, it only became more and more engaging. Enough so that it reminded me of the OVAs of old that used to run this long to tell specific stories. It makes me wish that more companies and networks would take a risk in trying to produce short run hour-long series with more drama to it and take more chances. I'm supremely glad that the people behind this did so and that FUNimation took the chance to bring it over. This series is one that I know for a fact that I'll be revisiting regularly to savor and enjoy, and much like many films and series I watch in the live action world, will be one that will reveal even more nuance with each new viewing. Highly recommended.
Japanese 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 2 Commentary, Promotional Videos, Japanese Cast Interview, Textless Songs
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 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.