Rin! Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 228
  • ISBN: 1569709203
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Rin! Vol. #01

By Patricia Beard     November 27, 2006

Rin! Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Satoru Kannagi/Yukine Honami
Translated by:Wasabi Media
Adapted by:

What They Say
Cupid's Arrows have Gone Haywire!
Katsura needs a hug. Since childhood, his out-of-control anxiety can only be relieved by a good "squeeze" from his brother's best friend, Sou. But how does Sou really feel about being a walking security blanket? Is it a giant embarrassment, or is there something else behind Sou's surly disposition? To make matters worse, the inter-school archery tournament is coming up, and Katsura may need Sou's hugs more than ever just to get through it - especially after being faced with the nerve-rattling advances of his friend and teammate, Kouichi.

Rin! combines the all-star talents of writer Satoru Kannagi (Only the Ring Finger Knows) and artist Yukine Honami (Desire), for a tale of awkward romance. So line up, aim, and take the shot - this one's all about hitting the target of love while dealing with life's hugs and misses.

The Review
Nosebleed Rating 0 out of 5 Very sweet. Some readers will be challenged by the special side story.

Another exemplary presentation by DMP, another over-the-top blurb. On the cover, Katsura, in archery garb, is overlaid over a 3/4 head-shot of Sou. Print quality is that which we have come to expect from DPM, no muddiness or moiré patterns, and lines are distinct and consistent. Trim is good.

No one portrays wistfulness, awkwardness, and naïveté better than Yukine Honami. Her spare, evocative style not only depicts the inner conflicts and emotions of her subjects, but also contributes to the sense of stillness and reflection that characterizes the work.

There are some awkward translations throughout, the biggest offender being the dialog between Katsura's brother, Yamato, and Katsura's friend, Kouichi, that occurs at the end of the main story. I know what is meant, but that's not what is stated. All sfx are translated by substitution or subtitle.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Katsura is insecure. He is a junior, 17 years old(?!!), and a member of the archery team along with his brother Yamato, the team captain, and his brother's friend, Sou, the assistant captain. Katsura has a problem. He is so anxious in competitive situations that the only way he can stop his heart from beating out of control is to get a big hug from his brother's friend, Sou. This has been the situation for 12 years, since Katsura was 5 years old and Sou comforted Katsura when Katsura was despondent over placing his father in danger due to his own negligence.
After observing a girl confess to Sou, Katsura realizes that he needs to shed his dependence on Sou, whom Katsura feels is getting an unwanted reputation with regard to him. Friend and archery teammate, Kouichi, offers to be Katsura's "support" and in an attempt to produce an anxious state in Katsura, kisses Katsura as Sou observes from a distance. Katsura is confused and assumes Kouichi is just joking around. Sou, who has always grudgingly complied with Katsura's requests for hugs, now informs Katsura that he will no longer support him.

Without Sou, Katsura is unfocused and unsure of himself on the archery range. Brother Yamato is so concerned about Katsura and the increased irritability of Sou that he suggests a trip to the seacoast for all of them (and the self-invited Kouichi). At the beach, Yamato allows Sou and Katsura a private moment to confront each other. Sou makes a surprising confession to Katsura and tells Katsura that he has the ability within him to be confident and self-assured.

Katsura is increasingly miserable and confused about Sou. A brotherly talk with Yamato helps Katsura clarify his situation and Katsura renews his commitment to the archery team. And, in a final act of brotherly concern, Yamato arranges for Katsura to receive training that allows him to focus on his archery strengths and to make the breakthrough to come to terms with what Sou means to him.

There is a short side story about Sou and Katsura following the main story.

I love Yukine Honami's artwork. The emotions of her characters are so evident, they don't need a dialog assist, it's all on the page. While I was able to able to put my qualms about Katsura (he's 17 and looks 12) to rest due to the affecting manner in which the story is depicted, I admit to some initial reservations about the side story.

This short story is written and drawn by Honami exclusively, and shows Katsura and Sou hanging out together during the summer. Katsura is working on his summer homework when Sou embraces Katsura and begins to fondle him. Katsura is very embarrassed about the obvious outcome. None of this is presented in a vulgar fashion. There is little dialog and the action is depicted discretely.

However, I admit to being just a little conflicted about this when I first read it. This short story does change the tone of the main story, and that disturbed me a bit, but I think the larger problem for me is that Katsura looks so young and Honami is so good at showing the inner states of her characters, that I felt as embarrassed for Katsura as he did for himself. Honami seems right on the edge here, but her sense of restraint and artistry make this more of an invitation to her readers to meet her sensibility rather than an excuse for a romp through shota.

Those looking for hot and heavy action will be disappointed. This is a story about insecurity and awkwardness, misunderstanding and misdirection. In other words, it's the usual state of high school affairs. The love triangle is not particularly original, and Yamato seemed a bit too understanding , but the archery background lends itself to some very fine drawing by Honami and the philosophy behind the practice of archery sprinkled throughout the volume reflects the path that Sou and Katsura need to take to resolve their problem.

The title "Rin!" refers to a favorite kanji of Kannagi, not a character. A quick look through my O'Neill didn't produce any easy translation. This volume was intended to be a one-shot but Kannagi mentions in her afterword that the Sou x Katsura pairing was so popular that additional volumes are forthcoming.


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