The latest manga from the legendary Rumiko Takahashi, begun April 2009 in Shonen Sunday and licensed by Viz Media, who — in a first for manga — started releasing translated versions online at the same time that they came out in Japan. However, licensed online updates ended after the earthquake in Japan.The star of RIN-NE, known in Japan as Kyoukai no Rinne or "Rinne of the Boundary", is Sakura Mamiya, who has been able to see ghosts since an incident in her childhood. Now in High School, she views them as more than a nuisance than anything. One day, Rinne Rokudo, a student who has been absent since the beginning of the year appears in class, strangely-dressed and visible only to Sakura — yet after school, she finds him to be solid, unlike any ghost she has seen.
Accidental Pervert: Twice in the same arc. Chapter 100 continues an arc where Sakura has lost her ability to see ghosts, and just when a whole lot of them are after her for the A-1 Grand Prix. Tamako gives Rinne a gift of a doll that can take on the form of a given person, after achieving a strand of hair. The doll takes Sakura's form in order to redirect the ghosts to it, but Tsubasa thinks it's some kind of sex doll, and calls Rinne a pervert. Continuing from there, in chapter 101, Rinne, wearing his haori, slips into Sakura's room to check on her just as her mom is calling her for the bath. If the shinigami wasn't such a decent guy, he would've seen even more than he already had. This means that this is no longer the Rumiko Takahashi odd-one-out, in the respect that we finally see some cleavage. Not counting the Nirvana House oneshot chapter.
Amplifier Artifact: Jumonji's Power Stone, which changes color depending on how "pure" it is.
Art Shift: Page 6 of chapter 27 features some (in-story) drawings made by members of the art club. These have a distinctly different drawing style from Takahashi's usual style.
Averted so far, which is odd for a Takahashi series. Rinne is turning out to be a stoic with only mild jerkiness (very little of which is directed towards Sakura) and Sakura has yet to show the slightest tsuntsun! In chapter 21, Rinne actually went speechless for a moment and inwardly admits that Sakura is cute! Later, Rinne is acting like a Kuudere (stoic and kuu- normally, but all deredere around Sakura), and Sakura is also a Kuudere for him, but her Selective Obliviousness makes her Innocently Insensitive at times.
Berserk Button: Tamako's reaction to being called old is humorous for us, not so humorous for the person who called her it.
Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Rinne requires people who wish their spiritual problems be solved must make a cash AND food donation at the school's utility shed. It gets turned on him in Chapter 9 when the client sticks him with some extra fees, under the threat of exposing his "scam". Of course, it turns out that Rinne has a reason to ask for such payments — it's the only thing he has to live on, what with his asshole father stealing every yen that Rinne gets and spending nothing on him.
Boyfriend Bluff: In a rare reversal of roles, Tamako announces Rinne is already dating Sakura to stop Sabato's plan to force Rinne into an Arranged Marriage. Sakura doesn't deny it at the moment because it will get Rinne out of the problem, but Rinne becomes disappointed when she denies it afterwards.
A boat in chapter 4 looks like Genma Saotome (from Ranma ½) in his panda form. Pandas that look like him have also showed up in chapters 24 and 84.
One of the balloons Tsubasa carries in chapter 21 looks like Shippo's pink floating balloon form from InuYasha.
In the same chapter, one of the plushies Rinne wins looks like the panda drawing that escaped its frame Ranma had to date to get it to rest at a fair.
The Casanova: Sabato Rokudo. Though him being a money-grubbing jerk is kind of a turn-off to some people. Most certainly not the women he treats and spoils (using Rinne's money, no doubt), but to the outsiders looking in, he fits the negative tropes given to him very well.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Sort of implied when Tsubasa pulls out a Christian bible when fighting an evil spirit, who tells him he has "the wrong religion here" (though he had other uses for that bible in mind).
Clothes Make the Superman: Rinne is apparently a physically normal person, but becomes like a ghost when wearing a special cloak. However, if he turns it inside-out he can put it on a ghost and make them like a living person while they wear it.
Custom Uniform: Rinne wears his tracksuit from junior high instead of the school uniform, presumably because he cannot afford one, but likely more from the fact that he feels he should never spend any money on "luxuries" for himself (which is everything) due to his debt.
The entrance to Hell looks like the entrance to a JR train station.
The series as a whole: It stars a red-haired guy and a black-haired girl; one of them can see ghosts and the other is a Shinigami; the mortal then becomes involved in the world of Shinigami and helps the souls of the departed reach the afterlife before they become monsters... except the guy is the Shinigami, and the girl is the normal human. If this isn't apparent yet, one early translator put it as bluntly as possible:
Equivalent Exchange: One weapon turns things into their cash value. No idea how that works. It then puts them in a safe; it's never been stated where the money comes from. (If it came from Rinne's account, Sabato wouldn't have coughed up blood when the guy was paid for the beef.)
Even Evil Has Standards: Well, Tsubasa's not evil, but no matter how much he hates Rinne and yearns for Sakura's affection, he'd never go so far as to make a Deal with the Devil (literally, with Masato) and curse Rinne... Too bad circumstances keep leading him to keep doing so anyway, much to his horror.
Everyone Can See It: We're not thirty chapters in and Tsubasa already suspects Sakura of being in love with Rinne.
Hair Colors: Attention is drawn to Rinne's bright red hair.
Half-Human Hybrid: Rinne is one-quarter shinigami and one-quarter human. The other half is unaccounted for. At some point, Kain does mention "Rinne Rokudo, who is only half shinigami". (Or something along those lines.) Kain could just be using that as a generalization, though.
Iron Buttmonkey: As of the latest chapters, Tsubasa indefinitely qualifies. Chapters 82 and 83 have introduced a ghost girl named Yayoi, who needs the feeling of being loved in order to pass on. However, Yayoi's true intentions are to have Tsubasa join her in the afterlife so she can be loved. It doesn't help that Tsubasa looks like the boy she had a crush on. At the end of the arc, after having gone through the perils Yayoi put him through, he is admitted to the hospital; but only "for a little while". It was lampshaded twice when both a student and the doctor say that an ordinary person would have died from what he went through.
Jerkass: Rinne's dad Sabato seems to have studied at the Genma Saotome Anything Goes School of Parenting, take the lessons Up to Eleven, and then invented some more techniques of his own to enhance his massive jerkass status. Let's see... Daddy's been stealing Rinne's money for years, crushed his hope of seeing his mom as a young boy, forced him to take on his debts, and is trying to get him married to take over his failing company... probably to force even more debt on him while he gets to go off skipping. The only Pet the Dog moment he had so far is when he object against Kain's hostility towards Rinne...for a problem he caused himself, and there may have been ulterior motives there too.
Kotatsu: Ageha is tricked into buying one thinking it has Love Potion-like effects and will help her get closer to Rinne, but ironically enough, despite it having no such ability, the kotatsu does help all the main characters bond with each other.
Let's You and Him Fight: On their first encounter, Ageha jumps to the conclusion that Rinne is the damashigami that gave out the cursed pencils.
"Rinne" (輪廻) means "transmigration of souls", and "rokudō" (六道) means "six paths", referring to the Buddhist six realms of existence (for the record, the term "rokudōrinne" is indeed uned for this concept).
"Tamako" (魂子) means "soul child", an appropriate name for a shinigami.
"Rokumon" (六文) means "six mons" (mon being an obsolete currency unit), referring to the fare for crossing the Sanzu no kawa (a Japanese Buddhist equivalent of the River Styx).
"Kaori Himekawa" is a reincarnated "Hime". But not really. The name was probably meant to fool readers. Himekawa can mean "river princess". Given what she's actually reincarnated from, this name actually is both meaningful]] and hilarious.
"Misora Utagawa": this character's given name and surname both refer to her being a singer. "Misora" (spelled in hiragana, みそら) is part of the solfège for a major pentatonic scale: do, re, mi, sol (or "so"), la (or "ra"). (Rinne mistakenly calls her "Doremi Utagawa" once.) It might also be a reference to singer Hibari Misora. The first character in "Utagawa" (歌河) means "song", and the second character means "river" (possibly referring to the way she died).
"Tadano Tomoya" (只野トモヤ): "Tada no tomo ya" (ただの友や) means "I'm just a friend."
"Masato" (魔狭人): Masato himself states that his name is written to mean, "an evil, narrow-minded person" (VIZ translation). This translation is pretty accurate. "Ma" (魔) means "demon, evil spirit", "Sa" literally means "narrow, cramped", and "To" means "person".
"Jumonji" (十文字): Means "cross", which fits in with Tsubasa Jumonji's exorcist "side-job". Tsubasa also means "wings".
"Toichi" (トイチ): An abbreviation of "tooka de ichiwari", which means "10% interest every 10 days".
"Imoto": This character is a member of the horticulture club, and "imo" (芋) is a suffix used in the words for several types of root vegetables. The name is also plot-relevant — see below. note Note that this name is entirely unrelated to the word "imouto".
"Asatsuma Tomō": This horticulture club member's name contains "satsuma", and "satsumaimo" (薩摩芋) means "sweet potato" (which is what the club is currently growing). Also: "ASATSUMA TOMOO" → erase part of it → " SATSUMA I MO ". Might also qualify as edible theme naming along with "Imoto".
Rinne is sort of a subversion, being very conscious of his spending and trying to get whatever money he can, but he's never an outright jerk about it.
His father Sabato plays it straight though, being so money-grubbing as to steal from his son's account, steal from his son's piggy bank (which had the money Rinne wanted to use to visit his mother), use a weapon that converts whatever it touches into cash, and vomit blood when he gets tricked into actually paying for something]].
Mistaken for Murderer: Rokumon immediately assumes that Sakura, Jumonji and Ageha have killed Rinne after seeing his body on the ground. The true culprit is Kain.
Monster of the Week: This is the basic structure so far, starting with the Kaori Himekawa arc. Most cases take two or three chapters to solve, suggesting that they'll come out to an episode each in the inevitable anime. Most of the exceptions so far have been character introduction arcs, like the Reiji Todoriki arc (Masato's debut). Rinne's father will be the main villain in two consecutive arcs. In Kain's arc, he's a minor villain. Sabato is the one behind everything, unsurprisingly.
Mr. Exposition: Rokumon when he explains the purpose of various devices used by shinigami.
Narrator: In the form of speech bubbles that are not connected to any of the characters, and have a different border style and font.
Noblewoman's Laugh: Misora Utagawa does this in chapter 12, including the hand gesture. Which hides the space where she's missing a front tooth.
Non-Human Sidekick: Rokumon, to Rinne. In fact, it seems that every shinigami has a Black Cat by Contract.
Not So Stoic: Rinne appears cool and unfazed by anything supernatural... though the emptiness of his wallet never fails to bring him to absolute despair.
Not What It Looks Like: Every time that Rinne gets in a compromising position with a girl (most often Ageha, although it also happened once with a one-shot character), he'll be quick to distance himself and inform Sakura that it's not what she thinks.
Oba San: It's a Running Gag for Tamako (Rinne's grandmother) to punish people for calling her "Oba-chan" / "Oba-san". She's also happy when Sakura comments on how young she looks. Which leads her to her Crowning Moment Of Awesome when she takes out a dozen damashigami girls with a single punch for calling her old.
Parental Abandonment: Rinne has lived with his grandfather his whole life. His dad, at least, is alive... and an asshole. His mother was claimed by his father to be dead, but that may or may not have been a lie. With Sabato, you never know.
Perpetual Poverty: Rinne is living in an abandoned club building so he doesn't have to pay rent, can't afford to feed a black cat spirit, makes artificial flowers for money, and asks for food offerings and cash at the weather hutch. This is partially because as a part-human, he needs to pay for the tools to use abilities a full-blooded Shinigami naturally possesses. Said poverty is not the result of his grandmother's debt, but his father's.
Chapter 8 features a bottled drink called "MEGA サメ・ル". This is pronounced the same as "目が覚める" ("me ga sameru"), which means "wake up" (literally, "eyes awaken"), but the "目が" ("me ga") part is written as the English word "mega".
Really 700 Years Old: Tamako, being a shinigami, looks like she's in her 20s despite being Rinne's grandmother and may well have lived for much longer before she got married.
Reincarnation Romance: A ghost of a soldier tries to go after a girl he assumes is the reincarnation of a woman he loved. Subverted when it turns out that the woman looks nothing like Himekawa, as he just built up his image of her until he just decided she must be his princess's reincarnation simply because she's beautiful. As it turns out, though, the person who really is the princess's reincarnation doesn't closely resemble the princess either; it's Suzuki, the (male) PE teacher.
Narrowly dodged. Rinne and Sakura are regularly mistaken for a couple, but they don't bother to correct anyone. Sakura mostly just shrugs it off. (In Tsubasa's case, Rinne seems to know that he wouldn't believe it anyway.)
Rinne keeps insisting to Sakura that he isn't even friends with Ageha... yet. At this point in the story, Rinne only likes her enough to put up with her. Takahashi has even stated, in-chapter, that to the people who can see her, she's "terribly annoying".
Also in chapter 27, when given a look inside the anime club's room, there is a poster that features a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Sailor Moon and Luna. Also, one of the figurines looks like Shampoo, and another like Hatsune Miku.
This one might or might not be meant as a reference: In chapter 51, when Tsubasa summons the spirits of the power stone, he says "Light, come forth!"
Smoke Out: Masato does this to escape a beating from Rinne.
Spell My Name with an S: It's "Rin-ne" in the English version so we have a chance of pronouncing it correctly. Keep in mind, though, that "RIN-NE" is the series! When referring to the character in the actual translation, it's still written "Rinne".
Troubled, but Cute: Rinne is constantly in debt, his father is impossibly greedy, any profits he makes are immediately taken, and he is now dealing with new emotions he didn't know he had. His dad alone is enough to give him trouble; he's basically the cause of everything else mentioned above.