Rin-ne is the latest manga creation from Rumiko Takahashi, who is famous for her many popular hits, including Ranma 1/2 and Inu Yasha.
The manga takes place in the present day, and follows the life of a high school girl named Sakura Mamiya, whose nique gift is to see ghosts. Rather than a terrifying veil of unholy terror, the ghosts are more of a nuisance that she has to contend with on a daily basis. That is until her oft-absent classmate Rinne Rokudoshows up and exorcises one such bothersome phantom.
The emphasis is placed on gentle supernatural comedy, an area already well trodden by the author. Whether or not this series will be another epic like Ranma, or a short and sweet tale like Fire Tripper, only time will tell, but given that Clamp has caught the wave with XXXholic, Rin-ne will need something special to stand out.
As first volumes go, there's plenty packed in - we meet Rinne's granny, find out how and why he becomes a Shinigami and even learn why Sakura can see ghosts. Iin terms of long term mystery, there's not much left by the end of the book.
The artwork is typical Takahashi, with Sakura in particular looking very much like Ranma with 2 pigtails, but given that the lady has designed some of the most memorable characters in the last 30 years, we can forgive her some repetition! Anyone who comes to the book without prior exposure to the "Rumic World" might be surprised - the artwork has a breezy style that's a world away from the uber-sharp and detailed work you'll see in most modern manga. That said, nothing ever looks out of place, and the artwork flows effortlessly across the pages.
Though it ends on a cliffhanger, the series will need to introduce a few new characters before the title really takes off. The black cat Rokumonis a good start, being a ghost-kitty in need of a job and with plenty of attitude, he's certainly one of the stand out characters in the book. Similarly, Rinne's granny Tamako is also an impetous delight.
Still, if there's one thing Takahashi-san can be relied upon, it's the ability to conjure up a large cast of characters at will, so expectations are high. It's a low key start, but worthy of the artist's reputation, and fans of her work should enjoy this without reservation.