I like to consider myself an anime connoisseur and shy away from paying too much attention to specific genres (despite a penchant for mecha) figuring there’s almost something enduring in anime regardless of the subject matter. That said, and even going in open minded, RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne is a virtual flood of plot threads and style cues with emphasis on gore and torture sequences. Before we get into all of that, let’s take a look at the hard facts of this, the first official North American release of the property.
Released across two discs, RIN Daughters of Mnemosyne comes packaged as a pair of thin packs within an outer cardboard slipcase and consists of nearly six solid hours of episode runtime (with many additional special features). The show comes in at a total runtime of 270 minutes and wears an appropriate TV MA (mature, 17+) rating due to animated violence, some rough language, gore, and a whole lot of horror.
Language options are standard sub & dub with both an English dub and original Japanese soundtrack (either in Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround) & the choice of English subtitled if so inclined to turn them on.
Extras include a commentary by the English Cast & Staff, Promotional Videos, Japanese Cast Interview, textless opening and closing songs, and a host of fresh Funimation trailers on the second disc.
The story, which really goes beyond simple classification, goes something like this: Hermaphroditic immortal APOS has an insatiable appetite for the memories stored within Rin Asōgi; a professional and curvy human woman who it turns out is actually several millennium old. Aside from a love of vodka, Rin makes her living working as a private detective with priority on solving some of the mysteries behind her own twisted existence.
It turns out that Rin is more than even she realizes (as the death of her body results in her temporarily losing her memory, sometimes for dozens of years). Her long-term memories are kept in tact due to the fact that a “time spore”, which effectively made her immortal, unable to age, and capable of surviving and regenerating from normally-fatal amounts of bodily damage, long ago infested her physical being.
Despite no concept of mortal beings and our struggles, APOS is just merciless in his/her definition of amusement, which includes the graphic and prolonged disassembly of the body for the purpose of understanding/ enjoyment in the process of suffering.
In case you aren’t following along, this is some truly bizarre material laced with graphic torture sequences, lesbian sex acts, and some truly unique mythological elements (for example APOS is actually trying to bend the rules of his/her own existence by offering the immortal Rin as a sacrifice to Yggdrasil (the Tree of All Life), so as to become the eternal Guardian of the Tree; a position of great power and honor among the immortals/angels).
So just how does the show go about putting all of this strangeness into sequence? The answer is through a series of horrific vignettes spanning a sixty-five year period where Rin’s flesh is sadistically pierced, blown up, shattered, ripped apart and just plain tortured time and time again.
It’s a bit rough to endure even with the realization that this is after all, merely animated art (you may find yourself repeating something to the effect of “this is only anime, no humans were harmed in the making of this series” like a mantra during some of the prolonged sequences). I would love to come on here and put the show down for this reason alone but am forced to respect the prose, for better or for worse, in its ability to weave its tale. After all, what is anime if not a medium designed to tell fantastical stories with un-cartoon-like realism? So long as the viewer goes in expecting grotesque and erotic visuals, it’s unfair for critics to fault the program for these same traits.
Compared to earlier import efforts, the official FUNimation release does an amazing job with the vocals. Colleen Clinkenbeard does a bang-up job as lead-antagonist Rin and Todd Haberkorn’s portrayal of the twisted APOS leaves little to be desired. That said, the nod may still go to enjoying the series with the original Japanese dialog work simply on account of the fact that the dark and disturbing visuals simply feel a little less bizarre in their native delivery. Either language choice is quite rewarding.
In all, I won’t kid you into believing that this is my kind of anime. I prefer the existentialistic tones of RahXephon or the subliminal impact of Evangelion to the graphic horror elements of RIN, but that isn’t to say I can’t appreciate the material for its truly unique vision and solid delivery used in making its point. So long as you enjoy your anime dark, gritty, graphic, and violent, there is much to be excited about here.
What did you think of this review?
Mnemosyne started as a television series directed by Shigeru Ueda and written by Hiroshi Ōnogi. The animation is handled by Xebec but planning and production is shared with Genco, that also had a part in the original concept creation. Original character design is by Chūō Higashiguchi, and was used as a template by the character designer for the anime version, Mitsuru Ishihara. Music direction is headed by Takayuki Negishi. The series' opening theme is "Alsatia" and the ending theme is "Cause Disarray"; both songs are written by Yama-B, composed by Syu, and performed by Galneryus. Funimation Entertainment licensed Mnemosyne in February 2009 for a North American release under the title RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~.