I first read about Rin back in late January/February of 2010, shortly after spending a handsome amount of money on other anime titles. After reading about the plot and its content, I was really mad at myself for wasting my funds on other titles since I really wanted it badly. I felt much like Dewey in the Malcolm in the Middle episode “Cheerleader” when Dewey resorts to spinning on the floor screaming “I want it!! I want it!! I want it!!” when he wanted some expensive toy. I waited until I got the appropriate funds and as soon as that was satiated, I got Rin in a snap and watched it, and boy was I happy to have seen it!!
Rin's story takes place in a sixty-five year time period, starting in 1990 and ending in 2055. The story is about a sexy and immortal private detective named Rin Asogi, and her partner, Mimi. They have their own business where they take up a variety of odd jobs ranging from finding lost cats or researching ancient stamps. However, their existences become threatened when an eternal being named Apos, targets Rin to sacrifice her to Yggdrasil, the tree of all life. It's not everyday that you see an anime where you see the protagonists face sadomasochistic female scientists, sex cyborgs, and winged male immortals (named angels) just to name a few.
One of Rin's strongest qualities is the plotting of the series since as stated before, the whole story spans over a sixty-five year time period, yet each of the six episodes in the series all seems to mesh smoothly with each other. In other words, the time periods transition very well and don't feel clunky or tacked-on. While the series isn't plotted to be a Satoshi Kon-styled brain twister, there's enough twists and surprises to kill off any shreds of predictability, enhancing the viewing experience. Also, key characters and some themes are introduced in the first half of the series and at first, you may think “What's the significance of the characters?”, but as the series gets close to the end, you begin to realize that they all fit into the story perfectly as certain points unravel.
Your glass is either half-full or half-empty in this category. Personally, my glass is half-full. While we get to know Rin and Mimi pretty well, there's still an aura of mystery surrounding them, which works very well in their favor since Rin and Mimi are possibly around a millennium old, so most (if not all) of their history can't be immediately known to the viewer. Some characters like Rin and Mimi's eventual partner, Koki Maeno, seem like nothing more than plot devices, but you'll eventually learn the significance of his character and of his family line in general. However, unfortunately, some characters seem fairly hollow. Examples would be the main villain Apos and side villain Sayara Yamanobe, with the former starting off as an interesting character but descends into stock villain territory in the latter half of the series, and the latter whose in there only to demonstrate some really sick torture acts against Rin on the first and third episodes of the series. All in all, the characters are decent, and certainly many levels higher than the cheap and bland characterization of trendy swill like Bleach and Naruto.
Rin has fairly strong elements of Norse mythology and even some reversal of well known elements in Christianity within the story, along with themes of immortality and lesbianism. The best example of the Norse mythology angle is that Yggdrasil is central to the story. Rin establishes a theme of immortality and plays within its own rules. Yggdrasil spreads out orbs called “time fruits” throughout the Earth and only a handful of people will absorb them. When women absorb them, they become immortal, and the only way they can die is if someone tears into their bodies and rips the “time fruit” out of them, and destroys it. However, if men absorb the time fruit, their only immortal for a short period of time and mutate into hideous beings called “angels” (hence the “reversal” of a main Christian element), and can only stay alive if they devour immortal women. This is where the lesbianism kicks in since immortal women obviously can't form relationships with immortal men due to previous statements, it makes more sense for them to love each other.
The artwork is very nice and finely detailed in this anime, and the characters are very well drawn. Of course, with this being an anime geared for the male demographic, the female characters are fabulous eye candy, especially Rin (I have a thing for ladies who love vodka and wear glasses). The animation is very well done most of the time, but I noticed some scenes where characters in the background wouldn't move. There's elements of 3D animation incorporated into the 2D animated environment and the 3D elements thankfully don't overpower the visuals and don't look tacked-on.
Rin is an anime I certainly wouldn't let the kids see since there's a good amount of brutal violence and plenty of nudity and fan service. I felt the violence was very well used to make the anime feel disturbing, especially in the first episode where Sayara cuts, pierces, and beats Rin in one of her labs when her break-in fails. While I certainly don't mind female nudity, fan service, and lesbianism one bit, I feel some of it was put in there just for the sake of having it. Some examples are in episode one, we see Rin taking a shower and for no reason, she fondles her own breasts and in episode five, we see a bunch of immortal women engage in a lesbian orgy for no reason. Also, there's some unnamed female informants who help out Rin and Mimi by providing information and the only form of payment they accept is lesbian sex. Seeing Rin copulate with the informant doesn't bother me at all, but seeing Mimi copulate with the informant gives me a weird feeling since Mimi looks like she's 10-12 years-old (even though she's roughly 1000 years-old). Again, being a male in his early 20's, I personally don't mind the excessive nudity and sex.
The opening and closing songs are a pretty big change from the usual opening anime songs since they're traditional heavy metal. I was initially disappointed with the songs since they were described as “neo-classical metal” and expected something along the lines of early Coroner, but now I think the songs are pretty cool and fit in with this type of anime. The background music is a mixed bag because while the music itself sounds good, I feel that they're sometimes used for the wrong emotional effects in some scenes and some may be turned off by the fact that the music sounds like cheap synth-jazz lifted out of a hardcore hentai title (I don't mind this, either).
Rin, thankfully, maintains a serious and dark tone throughout its whole running time. For those who loathe an anime labeled as “serious” but then bombards you with cheap slapstick and over-exaggerated facial expressions, then Rin won't be a problem for you whatsoever. Infact, the only part I could recall that could possibly be considered “funny” is a scene in episode two (which takes place in 1991), where Mimi brags about how “top of the line” her computer is, but will make computer geeks like myself crack up due to how outdated computers from the early 90's are compared to current models.
Rin is certainly one of the better anime titles to come out in the last 3-4 years, and is a title you'd want if you're into mystery anime with horror elements. However, if you want straight-up horror, I suggest you watch Doomed Megalopolis first.
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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~.