(This is not a review. I’ll be talking about the work in a generalized way. The title seemed underrated to me so I thought I’d try and recommend it to readers. I can’t do that with spoilers. I’m sorry if the writing is all over the place, I haven’t written in English in a while. >_< )
Author: Harold Sakuishi
Publisher: Gekkan Shounen Magazine (Kodansha)
From 2012 to 2016
Concluded in 14 volumes (41 chapters, each ranges between 60 and 75 pages)
RiN is a shounen manga created by Harold Sakuichi (BECK) tells the story of Fushimi, a high-school student who wants to become a professional mangaka and the female protagonist, Rin, a model who is also a psychic.
The story might seem simple and generic but it gains more depth by every chapter. Some will think it’s just another Bakuman. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. RiN is not the type of mainstream shounen manga where it can be solely characterized by the theme of “competitiveness” like Bakuman. Admittedly, competitiveness is a major theme in RiN but is not the highlighted one (at least, that’s what I think). Moreover, the rivalry between the characters/mangaka isn’t restricted to the ranking system like in Bakuman. I think RiN is unique in that sense that it is free from the mainstream shounen shackles, maybe not completely but it certainly is not Shounen Jump material, if you know what I mean.
A big part of what makes it a unique title is the incorporation of surrealism in the plot. The RiN world is undoubtedly the real world which makes the supernatural elements in the story make you think “there’s something more in here”. There supernatural elements appear in episodes such as dreams and visions which are mostly enigmatic and mysterious in nature. They are also embodied in the other main character Rin who has psychic powers. Not to mention, both of Fushimi and his rival’s serialized titles are a reflection of the characters’ encounters and experiences with the supernatural. (Here, another theme appears which is the creative process.)
Initially, the supernatural is dealt with in a realistic manner. It is not accepted outright as something natural and it is not rejected either. I think it was presented in the way that any of us might think of something coincidental as a ‘sign’. Of course, by the passage of chapters, it will be reinforced and ultimately cemented as a fact. I’d really love to talk about what the supernatural is exactly and what it all means but I don’t want to spoil it. Just be certain that it is NOT superpowers or anything you might imagine being in a mainstream shounen manga. Well mentioning ‘surrealism’ should be enough to get the idea through.
In my opinion, this supernatural aspect is what constitutes the true main idea of the story, not the competitiveness between the characters. And for fear of spoiling it for the readers, I am going to stop here about this subject!
The story starts off slow and until it ends it is also slow-paced but for good reason. Bear with the surrealist intervals, you’ll see that everything makes sense at the end. The plot is that well-knitted. The characters are real and relatable. And the connection between them is also a big part of the story especially Fushimi and Rin, their relationship is the heart of this work.
I wish I could say more but this post isn’t a review. I only wanted to put this title out there for people who think it’s just another Bakuman. I think Rin is really underrated. I know I didn’t say detailed stuff that really help but I hope that at least it made you want to try reading it.
Watch Harold Sakuishi himself drawing RiN!