You remember when anime was weird? Anime used to be weird, didn’t it? Especially from the 1980’s through the 1990’s, and that’s not just an exaggeration. I mean, think about it: the first time you saw Akira? Weird. Ghost in the Shell? Weird. Or maybe Evangelion? Holy crap weird. At the risk of waxing nostalgically, I remember when I first started watching anime. The plots, 9 times out of 10, were nearly incoherent on a first viewing, involving blood spurting like bodies were constricted water balloons, and more often than not a naked girl. Sure, the girls still get naked sometimes now, and other times you see the occasional blood geyser depending on the show, but mostly the weird plots have faded away replaced by more conventional territory of traditional comedy, horror, or drama. You can watch most modern anime movies/shows only once and “get” them. I sometimes wonder if this change is one of the reasons the anime industry is hurting at the moment, but I digress.
Rin: Daughter of Mnemosyne is weird. Really weird. Additionally there are ample amounts of blood and nudity. At times, it feels like a throwback to those anime I used to watch that left me scratching my head before rewinding the VHS (am I dating myself?) hoping it’s clearer the second time through. I’m not saying that is a bad thing. Nope. Not at all. This anime, while it was made in 2008, feels like something from a bygone era of anime that is greatly missed.
Rin: Daughter of Mnemosyne takes place over a span of 65 years following the adventures of Rin Asogi. Rin is a private investigator, or a consultant as she calls it, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. In fact in the first five minutes of episode one we see Rin get killed, murdered by a mysterious woman for reasons unknown. Oddly enough, the scene then shifts to the next day and Rin is perfectly fine and healthy working in her office as if the night before she hadn’t gotten her arm blown off and her body dropped off a ten story building. Rin, it turns out, is immortal and can’t be killed by conventional means. Gunshots, stabbings, even losing of limbs, are all obviously extremely painful and torturous (watching some of these scenes can be very intense) and will eventually “kill” her, but a few minutes after death she wakes up and starts to regenerate. Rin works with her assistant Mimi, who is also immortal, and takes odd jobs that range from finding lost pets to investigating murder. These odd jobs usually lead to something much more sinister and slowly a bigger picture of what is really going on in this anime becomes clear. Why are Rin and Mimi immortal, and what is the significance of the Yggdrasill, a massive tree growing over the city that only immortals can see?
The series is only 6 episodes long, the first three 46 minute episodes being on this first disc. The story is intriguing, and you probably will have to watch it more than once to pick up all the detail and nuances of the plot. Some things that may throw off certain viewers is the amount of blood and sex in this show. Every episode on this disc has at least one cringe worthy tortuous event that happens to Rin, and also a degree of nudity and sex (mostly yuri) that some may find gratuitous. This said I think the story is fascinating enough to keep people interested even if they have to avert their eyes during at certain scenes.
Funimation, as usual, did a great job with the DVD. The animation and video quality are very clean, crisp and clear and the dub is also stellar. Colleen Clinkenbeard is excellent as Rin, giving her the perfect voice full of mystery, strength, humor, fear and kindness depending on the situation she is facing. Jamie Marchi also does an great job as the older than she looks Mimi. Her character can switch from happy and bubbly to serious and analytical and she does both flawlessly. The supporting cast including Todd Haberkorn as the mysterious and most definitely menacing Apos, and Robert McCollum as the confused possible clone Koki do equally impressive jobs. Extras are sparse on this first disc, with only a commentary on episode two with the ADR director J. Michael Tatum and the main cast. It’s a bit raunchy and fun to listen too, but I have to wonder if there are more exciting extras on the second disc of this set.
So if you are like me, and wonder where the old school style anime went, full of blood, sex and weird yet intriguing plot lines, look no further than Rin: Daughter of Mnemosyne. You won’t be disappointed.
Story – 5 Visuals – 4 Dub – 4 Extras – 3
OVERALL – 4 out of 5
Rin: Daughter of Mnemosyne – Disc 1
Released: May 18th, 2010
Episodes: 1- 3
Running Time: 2 hr. 30 min.