Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is freaking awesome. Buy it.
That's it. That's my review.
Okay, it's really not, but in all honesty I just saved you the trouble of reading through what I'm about to type. This latest anime release from FUNimation is without a doubt and hands down one of the best shows to come along in the past decade. It is uniquely mature, entirely captivating, and engrossing from start to finish. To put it bluntly, you've never seen a show like this before and everything about it stands out in a huge way.
Produced by Xebec and Genco Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne's original airing was in 2008. The show received six 45-minute episodes and instantly made an impact with its often grotesque erotic imagery. Adding to the mystique of the show is thef act that it was directed by Shigeru Ueda, who had his hands on Serial: Experiments Lain. But enough about the background, what's it all about?
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne takes place in a world where immortals live among us. Basically there's a big tree called Yggdrasil that is not visible to mere mortals. Every once in a while Yggdrasil releases spores called Time Fruits and when one enters your body you become immortal...if you're a woman, that is. If you're a man you do not become immortal and instead your lifespan is shortened by a substantial degree. In return for having only a couple weeks to live you also gain immense power and become a being known as an Angel. Immortals fear Angels because they are the one force on Earth that can kill them by devouring them bit by bit. Making matters worse is the fact that when an Angel is close an Immortal woman will succumb to intense arousal.
Caught at the epicenter in the world of Angels and Immortals is none other than Rin. She's gorgeous, well-endowed, and dangerous. She also happens to have been around for about a thousand years. The show explores her life and we experience most of what happens through her eyes. Rather than chronicle the years leading up to a certain point the series begins in the 90's and follows a timeline of events right on up through 2055. There are some flashbacks to various points in the past to help flesh out her character, but what's most fascinating is the here and now, and what's coming. You really get the sense that the story is leading you somewhere and the giant leaps in time only hammer that fact home.
Early on in the show Rin and her partner, Mimi, get involved in a case involving a young man, Kouki Maeno, who says he doesn't feel quite right. It's not that he's really sick, it's just a feeling that something is off. It turns out that he's a clone and eventually comes into the employ of Rin's detective agency. Through the years they remain friends and one of the most impactful things about their relationship is the fact that as he grows older, gets married, and has a kid, Rin stays as young looking as ever. The show leaps forward in years and you just know he's going to bite the dust. It's sad for sure, but the series plays with the memory of the character by keeping his bloodline connected to Rin. Right up until the end there's a Maeno helping her out and it has a strong feeling of fate attached to it.
The core story of Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne focuses largely on the world and on Rin, but also on the involvement of a being named Apos. This person plays a large role in the shape of things to come and the show builds towards an inevitable clash between the forces of the Immortals and Angels. While the plot is certainly a winner it's the character drama and atmosphere that are the most engaging.
We've already talked about the characters, but what about that mature bit I talked about earlier? Well, this is a dark show and there is a ton of violence. Most of this violence actually happens to Rin, since she can't die. In the opening moments of the show we see her body blasted to pieces by a shotgun and further into it she's pierced repeated by a sadist, sucked through the engine of a jet, shot in the head, and disemboweled by an explosion. Adding to this is the presence of bondage, nudity, sex, and all manner of kinky things. It's not exactly hentai, but Rin definitely tiptoes the line and may be a little extreme for some tastes.
Despite it's sometimes off-putting sadistic, sexual tone Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is alone in the world of anime. There's something nothing else like it on the market and it is captivating from start to finish. I haven't felt this satisfied from a show in a very long time and it's easily on my list of top animes of all time. The only thing that would make this series better is a 1080p presentation on Blu-ray. Highly, highly recommended!
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne lands on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. From top to bottom this show is gorgeous with fantastic designs and fluid animation. The team up between Xebec and Genco produced some fine results and there is virtually nothing to complain about with regards to the design of the show. The transfer is solid all around as well with strong colors, sharp details, and a picture that is quite stable. There are times where some background noise is easily visible, but these instances aren't too distracting and never really detract from the experience. All in all this is a good transfer for an incredible looking show!
Equally satisfying, if not more so, is the audio package for Rin. This DVD set comes with English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital surround tracks to choose from. Both dubs are incredible and bring a lot to the table. I actually had a difficult time picking between the two so I watched the series first in Japanese and then again in English. Great cast selection and performances for both tracks. The technical quality of the show is outstanding as well with clean, sharp audio that stands out for its use of the rear channels to craft a nice sense of immersion. Subtle details filter through the channels and the action certainly makes its presence known.
A decent supply of bonus features makes the cut here with clean animations, trailers, promotional videos, and an English audio commentary for the second episode. This was a treat to listen to and was one of the better anime commentary tracks I've experienced in a while. Add to this an original interview with Japanese cast members prior to the airing of the show and you have a collection of features a bit more substantial than we otaku usually receive.
If you can't tell already, I loved Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne! This show is hands down one of the best I've seen in quite a long time and it's very refreshing to come across such an adult anime. The story is complex, the characters are memorable, and all around the setting for the show is unlike any other. I don't know if these six episodes are all that will be produced ever, but I sincerely hope there is another trip into the world of Immortals and Angels at some point.
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