Rin-ne (stylized as RIN-NE), known as Kyōkai no Rinne(境界のRINNE?, lit. Rinne of the Boundary, officially subtitled as Circle of Reincarnation) in Japan, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It began serialization in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday manga magazine on April 22, 2009. The series follows Sakura Mamiya, a girl who gained the power to see ghosts after an incident as a child, and her classmate Rinne Rokudo, a boy of mixed human and shinigami heritage who helps lingering spirits finally pass on to be reincarnated. The manga has been licensed by Viz Media, which was simultaneously releasing the manga chapters online in English as they were serialized in Japan until March 17, 2011.
Rin-ne revolves around Sakura Mamiya, a high school girl who became able to see ghosts after she was "spirited away" for a week when she was a child, though she does not remember the details of the experience. Once in high school, Sakura wishes to be rid of her extrasensory perception, which is an annoyance to her. She meets a shinigami of sorts named Rinne Rokudo, a classmate of hers who was absent for the first month or so of school. His job is to guide spirits, whose regrets bind them to Earth, to the wheel of reincarnation so that they may be reborn. The wheel appears as a large red, spoked wheel revolving in the sky.
Rinne Rokudo is the protagonist of the story. He is a boy of mixed human and shinigami heritage residing in the human world, despite his grandmother's invitation to live with her. He used to live with his grandfather until he died and now lives in an abandoned club building of the school he attends. He performs the duties of a shinigami on behalf of his grandmother, though requires tools that a true shinigami would not need and that are quite inexpensive, often equating to ¥500 or ¥1,000. He also has the expensive Haori of the Underworld (黄泉の羽織,Yomi no Haori?), a robe that allows Rinne to not be seen by ordinary living beings and, when reversed, turns a ghost into a solid being. As he is short on money, he is eager to pick up money, food, or any kind of offering made by the students; he also refuses to spend money on rent, uniforms or many other common necessities. He is always very happy when he is given something. The debt he is paying off is not because of his grandmother, but because of his father using all his money. Rinne's name is taken from "Rinne", the cycle of resurrection present in Buddhism, and Rokudo, the six paths that comprise it.
As the story progresses, Rinne begins to develop some feelings for Sakura. Later in the manga, the story becomes more focused on Rinne than Sakura, who takes a more passive role. Rinne's feelings for Sakura are very obvious as he is shown to become nervous or protective of her during certain situations. He dislikes Tsubasa because of his repulsive ways of exorcising ghosts and because of Tsubasa's affections for Sakura. He is also annoyed with Ageha as she is constantly trying to win his affection using various methods which include trapping him in a honeymoon suite so she can have romantic moment with him. Rinne does care about his grades in school, shown in chapter 152.
Sakura Mamiya is the heroine and narrator of the story. Sakura was spirited away as a little girl, but comes back with Tamako's help, and gains the ability to see ghosts and spiritual beings. Thanks to that, she is the only human to initially see Rinne and not to be scared by Rokumon's demonic appearance. A very calm girl, she does not hesitate to scold Rinne if she thinks he is creating problems for her friends. Also, she tends to let herself get into the mood of things, once coming into a line of old men and women's souls who had lived their lives to the fullest and almost getting onto the wheel of saṃsāra until Rinne rescues her. As the story progresses, it is hinted that Sakura begins to develop feelings for Rinne off and on. She never shows much jealousy, though, when Ageha gets close to Rinne.
Tamako is Rinne's paternal grandmother, a young looking shinigami. She becomes upset when referred to as "grandmother", instead insisting on being called "young lady". Fifty years before, she came to claim the soul of a young man in agony, with whom she quickly fell in love. She made a deal with the death priest who married them, promising to do ten times the usual shinigami chores in exchange for extending his life fifty years. Should she fail, her descendants would take on her burden. She tries to get her grandson to live with her, and helps him to get offers; she dons a scary mask and appears in Rinne's classmates' dreams, threatening them, much to Rinne's dismay.
Rokumon is a black cat by contract. These cats form contracts with shinigami, aiding them in their job, eliminating evil spirits, but also bringing curses, threats, and ill omens. His appearance is that of a little black cat with a human face, changing into a demonic giant cat face to scare off humans. He can also transform into a cute faced kitten, and often does so in order to get food. He comes to the living world appearing as a demon cat, who scares Rinne and Sakura's classmates. He claims to have been sent by Tamako to form a contract with Rinne, to which the boy refuses, having no resources to support the helper. He then appears to Sakura and reveals to her the true reason of Rinne's shinigami duties, while Rinne finds a letter, discovering the truth about him: Tamako fired him and he came looking for Rinne's support. Eventually, the two form a contract, on the grounds that Rokumon covers his own living expenses. He does not seem to favor Tsubasa.
Tsubasa Jumonji comes from a family of exorcists. Like Sakura, he can also see ghosts, but often brutally attacks them with "sacred ashes" instead of trying to put them to rest, which can serve to turn them into evil spirits. He initially met Sakura when they were in younger and he began to harbor feelings for her after he realized that she can see ghosts as well. Since his transfer into Sakura's high school, he has tried countless times for Sakura to return his affection and is jealous of the time she and Rinne have spent together, and thus begins joining them on their ghost exploits. Since joining them, he has realized that not all ghosts are evil and has been more lenient towards some. He tends to jump to conclusions, especially when something concerns Rinne and Sakura's relationship. It is hinted that he is Christian.
Ageha is a young shinigami who meets Rinne while investigating the Damashigami company. She initially looks down on Rinne, because he is poor and she comes from a wealthy and respected family, but begins to have feelings for him after spending some time with him. After finding out that her sister willingly joined the Damashigami company and is Rinne's father's girlfriend, she vows to destroy the Damashigami company. She has since come to Rinne and his friends' aid on several occasions. She hates it when her sister's betrayal is brought up, shown in chapter 142 when Renge realizes she knows Ageha and brings it up also shown when she first meets Kain who insults her. She is often shown to be jealous of Sakura, because she believes Sakura and Rinne have feelings for each other, though Sakura is initially jealous of her when she believes that Ageha and Rinne are dating. Ageha has made attempts to get alone time with Rinne but her attempts are normally discovered by Sakura and Tsubasa. Ageha and Renge also have disputes, back in grade school Ageha's overzealousness and stupidity often caused problems from pragmatic Renge.
Ageha's black cat by contract. Oboro's family had served Ageha's family for many years and he is continuing that tradition, much to his own chagrin. During their first mission together the two started to argue and Ageha buried him under a boulder where he remained trapped for a year before being able to dig his way out. Even though Ageha and Oboro grew-up together, neither of them can stand each other. Ageha treated him poorly as a child which sparked his long standing grudge against her. Oboro mistakenly thought he could take revenge against his employer, but Ageha still retains her signed contract that ensures he cannot stop serving as her retainer. Ageha does not like Oboro any more than he likes her, but she chooses to keep him out of spite.
Ayame Sasaki is a seemingly meek girl who works at a local shrine. From outside appearances Ayame is a polite young woman, but inside she harbors a powerful spirit of vengeance. While Ayame is easy going, her spirit is vengeful and difficult to control. When she was in middle school Ayame witnessed Tsubasa's ability to exorcise spirits. She hoped to get to know him in hope that he could help her in controlling her own vengeful spirit, but he moved away before she was able to. Upon encountering Tsubasa again, Ayame rekindles her former interest in him, and it seems she harbors a slight romantic attachment as well. When the spirit leaves her body, Ayame has no need of her glasses, but as soon as it re-enters her body, she dons her glasses and seems to have no memory of what her spirit was up to after it left her.
Masato is a wealthy devil that seek revenge against Rinne. He hates him because during his time at Demon Elementary School he was given a homework assignment to retrieve a soul and bring it to Hell: a rabbit that was soon going to die from loneliness. Just as he was about to take the still living rabbit's soul, Rinne fed the animal, causing its spirit to return, and ruining Masato's assignment. Enraged, the devil attempted to attack the shinigami with a pitchfork, but Rinne smashed him over the head with a large crucifix, thus beginning their long-running rivalry. Masato often resorts to using his vast fortune to advantage himself over the impoverished Rinne, but despite his wealth, his astuteness seems to be a bit lacking. He is a poor speller, often miswriting kanji, and his carefully laid traps are childish and easy to backfire on him.
Sabato Rokudo is Rinne's father and only son of Tamako. After Rinne was sent to live with his grandmother, Sabato would often sneak into his son's room to steal money from the boy's piggybank. Over the course of Rinne's life, Sabato would often take out large debts in his son's name by using forged stamps or other methods. Sabato is the president of the Damashigami Company, an illegal business committed to stealing the souls of people who have not ended their lifespan. Rinne finds this practice of his father's disgusting, and wants to bring down his father's company. In addition to his habit of playing the spendthrift with other people's money, Sabato also has a great love of women. He has dozens of different women interested in him, yet he holds a special place in his heart for Ageha's sister, who works as his secretary. Sabato uses dirty tricks in attempts to force Rinne to take over the Damashigami Company so that he can one day retire.
Kain is a shirushigami, a registrar in the afterlife. His main responsibility is to keep track of the lifespan of humans on Earth. When Kain was a boy his mother found herself engaged to Sabato Rokudo, Rinne's father, who constantly borrowed money from her, thereby leaving her and her son to live on the verge of bankruptcy. Kain's mother naively believes Sabato to be a good man, but her money has provided the financial backing for his illegal business. Kain doesn't want anyone finding out about his family's connection to the crime group. Because no part of his job requires him to take part in field work of any kind, he is forced to work in secrecy, covertly hunting damashigami in hopes of destroying the Damashigami Company. Because Sabato habitually uses the name-seal, or hanko, of his son to sign loan contracts, Kain is the main creditor of Rinne and develops a grudge against him. The shirushigami is ruthless. He shows little regard for justice when he attempts to seize Rinne's life-flame to cover Sabato's debts to Kain. He shows no remorse when an innocent human bystander like Sakura gets caught up in their battle. He always cared for Renge, however, and even stated that it was his dream for Renge to succeed. He doesn't know that she works as a Damashigami and Renge tries her hardest to keep it a secret. Sadly for Renge, Kain seems content to keep things between them as they are.
Suzu is Kain's black cat. One day while in town, Kain came across her, holding a sign that she was up for adoption for a free price. Due to his family's financial status, Kain took her in. Suzu is very loyal to her master despite having a surly attitude towards others. She looks down on Rinne and Rokumon for being poor, despite hers and Kain's own impoverished state. Her personality is fairly easy-going though somewhat excitable due to her young age and she is doted on by Kain's mother.
Renge Shima is a new transfer student at Rinne's school, but she is also a Damashigami. When she is introduced, she attempts to steal the souls of boys at their school by using a Marilyn Monroe spirit. She captures Sakura and over a cup of tea tells her that she didn't have female friends because of her seductive ways. Renge met Sabato while walking to school one day. He had knocked her into a lake while trying to flee from a restaurant owner, who he had stolen food from. Her black cat, who is still unnamed, appears to be an elderly cat lady. Renge hates Ageha for the problems the airhead had caused her back in grade school and isn't above using whatever she can to get revenge on her. She also has a considerable crush on Kain that dates back to her middle school years. On his graduation day, she tried to give him a love letter that wished him good luck at the Life Count Administration Bureau however she was unable to because of a swarm of girls who also wanted to give him gifts. Renge fears of what would happen if Kain knew she was a Damashigami and does her best to keep it a secret. even going so far as to hit Kain on the back of his head to keep him from hearing Sabato casually greet her as an accomplice. However, Kain is familiar with Renge's troubled history and knows that because of Sabato Renge had missed her entrance exam and she was unable to make it up. Even so, Kain seems content to keep things as they are and leaves Renge. She causes problems for Rinne and his friends but mainly for Rinne who is now her next-door neighbor in the abandoned club house.
The manga series Rin-ne is written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. The first chapter was published in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday manga magazine on April 22, 2009. The first two tankōbon volumes were released in Japan on October 16, 2009; as of May 16, 2014, 21 volumes have been released. The manga has been licensed by Viz Media, who published the chapters simultaneously online in English as they were serialized in Japan until March 17, 2011.Rin-ne was the first title to be released under Viz Media's Shonen Sunday imprint.
During the week of October 12–18, 2009, the first two volumes of Rin-ne ranked at No. 15 and 16 for the best-selling manga in Japan; combined, the volumes sold about 100,000 copies that week. The following week of October 19–25, 2009, the first volume ranked at No. 18 with over 44,000 copies sold, while the second volume ranked at No. 20 with over 41,000 copies sold in Japan. The third manga volume ranked at No. 11 for the best-selling manga in Japan for the week of March 15–21, 2010, and the English version ranked at No. 8 on The New York Times Manga Best Seller list in May 2010. The fourth manga volume ranked twice at No. 19 and 20 in June 2010 with over 76,000 copies sold in Japan. The fifth manga volume also ranked twice at No. 21 and 23 in September 2010 with over 71,000 copies sold in Japan. The sixth manga volume ranked at No. 29 for the best-selling manga in Japan for the week of December 13–19, 2010.