Re-Kan

re-kan hibiki and narumi yuriThe title of this anime series translates as “Sixth Sense”, so it’s understandable that the DVD release goes with the original Japanese title rather than the translation. Anyone coming to this series expecting anything creepy or mysterious would be disappointed. By and large this is a slice-of-life series with a bunch of girls (and one guy, who is extremely irritating), but one of them just happens to see dead people.

That’s hardly ever used for scares, only for comedy, and it is occasionally very funny, especially when parodying Japanese horror films such as The Ring, but most of the time the comedy raises a smile rather than a belly laugh. Some of the running jokes misfire, such as the ghost cat who is obsessed with catching sight of girls’ underwear, which is unfunny the first time it happens, let alone by episode 13, although the various ways his peeking attempts are foiled are quite amusing. Apart from the cat, this is not a series that is in any way pervy. No fanservice here. Just a gentle, wholesome comedy series with a hint of yuri romance.

The two girls who are clearly falling in love with each other are Hibiki, the main character who can see ghosts, and Narumi, who is terrified of them. There is a frustrating lack of character development, because they never express their feelings for each other beyond friendship, although they are obviously in love with each other. Also, Narumi starts the series terrified of ghosts, and ends the series terrified of ghosts. This lack of character development makes no sense, as these girls live their lives surrounded by ghosts, thanks to Hibiki, and they never have hostile intentions. In fact, several of the ghosts become regular characters throughout the series. The best of the bunch is the Roll Call Samurai, who looks fearsome but is actually soft-hearted and devoted to Hibiki. I also liked a faceless girl who offers her victims an umbrella when they don’t have one. The girl who haunts the toilets is obviously very Harry Potter and doesn’t contribute much to the story. Sometimes the ghosts get major storylines, which temporarily lift the series out of the slice-of-life genre, such as the kogal girl who needs to make peace with her mother. Even when she finds that peace, she still doesn’t depart for the afterlife, simply because she decides to stick around as one of Hibiki’s friends, which sort of makes a nonsense of her whole storyline in the end. A better dramatic story comes near the end of the season, when Hibiki loses her power to see ghosts.

As for the human characters, I liked Hibiki and Narumi, despite the lack of character development. Makoto is quite fun, with her love of creepy zombie dolls, and Kenta is the aforementioned annoying token male character, who is just a typical idiot teenage boy most of the time. I’m not really sure why the girls put up with him hanging around them. His insulting comments earn him frequent violent responses from Kyoko, who is a walking cliché of a redhead with a fiery personality, but she is quite an entertaining character, with a delinquent past. Completing the group, Kana writes a blog about ghosts, and is able to capture pictures of them on her phone and upload to her blog, despite not being able to see them in real life.

The visuals are uninspiring but competent, with nothing really to stick in the memory apart from maybe the Roll Call Samurai. The character designs are mostly generic, but I absolutely hated the artwork for Kyoko and Kana. I’ll let a picture do the talking for that:

re-kan kyoko

Now, I can understand how an eye could still be visible through hair, but to me that is an eye stuck on top of the hair not underneath it. I just couldn’t get past that, and every time those girls were on the screen I couldn’t look at anything else apart from their weird, superimposed eyes, and kept losing concentration on the subtitles because of that. Frustratingly, the end title sequence features chibi versions of the characters that lack the superimposed eyes and actually look really cute. I wanted to watch those, instead of this badly-drawn character art. But despite that problem, I found this a reasonably entertaining series, albeit one that never really goes anywhere. Re-Kan tries to walk the line between comedy, slice-of-life, supernatural drama and yuri romance, and ends up doing none of those things particularly well. RP

About Roger Pocock

Author of windowsintohistory.wordpress.com Co-writer on junkyard.blog Editor of frontiersmenhistorian.info
This entry was posted in Anime, Entertainment, Reviews, Television and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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