Tuesday, 31 August 2010


Film: Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne **
Release Date: 13th September 2010
Certificate: 18
Running time: 260 mins
Director: Shigeru Ueda
Starring: Mamiko Noto, Akira Ishida, Rie Kugimiya, Rie Tanaka, Sayaka Ohara
Genre: Animation/Thriller
Format: DVD
Country: Japan

As most anime fans know, some of the more adult offerings are an opportunity for customers to ogle animated women in compromising positions and to watch ultra violent scenes while desensitising the horrors through the wonders of cartoon. Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is the latest in a long line, released in the UK this month - but can it offer anything fresh to attract a different clientele?

Rin and her partner Mimi are private investigators, hired to solve mundane tasks like finding missing cats and valuable stamps. What makes these two different is that they’re both immortal, both succumbing to ‘time fruits’, spewed from the Norse tree Yggdrasil.

If a time fruit enters a woman’s body they become immortal, but if a man is unfortunate enough to come across one, he becomes an angel – a divine being with only weeks to live, hunting out female immortals that long to have sex with him, ultimately leading to their deaths as well.

Meanwhile, villainous entity Apos, a deathless angel, wants a utopia for the never dying and all mere mortals to be destroyed. Obsessed with sacrificing Rin to Yggdrasil, the tree of all life, she’ll stop at nothing, eager to tear into the private detective’s ripe body and devour the memories of her countless lives.

Will Rin, struggling to unravel the secrets of her endless agony, ultimately prevail?

It’s worth pointing out early on that Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne takes place over sixty-odd years. Ten years or more actually pass between each episode, which isn’t necessarily a problem when your two main protagonists are immortal. However, other characters come and go, replaced by relatives, all seemingly with the same motives and little in the way of differentiation. It begs the question why?

The plot is pure fantasy, so this device is gimmicky rather than clever. Meano, for example, is introduced in the first episode, replaced by his son in the third, then by his granddaughter in the fifth. Neither replacement brings anything new to the table, nor do we care little for their dilemmas. It’s only the two leads, Rin and Mimi, who carry enough empathy, but this may be due to much more screen time rather than good character development by the shows creators.

With a plot that culminates so slowly over the lengthy running time it’s hoped that other attributes allow for some entertainment. Instead, it’s your average tale of nudity, anal rape, bondage and torture designed to titillate a few while shocking the newcomers. And it will, but not for long. By the halfway stage of episode two, Rin has died so many times via such brutal methods it’s questionable whether the viewer will care much for her plight any longer.

More notable is the fact that mortal protagonists are rarely put in any kind of predicament. It isn’t until after four episodes that we start learning more about Yggdrasil, the tree of all life, bringing with it a more intriguing story and a change of direction, but it’s such a slog to get there, and to be honest, scant reward for the effort put in.

Rather than exploring such interesting themes, director Shigeru Ueda exploits them with a barrage of nakedness that would be more fitting in a Miike Takashi film rather than a sci-fi animation. Fans of this kind of exploitation anime will definitely not be disappointed – others hoping for a war between immortal women and angelic males with superhuman strength may well be.

There are some good moments here. The ongoing joke that opens each episode, with Rin in desperate need for water/vodka is amusing, and her near-escape along a ventilation shaft, undone when her backside sets off a motion sensor suggests more fun could’ve been had. Their relationship (Rin and Mimi’s) is rather sweet too, hinting at more than just friends - the quiet moments back in the office a pleasing respite from all the gory mayhem. But this, like most of its good ideas, is scrapped in favour of pleasing the fan base already out there (those that seek empathy from the size of a character’s breasts).

The animation isn’t as smooth as other releases, creating inferior action set-pieces that are a little rough around the edges - some scenes will actually awake memories of flip-books from childhood. If more effort was made to such carnage, rather than perfecting naked torsos, maybe more praise could be given.

The script offers up an odd amalgam of surprisingly intelligent ideas (never fulfilled) and the most inane drivel about lost cats and stamp collecting, while the score is hardly noticeable, never offending, but never adding too much, unless the unbearably cheesy opening number is taken into account.

Tolerate the gore and mostly unnecessary erotic imagery, and forgive the creators for wasting its interesting premise by messing around with a timeline punctured by even more nudity, Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne may offer some interest. For most viewers though, four and a half hours of your life will be wasted.

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