The past few columns have been looking at children’s films, so this week we are looking at something at the opposite end of the scale: an 18-rated series, full of sex and violence.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne was released in 2008 and made between two anime studios: Xebec and Genco. One aspect of this series that makes it different from most anime is the way the series is structured. Most anime tend to be 12-13 episodes long, with episodes broadcast weekly at around 22 minutes in length (without adverts). This series features six episodes, each 45 minute long, broadcast monthly. Also, while at first it seems to be a detective show, you soon see that it also features fantasy.
The story begins in 1990. The central character, Rin Asougi, is female, bespectacled, suit-wearing private detective, who works in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo with her computer expert partner Mimi. While working on a case involving a missing cat, Rin finds a man named Koki Maeno who has trouble remembering his past. Looking into Koki’s background, she finds that Rin is connected to a pharmaceutical company and together Koki and Rin investigate. During this, Koki discovers that he is a clone, but soon the duo is captured and Rin is tortured to death by the boss of the company. However, for Rin this is not a problem, because she and Mimi have a secret: they are both immortal.
Rin escapes and rescues Koki, who after learning of his past decides to work for Rin. With regard to Rin’s immortality, she and Mimi reveal that it is to do with a strange tree called Yggdrasil which releases orbs called “Time Fruits”. If a Time Fruit enters a woman it makes them immortal, but if it enters a man it turns him into a monstrous “Angel”, a winged violent beast with a short-life span, and one of the few beings that can actually kill immortal women. When an Angel is nearby, an immortal woman enters a state of sexual arousal and offers themselves up to the Angel.
Over the series, Rin takes on more cases, with assistance from Mimi, Koki, and Koki’s family as the show extends itself over a long timeline, having started in the past of 1990 and concluding in the near-future of 2055. During the 65 years the story takes place, Rin comes into conflict with several recurring villains, the worst being Apos, a sadist who is after the Time Fruit inside Rin and constantly hires people to try and capture her, especially an assassin called Laura who keeps trying to kill Rin over and over again.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is not the greatest of anime series. The plot itself is rather thin. Certain aspects are rather confusing, such as the title of the show being a reference to Greek mythology (Mnemosyne is the mother of the Muses), while the tree Yggdrasil comes from Norse mythology. The one reason why anyone would want to watch this show is because of the gory aspect of it. For example, as stated earlier there is a scene where Rin is tortured to death at a pharmaceutical company. The way the torture is carried out is be being pierced to death, in the sense of having her entire body being covered head to foot in piercings. After this scene is over, Rin just takes off and carries on as normal.
It is not just piercings that Rin is the victim of. During the series Rin is shot, stabbed, crushed, blown up, falls from great heights, has acid poured onto her, and is sucked up into a jet engine. It is not just Rin who ends up being on the receiving end of violence. There are several scenes with Apos torturing numerous immortal women by dressing them in wedding dresses and bondage gear (restrains, ball gags, blindfolds etc.), and then stabbing them repeatedly so their bodies are covered in swords. On top of all this Rin and Mimi are frequently naked. There are straight and lesbian sex scenes involving the characters, which at first is slightly worrying when you see Mimi involved because she looks rather young, until you remember that because she is immortal and thus is presumably hundreds of years old. Besides, in the opening scenes of most of the episodes she and Rin are seen drinking vodka, which is another indication of their real age. What is more disturbing is whether or not the scenes in which the immortal women’s uncontrollable sexual arousal involving with the Angels are rape scenes or not.
However, in comparison I feel that Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is not as offensive as a series such as Mad Bull 34 (No. 119), which is also a crime anime featuring huge amounts of sex and violence. Because the main characters in Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne are immortal, you know that they are going to be OK physically, and the characters seem not to be harmed mentally either, presumably because they are used to what has happened to them for such a long time. Mad Bull 34 however, is set in the real world. The women in that show often end up dead after they are beaten up or sexually attacked.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is a series to watch if all you are interested is action. If it is gore you want, this has plenty of it, but there is little to merit it otherwise.
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is released on DVD by Manga Entertainment.