Anime Review: Re-Kan!

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Ghosts: we are fascinated by these supernatural phenomena. And whether or not we believe that such spirits exist, they have been known to haunt us through all kinds of narratives. But for every ghost story that ends in horrifying suspense that makes you sleep with one eye open, a high school girl who can communicate with these spirits is here to rewrite everything we know about them. For when we scream and run away from ghosts, Hibiki Amami is here to make friends with them.

And so, we are here to enter the daily life of a girl with a sixth-sense and all of her friends, be it human or supernatural.

Yamada-kun

Unless you have blue hair and indiscriminately kiss people, this is NOT your harem, Yamada-kun!

Re-Kan! takes a comedic spin on ghosts and spirits as we enter the life of Hibiki Amami, a high school girl who not only can see ghosts, she makes friends with them! She always finds comfort in the spirits’ company, but now, she has friends who are alive and well to keep her company as well. And just when you thought people can’t stand ghosts… they really can’t!

Friends

Oh, but Hibiki’s different, I swear!

Hibiki has a variety of ghost friends, as well as human ones. Some of Japan’s most famous ghosts such as Hanako-san or the Faceless Girl make their appearance, as well as “Roll-call Samurai” from an age centuries ago, to the teenage Gal Ghost who died in the mid-90s. But before you think these ghosts are scary, remember that this is a comedy series. That means they’re meant to be funny or make us smile.

None of the ghosts in this series are meant to be scary at all. Besides, the scariest thing in this series is a pervy cat that’s hoping this is going to be a GL (girls love) series. Which in case you were wondering, no it’s not!

Pervy Cat

Not on Roll-call Samurai’s watch!

And as much as you all love shipping couples and whatnot, there aren’t any romances at all either, so you’ll have to wait until my next review for all that love stuff!

Ships

Yes, this is a plug for my next set of reviews under the theme of Romance!

Re-Kan‘s original manga was published for the seinen demographic, meaning it is mainly marketed to mature male audiences. But despite what some might imply from a series that features an ensemble of high school girls et al, the anime contains little to no “fan service.”

Fan Service

Sorry to disappoint you all.

While there are plenty of shows out there that explicitly show skin with all the ecchi shenanigans, Re-Kan shows a little more class by offering implied fan service instead. While there are mentions of panties or sexual innuendos, none of them are explicitly seen nor used to arouse.

Some may be bored to tears with the lack of exposition, but I prefer it that way. And besides, Hibiki Amami is among my favorite girls to have come out of an anime this year.

Hibiki Amami

Hibiki is cute not just on her looks, but on her actions.

Hibiki’s relationship with ghosts isn’t so scary or macabre as it is, ironically, tragic (seeing how this is a comedy series). With every ghost Hibiki meets, she reaches out to them to understand them a little more, and to help them with unfinished business. Some of these ghosts left behind wonderful memories, as well as unfulfilled ones, but Hibiki still manages to bring warmth to them.

While there are a few who cross over, others have formed a lasting relationship with Hibiki. Perhaps we can understand some of the intentions of the ghosts that haunt us if we got a little more perspective from Hibiki.

Faceless

Hibiki loves the rain because then she can talk with the Faceless Girl.

But not everything goes so smoothly for Hibiki Amami. She grew up not having people for friends because they thought she was weird or because all the ghosts that surrounded her haunted them.

Backstory aside, Hibiki’s mindset changed when she came to high school and met Narumi Inoue and the others, having accepted the fact that she was pretty weird. Well, for what it’s worth, all of Hibiki’s friends are weird, and that’s okay. I think real friends are the ones you can totally be weird around and nobody will care!

Narumi Inoue

Narumi’s cousin calls her “Octopus” for her tsundere style pigtails. Cannot be unseen.

Makoto Ogawa

No, that’s okay, Makoto Ogawa. And keep those zombies away from me, please.

Kana Uehara

Kana Uehara is fascinated by ghosts and keeps a blog about them. But even she’s forever haunted by Mary-san.

Kyoko Esumi

Never remind Kyoko Esumi of her past as a gangster, nor about her nickname when she was!

Hibiki has a wonderful gift that helps bring joy to ghosts and people alike. But even so, there is one person who will always seem to be left unfulfilled.

Wish

This is the SPOILER portion of my review!

All her life, Hibiki has wanted friends, but her other most heartfelt wish is to one day meet her mother. Her mother was also gifted with a sixth sense, but due to unfortunate complications, died while giving birth to Hibiki. It would seem easy for Hibiki to just meet the ghost of her mother one day, except that she is forever bound to her soul, maintaining stability for Hibiki: a feat that no other spirit can match.

Getting a chance to even meet her mother would already take a miracle, but doing so would put Hibiki’s entire world at risk. Such circumstances made their meeting one of the most powerful moments in anime from this year.

rekan-11Hibiki’s life is fun when ghosts are around, but what would happen to her if all those ghostly friends disappear? Without her mother’s tenderness, Hibiki had lost the ability to communicate with ghosts, and for that, she falls in a state of depression.

We don’t like to lose our friends, but for Hibiki, losing the ability to make contact with any of her ghostly friends meant even losing the chance to possibly make any new friends that way. Having to let go of something that was with her since she was born is too tough to let go.

But of course, Hibiki Amami is a silly girl, and she has already forgotten that she also has living friends, tangible friends that don’t need to be contacted through a sixth sense! And it was because of that sixth sense that these new bonds were made possible! So what if the powers she had are gone? Hibiki has made strong bonds to fill in that void, with people who can support her.

Selfishness

Exactly!

Losing friends is inevitable, whether in death or losing contact from them. But with each bond we make with another, the potential to make more friends remains. That’s why we always display kindness to our friends, granted we all show kindness in different ways.

And so, I would like to finish off with words from Hibiki Amami, what she had learned in that brief moment when she lost her sixth sense (albeit she regains it), something that I believe speaks to true friendship:

“Don’t cry if you can’t see them. Don’t be sad if you can’t see them. Kind feelings, warm feelings, feelings of love. They are the feelings everyone has that bind them to someone. We can’t see them, but they’re right there. Should you still worry that they might not be, just hold out your hand.”

Hibiki Amami is a kind young lady with a strong spirit. And as long as Hibiki continues to reach out and find them, she will always have friends.

rekan-endSo if you’re looking for a series that warms the heart and puts a comedic spin on ghosts and spirits, watch Re-Kan! Hope you all enjoyed your summer. I will be covering some of my favorite Summer 2015 anime moments soon!

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