Anime Review: RE-KAN! (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 15.04.2017

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RE-KAN! (UK Rating: 12)

Based upon a 4Koma comedy manga, RE-KAN! in Japanese literally means "sixth-sense" and, yes, it's about an adolescent seeing dead people, although it's an anime high school girl instead of a young boy, and there's no Bruce Willis here. The girl is Hibiki Amami, an oddball new transfer student who has always been able to see spirits and interacts with them daily. Thankfully, the students of her new school don't seem at all bothered by the ghostly goings-on; in fact, most enjoy getting caught up in Amami's spiritual shenanigans. One, in particular, does not appreciate these happenings, however, she's a strident sceptic named Inoue who is constantly terrified and disbelieving, despite the constant evidence all around her. This complete collection is out now, courtesy of MVM.

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4Koma manga are a regular source for comedy series. The simple short stories and slapstick gags are easy to translate to a quick 20-minute show. Taking aspects from various chapters of the manga and bundling them together into episodes, while also crafting a narrative to hold all the jokes together. The majority of the stories here all follow the same narrative: Amami helps out some spirits who are trying to come to terms with their situation, all the while her friends chuckle at the ghosts' antics, and Inoue freaks out, pretending none of it is happening. There is the occasional touching story, but nothing significant or memorable.

While most of the stories follow just Amami and Inoue, there is a wider supporting cast made up from a handful of other students. All of these kids have a common trait - they are all horribly vapid and one-dimensional characters that undergo no real development over the course of the show. There's a violent ex-delinquent girl, a punching bag boy who has a crush on Amami, a blogger who photographs all the spirits Amami attracts, and a dopey girl who is obsessed with zombies. They are completely without depth and so there's little of interest to find in any of them. The best characters end up being the ghosts, who at least get the odd funny line and a bit of characterisation… but hey, maybe deep characters aren't needed for a simple moe comedy anime, right?


 
Well, that's true if the comedy can carry the series, but… it can't. The comedy has the odd funny moment but mostly it's dedicated to Inoue playing the straight man to the supernatural goings on, and exaggerating huge reactions. One of the best repeating gags in the show is Ero-Neko (literally, "perverted cat"). Amami is somehow able to understand cat language and the students often want to know what the cute little kitties are saying. There's just one problem, the cat most regularly in the vicinity is Ero-Neko, who lives up to his name, commenting on the girl students' bodies, hanging with cats in heat or trying to sneak peeks under skirts or get into changing rooms. Even these jokes get old, though, thanks to their constant repetitiveness.

The presentation would look perfectly fine ten years ago; it's unbelievable this was released in 2015, in the same season as the gorgeous Shokugeki no Soma, no less. Compared to things from ten years ago, this may even look worse... There's no dub for this release, either, and just the usual extras here, too - a few trailers and clean opening/closing.

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

It was surprising to see an anime adaptation for RE-KAN! It only received six volumes of manga, and while it had a few funny moments, it didn't stand out particularly or have any special aspects to justify an anime. There is the occasional funny moment and the occasional touching scene but, ultimately, it's not enough. Without any real character development or hook to set it apart, this is one to pass on. Nice opening theme song, though...

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