Review: Re-Kan!, Episode 2: They’re My Friends

Review:

Re-Kan!’s story of ghost-seeing Hibiki Amami and her friends continues in this second installment of the series. This time around, Hibiki is shown to be severely tired on a continuous basis, due to a disturbing dream about Eroneko, the perverse cat, trying to see her underwear. Thankfully, they are never actually shown on screen. As a result, Hibiki is falling asleep during the class roll call, but thankfully her ghost friends are around to answer in her place when her name is called. One ghost in particular feels indebted to her, and he begins to fight against Eroneko, both in real life and in Hibiki’s dreams. As this ghost becomes more and more prevalent, he begins to reveal facts about himself—as well as his gratitude to Hibiki—to Hibiki’s friends. Interspersed through the episode are also an attempt by one of Hibiki’s friends to help with her bad dreams, a discussion about fearing ghosts or humans more, Hibiki knitting items for her ghost friends (including a girl with no face), and some information about Hibiki’s living friends.

This episode seems to back down from the use of Inoue as a featured character. She’s still in the episode, and she still plays a role, but the idea of her growing closer to Hibiki and learning more about Hibiki’s ghost seeing doesn’t seem to play much of a role. It seems like she’s there more to be scared. Overall, Re-Kan!’s problem is that is doesn’t have a clear cut point. Now, there are certainly other anime that have lacked any real point—such as Azumanga Daioh or even K-On!, both of which this writer enjoyed—that still proved to be entertaining, mainly because you could at least tell what they were. Azumanga lacked a plot, but it was clearly comedy, and K-On! was made no attempt to hide that fact that it was basically a comedy about cute girls playing instruments. Re-Kan! bills itself as a “horror-comedy” yet, as previously mentioned, there is nothing horrific about it. The only thing that could even begin to qualify it as a “horror” show is the use of ghosts, and then the ghosts are shown to be more like Casper than anything else. This wouldn’t be so bad if it could at least carry the comedy side of things, but for the most part it doesn’t. Sure, there are some amusing moments, but nothing that really warrants a “laugh out loud” response. That’s not to say that the show fails to amuse, but it does make one wonder why the show is worth spending the twenty or so minutes a week on.

Another area where the show suffers is in the picture quality. While the introduction scenes appear to be crisp, the actual content of the episodes appears a bit fuzzy. Usually it’s the other way around—the introduction animation is of the lesser quality, although to state it as the animation quality may be incorrect, as the actual character models are well done; it’s just the picture quality that is the issue, even on the 1080p setting on Crunchyroll.

Overall, Re-Kan! doesn’t really do anything “bad”; the problem is that it also doesn’t really do anything “good”. It sort of just exists. Some may disagree with this assessment, and if so that’s fine; it’s not the worst show that a Christian anime fan could watch, although some elements (Eroneko especially) may be a bit off-putting. Whether or not reviews for this show will continue on this site is up in the air, simply because the show offers very little reason for this reviewer to keep coming back.

A Christian Perspective:

Christians can learn the valuable lesson of giving and caring from this episode. Hibiki, who feels gratitude for her ghost friends and all they do to help her, decides to knit items for each of them (yes, she actually knits items for ghosts). We also see the flashback of one particular ghost whose demise came about from starving to death. When she found out about this, Hibiki apparently cooked a bunch of food and took it to him. Another scene in this episode shows her shielding the ghost of an old lady from being splashed by a passing truck. All of these things show a certain level of self-sacrifice that we as Christians should be offering to others in our lives.

With all of that said, the important thing to remember is that we are to do these things for the living. While Re-Kan! shows ghosts continuing to hang around and interact with the world around us, the reality is that the dead do not hang around. The Bible states, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27, NIV), which gives very little wiggle room for the idea that the spirits of our dead loved ones are hanging around, watching over us. It is true that the disciples talk call Jesus a ghost a few times (when He walks on the water and when He appears to them in the upper room at one point), but as far as I’m aware there is nothing in the Bible that validates this belief in ghosts as more than just a superstitious fear. There are also some Christians who believe that intercession can be made for the dead to get them out of hell (or at least purgatory); again, this is a concept that I have not seen in the Bible.

All that was said to simply make the point that serving the dead—as Hibiki is doing—is neither realistic nor commanded in Scripture. Serving the living in the manner that Hibiki is serving the dead, though, certainly is, and we would do well to put it into practice. I say this not as someone who has mastered the art (far from it, to be sure!), but simply from a place of the ideal, realizing that this is how we are supposed to live out the Christian life. Realizing something and actually doing it are two distinctly different things, though, and it usually takes a lot longer to act on something than it does to realize it. At the very least, we can start small: when we come upon someone with a need that we can meet—whether in part or in full—let us do our best to meet it, remembering to give glory to God instead of taking it for ourselves.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d*rn”, 1 “p***ing”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: There is a picture of a girl with her robe open, which exposes the sides of her breasts

Violence: Eroneko and a ghost samurai are shown fighting several times; a boy is hit in the face five different times, and hit with the ghost samurai’s sword (not shown)

Blood/Gore: None

Other: A ghost makes two comments about wanting to see panties; Eroneko makes a bunch of panty comments; ghostly activity

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