Re-Kan is what you would get if The Sixth Sense starred a cartoon girl from Japan instead of Haley Joel Osment. This thirteen episode anime series, based on the four panel comic strip created by Hinako Seta, follows the exploits of Hibiki Amami – a high school student who has the power to commune with the dead (and cats.) The show is animated by studio Pierrot+ who have previously worked on other cheery properties including Midori Days and um… Tokyo Ghoul. British viewers who enjoy slice of life animes will eventually be able to purchase the series on DVD, as MVM Entertainment have acquired the rights to distribute the show in the UK.
Hibiki Amami is a teenage girl who has inherited her mother’s ability to see poltergeists. It’s the type of power that would creep out most people, but thankfully she attends a high school where most of the student body aren’t overly fazed by the presence of spirits. Perhaps they have grown accustomed to the undead because a deceased girl haunts one of the academy’s loos? That said, not everyone who attends the school is comfortable around the apparitions that stalk Hibiki. Amami’s best friend Narumi Inoue (a tsundere identifiable by her pigtails) is terrified of ghosts. She must however brave her fears to stay close to the one she loves. Well, not really. The pair’s friendship is purely platonic – although the show’s creators do seem to revel in teasing audiences with hints of a potential yuri romance.
Joining the abovementioned heroines in their supernatural adventures are a bevvy of classmates. Kana Uehara is the daughter of two journalists and an avid blogger who frequently uploads snaps depicting the spooks that hound Hibiki. Kana is best friends with Kyōko Esumi, an ex-street fighter who used to pummel street punks under the moniker Red Haired Messiah (a nickname that she abhors.) Kenta Yamada is the class doofus and the show’s only notable male character. He is the younger brother of Masaki Yamada, a copper who admires Kyōko due to her crime fighting past. Last but not least is Makoto Ogawa the perky ditz who thinks that zombies are cute. I guess that makes her the female equivalent of Sankarea‘s Chihiro Furuya.
Although the series hasn’t garnered the attention it deserves, Re-Kan has proven to be one of the more enjoyable shows I have watched from the 2015 spring anime season. It’s the perfect antidote for a bad day at the office. Sit down, watch a couple of episodes and smile because your mood is sure to improve thanks to the light and fluffy comedy on display. There’s plenty of good banter between Hibiki’s group of pals and also the ghosts she befriends. How can one not crack up at the sight of a phantom samurai bickering with the spectre of a ganguro girl? The show’s cast of characters even includes a perverted cat that loves panty shots more than a can of Whiskers.
If Re-Kan does not grab your attention from the offset I would advise that you give it time to win you over, as the anime does improve as it goes along. The second episode is arguably the show’s lowest point (it was too wacky for my tastes) but if you persevere with the series you will eventually be rewarded with a number of tender tales. The episodes were Hibiki reunites the departed with loved ones never failed to tug at my heartstrings. Episode eight in particular, which deals with the ghost of a young girl who died in hospital, had me wondering if someone was peeling onions near my TV. Overall Re-Kan’s combination of funny gags and emotive moments made me feel like a ghost riding an elevator… it really lifted my spirits.
FINAL RATING: FOUR STARS