Kurenai

July 25, 2008 at 4:23 am Leave a comment

Kurenai [Kurenai, ]

PLOT/STORYLINE: 10/10

Kurenai has an amazing storyline to it, one of the best I have seen in recent years. It follows the tale of Kurenai Shinkurou, a young male teenager who works as a “mediator” (Someone who specializes in solving other people’s problems). After requesting harder jobs from his boss, Juuzawa Benkia, he gets what may very well be the hardest job he’ll ever have. He’s placed in charge of Kuhoin Murasaki. Rich, snobbish and spoiled, Murasaki provides quite a challenge to Shinkurou. Unlike other bodyguard jobs, Murasaki is seven, and obviously needs more care. Shinkurou has to fix her spoiled nature as well as ensure she remains safe while he is at school during the day.

Episodes are presented in a stand alone nature (often not directly tying into the previous episode) yet they all string together nicely. Slow at first, with an odd element or two to hook you in The first few episodes might push a more action oriented fan away from Kurenai, but don’t be among those people. Not a heck of a lot happens besides the occasional burst of action till around the 6th episode, when everything starts to build up, and fast. The last half of the series is very intense, and has some pretty good fight scenes as well. No, you won’t see lots of fire or people moving at light speed, but that shouldn’t get in the way of a good old fashion ass kicking, now should it?

What gives Kurenai’s storyline/plot a 10 is the ending. Yes, the series up to the ending is amazing, but there are lots of anime that have a good beginning and middle. The ending is often the worst part of a series, but not so in the case of Kurenai. I was truly impressed with how the series ended, providing a solution to the conflict at hand that fit the characters, and showed the growth of the cast as a whole. From start to finish Kurenai is amazing, easily the best anime of the season.

CHARACTERS: 9/10

Kurenai provides an amazing cast of characters. While our hero, Kurenai Shinkurou, is about as stereotypical as you come the rest of the cast, along with his development as a character, more than make up for it in my mind. Even the side cast (that happens to appear rather regularly) fill their roles and, more often than not, then some.

Shinkurou can be considered to be the typical anime male lead. He’s sort of whiny, a teenager, looked down upon by his peers, had a tragic past that has left him an orphan, tries as hard as he can at his job, is popular with the ladies, and has a secret. With all this cliché crap stacked against him it seems like Shinkurou would be the character to hate in this series; this isn’t the case however, as Shinkurou shows promise. His growth is evident in every episode as he changes, bit by bit, from his interaction with Kuhoin Murasaki.

Murasaki is what makes this show. Her growth as a character is the most complete, and it is the most evident in the last episode. By taking this growth into consideration and making it a major part of the ending, the writers get an A+. Starting off snobbish, spoiled and bratty, Murasaki is the type of kid that many people wouldn’t be able to deal with. However, through her interactions with Shinkurou we see many sides of her, and it is through these interactions that Murasaki grows, and matures as a person. This growth is very important to the plot, and it makes the series just that much more enjoyable.

As for side characters, Kurenai has a number of them despite being only 12 episodes long. First we have Benika, Shinkurou’s boss, the woman who inspired Shinkurou down the path he’s currently on. Next we have Yayoi, another person who works for Benika, and Shinkurou’s superior. She watches over Shinkurou, and is a voice of disapproval at having Shinkurou handle a case she feels he isn’t ready for. Her character, while good and enjoyable, does an annoying 180 towards the end and suddenly she believes in him. Next we have Ginko and Yuno, friends of Shinkurou from his past; both are obviously interested in him, though Yuno is far more straightforward with her affection for him than Ginko. Finally, we have the other two tenants at the apartment where Shinkurou lives, Tamaki (college girl, often drunk, likes causing trouble with Murasaki) and Yamie (weird, sarcastic 30ish[?] female who keeps mostly to herself). As minor characters they fulfill their role very well, with an unexpected amount of development for several of them scattered throughout the episodes.


ART: 8.5/10

Kurenai starts out with impressive artwork, topnotch really. For the first few episodes, it stays at this high caliber of animation. If you are going to watch these episodes, get as high def as possible, it’s really impressive. However, as time goes on, the animation slowly starts to decline. Eventually, around episode 10 we see a very serious drop, and a rise in QUALITY. This is temporary however, as the last few episodes are animated beautifully.


MUSIC: 9/10

As soon as my paycheck comes, I hope to order the soundtrack (was supposed to be released July 2nd). Kurenai has a very good soundtrack, one that fits perfectly with the series. Composed by Ken Muramatsu, this is his second anime work (the first being Sketchbook ~full color’S~, in which he composed the music for the soundtrack, as well as the composing and arrangement of the second ending). I hope to hear more work from him in the future, his work shows great promise.

OVERALL: 9.5/10

Kurenai very quickly went from being a series I initially had no interest in, to one of my favorite series I have seen. Don’t let the “Slice of Life” genre turn you away, or the “martial arts” tag for that matter. A series with amazing characters, great plot, beautiful music and visuals, Kurenai is a series that I hope will stand the test of time. Highly recommended, if you like anime, or for that matter, even if you don’t, watch Kurenai.

Kurenai [Kurenai, ]

Genre– Comedy, Drama, Slice of Life, Romance, Action

Tags– Martial Arts, Seinen, Tragedy, Violence

Number of episodes: 12

Complete? Yes

Producers: Brain Base

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Entry filed under: Anime, Slice of Life. Tags: , , .

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