紅 (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Brains Base
Original Concept - KATAYAMA Kentarou
16-year-old Shinkuro Kurenai is a Mediator - a specialist in settling squabbles between people. Despite his youth and easygoing nature, he is a man of some skills when it comes to protecting both his clients and their interests. And then one day, he is approached by some friends of the daughter of a rich and powerful family who ask him to be her bodyguard. Shinkuro ends up living with, looking after and troubled by a seven-year-old client.

Shinkuro Kurenai finds himself living in run-down tenement with Murasaki Kuhouin (his new client and apprentice) and several other eccentric ladies. His childhood friend (Ginko) acts as his Mediator booking agent. Then there is his (adopted) older sister and martial arts teacher, Yuuno, who does not like to see her Kurenai troubled by any of the difficulties of his Mediator assignments. And Yuuno’s younger (7-year-old) sister, Chi-chan (Houdsuki Chidzuru) also seems to take a troubling worry when her ‘onii-chan’ gets beaten up by Yuuno or his assignments.

Adapted from a 2005 manga series (with the same name) written by KATAYAMA Kentarou and illustrated by YAMAMOTO Yamato.

12 TV Episodes.

And see (anime-manga bundled) OVA episode - Kurenai (OVA - 2010).

"紅" ("kurenai") means a dark red color, such as "purple", "crimson" or "scarlet".
2:19min Series Promo - YouTube Video
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch Tad [series:1745#3076]
It's best to watch this series on youtube or crunchyroll. The series has quite a bit of potential, but it fails to gather substance. The premise is very interesting, a little girl named Murasaki is born into a very powerful family. Women are seen as child bearers and lack respect or say in the families duties. Its a powerful theme at first, since the idea of justice is implied, but the series refuses to take itself seriously in the end. Characters lack depth, decisive intelligence, and realness.

If the end you only continue to watch this series for what it's worth, but be ready to feel a bit cheated out of what could have been a great short series.

Last updated Sunday, January 18 2009. Created Sunday, January 18 2009.
Watch 8 8 8 7 7 7 Dreamer [series:1745#2279]
Whoever said this series was loli was waaaay off. There was nothing loli about it. As well, the synopsis as posted gave a totally wrong impression.... rather, it was misleading. With that said, I believe some of the keywords wouldn't be accurate... such as "harem", which it isn't, "lolicon", which it isn't, and "comedy" which I can't say it is either. Suffice it to say, I was quite surprised at the storyline as I watched through episode 1.

Art, Animation & Character Design
The art is really good. I like this style of art... where the face isn't all pointy, chin isn't sharp and eyes are not "overly" huge... but still big enough. The animation is pretty smooth as well. Character designs were average, nothing that really made it special. However, Murasaki (the little girl), is quite adorable little thing.... even for an anime character. Although, her voice didn't quite fit her age nor appearance. Her voice sounds as if it would fit a teenager... or a preteen if I were to stretch it some. As well, at times it looked like she was drawn "too" small. I mean, for a 7 year old child, I would imagine her height being at least a litle past Shinkurou's hips.

Overall, the music wasn't that bad. The opening theme was kinda catchy but nothing worth "recording" or humming. The rest of the music throughout the episodes wasn't horrible but nothing interesting either.

Episode & Series Stories
As mentioned above, this series was not exactly as one would expect given the description in the synopsis. However, it was pretty okay nevertheless. There were no real memorable moments or episodes but at the same time, most of the episodes weren't really fillers... but did to some extent lend to the overall series story. Couple gripes however. One, in the end, Muraski gave a speech as if she was speaking from years of experience when in fact, she was barely 7. Two, the whole series was based on how she "escapes" the isolated life of a Kuhoin woman and experience real life, yet at the end, she chooses to live and remain in the kuhoin lifestyle. In a way, I kinda felt cheated after watching through the whole series.

Overall, this one's simply "okay". I would have rather spent my time watching something else though.

Last updated Sunday, September 28 2008. Created Sunday, September 28 2008.
Rent 9 10 9 8 KBanger1 [series:1745#1694]
This series ended up being a pleasant surprise. I'll get right to the point with this one. A teenager named Shinkuro Kurenai is known as a dispute mediator which simply means he the go-between two arguing factions. His job is pretty reckless at times and gets pretty hairy when he gets his new job. That's for him to be a bodyguard to a little girl who's never seen the outside world before. He lives in a ghetto like building with two other females. One who reminds me of the female fortune teller from Witchblade and the other who reminds me of Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo.

The story itself was good. Although, I was a bit confused in the beginning because the synopsis in this page was a bit misleading. I thought I was going to see some kind of harem twist to it with the introduction of most of the women in there. As the story progressed, I've noticed the sudden change in Murasaki (the little girl) while the story progressed. I was kind of shocked to see her mature for a very young age but I know that was the intent of the writer. Nothing wrong with that but some may question why that girl is the way she is in that time. The good thing is that the story proceeds while rarely going into long drawn out process of flashbacks or segments that all of a sudden creates a whole new story.

This brings me to the characters who really stand out on their own. We'll start with Kurenai, the protagonist. At first glance, he looks like an average teenager. He has his friends and goes to school like everyone his age. Once you start delving into his job though, he's an excellent fighter and it only enhances when the apperance of a horn appears from his arm (too lengthy in detail so watch the show to find out). Even with his job, he still maintains his composure and also his attitude (until something he sees forces him to use that horn). Another character who I think really made the entire plot fit together is Murasaki, the 7 y.o. girl who destiny is to be hidden from the outside world her entire life. In the beginning you'll notice that she's quite the spoiled attitude but it really hides her sadness from being alone all the time with no one to talk to emotionally. When she stays with Kurenai, she learns about the outside world and develops her sense of freedom. I won't go into too much detail, but her impact on the story is really what makes the plot well drawn out. All the other characters as well have their own story to tell. So not one character is unimportant (unless of course you're one of Kurenai's male buds).

In the end, Kurenai is a has a very solid story for it being in the action/drama genre. Not a lot of comedy but enough to keep you amused. The characters are unique and stand out very well in the series. It's visually stunning and detailed but the background can get kind of dreary since the story takes place in the winter season. If this ever comes stateside (and if and ONLY if it's dubbed well) I may very well add this to my collection.

Last updated Friday, July 11 2008. Created Thursday, July 10 2008.
Rent 8 9 8 8 8 9 Silence [series:1745#2939]
Strongly recommended by a friend, i watched kurenai with high expectations, so maybe that is why things did not turn out that well for me...

Just like stretch, i was lost at first: they gave absolutely no inkling of what the plot is about and all the things that are happening seem so confusing. then the show settled down into a more slice-of-life comedy mood, but of course, they did a good job in instilling constant fear and apprehension. I thought that Murasaki was portrayed well at first, as a rich girl whose everyday needs are taken care by others, and that contributed to a few laughs. Of course Shinkuro gets into fights that are beautifully animated once in a while, and even though he kicks ass everytime he gets serious, he keeps saying that he is weak (and others say that he is weak) and that confounds me a little. In the end, he still kicks even more ass, despite being warned repeatedly that he will die. Is he really weak? i know that he might not want to use his "ultimate" skills but if by using them he can beat the crap out of people he could not otherwise, does is not mean that he is actually strong but does not wish to use his powers to the fullest? Make sense, no? So i do believe that the anime did too little in showing how difficult it would be to infiltrate kohouin grounds, and really how strong are the people inside, leaving too little excitement and suspence.

towards the end, murasaki talked way too much deep stuff. I mean, come on! she is only seven! how much could she have gone through to get all those ideas, the courage, the resolve, the wisdom? Even though she has gone through suffering in the there, that does not justify her thoughts and actions. Her mother should have only passed away recently, and with the servants talking so little, it is hard to imagine how all those deep thoughts and very mature ideas could have gotten into her. It just seems, so unrealistic.

I did not like the compromise either. Well, i respect that it is a very courageous act, a very "right" way to end things, but once again, hard to imagine that it came from a 7 year old, who claims to be in love too. Furthermore, i was expecting a climax for this promising series even after the point when Murasaki said that she will stay. I waited and waited, and nothing came... conflict resolved... deeply unsatisfactory. Well, it did not have to be a fight to the death type of climax, just some sort of a flash. Instead this series sizzled, and deflated, much to my disappointment. I dunno, kurenai just did not click with me...

with that said, kurenai is definitely a unique and interesting show. at least all the characters can stand by themselves, and there are few "way too stereotypical" bad/good guys present. although the ending was a bit of a let down, i felt that it does have its merits i suppose. hmmm an afterthought, maybe i really do not like lollicon....

Last updated Tuesday, September 02 2008. Created Wednesday, July 09 2008.
Buy 8 8 8 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1745#1552]
Kurenai was an anime which does a solid job of mixing a slice-of-life comedy with action and drama. The highlight to the anime was the relationship that developed between Shinkuro and Murasaki.

Kurenai works strongest as a slice-of-life comedy thanks to the arkward relationship between Shinkuro and Murasaki. With Murasaki, we have a girl trying to adjust to life as an ordinary person outside of her wealthy lifestyle. From trying to open up food cans to playing a handheld video game, life outside of the Kuhoin mansion is a new experience everyday for Murasaki making for some great laughs, especially when Shinkuro has to put up with her tirades.

The series also works well as both a drama and action title. There is a great deal of depth given to Murasaki and Shinkuro's characters as we know what led them to who they were and become used to the presence of each other as the series goes on. Their characters greatly change as the series progresses as well. It isn't until the second half of the series where there is greater use of action and drama when the Kuhoins make their move to recover Murasaki. The inner workings of the Kuhoin family are also unveiled as shocking secrets of the clan further drive Shinkuro's resolve to protect Murasaki. In terms of action, Kurenai features decent fight scenes where characters move fluidly and flow smoothly without much loss in character detail.

But even a solid series like Kurenai has its problems. While plenty of depth is given to Shinkuro and Murasaki, many of the other characters aren't given as much. I was hoping to know more about some of Shinkuro's neighbors, which included the witty and mysterious Makie. There was some inconsistency with how events flowed with some characters in the final episodes of the series, especially with fight scenes. The choice of ending, while different from what one would expect, leaves things rather uncertain with the fates of the characters, especially with Murasaki.

Otherwise, Kurenai was an entertaining treat for me with its mix of slice-of-life comedy and action-drama. Murasaki and Shinkuro's often funny, often serious relationship is the icing on the cake for this series.

Last updated Saturday, June 21 2008. Created Saturday, June 21 2008.
Rent Stretch [series:1745#628]
(All episodes watched):

Early on, I found the first episode of this show confusing and frustrating--I was having a hard time figuring out who was who and what exactly was going on. Either I'm an idiot or they weren't doing a very good job of explaining the plot (or both). The second half made more sense but I feared that I might have already fallen far behind when it came to understanding the story--maybe already too far behind to catch up. In fact, I was tempted to give up on this series rightaway. The second half, fortunately, salvaged things and at the end I had a definite sense of curiousity about where this story would go. Character designs are definitely unusual and interesting. One problem, however, was that Murasaki neither sounded nor spoke like a 7-year old girl, at least in my opinion. Both her voice in general and the words she chooses seemed inappropriate to a child of her age, even if she is highly educated. Often times in anime fairly old women are given absurdly childish "helium" voices, but I think this is the first time I've ever seen the opposite mistake made. As is, I couldn't be certain that I'd be able to identify with her; but the basic premise and other characters seemed intriguing, and I decided to continue watching with my fingers crossed.

Nobody else seems to have noticed any problem with Murasaki's voice. Her tone seemed better in episode two though it was still hard for me to believe that a mere seven-year-old would speak Japanese (or any language) so fluently. But it was no longer a major problem, and I was liking this show a lot. The plot wasn't as byzantine as it had seemed at first, and the characters were great fun. I especially liked the strange woman from apartment 4. There was still no hint as to exactly why Murasaki was abducted, but I don't mind much with such interesting people.

In fact, it's not until episode seven that Murasaki's previous guardian has figured out where she is and given orders to recover her. I'm not complaining, though; episode six was great fun as Shintarou, Murasaki and the other tenants found themselves drafted into singing in a chorus (their voices left a good deal to be desired). Even if the whole Murasaki-on-the-lam element had been ommitted, this would have been a credible slice-of-life show.

Episode nine finally explains what was going on at the Kuhouin residence--and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Are they so uptight about their wealth that they'll resort to a sort of organized incest to make sure it remains within the family? Wouldn't that be an invitation to retardation? Or did I misunderstand something? Whether it makes sense of not, it is definitely appalling and made me despise the Kuhouins more than ever, especially the family heir. When they finally made their move to seize Murasaki the effect was truly tragic and heartbreaking; anime seldom gets this intense. Either that or infuriating, if you cannot accept the inexplicable risk Shintarou took with Murasaki's safety. I hear that some of the things he did weren't as careless as they seem, because in the manga the Kuhouins had promised ahead of time not to pull anything at the apartment building where Murasaki was being hidden--that needed to have been made clear in the anime as well.

Towards the end, Shinkurou suffers a humiliating defeat and must perform a seemingly impossible rescue of Murasaki. You kind of expect a fight-to-the-death climax here, given that so many other shows end that way, how contemptible certain Kuhouin villains are, and that Shinkurou has yet to employ his most deadly, last-ditch martial art tactic. But that wasn't what happened; the number of people who die violently was extremely low. It was kind of confusing (was Shinkurou's "Horn" a real weapon or a metaphor?)*, and I'm not altogether certain that the compromise at the end was a good idea. People get the crap beaten out of them, then make a speedy recovery and are back for more in what seemed a matter of minutes. But it was also different, which was refreshing. I wonder why Shinkurou's two female classmates didn't play a larger part; they got a good deal of buildup during the series. Despite all the confusion I felt (or maybe because of it) Kurenai was an unusual show; maybe that's why I liked it so much.

*I know what you're thinking.

Last updated Wednesday, July 09 2008. Created Thursday, April 10 2008.

Other Sites
Japanese Series Web Site http://www.samidareso.com/
Wikipedia - Kure-nai (manga & anime) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kure-nai

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