Posted on 3 July 2010 with categories: Kurenai



Well… yeah. As it turns out, this is aimed entirely at the fans of the manga. None of the things that made the anime so memorable return, and instead we’re stuck with an episode of random hi-jinks and fanservice. Blegh.

In the end, this OVA turned out to consist out of three random, unrelated stories. In the first, everyone is at a pool in which some sort of terrorist fails with a very flimsy plan. The second story is entirely focused on a broken laptop and the third forces the characters to go exercising. It’s all way too forced, especially that third part, and all of the dialogue feels incredibly shallow and pointless.

I love the way how the original series really tried to improve on the manga and made it much more mature, especially with its excellent voice acting. But yeah, with this OVA that actually tries to be faithful to the manga… everyone feels completely out of character. Shinkurou gets reduced to an obnoxious teenager, Yuuno has transformed into a walking boob-joke, Murasaki’s bodyguard has turned into an obsessed caretaker and Murasaki herself changed from a kid who was way too mature for her age into something that more resembles a cute mascot character. Overall, it makes me even more glad to see the huge changes that the anime made.

And it’s not like this OVA was funny either. And to think that the anime featured one of the best filler episodes out there.
Rating: — (Lacking)

Posted on 20 June 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kurenai


Kurenai is quite possibly the most solid of the series that came out during the past spring season. It’s a well-written series. If you liked True Tears and want to see how it would have been with a bit less romance and a bit more action, then it’s likely that you’ll like Kurenai. This series is not going to hit any heights, but it’s perfect for a quick watch.

Aside from the solid writing, Kurenai has another thing it can boast about: its voice-acting. It joins Mahou Shoujotai and Red Garden in the very short list of series that have their voices recorded before the animation-process. The result is that the voice-actors are less restrained, and have more freedom in portraying their characters, which leads to a number of excellent dialogues, with the highlight being episode six.

Unfortunately, because the writing is so solid, the inconsistencies tend to stick out like a sore thumb. There are two or three points in this series that make you wonder what the creators have been smoking, because they don’t make any sense at all in the light of the involved characters, especially around the second half of this series.

With Brains Base, you can of course expect gorgeously animated fight-scenes, and indeed, whenever characters start fighting, the animation shines. Overall, Kurenai is probably too short for the story to make any real impact, but it’s got a likable cast of characters, great dialogue, excellent animation and terrific voice-acting.

Posted on with categories: Kurenai


Ah, glad to see a solid ending for this series. It’s not anything special, but it closed off this series very solidly, without leaving any threads open and with a satisfying conclusion that goes beyond the “save the girl and return home”. The final fight was also really nicely animated, the car-chase was pretty nice. About the only thing that didn’t feel right was Yayoi recovering so easily, and beating Lin so easily when she should have been heavily bruised, even if she did somehow regain her consciousness in time.

Overall, I can’t really say that this has been the best work for either the director and Brains Base: both Red Garden and Baccano were better than this series, but still it’s been an interesting ride, and like True Tears a very solidly written series, apart from a few inconsistencies here and there. Overall, it was a good series for a quick watch that doesn’t hit heights or lows.

Posted on 13 June 2008 with categories: Kurenai


Just like xxxHolic, after two weaker episodes, Kurenai is totally back on track. The finale might be a bit shorter than I expected (only two episodes), but this episode was an excellent conclusion, and it made up for a lot of time that got wasted on the previous episode.

In this episode, Shinkurou, Yayoi and Benika try to break into the Kuhoin main house, and the result is an utter failure. Yayoi gets beaten up to the brink of death, one of the servants (the one who helped Murasaki escape) gets brutally killed off by Lin, Murasaki is so afraid of her brother that she refuses to come with Shinkurou, so Shinkurou and Benika end up retreating. The episode ends with Shinkurou going back, while Benika was retrieving Yayoi’s body. A perfectly fine stage has been set for a solid ending.

Because things can’t go many ways from now (I mean, what else could happen but Lin getting defeated, Ryuuji getting humiliated and Shinkurou and Murasaki getting back together?), so it’s all going to depend on the scriptwriters for the final episodes. They’ve done some great work up till now, but writing a good ending still is something different, and I hope that they’ll be able to pull it off.

Posted on 6 June 2008 with categories: Kurenai


As this episode was mostly boring, I’m going to hijack most of this post for something completely different that caught my attention. I stumbled upon this post, referring to this piece of art, that rants against the lack of shading in the anime of the 21st century.

Ironically, it’s done by the same guy who posted those documentaries on fansubs. This means that there indeed is a lot of one-sided bias against today’s anime. The guy’s very selective about his examples: most of the images from the eighties are from OVAs, while the recent images are all from TV-series. Of course these have a bigger budget. There are enough anime from the eighties with cheap animation as well (Gundam, anyone?). The guy obviously is a narcissistic elitist, but I admit that he does have a point.

The fact remains that the shading in recent anime is usually minimal. I never really paid attention to it, but very rarely do I see a second shade-colour, let alone a third. I’m not going to deny that Hyper Future Vision looked absolutely gorgeous, with its distinctive art style, and it’s such a shame that today, so little anime try to experiment with shading a bit.

Of course, not every series needs shading. Porfy and Kaiba hardly have any shading at all, and yet they’re among the most visually pleasing series to currently air. But the fact does remain that creators could play so much with different kinds of shading, and you hardly see anything of it.

Nowadays, the trend seems to be incredibly detailed background art if you want to show off your budget. It would be interesting to see series break away from this trend, in order to focus more on different kinds of shading. There are of course exceptions here and there, but I do agree that things could be more varied, though I think I’m going to pay more attention to this in the future.

But indeed, there are enough exceptions and Otaking seems too stuck up to notice this. If he happens to read this entry through some strange reason, then I advice him to check out Shion no Ou. Obviously, the show had a small budget, but it’s the perfect example of a show that really tries to play with its own art style, and the best shots are absolutely gorgeous, with intricate shading, creative poses. It’s the perfect example of a visual feast that tries to think outside the box.

Anyway, a bit more about this episode of Kurenai: I guess my expectations worked against me for this time. For this series, I expected an action-packed finale, just like the first episode suggested. What we get is a Shinkurou who needs an entire episode to figure out that he wants to save Murasaki, wasting precious time for this series. This is especially aggravating since a similar series, Crystal Blaze, is about to finish with a huge finale that keeps building up speed, while Kurenai seems to slow down more and more as it goes on.

Posted on 30 May 2008 with categories: Kurenai


And so the climax of Kurenai has started. The OP and ED feel even more out of place now, but it also becomes apparent how much the building-up of the previous episode is paying off. The second half of this episode was really good, and I’m eager to find out what the creators have in store for us for the final three episodes.

As it turns out: Murasaki indeed is a legitimate child of the Kuhoin, but she was just never registered. She was just there as a tool for inside breeding, to keep the Kuhoin-family as pure-blooded as possible. In other words, brother and sister make children together. I recall having read somewhere how a child of a brother and sister has a larger chance at a personality-disorder, and looking at Ryuuji, I can indeed see why this Kuhoin-tradition has continued on for ages.

What surprised me was that despite Shinkurou’s godly power, he was easily beaten by Ryuuji’s body-guards. I guess that that female bodyguard never really gave Shinkurou the chance to show that strange elbow of his, suggesting that she’s been really well-trained for her job.

This episode somehow reminded me a bit about Sword of the Stranger, and there are actually a lot of similarities between the two: a powerhouse takes care of a small and innocent child that’s somehow vital to the plot of the bad guys, and as the story progresses, they get to know each other more and more. Now that I think about it, there are many more series who use this formula (Seirei no Moribito, for example), and it works surprisingly well. :)

Posted on 23 May 2008 with categories: Kurenai


Ah, its finally happened. Most parts of this episode was a calm before the storm, but at the end of the episode, Shinkurou and Murasaki are finally forced to leave their home and run away from the Kuhoin family. Something’s telling me that the best part of Kurenai is about to begin!

It’s amazing you can do with solid writing. The entire episode was clearly building up for something: for a random Kurenai-episode, it just missed the intense dialogue, drama or comedy that made the previous episodes great, and instead it went for a very quiet and peaceful approach, in which Shinkurou, Murasaki and the other went to visit a local shrine. They had fun through the afternoon, and went to have dinner at a restaurant together, as a way of saying goodbye to their lifestyles of the past few episodes, because the day after that a bunch of random Kuhoin-goons came up and beat the crap out of Shinkuro, and as an added twist: there’s a chance that Murasaki isn’t a legitimate Kuhoin-child: only her father’s two sons are legitimately registered.

I liked those two goons: they’ve got a personality, and throughout the episode, you can actually see them as they gather information on the situation. As it turns out, they underestimated Yayoi’s fighting ability so they retreated

Posted on 16 May 2008 with categories: Kurenai


Now that we’ve entered the second half of this series, the main storyline pops up again. It’s pretty early this time, in comparison to most other series in the same situation. Five episodes will be plenty of time to get a good climax out of this series, and I wonder what kind of tricks the creators still have up on their sleeve.

The episode starts as Tamaki takes Murasaki to the college she attends. As it turns out, she herself claims to be an expert in terms of love, and yet she gets dumped by her boyfriend because she’s been too rough on him. That female friend of Tamaki really reminded me of the early Rachel in Red Garden. I must say that the director here has been really good realistically portraying the dating scene, as opposed to 90% of the other anime, who strangely enough never heard of the word “party”. Are these that rare in Japan? I can imagine how series with a serious story don’t have time for these, but I’m really surprised that of all these slice-of-life series, nobody seems to celebrate their birthday with a big party…

The second half finally shows some depth to the bad guy, which is about time. The guy turns out to have been in love with Murasaki’s mother. Murasaki was also raised, not knowing who her real mother is, and only just before she died (or just after it) she found out the truth. What the cretors now need to do is continue this development. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but he needs more attention if he wants to end up as a successful antagonist. I may be comparing him a bit too much with Hervé, though. (From Red Garden, who in my opinion was a great example of an antagonist that works).

Posted on 9 May 2008 with categories: Kurenai


Okay. That was awesome!

I really admire the balls of the director to cast voice-actors who can’t sing to save their lives, and then force them to put down a passionate song multiple times. At this episode, I was nearly disappointed when the piano started playing and the voices started sounding like they were recorded in a studio, just when the characters were having the time of their lives, singing their lungs out, but as it turns out, this never ruined any of the genuine-ness of the song. Those were probably some of the worst performances to ever have been recorded in such a studio, but it really fun to listen to. :)

Those who’ve been reading some of my entries for Macross Frontier probably know how I kept whining about how the singing-performances in that series have felt too forced. It’s episodes like these that are exactly the reason why. Plays and musicals have always been a double-edged sword: in the hands of a lazy staff they’re terribly predictable and an absolute cheese-fest, but talented writers can turn these things into gold and this episode yet again proves that. There wasn’t much in terms of storyline, and yet this episode was one of the most fun episodes to watch, and at the same time it did a terrific job in fleshing out the characters.

What I also loved was how Kurenai was able to tell Yamie that her singing was a bit off, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to say the same to Yuuno (who sung just as bad, if not worse). Even Murasaki was scared of her. :P

Posted on 2 May 2008 with categories: Kurenai


Ah, what an adorable episode! Hardly anything new was introduced, and yet it was so much fun to just see the characters. This is exactly what I mean by a well-written series. Everything about this episode was just so enjoyable.

I love it in a series, where the characters are coming together. This series shows how far you can come with realism, because Murasaki and the five-year old sister of Yuno felt so real together. It’s just like how real little kids would spend their time when bored and not used to each other. And poor Yayoi! Everyone was having fun and eating at the end of the episode, and she was standing out there in the cold, getting hungry.

There’s nothing much else about this episoe to say, though. This really is an episode you need to watch for yourself, rather than read about it. I do want to say, though, that if this is really going to be a 13-episode series, then it’s well on its way to become a classic.

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