Posted on 8 October 2008 with categories: Red Garden



Short Synopsis: About 200 years after Red Garden, we return to the girls of Red Garden, who still turn out to be alive.
Highlights: It’s about bloody time!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7,5/10
So, finally the final OVA has gotten subbed, more than a year after the original airdate. Indeed, it’s about bloody time. To clarify: I’m not going to write a review about this series, simply because my memory is just too fuzzy about the majority of the series, and I can’t recall exactly what I liked so much about the original series. Let’s just leave it at that Red Garden was my second-favourite in the season it aired in, after Asatte no Houkou.

In any case, it was pretty much clear from the start that Dead Girls would be a disaster, but I do have a lot of positive things to say about it. First of all, I really admire the GUTS of the creators: go for a conclusion that’s completely different from the TV-series. Seriously, more series should attempt that. As it turns out, the lead characters indeed revived, though without any memories. After that, they’ve been living for 200 years, working as bounty-hunters and travelling the world. What I really liked about these two episodes was the chemistry between them, especially in the quiet moments. The characters underwent massive changes, and the way the creators explored these changes were really enjoyable.

But really, what the heck happened to the production-values of this series? This is supposed to be an OVA: the creators got extra time to get the graphics right, and yet the animation was just plain and the CG was downright horrible. What have the creators been doing in that half a year? Then there’s also the fact that Dead Girls answers no questions at all that Red Garden left hanging, and introduced a huge amount of new ones: why have all the side-characters reincarnated at the same time? Why did Lise turn into an android? Where did the giant robots come from? Why is the Red Garden still in its same state, 200 years later? What the heck was up with that climax?

Really, I feel that Gonzo would have done better if it went with the route of Clannad, xxxHolic and Nodame Cantabile: just go for a short second season. Dead Girls actually had a lot of potential, but there’s no way that you’re going to fit that in just two episodes. These two episodes did well in fleshing the characters out, but the thing is just too damn short. I also liked the girls’ theme song. It sounded pretty silly at the beginning, but once you start thinking about it, it does fit.

Posted on 21 March 2007 with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: The Semi-ending of Red Garden, and what an ending it is. Let’s just say that lots of people die.
Good: The final scene of Hervé and Anna. God, that was so good, I actually cried, and that doesn’t happen often.
Bad: 8!? August!? That long till the OVA comes!?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8.5/10

Oh boy, that surely was an awesome episode, as it marks the end of the struggle between the animus and the Doral. Still, the characters who really stole the show were Kate and most especially Hervé and Lula. The episode starts with Kate and Hervé yelling at each other, which clearly shows that he lost it, due to his concerns for his sister. Still, that was just an introduction of the following events.

First of all, Lula sacrificing herself to mortally hurt Hervé was amazing. Right before she hit her, I could really see in her eyes that she was trying to avenge her brother. Well, she didn’t necessarily kill him, but what she did do was erase all Hervé’s chances of success. So sad.

But the definite highlight of the episode, and quite possibly the entire series, was Hervé dying himself. I don’t cry often, this probably happens once a month or something, but that scene did it. Seeing Hervé kill his own sister, whom he cared about so much was just way too sad. The ending was a bit strange, though. But then again, you can’t really call that the ending of the series, with an OVA coming in august. I wonder what it’ll be about, actually. Everybody apart from Kate, Rose, Claire and Rachel died. Will it show two episodes of them, living with their memories lost? While that would be awesome, I think that there’d be some kind of twist included. But can the creators really do so much in only two episodes?

Still, looking back, and not taking the OVA into account, I have to say that Red Garden appeared to be the best series that arrived in the Fall-Season. It may never had episodes with a rating of 9/10, but those who’ve been keeping an eye out at my episode ratings have noticed that Red Garden has been getting the most consistent and yet high ratings. Nearly every episode since episode 15 has gotten a 8,5/10. Asatte no Houkou was great, and Bakumatsu is great, but they haven’t really reached the heights of Red Garden yet. Death Note stood a chance of beating it at one point, but it destroyed this chance due to the rather bad Yotsuba-arc. Ghost Hunt turned out disappointing, while Jigoku Shoujo is quite fun at the moment, but again, it can’t just reach Red Garden yet. At least, unless its final three episodes turn out to become really awesome. :)

Posted on 20 March 2007 with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: If there ever was a “calm before the storm”-episode, it’d be this one. This episodes showcases the final interactions Kate, Rose, Rachel and Claire have with their surroundings.
Good: Even though no major events happened, this was a heart-warming episode. Red Garden just continues to deliver.
Bad: Ooh, let’s hope it won’t have a screwed-up ending. *crosses fingers*
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10

I’m going to be quick with this review, as I can hardly wait to see the next episode. Like mentioned above, this episode showed the last interactions the girls have with their friends. It’s slow, it’s quiet, but it works perfectly. Every scene just has some kind of deeper meaning. I just loved Rachel, as she was in the cafetaria, all alone, drinking coffee. I just loved Claire, as she sees her father in a car next to her, and has trouble speaking. I just loved Rose, as she covers her siblings with a blanket. I just loved Kate, who was given some make-up by Paula. And I can continue for a while, weren’t for the fact that I’ve got episode 22 waiting on my hard-disk.

There was no tension at all. Except perhaps with the only scene Hervé appeared in, in which he watched his sister, and the ending of the episode, but the huge number of hidden meanings in the different scenes made this episode just as enjoyable as the previous ones.

Also, a total irrelevant, but nevertheless interesting fact: JC’s real name is Jeremy Charles Ferhlan.

Posted on with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: Okay, so Kate doesn’t die. Instead, others do. Quite shocking at this point of the anime.
Good: Kate just continues to be an amazing character; The Deaths were awesome.
Bad: So, the series is going to end at episode 22, while the final two episodes will be released on DVD? I don’t think I can wait that long!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8.5/10

Oh god, that was an amazing episode! First of all, Kate was awesome when she was in the building. I haven’t seen many characters which acted so genuinely at those points as she did. And can you blame her? I mean, she has been abducted, she wakes up, half-drowsy and then she suddenly sees Lise, whom she thought to have died long ago.

Claire and Rose meanwhile continue their own stories with their fathers a bit. Especially Claire was heart-warming when she found out that the reason her father was in Europe while Randy committed suicide was because of Randy himself. Her father finally has the courage to speak his mind to Claire, and this has some great results.

And then the deaths! Emilio, Hervé’s uncle and the main researcher just die like that. Especially Hervé’s uncle was something I SO didn’t expect at this point. Hervé then makes use of the confusion in order to make himself the head of the Doral. Lise, meanwhile, hit the limit, and transformed into the beasts we’ve been seeing.

The final explanation of the story is also given at the end of the episode. Doral once stole one of the cursed tomes from the animus. This caused the leaders of the animus to be frozen in time, unable to move, only speak. They’ll be able to die when the stolen cursed tome is obtained.

Posted on 7 March 2007 with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: This episode develops lots of relationships: the one between Kate and Paula, Rose and her father, Claire and her brother and Rachel and Luke.
Good: Kate.
Bad: No bad points this time.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8.5/10

Whoa! The next paragraph will be a major spoiler for the next episode, so if you haven’t seen it yet, close this window NOW, if you don’t want to be spoiled. I accidentally noticed Impz talking about it in IRC, and I just have to confirm whether it’s true or not.

I was lurking a bit in #animeblogger, and then I noticed Impz mentioning that the creators of Red Garden aren’t afraid to kill off a major character for the progression of the story. Afterwards, I tried to forget it, but OMG, are the creators really planning to kill of Kate!? Seriously, she could have been considered the main character of this show. Of all the four girls, she got involved with the main storyline the fastest, and it was her that Hervé started dating. And now she’s just going to die like that? Okay, I don’t know if it’s really true, but the ending of the episode sent some really big hints. O_o

Regarding deaths, Neil also died! To make things even sadder, this makes his only reason in this anime to be killing off Kate. To make things even more complicated, the head-officer died so that Neil could die, so that Kate could die. It’s like a domino-effect! Are the creators going to keep this up until they kill off every single character of the cast? It would be disturbing, but seeing that there are still 7 episodes left, I’m feeling that lots of characters are going to die in the next couple of episodes. O_o

Also, regarding the main part of the episode, that one was meant to develop the different girls even more than they already were. And guess what, the predictions I made in the first half of the series for both Rachel and Kate were way off. Luke comes back, and even after dating Amanda he still loves Rachel. It’s not Luke who dumps Rachel, it’s Rachel who dumps Luke. Paula also was never in trouble because of Rachel’s bad attendance. She was in trouble because she kept worrying about Kate. She knew everything, and she even loved her (at least I had that part correct). The scene between Paula and Kate was too sad, by the way.

Claire was just adorable. She’s become rather spaced-out, after the previous episode. On top of that, she finds out that her father has actually been helping her brother. Rose, meanwhile, develops a cold during the episode. Fairly predictable, but right now, she’s getting even closer to her father.

Posted on 27 February 2007 with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: This is more of a standard aftermath, in which Kate, Rose, Claire and Rachel try to accept that they’re going to lose their memories. Oh, and someone dies.
Good: Really quiet for a Red-Garden episode, but still a great atmosphere.
Bad: Don’t you think Hervé would double-check whether he was being followed or not?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10

This really was a quiet episode. If I had to guess, it was meant as an aftermath of the previous episode, and a preparation of the final episodes. It’s interesting, there are so many episodes left, and the plot has already progressed this much. At this point, I really can’t think of how the creators are planning to fill these, which means that we’ll be treated to some nice plot-twists in the future.

The majority of the episode focused on Rachel, Kate, Claire and especially Rose, talking a bit of courage into each other. It also seems that Lula is an animus as well, which means that she’ll lose her memory too when everything’s over. I’m suspecting that the headmistress and her companions share the same fate. So what about Paula? Also, I’ve been wondering, where did the “borrowed lives” originally come from? In any case, even though nothing much happened, the animus definitely made the episode worthwhile.

Hervé and Emilio, meanwhile kidnapped Lise, in order to send her back in to the sea. I originally thought that Emilio acted on his own, but it seems that Hervé got through to him in the end. He plans to send Lise back to where everything began. Apparently, he met her at the peer, near the beach. Still, that doesn’t explain why Lise starts to walk into the ocean at one point. Something tells me that something happened between the two of them that we have yet to see. In any case, the two of them apparently forgot to either clear their own trails, or that the place Hervé chose was the most predictable one to abandon her.

The policeman also has quite an interesting role in this. By pure chance, he sees a car with Hervé and Emilio in it, with Lise on the backseat. He’s been searching for a clue like this all along, and he rushes after her. What he didn’t expect was that Hervé’s uncle arrived as well, killing him. I guess that that will place his assistant in an interesting position. I wonder how much influence this guy will have in the end, as he’s probably going to continue the investigation his boss started.

Posted on 24 February 2007 with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: In the end, Hervé spoke the truth. It’s now up to Kate to tell the others about it.
Good: Kate; Claire; Rose; Rachel; Amanda; Hervé; Anna; Lise; Emilio; Yes, about everyone who did anything significant in this episode.
Bad: I expected a bit of Lula, but she was nowhere to be found.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8.5/10

Seriously, I expected an aftermath after the eventfulness of the previous episode, but I never expected it to be such an awesome one. Most aftermaths are quiet, but this one was probably even better than its previous episode. So many characters were involved in so many awesome ways.

In the end, it’s true. Kate and the others will lose their memories after everything is over. She now has to tell everyone about this. It’s almost freaky how different everyone reacted. More on that below. Kate also has to cope with her sister, now that Emilio has dumped her and disappeared.

The news is quite a shock for Claire, but as usual, she manages to control her feelings. Still, she was so sad through the episode. First she tells Kate that she’d rather have that they won’t have secrets for each other anymore, but when they have to tell the news to Rose, she suddenly understands how difficult it is to tell someone some sad news. When they saw that Rose grew so much, and that she finally was able to see her father again, who is working hard for his family, they just couldn’t bring her the news that her memories would just disappear. They expected the same with Rachel, based on episodes 4-6, so they didn’t even bother to try and tell her.

Rose indeed has grown so much. Just compare her with Rachel, who’s currently in the midst of losing all her friends. When the anime started, I could never have imagined Rose actually comforting Rachel like the way she did now. Still, in the end she’s grown so much because of her memories of her family and friends. She breaks when she hears that she’ll lose her memory in the end. She actually starts yelling at Kate.

And OMG Rachel. She actually doesn’t care whether she loses her memory or not. In this episode, we see her officially break up with her friends. After this, she obviously has nothing left. And surprise, Sam, the rather goofy guy who always remained in the shadows gets worried about her, and tries to comfort her. She obviously doesn’t realize this, but I wonder how Sam will act in the future.

Also, Rachel gave some interesting information about Amanda. When Rachel still was alive, she was probably the most popular of her group, and Amanda always seemed to look up to her, and she always wanted to be like her. She now finally managed to win over Rachel, it seems.

Hervé, meanwhile, has been locked up. He’s probably going to escape any episode now, but it’s now clear that he’s cut his ties with his former “allies”, who are now all worried because Lise remembered Hervé. Because of that, they ignore Anna, who’s starting to cough up blood because of her sudden separation with Hervé and Mireille.

And boy, Emilio made sure for an awesome cliff-hanger in the end. He’s obviously not going to directly help Hervé anymore, due to the fact that he’s lost his girlfriend, but it does seem that he’s begun acting on his own. How? By kidnapping Lise. This can become really interesting. Especially if the latter happens to run into Claire, Rose, Rachel or Kate. ^_^

And finally, I must praise the ED. It’s a great way to succeed the already exciting cliff-hangers.

Posted on 14 February 2007 with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: Randy is just barely alive, Claire yells at her father, Rose finds her father, Luke breaks up with Rachel, Hervé finally reveals the goals of the endless fighting, Lula finally does something for herself, Hervé nearly kills Kate, he finds out that the headmistress is the leader of his enemies and somebody actually dies.
Good: Finally Lula actually does something; the climax of the episode was grand; Claire’s fight with her father.
Bad: Why does Rachel keep quiet about her reason to be with Nick?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8.5/10

Finally this anime is getting steamed. The past two episodes have been amazingly good. We finally see some results of the building-up of the first season. It already starts out great when Claire has a fight with her father.

Red Garden is unique in the way it portrays two characters yelling at each other. It’s interesting, most anime go from a close-up of one character to a close-up of the other character, with usually an increase of tension. The character says something and the camera switches back to the first one. Red Garden, however, has people talking right through each other’s speeches. Because of this, there’s no room for a small break between two statements. Because it doesn’t focus on just one character yelling, the scene just doesn’t give room to relax a bit. It’s a great way to turn up the intensity of that scene. Especially when such a scene takes so long.

The middle of the episode was filled with a number of random scenes, dedicated to develop the characters a bit more. Kate’s sister gets on another date with Emilio, Claire didn’t regret the things she said about her father, Luke finally has had enough about Rachel, and his patience finally ran out, because she just doesn’t dare to tell what’s on her mind. That’s why he breaks up on her. Jessica becomes quite interesting when she actually starts to worry about Kate, based on the things she overheard Paula say. It’s interesting, I rather disliked her previously, but with this, she also shows actual signs of character development. Hervé meanwhile gives Kate a suspicious call. Anna’s condition is getting worse, while Rose finally managed to track down his father. It seems that he left his family because he got caught in some heavy debts. He didn’t want to trouble his family, so he left. He isn’t planning to return, as his troubles still aren’t over. But then he finds out that Rose’s mother has been hospitalized. It’ll be interesting to see what he does in the next episode. The police officer is getting closer to the bottom of the mystery when he actually gets a clear suspicion that the missing girls have been reincarnated from death. Hervé meanwhile calls Emilio to inform him that he’s going to see Kate. Lula, the headmistress and the others meanwhile hurry to Kate. It seems that they found out about his plan…

Phew. That’s another thing I like about Red Garden: so many things happen in one episode. And everyone is just different. Everyone has their own problems and twists.

The climax was the best thing of the entire episode. First of all, Hervé tells Kate the truth. Kate and the others have been fighting in order to recover one of the Cursed Tomes. Whichever side collects both of them, wins. If Hervé’s side wins, Kate and the others will die. If Lula’s side wins, Kate will lose her memories. The question remains whether he told the truth or not, but I’m suspecting that he actually did. At least, I’m hoping so. Things will turn out very interesting if that indeed is the truth. :)

But then things get even more interesting when Kate and the others take a step back, to show a fight between Emilio and Hervé and Lula and the rest of the school staff. In the end, this comes down to a fight between Lula and Hervé. He’s about to finish her off, though JC jumps before her, losing his life. And surprise: they’re actually siblings! And finally Lula shows a bit more of herself!

The next episode will obviously be an aftermath, but it’s interesting to wonder how this series will continue. I think that JC’s death marked the end of the first half of Red Garden, and that now the second half is about to begin.

Posted on 10 February 2007 with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: Things go bad with Claire’s brother, Rose gets closer to finding her father, Hervé starts to use Kate to his advantage, Rachel gets spotted with her teacher and a sad thing will happen with relation to Mireille.
Good: A wonderful episode; Hervé gets better with every episode; great ending!
Bad: We still don’t really know why Rachel exactly chose to date her teacher.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8.5/10

That was amazing! Especially Hervé, he’s really turning into my favourite character for this series. The episode starts with Mireille being in a state of near-death, his sister is about to lose her best and only friend. I couldn’t help but sympathize with him, though later, we see him start to use Kate, and act coldly towards her. I’d almost start rooting for him. In the end, Mireille died, and she had to be beaten by tons of security guards because she turned into a monster (what, they don’t have any more civilized methods for this?). This definitely was a stimulant for Hervé, to find a solution as fast as possible. But how does he think of using Kate to cure his sister? I also nearly cried when he tried to strangle Lise. So sad.

Still, Hervé wasn’t the only one who was amazing. Claire also got caught up in some very interesting events: the death of her brother. Suicide, to be exact. His business was doomed to fail, so I wondered how he’d react when that happened. I never imagined suicide, though. Also, do we get to see Claire’s father after this? Anyway, because of this, Claire got a lot of airtime this episode. We saw her in lots of scenes, along with Kate, which were probably meant to build up to this. It’s definitely interesting to see how she’s going to react to this.

The next episode will probably be a big one for Rachel, since Luke found out that she’d rather hang out with her teacher than with her (seriously, what is it with girls falling in love with characters way older than them in this anime?). I’m still not sure why she’s doing that exactly. She obviously likes to be with him, but is it love? Rachel, in any case, does know that Luke already cheated on her.

Rose didn’t play a large role, but she was too cute when she tried to inquire information about her father in a crowded bar. ^_^ It does, however, seem that her father has been desperately going from one job to the other. He seems to quit them for some kind of reason. What could that reason be?

Posted on 6 February 2007 with categories: Red Garden

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Short Synopsis: Rose’s training pays off; Hervé reveals more things to Kate; Interesting plot twist from Paula; Claire’s car breaks
Good: Hervé was brilliant as usual, I also loved Paula.
Bad: It’s already episode 14, and still no awesome episodes. When will they come?
Overall Enjoyment Value: 7.5/10

A large focus of this episode was training, and increasing your strength. Rose finally starts to become more than just a strange bystander when she too manages to leap into the air, and Kate even manages to master this power. Claire, meanwhile, works out during her job and Rachel also seems to be training, as her muscles have been getting into good shape lately.

While this episode was mostly about Rose, my favourite moments had to do with Kate. First of all, she finds out that Hervé lied to her when she drives past the restaurant he mentioned, which seems to be down for maintenance. Because of this, Hervé is forced to either tell another lie, or tell the truth, with certain parts omitted, of course. He chooses for the second, putting Kate in a very interesting situation. Right now, she still is fine during the fights. But I can’t wait to find out how she’ll react when she finds out that the people she’s been fighting are actually Hervé’s comrades.

And Paula, dammit. Lula has connections to the headmistress of Kate’s high school. The headmistress is Paula’s aunt, who seems to have told Paula about what happened to Kate, and told her to look after her. And suddenly lots of things fall into place. The question then still remains, why only Kate? Is she special because she’s in Grace?

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Recently, sports anime have become a bit of a dying breed. Falling into the same hole as Mecha, aside from a passionate base audience, most are overlooked. There are the occasional hits like Haikyuu, Yuri on Ice, or Darling in the Franxx for Mecha, but those are few and far between, often taking years. Even […]

A quick and dirty review of Garo: Vanishing Line

What it claims to be about: A secret order of knights and alchemists, the Makai Knights and Alchemists, fight horrifying creatures called Hollows who prey on human weakness .Part of the media franchise spanning anime and live action shows, this iteration is set in modern metropolis and concerns the attempts of Sword, the strongest Makai […]