The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials


Title: Kure-nai
Genre: Drama/Action
Company: Brains Base
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 3 April 2008 – 19 June 2008

Synopsis: Kurenai Shinkurou is a dispute mediator. As a young boy, he suffered trauma in an incident that left him orphaned and homeless. Now at 16 years of age, he lives in a run down apartment, settling disputes for a mysterious woman named Juzawa Benika. When Benika approaches Shinkurou asking him to protect a young girl named Kuhouin Murasaki, Shinkurou accepts. From that day on, he slowly gets closer to a dark world, wrought with conspiracy and plagued by a dark secret kept by the Kuhouin family.

The Highlights
Filler: Actually enjoyable.
Characters: Sub-characters fleshed out excellently.
Voice Acting: Wow.
Murasaki: Someone lock her up; she’s too cute.

I’ll say it right now, and I’ll say it forever: Kurenai is not about lolis. I’m sick and tired of blogs showing a scene where 7 year old Murasaki is changing and claiming the show is about lolis. It’s not what the show is about.

What the show is about, though, is a fascinating tale of two social misfits and the beautiful relationship between them. Murasaki and Shinkurou are both, in essence, social rejects. Murasaki is a sheltered girl who has never seen the light of day (almost literally), and Shinkurou is an orphan living alone, often struggling to be interested in the things his peers are fascinated by.

While the show is theirs, the various side characters are all reasonably fleshed out and have their own personalities and motives. Renjou, Murasaki’s father and “antagonist” of the series, is especially interesting. He suffers an extreme conflict of interest which plays out in interesting ways. Other characters, such as Shinkurou’s eccentric neighbors, serve as comedic fodder and also have their own quirks which add to the general lively spirit of the series.

Watching Murasaki learn about the outside world may be one of the most interesting things I’ve seen in anime in a long time. It’s not because it’s especially innovative or because it’s especially interesting, but because of the near flawless execution. Even though this is piece of fiction with larger-than-life circumstances, I could still relate with Murasaki’s journey of discovery on a personal level.

Speaking of Murasaki, she’s absolutely adorable. The casting is flawless for her character, and as a seasoned Visual Novel veteran and voice actor stalker, I tend to be a bit more critical of voice work than the average anime fan. The rest of the acting in Kurenai is also extremely impressive, but the range of emotions Murasaki’s VA shows is absolutely astounding, from childish joy to complete submission and despair. Murasaki is undoubtedly one of the most colorful anime characters in recent memory. She’s both a mature woman with a sophisticated upbringing and a mere 7 year old child. Due to her upbringing, she lives in a world outside of this one, but she attempts to fit into normal, pedestrian life.

Muramatsu Ken, who worked on Sketchbook ~full color’S~, delivers his talent once again for the music of Kurenai. He does quite a fabulous job with his soft, jazzy piano sounds, but sometimes, his upbeat, light style doesn’t quite match the darker atmosphere of the show. The overall OST is reasonably enjoyable and serves to convey the mood well, 98 percent of the time.

If there is a flaw that needs to be mentioned, it’s undoubtedly the ending. Personally, I didn’t like it; I would have liked to see something a bit less clichéd, especially for a series that had so much potential. Also, I would certainly love to see a second season of the show produced since the light novel series is still ongoing. Overall, Kurenai is a charming anime; at times unbelievable, at times down-to-earth, and always, a masterful blend of drama and slice-of-life.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Akira

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