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Kurenai Review

Kurenai Shinkuro is a “dispute mediator” who is assigned the task of protecting Murasaki, a seven year old girl who was taken from her family, the Kuhoins.  The Kuhoins are a very traditional family who operates a system where the women, after conceiving (with their siblings) and giving birth, are forced to stay in an inner sanctuary, and other women are brought in to raise the children and appear as their mother.

This description might give an incorrect impression of what the series is like.  There isn’t a constant tone to the series.  At one moment it seems like a light-hearted slice of life about a rich young girl forced to live in “peasant” conditions, but at other points it tries to be a serious show dealing with the very disturbing customs of this family.  Due to this, I thought the quality of different episodes varied quite a bit.  The dialogue is one aspect that is generally good.  It felt very natural compared to many other anime series – apart from Murasaki.  Murasaki is seven years old but her attitude resembles a teenager.  While this was obviously an intentional choice by the creator of the story, it never quite rang true for me.

I also felt like the show was stretching credibility sometimes with the plot.  Murasaki apparently needs to be hidden from a powerful family, yet the task of hiding her is given to a young boy who must frequently leave her alone to go to school.   She goes out in the open with both Shinkuro as well as a neighbor, despite the fact that they are still living near the Kuhoins.  To put it plainly, the plot simply isn’t very believable.  Now, some might say that this can be excused if it creates opportunities for great character moments.  Unfortunately, Kurenai isn’t really anything special in that department either.

Unfortunately, the character who I was most interested in, the reserved assistant of sorts who helps Kurenai at school, received very little attention.  Instead, characters that I hardly cared about, like the next door neighbor who had trouble with relationships, received a bulk of the airtime.  An entire epsiode featured Kurenai being taken to said neighbor’s university to hear some very underwhelming philosophy about love and relationships.  Another episode was dedicated to a musical performed by the main characters.

I feel like the show may have worked a bit better had they used 26 episodes compared to the 13 we ended up with.  This way a lot of subjects could have been explored further, such as Shinkuro’s background, why he became a dispute mediator, more detail into how he earned his strength, and etc.  I certainly think there would have been a greater impact in the final few episodes had we had a very firm grasp into the characters of not only Shinkuro but also the side characters, such as his “boss” and her other subordinate.  As it is, the tone of the final episodes make it seem as if the producers wanted Kurenai to be something meaningful, but I can’t honestly say they succeeded.

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2 Responses to “Kurenai Review”

  1. sunwooon Feb 17th 2010

    I thoroughly enjoyed this series as a well developed story, an interesting comedy, and an after-thought to human nature. This show had a very developed dialogue and story. My favorite episode had to be the last one where they crammed in all of murasaki’s feelings towards her “goal”(which I won’t say).

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