Shinkurou Kurenai is a 16-year-old student by day and a dispute mediator by night. Though kind-hearted and patient, due to his tragic past, he has trained for years to live on. Now, despite his unimposing appearance, he is a strong martial artist, who also possesses a strange power.
While taking various jobs for his employer, Benika Juuzawa, one assignment leads Shinkurou to live with Murasaki Kuhouin as her bodyguard. Murasaki is the seven-year-old daughter of a plutocratic family, who escaped her home under peculiar circumstances with Benika's help. Commoner life, in her eyes, seems bizarre. However, by interacting with her neighbors, she grows more accustomed to the daily routine, and rids herself of her snobbish behavior, gradually growing attached to Shinkurou.
Though many details of the job remain unclear, Shinkurou still strives to protect the young lady. But to make things more complicated, he also lacks a crucial fact—what is the real threat against Murasaki?
Kurenai is the 08 spring anime I had the highest hopes for, and I surely wasn't let down by it.
The artwork in the series is amazing. The main reason for this is the coloring - it's so vivid! It's sharp and varied colors, something which - as of what I've experienced - is unprecedented. The detail may skimp a bit now and then - which drags it down to a 9 (yes, I wanted to give it a 10). Oh, and the OP theme animations is pretty whacky - which is both good and bad.
The characters are as colorful as the animation is, even the
minor characters. I really liked that, because it makes it oh so more realistic. And it's not only the characters as individuals, but also their relationships which I really loved. That does cover well up for the lack of character development that a 12-episode series is pretty much doomed to have.
The story in itself is very good too. It starts out very slice of life-ish, going with an episode-by-episode format, where Murasaki learns how the real world looks - after all, she's just escaped from being locked into a house with the most woman-discriminating family I've ever heard about, both in fiction and real life. But that being said, the episodes were great, because so much seemed to happen - often they featured parallel stories with Murasaki and someone else (often Shinkurou's two female neighbors) in one, and Shinkurou in another one. Halfway into the series, and a few episodes more, the series takes a drastic turn, and the more dramatic sides of the show starts to unfold, in contrast to the often light and comedic moments of the earlier episodes. It all culminates into two-three episodes with much action and drama, and an end which you're either gonna love or hate - I can't say more without spoiling anything.
The soundtrack is jazzy, and fits right into the scenes and the mood. Personally, I liked it, but it wasn't anything spectacular, and if you don't like the jazzy type of soundtrack, you can find comfort in the fact that you often don't notice it at all.
I really enjoyed this series, both because of its mix of many genres, special animation and wonderful characters, but also because of the calmness this anime presented. Even during the most intense scenes - either emotional or action-packed - I found it to be very calm. Personally, I think that gave the series that little extra which made me love it so much.
To 'Not Helpful' voters (and you 'Helpful' voters too): Feedback greatly appreciated =)
A couple months ago, I decided to scout out some of the series in the Spring 2008 anime season. I found Kure-nai, and decided to give it a try. The OP scared me, and I almost turned this into an instant "drop." Really glad I didn't, because this show was a rare find.
With only 12 episodes, it can be difficult to turn out that perfect storyline. Even so, they did a good job. The show is focused around the inner struggles and relationships of and between a seven-year-old aristocrat girl and her bodyguard, a poor, sixteen-year-old high school student. Nothing mind-blowing, but a sufficient premise
all the same. However, it's paced very well, fast when it needs to be and slow when it's appropriate. I never felt the series get dull.
Realize that this is a both a comedy and a drama, and in my opinion, it does an effective job at being both. However, there is some action mixed in. It's enough to give the series an interesting push, but it seldom drives the story. Adrenaline seekers, you will be disappointed. That said, I thought the action was handled quite well, and the fighting that does occur are some of the most intensely emotional scenes within.
While the media of the show was pretty high-quality, it has a tendency to go into estrogen overload mode, and that proved a bit trying for me. Pastel colors, curvy lines, and high heels galore. I got more used to it as I went along, but I still skipped the OP and ED most of the time. But that's an issue of taste, and in all honesty, it really wasn't all that bad. It was actually pretty well-animated, too.
I didn't care for OP/ED songs themselves, and I felt that most of the background music was pretty unmemorable. I say that because I really can't remember much of it at all. I know the music effectively aided the visuals, but it's probably not what I'd listen to standalone. However, there is one song that struck me, one usually played during the most intense moments of the anime, and it has stayed with me the way few can: a lonely, haunting piano playing a melody as beautiful and sad as the tune of an old music box. This alone may be enough for me to get the OST.
The characters were strong. Certainly Shinkurou and Murasaki were done well, but the support cast was also impressive. In only 12 episodes, there wasn't quite enough time to really delve into most of them, and it could be argued that only a handful of the characters actually play any sort of vital role to the story. But even without seeming "significance," they take the story and make it alive. Shinkurou and Murasaki have friends and neighbors, personal lives, and human bonds with the people around them, and it is those they interact with that gives the series its feel of realism. I found myself interested in the side characters, and I think I could watch Kure-nai again even just to see more of them. I was also impressed with how they took such an overbearingly female cast and a story with romantic undertones and prevented it from taking on "harem" clichés. The support characters all seem to represent different aspects of and attitudes toward life, and each gives the series a unique insight into the story.
Shinkurou and Murasaki were even stronger characters, though. They, too, were very human, and at times painfully so. Murasaki, the lovable, huggable bundle she is, has led a life that has left her bizarrely mature in some areas and frustratingly impossible in others. Shinkurou, for all the good in his heart, has his own set of shortcomings, and sometimes you find that he's not the fearless hero you want him to be. The relationship between them, however, is the best part of the show, and before you scream pedophilia, know that the relationship does not, at least in my opinion, carry sexual undertones. It's really quite a clean and healthy situation between them. Creepy people, you too will be disappointed.
As far as my personal opinion on the series as a whole, I'd love to give it a 10/10, but I do feel it wasn't really masterpiece-level as far as sound and story go. Didn't keep me from enjoying it like one, though. Definitely one I'll be buying if/when it ships overseas.
This isn't a series that I would recommend to everyone, but it is a series that I consider amazing. If you're not sure, pick up the first episode, stay with it until the end, and see if you'd like to watch more. Maybe you'll love it, maybe you'll never touch it again. At any rate, it's definitely one that's worth trying.
Story: 5 (For an ass kicking bodyguard, this guy is feckless)
Art: 8 (Some anim. are laughable but overall its beautiful)
Sound: 7 (Sound was good... can't think of anything else)
Character: 7 (Shinku X Murasaki are the only 2 worth watching)
Enjoyment: 4 (Don't watch it for the action... you'll get 'boned')
Overall: 31/50 = ~6 (...what is that car doing THERE?!?!?)
After reading through all the reviews, I have noticed there is nothing but praise about this show, and only one review that doesn't really explain the faults of the show. I'm here to fill in that gap. Personally I felt this show suffered from anime-itis. Don't
know what that is? Read on dear reader...
Kure-nai in essence is, a rom-com of the 'brother/sister' sense. As you already know, Kurenai is supposed to protect Shinkurou from her plutocratic family. On the outside, it sounds like a very serious anime. It even boasts a fairly impressive backstory explaining how everything is run in the Kuhouin family. Specifically in regards to religion, polygamy, and sexism. But don't be fooled. The main story is only found in the first few episodes and the last 3 episodes. So what about the other ~6 episodes? Just typical bodyguard/vip antics and a little shounen on the side. All that is good and fun for a little bit of grins and giggles. But this show is littered with so many bad ends and inconsistencies it starts to become laughable. Bad ends in terms of only a complete idiot that doesn't value his life or the life he's protecting would do something like that. In terms of the many inconsistencies I found, feel free to read the episode discussions and find my name since they're 100% spoilerish.
On a technical sense, this is a very beautiful looking anime in high definition. It was so great I was actively trying to find faults in the animation and all I'm going to say is that you will laugh out loud when Kurenai puts his 'serious' face on. Other than that, they manage to have a large number of licensed products in this show, namely Maserati and Mercedes-Benz gained my interest. Another thing to notice is how the rooms at the apartment compliment the characters perfectly in style and function. And they did a real good job in making Kurenai's apartment completely dilapidated thats very unfit for a princess.
Speaking of princess Murasaki sure does act like one. Most people loved her from the beginning, but I'm betting its because she gets naked more than once in the first 3 episodes. As for me, I loved to hate her. The attitude towards others was something I would beat ('time out' for political correctness) my child for. But of course, since its a shounen-ish rom/com, I'm sure you can guess the outcome. The characters are a double edged sword, some you will love, others you will hate, but most you will love and hate at the same time. Thats another strong point of the show though The character chemistry between Shinkurou and Murasaki is something that most viewers don't see very often. Unfortunately, at times, some viewers can feel a little uncomfortable at some of those two's actions but apparently in this day and age its fairly acceptable. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it. As for the support cast, they are just that... support. The show will act like they're important, but in the grand scheme of things, it just comes down to the Shinkurou and Murasaki show. People can say the support cast are unique, if you can call a poorly dressed emo, a horny college girl, a languid bodyguard, or a plain-sight undercover (oxymoron) agent as unique.
I really, really, REALLY tried to enjoy this show considering how many people kept telling me how great it is. But there are so many episodes going off on a tangent. It also got me disappointed so many times at so many different outcomes that, after a while I just lost faith in rooting for the good guys. And for icing on the cake, 1/2 of the final episode is just pure ridiculousness. I certainly felt gypped, especially when they didn't exploit the back story as well as they should have.
Why does this suffer from anime-itis?
A) If you show me a fascinating plot with a deep background story, don't bother putting a romantic comedy in as fillers.
B) The pacifist bodyguard character is played out.
C) Ending takes a crazy turn down unrealistic alley.
D) Short term outcomes becomes very predictable and uninspired.
E) ...ITS 12 EPISODES!! WE DON'T NEED TO SEE A WHOLE EPISODE ON WHY TAMAKI CAN'T GET A BOYFRIEND... (I had to get that off my chest)
Kure-nai is for the most part, a Slice of life, Action, Comedy, Drama. There are some that will begin this series without knowing what to expect but one thing I can assure you, is to expect a very intriguing and fairly entertaining short series.
The beginning of this series is fairly confusing and can make it difficult to understand what it’s all about, as it seems like a bunch of random events; however what is easy to grasp is the main story. Shinkurou Kurenai is a high school student who undertakes numerous odd jobs and becoming a bodyguard for Murasaki Kuhouin (daughter of a powerful plutocratic
family) is the newest job he decides to take on. During this time the two grow strong bonds with each other, as Shinkurou becomes sort of a parental guardian, but then something more to Murasaki. Each episode does a fine job in focusing on a random issue, yet sometimes it can seem so random that it doesn’t make much sense (the musical). Nevertheless this is a short series that’s worth every minute, except the ending, which does leave a few things unclear.
For a short series, it does boast a strong cast of peculiar characters nevertheless I believe it to be the best thing about this anime. Shinkurou Kurenai is a dispute mediator, with a very troubling background and Murasaki Kuhouin is a secluded pompous girl, who’s longed to see the outside world. These two a forced into the current situation they are in, by the enigmatic adults they are involved with. Not to forget the friends of Shinkurou who very interesting and provide a bit more to the show.
What stood out to me, in this series, was the lavish animation. The distinctive backgrounds and plush scenery were extraordinarily detailed. Also the character designs were nicely crafted and smoothly animated, however their definitions were very inconsistent when moving around. As for the music, Kure-nai sure has a good calming soundtrack but it is fairly unnoticeable. The appealing OP and ED themes are the tunes that you will notice, not to forget the amazing SFX.
Overall Kure-nai is a very uplifting anime about being bound by customs and wanting to protect someone; although it can be difficult to determine the true nature of this extravagant series. This series provided a good deal of comedy; shown through the characters’ interactions and also some drama through the characters’ experienced hardships and gripping dialogue. Surprisingly there’s also a great deal of action, in this carefree anime, so there’s plenty to satisfy anyone taste. This truly is the type of anime that the average anime viewer wouldn’t really consider watching but the experience you get from watching it is one you wouldn’t want to forget.