Before I begin, I've want to tell you I've read both the manga and watched the anime. Why I am telling you this? Well because they are completely different, to the point where they are almost a completely different series. While the characters might be the same, the actual stories that happen are completely different. So, what I am trying to say is that if you liked the anime, it doesn't mean you will like this (unless you liked the OVA's, because they were based off the manga and are much more alike.). But thats not to say this isn't it a very good manga in its own right, actually its quite the opposite.
A story? When you first read this manga, it has no beginning at all. No character introductions, no why is this person here or how they got here. Nothing. It starts off like you just opened a random page in the middle of the series. Its like its expecting you to have already watched the anime/read the novels to know who's who. It just starts off with a random arc's. Eventually, they get to telling background stories and such, but a nice introduction at the beginning would have been nice and would have saved a lot of confusion, especially for new-comers to the series. The rest of the story is quite good, with the fights scenes being interesting, and have some real dramatic moments, and it great to see the relationships between the characters at these moments. The 'filler' chapters between the arc's are also quite good, providing much needed comedic relief.
The art is really quite nice, nothing spectacular, but still nice. However, if you have watched the anime (excluding the OVA's of course), the art style here is completely different and you will take you a while to get use to which character is which.
Ah, Murasaki the female protagonist, a 7 year old girl who is very smart and mature for her age but is equally stubborn and innocent. She is really what makes this manga so good. She is easily the most mature at of all the group of high school kids in the group and is usually the voice of reason. Its just so entertaining to watching the kids more then double her age get shown up by her maturity. Despite this, combined with her innocence can create some comedic moments. The male lead and main protagonist Shinkurō, can be a bit of a whiny bitch, but overall is manageable, and his kickarse "demon horn" can lead to some good fight scenes. All the other secondary characters are quite good actually, each being unique and mysterious (all are mysterious, trust me), and all bring something to the plate.
I enjoyed this manga quite alot, actually I enjoyed it VERY much. It might not be a masterpiece, but put all the different aspects together and it was a engrossing and interesting experience yet I don't know why... Maybe its the harem that Shinkurō manages to get. Just joking :)
Overall, this was a very enjoyable manga series that, while isn't anything amazing, still has its perks that were very good. I would recommend reading the manga, though it would help to watch the anime before as I believe as it gives you a bit more background (even though its a completely different story and won't give away any spoilers). One last note, DON'T COME HERE EXPECTING THIS MANGA TO SATISFY YOUR LOLICON FETISH (not that I have one). Despite popular belief, this is not a fanservice anime, so don't worry if you can't stand this stuff. Though there maybe very, very little nude scenes, they are part of the story, and other then that there is no more fanservice. In the end, its a good manga.
It started with "What the hell is going on?!", in the midst will make you shout "What will happen next?!", and at the end will make you shout and cry "I WANT MORE!"
Note: This is not a manga aimed for lolicons ^^
Kure-nai started wobbly. If that's how the author intends it to be is something I wouldn't be able to figure out completely. Characters and terminologies pops out one by one without warning until it makes you say "No more, I want to drop this." But hey, hold your horses, because after a few chapters, a long flashback shall be introduced.
Kurenai Shinkurou is a dispute mediator. At the beginning, the series will throw you various random missions for Shinkurou that has nothing to do with the overall plot. Then a magical flashback will commence explaining things to you what the heck was going on. After those flashbacks, I tell you, you'll want more of what's to come.
The story is not that violent. Kidnappings, mass murders, suicides - they are at least mentioned in some small corners of the series, but it is not that dark as oppose to other "secret-agent" feel some series have. In fact, this series is funny at times. And when the harem time comes, it feels like your typical rom-com-harem moments.
Character-wise, Kure-nai introduces a lot of interesting casts. While the main cast overshadows the minor cast tremendously, the harem members of Shinkurou are lovable to the extent you wouldn't mind that it is a harem. If you are not fan of the cliche harem scenarios, treat this thing differently. It doesn't force the romance vibe this series have down to your throat. Actually, I would love to see more of this harem moments if possible.
Most of the characters were fleshed out and extremely enticing. You'll get attached to them so fast. And if you are annoyed in seeing whinny and weak protagonists, good news for you, Shinkurou may not be the strongest guy out there, but he is certainly not the guy you want to punch because of his annoying complaints and misfortunes. And don't forget the other characters too, not all of them are combatants, but everyone has their fair share of showcasing their strengths throughout the series.
The art style was pleasing to they eyes; it wouldn't strain you. Some manga has so much clutter especially on these type of stories, but this one diverts from the norm. It may not be worth praising, but it is definitely something you'll love for a while.
The story arcs were all interesting and gives more value not just to Shinkurou, but also to the rest of the cast. Unlike some series wherein they just add story arcs to prolong the story, each story arc here has its own value and may change the whole outcome of the story if not included. There were also some mini filler arcs, but you wouldn't even notice them as something unimportant.
Overall, Kure-nai was an enjoyable ride. It may not be a page-turner, but it is still worth your while during your vacant times.