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ohtoriakio

  • Australia
  • Joined Nov 23, 2008
  • ? / ?

Red Garden

Oct 5, 2009

How to define Red Garden?

Surely this is a hard question that a lot of reviewers will face. It

isn't a straight up thriller, romance or even drama. Genres are mixed

and influences from a well known horror title - GANTZ,

loom ahead. What saves Red Garden from needing one genre to be fit

under is that it is very good (not great) at incorpotaring all those

aspects.

The animation for the title is to the quality one would expect from a

show of its age. CG and 2D are incorporated effectively - and colours,

rendering and all other aspects one whould classify under the

"technical" are used to the standard advantage. The fighting sequences

could have benefitted from a little tweeking here and there but nothing

about it was distractingly bad. Everything else can easily be

classified under good to great as the character design is interesting

and edgy, especially from a fashion standpoint where characters have

been given height and swanlike necks (which are very much the standard

for catwalk models, and also a look that worked for Utena).

The costume design is equally gorgeous, with the intermissions also

featuring some delightful croquis. What I have just defined will work

for or against the show for some, as one might prefer a more staight

forward design and less stylised characters but this was apleasant

change from the usual for me.

The sound aspect was thought of quite well by the creators with the

characters given a chance to convey their emotion through song in the

early parts of the series. This was also another way the show managed

to stand out from the rest for me. This aspect was dropped later on in

the series though fortunately, the voice actors were so good at

conveying emotion just thru speech that feelings were conveyed to the

same extent anyway. It is worth noting that this anime was actually

created using a fairly revolutionary technique whereby the dubbing was

done before the show was actually animated, allowing the seiyuus to

convey their emotions to the fullest without the constraints of seeing

what the characters would look like. The only reason I am not giving

sound a 10 is because the intro and outtros are pleasant enough,

however they fail to make an impact and stand out on their own.

The storyline starts similarly to GANTZ

(which is where the similarities also stop), the main cast comes to the

realisation that they are dead and that they have been chosen to fight

possessed humans to unsure their survival on the "borrowed lives" they

were given. Unlike Gantz though, the characters do not spend the whole

of the series internalising their emotions. They break down, they let

go, they yearn, they befriend, they FEEL!

The great seiyuus allow the characters to reach you in ways few animes

can. The pain they feel, the reasons why they fight, what made them

this way - all these are explored and expressed to the same standard

one has not seen since the glory days of Saint Seiya.

Even when the story fails the characters (the end works but feels a

little rushed in parts), the seiyuus manage to make the most out of

their characters. Overall though, the story is well adapted and

although it can be a little slow at times, those parts are quite

important when one looks at the series as a whole.

I have enjoyed this anime and applaud what has been done with the main

cast in terms of development - but it might not be something I would

rewatch in a hurry as it is very plot based, and it would be difficult

to pick one episode I really enjoyed to view on its own. I would have

to view the whole thing again, and there is no need to do so for

comprehension, as the story does not have many plotholes at all.

I would put in under the titles I have enjoyed once and would watch

again if I had a lot of free time. Other shows that fit this list in my

opinion are (maybe these can also be recommendations to some):

 

Princess Tutu

Scrapped Princess

Death Note

9/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.3/10 overall

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