Red Garden is AWESOME.
I never really gave any second thought to watching RED GARDEN when I saw the character designs for it, because I really didn’t like it the first time around. It was also to be animated by GONZO; and although it is a studio I now appreciate for wonderful stuff like NHK ni Youkoso! it is also a studio I don’t really trust to be excellent and consistent with their animation. Those were two strikes already in my book before the series even started; to obviate heartache I decided to just pass over it in my choice of anime series I was going to watch for the fall season.
Time went by and I was happy with my occasional Death Note episode, but a lot of the series I loved had already finished subbing or are bound to end within the next week or so, so I decided to pick-up another series. I give my thanks to hashihime for posting character pictures with their respective voice actors, and although I didn’t even care who the voice actors were (The ones that are stuck in my mind because of their real-life hotness, sexiness, or just coolness are Sugita Tomokazu and Hirano Aya. Sugita is cool, just because he was Mayama and he played Kyon well; Hirano Aya’s cool because she’s cute and sexy. [No, I still don’t think TMoSH is a great show.]) I did mind how the characters were drawn. Although the first three character pictures were a put-off to me, it only takes me to like one character (this time being Claire) to try a show that I’ve got my mind on. I like Claire primarily because of her hair, and also because she’s the one person that looks the most decent among the four. (I like the color violet and its derivatives, and I like short-haired girls. \o/)
I downloaded (slowly) the first nine episodes of this series; I had enough time on my hands and had to take my mind off depressing stuff like totally failing a Histology exam and quiz as well as getting a high score on Organic Chemistry that’s not high enough (because I usually ace Chemistry exams). I did know and I was prepared to be saddened and depressed with RG as I’ve read some comments floating around, but at least I was going to be depressed over the sad fates of these girls, not my personal life. I’ve been thinking too much about myself lately that I felt it was time to transfer my emotions of pathos unto characters deserving it more. I guess that’s among the reasons why I watch NHK as well as started with this series. There are just too many people that deserve pity and pathos other than yourself when you really look at it antiseptically.
Red Garden begins when four girls awaken without any memory of what occurred the day before. As the episode progresses, they realize that something is horribly wrong when they see butterflies out of nowhere. Although once disjointed, the four girls who have something in common arrive together in one place; here they are summoned by a mysterious lady to do battle with a man who acts like a dog using only their bare hands. There is crying, there is cringing, but they realize that they have to kill those man-beasts if they are to survive.
Um… her hair’s red, and there’s a garden on her kimono, so … meh, I just don’t want to post their faces or their pictures. Akiha looks so much better.
Later on, the lady explains that they have already been dead and have been given artificial bodies to wage war against the beasts that they faced. If they do not do so they perish either in the hands of the beasts or in the hands of Lula, the mysterious lady. Although there is a lot of initial disagreement between them as they come from highly disparate social backgrounds, the four girls slowly develop a friendship among one another; and despite the hopelessness that pervades one when one has already faced death (if it is ever possible to be resurrected), they come through and are even noted to be the strongest group of girls facing the man-beasts.
This may sound dry on paper, but note two things: first, the two former paragraphs only show a general overview of the series, and nothing too in-detail; second, another take on the foibles and idiosyncrasies of humanity is always good, at least for me. I love the character interaction among the main characters, and can sense that this series is shaping up to be an alternative to the masterpiece that was GANTZ. But rather than showing the depraved side of humanity in a very negative light (that starts with Kurono Kei) working its way to redemption, it starts with the human, the normal side of humanity with four normal people placed in extraordinary circumstances trying to work together to achieve another chance at living. And despite their failures, they really have tried to do these things â€“ they even hung out with each other and try to look at life more positively. This is a more humane form of GANTZ, and right now, I like it much better.
This is not to say that the show is perfect: personally, I dislike the singing of the main characters whenever they are sad or happy; for me, it just makes the show laughable, and I don’t want that. The character designs may also be abnormal to some people; it definitely isn’t your normal clean-hair-big-eyed character design, so your mileage may vary. The ED does not synergize well with the series itself: whereas the series is a vivisection of the tragedy, and conversely hope, in the lives of the main characters, the ED simply just makes fun of it with its ‘rocking the LMC.’ I don’t think it was a good choice for an ED, although I like the OP simply because the series is a beautiful antithesis to its Jolly Jolly sound. It just makes things that do occur in the episode all the more hard-hitting.
Do watch it, though. I highly recommend it.