giovedì 10 maggio 2007

Red Garden


Five girls die under mysterious circumstances and four of them are resurrected by an organization, the fifth corpse having gone missing. The catch? They have to fight humans turned into mindless beasts by a curse.

Red Garden is a shoujo with minor shounen elements thrown in to try give it a different feel (better examples of that technique are Ayashi no Ceres and Escaflowne). Supernatural elements, horror elements and superpowers all play a part in it but it mostly stays true to what one might expect from a shoujo: long dialogs, love triangles and the fetish for clothing most girls have.

Animation - 7/10

The animation is nothing to write home about, but still quite nice; not as fluid as one might have hoped, but still it doesn't disappoint. The direction is good enough, but there's not much to direct except a few short action scenes and a seemingly endless series of dialogs. The character design is pleasantly unusual, although every dress seems to scream "this is a shoujo!!!".

Sound - 6/10

I was kind of surprised by the songs they chose as endings, they feel completely out of place when they should instead kind of carry on the mood of the anime. They totally break it instead, in an unnerving way. I didn't mind the OP, though, it sounded feminine and appropriate enough since we're talking about an anime that's strongly shoujo. Most of the OST is, however, mediocre with just a few tracks good enough.

Story - 4/10

Yet another "whoever gets the magical artifact wins" plot. The viewer's expectations are set quite high by a very good beginning, but the story starts to drag and eventually fails to meet them, revealing itself as just another backdrop to throw random existential bullshit philosophy on.

Characters - 4/10

As crazy as it might sound, after hours of talking the characters are still underdeveloped. Most of what they say sounds nice but at the end of every episode the viewer will find that he's learned about them very little, except that they all kind of suck although in different ways. I don't mind characters that suck — I did like Shinji in a strange inexplicable way, maybe he appeals to the sucker within us — but their development is unbearably slow and predictable and after a few episodes they all sound like voice recorders repeating over and over the same old ideas we've already heard in previous episodes, as well as in a lot of other anime and movies; thus they fail to catch any real attention throughout the show and their ravings may eventually feel like, well, a pain in the butt, something you'd like to rush through using the fast forward function. The most philosophical parts of the anime, all strongly character-oriented, are overdone and lack any real substance. I do give credit for a few dialogs that are actually very well done, though, and a development does exist — which is not the case with a lot of other anime — so it's not that bad actually.

Personal judgment - 2/10

I don't like shoujo, I hate repetition and I'm usually irritated by bullshit philosophy. As far as I'm concerned, Red Garden has been a waste of free time.

Overall - 6/10

This is not the kind of anime one can rush through. It would be too boring. I suggest watching about one ep per week, like it was aired on the TV, then it may become watchable. If it was possible to take out the absurdly high level of repetition built into it, Red Garden wouldn't be that bad; it isn't horrible as it is anyway and certainly deserves a 6 for the good moments it does have to offer, like the very last scene.

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