Genre: Action, Drama
Length: 12 episodes
Rating: 15 for violence, abuse and other adult themes
Score: Very Good

Based on a series of light novels, Kurenai is about the adventures and
misadventures of 16-year-old Kurenai Shinkurou. Shinkurou is an
authority in settling disputes between people, and finds his life
turned upside down one day when he is assigned as a bodyguard for
Kuhouin Murasaki, the daughter of a powerful plutocratic family.

From the same director as Red Garden, the art style
immediately stands out as being a little different from usual. If
anything, the characters are drawn that little bit more realistically
(no blue and green hair here), body movements are smooth and in line
with the physics of the human body, rather than animated for comic

The two main characters really don’t act their age at all. Murasaki
already speaks Japanese at adult-level, no doubt as a result of her
early education. At the same time she’s like a princess who’s been
pampered for all her life and never seen any “work”. And yet she’s more
than the typical spoiled child because her arrogance comes from her
ignorance and inexperience with the new world around her.

Shinkurou also acts out of character for the stereotypical high school
student. There are no real “love interests” in the series, puberty
seems to have almost passed him by without so much as ruffling his
feathers. We don’t know much about him, but he’s seen his parents
killed in front of his eyes, and he’s reacted by training himself into
a killing machine. In some respects he’s incredibly resilient and
self-sufficient, and in others he’s as naive as Murasaki.

It adds up to an explosive relationship between the characters, but one
that grows each of them in directions they’ve not experienced before,
and it works for it.

This is a good series, with some well-choreographed action scenes and
some complex character development. The premise itself might be
somewhat far-fetched, but the story doesn’t seem to suffer. The series
gets extra points for not going with the easy ending, and I’ll leave it
at that.