What is it?
Kurenai Shinkuro is a high school student who works as a part-time mediator. In most cases, this involves him resolving issues by physical means. One day, his boss puts a 7 year old girl in his care. The girl, Kuhouin Murasaki, has led a sheltered life and must adjust to living a more modest lifestyle, an opportunity she soon relishes. While she discovers the joys of everyday life, their life together is threatened by the Kuhouin family, for Murasaki is the key to a dark secret of her family, going back generations.
What's good about it?
Great setting and story. Awesome animation with good action scenes. Character designs are voice acting are appropriate and likeable. The dialogue and episode themes are, for the most part, creative and entertaining, especially when it concerns Murasaki, Shinkuro and his roommates. The better character development also involves these characters.
What's bad about it?
Shinkuro falls into the most-used mold of the indecisive and naive hero. Until the last few episodes, he suffers from self-esteem issues and must often get a confidence boost from those around him, like his boss, Benika. The producers may have been a little too eager to demonstrate the depth of their versatility. You get an musical episode, some slice of life drama, some modern social observational discourse, some science-fiction abilities and some martial arts fighting. While most of it is very well done, I can't help but feel the series would have profited from more plot focus, especially since there are only 12 episodes and the initial theme and setting promised a more compelling series. I also wasn't satisfied with the ending. The outcome and dialogue at the end seems irrational and unauthentic.
Despite its irksome shortcoming, Kurenai remains a hit that was one of the most entertaining and worthy series of the spring anime season. Plot development was thin until the end, with the first three quarters of the series focusing on character development. Since it was equally interesting however, the effect of the lack of pacing is diminished. Kurenai makes a lot of its shortcomings seem lesser by producing worthy alternatives. You can't make a bad series if your mistakes are still above-average.
FYI- The summer season is starting in the next few weeks with some new series debuting, most exciting of which is the third installement of School Rumble!, one of my all-time favorites. If you haven't watched the previous two seasons of School Rumble, nows a perfect time to make yourself familiar with the series before the third season starts. You won't regret it!
I've also got the review for Library Wars and the July anime ranking coming in the next few weeks.