Kure-nai Review

From the light novel series, and maiden work of author Kentaro Katayama, comes the highly anticipated anime adaptation Kure-nai. The show features the directorial talents of Kou Matsuo who previously worked on Red Garden. Though not one of Brains Base’s best, it is still a decently produced show that paints the studio in a positive light.

A show follows the adventures of 16-year-old Shinkurou Kurenai, who’s job is to mediate disputes between people and factions. One day, his life is flipped upside down when he is assigned as a bodyguard for Kuhouin Murasaki, the daughter of a powerful plutocratic family. Thus begins the relationship between Murasaki and Shinkurou, as well as the mysterious circumstances leading up to their meeting.

One of Kure-nai’s strengths is the voice acting. The dialogue seemed to flow more naturally than other shows. After finishing the series and doing some research, I discovered that the voices were actually recorded before the animation process. This does wonders for shows where a lot of emotions are put on display. The character that benefited the most is by far the 7-year old Kuhouin Murusaki.

Despite the fine voice acting, Kure-nai’s faults are evident in its story. The plot is simple enough to understand, but once you do, it seems rather weak. Many elements were passed off in favor of ones that were overused. Kurenai’s “horn” seemed particularly odd. It’s as if the creators realized some kid going around killing people would be to much of a stretch, so they lampshade it by giving him a supernatural power that makes him nigh invincible, and just for good measure, they change the name of his profession from assassin to “dispute negotiator.” The reason they give is so that he wants to become stronger, the most generic shonen plot device in the history of anime. Part of the problem can be blamed on adaptation decay. The original light novel is regarded as one of the best. The transition to a 12 episode anime series did not do it justice.

Final Thoughts: 6/10
Kure-nai, despite its weaknesses, is still an enjoyable show. The voice acting is amazing which adds to its dramatic power. Though the show falters due to adapatation decay and a rather weak premise (case in point: the 7 year old who happens to fully comprehend her fate), it remains one of the more entertaining shows of 2008. The show calls for its audience to suspend their disbelief in situations where they really don’t need to; an easy task for some, a difficult task for others. Overall, worth checking out, but not ground breaking by any means.

Watch It.

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