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Red Garden Vol. 1
Distributor ADV Films
Kate, Rachel, Rose, and Claire are all students at a private institution set on Roosevelt Island, New York City. Waking up one morning, all feel uneasy and restless as they deem strange that none of them can recall anything about the previous night. Their anxiety escalates when the school announces that Lise, another classmate of theirs, was found dead. This begins a chaotic turn of events that sees the four girls being thrown to the wolves (so to speak) as they battle to keep on living, under the direction of the enigmatic Lulu and her partner.
Following in the steps of productions like Witch Hunter Robin, Red Garden uses refreshing character designs which reflect the normal proportions of real woman. While it can be argued that the faces of some of the characters are unusual for anime, the fact that characters are shaped to look like normal teenage girls is a refreshing change.
For those who like their action and storytelling to be fast, punchy and to the point, the slow start to Red Garden may not impress. While in some cases it can be seen as a chore, the slower pacing in Red Garden allows the characters to fully develop and also allow the characters to react in normal, human ways with the extraordinary situation they have been placed in.
And that’s what makes this series hook you in from just the first few episodes. These girls are human. They react in human ways to extraordinary situations. They can’t figure out everything straight away and watching their reactions as they piece everything together is highly entertaining. A perfect example of how anime can do drama as well as any other medium.
Of course being a studio Gonzo production, the production values are very high, with excellent animation, character designs and so on. There is very little skimping in the series and the CGI effects are seamless.
If there is one nitpick, it's the faces of some of the main characters. When watching anime as long as I have, such drastic stylistic facial changes is a shock at first. But given a chance to adjust, you’ll be happy to sit back and watch the drama unfold.
Red Garden is very much a surprise. Brought together by the same people behind Gantz and Hellsing, there was a worry that action would be taking a front seat, complete with nudity and over the top violence. Thankfully this is not the case here. This is a drama which is both entertaining and addictive - there are very few TV series’, let alone anime, that do this. Red Garden is a pleasant surprise and lovers of dramatic anime would be crazy to miss out on this release.
Usually selection of extras and Japanese soundtrack that we’ve all come to expect. Nothing new here.
pleasant surprise, with hopes that future volumes will be just as good.