Screaming, angst-filled discussions, and more screaming;
that seems to be the focus of Red
Garden, one of the series that ADV dropped
and FUNimation was kind enough to pick up and complete.
While this show from Gonzo has some unique
aspects, it is set in New York City
rather than Japan
and has very stylized character designs; it comes across as a
filled with a quartet of emo teens that are more irritating than the
Kate, Rachel, Rose, and Claire all go to the same private
school in New York,
but aside from that they are totally different.
Coming from varied social and economic backgrounds the girls
each other. One morning all four wake up
feeling very tired and run down, and they can't remember what happened
night before. To make things worse, the
one girl that they were all friends with, Lisa, is found dead in a
forest. Each of the four girls feels
drawn to a certain location where they meet the mysterious Lula. She informs them that the reason they felt so
bad that day is that the previous evening they all died.
They're now living on borrowed time and the
only way they can continue living is to fight.
A man/monster soon attacks the four young ladies, causing
them to scream. A lot.
They manage to survive, but they are left
with many questions. What happened to
Lisa? Are they really dead?
Who is Lula and what does she want with
them? They may find out the answers if
they can live long enough.
This show was obviously inspired by Gantz, the name of that
series is even printed on the cover of the slipcase, but whereas that
mixed violence with character development and wrapped it all in an
mystery, this show doesn't get the balance right. There's
too much time spent with the main
characters discussing what happened or arguing over trivial things like
or not to plant a rock in the ground.
While this does develop the characters quite well, it slows the
the show down to a crawl. It's hard to
care about the characters when your mind keeps wandering away from the
The battle scenes are also not nearly as exciting as they
could be, though they get better as the series progresses.
For far too much of the show the girls
basically scream and scream during any action scenes and it gets old
fast. I can see that they'd be shocked
and it may be a realistic reaction, but this show overdoes it and the
shrieks become irritating.
While the animation is fine, as one would expect from Gonzo,
the character designs are some of the poorest I've scene from the
studio. Since the series takes place in America,
decided to make the characters look significantly different from the
anime hero. I don't know if this is what
they think Americans look like or they were just trying to go for a
different look, but all of the people look strange.
With wide lips, elongated necks and huge
noses, they look more like the output of someone failing a life-studies
class than real people. It was really
distracting and made the whole show look a bit ugly.
The first half of the series, twelve episodes, comes on two
DVDs housed in a pair of thin pak cases that fit into a nice slipcase.
As usual, anime fans have to choose between the original
audio track in stereo or an English dub in DD 5.1.
The dub does come alive during the battles
and the incessant screaming fills the room a little too well. The voice actors do a good job and manage to
avoid stupid accents for the most part.
The Japanese track has some nice separation and also sounds
I wish it was in DD 5.1 also.
The video is fine but not outstanding. The
show has a fair amount of grain in a lot
of scenes which looks like it was added by the creators, but it was a
too obvious for my tastes. The
anamorphic 1.78:1 image was a bit on the soft side, again I think
the creators were going for, and the colors were a bit muted. Like the character designs this intentional
fiddling with the image detracted from the series rather than enhancing
Not much in the way of bonus material. Just
a clean opening and closing and some
This show moved too slow and was filled with too many
angst-filled conversations. While the
mystery was intriguing it wasn't enough to keep me excited about the
especially with the odd character designs.
If young girls arguing and screaming sound like your cup of tea,
this one a rental.