Red Garden Anime, Volume 3 (English)

May 27th, 2008

Thanks to Ziggr for sponsering today’s review of Red Garden, Volume 3!

In this third volume of Red Garden, the four girls struggle not with life in general, but with specific relationships – with the men in their lives.

Rachel is having serious issues with her boyfriend Luke, who is trying to break through the wall she’s built between them. She’d like to confide, but instead watches helplessly as he drifts away from her.

Claire carries the bonus share, by having not one, but three men with whom she needs to address things – Ewan (called Yuan in this release, but that seems less likely to me,) her brother and her father. We learn that, despite all evidence to the contrary, Claire is not actually dirt poor. Her pride goeth so she need not fall, this time.

Rose and her friend decide to track down Rose’s father, whose absence comprises half of the burden on her family. We learn that he is not *gone,* per se – he is simply absent. Rose decides that his presence is more important than the money he sends to support the family.

And Kate gets to be the target for the schemings of Herve’, who is angry that his sisters are dying and being ignored for Lise. Herve’ decides to scout the enemy by pretending to go out with Kate. Unfortunately for him, Kate is a genuinely nice girl and he’s bound to be disappointed in his attempts to hate her. (Well, not, but you know what I mean.)

Yuri in this episode is once again expressed in Paula’s quiet caring and obsession about Kate. Nothing is stated explicitly, but it is not hard to read the text, sub or not.

This volume was captivating. Nothing *happened,* but what was going on on the screen captured my total attention. I forgot to write a single note as I watched – but I recall each episode clearly. An excellent volume of an excellent drama.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 8
Characters- 8
Yuri – 2
Service – 1

Overall – 8

Kate, to her sister: “I’m all about lemons these days.” LOL

And the cover copy – “Buffy the Vampire Slayer with more visual flair.” Whah? Do these reviewers even watch this stuff before writing words down? Guess they have to say something, but huh??

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3 Responses

  1. mdgirolamo says:

    As fascinating as Red Garden often is, I find that it suffers from something of an identity crisis. You basically have two thematic ‘strings’ that pull in opposite directions, on one hand, you have the self-evident shoujo influence and all that connotes and, on the other, you have the grim, Gothic element which pervades the ‘night’ side of the action.

    Now, this combination can work and, to an extent, I think it invited comparison with the 19th century Gothic genre with its stark juxtaposition of the ‘normal’, indeed, the stylised and the ‘supernatural’. I have no trouble believing that the protagonists live in two different worlds. Unfortunately, in the thematic struggle, the stock expression of shoujo tropes overshadows the supernatural element. It’s not as grim as it could or should have been. By the time we reach the last third of the series, I am far more curious as to what imaginative outfit they are going to turn out rather than the nature and meanders of the convoluted plot and indistinguishable opponents.

    This is not necessarily a weakness, since this is, and I am no expert so I am very much going out on a limb here, one of the more accomplished shoujo anime out there. At least Claire goes some way towards making it stand out.

    I think the comment comparing Red Garden to Buffy is based on the fact that both series try to meld ‘adolescent’ problems with an overarching supernatural reality. This is not necessarily a compliment. I did not care for Buffy in the least and, frankly, feel that the angsting of Red Garden’s protagonists about their parents, families and relationships bogs the story down. I don’t care. It’s just too damn banal. Some plots are literally out of daytime television (or whatever you call it in the US).

    Aside from that…yes, I agree with Erica, it’s watchable and pleasant enough. Rachel’s mental breakdown has a certain visceral element to it. But otherwise, it’s a bit like third way economics: it will always be accused of either going too far or not far enough.

    Regards,

    MdG

  2. ziggr says:

    “Will the person who sponsored today’s review of Red Garden, Volume 3, please raise your hand.”

    That would be me:

    “Pretty Face Vol. 1 (Pretty Face)” Yasuhiro Kano; Paperback;
    “Family Complex” Mikiyo Tsuda; Paperback;
    “Red Garden, Vol. 3: The Body Snatchers” Red Garden; DVD;

    –Z

    PS: I reread your Novel 18 “Nothing Special” notes this weekend. My sweetie saw me reading: “You’re reading Maria-sama, aren’t you?” Apparently I smile and giggle a lot when I read your notes.

  3. mdg – I don’t agree, but that’s okay. I don’t think it’s too much or too little – in fact, I quite like it for exactly what it is. But, as I said – that’s okay. I also love the manga which is further over the top – I’m looking forward to volume three of that, quite a bit!

    Ziggr – I’m sincerely sorry about that. I must have tossed the receipts for those items after the first thanks (temporary insanity?). I’ve gone and fixed the posts so you are duly credited.

    I’m so glad you liked Tokustesu Denai. I thought it was a lovely book too. FWIW – I end up giggling a lot when I translate the books too. :-)

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