Red Garden Anime, Volume 4 (English)

September 12th, 2008

I just finished reading a manga that I won’t be reviewing here, but found myself immediately composing a review in my head anyway. In that review, I was quibbling about a single phrase that really annoyed the heck out of me. It showed not only insensitivity but also complete lack of cultural knowledge by the company that translated the book. It’s not important, really, except for the fact that I find myself doing that quite a bit here – quibbling about a small thing that’s quite irrelevant to a series that I see as some kind of “wtf” committed by the American production company. And I will do it again today.

But, let’s set this quibble aside for a moment and discuss the meat, if you will allow me to be so crude, of Red Garden, Volume 4.

Kate, Clare, Rachel and Rose realize that there is no escape from their fate as members of one side of an ages-long battle. What that actually means to them is still unclear, but they are as determined – more so than before, even – to retain what little of their “real” lives they have left to them. Each reacts in a different way. Rachel sheds her superficial skin going so far as to shed even her genuinely concerned and caring boyfriend, someone she needs but understands will not be able to handle the truth. Rose embarks upon a quest to find her father and bring him back into the fold of her family. Kate tries to date, with tragic consequences, and Clare is forced to confront her (perhaps unfair) anger and feelings of betrayal she has for her father.

Paula remains the epitome of “Grace,” even in the face of Jessica’s flaring jealousy and accusations that her interest in Kate has changed her. In return, Paula forces Jessica to become a partner to Kate. From watching her so closely, Jessica begins to develop a kind of bond with Kate – and ultimately begins to sympathize with her, even if its for the wrong reasons. To Kate’s shock, Jessica confesses her sympathy and offers her help – again, even though it’s for the all the wrong reasons, Jessica is no longer an enemy. And Paula has once again protected Kate.

As the entire series edges closer to climax and everyone deals with betrayal – Rachel as the betrayer, Rose as the reconciler, Claire as the confronter and Kate as the betrayed, they all find some strength within themselves to fight the fight they must fight.

And in a surprising moment, the first instance of loss on our side is from an entirely unexpected source.

Yuri? Not very. Paula’s interest has not waned, but has not become a burden as it does in the manga. Fabulous? Definitely.


Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 1
Service – 1; Violence – 8

Overall – 8

So, here’s my quibble. On the DVD case for the last volume the reviewer’s quote said that this series was like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This time the synopsis of the episode includes a line that describes this series as “sexy.” *Sexy*?? What part of this is sexy – the beast men ripping Rachel’s shoulder open or JC taking one for the team? Did they just add that in for spice or do they automatically describe anything with female leads as “sexy?” American companies – WTF?

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One Response

  1. MR E says:

    I honestly think they do that for spice, since the term “Sexy” will most likely get more attention in the American culture. I can give another example of this, not necessarily anime, but you can see the difference greatly. For the movie “The Hidden Blade” or in Japanese Kakushi Ken: Oni no Tsume” you see a noticeable cultural difference. Where the Japanese trailer focused on the actual relationships between the characters, emphasizing the main characters life. The American trailer is vague tossing out words like “passion” and such, which have no relation to the movie what so ever. What really ticked me off was that the trailer alluded to an affair in the movie that really doesn’t happen. I find it sad in reflection of our American Culture.

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