Monday, 14 April 2008

Kurenai - Episode 2

Code Geass aside, Kurenai has impressed me most of the new season shows I've managed to watch thus far, and so I've been looking forward to seeing if episode two matches up to that promising start.

Thankfully, the answer is that it does, with much of the episode seeing Shintaro Kurenai's relationship building with the object of his protection, Kuhouin Murasaki. This was achieved in a delightfully light-hearted way, with a real rapport quickly building between the two characters in a very human fashion. On the flip side of Shintaro's personality, we see him 'in action' properly for the first time, giving us greater insight into the powers he possesses, which doubtless sets us up for some later friction between himself and Murasaki. We also get some glimpses of our protagonist's childhood trauma, with a rather shocking nightmare scene to complement some of what we saw in episode one.

While it's still too early to get a real fix on the way this series will head, episode two proved to be a well-realised blend of humour, humanity and violence - A potentially odd mix that could actually serve Kurenai well if it keeps the balance right and carries on moving things in the right direction.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the show is its animation, which is at turns clumsy and beautiful - Some of the opening shots of episode two are absolutely stunning, particularly in their use of colour, but later on we seem some scenes with decidedly ungainly movement and what looks like rather rushed animation. Overall it's a positive as far as the 'look' of Kurenai goes, but I hope animation quality doesn't drop as the series goes on as so often happens, as it doesn't seem to have as much 'in the tank' as a lot of other shows.

Overall though, Kurenai is still looking promising as a 'win' for the Spring season, and it'll definitely be keeping a place high up my 'to watch' list for the rest of the series.

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