After last episode seeing Murasaki's whereabouts discovered by the Kuhouin family, I was fully expecting to see a change in this latest instalment to something a little more fraught and action packed... and bizarrely, despite the fact that I was expecting Kurenai to be action-oriented before I started watching it, I was actually rather disappointed by that thought.
Thankfully, episode eight of this series chose to almost entirely delay anything along those lines for at least another episode, instead opting to give us another episode of beautiful bonding between Murasaki, Shinkurou and the other residents of his apartment block, and yet more glittering dialogue, the like of which has made this show my firm favourite of the Spring anime season.
The mainstay is the episode is the decision to help Murasaki celebrate Shichi-Go-San, something Japanese kids apparently celebrate when they are three, five or (in Murasaki's case) seven years old. You learn something new every day. Anyway, the group's celebration involves taking Murasaki to a shrine, and as Shinkurou takes her home at the end of the day we get one of those wonderful exchanges that really mark out the qualities of Kurenai, a conversation which is in turn amusing, embarrassing and touching. Indeed, the closing minutes of this episode demonstrate just how close Murasaki and her protector have become, and despite the formers view of that relationship perhaps being corrupted somewhat by Tamaki's rather perverted view of the world, it's all really quite sweet. It isn't all good news though, as Ginko's research into the Kuhouin's delivers a real bombshell for Shinkurou.
I've noted before that Kurenai can even be a great series in episodes when nothing happens thanks to some snappy dialogue and great characters, but it should also get kudos for those moments when something important is going on. The tail end of this episode, from Murasaki trying to tell Shinkurou how she feels about him through to the bombshell that is delivered to him by Ginko and the last couple of minutes where everything begins to fall apart are an absolute masterclass in both characterisation and how to convey emotion in anime. Even without any over-the-top emotional reactions from any of the characters I found myself becoming entagled in their feelings and fears - Surely a sign of a grade A series.