Posts Tagged ‘red garden’
As many of you are aware, Funimation made quite a few people upset earlier this week by announcing that a few of the series acquired in the Sojitz/ADV deal (most notably ‘Welcome to the NHK‘ and ‘Red Garden‘) would be released and concluded in box sets releases. This was in spite of both series being only one or two volumes away from being finished.
Earlier today, an official Funimation rep posted the following to the ANN forum:
“Hello anime fans,
We do understand your concern regarding the future releases of these two series in which you have already invested so much time and emotion. I won’t bore you with the long explanation as to how we came to the decision we did as to how to package these series nor rattle off the many factors that led to that decision.
That being said, we have taken your comments to heart and here’s what we are going to do: in addition to the box sets we will ALSO release Red Garden Volumes 4 and 5, Pumpkin Scissors v.5, and NHK v.5. They will be available through The Right Stuf in December — though street dates have not yet been finalized. Volume 6 for all three of these series will be available at a later date, still to be determined, and will also be available via The Right Stuf.”
If you were lost before these episodes will lay it all out for you as Red Garden prepares for its climax.
In episodes sixteen through nineteen, all four of the girls have a brand new reality to deal with. Herve has told the truth to Kate that if the two cursed books are brought together all of them will lose their memories of everything essentially erasing them. They won’t remember who they are or even who their friends and family are. All of them deal with this in various ways. Kate and Claire become more philosophical as they think about the little things that they will miss. Rachel withdraws more and more and Rose spends more time with her estranged father.
Meanwhile during these episodes, the police investigation into the missing girls intensifies. As the two detectives learn more about the missing girls, their lives will be put on the line as they search for the truth.
Herve and Emilio have lost everything. Their families have succumbed to the symptoms and they are both convinced that the only solution is to bring the books together. They will go to great lengths to force the hands of the family members and experiments they oppose getting Lise and Kate more involved than ever before.
Good and the Bad
In this volume, Red Garden brings out its latest round of plot twists to keep the audience guessing and interested in seeing more. As with the previous four volumes, these four episodes will take the audience in directions that they won’t expect. I know this because I kept waiting for the series to go where I predictably thought it would only to have it go in completely new directions that I hadn’t even considered.
Starting right away in episode sixteen, the volume starts slow. The very first episode after the death of JC slows down the pace considerably starting with Kate dealing with the first to know the truth. This episode really sets up the running theme for the volume well.
The idea of the girls losing all of their memories is really hit hard on this volume. Repeatedly hard to be honest. All throughout these episodes, the girls will almost always be dealing with this reality in one way or the other. Some will go visit family; some will spend time with friends or just think really random things out loud. But the bottom line is that this plot point is obviously deeply important, if not to the audience than the staff.
If you’ve been into this series since the beginning, this can’t help but create a little excitement in you as an audience member. While it does get a little repetitive by the end of the volume, Red Garden does an excellent job with creating strong hype for their finale. Obviously the staff has something big planned for the final three episodes.
The supporting cast is really well used in this volume as well. While Lula tends to sink into the background, Emilio and Herve are well purposed. The story of Lise and the continuing investigations finally see some well deserved screen time in these episodes. While Red Garden has never done a lot with the detectives and their investigation into the girl’s suicides, this volume finally gives them something to do and makes their scenes completely worthwhile.
Then again, some of these supporting characters come across as awkward on this volume. Paula is the best example of this with the scene she shares with Kate late in the volume. In this scene, Paula comes across as nothing like she’s been in the past. The dialogue here is a little awkward at best and you’re never quite sure how far the staff is going to push it before it finally ends.
The animation in this series continues to look amazing even after nineteen episodes. While in previous volumes Red Garden has used a variety of scenes to highlight the animation, the girls’ interactions with scenes and backgrounds really are well highlighted here. A late night visit to Lise’s grave segues easily into a very nice scene with the girls standing in the snowfall. The perspectives shown during this scene were really well chosen with a great view of the snow falling down onto the girls from below. All of the elements that made up this scene really put together really well creating a very memorable scene.
The pacing of the volume starts very slow but gradually speeds up quite well. The first half of episode sixteen really drug by as Kate and Claire open up the volume. Gradually though Red Garden finds its footing again and keeps the audience moving right along with the action of the series.
The real saving grace (no pun intended) to Paula’s big scene with Kate is the background music that plays with it. The soft harpsichord tune comes across as awkward at first but once the dialogue really starts to move forward, the music seamlessly works its way into the scene.
The music continues to come across clearly with no drops in sound quality. The music is still one of the more powerful aspects of this series. The instrumental tracks are all so powerfully composed that it would be hard to imagine this series without them.
Dub vs. Sub
Both the English and Japanese tracks come across strongly in these episodes. The dub script, written by Kaoru Bertrand, inserts a lot more cursing than you see translated in the subtitles. Most of these curses come from the detectives as they are investigating but the extra curses seem to add little to the plot or story thus creating waste dialogue.
One big change that fans may notice is that Jose Diaz is replaced on this volume by Quentin Haag in the role of Herve. While I’m not familiar with the details behind why Jose exited the cast, Quentin does a great job stepping into the role. The change wasn’t even something that I noticed as I continued to watch through the series. It will be interesting to go back later and further nitpick the two performances though and see what subtle differences I can find.
While the cynical members of the audience are going to worry about the ending not living up to the hype, the rest of the audience has every reason to be excited to see the final episodes. The characters have all had their chance to express how they feel about where they’re headed and now it’s time to get there. In the final three episodes, it will be time for Red Garden to answer all the questions that fans have. This is a series that continues to get better and will be hard to let go of when it ends.
Final Grade: A-
Wow, I can’t believe that I almost lost track of this series.
In these four episodes, all four of the girls and a few of the guys go through some pretty big changes in their lives. Rose is continuing her quest to find her father while also dealing with the issues of being the weak link on the team after a freeze in battle puts Rachel in danger. Rachel is still having problems balancing her boyfriend with her new life. Kate is still seeing Herve with no clue as to who he really is while he manipulates her to get what he wants and finally Claire’s family is melting when her brother stands to lose everything due to a very shady financial advisor. Even more surprising for the girls though is a discovery in battle relating to the mysterious power that hasn’t been seen since Vol. 1.
In the hospital, Herve is having issues coping when his cousin gets worse and worse while Lise is starting to remember more of her previous life. This drives him mad and drives him to push the battle further. This will bring the girls face to face with not only their enemy but a large number of people on the same team that they’re fighting for that they never knew existed.
Good and the Bad
Taking us solidly into the second half of the series, the four episodes on this volume provide the audience with a very odd and off balance ride through the series. The plot on this volume really starts to amp it up as the mysteries of the series that have been dangled in front of us since the beginning are starting to take a real shape.
The pacing on this volume is where the biggest issue lies though. With the first three episodes of the volume, there are so many things happening that it’s hard to keep up. More importantly though, there is a real issue with the storylines having no real flow. The segues from one scene to the next rarely feel like a natural change and leads to a real feeling of being jerked around from one character to the next to get caught up. This problem is very quickly rectified in the last episode of the volume due to an absolutely amazing climax to the volume.
Unlike previous releases, this animation on this volume didn’t come across as all that impressive. The colors on this volume didn’t look nearly as impressive as on other volumes and there were very few scenes (besides a couple of fight scenes) that really showed anything particularly impressive; not even some red butterflies. Beyond that though, the backgrounds never maintained a very clear image quality and I could see some very faint fuzziness in the backgrounds. It was never a distraction and you’d have to look pretty hard to notice it.
The way that the story played out on this volume was slow but the pieces of development that were put onto this volume were very well placed. This series has done a great job with its liberal use of foreshadowing. When the girls first realized that they had powers on the first volume, it seemed a foregone conclusion at the time that they were going to develop these powers right away. It was a very welcome and nice change of pace to see the staff hold off on that piece of development until after the halfway mark when most of the audience had either completely forgotten about it or hadn’t thought about it since that episode.
The music in this series has always been particularly strong and on this volume there are a couple of very strong tracks. The first real battle theme of the volume is definitely one for fans to listen for. Also a strong track on the volume is played in the scene where Jessica and Kate are meeting in the third episode. The strings in this scene were very well placed and really highlighted the gentle manipulation that Jessica was trying to use. Well composed here and placed.
The sound quality on the volume remained strong throughout each episode with no drops that I could detect.
Dub vs. Sub
Both the dub and sub tracks were very strong on this volume. Melissa Davis as Kate was a standout amongst the four girls this volume. But I also have to point out Chris Patton as JC and Shelly Calene Black as Lula. These three are certainly ones to listen for as you watch these episodes.
Fans really can’t go wrong with either track here. Both are highly enjoyable performances though I did find that the Japanese track was preferable this time around. There are quite a few scenes that involve shouting matches and if you want to catch both sides of the argument the subtitles really help.
Still just clean animations.
With the first three episodes providing such slow pacing, there was genuine worry that the series had lost its steam and was finally starting to suffer from the hands of its own early momentum. When the final episode of the volume played out though and I saw how everything came together, my interest in this series instantly returned to its previous heights. With the stories finally starting to come together and the girls on the verge of learning some pretty huge truths, I can’t imagine wanting to turn away now. A great way to really get the audience ready for the last few episodes, one can only hope that it does itself justice in the end. Recommended.
Final Grade: 86% – B
Two stories become one as this volume takes us just shy of the halfway mark.
The girls are finally getting used to their nightly routine of killing while trying to adjust to their daily lives. Claire needs a job, Rachel is having more and more issues with relating to her friends and Rose is still trying to take care of her siblings. Kate, on the other hand, has decided to do some more digging and finds out more about how much danger she’s really in. The people they’re fighting aren’t monsters; they’re the results of curses that have been placed on two families and the horrible scientific experiments that are taking place because of them.
Good and the Bad
Upon putting this volume into my player right away I noticed that the animation didn’t look as crisp as I usual. Perhaps this is something that has been evident since the very beginning and I just never noticed but I kept seeing a very grainy appearance to the animation when I’m used to seeing much sharper colors.
Getting past though this volume takes the series to some fabulous new places, just as I figured it would. After volume two proved to be so oddly out of place for me due to the inclusion of, but hardly explained, new story path with Herve and his younger sisters. On this volume though, the two stories are brought together into one path which not only perfectly explains much of what was confusing about volume two but also really starts to develop the plot in unforeseen directions.
The pacing on this volume was really well done. While there was very little actual action on this volume, the story moved at a great pace throughout the volume. The information presented to the audience about the new character and plot points were always delivered at a steady pace which never made me feel pressured to pay so much closer to attention than what I would naturally in order to catch every name and place.
I was also really impressed with how this series decided to use the secondary characters throughout this volume. Lula and J.C. didn’t get much screen time on this volume but they did provide some very well placed commentary when needed. Herve is still a fairly new character and while he is being set up as the villain, he’s also being set up as an anti-villain. It seems that every character, even the secondary background characters, have at least one motivation inside of them that remain pure and just, making them all the more intriguing to an already interested audience.
Perhaps it’s Paula, the leader of GRACE, who is the most intriguing to me. There is obviously so much more to her than what has been revealed so far and her interest in Kate makes me believe that she is going to be playing a major role later in the series.
After everything that we’ve seen so far though in this series, I will say that the other big bright spot on this volume was a lone happy scene. It was just nice to see a happy moment in this series.
While most of the music in this volume was fairly low key and nothing out of the ordinary, there was one piece of music that I found particularly powerful during episode 11. The music plays during the second half (won’t tell you where) but it’s an absolutely phenomenal string arrangement that really captures the soft desperation that some of the girls exhibit during this volume.
A new ending theme is debuted on this volume. The new ending theme, ‘Oh My Juliet’, is shown for the first time at the end of episode 12 and is done by the same band that did the first ending theme. The song is a hard Japanese punk track and I really enjoyed it quite a bit. I once again can’t say that I think it really fits with the overall feel of the series nor does it match the odd pop/jazz tune that opens each episode but on it’s own, it’s a good song.
Dub vs. Sub
Both tracks were wonderful on this volume as usual but it was Shelly Calene-Black as Lula and Chris Patton as J.C. that deserve the most attention right now. These two have been winning me over bit by bit but on this volume they blew me away and all I needed to seal the deal for me was during episode 9.
The secondary characters sounded great as well with Joe Diaz as Herve and Lesley Tesh as Paula really stepping up with great performances. I’ve always believed that even smaller roles have their moments and these two found theirs on this volume. I am extremely interested in both of these characters and where they going to end up by the end of the series and the performances that I heard on this volume did nothing but help that.
I did notice a typo or two in the subtitles but they were very small little grammatical errors that would easily be overlooked unless you were looking for them to begin with.
Just clean animations. I would really like to see ADV put some more extras with this series, especially a cast commentary but that does not seem likely.
This series has been impressing me more and more with each volume and now that I’m just shy of the halfway point I can’t imagine turning back now. Filled with mystery, intrigue and fabulously developed characters that keep the audience engaged, this is a series that fans have been waiting for. The first half of this series has been gold and if it keeps gaining momentum like this, ADV is going to have a really hard time keeping up when this series finally finds its audience. Very recommended.
Final Grade: 88% – B
NOTE: This review is a continuation of my reviews of this series. If you have not seen any of the volumes or my previous reviews, you risk spoilers by continuing.
A second volume that doesn’t do much to sell the audience on the rest of the series.
The girls all now realize the truth. They really are living borrowed lives after they were all murdered one night and they really do have to kill these hideous creatures while taking orders from an insane woman. The next order of business for them is to begin fighting because if they keep fighting they might be able to return to their old lives, but one of the girls will start to break under the pressure and tries to run away.
Or it could be all the secrets revealed about what is really happening, who’s in charge and what really happened that night.
On the other side of the story however, the audience is clued into a secret world involving research on mysterious people with blonde hair and pale skin that have some sort of illness which relates to the girls in some way.
Good and the Bad
On the first volume, the writing is what really caught my attention the most and on this volume it’s a little vexing to see some of that writing lose its edge. I love that the writing in this series spent so much time on this volume showing how much psychological trauma each of the girls is facing. It was like a psychological study to watch how they all reacted to the terrible trauma they were facing and see them progress step by step. At first it was anger, then the girls would start to face their denial in different ways and then they started to get into acceptance.
The acceptance stage near the end of the volume is where the growth of the girls was most apparent and was also very well done. As the girls start to accept their new fates and start to accept that there might be light at the end of the tunnel, it’s really interesting to see how the girls react and start to cope with things. It was also really nice to see the girls start to progress more into the territory of friends instead of just people that know each other from their nightly gathering.
I’m a little confused by the other side of the story that was revealed on this volume though. While it makes sense in a way, there was not nearly enough of this story revealed to really make me lean one way or the other towards it. Obviously it’s a major part of the story that is going to be fully fleshed out later (at least I would hope so) but it’s hard to really figure out our primary antagonists and where their true intentions lie.
On that same note, I was also a little disappointed to see that the pace of this volume really slowed the series down to a crawl. The first volume was filled with so much suspense and intrigue from start to finish but this volume spent so much time developing the characters and side story that there was very little to keep the audience engaged and on the edge of their seat like in the first volume. The volume ending on a seemingly rare calm moment doesn’t help any.
I really have to applaud ADV for taking the time to translate the song that keeps getting sung by the characters into English for the dub track. I really thought that it added a lot to the series and characters by being able to listen to the song in the same language as whichever one I was listening to for that particular episode.
The background music remained nice but nothing particularly stuck out for me on this volume that made me want to pay more attention.
Dub vs. Sub
Once again both tracks were well done but neither track really had anyone that particularly stood out as amazing. Maggie Flecknoe was once again very strong as Rachel, especially in the bedroom scene early in the volume. Kara Greenberg and Melissa Davis were also very strong as Claire and Kate, respectively.
Just clean animations.
While I am certainly nowhere near as impressed with this volume as I was the first volume, I’m still very intrigued by the new twists in the story that was shown to me on this volume. There are still so many things that I want to see developed though, I want to know more about that weird jumping ability that Rachel had on volume one and I want to know more about these mysterious blondes that are sick and I’d really like to know why everyone sings the exact same song when they’re bored or stressed.
While this volume may not increase the size of the audience for this series, I highly doubt that it will shrink it either. Worth viewing.
Final Grade: 82% – B
This one was a title that I had on my ‘to watch’ list back in September but just never got a hold of until now.
Taking place on New York’s Roosevelt Island, the police have their hands full with a string of suicides. In the previous month, five teenage girls have all committed suicide. Our main characters though are four teenage girls named Rachel, Kate, Rose and Claire who all have a night that they can’t remember and were all led to the same spot by red butterflies that only they can see. That’s when they find out the truth about the night that they can’t remember: they all died.
More than that though, all four girls learn that they have all been given a new lease on life by being brought back to life by a mysterious woman and her brother. The only way for them to keep their new leases on life though is to fight every night against monsters. If they refuse, they die. Now the four girls have to fight each night while also trying to uncover the mystery of what happened the night that they died and what the secret is behind the red butterflies that only they can see.
Good and the Bad
The opening episode really had me nervous as I hit play because the pacing of the first half was so dreadfully slow and boring. After that first fifteen minutes, the world becomes a whole new place and it’s a place filled with red butterflies. Once the main characters are established and we start to get into the night that they don’t remember, this series moved at a very quick pace and will not give the audience any time to catch up.
While it is certainly a horror and suspense anime, this title really earns those tags and runs with them. The series certainly makes great use of ambient lighting during the night scenes and especially during the battle scenes with the girls. The changes in lighting were usually very subtle but if you’re looking for them, you’re certain to notice them and be all the more appreciative that they are there. If you’re not looking for them, all the better.
The one thing that this anime does the best so far though is with it’s characters and the relationships that are formed between them. None of the characters were friends at the start of the anime and never during this series try to pretend like just because they are all caught in this new situation that they are suddenly going to become best friends and hang out all the time. Instead we get to see all of the girls retreat and try to deal with the new issues on their own before eventually some relationships are established.
I also really liked how realistic the reactions felt. During that first night scene when the girls are in the parking lot, the combination of the girls screaming and the lighting and the pacing and the dark music in the background provided me with an incredible chill down my spine that I don’t usually get from horror anime. This anime absolutely made me believe in this situation and pulled me in as though I were a bystander.
I really can’t say that I enjoyed the character design in this series. Some of the characters such as Claire are well designed and are very pleasing to look at but right away I was turned off by the design of Rachel and Rose. Kate was also more of a miss with her design but she was still decently presented. I think the primary issue I have is the huge hairdos and the very large noses that most of the characters have. Perhaps this is just a cultural decision by the animation staff but I just can’t say that I agreed with it.
The opening jazz theme really caught me off guard the first time I heard it, especially when it was immediately contrasted against the dark suspense of the anime itself. The two really didn’t seem to fit together unless it was an intentional non sequitar.
There was some very good episodic music right away though which I enjoyed including a soft piano piece played while Kate was in the field during the first episode. In other scenes, the dark atmosphere is really played up by some fabulous background music that really adds to the chilling nature of the series.
Like the opening theme though, the ending theme certainly doesn’t really fit in with the dark nature of the series and so that will take some serious adjusting to get used to.
Dub vs. Sub
The four actresses that play the leads do a good job with the script and pull out some rather good performances. I can’t even imagine how torn up the throats were from both casts but someone needs to give Maggie Flecknoe a golden vocal cords award for the screaming she did in this volume. The other leads in the dub cast were Melissa Davis as Kate, Brittney Karbowski as Rose and Kara Greenberg as Claire.
Out of these four ladies though, I really found that Melissa Davis won me over the most with her performance of Kate. The quiet and fragile nature just really got to me. Brittney Karbowski pulls out another decent performance in this volume just as I’ve come to expect from her but I did find that her character and her performance was the one that blended into the background the most. While this isn’t entirely unexpected since this is the type of character that Rose is, I really expected something a bit more for this opening volume. I’m hoping that this is just because of a lack of development and this will change in the future.
Just clean animations.
When I first reported this series being licensed over the summer to a group of people, they absolutely flipped out at the news. At first I was confused since I really hadn’t heard anything about this series at the time but as the months passed and I heard more, this series became that much more interesting to me.
That being said, I really enjoyed this opening volume. The mystery and suspense was built up perfectly in this first volume and the characters all contrast against each other just enough that you are really curious to see how they are going to cope with the new situation and who are the weirdos who put them in this position. If you are looking for a dark series that has a little more substance to it, I’m really thinking that this is going to be up your alley.
Final Grade: 92% – A
Kate, Rose, Claire and Rachel – four normal, high school girls with nothing much in common except that none of them can remember what happened last night. Then strange crimson butterflies lead them all to a deserted alley late at night where they are informed by a mysterious woman and her assistant that they all died the previous night. Now they must spend their nights fighting beastial, man-shaped monsters or die for a second, and final, time.
ADR Director: Steven Foster
ADR Writer: Adam Weber / Steven Foster
Translation: Adam Weber
CAST / CHARACTERS
Kate Ashley – Voiced by Melissa Davis – From an affluent family, Kate struggles to maintain her position as a member of “Grace”, an elite group of girls tasked with enforcing rules and policing the student body at the school the four girls attend. Of the four girls, she had been the closest to Lise, and is the one who suffered most because of her death. Very close to Rose. A kind, gentle and soft-spoken girl.
Rose Sheedy – Voiced by Britteny Karbowski – A shy, timid girl who won an academic scholarship to the exclusive private school that all four girls attend. She has taken care of her two two younger siblings since their mother was hospitalized. Unfortunately for the ohters, Rose lacks the courage to fight. She’s very close to Kate.
Claire Forrest – Voiced by Kara Greenberg – The most independent and aggressive of the girls. She is self-reliant and not afraid to butt heades with authority. Despite being from a wealthy family, she lives alone in a run-down apartment and holds part-time jobs to make ends meet. The reasons why are unclear, though it is obvious that she has an, at best, strained relationship with her father. She has a tough, bad-girl image and is not particularly close to any of the other four.
Rachel Benning – Voiced by Maggie Flecknoe – The “popular girl” stereotype and the most mentally unstable of the four girls, Rachel had a boyfriend and an active social life before her untimely death. She finds it difficult to reconcile her old existence with her current situation, sometimes straining her relationship with her boyfriend and her other friends; Amanda, Susan and Vanessa. She doesn’t like hanging out with the other “dead” girls and is especially cold towards Kate and Rose. A spoiled, mean-spirited but popular party-girl.
Lula – Voiced by Shelley Calane-Black – Lula is the one who “controls” the dead girls in their borrowed lives, summoning them to fight when she wants them to. Her purpose is as yet unclear. Her day job is as a funeral director.
J.C. – Voiced by Chris PAtton – Lula’s male assistant. As mysterious as Lula is, but seems to actually be rooting for the girls.
Herve – Voiced by Jose Diaz – A myterious blonde man, his path seems to cross that of the four girls more than mere coincidence would allow for. Seems to be at odds with whatever orginization Lula is working for. Cold and distant with most people, he is warm and caring when it comes to his mother and sisters. A spoiled, rich-boy with manners to match.
Lise – Voiced by Taylor Hannah – Another student at the school the four girls attend, her friendship is the only thing they have in common. Her body is found in a wooded area and she is presumed dead.
Paula – Voiced by Lesley Tesh – The leader of Grace. She is kind to Kate even when the other girls in Grace are not. She is confident and refined.
Luke – Voiced by Illich Guardiola – Rachel’s boyfriend. Extremely popular at school and he likes to party.
Claude – Voiced by John Swasey – An older, streetwise detective who’s in charge of investigating a string of apparent suicides, including Lise’s, among high school students.
Neil – Voiced by Eddie Shannon, Jr. – Claude’s partner. Younger and eager to get the job done.