Mystery, Action, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, and...Necromancy? An unusual combination in creating a show, however, it is one that manages to pay off. Red Garden manages to take each one of these genre's and mix them together for a highly original anime experience.
Red Garden thrusts you right into a story about our four main female protagonist and their struggles with trying to adapt to there new lives and as recently deceased high school girls living on borrowed time. You might think this show would take a very straight forward action oriented path. Given the shows premise and the fact that the girls are ordered to fight to stay alive, but this is far from the case. There is action, but it's not the main focus of the show in any way, shape, or form. Instead we follow our girls as they try to balance there new lives while solving the mystery around there death. The show, because of this has a very sophisticated feel to it.
Red Garden is an anime about survival, but about mentally surviving. It's about trying to get your life back together when everything you have ever known is flipped upside down. You will follow these girls as they try to adapt to there new life, and because of it change, grow and in some cases become completely different people. Which is what makes this show so enjoyable, is watching these girls go through just a tremendous amount of growth. Each character learns more about themselves then they could every had previously hoped for. As they become acquainted with one another, as there view on the world opens up from there previous narrow view point, as they learn the truth about there lives and there future, all of it leads to some of the best character growth in anime television, ever.
You will hate some characters in the beginning because of how the act and grow to love them as they change. Which, to the show's credit is something they handle very well. The writers of this show know how to make the viewer feel compassion and sympathy for each character. Rose, Claire, Kate, and Rachel all end up changing in some way, and it's damn powerful. How much these characters grow will just leave you speechless. You even end up feel sorry for Herve, while at the same time hating it. It's a show that isn't black and white, it's Grey, everything they deal with is Grey. The overarching plot does have some problems and unanswered questions, but at the end of the day they are forgivable. A series such a Red Garden is not about the mysteries surrounding these girls, rather it's the girls handling these mysteries and growing upon them.
I hated the art style of Red Garden, and I still kind of don't like it, but it has grown on me. I definitely prefer the character models, and setting of Red Garden then most anime. The characters and backgrounds look incredibly realistic, but the character mannerisms always annoyed me, right up to the end. They are on the brink of being realistic, but at the same time not being quite there, leaving me in a somewhat confused state. It's pretty then 90% of the generic anime that comes out today, but it is still rough around the edges.
I, for one, never really like the musical aspect that Red Garden tried to approach in the beginning of the series, which is why I was glad when they dropped it. I think trying to add a musical layer into a show is a good idea and has the potential to really add to a show, but I feel as if it hindered this series. It was like the creators of this show were going for some type of realism where each of the girls was just a horrible singer. Which, in real life they probably would, but it isn't real life, it's fiction. I don't really like listening to off-pitch singers, it annoys me, and it annoyed me hear. Maybe if they had gotten some voice actors that could also sing then it might have worked out, but sadly they didn't. Which, again I am glad they dropped it for the second half of the series(Somewhere around episode 9).
It's a highly mature anime that will leave the viewer in a very sombre state as they pray for the safety for the main characters. You will become attached as each character grows as people, you will feel sympathy for those you once hated and hate those you once liked. It's a complex anime of mixed feelings and genre's. It's a slice of life show through and through, you will follow these girls on there daily life as they simply try to survive, as they adapt to there new lives while trying to cling to what they know as reality. So please enjoy as you embark on this very sophisticated journey