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Red Garden Review

Unlike Bleach, Blood+, or other "secret wars against the supernatural set in the modern day", Red Garden spends most of its time following the four high-school girls around, showcasing their life's problems in soap-opera detail. Rose's father ran away, so she has to take care of her younger siblings. Claire doesn't want to sponge off her rich dad, and the increased stress of monster-hunting threatens her job and her relationship with her boyfriend. Kate is a hall-monitor at the private school, and she doesn't get along very well with the other prissy students. Rachel is the "popular girl" stereotype, and her moonlighting activities spent hunting monsters is really cramping her social life. The only thing the four girls have in common is that they all must work together to fight monsters, and it takes several episodes - and several team-building incidents - before they can work together.A cliche of the anime genre are the internal monologues of female characters as they find themselves unable to vocalize their feelings ... or their wide-mouthed shouting at the last minute of "don't die!" to the more dynamic, male characters.

The realistic tone can sometimes be at odds with the cliche contrivances of the horror genre. (Oh no, our cell phones don't work in ... the middle of NYC?) And in an odd stylistic choice, each episode has the characters break into a song! Sadly, neither the Japanese nor the English voice cast are up to the challenge, so the drama that just built up for 20 minutes can suddenly dissolve.


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