Recently, while thinking what anime I should watch next, I stumbled upon Red Garden. The anime revolves around 4 (5) girls, of different cliques in a New York private high school that only had minor contact with each other and one fical point: Lise, who died at the beginning by commiting suicide. These girls all encountered the same thing the day before: death. They all were given new bodies, borrowed lives, to fight monster at night. The clue is: Lise was abducted the same night and then found dead. The story itself resolves of the different troubles that arise from their despair. It all connects seamlessly to the grande finale.
The story covers many minor characters, that lead to the developments inside the protagonists. While the story in itself is slow-paced, it does provide an interesting scenario. It does get bloody towards the end for all those action lovers, but most importantly it revolves around the different characters, their relationships and lives. Each girl has her own problems, in either the love-life, financial issues, family troubles and social standing issues.
The music underlines the anime nicely, but it is not entirely overwhelming. There are moments where a violin solo moves you extraordinarily, but those are rare. I didn not like the opening, but that is due to my personal taste. The first ending did not fit to the series, so I did not understand the reason for it, but the second ending always starting with the famous qoute of Romeo & Juliet: “My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown, and known too late. Prodigous birth of love it is to me, that I must love a loathed enemy (Act I; Scene 5; Lines 134-141).” After hearing that qoute for the first time, suddenly the connections showed, that it did resemble the structure of Rome & Juliet a little, though I would have preferred it, if that theme was even stronger integrated.
But then, it’s playing in modern day New York, making it difficult to attempt such a scenario. I recommend this anime because it does something that not every anime does: the strong focus on character development and surroundings. The story in itself is probably mediocre, but it is the presentation that matter here.
The most annoying thing for me was the drawing style of the american characters (although I did see girls that looked worse). They could have placed the story in Japan and put normal drawings in there.
All in all it is a good anime, if you care about psychological stress situations, character development and the use of the surroundings. It is not the best anime I’ve ever seen, but it does something that not every anime does. I do not know, what similar animes I can recommend, since this is the first anime of the yosei genre that I’ve seen. Though i do suggest watching Ghost Hound, if you liked the psychological aspect.