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Kurenai (?, "Crimson") is a Japanese light novel series by Kentarō Katayama, with illustrations by Yamato Yamamoto. A manga adaptation started serialization in the first issue of Jump Square magazine. An anime adaptation by Brains Base started airing in Japan on April 3, 2008.

Plot

Sixteen-year-old Shinkurō Kurenai, a specialist in settling squabbles between people, is one day approached by his employer with the daughter of a powerful plutocratic family asking him to be her bodyguard.

Characters

Shinkurō Kurenai (紅 真九郎 Kurenai Shinkurō?)
Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro
The main protagonist of the series. Despite his looks and easygoing personality, he is a capable and strong worker who works for Benika as a dispute mediator. When he was young, he lost his family in a terrorist attack. As a result, he became withdrawn from the world until he met Benika. He wished to be as strong as her so he could live on. Benika decided to leave him at the Hōzuki household. It was there that he trained his body extensively and learned Hōzuki-style martial arts.
His kind demeanor attracts considerable attention from the opposite gender, though he is completely oblivious. In emergencies, he is able to produce a large 'horn' out of his right elbow which classes him as "Type 1 Class 2 Fighting Demon". This special weapon was designed for the purpose of assassination. This lets him use his full strength in combat, but shortens his lifespan. When he is forced to fight, his personality changes to a more aggressive one.
Between the anime and the manga, there are differences in the way Shinkurō is depicted. In the anime, Shinkurō is not as confident and appears to have less control over the Hozuki horn.
Murasaki Kuhōin (九鳳院 紫 Kuhōin Murasaki?)
Voiced by: Aoi Yūki
Murasaki is the daughter of Souju and Renjo Kuhōin. The Kuhōin family maintains a tradition that their offspring must be of pure blood. As a result, women in the Kuhōin family are in a completely submissive role and considered objects only for the purpose of breeding. They are confined in a remote area known as the Inner Sanctuary. As her dying wish, Souju pleaded to Benika to one day fulfill a wish for Murasaki. When Murasaki became seven years old, she wished to fall in love just as her mother did. She understood that her mother endured in the Inner Sanctuary because of her love for Renjo. Benika, to keep her promise to Souju, helped Murasaki escape from Inner Sanctuary and entrusted her to Shinkurō.
Although she was stubborn and snobbish, Shinkurō was quick to scold her if she did anything wrong. As a result, Murasaki quickly learned how to behave as a "commoner" and begins to trust Shinkurō. She also makes friends with the other residents at May Rain. However, after a while, Murasaki is kidnapped and taken back to Inner Sanctuary. After hearing from Benika the truth behind Inner Sanctuary, Shinkurō vows to meet Murasaki again to hear her true feelings. When confronted by Shinkurō, Murasaki reveals that she does not wish to live in Inner Sanctuary and Shinkurō proceeds to save Murasaki from her fate in the Kuhōin family.
Murasaki grows very attached to Shinkurō. Despite being only seven years old, she gets jealous when Shinkurō gets close to other girls. She has expressed her desire to marry Shinkurō. However, because she is still young, she wants to wait until she is older before she confesses her love for Shinkurō.
In the anime, Murasaki remains in Inner Sanctuary on the condition that the entire system changes and she be given the choice to choose her partner.
Benika Jūzawa (柔沢 紅香 Jūzawa Benika?)
Voiced by: Sawa Ishige
She is also a mediator and Shinkurō's employer that was responsible for helping Shinkurō get back on his feet after he lost his family. For that, Shinkurō respects and looks up to Benika. She is a calm and collected person who goes with her intuition. On behalf of Murasaki's mother last wish, she took Murasaki out of the Inner Sanctuary and placed her in the care of Shinkurō who she believes is similar to her. Benika seems to look to Shinkurō as an adopted son of sorts. Benika is very strong and is infamous because of her strength.
Benika is considerably weaker in the anime. She also used to work for the Kuhōin family although this is unconfirmed in the manga. Another difference between the anime and manga is Benika's expressions. In the anime, Benika's expressions are noticeably kinder.
Yayoi Inuzuka (犬塚 弥生 Inuzuka Yayoi?)
Voiced by: Aiko Ōkubo
She works for Benika as one of her subordinates and has a tendency to overstep her bounds with complaints about Shinkurō. She believes that an important job like protecting Murasaki would better be left in more capable and experienced hands.
Ginko Murakami (村上 銀子 Murakami Ginko?)
Voiced by: Nozomi Masu
A girl with a taciturn personality who works as an information broker, following in her grandfather's footsteps. Her sources allow her to find information of all kinds, including new jobs for Shinkurō to help his livelihood. She has been Shinkurō's friend since childhood. After he lost his family, she tried, without success, to cheer him up. When Shinkurō was about to be killed, Ginko tried desperately to save him.
Because Shinkurō's job as a mediator leaves him covered in wounds, Ginko constantly offers him a job at her family's ramen shop where she works part-time. She hopes that Shinkurō will quit his job as a mediator and come work (and live) with her. Ginko also likes Shinkurō, but isn't as open with her feelings as other female characters. Even so, Ginko notably gets irritated whenever other girls, especially Yūno, flock around Shinkurō.
Yūno Hōzuki (崩月 夕乃 Hōzuki Yūno?)
Voiced by: Ryoko Shintani
A girl who Shinkurō lived with when he was young and also his sparring partner. Her soft demeanor (albeit with yandere tendencies, triggered by other girls approaching Shinkurō) hides the fact that she is a strong fighter, whom Shinkurō acknowledges to be much stronger than himself, despite her being older by just one year. Yūno is upset that Shinkurō has not realized he was her first love. Even now, she still has feelings for Shinkurō, always finding excuses to spend time with him, such as cooking meals for him. However, her advances tend to be very threatening (most likely because Shinkurō always has another girl with him) and scare him into just letting her hear what she wants. Yūno resents the decision Shinkurō made in deciding to move out her household to live on his own and fears he will change into a hooligan. She has made it very clear that she wants him back in the Hōzuki household. Yūno has a younger sister named Chizuru, who is five, who also has a crush on Shinkurō. Even though the Hōzuki family are no longer assassins, their grandfather expects Yūno and Chizuru to carry on the Hōzuki family martial arts.
In the anime, Yūno is much more assertive in her advances towards Shinkurō and does not appear to have the yandere tendencies.
Tamaki Mutō (武藤 環 Mutō Tamaki?)
Voiced by: Asami Sanada
She is a university student who lives in the same building as Shinkurō. She can be described as a very flirtatious person and her advances are noticeably more aggressive with Shinkurō. She says she is very knowledgeable in the ways of love but doesn't include her own experiences as she has a hard time keeping a boyfriend. She has grown fond of Murasaki and teaches her all kinds of perverted terms, much to Shinkurō's objections. Tamaki is an instructor at a karate dojo, and is very formidable at fighting, with notable feats such as stopping a punch with just two fingers and standing on par with Yūno at full strength.
In the anime, she is just a normal university student looking for love and does not possess fighting skills.
Yamie (闇絵 Yamie?)
Voiced by: Haruka Kimura
A mysterious woman, she is yet another tenant of the building Shinkuro lives in. She always wears black and calls herself a very sinful woman. She likes cats and usually keeps to herself except when it comes to Shinkurō and Tamaki. Her attitude can be considered sarcastic most times.
Renjō Kuhōin (九鳳院 蓮丈 Kuhōin Renjō?)
Voiced by: Takaya Kuroda
He is Murasaki's father who has a frightening appearance. He seems to have a history with Benika, as she calls him "General of the Kuhōin". As expected of the head of the Kuhōin family, Renjō wields enormous power and his decisions are absolute. When Shinkurō stood up to him along with Murasaki, who pleaded for permission to leave the Inner Sanctuary, he granted her wish because he was too busy to deal with such trivial matters.
In the anime, Renjō is a different character. In order to protect the secrets of Inner Sanctuary, Renjō marries an outsider named Kazuko. Kazuko pretended to be Murasaki's mother and Souju, Murasaki's birth mother, was given the duty of a caretaker. Despite being married to Kazuko, Renjō was actually in love with Souju. Kazuko was well aware of this and took out her frustration by physically abusing Souju. Before long, Souju, disappointed that Renjō would not protect her own daughter, committed suicide. At the end of the anime, Renjō finally realizes that the Kuhōin family system is wrong and vows to change it in order to protect everyone.
Kirihiko Kirishima (斬島 切彦 Kirishima Kirihiko?)
Voiced by: Mikako Takahashi
A fourteen year old girl with sleepy-looking eyes and a large scarf that Shinkurō "saves". She is actually a reputable hitman known as "Guillotine". Though she is just fourteen, she unintentionally has perverted reactions to events, such as assuming Shinkurō wanted a threesome in the back alley with her and Murasaki. As if pressing his hand against her chest wasn't proof enough that she was a girl, she even offered to show him below. She seems to be weak to the cold and heat. After encountering Shinkurō a couple more times, she develops a crush on him and steals a kiss from him. Now, she is trying her best to understand the concept of friends as she slowly makes the effort to make other friends within their circle.
Even though she's an introvert, her personality dramatically changes whenever she wields any knife-type weapon in her hand. She appears to have supernatural strength, being able to carve pavement and metal railings into pieces with just one stroke using a butter knife. Much like Yūno Hōzuki, her family, Kirishima, is also part of the thirteen Inner Families, descendants of assassins. Her male name indicates she is the direct descendant of the head family.
Kirihiko does not appear in the anime adaptation.
Lin Cheng-Shin (リン・チェンシン Lin Cheng-Shin?)
Voiced by: Kana Ueda
A female imperial guard of the Kuhōin family, Lin is the newest bodyguard of Murasaki, replacing her former guard, Kiba, due to female convenience. Armed with a pair of katana, her fighting skills are formidable, though not at the level of Yayoi Inuzuka. Although she disapproves of Shinkurō, nevertheless, she accepts him as Murasaki's companion, and frowns heavily on all the attention Shinkurō receives from other girls (even if he is unaware of it). Lin takes Murasaki's wishes literally, including attempting to get Shinkurō and Murasaki wedded to each other, despite not having permission from either party (or their families, for that matter). Under Murasaki's care, Lin is slowly learning about normal life, albeit with some difficulty.
Lin is a completely different character in the anime. She has no interest in the Kuhōin family matters and only works for them because she desires strong opponents to defeat.

Media

Light novels

<tr style="border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF"><th style="width: 4%;">No.</th><th>Title</th><th style="width: 24%;">Release date</th><th style="width: 24%;"> ISBN</th></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol01">01</td><td style="text-align: left;">Kure-nai
紅</td><td>December 20, 2005[1]</td><td>ISBN 4-08-630272-1</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol02">02</td><td style="text-align: left;">Kure-nai ~Guillotine~
紅 ~ギロチン~</td><td>July 25, 2006[2]</td><td>ISBN 4-08-630290-X</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol03">03</td><td style="text-align: left;">Kure-nai ~Shuuakusai~ (Part 1)
紅 ~醜悪祭~(上)</td><td>November 22, 2007[3]</td><td>ISBN 978-4-08-630342-2</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol04">04</td><td style="text-align: left;">Kure-nai ~Shuuakusai~ (Part 2)
紅 ~醜悪祭~(下)</td><td>25 April 2008[4]</td><td>ISBN 978-4-08-630416-0</td></tr> </table>

Manga

A manga adaption is running in Jump Square magazine, with art by Yamato Yamamoto, the original illustrator of the novels. As of August 2010, five manga volumes have been released with a sixth to be release on December 3, 2010[5].

<tr style="border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF"><th style="width: 4%;">No.</th><th style="width: 48%;">Release date</th><th style="width: 48%;"> ISBN</th></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol1">1</td></td><td> June 4, 2008[6]</td><td>ISBN 978-4-08-874509-1</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol2">2</td></td><td> November 4, 2008[7]</td><td>ISBN 978-4-08-874598-5</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol3">3</td></td><td> May 1, 2009[8]</td><td>ISBN 978-4-08-874671-5</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol4">4</td></td><td> December 4, 2009[9]</td><td>ISBN 978-4-08-874771-2</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol5">5</td></td><td> July 2, 2010[10]</td><td>ISBN 978-4-08-870040-3</td></tr> </table>

Anime

An anime adaption started broadcast in Japan on April 3, 2008. It is written and directed by Kō Matsuo. The anime version is different from the novel and manga in that the anime takes a more dramatic approach with a slice of life feel.

OVA

A half-hour OVA with three short stories was released together with the fifth volume manga on July 2, 2010. It is directed by Kō Matsuo. The designs of the characters as well as plot are based on the original novel and manga continuity (following the character designs from Yamato Yamamoto) rather than the anime adaption. A second OVA will be released together with the sixth volume manga on December 3, 2010.

References

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  5. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2010-07-05/kure-nai-manga-6th-volume-to-bundle-anime-in-december
  6. Script error
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External links

zh:紅 (小說)

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