kure-nai: Level Up! Gained New Ability: Shampooing One’s Own Hair!

I cannot take any more Murasaki cuteness. First she can’t reach the button in the elevator (and complains about it and is summarily trapped in said elevator) and then she finally figures out how to shampoo her own hair. Badly, of course (you have to scrub the whole hair, not just the top, dear) but that’s Murasaki for you.

The reason behind the mysterious kidnapping of Murasaki by Benika at the start of the series is revealed, as well as Benika’s reasons for putting her in the care of Shinkurou. It’s a well-matched set of events, and I can already see that their plan is starting to bear fruit. Murasaki is quite different than she was in episode 1, where all she could do was talk down at Shinkurou. Shinkurou, for his part, seems to have grown a kind of affection for Murasaki as well. If he didn’t feel affection for her, he wouldn’t chastise and rebuke her as much as he does, let alone get into a shouting match with her like last episode. And his immediate shift from passive sackdoll to aggressive guard dog when Murasaki was theatened has much, much more of a parental nature than a business one.

Before I watched this episode, I got curious and looked up the definition of “kurenai” [紅] on edict (it means “crimson”, perhaps meaning blood) and discovered an interesting fact that you’d only get by looking at the Japanese names of the characters: Shinkurou’s last name is, of course, simply Kurenai (full name: 紅 真九郎). The “beni” in Benika, however, is the same kanji (full name: 柔沢 紅香) but an alternate reading. (The 香 [ka] part of her name, incidentally, means “incense, fragrance”; in keeping with the idea of 紅 as “blood” perhaps this could mean that her name literally means “smell of blood”, a charming name for a charming lady). It’s a silly little touch I noticed. I haven’t determined if it means anything or not. although I guess it could imply a sort of blood tie between them.

I’m finding it hard to figure out exactly what attracts me so much to kure-nai, aside from the Murasaki Moe Moments, which would be enough to carry any series. There’s something more than that, however, and the direction for the series absolutely shines in ways I hadn’t considered when I watched Rozen Maiden years and years ago. Matsuo Kou is truly a talented director, and just watching kure-nai I’m getting the urge to be the third person ever to buy Red Garden DVDs and watch them. I don’t know how much of this is the influence of him and the main screenwriter, and how much is the influence of the original author, Katayama Kentarou, but the series is extremely skilled on all three fronts in maintaining a sense that the characters who know each other, know each other well. You see this whenever Shinkurou is at school: the dialogue isn’t like most anime, where the characters dump exposition on each other in casual conversation; you instead get the feeling that these people have known each other for years and years and you, the viewer, can sense an undercurrent running under what’s actually being said.

It’s the combinatrion of the writing, both original and adaptation, and direction that turns kure-nai from “cute series about cute girl” to a strong followup to true tears. It’s always the case for me that whenever a season ends and a series I’ve grown attached to is over with, I feel strange, like nothing that’s good in that special way will come along again and the pervasive fear that I’ll mysteriously fall out of anime somehow creeps upon me, something always comes the next season and knocks those feelings away. It’s a necessary feature to being a loyal follower of anime, I find, this willingness to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. If one dwells on one series too long, one forgets to appreciate series that one sees after it and finds that they are drawing comparisons between what they’re currently watching and what they’ve loved in the past, and these comparisons are always negative for the series more fresh in their memory. Not that you can’t have favorites (I certainly have mine, and I have quite a lot of them, so I have trouble with top ten lists), but nether does the quality of series from the past negatively impact the quality of series in the present, or in the future.

And now I step off the small soapbox I just got on and conclude with this thought: Murasaki playing Nintendo DS. I am now envisioning Murasaki trying to play Ouendan, and this mental image is wonderful indeed.

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6 Responses to “kure-nai: Level Up! Gained New Ability: Shampooing One’s Own Hair!”


  1. 1 blissmo 27 April 2008 at 4:20 am

    I can’t take any more Murasaki moeness either! XD

  2. 2 Owen S 27 April 2008 at 7:45 am

    I am now envisions Murasaki trying to play Ouendan, and this mental image is wonderful indeed.

    Wait, I think I know this one. You’re going to next envision her as a blonde triple amputee blind in one eye, right?

    It’s a necessary feature to being a loyal follower of anime, I find, this willingness to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. If one dwells on one series too long, one forgets to appreciate series that one sees after it and finds that they are drawing comparisons between what they’re currently watching and what they’ve loved in the past, and these comparisons are always negative for the series more fresh in their memory. Not that you can’t have favorites (I certainly have mine, and I have quite a lot of them, so I have trouble with top ten lists), but nether does the quality of series from the past negatively impact the quality of series in the present, or in the future.

    Whoa. I amazed, especially at the parts that I highlighted for emphasis. Very astute. You have just obtained an understanding of anime that I see countless other bloggers and/or fans failing to grasp; consider it your stumbling on Nirvana without meaning to.

    This goes without saying, but the whiners who consistently moan about “the good old days”, the obtuse who labour under the delusion that because it’s new it’s not good, and the manic who seem eternally, almost pathologically fixated on a couple of anime that they put on a pedestal — they all fail to comprehend what you’ve just said. I certainly wish that wasn’t the case, but those people are usually too far gone to listen, sadly.

  3. 3 Sasa 27 April 2008 at 3:39 pm

    It’s really an excellent post, and I find it highly interesting that you call Murasaki “moe” simply because the general consensus (and I agree with it) is that Murasaki is a ‘really adorable girl’ and not an unrealistic moe girl as you typically see in anime. Which is why she is annoying, cute and great at the same time; I believe you see it the same way.

  4. 4 OGT 27 April 2008 at 3:52 pm

    @Sasa:

    I referred to Murasaki as “moe” because she fits my definition of moe to a tee–see this post for details. There’s all kinds of crazy shades to the meaning of moe because everyone defines it differently–when I say it, it’s a sign that the character is much more developed character-wise than, say, Louise from Zero no Tsukaima or your average Shuffle! character.


  1. 1 Nominations, plugins, and all that rubbish › Cruel Angel Theses Trackback on 27 April 2008 at 12:52 pm
  2. 2 Kurenai 04: Win millions!!! Exploit Shinkurou now! « Lostlink ~ Wrong Way To Japan! Trackback on 29 April 2008 at 12:01 am

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