Studio: Brain’s Base
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Slice of Life
Release: S1 (2008), OVA (2010)
Quite the dramatic piece that incorporates slice-of-life feels, family values, comedy and a bit of romance, Kure-nai is a recommended watch for its heart-touching story, laid-back yet visually enticing animation, refined dialogues as well as its extremely breathtaking piano soundtrack! And yes, it is a personal favorite.
Synopsis: We follow Shinkurou Kurenai, a high school student at day and works as a dispute mediator at night. He lost his parents at a very young age and now lives alone in his own apartment. He is able to pay off his expenses with the help of his employer and somewhat stepmother, Benika Juzawa– the one who took care of him after being orphaned. She is also the same person who sent Shinkuro to the Hozuki family to train his body so he would be capable of working under her.
One day, Benika suddenly barges in his apartment, carrying with her a little girl named Murasaki Kuhoin and with her, his next job: to take care of Murasaki and protect her at all costs, though he isn’t given information on who is after her and why. Initially, Shinkurou refuses. But after seeing Murasaki holding back her tears, he suddenly remembers how he was just like her when he lost his family. He then changes his mind and agrees to take the job.
Shortly after casually introducing himself, Murasaki shouts at Shinkurou to back off. This made the impression that the way she talks to ‘commoners‘ is a trait acquired from a prestigious family. Kuhoin? He wonders. Sadly, Shinkurou doesn’t have the slightest idea who they are yet.
Non-spoiler info on the Kuhoins –
The Kuhoin family maintains a tradition where their offspring must be of pure blood. As a result, women in their family are submissive and are mainly considered as tools for breeding. They are confined in a remote area known as the Inner Sanctuary. As her dying wish, Murasaki’s mother pleaded to Benika to one day fulfill a wish for Murasaki – to fall in love just as her mother did. Benika, to keep her promise, helped Murasaki escape from the Inner Sanctuary and entrusted her to Shinkuro.
Although her attitude is completely opposite from that of a fun and gullible child, Shinkurou still tried to accommodate Murasaki the best he can. After all, she’s just seven years old! Despite her young age though, she already knows how to dress, act and speak properly and formally amongst other people within her class- something the Kuhoin women are taught at the Inner Sanctuary. What she is oblivious with though, are the real-life experiences one needs to survive in a harsh world.
The next day, Shinkurou had to go to school, which surprised Murasaki since he promised that he was going to protect her and always be by her side. He just left saying that the apartment is safe, as Benika suggested, and that he will be back right after.
After returning from school, he finds his apartment empty – Murasaki ran away.
After roaming around town panicking, he finally finds her…
You can tell the contrast between what Murasaki has been taught to think at such times, and how she really feels as a helpless child. She is definitely forcing herself to project a strong image to Shinkurou, pushing a whole lot of effort to stand up and be independent- just like how a mature adult would go out of his way just so his companions would not worry.
Though whatever womanhood training she may have received in the Inner Sanctuary, she is still a child who needs to be taken care of and loved. This girl is carrying such a heavy burden with that fragile little body. Shinkurou embraces her to let her know she is not alone. A real heart-melter!
The days of Murasaki with Shinkurou as her guardian would start. Slowly but surely, She will get to know and explore the world outside of the Inner Sanctuary where she’s been locked all her life – along with the other wonderful people they would encounter: Shinkurou’s classmates Ginko and Yuno, neighbors Tamaki and Yamie, Benika’s bodyguard Yayoi, Benika as well as members from the Kuhoin family.
Next, we ask the question – Until when will Murasaki Kuhoin’s freedom last?