I initially had mixed feelings about this show, but it’s definitely interesting, if a bit unsettling. I find that it grows on me as I rewatch it.
The show has some offputting elements. It has a grim vision in which the bright, safe world of everyday life is a thin veneer over a dark reality of lawless violence. Also the hero can be annoyingly stupid.
Good points: Firstly, Murasaki, a bossy 7-year-old girl who is an absolutely wonderful character. I think it’s worth watching the show just to see her. Murasaki is played by 11-year-old Aoi Yuuki, and it should be interesting to watch her future career. This show actually has several great characters, but Murasaki outshines all the others.
Based ona series of light novels by Kentarou Katayama
Original Character DesignYamato Yamamoto
Character DesignKumi Ishii
Art DirectorKazuhiro Arai
Chief Animation DirectorKumi Ishii
Animation StudioBrains Base
Region 1 PublisherNone, as yet
The opening sequence is oddly misleading. It features dancing chibis and suggests that this is some sort of cheerful comedy, which it is not.
The ending is also disconcerting–at least it certainly wasn’t what I expected. It’s not necessarily a bad ending; in fact I’m pretty sure that it’s supposed to be a happy ending, but you may or may not agree. It depends on what you think will happen in the future, and what value you set on possible trade-offs. On the whole I suspect that Japanese viewers will like the ending more than many Americans will.
Bloody violence and adult themes make this series questionable for pre-teen viewers.
On the other hand, that implies that Aoi Yuuki should not be allowed to watch the series that she starred in, which seems a hard position to defend. At a minimum I suggest previewing the entire series before allowing younger children to watch it.
Premise and Characters
Wikipedia article (spoilers.)
ANN Encyclopedia entry.
 The hyphenation of the title suggests that a pun is intended. The hero’s name Kurenai means “crimson”, but kure nai could mean something like “there is no end.”
 I’m not sure whether this counts as a hidden meaning, but there is an interesting symmetry between the name of the two main characters. Kurenai Shinkurou means something like “Crimson, True Ninth Son”, while Murasaki Kuhooin means “Nine Phoenix Temple, Purple.”