While I used to love watching horror films as a kid, these days I tend to run screaming in the opposite direction.
TV shows though, have more action and drama than straight out horror, like Supernatural, Buffy, Fringe etc. and Red Garden and its OVA follow in that trend.
Red Garden is actually primarily a character driven drama, focussing on the lives of four regular, albiet quite different (character-wise) girls as they are thrust into a life of kill or be killed - all the while struggling to balance it out with school and family and friend who have no idea anything is different.
There is also the mystery about the one friend all four girls have in common and what exactly happened to her - the official story is that she committed suicide but from the first episodes on its revealed there are a lot more characters in play... and the girl might not be dead.
Along with good development and character growth through the anime, we have a bonus of lovely designs and use of color. Watching the follow up OVA immediately after is another treat since the visuals get even more shiny.
One of the most unique things about this title is that the voice work was done before the scenes were actually drawn - so it really hits you that, on so many levels, the characters are just regular girls you could have met in school or shared a class with.
And you wonder if you were in a similar situation, would you be the one running and screaming or the one waiting with a baseball bat so she can get past the nightmare and go back to school in the morning.
Title: Red Garden [MAL] [ANN]
Genres: Drama | Action | Horror | Mystery | Thriller
About: Kate, Rose, Rachel, and Claire are four girls who have nothing in common, except a shared friend, attending the same prestigious private school, and a fateful night in which they all died.
A mysterious woman, Lula, tells the girls that they can come back to life if, when they are called, they fight and kill “Awakened” humans, who have super strength and reflexes, but only animal instinct and thought processes.
Drawn into a centuries old conflict, every day is a struggle to stay alive for the girls, whose formerly peaceful lives will never be the same.