Directed by Masami Shimoda
Featuring Voices of Daisuke Ono, Mai Goto and Noriko Rikimaru
This dark fantasy mystery features demonic creatures, super-powered teens and psychopathic love interests. How could it go wrong?
High school students Kakeru Satsuki and Yuka Minase find themselves randomly shifting to an alternate world whose only inhabitants, the Black Knights, make it their mission to kill any intruders. In finding fellow misplaced students, Kakeru and Yuka find new powers and try to uncover the mystery of the red night before it consumes them.
The show has an interesting dark fantasy mystery working for it. You wonder just what this alternate reality is that keeps pulling the characters in, why it’s just them and why they’re hunted inside. The intrigue helps get the show through the more boring high school scenes and wordy exposition dialog (including almost an entire episode towards the end that basically explains everything anyway). Unfortunately, the follow through becomes overly convoluted and confusing, leaving you knowing less than when you started.
Not to mention these high school students seem to forego school about halfway through the series, with of course no real repercussions. Of course, the high school life is simply to make the alternate red night world seem that much more eerie (as well as to serve that particular kind of setting fetish for the adult visual novel players), but it’s a rather wasted effort of the story.
The characters themselves aren’t too interesting. They range from bland to unnatural character progression to being downright unsympathetic. One character in particular is shown to be horrible yet by the end seems resolved of all sins despite not even the slightest effort of atonement. Another thinks it’s smart to hide a fairly benign physical oddity with a flashy and gaudy eye patch decorated with a gold cross. And none of them really seem to develop aside from a couple being slightly more friendly and outgoing.
The series is based on a Japanese adult visual novel game, where the player tries to initiate romances with the other characters. Thankfully, the main character Kakeru doesn’t really try to pursue any real relationships, and only two girls are head over heels for him, keeping the show from becoming too much of a tangled romance story. Too bad one is emotionally dead and the other is a psychopath. Not the prime pickings of the show, I would say.
The concepts of the red night world, the Black Knights and the magical powers give the story just enough weight to keep some viewer interest. However the poor follow through and the irksome characters lead to an unsatisfactory ending. Add to that slow pacing from boring high school scenes and long exposition, and what potential the series had is whittled away into a mundane show.
Spec-wise, the video is in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. In actuality, it doesn’t really matter as there isn’t much animation anyway. The series stays true to its visual novel roots, often focusing on one image for a time and occasionally animating some mouth movement.
Not too crazy about the character designs either, making high schoolers that look like they’re 8 years old.
Japanese 2.0 audio is average and decent enough. The opening and ending themes are decent and catchy, but the score in the series itself is forgettable.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
This two-disc set comes in a standard case. The front cover is pretty busy with so many characters, particularly supporting characters larger and more noticeable than the main ones centered. The back almost seems to go out of its way to hide the special features, tucking it away under a photo in small text.
The DVD menu text is on the small side, making it difficult to read episode titles and special feature options. Not that you need to read the special feature options, which are on disc 1. They’re the same as with every Sentai Filmworks release – DVD credits, trailers and clean opening and ending.
The final disc does contain an “episode 13” direct-to-DVD special, which parodies the characters’ dimension shifting and supernatural abilities with raunchy humor one would expect from an adult game (right down to the censored pornographic references). Unfortunately, most of the laughter came less from any actual humor and more so from absurdist shock, but that’s probably more the intent. It’s a neat extra though, but it’s instead listed as part of the series (despite its opening explicitly stating otherwise). Given how hard up Sentai Filmworks usually is for special features, it’s a bad call on their part.
11eyes had potential that kept me going through the series, but it wasted it. The overall series is average, and the best thing the collection has going for it is the special OVA episode, until it tries to make you think it is part of the series. I’d probably give it a 6, but it never even explains the title.
Overall (Not an Average) 5.5/10
The Series 5/10
The Video 4/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (Not an Average) 5.5/10