The opening minute or so of 11Eyes makes no sense, but will probably be explained somewhere down the line, long after I’ve stopped caring. It’s a scene from the protagonist’s past wherein his ‘big sis’ (not by blood) evidently killed herself – that’s about how much we learn by the end of the episode. The imagery, however, is unexplainable as of yet except by one train of logic – this show thinks it’s The SoulTaker.
The Akiyuki Shinbo-style visuals are evident right off the bat. For starters, we’ve got windows being consumed by a singular glowing light, which in turn becomes the hue of the scene. The camera is turned sideways, and there is a claustrophobic sense in the darkness. Suddenly, inexplicable chains shoot out in all directions.
The white color of the chains causes them to strike out against the dark, monochromatic background – a technique Shinbo is very fond of as well. He even uses chains in some of his own work. Next, the chains burst through one of the windows…
I can’t say if the director thought of this on purpose, but this does a great job of tying the moment into reality. The fact that the chains are interacting with the physical world means that what you see is real, and this should be taken not as just some kind of vision.
One of the chains impales the main character – now things are getting really familiar! For those who haven’t seen The SoulTaker (do so), Kyousuke Date gets impaled in the first few seconds and falls through some kind of trippy hole in reality to hang by his ankle from a chain over a church. Oh, and who impaled Kyousuke?
It was his own mother as she was bleeding to death on the church steps. Kyousuke didn’t understand why his mother had gone and killed him, since she didn’t explain it, just stabbed him in the fucking heart. Now, our 11eyes boy didn’t get stabbed by his mom, but his ‘big sis’ who was the closest thing to a motherly figure he had in the orphanage. His sis offers no words for her actions, but at the same time as the boy, she drives a chain through her own gut, killing herself. Now I’m really having flashback.
Then we also have a couple other Shinbo-riffic shots. One involves a puddle of blood, which while not alien to anime in general is a pretty signature thing in the SoulTaker; and we also have a shot of the protag looking at his little girlfriend and we see her reflection in his eye. Eyeball shots are a constant in The SoulTaker.
Even after the opening theme, we actually got the most convincing moment in the episode that the director was a Shinbo fan. One of Shinbo’s most personal and frequently used effects is to push everything into one third of the screen and fill the other two thirds with either darkness or some random image. Well, guess what we get here…
Unfortunately, it’s right here that the SoulTaker similarities stop. There are some other trippy parts in the episode, but are trippy in a far more average sense. It’s also a shame because so far, this show is not very good. The animation sucks hard with characters constantly going off-model and some of the designs being really horrid. The plot and writing are totally average game-adaption anime crap with no exceptions. These reasons are enough for me to drop the show unless someone comes along later and tells me that it’s awesome.
There were some things that I did like. The voice acting for the main character (Daisuke Ono) and his girlfriend (Mai Goto) were nice, and both of their designs are alright (the guy wears a badass eyepatch.) Neither of them was annoying either, which is a little more than can be said about the supporting characters. One scene I found completely hilarious is where it becomes blatantly obvious that the main female was gang raped by tentacle monsters in the original game. There is even a scene after the credits that shows a tentacle grabbing her that exists for the sole purpose of saying, ‘yes, she got tentacle raped back there.’ Now that’s fun to know.