This high school fantasy anime had some interesting RPG-like moments, but 11 Eyes ultimately fell on its face. The story revolves around 6 high school students who are drawn into the “Red Night,” an alternate realm populated by larvae like creatures and Black Knights. The Black Knights are bent on killing the high-school students. The students each have special powers that are unlocked by their efforts to survive the Red Night and return to their own world.
Kakeru Satsuki and Yuka Minase are orphans who have known each other since childhood. Kakeru wears an eyepatch to cover his discolored and blind eye. Yuka tries to keep a bubbly attitude for Kakeru’s sake. He has been depressed since his sister committed suicide. Kakeru and Yuka are drawn into the Red Night and meet Misuzu Kusakabe, an red-haired swordsman one year ahead of them in school. Kakeru quickly tires of being chased and seeing Yuka in danger. In typical shonen fashion, he decides he must protect her at all costs, including his own soul.
The music is well done and contributes to the atmosphere, but the anime itself feels disjointed and rushed. The reasons behind the conflict are not very well developed, and all of the characters fall into stereotypes. The ending felt rushed and unsatisfying. The ending undoes what the anime attempts to do.
Some of the distorted feel has to do with the powers the students have. Many of the fight in the series feel like a pale attempt at animating a fight from Final Fantasy. Kakeru, Yuka, and Misuza are the main protagonists but are not that well developed. Kakeru isn’t all that likeable; Yuka is clingy and Misuza is a bit too stereotypical. Although Misuza does offer some moments of weakness that help push her character to the audience better than the one sided Yuka.
11 Eyes attempts at humor fall flat and feel forced against the dark backdrop of the story it tries to weave. The humor is typical high school fair: Kakeru’s arm crushed between Yuka’s breasts and the like. There is some fan service (upskirt shots) of Yuka scattered throughout. The fan service hurts Yuka’s character.
11 Eyes might have fared better if it was longer than 13 episodes. The characters had the potential to be interesting. The fragile love triangle between Yuka, Kakeru, and Misuza needed more development for it to feel strained and a part of the overarching conflict.
11 Eyes isn’t something to go out of your way to watch. It has some decent moments and an interesting twist near the end, but these moments are few and far between. It is unfortunate to see another anime fail to reach its potential.