11eyes – 03
「孤独な誇り egyedülálló büszkeség」 (Kodoku na Hokori)
Not only does she have Tachibana Dousetsu’s legendary Raikiri, Misuzu also has four other katanas from renowned Japanese swordsmiths. And here I thought The Sacred Blacksmith was for katana fanatics.
From left to right, we have Kogarasu Maru Amakuni, Kashagiri Hiromitsu, Kannagiri Nagamitsu, Tachibana Dousetsu Raikiri, and Doujigiri Yasutsuna. Aside from Raikiri which Dousetsu made infamous by supposedly cutting through lightning with, the rest of the katanas are suffixed with their respective creator’s name. While I’m far from being the most knowledgeable person in the history of katanas, I’m sure many people have come across some of these names in Japanese video games. This includes (but is not limited to) the Final Fantasy series, Castlevania: SotN, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, and even here in 11eyes. The tachi Doujigiri Yasutsuna is actually a national treasure of Japan and can be seen in a museum today. In any case, I just thought it was kind of cool how they went out of their way to introduce all the swords specifically.
Back to the world of 11eyes, the Kusakabe family’s tradition of battling to the death over ownership of these five treasured swords explains how Misuzu came into possession of them. In her last challenge, she defeated and killed her own father — the head of Kusakabe family — for Yasutsuna. Despite going through the legitimate means, Misuzu is targeted by the main family for doing so and upsetting the balance of power by obtaining all five swords. Most of all though, they want her dead for being a teenage girl that resembles a previous, powerful, female onmyouji (priest/sorcerer), Kusakabe Misao, who committed a taboo by combining Buddhist arts with Western ones (i.e. black magic). Incidentally, Misuzu also knows some of these forbidden techniques and uses one to conceal her five swords until she needs them.
The core of the “eye-opening” story this episode revolves around the above, along with the notion that Lisette may be the Misao that was exiled from the family 70 years ago. In addition, the Black Knights hinted that they were previously human, making me wonder if they are fallen Kusakabe onmyouji or ones that turned to forbidden arts as well. This would help explain why Lisette is with them all this time (if she really is Misao) and the dreams Kakeru has of a supposed past life where he finds himself in castle rife with bodies. Evidently, the mysterious power of his right-eye was key to things then, despite its actual purpose being fairly unclear at this point.
At the beginning of the episode, I found it a bit agitating to see Kakeru immediately accept everything that’s happening to be his fault. He then quickly went on to ask Misuzu to teach him how to fight in hopes of activating his dormant power for Yuka’s sake. That type of protagonist attitude helps move the story along quickly, but it doesn’t seem the least bit sensible to me. The request for training is fine, but pitting all the blame on himself already is pretty dumb when he doesn’t even know what’s going on. Later on in the fight against the Black Knights, he’s also adamant about helping out even though he’s still powerless to do so. While I can understand his desire to protect and not be protected, that hot-headed personality always seems to get to me because of the stupidity that usually comes along with it.
Even with the help of their new ally Yukiko, I was a bit surprised to see one of the Black Knights go down already. But as a twelve episode series (confirmed here), the pacing makes sense in retrospect. In very video game-like fashion, one of the crystal towers went down when Gula (Gluttony) did, making it seem like escaping the Red Night requires beating all the Black Knight “bosses”. As linear as that may sound, I expect there to be some twists along the way seeing as this is based on a visual novel. Speaking of the visual novel, I decided to look up its opening for comparison purposes.
From what I gather, the anime is pretty faithful to the original character designs, but I noticed that the Black Knights were rendered in 3D at one part. The song is “Lunatic Tears…” by Ayane, whose single for the anime opening “Arrival of Tears” was released yesterday. I’m still trying to get a hold of the PV that came with the limited edition version and will probably post about it when I do. I really like the full version of the song, but still wish they didn’t auto-tune Ayane’s voice so much. I find she sounds better without all the digital processing crap on top.