「赤い夜 Piros éjszaka」 (Akai Yoru)
An adult visual novel turned anime yet again. How successful will this one be?
With the video game subtitled “The Girl of Sin, Punishment, and Atonement” 「-罪と罰と贖いの少女-」, I imagine this anime adaptation would raise at least a few eyebrows. I’ve been informed that some/most/all (?) of the cast from the adult visual novel has returned for this anime adaptation, which includes the likes of Ono Daisuke (lead), Gotou Mai, Asakawa Yuu, Takahashi Chiaki, and Mizuhashi Kaori among various lesser known ones. Since seiyuus use aliases for eroge/hentai work, this isn’t the most trivial thing to confirm outside of being into these type of games, which I’m not. In any case, the focus here is on the actual story and not the ecchi aspect, albeit they do seem to include the occasional panty shot fairly often. My immediate reaction while watching the first episode is that the series resembles Night Wizard The ANIMATION in both style and premise. The obvious indications are the character designs (to a degree) and the “Red Night” alternate reality. For comparison purposes, I’ve uploaded the opening sequence to Night Wizard.
On the other hand, the overall dark ambiance in the series seems to mirror the relatively unpopular AYAKASHI. Having Ayane perform the opening theme here as well helps in that regard. (Ayane’s voice sounds freakishly similar to Mizuki Nana‘s at times, but her music’s always a good listen.) Omni added that the opening sequence reminds him of CHAOS;HEAD, which I can see due to the presence of girls with special abilities in a normal city life environment. With that in mind, I guess it should come as no surprise when I say these three series are based on visual novels too. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing though, as visual novels have surprisingly good plots at times.
Speaking of plot, the story follows our heterochromia male protagonist Satsuki Kakeru (Ono Daisuke), who’s lived a fairly uneventful lifestyle for the past seven years after his sister attacked him for unknown reasons and committed suicide sometime afterward. Having lost his only remaining family member under these bizarre circumstances, Kakeru has only managed to maintain a normal lifestyle up until now because of his supportive childhood friend Minase Yuka (Gotou Mai), who was adopted into the Minase family. On their way to an outlet mall, Kakeru and Yuka are dragged into what seems like an alternate reality where there’s nobody around but hordes of monsters instead. They somehow manage to return to their normal world before they’re about to get attacked, but are traumatized by the whole ordeal.
The following day, a new transfer student named Momono Shiori (Hagiwara Emiko) joins their class and exudes absolutely no interest in any other class members except Kakeru. After school, Kakeru and Yuka try to go to the outlet mall again and manage to make it there this time by avoiding the bridge from yesterday. After spending some time there, the two of them have a run in with a ghostly-looking student named Kukuri, who’s been tailing them the entire time and looks oddly similar to Kakeru’s deceased sister. Before the two of them know it, they’re back in the “Red Night” world and being attacked by monsters again.
If you feel like you’re grasping at straws trying to figure out what’s going on so far, I wouldn’t worry too much at this point — things are pretty hazy for me as well. However, I’m purposely avoiding reading up on the game so that the anime can deliver the story in whatever way it deems fit. Over the course of episode, the only character that has shown any real indication that she knows what’s going on is Kusakabe Misuzu (Asakawa Yuu). She’s going to show up next time judging from the preview, so I expect she’ll fill us in then. Keeping the viewer wrapped in so much mystery with the very first episode feels like a cheap way to get him/her to watch the second one, but it’s worked on me. There are so many unanswered questions right now, so I’ll be watching a few more episodes at the very least. While far from masterpieces, I actually enjoyed Night Wizard, AYAKASHI, and CHAOS;HEAD, so I see myself taking a liking to this series as well.
Production-wise, Dogakobo‘s animation quality for close-up shots are fine, but they seem to let it drop for distant shots whenever they can. I avoided taking screencaps of those cases, but you’ll likely notice it yourself if you watch the episode. It’s not a terrible, but it’s noticeable. That said, the broadcast on Sun TV doesn’t appear to be that great either.
* CrunchyRoll added 11eyes to their simulcasts today. What are they going to do next? Try and take over the world?
* Added AYAKASHI’s opening sequence for series and Ayane/Mizuki Nana comparison purposes. See below.