「闇夜の暁 a sötét hajnal」 (Anya no Akatsuki)
“Dawn of the Dark Night”
There was no deux ex machina to give us a good ending, but the whole parallel worlds bit had its fair share of conveniences. The previous episode turned out to be a complete fake-out, with the majority of it being the bad outcome Kakeru foresaw with his Eye of Aeon.
First off, kudos to those who suspected this might’ve been the case. I applaud the screenwriters for the execution here, though it would’ve been better if they didn’t tip anyone off by showing Kakeru at the end last time. That said, it still doesn’t change the fact that the ending felt kind of forced. A lot of the plot that unfolded had no precedence, so one could argue that they did pull a deux ex machina. This is partly attributed to the conveniences of the parallel worlds I mentioned above. In addition to being a useful plot device for explaining everything, it also came in handy in other areas. For example, it turns out the scene in the very first episode where Kukuri killed Kakeru actually happened, but not in the world the Aeon-bearing Kakeru we know is from. By killing off the Kakeru from an alternate reality, they were able to build suspense with no consequence on the actual characters we ended up following.
From a pure plot point of view, the explanations made sense and tied things together. In Kakeru’s sister’s case, Shiori went to the various worlds to warn all the Kukuri’s about Liselotte and the Hell Fall threat. With no way of knowing which parallel existence possessed it, all the Kukuri’s decided to take their own lives to reduce the number of fragments. As for the one who actually had it, she also reluctantly killed the Kakeru of her world since he might possess the Eye of Aeon. All in all, an eye-opening revelation that finally answers all the questions I had concerning Kukuri’s peculiar actions the series opened with.
My main complaint is how nonchalantly this explanation came out in the very last episode. It was jarring to learn that Shiroi has the ability to travel between worlds when there was no prior indication that she could. It didn’t help when the solution to sealing away Liselotte was reliant on this ability either. The whole bit on her space-time abilities transferring over to Kakeru from her fragment was something we as the viewer had to accept in the last ten minutes. As such, I have some qualms with the delivery of the story. In particular, how this turn of events comes off as a last minute addition to the script. The same could be said about Yuka’s ability to magically save Kakeru after he tried to kill himself. I’m also on the fence about the post credits revelation where Takahisa, Yukiko, Saiko are alive, simply because they’re now in someone else’s world. While this gives us a good ending, it takes away from their deaths and relies on another convenience of the parallel worlds. (i.e. Misao taking Kakeru, Yuka, and Misuzu there after the fight.)
Despite my somewhat negative views on the ending, I’d still recommend 11eyes to anyone looking for something different. The show had a slightly different feel from the very beginning (due to its eroge visual novel roots) and some surprising twists along the way to reinforce that notion. For the majority of the series, the story unfolded well by focusing on the mystery behind the Red Night. The characters were amiable (even Yuka) and we got a nice mixture of high school and supernatural settings. They even had a great fake-out episode leading up to the finale. When you take all this into account, my complaints sound like nitpicking more than anything else. Let’s not forget how one could easily argue that a lot of the mystery would’ve been lost if they revealed the story elements here earlier, so there’s always that side of the picture too.
Overall, I enjoyed this series much more than the similarly visual novel-adapted CHAOS;HEAD. I’d even go as far as saying that 11eyes may get my vote for the most surprising show of the year. Surprising in the sense that it turned out much better than I was expected and not so much for shock value. (Although seeing Misuzu use the life-eating Doujigiri Yasutsuna for the first time falls into the latter.)