Number of episodes: 12
Production Studio: Dogakobo
Fansub Release Viewed: TMD
Likelihood of US Release:
Streaming at crunchyroll.com
Satsuki Kakeru lost his sister due to suicide and has been living a dull life ever since. One day he’s transported, along with his friend, to an alternate world called “Red Night” and must confront adversaries to escape.
Kakeru lost his sister, his only relative, to suicide 7 years ago. He grew up in an orphanage with a girl named Yuka, who is now his closest friend in high school. When some other friends invite the couple to an outlet sale, Kakeru initially refuses due to a fear of crowds, but seeing Yuka’s desire to go, he decides to catch up with the others. As the two are crossing a bridge, they’re suddenly overcome with an overwhelming feeling of horror, and the world transforms in front of their eyes into a world of darkness, devoid of humans. As they search through the desolate town for any sign of life, they’re attacked by grotesque creatures who surround them. Yuka screams for her life, and the world transforms again, bringing them back to the real world.
The next day, Yuka and Kakeru attempt to put the bizarre episode behind them as they go to school. Their class receives a transfer student, a girl returning from Italy. Her strange beauty enchants many of the males in the class, but her standoffish personality keeps most of them outside arm’s reach. When she meets Yuka, one look causes Yuka to faint, and Kakeru takes her to the nurse’s office. On their way home, they stop in the park and see a strange girl who appears to be out of phase with the rest of reality. Suddenly the two are stricken again by the strange sensations from before, and find themselves face-to-face with another group of horrifying creatures.
To be perfectly honest, while I was watching this episode, the logical side of me kept saying “oh, this isn’t too bad.” While this sort of dark, magical fantasy isn’t something that really interests me and visual novel adaptations, despite what people have insisted to me many times, still often have a very “harem” feel, the execution of this episode was, on the whole, pretty decent. So why, then, did I find myself completely bored out of my mind and feel compelled to stop and start the episode multiple times to check random websites and do activities completely unrelated to reviewing? Rather than blame it on some latent ADD come to rear its ugly head, I’m more inclined to blame my disinterest on the fact that this show already feels too “safe” to me. It’s got the same combination of dark fantasy and archetypal moe-ness that made series like Shakugan no Shana and Fate/Stay Night come across as too otaku-marketable for my tastes. While I understand that these series are well-liked amongst both Japanese and American fans, I’ve always found them unattractive and boring.
To call this show something of that caliber, however, doesn’t seem quite right either. While it provides something of the same tone I detected from those more famous works, there’s something about this series that reeks of copycat-ism and feels a bit too derivative to make this show stand out. For one thing, even the animation in episode 1 is sub-par. Inconsistencies were rampant in the character models throughout the episode, and while the monster designs were certainly original, the poor fidelity in the animation caused them to appear clunky and comical rather than horrifying. Perhaps it would have been a good decision to simplify some of the character designs; the school uniforms the female characters wear are downright ridiculous, and many of them are cursed with “stupid bishoujo hair,” overloaded with ribbons, twin-tails and other nonsense. The main character not only wears an eye patch, but an eye patch that appears to be bolted to his head and is decorated with some sort of gothic-looking design elements which completely tips off the viewer that it’s certainly no normal injury, but somehow doesn’t seem to faze the character’s friends in any way. While these are intended to set the characters apart from each-other and make them recognizable to fans in a sea of other very similar characters, the end result is a product which appears juvenile and gimmicky.
There is a bit of fanservice in the episode, though not really enough to call it a fanservice show and not enough to entice anyone looking for that in a series. There are maybe three or so panty shots which actually sort of make sense in regards to how the characters are moving (which is to say, there are no “creative” camera angles but there are still some shimapan) and the school nurse appears to have some very large, bouncy breasts. But these things are questionable from both perspectives. On one hand, someone on the lookout for some fanservice is going to be disappointed by the pitiful amount of that sort of content. On the other hand, people like me who prefer their entertainment fanservice-free are going to be irritated by the inclusion of even the small amount that there is here. It would have been more advisable in my opinion to either go all-out on the fanservice or eliminate it entirely.
Unfortunately I just cannot find anything else very meaty to discuss in regards to this show. It’s certainly not a terrible show, but it does nothing to distinguish itself and feels too much like any number of more famous dark fantasy series. There are definitely better ways for most people to spend their time.
- The story is decent, though it seems like a shallow copy of better shows
- The animation is sub-par
- The amount of fanservice isn’t satisfying to anyone