11人いる!/They Were Eleven

[Screenshot]Netflix recommended this one to me, and sometimes I even take its recommendations, but I think sometimes they fall flat. This one here is an animated space epic from the 80s, so I kinda expected something like Gall Force: Eternal Story, only better. I guess within the bounds of those low expectations it succeeds. It’s got much more of a story, and at least a few of the characters have personalities, although of the titular eleven, we get a real feel for maybe 4 of them. It’s not bad within its time and place, but doesn’t give much to chew on. The mystery isn’t very compelling, especially as its conclusion is unsatisfactory (I had a good guess as to the reason for the 11th crewman ten minutes in and was right; the identity was unforeseeable, since so many of the characters were basically ciphers). But, hey, if you roll with it and like space epics, you can ignore the mystery plot and just run with the action (and the few characterizations we’re treated to). The ending is, quite frankly, pretty awful, and I’m not even talking about the uncomfortable gender-politics play so much as the “where are they now” treatment, whcih I can but hope is an addition of the American release. The crew’s fates are both banal and seemingly divorced from their actual ambition: for instance, we’re told “Amazon went on to be a famous musician.” Sure, we see him play the guitar, but I’d presume he didn’t join the Space Marines Super Elite Corps for the free guitar lessons. In fact, none of the epilogue snippets seems to mention a military career, or even a career related to galactic security. Makes one wonder why they bother if they’re not actually going to transition their academy training into careers. With respect to technical issues, well, it’s an ’80s anime. An ’80s anime with high production values at least, but it still has that distinctly ’80s look (love it or hate it), and the music is awful synth-supported stuff.

Apropos of the American release: go with the sub, not the dub. The dub has a lot of odd random crap thrown in, including a throwaway line by Tada which should (but inexplicably does not) derail the Frol’s shocking revelation and major plot point later.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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