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20 February 2001 @ 03:44 pm
We need the vaccine, and there aren't any mice!  
They were 11 arrived in the mail today so I spent a good 91 minutes watching it this afternoon. It's an anime from the '80s, based on a manga by Moto Hagio that in turn was based on a story by some Japanese writer. In the story, which there are ten children who discover that an eleventh child has appeared amongst them, a ghost from the haunted house they're in, but they don't know which child is the ghost. Eeeky scariness.


Update this to outer space, in the far-flung future, and you have They were 11. Ten test candidates for the most elite University in the galaxy are assigned to man a ghost ship in outer space. When they arrive onboard, they discover that there are eleven of them, but they can't try to contact the administrators of the test without failing the exam. So they have to work around the fact that this extra guy is with them, for good or bad. Toss in a few disasters like a deadly virus and some technical difficulties. Good stuff, man.

Anyway, time to critique and compare. I was introduced to the manga first, and the art was very typical of the late 1970's/early 1980's shoujo movement - in many ways reminscent of the 'Rose of Versailles' series. Each of the characters have a very unique look that reflects where they're from. They retain this in the anime, although a couple of the characters get total makeovers. Using my favorite character, Amazon, as an example, he goes from being this skinny, wiry, dandelion-fluff haired man with squinty eyes to having shoulder-length brown hair, and big bishounen eyes. X_x He also bulked up considerably. Scars cover his body because hunting is the major occupation on his world, but they're not half as visible in the anime.

But that wasn't the most irksome thing about it. Tada (main character) looks like your basic geek, athletic enough when he needs to be but basically the kind of guy who never has luck with women. (He has Dragonball hair minus the hair gel, if that makes any sense at all. It sticks up but it doesn't spike.) I always pictured him having a "sissy" voice, sort of like Shinji on Evangelion. Instead he's got the Confident-CEO voice. Bwaaah.

They re-arranged the story, of course, eliminating certain elements in the manga (like the scene where a couple of characters get drunk, and a lot of Tada's innuendos towards Frol. (Frol's a hermaphrodite, who if he passes the test gets to become a man. Otherwise, he becomes a woman.)) But they added some great bits to the anime as well, including a great food fight and telling you what happens to the characters at the very end. (And they made Amazon a guitarist. How cool is that?)

At any rate, if you ever get a chance check out They were 11, because it's bloody awesome. The manga was published by Viz, in a graphic novel called Four Shojo Stories, but I think it may be out of print by virtue of the fact that I've never seen it anyplace save eBay, where I acquired my copy. The anime isn't as good, but since it's not popular the video's pretty cheap when you can find it. (Since it was in the '80s, it isn't easy to get. I think Animenation currently has a few copies, tho'.