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They Were 11
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 12/31/1999

Tada is only one of the hundreds of hopefuls taking the test at the elite Cosmo Academy. When he is informed that he passed all the preliminary tests, he is as thrilled and excited as anyone could be. The final examination, however, is a wholly different story. All the students who passed are divided into teams of ten members each. Each team is assigned to a spaceship, where they will spend the next 53 days as its crew. If even one drops out, all ten members will fail. The problem is, there are eleven members in Tada's team! Is it a computer error? Or an imposter? No one knows for sure. As the tension heightens, Tada's team realizes that there is something very wrong with the ship they are on...

They Were 11 was one of the first anime videos I got my hands on back in the early 90's. All the anime I watched beforehand are all thanks to the TV.

The depth and creativity of They Were 11's plot is impressive. You don't see a shoujo/sci-fi blend this good often. TW11 doesn't rely on high-tech computer graphics, pulse-pounding techno music, or complicated scientific jargon to work its wonders. What it does push is excellent story-telling -- something I find lacking in the more recent sci-fi anime releases. Things get off a very intriguing start. We have a group of diverse characters immediately thrust into a tense situation, and everyone is pretty much at each other's throats just after the launch. TW11 also succeeds in keeping the mystery factor constant so that audiences are gripped. You just have to see what happens next.

Characterization is superb. The team members hail from different parts of the universe -- there's the gender-less Frol, the proud Maya king Saban, and the telepathic Gren amongst others. Each character is possesses a distinct personality, and each develops further as the plot progresses. The art and animation are of good quality and can hold their own even today. Of course, it is unavoidable that they will seem a bit dated compared to newer anime. The character designs are also pretty faithful to the author Ms. Moto Hagio's original manga work. If you are looking for a solid sci-fi/shoujo anime without the cryptic cyberpunk themes, this is it.

They Were 11's original manga version is part of Viz's graphic novel "Four Shojo Stories" published back in 1996. It's out of print now, but I'm fortunate enough to have gotten a copy.

They Were 11
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Review Title:
They Were 11
Alternative Titles:
11 Nin Iru
90 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Action, Adventure, Drama,
Mystery, Romance, Sci-Fi,
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