The premise sounded great, with 18 people trapped in an island and being picked off one by one by a witch claiming “interest” for services rendered to the incredibly rich head of the family that’s supposed to pass his heritance to his greedy offspring.
*SPOILER OF 2ND EPISODE*
By the second episode, there were already six people dead, and what made it cool was not knowing if it was really because of the witch and her supernatural abilities or if it was through normal human means.
Animation and character designs are very well done. Deaths are usually graphic and stick with you.
Opening and ending songs are awesome.
*SPOILER OF LIKE 5 EPISODES*
However, once the first story ends, the witch reveals herself, showing that it was indeed magic, but is stuck in Purgatory because a member of the family (Battler, a young man) refuses to believe that it was magic and challenges her that he can prove everything was done by a human or humans. The problem with that is, that he is being teleported to places and through time and talking to the witch and watching her summon demons and other witches pop up and he witnesses the deaths of his relatives over and over (4 different stories where they all meet their demise, for the most part) and he still refuses to acknowledge the witch’s power…what?!?!?!...How else would you explain it, dimwit!!
The PC game this is based on has the player constantly analyzing what’s shown and considering the facts in order to come up with the answer of how everything could have been done realistically without all the mystical cover-ups (however the game ended badly too). In the anime, they show it’s magic, without explaining things (like the demons, or some characters suddenly having magical powers, etc.) so the point is moot, because it’s too hard then to think of everything not being magical. Also, the story repeating itself in 4 different ways does the anime not good, because I know being 26 episodes in total, that I’m not going to have the resolution to the story until the very last damn episode and I will have to sit through more gory kills of the same characters, which are very disturbing by the way.
I liked the relationships between the family members, and the conversations were usually well thought-out, but the standoff between the witch and Battler is illogical and nonsensical and since it is the core of the story, it successfully saps away the interest of the viewer.
See, I was very interested in continuing this anime because I thought it would be like an Agatha Christie novel where everybody is getting killed and somebody is using the excuse of a supernatural presence and then at the end, it is revealed that everything was smoke and mirrors and the real evildoer is...Colonel Mustard or something. But no, they don't do that.
Everything is magic, and yes, there's a witch, and no, the main character refuses to admit it is magic and says he'll explain everything and never does and more magical stuff happens and people die, and die, and die, and die, and so on and so forth.
It also doesn't help that the computer game ended in a depressing way, so the source of this anime was also found lacking. Something like either it was really magic or it was all a dream, or hallucinations. That's the biggest of cop-outs and I can't believe anybody nowadays wants to end a story in such a way. What a waste of time.
In conclusion, this series had the animation, the premise, the characters, and the dialogue but the story went nowhere really fast and got stuck in a dumb cycle while pretending it was really smart.