Laevatein’s Readin’ Sessions: Remember 11

You know, while this visual novel isn't about dating in the slightest, that cover isn't irrelevant either.

Welcome to my review of Remember11, where you’ll learn more quantum mechanics (for reference, the previously covered Muv Luv Alternative was Quantum Mechanics 101, among other things)! Part of the Infinity series (which also includes Ever17), Remember11 is particularly infamous for being a mindscrew that doesn’t provide the screwdriver. Is that problematic? If you want a concrete ending, then yes, it’s a huge problem. Is it a good read? Yes, very much so.

You also probably noticed all the Jungian archetypes. Welcome to psychology 101 as well!

The plot of Remember11 is the most important part of the novel (though writing about the most important part so early is really weird), and depending on how you look at it, makes or breaks the novel. The story deals with two different plot threads: four survivors of a plane crash in the middle of a snowy mountain range in January and their struggle to survive, and a man with no memories trying to pierce together what’s going on in a mental illness facility on a small island (where there’s also a ton of snow). Now the interesting thing about this is that the main characters of each thread often swap places with each other through some sort of unexplainable quantum phenomenon. What’s really strong about Remember11’s story is it’s an amazing thriller that constantly keeps you on your toes (until a certain point in the second story that becomes an hour-long read of straight up exposition) until the very end. What’s weak about it is that the ending is very inconclusive. I don’t mean everything works out, but all the side details remain unresolved: the plot ends on a very unsatisfying cliffhanger. While it’s very much possible to figure out everything that’s going on (hell, I’ve done it, though I’ve taken a while), that still doesn’t help me figure out what happens from there, because there’s no details explaining what happens next. That being said, Remember11 is the perfect example of a story that you follow along for the journey, and not the destination. This is very much a deal breaker for most people, as you can easily hate it if you’re in it for the disheartening ending, but you’ll love it if you’re going along for the amazing ride.

This is an example of the sort of mindscrew you'll run across, and also the start of the story's main gimmick.

Now, on the art side of things, while I can’t say the art stands out too much, it’s really rather realistic. Hair and eye colors are natural (well, for everyone on the globe at least), is generally pretty somber. The background art is pretty standard, and CGs are just a bit better than character art. That being said, it’s not bad, but I don’t think it stands out so much. In the sound department, I can’t honestly say it’s memorable in the slightest. Hell, even the opening song isn’t all that memorable, and that’s sort of an accomplishment. You have some good tracks here and there, true, but I’m not very fond of the whole thing. However, I did really like the voice acting: I think it was very well done.

That being said, I do like how R11 uses perspective in some shots.

The narrative is really special, as it’s very reminiscent of Ever17. How it works is very much the opposite of Ever17’s. It’s a really neat idea, but if you take it to certain conclusions, the idea runs opposite to good storytelling. In fact, thematically, the idea is probably the reason the ending is inconclusive. I can’t say more, but while it’s an interesting concept, it doesn’t work so well from a storytelling perspective.

Additionally, I like how the narrative often uses very logical and structured analysis to explain certain events, or what the protagonists think of them.

The characters are, like most Infinity series (including branching titles like 999), built off of clearly defined archetypes. However, in Remember11’s case, the archetypes are Jungian. Instead of these being surface traits, they represent subconscious personalities. While it may not seem like a good idea to reveal who embodies each archetype, the interesting thing is that each character definitely subverts their respective archetypes, so it’d be very hard to determine who represents what later (especially since you need to bring your own screwdriver). That being said, while the characters are interesting psychological studies, they definitely play second fiddle to the plot. There just isn’t too much to some of the characters, and neither is there much time given to other characters. They’re not bad characters, but it’s hard to feel much for them as the plot unfolds.

Rating Breakdown
A unique narrative analogous to Ever17's, though the idea behind the narrative doesn't work well from a storytelling standpoint.
A very well crafted thriller that has a very polarizing ending (or lack thereof). If you're someone who needs a satisfying ending, Remember11 will be severely disappointing.
Characterization stems from applying and subverting Jungian archetypes, so it can be fun to analyze the psychology behind the characters. Unfortunately, it's hard to care for the characters when they're being strung along by the plot.
The art doesn't stand out at all, though it's refreshing to see a more realistic style.
The OST is not memorable, though it does have a few good songs here and there. Voice acting, however, is strong.
While Remember11 is an amazing thriller with interesting characterization and a novel idea, all of these don't really work as a story, as the ending is unsatisfying, the characters can't stand up to the plot, and the novel idea cannot hope to be applied to a satisfying story.
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A mad scientist who's so cool!


A mad scientist who's so cool!

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