The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia

Title: Dusk Maiden of Amnesia aka Tasogare Otome×Amnesia
Genre: Comedy/Horror
Format: 12 episodes
Date: 8 Apr 2012 – 25 Jun 2012

Synopsis: There is a legend that exists in Seikyou Private Academy, where a girl named Yuuko was left to die mysteriously within the school compounds 60 years ago. Her spirit is said to haunt the school to this day. Every student in campus knows about it, including first-year student Niiya Teiichi, who one day gets lost in the school’s abandoned wing. He stumbles upon a beautiful and enigmatic ghost there and learns that she’s Yuuko. However, she suffers from amnesia and can’t remember what happened to her back then, thus prompting Niiya and his friends to set up the Paranormal Investigation Club to help regain her memories and solve paranormal cases in school along the way.

The Highlights
Aesthetics: Artistic and creative, albeit sometimes overdone.
Narrative: Overly dramatic on some occasions, intrusively comical on others, frightening on none.
Series structure: One quarter centers around Yuuko’s background, three quarters around Yuuko’s cleavage.
Ghost story?: More like ecchi soap drama by 12-year olds.

Horror is a genre I have not come to favor. It is not because I am timid; rather, there hasn’t been any that has horrified me. What I see more frequently is titles that are scary at first, but gradually lose the fear factor or become more of an action or comedy-type show. Case in point is Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, the latest production by SILVER LINK that is somewhat deceiving: it assumes an authentic horror series from the onset, but eventually, anything remotely horrific makes up less than half of the content, while the rest is composed of lighthearted frills and cheesy drama.

Amnesia‘s main plot revolves around titular ghost, Yuuko, and unlocking her memories to understand her being. While solving the mysteries of her background should be the main focus of the plot, what is emphasized more often is Yuuko in different states of undress. The story delves too much on everything but Yuuko’s past, spending more time seeing her flaunt her assets at Niiya and trolling other students with her shenanigans. As a result, the story is made up of more filler than plot-based content and ends up losing focus.

The more pressing issue about Amnesia, though, is not the comedy. It is the melodrama that unfolds between Yuuko and Niiya as the plot thickens. The story’s heavy themes are handled by a pair of kids who have barely reached puberty, and this jarring combination results in a bizarrely unrealistic setting where they cry their eyes out over loneliness, separation and love. It is unbelievable to see characters of that age in such situations, and I often found myself raising my eyebrow at its credibility.

Perhaps the sole consolation from Amnesia is the visuals. It is an aesthetic feast akin to that of C3, and the use of various hues and blending do well in creating the different moods of the show, be it a cheery ambiance in the morning or a creepy one at night. Setting a good mood also renders the tension more effective, especially when the story delves on the darker aspects. Although the distortions to portray twisted minds and the camera panning can be overused at times, it is still visually better than most series out there. It’s the single aspect that kept me watching the series.

But as artistic as it may be, Amnesia is still a mediocre series that never takes itself seriously enough to be provocative. The execution is poor, and the bulk of the focus is on ecchi fanservice tropes when it could have explored the characters and made the story more engaging. On top of that, the final episode is made up of unpalatable melodrama, and worse, the anti-climax right at the end leaves the audience feeling bamboozled. What I originally hoped for from this is something along the line of Ghost Hunt, but what I eventually got is something more of Scooby-Doo. If anyone wants to get spooked, this is one title I would not recommend.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: AC

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