Seikyou Private Academy, built on the intrigue of traditional occult myths, bears a dark past—for 60 years, it has been haunted by a ghost known as Yuuko, a young woman who mysteriously died in the basement of the old school building. With no memory of her life or death, Yuuko discreetly finds and heads the Paranormal Investigations Club in search of answers.
A chance meeting leads Yuuko to cling to diligent freshman Teiichi Niiya, who can see the quirky ghost, they quickly grow close, and he decides to help her. Along with Kirie Kanoe, Yuuko's relative, and the oblivious second year Momoe Okonogi, they delve deep into the infamous Seven Mysteries of the storied school.
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia tells a unique tale of students who work together to shed light on their school's paranormal happenings, all the while inching closer to the truth behind Yuuko's death.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. Even that title alone may convince some viewers to watch this series. But what you may least expect would be a ghost troll (a hot ghost troll if I may add) hanging out with the main protagonist on a daily basis doing cute little things here and there.
The story covers the Paranormal Investigation Club, a club that deals with the supernatural. From there, we have the other members starting with Teiichi Niiya, probably the only normal member of the group. He maintains an unusual relationship with our ghost troll Yuuko in which despite her flirtatious and mischievous attempts at him,
he still values her as a friend and not forget her. Then, there's Momoe Okonogi, the most enthusiastic member of the group. Her enthusiasm of the the club is probably over the limits in Niiya's point of view as far as she shows the most interest in finding out what happened 50 years ago involving our lovely ghost troll, Yuuko. Of course, she still hangs out around the club while creating many mischievous interactions between herself and Niiya. Next, we have the Kirie Kanoe, the not so enthusiastic member. At first glance, she seems normal but when you get to know her more, you'll find that she's a very insecure person. Why? Well, for nearly every 5 minutes, she goes on about the dangers of Yuuko and warns Niiya to be on his guard. She can be seen as the antithesis of Yuuko for even though her outside (appearance) may resemble her somewhat, her inner self is worlds apart.
Then, finally our lovely ghost troll Yuuko, who can forget about her? After all, she is the star of the series and the "dusk maiden" of amnesia. Her flirtatious attitude with our main protagonist is guilty pleasure and some of the guys watching this might be biting their fingernails about how lucky he is. (I know I am at least sometimes) However, it does seems that despite playful self, she harbors a dark past she tries to keep herself a secret from anyone. She tries hard to forget about her past and make it into an amnesia but there's one thing you cannot forget: you can't run away from your problems like an amnesia.
And of course, even for stories like this, there would be fan-service, pool parties, and those cute "love-love" scenes. Then there is always those "horror" scenes mixed in with light comedy and even psychological twists later on. However so far, this series is not another Another (no pun intended). I mean seriously, let's ask ourselves: who actually got scared out of their pants in the first episode?
Despite this though, there is definitely an eerie atmosphere behind the curtains and lies beyond the horizon of the dusk. We also later learns the truth behind Yuuko's death and the hatred she developed that manifested as the her ying and yang. Hate is definitely a strong word this time around as her darker self becomes one of the driven antithesis of Yuuko's cheerful self. As she deals with her past with her new profound friend Niiya, they must cope with the horrors that may lie in the future.
Beyond that, I find the art of the series to be gorgeous as well as the various well captured angles of "dusk" in this anime and the night moon skies. Kudos to Silver Link I say, you sure know how to set a high bar for this season. As for the sound, it's not something you'll listen to while studying for your university entrance exam but it's also something catchy that fits the overall story. And take notice the OP and ED song that our beloved ghost troll Yuuko-san seems to be imitating. She would go pretty far in American Idol I'd say.
Overall, I find Dusk Maiden of Amnesia to be entertaining and makes Sundays a wonderful relaxing day to finish off the weekend. Its balanced light comedy and seriousness is something that most of us will notice and while it doesn't reach the necessity horror levels of some other series you may have seen in the past, it does makes it up with its entertainment and value. Its darker tone of the story later on will keep some of you viewers glued to your seat.
This is an unique anime at that and one such series this Spring Season that I'm sure most of us will not forget like an amnesia. (at least I hope)
Mixing very different themes together can sometimes produce surprising results, but there's a big risk involved with this approach to storytelling and original concepts that are formed using this process often fall at the first hurdle. There are always exceptions to this guideline, but in anime these are usually adaptations of some other media that are often the result of hopeful popularity forecasts and a severe lack of common sense.
Thankfully, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia), manages to steer its way through the conversion rapids - but not without taking some damage along the way.
Based on the manga by Maybe, the story revolves
around the unusual relationship between Niiya Teiichi - a middle school student at Seikyou Private Academy and a senior member of the Paranormal Investigation Club - and the club president Kanoe Yuuko - the spirit of a female student who died in the abandoned school building 60 years before. The story begins with a rather humourous series of events that are initially shown from the perspective of Okonogi Momoe - a girl who is blissfully unaware of Yuuko's presence - and the beauty of the scene is that it not only forms a surprisingly good introduction to the main characters, but that the impact of this is reinforced when the events are replayed to expose the joke.
Unfortunately things don't really proceed so well for the rest of the series as, although there is an actual story behind everything, the plot is broken up into a series of short arcs that only last one or two episodes. It's an approach that can be surprisingly flexible when used correctly, and given the importance of the ubiquitous "seven mysteries of [insert name here] school" it's understandable why this method was used. Sadly the move from manga to anime has been far too rushed, and the compression of information causes too great a shift in pace between each arc. In addition to this there are several major plot points that are noticeably absent in the anime - mainly because the shadow of early adaptation reared its ugly head again. Dusk Maiden is yet another show that has suffered the ignominy of being animated before the manga was complete, and this causes a few contextual problems that the writers have tried to gloss over - with varying degrees of success.
As with most adaptations the character designs are taken directly from the source material, and as with the majority of school-based romantic comedies there isn't really anything special in this department. That said, Dusk Maiden is stylistically and aesthetically pleasing to the eye - mainly because director Oonuma Shin has applied a number of the visual tricks and techniques that he used in the "ef" series. Unfortunately the character animation isn't as crisp as it could be and some of the movements are a little odd, but aside from that (and several moments of shoddy line work along with the repeated use of low angles and sunsets - which can become a little tiresome after a while), SILVER LINK have produced a good-looking show. The design mentality works particularly well in a number of scenes, serving as a pleasing visual reference to reinforce the show's genre foundations of horror and romantic comedy.
Dusk Maiden does contain some fanservice (it's a school-based romantic comedy with harem elements after all), but the approach is far less aggressive than that of a number of anime out there. These moments are often caused by Yuuko's carpicious nature and the amusement she derives from making Teiichi uncomfortable - which is a nice change from the usual protagonist falling face-first onto a random girl (or her falling on him).
One interesting aspect of the series that does bear mentioning is the overt symbolism related to Noh and Kabuki theater - Momijigari. The meaning of the repetitive red and yellow maple leaves is something that can be easily passed of as a way to make the scene look good, but it's actually a subtle reference to stories about a beautiful maiden/princess who was actually a demon in disguise, and who is ultimately killed by the man she is attempting to seduce. It's a surprisingly telling visual device that, once understood, gives the plot some extra weight and sets a performing precedent that the voice actors and scriptwriters can build on.
Dusk Maiden opens with Suzuki Konomi's "Choir Jail" - accompanied by a straightforward visual medley to introduce the main characters mixed with the maple leaf metaphor. The closing theme is somewhat noteworthy - showing Yuuko sitting against a window in what is presumably the abandoned school building, singing "Karandorie" by Okui Aki while the sun sets. Both sequences feature some decent audio/visual choreography, and this is largely true for the majority of the series. The score contains a variety of tracks that add some nice background to scenes and jokes, and there's some surprisingly good effects work on display - although this is offset by a degree of untidiness, and the usual comedy-centric noises can sometimes feel out-of-place.
Given that the series crosses two very specific genres there's always the danger of the script going from one extreme to another - especially with an adaptation of an unfinished work - and while this does happen on some occasions the writers have maintained a pretty good balance between the disparate elements for the majority of the story. The Japanese dub fares particularly well because of this, but the translation into English could have been approached in a more intuitive manner as it is a bit too ... literal. Tsubasa Yonaga handles the role of the befuddled and slightly put-upon Teiichi very well, and Hara Yumi delivers a good performance as the precocious amnesiac ghost Yuuko. Kitamura Eri (Kanoe Kirie), and Fukuen Misato (Okonogi Momoe), also work rather well in their supporting roles, and while the all of the voice actors have moments that don't quite fit, their collective efforts are pretty decent.
On the other hand the English dub is rife with issues that could easily have been resolved during the translation and ADR processes - which is probably why Clint Bickham seems to struggle with the role of Teiichi and Emily Neves (Yuuko), seems unable to pronounce her love interest's name correctly. Jessica Boone offers some solace as Kirie, but it's the talented and highly experienced Britney Karbowski who suffers the most as Momoe. The lacklustre scripting issues are underlined by the adherence to literal translation, so the entire English dub is littered with out-of-place terms and the rage-inducing 'kun', 'san', etc - all of which have a big effect on the viewer's perception of the characters.
At first Teiichi appears to be little more than the common-or-garden lead male in a romantic comedy (with some harem elements), but he does have some good points as, unlike other stories of this type, he is determined to stay with Yuuko. In this respect he has more in common with the likes of Morisato Keiichi from "Ah! Megami-sama" than the usual harem leads of the last decade. As for the ghost herself, Yuuko is very clearly an extremely lonely character who, upon finding that someone can see and touch her, displays her affection in much the same way an abandoned puppy would to someone who fed and cared for it. The development of the relationship between these two is one of the central pillars of the storyline, and it's interesting to see the progression of their relationship clash with Teiichi's desire to know how Yuuko died and her desire to run away from anything that hurts or upsets her.
It's unfortunate that time restraints and the need to leave a major chunk of the plot out of the ending (because it hadn't been written), meant that Kirie's growing friendship with Teiichi and her relationship with Yuuko are never fully realised - especially as the latter adds a competely different tone to the ending of the series. The sad part is that anyone who has read the manga will understand just how much has been left out, and the meaning behind the sinister shadow becomes much more horrifying than the anime depicts.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is predominantly a story of what could have been. The decision for early adaptation, combined with the limitations of a twelve episode series, has forced a number of edits and alterations that are noticeable - but only if the viewer has read the manga. While it lacks the punch of the source material - particularly at the end - the series offers some interesting concepts, a few laughs, and a rather sweet relationship between a boy and a ghost. The stylish visuals work surprisingly well with the storyline, and although the series plays fast and loose with some of its elements, several themes are dealt with in an astute manner. Aside from the issues with the English dub the narrative holds together quite well - which is an achievement for an adaptation of an unfinished story that has been crammed into a short series while trying to cover the holes in the plot.
Hmmm I rarely consider any anime as 10's, but Dusk Maiden of Amnesia truly was an impressive piece of work. It's saddening to see so many negative reviews of it.
There is one tiny flaw in the story: it's slightly hard to follow. If you don't really pay attention to what the characters tell you, it can be easy to fall behind and get confused. Nonetheless, if you can follow the explanations, the story will be awesome. Story wise, it's really as the synopsis says: the school ghost Yuuko can't remember her past whatsoever, and the main protagonist along with some others form a club
to help her discover it. Now, the synopsis makes the story sound extremely spooky and the anime is classified as horror, but it really isn't, so if you're not a fan of horror stories, do not worry. It's more of a thriller and mystery; the horror elements are almost nothing. In fact, there's a lot of comedic moments since it is a romance.
But I think the way in which they tell the story is flawless. The beginning episodes may seem a bit filler since they're individualistic and don't seem to contribute plot movement at first, but they're important to the story as a whole, which is what I was saying before about following the story closely. The pace at which they reveal details is perfect as they don't try to flood you with too many revelations, but leave just enough cliffhangers to make you watch the next episode. And like a true mystery story, they don't completely leave the viewer in the blind; you too will be able to decipher the mystery with some thinking. This may cause some people to think it a predictable anime, and while the ending was sort of expected, I would not say it was predictable.
Normally art style isn't a huge aspect in a lot of anime, but since this is technically a horror (it really isn't scary I promise), the visuals are semi-important, and I think the artists did a wonderful job portraying the thriller elements. The art sort of reminded me of the Bakemonogatari series, and for those who have seen that, the art was extremely important in making it fantastic, just like in this series.
Fitting music for a mystery anime. The opening and ending themes were alright; they weren't amazing but the sound effects and spooky motifs were perfect.
I think this is where other people would have the most disagreements with me. There's a lot of criticism for the male protagonist since he's sort of cliche, and while that is true, I think his slightly cliche personality was important to developing Yuuko, the truly interesting character of this series. Because she's a ghost with amnesia on a journey to discover her past, her personality naturally changes as she recovers memories, and this extremely unpredictable and dynamic character makes the series fun to watch because you really never know what she'll do next, and the predictability of the male protagonist molds well with hers. If both characters were too dynamic, it would make the story too chaotic since it is a mystery by nature and the viewer already has to keep track of the plot and all its details.
I normally don't watch horror/thriller/mystery whatever you want to call it, but I was definitely not disappointed. If you're hesitating because you don't like horror (I personally get scared pretty easily), don't let that stop you because the horror aspects are minimal and only add to the excitement of the mystery. It's a story with funny moments and emotional moments, and enough plot twists to keep you watching. There were honestly no flaws that were significant enough to decrease the quality of this anime, and I think this show appeals to a broad range of fans: those who love romance, mystery, or just a good story with highly developed characters will find this show enjoyable. So please give it a watch!
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Excellent storytellers always have a way to weave suspense and doubt throughout their works so subtly that you can feel somethings wrong but not think it. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is an adaptation from the similarly named manga following Teiichi and Yuuko as they expand their relationship and face the chaotic horrors born from the catacombs of fear deep within each students mind. Providing a brilliant mix of horror, romance, and drama, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia makes you feel genuine fear, contentment and sadness.
Story - 7
One can never expect a deep and compelling plot from shows focusing on romance, the show usually depends on
character relationships to hold the anime together. However while Dusk Maiden suffers from the lack of a gripping plot, the simplicity of the narrative is one of its strongest points. The horror is intense enough to keep yourself checking behind you every few minutes in uneasiness, and mysterious enough to make you wonder "What exactly is behind all this?". The horror leads up to and settles down nicely in the conclusion. With the simplicity of the plot we are drawn into the world of Dusk Maiden, but not enough that it detracts from the true essence of the story: the characters.
Art - 9
Silver Link never fails to provide quirky yet majestically beautiful visuals. Every character is handled with care, the backgrounds are stunningly effective at setting the mood, and the directing is top notch. The only thing bringing the art down from a ten is how static the characters' movements are. Subtracting that from the equation Dusk Maiden provides the quintessence of horror visuals, with each scene perfectly encapsulating a different variety of fear; insanity, doubt, sacrifice, and above all, fear of the unknown. Of course the directing and art aren't limited to horror scenes. With Shaft-like directing we are treated to a kaleidoscope of different angles and settings that make the important scenes quite unique.
Sound - 7
Dusk Maidens soundtrack itself is mediocre, I'm writing this with no recollection of any memorable tracks besides the opening, ending, and insert song. However even if the score is sub-par the tracks still correctly set the tone and mood of the scenes where they are used. And although I enjoyed the opening, it's inclusion at the end of the final episode ruined the mood which doesn't sit well with me. The ending was adequately suited to the show, providing a melancholic feel. Shifting the actual ending sequence itself provides excellent foreshadowing which is well done. Onto the insert song. The inclusion of this song in the finale was THE most brilliant thing the director of this show chose to do. It absolutely PERFECTLY sets the mood of the last episode, and I was bawling my eyes out the entire time.
Characters - 8
Our dynamic duo Teiichi and Yuuko share a fresh and different relationship compared to all the rabble churned out every season. Skipping the countless episodes of "D-does he like me...? I don't know... Better postpone anything romantic until the penultimate episode..." Dusk Maiden skips right into the lovey-dovey action. Some people may be put off by this but trust me, it's one of the shows greatest selling points. By choosing this relationship the studio has provided us with actual romance in the story instead of angsty teens, and provides us with a powerful ending that will throw your emotions into a roller coaster of turmoil. Yuuko as a character, Teiichi as a character and the relationship between them warrants a 10, but unfortunately the side-characters bring the rating down. There will be Kirie and Okonogi fans pissed at me saying this but when you have such a strong established romance the only thing potential rivals do is annoy you.
Enjoyment - 9
The final and penultimate episodes are usually the strongest in the series, with Dusk Maiden being no exception. With the heartwarming romance, horror, and drama all converging throughout the story one would expect a finale that far exceeds the sum of its parts, and that is exactly what is delivered. The final episode caused a few tears to stream down my cheek, and the last anime that made me cry was Clannad After Story. The directing was done so well that during the episode I didn't know if I would be left a sniveling mess or the happiest camper since cavemen discovered fire.
Overall - 8
Viewing Dusk Maiden of Amnesia was a pleasure each week, and while various nuances detracted from the shows overall enjoyment, it didn't keep the show from starting strong and ending with a bang. Whether you're looking for chilling horror, loving romance, tearful drama, or any combination of the three, you will enjoy Dusk Maiden. And remember, a story can be good whether it has a happy ending or a bittersweet one.
We all get in the mood for some fun, excitement and a good love story. And we all love to watch anime with our significant others...so that we can witness what our favorite characters are doing with their significant others. It's time to check out some top-notch action romance anime!
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