For normal people, getting stabbed to death would constitute the end of the road. For Rin Asogi, it's a mere inconvenience. Rin is immortal, a nice perk to have when you're a private detective constantly finding yourself in dangerous situations.
Rin has eaten a "time fruit": a fruit from the guardian tree Yggdrasil, which, when consumed by a woman, makes her unable to die. Rin's immortality doesn't stop others from trying to kill her, of course; over her long lifetime she has been shot at, cut up, maimed, tortured, and suffered countless other violent deaths.
This time, it's different. The year 1990 sparks the beginning of a series of events in Rin's life that sends her spiraling toward her fate. Someone is hunting down immortal women like Rin, and Rin's life may be in actual danger.
Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi spans 65 years in Rin's life, during which she watches those around her get old while she herself remains unchanged. Higher forces are after her, and Rin must use every means at her disposal—or her next death may just be her last.
And it all begins when she goes searching for a lost cat, but finds the amnesiac Koki Maeno instead...
Okay, this is my first anime review, bear with it.
Mnemosyne is a truly orginal anime. I have never seen anything like it ever before. Each episode takes place in a different time frame and jumps decades at a time from episode to episode. What's more, the surrounding environment changes along with it. Technology developes, buildings that were once prominent become dilapidated and destroyed and charaters age.
The story seems to be complicated at first, but once it ends, the whole picture seems to fall into focus. The story surrounds a woman named Rin Asogi who runs a consulting agency with her friend Mimi and pet dog
Genta. The thing is, they are both immortal from a plant called Yggdrasil which releases spores that if entered into a woman, makes them immortal and they can live for practically forever. But if it enters a male, they become angels and can only live for a short amount of time. When both are near each other, the female is sexually attracted to the angel and asks of him to "devour" her.
Eventually, Rin meets Kouki Maeno in the first episode and throughout the series, the Maeno family becomes the key element in the story along with a demigod Eipos who is adiment on eating Rin's timespore.
The art direction is fantastic, although the memory flashbacks kind of make it hard to see and understand what is going on. But that is the point of it all, since memories can become fuzzy and hard to remember.
The sound is great since you can hear every action shot, explosion and gut-wrenching scene quite clearly.
As for characters, they are well diverse and well thought out and have a different spin on personality as well as leaving some family resemblance when it comes to the Maeno family.
I thoroughly enjoyed this anime. Although some spots become difficult to understand when you start each episode. But overall, it was very good to watch and I highly recommend it for those of you who enjoy something aside from mainstream anime and don't mind nudity, action, explosions, etc.
First, let me get the obvious out of the way: the first two words I heard about this series were "torture porn" and it's not far from the truth. I do think there's more to the show than that, it tries to have an engaging plot beyond pure smut and the concept is actually a decent one that somewhat justifies the show's perverse tendencies. Setting aside any moral issues I might have with it, for the purposes of this review it's no different than any other kind of fanservice, especially since it's sort of justified by the show's mythos. That said, if frequent nudity, erotic
moaning and women being torn asunder in various and sundry ways is a deal-breaker for you, there's no need to read this review any further because Rin: Daughter of Mnemosyne has quite a lot of that going on. You have been warned.
The visuals behind Mnemosyne are hit and miss. On one hand, the backgrounds are nice and detailed and the animation is pretty solid and consistent, but on the other the use of lighting varies wildly in quality and the character designs are a bit generic, sometimes even dipping into ugly. When it's too dark, scenes that should be gripping just come out drab, and when it's too bright they end up looking gaudy. The show occasionally strikes the right balance, but the lack of consistency can be distracting, and the choreography behind the fights are pretty lackluster to boot. It's not completely incompetent, there are some good moments, but most of the show's important action scenes tend to fall flat. Maybe I'm being too harsh, it's perfectly watchable and never looks bad, it just could've used more panache. At the very least, it has a few decent camera angles mixed in.
Maybe it'd be more compelling with better music, but it was not meant to be. Half the time the music doesn't really support the series, it just feels like it was slapped on at the end with barely any thought given. It's a perfectly good soundtrack that could have matched the tone the series was going for in theory, but there was clearly very little effort put into its integration, so the strained music direction is a real shame. Combined with the poorly executed visuals, it makes all the difference between these scenes being edge-of-your-seat thrilling and just "stuff that happens". I will say that the opening and ending are both hilariously bad Engrish songs.
The voice acting in both languages is fine, perfectly serviceable all-around, but neither really tries to go beyond the call of duty. The exception to this is Todd Haberkorn as the villainous Apos, his voice dripping with venomous obsession in a way few voice actors can nail. Stop casting him as harem leads, Funimation, he's capable of much better than that. Also, I suppose Mimi sounds better in the dub, but that might just be my distaste for moe bleeding through, I'll take Jamie Marchi's sassy performances over Rie Kugimiya's distilled cutesiness any day. I digress. For a show as dry and dramatic as this I can't help but think that more nuanced performances would have been fitting, but the scripts and acting in both languages are pretty content to just skate by. On the surface, the whole package just looks dull and uninspired.
In case my lack of enthusiasm wasn't immediately apparent, I'll just come out and say it: I was not impressed by this series in the least. Looking at the concept on paper I can see where its modest popularity comes from, promising a sexy thriller with suspenseful battles, engaging mysteries and a unique mythos. Oh, and lots of fanservice, if that tickles your fancy. In execution, though, the series doesn't deliver. Out of all the possible reactions I was prepared for going into this series, the one thing I did not expect was that I would find it boring, and yet that is just what happened. The poor direction is undeniably a big part of it--for a show that seems to want to stand out, the fights and action sequences are pretty standard, no flair or finesse to keep the audience's interest. Even when the risk takes on a global scale the tension is nonexistent. Mnemosyne is at its best when it's being tongue-in-cheek, so why couldn't it just stick with that?
Still, even with bland execution some shows can leave a positive impression if they put out a decent story. But nope, to call the story here mediocre would be generous. The entire first three episodes could be removed from the story altogether with only minimal rewriting and at virtually no detriment to the overarching story. The plot drags its feet through arc after inconsequential arc that often have little to do with the ridiculous mess that's eventually revealed to be the plot, and at the end of the day it seems to sincerely want the audience to take it seriously on some level. I couldn't help but think that this should have been a feature-length film if anything, maybe that would have given it some much-needed focus. We don't need to be repeatedly reminded that vodka means water in Russian without variation, thank you very much. Apos' final plan is absurd and pointless and half of his means have nothing to do with the end. Several twists are thrown in for no apparent reason except to make the plot more "edgy", and it gets really old really fast, especially when the straightforward direction gives every indication that this story really thinks it's actually going somewhere.
Moreso than its poor plotting, this series falls flat in how it develops--and doesn't develop--its characters. For a centuries-old mystery woman, Rin is simpler and more transparent than she has any right to be. She's not unlikable, she has a respect for humanity and cares about the people who are close for her, but aside from getting angry every now and again she's pretty much static, with no hidden depths aside from a bit of backstory in the finale that doesn't really add anything to her character. Her partner Mimi actually gets more development, and that's not saying much. The side companions they pick up over the course of the series receive much the same treatment. Kouki, for instance, has an interesting backstory that the show conveniently tosses aside for most of his screentime only to pull it back to try to milk it for some last-minute drama. To make matters worse, they're not all that fun to watch. I know this is subjective, but if the show isn't going to make its characters complex and thoughtful the least it could do is make them energized. This show waffles incessantly between silly and serious, never sticking to one long enough to leave any kind of impression.
I've nearly beaten this show to non-death, but I have to come back to the show's fanservice elements, because while I don't think the raunchy material is inherently bad, in execution it drops the show from bland and forgettable to just plain bad. I mentioned that the mythos somewhat justified the presence of fanservice in the show, and it does: the Angels are basically incubi, and while I won't spoil it, a certain pairing becomes part of a ritual that plays a key role in the series' conclusion. It's ridiculous, but with better execution I'd be willing to go with it. Rin using her sex appeal to get close to her targets on missions? That actually makes sense. Battles fought in minimal if any clothing? A bit much, but it happens. A security guard shoving Rin, the unknown and probably dangerous intruder, to the ground and trying to rape her on the spot without subduing her properly? This is getting stupid. Everyone in this show, be they human, Immortal or Angel, is ridiculously horny, to the point that it often gets in the way of their common sense. The series' oversexed nature extends well beyond what's justified by the tone and the mythos, it gets in the way of the story, and it becomes familiar so quickly that it ends up becoming just dull.
I've seen plenty of series stand out positively for the amount of love and care that went into making them, but despite its unusual production history and somewhat interesting ideas Mnemosyne feels shockingly cold and apathetic. It baffles me that the makers of something so novel and daring could care so little for their baby, but that appears to be the case. It has no idea what kind of show it wants to be, the end result tries too hard to be edgy and not hard enough to be entertainingly over-the-top about it. It still has some funny moments and some cool moments, but they're not enough to be called a saving grace. The show had no right to turn out as bland as it did.
“Mnemosyne”, also known as “Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musumetachi”, is a six episode series containing a mix of supernatural, science fiction and horror elements. What will no doubt strike most viewers about this series are its explicit horror and sexually tinted scenes.
Considering these horror and sex scenes, as well as the themes behind them, “Menomosyne” is only suitable for mature viewers. Those who do watch will be treated to a dark series that holds some very interesting references and concepts, both apparent from its visuals or integrated in its plot.
The series' time frame spans over sixty years, the first episode showing us events that occur
in 1990 while the last episode takes place in 2055. Some flashbacks even give us a glimpse of events involving the main characters that took place many centuries ago.
The story follows Rin and Mimi, the various people they encounters and the overarching plot around mysterious phenomenon involving Yggdrasil, everything is slowly unravelled piece by piece to come to a conclusion in the final episode.
In the beginning of the series, Rin and Mimi run a detective agency, as such the first episodes seem to be more independent mystery tales that reveal little about the girls' true nature and nearly nothing about the overarching plot. Gradually more pieces are added to the puzzle and the whole plot becomes clear during the final episode when its fully explained and the intention of those that were pulling the strings behind the shadows becomes clear. This can make the final revelations a bit of a paradoxical experience for the viewer.
On one end, as everything is explained to the audience about the mystic nature of immortals, angels and Yggdrasil, it is rewarding to finally see the bigger picture of the series. On the other end since it was initially so vague that it seemed almost absent during the first episodes, most viewers who have developed a bond with the main heroines are more likely to focus on what becomes of them and may feel more alienated in regards of the overarching plot and its impact on humankind, even though it does involve the main characters.
At first glance it may look like the horror and sexual scenes are there just as selling points to brand the series and fit it in the horror or sexually explicit category, an impression that could even be reinforced when one realizes the meaning behind most of this horror and lust towards the latter half of the series. Yet I found they end up giving the series more depth and add weight to its themes of (im)mortality and human desires. Not only do those scenes explicitly reference to psychological themes or hold sociological meaning, they also tell us more about the characters involved, which may cast a more grim light on some but makes them that much more interesting and involving characters.
Much like the excessive horror and blood spilling in “Elfen Lied” served another purpose than just showing gore, which became clear as the series progressed and ultimately gave it a deeper meaning, especially for its characters.
The cast of “Mnemosyne” is rather small, which makes it easier for us viewers, seeing the limited number of episodes. Most are quite interesting, even when little is known about their pasts, the way they're presented and act shows more intricate and complex characters than the average bland two dimensional characters. Some even offer us quite daring and grim persona.
Rin of course gets the most attention and development, while Mimi is an interesting character, she clearly remains a supporting character to Rin.
Being immortal, Rin especially seems to almost seek out situations where she will encounter physical harm, her body often suffering atrocious injuries. While Mimi is more reserved towards dangerous situations, like Rin she too is no stranger in seeking out the extremes of physical pleasure, certainly sexual pleasures. In the end it's made apparent that being immortal can also be seen as a curse, cut off from one of the very foundations of what it means to be human, one's mortality and finity, the girls can often only thrive or feel alive by seeking out extreme physical experiences and emotions, be it through suffering or pleasure. Paradoxically, their hearts and spirits are shown to remain as those of every other person, while somewhat desensitised towards certain concepts that normal mortal humans face, they became perhaps even more sensitive to others. When they are finally able to bond with someone and feel true emotions such as love, any joyful or painful emotions there seem to be felt even more vivid than for mortal humans.
More disturbing in that aspect, no doubt intentional, was the emotional torture executed on some of the characters, showing that physical pain while great and lethal, can still pale in comparison to mental anguish for which no true deliverance exists, especially when there is no deliverance to be found for it by death.
Portrayed as a strong female lead, who is not only smart and cunning but has terrific martial art skills, Rin is voiced by Mamiko Noto, whose subdued and soft voice could be seen as ill fitting but actually offers a nice contrast and adds indispensable depth to Rin's character by making her not only appear more serene and experienced, but also gives her the aura of a soothing mother figure. This gives Rin a believable mix of strength and vulnerability, of passion and serenity, of distance and attachment.
Mimi's character seems a bit more standard but also turns out to be quite interesting. Mimi's bond to Rin seems to be quite deep and even amorous at the start of the series, but later on those amorous and lustful feelings seem to have given way to a deeper and different attachment. Ultimately Mimi fights to protect and save Rin, the way Rin had once fought to save her.
While the bloody horror scenes should still be stomachable by most, the sadism exhibited in some scenes can be stomach churning. Some characters are repeatedly tortured and mutilated in such sadistic ways, it forms a dark and dire sketch of the inhumanity and levels of sadism some can display. It may seem a gratification or even celebration of sadism, inflicting pain and sexual abuse. A theme that was also touched upon in “Higurashi No Koro Ni”.
Next to the horror, there are many sexual themes and sexually tinted scenes, from near explicit sex scenes to the mutual effect immortals and angels have on each other. All immortals are women and the only real treat to their immortality are angels, males that posses superhuman strength offset by an extremely short lifespan. Devoid of any logical and normal reasoning, angels act as wild beasts that seek out immortals and devour them. Immortals are vulnerable to angels due to their overwhelming physical reaction to them, when close to one, they become utterly defenceless and lust to be embraced by them.
The sexual references are quite obvious, men are referred to as mindless beasts whose power is to subjugate and conquer women, women who regardless of their own powers such as continuing the circle of life, become lustful creatures unable to resist men.
Its story also expanding into the future, “Mnemosyne” shows us an interesting view of mankind's future with a contemporary spawned idea of how the digital world permeate and eventually blend in with the real world.
Animation by Xebec and Genco throughout all the episodes is good, with most focus on the female characters and the realistic, detailed backgrounds. The difference in care and attention of the animation between different scenes can be apparent sometimes. In some scenes where naked bodies are shown, they are not always drawn that well. Some of the horror scenes that would have been too gory and no longer look convincing enough if directly shown, use clever tricks of shading and suggestion.
Overall, the animation of “Mnemosyne” is good, though I did miss a bit of the beautiful animation of Rin and Mimi in the last episode, near the ending sequence, it didn't seem as well cared for as in prior episodes. On many occasions the animation of Rin and Mimi is quite sublime, such as the view of Rin leaning against a stone pillar in the opening sequence.
The soundtrack of “Mnemosyne” is fairly good, the hard rock track accompanying the opening sequence immediately sets the trend for the more raunchy and hard hitting horror and sexual parts of the series. The remainder of the soundtrack does a good job at setting the mood and accompanying what happens on screen, though a more eerie soundtrack could have worked just as well but risked making the series a bit too dark.
I definitely recommend “Mnemosyne” to those who want to see an engaging story with an interesting lead character and aren't afraid of gore or sexually tinted scenes because regardless of those scenes, they emphasise some of the more interesting themes the series holds. And if you're watching it just for the horror and nudity, you'll no doubt be satisfied as well.
“The gift of life is a fleeting precious thing. It is not something to be toyed with." - Asogi Rin
Sex, violence & alcohol. These three things are some of the most prominent in Mnemosyne, and while it may not be as gory as say, Elfen Lied, this series isn’t for the faint of heart.
Originally I went into this thinking it was mostly consisted of copious amounts of torture scenes, gore, and sex scenes, but I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be so much more than that.
Story: (8 / 10)
Mnemosyne follows the lives of two immortal private detectives, Asogi Rin and Mimi,
as they take on various assignments. The series actually span several decades (around 60 years, or so), with each episode skipping quite a few years. Because of this, we see the world and the characters in it change as time goes on, while Rin and Mimi stay the same.
The consulting agency at which the two main characters work at make for “monster of the week”-type episodes, with seemingly unrelated events. However, as the story goes on, we see how it all fits together, and as we learn more about Apos’ (the main antagonist) true motives, we uncover more answers about immortality and the “non-mortal world”.
At first you will encounter so many unanswered questions that it may seem confusing or intimidating to continue watching, but as the episode goes on, the writers do a good job of explaining most things, however not without leaving you with more questions.
This element of mystery and never really knowing what’s really going on, or what’s going to happen next will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire series.
Art: (9 / 10)
The very first thing you’ll see is the opening sequence, which to be honest isn’t anything all that great. It’s more or less your standard “character montage”, with some pretty weird stuff and some fanservice thrown into the mix.
Already in the first scene you’ll see one of the characters wearing nothing but an unbuttoned shirt, while running across a rooftop. This sort of “fanservice” is present throughout the entire series, but because of the way it is done, it never feels as if it’s forced, or takes away from what’s actually happening.
There’ll be a lot of times where the characters are naked, whether it be during a fight scene or during one of the many sex scenes. Yes, there are actual sex scenes in Mnemosyne, something you don’t see in a lot of anime (though here it’s 90% lesbian sex).
Ofcourse there are some scenes where the characters might be perverted just for the sake of being perverted, but most of the time it all fits in rather well with what’s actually happening, and it doesn’t take away from the experience at all.
As for the rest of the art, it’s rather well done, actually. I liked the character designs (especially the choice of physically portraying Mimi as a teenager), and the changes made to the characters as the years passed were nice, as they’d really show that the characters do age, but you were still able to tell who was who.
The overall aesthetics are also well done, and somewhat change throughout the episodes, but nothing really major (though I suppose architecture don’t change that much in 60 years). However, once again you can see that this is a totally different time than the previous episode, and how civilization has advanced.
The animations were fluid, and there was not a moment where I felt like it seemed “stale”.
Sound: (8 / 10)
One of the first things I noticed when I started watching (and it didn’t take me very long) was Kugimiya Rie as the voice of Mimi. Having only heard her voice characters who are a lot more aggressive (and overall very tsundere), Mimi was quite a nice “change of pace” so to speak. While she’s not very aggressive, she has a more “childlike” voice than Rin does, and this fits very well with her character design.
The rest of the voice actors did an overall good job, and there wasn’t really someone who stood out as “that character with the lame voice acting”.
The opening theme, “Alsatia”, and the ending theme, “Cause Disarray”, are both performed by Galneryus, and since they’re both very much done in the same “style”, it makes them sound very similar. I can’t say I really liked these songs at first, but near the end of the series I’d gotten used to them, and I guess this is very much a preferential thing.
The soundtrack was often rather “calm”, or had a very casual feel to it, which was quite the interesting contrast to the themes shown in the series. This didn’t feel like a bad thing, though, and I quite enjoyed the music. One small problem I had with it, however, was that the background music pretty much stays the same for the majority of the series, and I feel like it would’ve been nice if it had changed as the years passed.
Characters: (9 / 10)
The characters are obviously a big part of this series. The two main characters (and their dog) stay the same throughout the series, as everyone else ages. This does not only apply to appearances, but there isn’t really much development for most of the series regarding these two characters. Instead, the show focus more on the backstory, giving us flashbacks now and then, revealing small parts of their past. I thought this was interesting, since the immortals would’ve probably lived for a very long time, and it could be fun to see their past experiences (unfortunately, not much is revealed about their past lives, aside from the parts important to the plot).
Every episode (more or less) introduces a couple new characters to the cast. These characters are usually pretty young when they’re first introduced, meaning they stay around for a an episode or two. Because of the short amount of time these characters are given (as opposed to Mimi & Rin), it’s important to make them as interesting as you can with the given time.
I felt like the writers did a good job with this, as there were times when I’d certainly “feel” for the characters.
All in all, the characters are quite varying, and they’re all rather likeable and interesting, and without this aspect I feel the show would’ve been much worse.
Enjoyment: (9 / 10)
I thoroughly enjoyed Mnemosyne, and was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be such a more interesting anime than just “a bunch of sex and violence” (even if those things are certainly present). Though once again, I’d not recommend this show if you’re susceptible to gore or overall nudity...
+ Interesting storytelling “mechanics” (having the story span decades).
+ Several twists and events to keep you interested.
+ Good art and animation.
+ Makes use of fanservice, as opposed to just “having it there”.
+ Soundtrack makes for a nice contrast to the visuals.
+ Interesting character cast.
- Too many unanswered questions at once may leave you very confused.
- Opening and ending themes have a very specific “style” to them, may not be for everyone.
- Soundtrack doesn’t change all too much with the time skips.
- The levels of violence and nudity may turn you away if you’re not prepared.
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