Anime: Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

I know, there have been a lot of book posts lately, but that doesn’t mean I’ve neglected watching anime. I was just waiting for the animes to finish their run on television before I started watching. So as the Spring season comes to a close, I’ve finally started watching. The first anime that ended (that I was interested in as well), was Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. With a title like that, who wouldn’t be intrigued?

I watched the first episode and thought it was crafted quite well, so it was with some enthusiasm that I delved into the rest of the anime. Boy was I disappointed. First impressions can be misleading. Evidently. The first episode was interesting, I liked how they told the story twice from two different perspectives, it’s a method of storytelling not used often. Also the animation and design all looked pretty good, and even though the characters seem to fall into the usual categories, there was still hope, it was the first episode after all. There was a good deal of comedy, but it was comedy that was genuinely funny. There’s wasn’t too much focus on romance and just enough of the dark atmosphere that the title seemed to imply.

What went wrong I wonder? If they managed to keep all that they had done well in the first episode, perhaps it would have turned out a decent anime. It’s not as if the plot was original, we’ve seen the whole ghost and human romance thing a couple of times. Although in this case, the ghost is quite different from your usual. She has a solid form that can be touched (something that they totally overuse that), she changes appearance depending on people’s perception (something which could be used to great effect) and of course was totally HOT. I have nothing against Yuuko (as the ghost is called). I just didn’t see the need for copious amount of fan service. Add to that the best animations were always focused on her body and fairly sexualized images of her, it just pissed me off. Okay, I understand that some people like it, but really. CONSTANTLY BOOBS IN MY FACE.

It’s very hard for an anime to be both dark and comedic and romantic all at the same time. At this point, perhaps I should add that I shy away from romantic comedies. It’s not my favourite genre, although I’ve watched my fair share. Now the problem with Dusk Maiden of Amnesia wasn’t so much that it was a romantic comedy, but that it had the whole dark element, harem-ish elements, psychological and horror elements. It all made for a very inconsistent anime. It would have probably worked out better if they stuck to one genre. I appreciated the whole horror and psychological aspects of the anime, they were good in and of themselves, but when mixed with the rest, they were just weird. Maybe weird is the wrong word here, a better way to describe it would be toned down. If you recall the anime shiki, it was good because it stuck to one main genre and the rest made the whole psychological effect more potent. For Dusk maiden, the other storylines just make the horror and psychological calafaire. And this seems contrary to the title of the anime.

The whole harem thing made me want to gag (but that’ just me) and although the comedy was normally quite funny, at times they were slightly over-exaggerated. The romantic aspect was ridiculous (I’m a more josei person, so teenage-school romances are just not my thing). I mean Yuuko is made out to be a pretty cool and independent ghost girl, until she falls in love that is. Then again giving her character that is eventually revealed, I guess it is totally understandable the way she clung onto Niiya. Still I could deal with all of this, it was a short 12 episode anime after all. Story-wise, putting aside the whole melting pot of genre, I could still appreciate the story to some extent. It was mysterious and managed to continue to capture my interest.

What really annoyed me (as if I wasn’t already annoyed enough) was the styles that they chose in animation and direction. It was as if the melting point of genres wasn’t enough, they threw in a crazy variety of camera effects (is that the correct term?). What they ended up with was an anime that had absolutely no style of its own. I cannot even begin to describe what they did, and it annoyed me not because they had been done before, but because they used such a plethora that there was no consistency. Perhaps it’s because so the different genres, but still, I wish the anime had a distinctive style that could at least set it apart from every other anime out there. Doesn’t so much of dusk maiden remind you of other animes watched recently or in the past?

And that is the problem with this anime, the lack of consistency. It was as if each episode had a different director who had different ideas of how the anime should look. Except this wasn’t the case, it wasn’t that each episode was different, it was the some scenes were just so out-of-place. And don’t even get me started on the ending. Personally, I couldn’t help drawing comparisons to ginban kaleidoscope. An anime about a ghost haunting a human. That was a well done anime with good romance and comedy to boot. It’s like comparing twilight (dusk maiden) to lord of the rings (ginban kaleidoscope). You can see my frustration. And the characters were just average.

On a funnier note, did anyone else notice the super exaggerated poses that Kanoe Kirie was striking towards the end of the anime? They were seriously hilarious and reminded me to ace attorney for some reason. I’m not entirely why they did that to her, it was just so strange, but so strange it became funny.

So my final verdict on this anime? As if it isn’t already obvious, I did not like it, and I’m actually quite amazed I stuck out till the end of the anime. This anime has its moments, but it was marred by indecisiveness. It has plot holes everywhere and the ultimate feel of the show to me was that it was all over the place. I would not recommend this anime, but if you are prepared to suspend your cognitive abilities, then by all means watch and enjoy all the beautifully animated ecchi moments.

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve disliked an anime so vehemently, but no apologies! It has a really good first episode, and some plot elements that could have worked SO well, but it turned out to just be a mess. Here’s hoping the rest of the spring season would turn out better. I’ll be watching Kimi to Boku Season 2, catching up on the highly anticipated sakamichi no apollon as well as tsuritama and hyouka. The last two looked very beautiful on first episode impressions, but I’ve come to realize how misleading first episodes can be. So I shall try to watch them with no expectations.


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