Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Complete Collection (2012)

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Complete CollectionAt first, I didn't think I'd like Dusk Maiden of Amnesia (Tasogare Otome X Amnesia), but this series pleasantly surprised me.

The story revolves around a first-year middle school student, Teiichi Niiya who had just enrolled at Seikyou Private Academy. When he gets lost in one of the school's old building, he meets a girl named Yuko Kanoe who reveals herself as a ghost with no memories. Teiichi then decides to investigate her death by looking through the school's seven mysteries revolving around her. Throughout the story, Teiichi and Yuko discover the truth about these ghost stories and help those who are troubled.

This series is very unique, combining both horror, mystery, and comedy over the course of 12 exciting episodes. Once you start watching, you'll be hooked. This series would've received 5 stars if not for the high amounts of fanservice. As a female anime fan, fanservice never appealed to me. And, in this show in particular, the fanservice greatly distracted me from the plot. So,overall:


+Mix of horror/comedy genres

+Fast-paced storyline

+Catchy opening theme

+Great Ending


-Large amounts of fanservice

Overall, this is a must-buy!

Afternote: I did not review the dub, since it was unreleased. You can view the sub on for free (legally, of course).

When I first came across this anime, I had recently seen episodes of the psychological horror Another: Complete Collection [Blu-ray] so I was ready for another supernatural anime to continue the trend. When I read the premise about a student who meets a female ghost with no memories, and decides to help her solve the mystery of her past, I decided to give it a try; open-mindedly expecting another entertaining supernatural experience. What I got was a hybrid of romance and harem, with shots of horror and mystery...and fan service to boot. This could easily turn some people off, but for me it worked, and worked well.

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia (Tasogare Otome × Amunejia) is based on the ongoing manga by the author Maybe. Niiya Teiichi (Teiichi-kun) while walking through his middle school's run down classroom wings, he remembers the stories of the ghost who walks the halls...and if he should come across a mirror, do NOT look into it! Needless to say, one never listens and he is thrown into the unpredictable world of the supernatural thanks to a beautiful female student ghost, Kanoe Yuuko (Yuuko-san). With no memories of her past, this happy go-lucky, yet all alone specter takes a strong liking to the first person who is ever able to see her...and touch her which is where a lot of the fan service comes in. Attempting to figure out who she is, they create the Paranormal Investigations Club and figure out the mysteries of this school one by one. However, the deeper they go towards Yuuko's true life and death, the more tragic it becomes.

To round out the club, there is Momoe and Kirie. Momoe is a perky girl who has a crush on Teiichi-kun and is all out into the supernatural. Since she is the only one who cannot see Yuuko-san in the group, she serves for some funny comic relief and also believes that Teiichi-kun has a sixth sense for talking to the dead and breaking curses. Kirie is a bit more on the serious side but can also see Yuuko-san which she is not too happy about. She originally believes that Yuuko-san is an evil spirit trying to seduce Teiichi-kun but eventually joins the club as they discover more details about her true past. She also has some feelings for Teichii-kun and a deeper connection to Yuuko-san.

The product itself looks gorgeous in Bluray, better quality than I remember seeing on The opening and ending themes with their autumn and evening colors really come through on this release. If you are a collector or fan of the anime...I suggest that you simply get this. For the price, you get (2) Blu-ray disks with all 12 episodes, including a previously unreleased in the states OVA, (2) soundtrack CDs and a separate "extended" 12th episode. You also get a decent dub and crisp subtitles (wish they were not yellow though, but they are clear) and a Japanese actor commentary track for each episode! I did purchase mine from which is why I got it early and it seems to be a bit more cheaper Also, I will add that as of right now, I have not noticed any audio or video issues on this SentaiFilmworks release...except in Episode 5 where Kirie's mouth moves but there is no vocals in the dub. When she opens her mouth a second later the entire dub vocal does come out to match the subtitles for the Japanese though.

What I love most about this anime is the more I watch it, the more I get out of it. Yes, Yuuko-san does serve as a very well-endowed, eye candy for harem ecchi lovers. However, the reasoning behind her overly cheery, romantic and excessive motivations become clearer with each episode I watch.

Some have complained about the anime's ending, which I will not speak of to avoid any spoilers. Personally I enjoyed it, and I say remember, this was an ongoing manga so episodes in the future (in addition to the OVA) might not be out of the question to continue this series (however, it was just announced that the manga is officially ending in Japan on June 22, 2013). It seems that anime that come from unfinished or ongoing media such as light novels or manga, tend to have mixed opinion endings.

For the beauty of the anime and music, and the amount that you get in this bluray package, I give Dusk Maiden of Amnesia a 5 out of 5. It is not a perfect anime, but for the mixture that it is I believe it does well, and for the product as a whole, you are getting it for a great price. If you want to review a few episodes to see if its for you before purchasing, I recommend going to Crunchyroll as the subtitled episodes are now free to view

Buy Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Complete Collection (2012) Now

Although the beginning started off slow as ecchi and shoujo about the love between a high school boy and a ghost, the pieces soon began to connect throughout the series and more dark/horrific themes are insinuated. Though the ending was a definite tear-jerker, there seemed to be a happy ending after all. Even though I believed the series would have ended up a lot better if the happy ending was not pursued, it was overall an enjoyable anime to me.

Read Best Reviews of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Complete Collection (2012) Here

Several reviews do a good job of outlining the plot, so I will not bother. What flaws this show has, and they are relatively minor, derive from that plot. The first episode atarts with an extended scene that ends up being shown twice from two points of view. Good concept but it goes on too long. This making scenes too long happens several times. The flow of the story across episodes falls into a familiar pattern: first several episodes introduce concepts and characters, and sets up expectations. Later episodes then surprise you by deviating from those expectations. Alot of the surpises in the story did not surprise me. The characters are very much atandard archetypes and mostly 2 dimentional with the possible exception of the ghost, Yuuko Konoe. While yes these are all flaws, they are very minor flaws, especially since plot is not the best reason to watch this show.

The reason to watch Dusk Maiden is for the art. It looks simply spectacular. Every episode had scenes where I just sat back and marveled at the attention to detail, the subtle things hidden in shadows, the dowright brilliant use of colors. Almost every trick to create mood from art is used, and it almost invariably works. Scenes will become fuzzy, or pixelated, or the view will become small, or the characters will be standing far away, mostly seen by their vastly elongated shadows. Shadows and furniture will form kanji. Symbolism is everywhere.

A decent but unspectacular plot becomes so much more because of all these visual techniques. You won't notice how the plot does not create mood all that well, because the art carries the load and does create the mood that is so important to any horror story.

The plot is better than most though far from the best, and visually this may be the best I have seen, so giving this a full 5 stars.

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Dusk Maiden of Amnesia (黄昏乙女×アムネジア -the first two kanji translate as yellow-dark, AKA twilight, the last two as second-place young girl, which for some reason emphasizes her purity, so maiden, rather than just girl. Amnesia is the English loan word. Her name is Kanoe Yuuko, and she's a ghost. She died in the school 60 years ago, and cannot remember her former life or the circumstances of her death. She understands happiness (and maybe a little jealousy), but not loneliness or hate or anger, and there's only two people who can see her. The series is about her and her living friend Taiichi, and their attempts to discover her background. Each episode reveals a little bit more -sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes scary. It turns out that there's a "shadow Yuuko", of evil appearance, onto whom our Yuuko has dumped all her negative emotions, all her hate and anger and loneliness. At the end, Taiichi goes back through the memories of shadow Yuuko to find that Yuuko was left in an underground shrine to die 60 years ago by superstitious villagers trying to fend off a plague. He manages to convince the two Yuuko's to merge, and out comes a well-rounded ghost, capable of a full range of emotions, free to move on to the next plane of existence.

This is a very good anime, with an equal balance of fun and horror. The flashback scenes are particularly well handled -the viewer is riding in the head of the subject, and can't close his eyes or look away or change anything. While it's a horror anime, Dusk Maiden saves the horror and creepiness for those specific moments when it will do the most good. Yuuko is a ghost, so she has to have died, but you don't figure out until later that her death was painful and alone, and you don't find out until near the end that it was horrific as well.

The ending is romantic and weepy.

The artwork is middling-good, very much a comic-book style. The animators saved money by using a lot of stills, but overall it works well. The American dub crew does an OK job, but come across as trying a little too hard. The DVD includes a commentary version of selected episodes, with the Japanese cast ad-libbing comments (subbed) over top of the sound track. Some people like this, but I rarely find it interesting.

Also included in the American release is a two-CD soundtrack set. The first three tracks on the first CD are various flavors of the ED: long, TV, and instrumental. The rest are one or two minute clips of incidental music. Most of that is horror related, with various combinations of heavy beats of drums, heavy beats of violins in the low register, or heavy beats of violins in high register. At times, it sounds like Shostakovitch. The second CD includes "Requiem", the ED for episode 10. The OP, "Chior Jail" is represented only by an instrumental track -last one on CD 2.

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