- Titles: Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
- Genre: Supernatural, mystery, comedy, drama, school, horror
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: SILVER LINK.
Seikyou Academy has a paranormal investigation club. What’s the big deal, you may be thinking? Tons of anime high schools have paranormal investigation cubs. That’s nothing to get excited about. Well, what if I told you that years ago, a student actually died at this particular school? Still not convinced? I guess that happens a lot as well. Anime high schools are dangerous places. But there’s more, they say that the ghost of this student still haunts the old school building and if you happen to wander around those dusty halls too much, you may just end up haunted yourself! What!?! You’ve heard it all before? There were dozens of stories exactly like this at your high school? Fine then, this is my last try, this particular ghost also happens to be the president of the paranormal investigation club and she’s pretty cute! Have I got your attention now?
I try to put together a bunch of special posts for Halloween time each year. Usually, I go through my to-watch list and single out any title that could be loosely interpreted as “Horror”, “Suspense”, “Thriller” or even “Paranormal” and pool those reviews to publish in October. From time to time, I go out of my way and watch a few series I wasn’t planning on to round off the posts.
This year though, I came up empty. There was nothing at all on my to-watch list that fit the bill. So I went through AniList and found a bunch of horror anime I hadn’t watched instead. I was cautious, there must be a reason I had never put them on my list after all… Dusk Maiden of Amnesia was the first I watched.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is 10 years old. To be frank, I thought it might have been older than that. There’s a nostalgic quality to the character designs. It was rather endearing in fact.
As for the rest of the visuals and colour scheme, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia looks like a horror anime. Let me try to show you what I mean:
And these aren’t just a sequence here and there, the entire show looks like this. You could easily splice these images into a show like Another and it would fit like a glove. The same can be said for the sound design. There is an overt insistence on using the most standard and overt cinematic language and visual tropes of horror animation. And if you’ve watched the show, you know that’s brilliant. The effect of the production is subverted by the text which renders the entire experience that much more fun.
I’ll explain more in the story part of this post. Basically, if you strip the plot out, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia looks and sounds like a generic horror anime. But it’s not and that is what makes the production here witty, if not always imposing.
Story & Characters
Before I go any further, I will say that I think the less you know about Dusk Maiden of Amnesia before watching it, the better. So if the screencaps or title made you think you may want to give this anime a try, you might want to skip the review all together. I’m going to be extra super careful of spoilers but even then, I had a blast discovering what it was for myself. And I usually don’t care about spoilers much.
I will admit that Dusk Maiden of Amnesia did scare me. It scared me that I could have missed this little gem. I had so much fun with this show.
So why did I like the horror production so much? Well because Dusk Maiden of Amnesia isn’t exactly a horror. It has the trappings of a horror show: ghosts, vengeance, curses and death, but in execution, it’s a slapstick comedy and ecchi romance. How’s that for genre fusion? And surprisingly, it mostly works.
The first half of the series is more or less a school club slice of life comedy. There are characters that can’t see or hear the ghost Yuuko and a lot of comedy is derived from what she does and how it gets interpreted by them. By the second half of the first episode, I was pretty much smirking and giggling the whole time.
And if you’re wondering about the ecchi part, I would call it a My Dress-Up Darling level of ecchi. Some good fanservice especially on Yuuko’s part who is more than willing to seduce her chosen boy with her feminine wiles but nothing too lewd. Mostly cute.
The second half of the series picks up the central plot of the show and really focuses on the mystery of Yuuko’s death and what happened all those years ago. At this point, there’s a rather sharp tonal shift and the show becomes much more serious and even dramatic at times. Normally I wouldn’t like that but enough moments of dissonance are strewn about to make this shift feel both natural and somehow inevitable.
And the first half develops the characters enough that I was invested and interested in their fates.
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with my tastes in anime. I will say that the latter half of the show becomes dramatic and really plays up the romance of the series. All things that normally turn me off a show. But I liked it. I really liked it. I remember thinking to myself after the last episode, oh my, that was really good. I can’t stop smiling now.
I wouldn’t say the show is brilliant or without flaws, but it manages to balance so many different aspects and genres very well. That in itself is impressive. And it does so without ever taking itself too seriously or taking the audience for idiots.
It might be one of my favourite romances now.
I’m leaving this review extremely vague. As I mentioned at the top, I strongly think that discovering Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is a big part of the fun. But just because the post is shorter than usual, don’t let that fool you into thinking I didn’t like it. This show was actually one of the more pleasant anime surprises I have had in a while!
You might like this anime if:
It’s such an unusual anime that it’s difficult for me to tell if you’d like it or not. Give it a try!
My favourite character:
Yuuko, who else?
a nice glass of Amnesia
- Every time Yuuko messes with Okonogi – take a sip
- Every time Yuuko flirts with Niiya – oh my!
- Every time there’s a phone call with the club president – take a sip
- Every time Niiya wears his glasses – take a sip
- Every time Niiya blushes – awwww
- Every time we see scary Yuuko – hide
- Every time there’s a shot of shiny ear studs – take a sip
- Every time the art shifts to classic ink paintings – admire
- Every time Okonogi gets super excited – take a deep breath
- Every time Kirie gets annoyed – take a sip
- Every time we see a long-haired girl in silhouette – take a sip
- Every time there’s a bell – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.