Here we are with yet another review, this time with Dusk Maiden of Amnesia! Available from Hanabee on Blu-ray or DVD, the Blu-ray can be reached at
Look forward to more reviews in the future, as we work through our backlog of anime~.
"It was then
back when I didn't know anything--
though I don't remember it
it's a story about myself."
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia revolves around the story of the Paranormal Investigations Club and the mysteries that surround the Academy in which the protagonists reside. Based on the manga of the same name, the anime presents a large variety of cases which are solved to eventually unravel the mysteries surrounding the death of Yuuko, the "Dusk Maiden". The relationship between Yuuko and the co-protagonist Teiichi is a fundamental part of this anime, and as a result every subplot usually results in the continued development of this relationship. Those expecting a good mystery/horror with elements of romance will not be dissappointed with the plot.
The director Oonuma Shin does have some problems with pacing towards the end, where the anime reaches its conclusion, however he is able to deliver an anime which, although is episodic in nature due to its setting, is able to keep the viewer entertained throughout the entirety of the series. 12 episodes is sufficiently long enough to provide the plot with enough time to fully develop, yet short enough to ensure that we are not in a useless cycle of mystery cases->solution->next case. Shin's ability to always lead us into the next case helps to alleviate most of these transitions, and in the end that is what makes this anime a recommended watch.
The art is, for the most part, what we've come to expect from a studio like Silver Link. Like its sister studio, SHAFT, we're treated to gratuitous use of on-screen text, weird angle shots and silhouettes. The art style is almost a carbon-copy of ef and Bakemonogatari, but this is not a bad thing by any means. Both the character and background art are superbly detailed and set the mood for the show perfectly. Maybe's original character designs (yes, that is his nom de plume) also transition perfectly to anime, especially the mysterious, and at times frightening, Yuuko. The attention given to her every movement only enhances her enigmatic nature, drawing us in as the mysteries of her past and true nature are revealed.
Hanabee once again has provided both the English and Japanese vocal tracks with this release, and in a rare case the English voice actors are the more experienced ones! Clint Bickham voices the main protagonist Teiichi, and like his other roles in ef: A tale of memories (review link), and Air Gear he proves once again his ability to express the character in key moments perfectly. Emily Neves (previously Kanade in Angel Beats, and Kotomi in Clannad) should not be forgotten as well, and her experiencing in voicing mysterious female leads is displayed here once again.
The Japanese talent is as usual up to par, with Hara Yumi making her second appearance as the female lead of an anime, without making it seem obvious. What anime could be complete without one experienced seiyuu however, and Kitamura Eri's performance (previous works: Toradora, Fairy Tail, Mahoun Shoujo Madoka Magica and many more) as Kanoe proves once again why she is regarded as a top talent in the industry today.
If there's one thing i will remember from this anime it's the opening song Choir Jail. The strength of Konomi Suzuki's voice really shines in this song, cementing it as not only one of the best OP's during the 2012 spring season, but the 2012 year. The OST on the other hand pales in comparison. That isn't to say it's a bad thing, as it is able to provide tension and a sense of eeriness during the most climatic scenes, however there are no such memorable tracks. With that said, Hanabee's release comes with the OST (2 disc set), and this is definitely a good thing, as the soundtrack is certainly one of high production quality, even though it is not the best soundtrack of the 2012 year.
Yuuko is undoubtedly the star of the show. As she drags the main character, Teiichi, around to play jokes and satisfy her every whim, you can't help but feel that you're being dragged along for the ride too. Her mischievous and flirtatious personality is undeniably charming, but you can't help but ask the same questions that Teiichi does as the show progresses. How did Yuuko die in such a strange place? Doesn't she feel any regret or harbour any desire for revenge? And most importantly, why is she still here?
As for Teiichi himself, he is the typical, ordinary anime protagonist. But this also makes him very easy to relate to as he's subjected to Yuuko's jokes time and time again. They share an unusual relationship, and the constant flirting between them is somewhat reminiscent of Holo and Lawrence from Spice and Wolf.
Other characters, like the cold Kirie or the enthusiastic Momoe mostly serve to keep the plot moving and facilitate the development of Yuuko and Teiichi's relationship. However, they also provide a source of valuable comic relief.
OVERALL ENJOYMENT AND CONCLUSION
2012 was a good year of anime, and Dusk Maiden of Amnesia was one of the better releases. The series was enjoyable all the way through its ending and Hanabee once again has gone a step further by not only providing the anime, but also the soundtrack for Australian audiences. If you decide to take the plunge into the murky depths of the paranormal, and mysterious past of Seikyou Academy you will not regret it. An anime that is able to keep the viewer on their toes throughout the entire series while solving episodic mysteries, and leave us with a lasting impression of the characters should always be a recommended watch, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia falls in this category.
This review has been written for the UWAnime Japanese Animation Clubby Savage1 and ryuuzer0. This publication does not express the viewsor opinions of the UWAnime Japanese Animation Club. The views andopinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors alone.