Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
"Yuko", a name each student at Seikyou Academy has heard at least once. The tale of her demise long ago varies, but they all agree about the spirit which haunts the old school.
Teichi is a new student and has already heard the story of Yuko, but isn't convinced she exists; until he meets her. Yuko seems mostly normal aside from being dead and having lost her memories. Teichi decides to investigate her past, only to uncover a far more sinister spirit at the school related to Yuko. What is the connection?
I'm not superstitious, but I'd still never build a house over an Indian graveyard. Building a school over a shrine containing the "stone of death" seems like an equally dumb idea, but if it worked like how it does in anime, I chance it to get haunted like a foxy girl like Yuko. As far as Dusk Maiden of Amnesia goes, I'm haunted by the memory of an anime which had amazing potential but ended up pretty generic.
This anime excels aesthetically in artwork and presentation. I've criticised similar shows for being "overdone"; but in this case I think it works well. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia has a lighter side, but the visuals do a good job reminding you of the darkness always lurking. Fan service is tossed in which cheapens things a lot, along with other occasional silliness. This keeps the anime from wallowing in despair, but it also removes it from the realm of being a purist horror/mystery.
Everything is Yuko-Teichi centric, however I felt indifferent about the other characters. Aside from the main 5, there are no other characters; making the anime feel a little empty. One girl can't see Yuko, while another one gets scared when alone. In theory they work well in a ghost story, but Dusk Maiden of Amnesia doesn't realize their potential. In the end it comes down to the playful and mischievous Yuko. She's is a make or break feature of the show. Few anime titles are so dependant on a linchpin character as this one. Yuko is somewhat generic as far as anime girls go, making her likeability iffy. If you don't like her, the crush portrayed as a binding love throughout the show doesn't work, and the deeper story becomes ineffective since it relies on sympathy with her character. For me this worked, but I can certainly see how it wouldn't for many people.
I wanted a good ghost story, which Dusk Maiden of Amnesia has; and I wanted to know more about it the more I learned. The usual formula of lighter beginning and drama towards the end plays out as expected, however the end blew me away. Looking back, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia could have been a 10 out of 10 anime. No joke. Toning down the goofiness, keeping it playful but not silly, would have kept the tone more consistent. The weak beginning could be fixed with better told stories and more importantly a better developed Yuko. It gets close in some regards. The big problem comes with the ending.
I'm not sure what to say about the end. If you are satisfied with the poetic "farewell" written in the notebook near the end of episode 12, you can stop watching. I thought this episode was fantastic up to that point, but watching after that completely trashed it, cheapening the whole experience.
I have a hard time rating Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. It could have been an incredible anime with a darker tone and going full tilt bitter sweet ending. I can't give points on unrealized potential, but probably shouldn't subtract any for disappointment. This leaves Dusk Maiden of Amnesia as a semi generic "less intense" horror show done the (modern) anime way. That's fine, but doesn't stand out enough to pick up in my opinion.
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