Animation: Fair
Depth: Good
Design: Fair
Characters: Fair
Story: Good

Type: TV   (6 episodes)

Vintage: 2008

Category:

» horror
» suspense
Verdict: good
Review:

Mnemosyne

Also known as: Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne


Summary: >

Every few years the world tree Yggdrasil appears and from it emerge seeds called time fruits. Normally seeds pass through people and things with no consequence, but on a rare occasion a seed becomes stuck in a human body. This makes women immortal. They can be killed, but always resurrect after regenerating. Men on the other hand, turn into creatures called angels: monsters with insatiable lust to copulate and devour immortal women who are helplessly drawn to them.

Rin is centuries old, and runs a freelance agency taking odd jobs with a fellow immortal named Mimi. The latest case is pretty strange. Koki doesn't think he's the right person. He's physically and mentally fine, but everything feels wrong. It's clear that something is amiss since people keep trying to kidnap or kill him. Mimi and Rin have done this kind of work for some time, and so even this job falls under ordinary to them. Unlike all of their previous clients, Koki would change their destiny as their stories cross through the years.


Thoughts: >

Many moons ago violent horror was a staple of anime. Those titles often had a lot of sex too. It's been a very long time since that was fashionable, so I found Mnemosyne to be an cool throwback to that era. It is however much more intelligent with its approach, and better than I remember those titles being. Old school anime was also very explicit with graphic violence (and sex). Mnemosyne has a lot of gory violence, but it's implied instead of showing us every bloody detail. Likewise there isn't any explicit sex, but it is very suggestive of what goes on. This allows the anime to be just as disturbing as many of those old school titles, without reveling in carnage as they often did.

This is very much a horror title, and needless to say there is some totally messed up stuff that goes on. I have an unusual fear of being cut by pointy objects like scalpels, so seeing Rin tortured to death in this way really creeped me out. Most of the ways she experiences death very.. unhappy. In one scene, Rin's guts are sucked back into her body after a bomb explosion, but seen visually only as a silhouette. It's not graphic, yet the impact is just as effective. Horror here isn't cheesy Halloween decorations on a happy meal. This stuff is really messed up. If there was a quantitative way to measure "freaky shit", I'd say Mnemosyne could be a contender as the reining champion in anime. That's not all it has to offer though.

Mnemosyne's story centers around Rin and the Maeno family. Starting around the 1990s with Koki Maeno, each episode takes us farther into the future, with Koki aging, and his descendants interacting with Rin. Each story unfolds like a mystery, but it never gives enough pieces of the puzzle to figure out what will happen, so it's more of a suspense title. Also mixed in are encounters with angels, and a crazy immortal who's obsessed with killing Rin. Things move into a bigger plot around episode 4. For a title which you might think is all about sex and violence, Mnemosyne has a surprisingly well told, well thought out story.

The story is good, but I especially like the really weird stuff cranking up the "WTF" factor up a lot. Aside from horror styled violence and sex, it digs into abstract topics too. Immortals often live dangerous lifestyles to feel alive and do charity work to give them a purpose. Aside from the Mermaid Saga, I can't name another anime which gives much thought to that consequence of immortality. While I wouldn't want to watch this kind of title on a regular basis, anime as an industry has recently felt like it's in a rut. Watching something with a healthy amount of shock value is a good way to shake things up. It's obviously not for everyone, but even for those not into horror/sex/violence it's worth checking into. Not only because it's different, but intelligent as well.


Quote: >

Tamotsu: 1.0, 2.0. In my day one reality was more than we could handle.


Screen Caps: >

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reviewed by archen in 2011