First Impressions – Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

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Color me intrigued and undecided about Dusk Maiden of Amnesia.

Silver Link made some interesting and unconventional choices with this first episode.  I haven’t read the manga by “Maybe” so I can’t speak to how that story was introduced, but this was unusual and a little risky for an opener.  Maybe is known primarily for adult doujins with a decidedly loli-focused them, so though I don’t think this particular story is supposed to have much of that.  If anything it seems to be a mongrel of genres, with elements of horror, school life and even seinen mixed in – I actually thought of Natsu no Arashi a couple of times during the premiere, though the tone is certainly different.

Some of that might have been due to the schoolgirl ghost factor, but mostly it’s because this is Silver Link, and Oonuma Shin.  Though Sakamoto Takashi is also listed as a director here, this is classic SL/Shin soft-core SHAFT – like Shinbou without as many visual tics.  That means a lot of creative and unusual visual choices, lots of face-pulling and closeups and a very busy camera.  That Shin and Sakamoto chose to effectively run the same mini-episode twice, from two different perspectives, just strengthens the connection.  It’s something I wouldn’t have expected to see as an introduction, and I wonder if some viewers might be a bit confused and left behind.   There’s not a lot of exposition, and it does feel as if the story picks up in  the middle.

As best I can tell, Kanoe Yuuko (Hara Yumi) is a ghost – she’s certainly dead – but first-year middle schooler Niiya Teiichi (Yonaga Tsubasa) can see her.  The hitch is that Yuuko also happens to be President of the Detective Club, whose member Ookonogi Momoe (Misato Fukuen) definitely can’t see her, which is the central conceit of the episode.  The clueless but enthusiastic Ookonogi leads a club meeting by herself as Yuuko mischievously messes with her by moving stuff around the room.  Later, we see the same thing again with Niiya present, as well as fourth member Kanoe Kirie (Kitamura Eri) who keeps up a running argument with Yuuko, though I’m not sure whether Kirie can see her or not.

Presumably there’s going to be quite a bit more back-story in coming episodes, but for now a new viewer will just have to take things at face value.  Yuuko seems to have died at the school and may have been buried under the club room, though there’s a small gravesite with her name on it on the hill behind the school.  It’s a huge and old school too, full of what seem to be mostly derelict buildings.  Yuuki for whatever reason has no memory of how she died (a bell was obviously involved), and has a very possessive crush on Niiya – who Ookonogi (and maybe Kanoe, who knows) also likes.  It also can’t escape notice that Yuuko and Kirie have the same surname, though what their relation is I can’t say.

In other words, the premiere gets a big “Incomplete” because other than physically introducing these four characters it did very little else of substance.  It was fairly entertaining though, with solid animation and an interesting look.  I was surprised to see how little seiyuu work Hara-san has done, because she has a very polished and confident style.  As Niiya, Yonaga-san is a bit more problematic.  He’s a very specific type of actor and doesn’t stretch a lot to fit the role – in the right context he’s great (I love him as Tsutomu in Chihayafuru) but I’m not sold on him here.  I’m encouraged that the directors are already willing to take chances, but that only counts if their gambles pay off more often than not.  For now, it’s wait and see.

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OP: “CHOIR JAIL” by Konomi Suzuki

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17 comments

  1. A

    "..though I’m not sure whether Kirie can see her or not."

    Definitely had me wondering for good portion of the episode.

  2. w

    "Yonaga-san is a bit more problematic. He’s a very specific type of actor and doesn’t stretch a lot to fit the role – in the right context he’s great (I love him as Tsutomu in Chihayafuru)"

    Aw, so you didn't love him as Mihashi from Oofuri? 😀

    Anyways, confusing episode and I agree did Kirie actually see Yuuko? That OP is by far one of the best, easily tying Fate/Zero's OP and the visuals are pretty cool but not as creative as Silver Link's other series' OPs. I'm intrigued with this show, but not as much as NazoKanojo.

  3. He was fine as Mihashi, sure. That role is in his sweet spot, too.

  4. I

    I'm pretty sure Kirie can see Yuuko, otherwise when her face was stretched she would have screamed out of fear or something. Interesting choice showing the same scenes twice with an extra body and voice in the second run. I think SL was trying to be funny then but it was kind of obvious that something was there in the first place so it took a bit of the punch out. I actually thought I'd like this more than Sankarea, but based on premieres alone, I think Sankarea was better.

    This still seems interesting and we'll probably get a sort of ecchi, comedy, horror mix which could be great. It seems all the newbie VAs from Chihayafuru are getting lots of MC roles.

    On a completely different topic:

    ARSENAL BEAT MANCHESTER CITY, OLE OLE OLE OLE. Shows you money can't buy you titles.

  5. A

    Another indication of Kirie's awareness is when she said "Sukebe" (pervert) when the elevator door opened.

  6. Z

    Yumi Hara's small resume is not altogether surprising, as she worked as Takane in The iDOLM@STER franchise for quite some time. This is why she sounds polished even though it seems she has no work, because she was basically working in a different industry. As the original idolm@ster idols seem to have completed their work on that part for quite some time with its anime adaption, it's good to see them start branching out as VA's since many of them are excellent.

    Agreed that it's rather hard to make anything of this for now, as an introduction that plays the same mini-episode twice is rather odd, though I found the perspective shift interesting despite fears we might get into some form of "Endless Hate" like the Suzumiya franchise pulled. Hopefully the real story begins next week, although I found this weeks gag/trolling rather enjoyable.

  7. F

    It is tough to judge the first episode since it really was simply showing us the main characters and informing us that one of them is a ghost. It's good to know these things, but it will require a few episodes for people to be able to really decide how they feel about the series.

    I did enjoy that little twist on the fake conversation with a cellphone. Just in this case Niiya was technically talking to someone, but that someone wasn't actually using a phone XD.

    The OP was great in my mind. Though maybe it was just that I really liked the song and the visuals worked with them.

    At least the preview's title seems to indicate that will be the more traditional start to the series.

  8. Z

    Yeah, kind of weird introduction and not the way it was done in the manga. I wonder if we will get a time skip backward in the next episode and have it introduce the characters again as they meet or will it keep going from the middle of the story? The answer to if Kirie can see Yuuko should be obvious, but as none seems to have noticed so wont I spoil it.

  9. b

    And here I thought this would get a faithful first episode like the other 4 manga adaptations this season. Apparently not.
    First off, Kirie wasn't suppose to be there yet. This was the first chapter about that elevator but Kirie wasn't there, it was only the 3.
    She'll be introduced later on.
    And it was stupid to do the same first minutes without and with Yuuko.
    Though I'll forgive them just for Yuuko alone. Glorious Yuuko and her playful and flirty attitude. I like her voice. Niiya's is okay I guess.
    Okonogi as well but Kirie…as much as I love KitaEri I don't think it quite fits.
    It was okay and it would seem jarring to others to be launched in a point of the story like that but hopefully they'll animate the chapter where the two met. I already know these characters so I enjoyed the interaction somewhat.
    They can do the atmosphere and the art is pretty good, just hope that they stick to the material.

  10. M

    I'm not sure what they are trying to do with this adaptation. They skipped the introductory chapters and they are including Kirie from the get-go for some reason. The second half did happen in the manga but they found a comb under the stone, not a bell. So at this point I really don't know if they are trying to be faithful or not.

    I didn't mind the little stunt they pulled in the first half too much but I wonder if it was necessary at all. I'm not sold on the VAs either. I don't think Niiya's voice fits and he sounds wimpy. Okonogi is too lively, to the point she's almost annoying. In the visual department, I feel the art lost a lot of its charm and uniqueness in the transition to the anime.

    I do like the opening, though.

  11. A

    I have the same feeling about this episode that I had with the first episode of the second season of mitsudomoe. It's not a bad episode in itself, but it's not an ideal way to introduce the series to those who aren't familiar with the series yet.

  12. I think a 2nd season premiere is different than a series premiere, though. You can assume a greater level of knowledge with a 2nd-season audience.

    I'm not criticizing – I admire their courage in choosing this route. But it makes it impossible for me to decide what kind of show we have.

  13. U

    Amazing premiere! It was so good that i am probably going to watch it a second time, even though the episode repeats itself from a different perspective.

    The antics were gold. So many moments, so much fun. Sometimes funny, other times intriging, there was no room for boredom. The fanservice scene had the perfect timming. In the first part of the episode, they did a good job on making the two main characters intelectually connected, building their personalities to have a good sinergy between each other. Then, in the fanservice scene, they became physically connected. just enough to build intimacy. And in the last part, they became emotionally connected.

    The show has a perfect balance between comedy, suspense, romance and drama so far. The production values are very good. "Maybe"'s mangas are known for their amazing artwork, and i feel they did them justice, given the medium differences. The visuals, the audio, the overall direction…i loved them all!

    That said, i do wonder where this anime, as an adaptation, is going. Some very risky and unusual choices were made, like Enzo said.

  14. t

    I was half joking when I said Sankarea was directed by shinbo in disguise but here Sakamoto has very little credits to his name and suddenly gets to be chief director?
    Someone's hiding behind that name.
    "Sakamoto" had a big hand in baka to test S2 episode 8 which you said was quite SHAFT-esque in your review of it.

    The two of them know each other Oonuma Shin having worked for shaft.
    shinbo has been giving himself the "chief director" credit for a while.
    He's used pen names before,even to storyboard shows he's working on.

    Even if it's not shinbo,I say it's a pen name.

  15. Hmm… Could be, I suppose. I can't think of anyone else important enough to bother using a nom de plume who would be involved here.

  16. M

    Yeah, the next episode will help set things up better. However, it nice to see the comedy it nice and visuals are pretty good.

  17. S

    It worked as a starter for me. The repeat with Yuuko in made it really hilarious. There'll be dark aspects but also a lot of comedy, which seems to be the message. That can work and I am interested for what comes next.

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