I’d never heard of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia until it was finally in my hands and so I held no expectations, but whatever I was holding was blown away during what quickly became one of my favourite anime.
I’ve watched quite a lot of anime this year and in the years before, but I’ve only ever given out five perfect scores in that time which I usually base on personal enjoyment, and I loved Dusk Maiden and the emotional rollercoaster it took me on; of course, this is in my top 5 list on My Anime List.
I didn’t expect it. I just didn’t expect loving this show this much going in or, at the very least, to be bawling my eyes out around 5 am. It doesn’t take a lot to make me cry, but I usually only tear up at anime (sheer force of will stops me crying!) but I couldn’t contain my emotions and just ended up being a huddled mess in my bed by the end of it. It’s wonderful that something can make me behave the way I did though, and I’ll remember it better due to it.
I’m a sucker for a good love story, and I was utterly entranced by the story between deceased girl Yuuko Kanoe and highschool student Teiichi Niiya. Yuuko has a reputation of being behind the schools many ghost stories, which are mostly her entertaining herself rather than for malice, but she doesn’t remember how she died 60 years ago or anything about her past life, and so she and Niiya team up to get to the truth of everything. There’s plenty of fan-service included due to Yuuko’s endowments, but it’s all in good humour; around halfway through the series there’s a lot less to see though as the main plot picks up.
There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing, and as there’s only one season with twelve episodes (and an OVA which takes place after the twelfth episode), it ends conclusively and on a note I was personally satisfied with; you won’t be kept hanging like with some other anime! I was emotionally invested in Yuuko’s plight as she learns more about her past and what that means for her, and Niiya who’s helping her as he’s one of the sole people who’s able to see and touch her; it quickly blossoms into love which, along with the mystery, is the main meat of the story. It also has some horror elements which upped the tension, but it’s not a genuinely frightening anime; in fact, it’s packed with laughs and light-hearted elements that you can’t help but enjoy.
Yuuko and Niiya open up a Paranormal Investigations club, although Niiya is the official leader for obvious reasons, and two girls join for different reasons including the bubbly and cheerful Momoe Okonogi, who has an intense interest in the paranormal, and the confident Kirie Kanoe, who can also see Yuuko due to being related by blood but also has a fear of ghosts. Both of them are likeable and add a lot of colour and life to the show, and Yuuko’s interactions with them are both humourous and interesting.
The art direction is beautiful and the artists clearly had a lot of fun animating Dusk Maiden. They toy around with a variety of styles and colours at certain parts of the show to help them stand out, but I loved the hues of orange and green which combined to create a halloween-like atmosphere; very fitting considering the main character is a ghost and I feel that the artists have done an excellent job in bringing Dusk Maiden to life. The UK doesn’t make a huge fuss over Halloween, but I’ve always loved the way it makes me feel somewhat nostalgic, mostly due to The Nightmare Before Christmas being my all-time favourite movie, and so it was comforting to have a similar feeling stem from Dusk Maiden. Being on DVD hasn’t harmed the art itself, but I may import a blu-ray copy as MVM Entertainment only released it on DVD and I imagine that the art would look even better on blu-ray.
Lo and behold, Dusk Maiden has both English and Japanese voice-overs to choose from! I watched an episode in Japanese and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I prefer the English dub as I usually do. I thought the voice-actors did a great job of portraying their characters and wouldn’t mind seeing them in more anime as I’m not too familiar with many of their works, although I’ve even reviewed a couple of them myself!
Dusk Maiden is home to outstanding music with both the OP, Choir Jail, and ED, Karandorie, being catchy and well-written. Choir Jail is rocky and has a sense of urgency to it, whilst Karandorie is much softer and relaxing to listen to; fitting that the OP injects adrenaline whilst the ED rounds the episodes off. Yuuko is portrayed as singing them both and so I recommend that you pay attention to the subtitled lyrics. There’s another song that’s played regularly during the series for sadder moments named Requiem, and it’s a soft piano-led track with haunting vocals laid over the top; it’s genuinely both heartwarming and heartbreaking and I’ve listened to it a lot since finishing the series, especially as it’s great to fall to sleep too.
Dusk Maiden won’t be to everyone’s liking as the love story is focused on more so than the mystery, although it gets plenty of screentime, but it is very much a tale of two lovers who struggle to be together through life and death; Yuuko is unable to leave the school grounds due to her soul being linked to her final resting place. I adored Dusk Maiden and hope you will too, and I’m sure most of you have realised by now that I love watching love.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is one of the best love stories I’ve had the pleasure to experience. I’ll be watching it again and I’ll be sure to break down into tears again too, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I don’t honestly know much about this. But when it comes to love, I don’t think if the person is a ghost or not really matters.”
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