Starring: Tsubasa Yonaga, Clint Bickham, Yumi Hara, Emily Neves, Eri Kitamura, Jessica Boone, Misato Fukuen, Brittney Karbowski,
Running Time: 349 minutes
Supernatural love stories are usually met with grimaces and groans these days, and we have a certain vampire and blank faced girl to thank for that. DUSK MAIDEN OF AMNESIA proves that we needn’t be so worried about conflicted romances between humans and fantastical creatures thanks to its wonderfully structured relationship between a boy and a ghost.
Set in a high-school where haunted tales run rampant, the trio that make up the school’s paranormal investigation club are always looking to explain the strange goings on. However, Teiichi (Yonaga/Bickham) is able to see the school’s main ghost, and she just happens to be the very lovable and very beautiful Yuko (Hara/Neves). The two enter into a complex relationship wherein the writers handle all the difficulties with humour, sensitivity, and charm.
The show has a perfect balance of everything. With the romance taking centre stage but handled very maturely. Yuko is of course attracted to Teiichi, but it is questioned as to whether this is just because they can see and touch one another, or if there is something else there. It handles the clingy, possessive, obsessive, and jealous stages of teen romance very well, never celebrating nor condemning them. They are merely natural stages that most people will go through, and this is also confronted as a love square develops without feeling like some forced male fantasy.
The darkness to the show is also expertly crafted, with some terrifying moments where Yuko’s motives are questioned. Suffering from amnesia, it leaves an often untrustworthy tone that heightens the mystery aspects. Finding out what happened to Yuko and why she can’t remember is every bit as engrossing as it should be, and the pay-off is no let down. The animation helps set the mood, with beautifully sketched scenes and artistic flourishes such as split-screens, dominant colours, and more experimental techniques used at different points.
DUSK MAIDEN OF AMNESIA is expertly paced, but could have afforded to be even longer. Sometimes it concludes side stories and the tension could have spanned more than one episode. At the same time though, there’s no faulting the arcs that characters find themselves completing. Whether it’s the humour from ghost loving but clueless Momoe (Fukuen/Karbowski), the tragedy, the powerful ending, or just the striking visuals, DUSK MAIDEN OF AMNESIA is truly one of the best and most well-rounded anime around.
[usr=5]DUSK MAIDEN OF AMNESIA is released on DVD on 10th February via MVM.