That is a total lie, Menma is best ghost
Hello again. M here to review another anime from 2012. I’ve been delaying this one in interest of other things. However I finally found the time and the opportunity to take a crack at Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. I hadn’t heard much about the series and its studio silver link was largely unproven, but I am a complete sucker for ghost related anime, and horror themed anime in general (would watch more if they weren’t all about vampires). So with nothing to go on I went in with completely undefined expectations except for there be a ghost in it.
Dusk Maiden’s actual story is a simple set up. It’s about a young man named Teiichi who one day discovers, in the abandoned section of the school, the ghost and the long dead body of Yuuko the famous school ghost. When Yuuko tells Teiichi that she knows nothing about her past, who she was, how she died, or why, they decide together to form the paranormal investigation club to look into her past and solve the other linked mysteries within the school. From there the club grows and the mystery of who Yuuko is and what happened to her slowly gets solved, just as Teiichi and Yuuko grow closer.
First off I feel it’s important to say Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is not a horror anime, it is a feel good romantic comedy with horror elements, and being as such I refuse to judge it as a horror anime. Its horror elements are just to drive a narrative forward, make it exciting, and add some depth to an otherwise normal romantic comedy. It’s not that the horror elements aren’t necessarily good, just that it’s not the focus of the series at all.
So then as a romantic comedy how was it? Pretty alright to be honest. Although Teiichi is a rather bland, but not unlikeable MC, the character of Yuuko is the life blood of the series. She contains an indispensible charm and personality that make her both very likeable and actually quite funny. She endeared herself to me in a way not many characters do. Where the rest of the cast seem kind of like character boxes being check Yuuko seems full of life (ironic since she’s dead) and commands attention in a really good way. The mild horror and paranormal elements do drive the plot to be a lot more interesting allows for a much more meaningful ending along with pretty appropriately dark last couple episodes. So all in all as a feel good romantic comedy it’s pretty much all you could really ask for plus with the benefit of being nicely diverse.
However there are some sticking points with Dusk maiden that still bother me. Just a few things lacking in polish seem to flutter around; such as the music which while very lovely often feels out of place. The characters aside from Yuuko seem too much like plot devices then people, the series established “rules” seems to be slightly lacking in consistency. Sometimes the series can’t seem to understand what mood its suppose to be presenting, such as in one scene the voice over and music being dark and creepy , but what their showing to be pleasant and sweet. Lastly the ending episode, as obvious as the plot of it is, still builds to be fairly meaningful, but is completely cooped out at the last couple minutes just get their happy ending instead of sticking with a more beautiful bitter ending. These small things while on their own aren’t really that bad build up to make a bit more of a mess then one would think.
Negatives and positives aside I feel I need to talk about dusk maiden’s art. It’s something that constantly was on my mind throughout the entire series. Artistically and even a bit narratively it feels kind of like a throwback to late 90s-really early 00s of anime. Little things like the more innocent nature of the romance, design of the characters hair and face, even just the longness of girl’s skirts remind me of older anime. The Art quality often tries (though not always well) to show that more “handmade” look from before all anime was made on computers while still being made on a computer. Yet at the same time a lot of the directing of shots, positions of things, and effects seem ripped straight out of bakemonogatari (without being nearly as artistically bold as bake was) Whether this “Throwback” look is on purpose or a very good way of cutting corners to make the “bake” looking parts look great. Either way, you’ll either enjoy it as a nostalgic look like I did, or be completely annoyed by the constant shifting of art quality from modern to cheap.
All in all I like Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, I like Yuuko, and I feel happy to have spent my time with the series. It was feel good and nice in a way I could enjoy as a break from my more “serious and dark” favorites. However on the flip side, I’m not going to remember much about Dusk Maiden aside from Yuuko because it just isn’t that memorable or meaningful. It’s just a B tier anime, but one I think people can really enjoy and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with a nice B tier anime now and again. Dusk Maiden walks away with 3.5 gentle push down a flight of stairs out of 5. Later Vice.