AMNESIA [Overall Review]
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
Summary: This story takes place in a fictional town, in a fictional country, in a fictional world. One morning, a young lady awakens to find that she has lost all her memories prior to that morning. Her life, her relationships, her very name—all gone. All that’s left is a cell phone with numbers and names she doesn’t recognize and Orion, a young boy that only she appears to be able to see. With Orion’s guidance, she struggles to make sense of herself, a boyfriend she doesn’t know and the thousand and one little things that make up a daily life. But with no memories left, the only alternative is to forge new ones, even if that means leaving old loves behind. (Source Sentai-Filmswork)
Trailer: PV 1, PV 2
Story & Plot: 9/10
Often times, Otome Adaptions’ plots are too boring/bland, drags on for too long or there isn’t any, period. AMNESIA however has plot and an intriguing storyline which is in fact the highlight of the show. That’s right, you read right. I am not talking about the bishies (boys), I am talking about a strong plot that catches and keeps your attention. It is both intriguing and thrilling and best of all: It makes you think! I don’t know about you, but I love speculating and trying to figure out the plot and characters. It’s a game, a fun one- especially since it isn’t going to make your head explode like Mawaru Penguindrum for example.
(I loved speculating for Mawaru Penguindrum, but that’s isn’t the point)
AMNESIA’s storyline is considered to be very confusing to many of those who are part of the new audience compared to those who have played the games and are familiar with the plot. I am one of those who are within the ‘new audience’ but I didn’t find this show confusing- however I have questioned myself whether I would have been able to follow this as well if I hadn’t been blogging this and literally taking notes as I watched it. Casual viewers aren’t going to take notes, so unless they can catch the subtle hints, foreshadowing, and put together the pieces of the puzzle, they aren’t going to have an easy time grasping what’s going on. However if you are one of those people like myself who are familiar with the devices that are used within the storyline, you will be able to catch on for most part what’s going on. But even with that: you wouldn’t be able to easily predict the outcome of what is going to happen next. The only way you could possibly do that is by having read either spoilers from the game or impressions/reviews by other bloggers. This show does a very good job with organizing the triggers and events. If this weren’t handled properly by, without a doubt this show would have crashed and burned big time because it can’t afford a sloppy adaption from the game. Best of all they tied up most if not all the key questions that have been on our minds since the start of the show, which is why I am rating the story/plot a nine.
Characters & Development: 7.5/10
It is difficult to discuss and rate the the boys’ ‘development’ since believe it or not, they played a considerably secondary/minor role. It wasn’t so much about them, nor was it their relationship with the Heroine. Instead unlike most Otome Adaptions it is heavily focused on the Heroine alone, who is trying to adapt and figure out what is going on, and put together the puzzle with no prior memories as of August 1st. However when you look at the cast as characters, they are for most part likable- you can’t explicitly hate them. You will most certainly either love them, like them, dislike them or feel indifferent, but considering how most Otome adaptions doesn’t give us a chance to thoroughly explore the boys’ back stories and their relationship with the Heroine, AMNESIA did a fairly good job balancing it out.
I am going to rate Characters & Development 7.5/10 because I feel that there wasn’t very much development on the boy’s side. I would have rated it a six, but because they were interesting and likable characters I’m booting the score up by 1.5 for that. The Heroine on the other hand (again because she is the primary focus) developed pretty well and you can clearly seen how much she has grown since she first learned about having an amnesia.
I know there were/are a lot of people who were either turned off, or greatly annoyed with the fact that our dear Heroine does not have a name, so let me tell you something. It isn’t that big of a deal. You can work your way around it by giving her a name yourself. In fact, that’s how it is for the game. The Heroine does not a default/canon name, you are obliged to give her one. So why not take this opportunity and be creative? There’s no harm in doing that. If you are disregarding this show just because she doesn’t have a name, you’re missing out.
One last point I am going to make: I heard from a lot of those who played the game feel that the show misled some of the characters… namely Toma who I, as a new audience member feel rather indifferent about. But I know from experience, for example Hakuouki: In the anime, Okita Souji was not my favorite- nor did I particularly care about him. Now mind you I watched the anime before I was given the opportunity (THANK YOU AKSYS) to play the game. And in the game, he is my number one guy. So I am very curious to see whether I would see Toma in a more positive light than I do for this adaption. With that said I do have a recommended link (it does have both anime/game spoilers) for you to check out regarding Toma’s character, so I’ll leave it here for you to bookmark in advance for future reference.
Animation Quality: 8.5/10
First of all the character designs were not butchered from the original. They are a lot like CLAMP’s infamous spaghetti-noodles anatomy, but they look a whole lot more healthy. The animation was very consistent, and hardly faltered. There were at times noticeable blunders (funny ones at that such as height propositions), but they were during the insignificant sequences so it doesn’t affect the mood or any sort. Although due to the kind of media player I used to watch this, the original material is actually quite washed out, and was not as vibrant as I initially thought it was. Despite that I am not dropping any points for the lack of vibrant – true it would have been a nice touch up, but it doesn’t bother me that much. Oh and .5 bonus points for having no sparkles nor shoujo bubbles! (IS THIS REAL LIFE OR FANTASY?! IT’S REAL.)
Original Sound Track: 8/10
The OST is very good. There is a particular track, that is an instrumental bit of the OP: Zoetrope itself that I am especially fond of. I liked that it wasn’t repetitive, and suited the scenes very well. The eerie music did it’s job because holy shit, it really delivered the mood. Both the OP and ED songs are addictive and enjoyable to listen to. I had a pleasure of sitting through both the OP and ED every episode.
Overall Score: 8/10
Despite the underwhelming ending, AMNESIA still managed to take the position of being my favorite Otome Adaption to date. While I haven’t played the game (heck until Hakuouki had been licensed a year ago, I’ve NEVER played an Otome Game in my life!), this adaption for most part did a fantastic job. I am being dead serious. This show could have turned out worse, I am sure. There are quite handful of Otome Adaptions that failed miserably in different ways. Be it the original art being butchered into something ugly, to something that can really only appeal to a specific audience, or were just plain boring/stupid. AMNESIA had most of the ingredients that made it a successful and enjoyable Otome Adaption. The storyline is intriguing, it makes you think, theorize and speculate every week (something which I immensely enjoy doing), has it shares of unpredictable turn of events and- however…. again the ending was underwhelming and you will be probably be frustrated that they didn’t follow all the way through. I will tell you one thing, throughout the entire show indicated a potential canon ending, but in the end, they didn’t stick with it. But in a way due to the circumstances they made it into a win-win situation because they somewhat dodged the open ending. We know that whatever door she chooses, she will end up with one of the five guys.
Recommended: Absolutely, but keep in mind that the romance factor is more of a “side-quest”.
This show can appeal to a wider audience because it has an intriguing plot. It does have a slow start so I highly recommend to go with the three episode rule just so you can grasp the story and direction of the show. Also don’t let yourself disregarded this show right away because of the Heroine’s circumstances, behavior and the fact she doesn’t have a name. Bare in mind, the Heroine’s behavior is natural because she has an amnesia. She will be soft and quiet in the beginning, but I promise you, she does have firepower in her.
Extra Note: AMNESIA is licensed by Sentai-Filmwork so it will eventually be released on BD/DVD!
Now all we need is AksysGames to license the game now! DO IT ASKSYS DO IT.