Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is a twelve episode anime series, currently available to buy in the UK from MVM Entertainment. The series takes place at Seikyou Private Academy, a school that has a prolific history of ghost sightings. Most of the institution’s spooky myths revolve around Yuko Kanoe, a teenage girl who is said to have perished years ago prior to the school’s renovation. As it turns out the spirit of Yuko is indeed haunting the halls of Seikyou Academy, but only a few select people are able to see her. Freshman Teiichi Niiya happens to be one of the chosen few, which he discovers after spotting the busty poltergeist roaming around a dilapidated wing of the school building.
Thrilled at finding someone who can see her, the lonely Yuko strikes up a friendship with Teiichi. The pair decide to form an after school Paranormal Investigation Club to research the school’s many ghost stories. Yuko hopes that doing so may shed some light on her past, as all memories of her death have been exorcised from her mind. The club’s investigations would probably go more smoothly if Yuko could keep her hands off Teiichi. Given that Teiichi is the only one able to touch her normally incorporeal body I guess you cannot blame her for engaging in some playful flirting. Good thing then that, as far as apparitions go, Yuko is easier on the eyes than Slimer from the Ghostbusters films.
In terms of tone, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia skirts through various genres over the course of its twelve-episode run. The early adventures of the Paranormal Investigation Club are comedic capers were viewers see the group tackle occult cases whilst the bashful Teiichi gets embarrassed by Yuko’s tendency to shed clothing. Given that she is invisible, to most people, she doesn’t see the harm of scampering about nude, although she does blush on one occasion when Teiichi stumbles upon her decomposed body. Apparently spying someone’s skeletal remains is paramount to be ogling a person at their most naked.
Things start to get more serious around the show’s midway point once the chilling manner in which Yuko met her demise is uncovered. Adding to the darker narrative is the revelation that, in addition to Yuko, there may be other more sinister entities patrolling Seikyou Academy. Yuko herself may not be as innocent as she first seems either, as she gets increasingly possessive of Teiichi as the plot advances forward. In addition to humour, mystery and horror Dusk Maiden of Amnesia also dabbles with romance during its finale that seeks to explore if love can blossom between a human and a ghost. I don’t see why not. If dorks can marry pony plushies then surely dating the undead is acceptable.
As far as the cast goes Yuko is the clear star of the show. At first glance she comes across as a stereotypical anime chick whose sole role is to aggressively pursue the show’s male lead. The episodes focusing on her backstory however prove that there is more depth to the character than your average harem lass. Sadly the same cannot be said of Teiichi. He’s a dull do-gooder, lacking any real personality other than having a phobia of cute girls throwing themselves at him. Thankfully the other two members of the Paranormal Investigation club are more interesting.
Momoe Okonogi is the hyperactive comic relief that often falls prey to Yuko’s pranks. She joined the Paranormal Investigators after the club saved her from a curse involving a stabbed toy bunny and a bizarre game of hide & seek. Although Momoe cannot see Yuko, her fellow club mate Kirie Kanoe can. I would best describe Kirie as the show’s voice of reason. Despite being the serious type she does have some amusing quirks. The main one is an insecurity over her lack of cleavage and she is also prone to bursting out into tears during scary situations.
Four stars is what I am awarding Dusk Maiden of Amensia. I enjoyed it from start to finish and was impressed by how the story successfully incorporated elements of comedy, mystery and romance. My only beef with the series would have to be its length. I would have happily watched more episodes so it is a shame that they didn’t adapt more stories from the manga the series is based off. One thing that may infuriate viewers is how the series ends. I was okay with it, but it is clear to see that the creators were uncertain on whether to settle for a happily ever after finale or a bittersweet resolution. Depending on your taste you may or may not approve of the outcome they settled on. Either way I still recommend giving the show a (ghost of a) chance.