AMNESIA COLLECTION

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

After bumping souls with a fairy, a nameless first year uni student loses her memories. In their place stays the spritely spirit Orion, eccentrically dressed with the likeness of a 12-year-old boy. Together they form a shoujo reimagining of Death Note’s Light and Ryuk. Based on Idea Factory’s series of visual novels, Amnesia does have an interactive feel despite being disappointingly passive. Orion functions more like a game mechanic, explaining the situation and guiding you the viewer, rather than you the player.

The story, pure teen angst boiled down to twelve episodes, takes the supernatural mystery and romance of its source material and spins it into a nightmarish fairytale. The score is inflected with lullaby jingle jangles, juxtaposed with bouts of heavy rock riffage. But for all the subtle differences, the content is largely the same, and, by its very nature, repetitive. With Orion’s help, the protagonist is able to glean remembered snapshots, though the bamboozling spanner in the works is that she regularly wakes up in new realities, with a new love interest to match.

The bachelors are based on playing cards (spade, club, heart, diamond and joker, respectively) with about as much depth to match. The worst culprit, however, is the protagonist herself. She earns her keep in a maid café and is the unassuming, absentminded frontwoman of a local band. She’s also thoroughly annoying. Throughout the numerous reality changes, she’s completely binary, remaining alarmingly and emotionally static. The psychological strain of her situation doesn’t faze her, even being imprisoned by one of the more besotted bachelors has little effect.

The animation is often static, with the finely rendered characters drawn straight from the visual novel. The fictional city setting serves as a dreamy and moody backdrop, with a lavish, if fleeting, attention to detail. Director Yoshimitsu Ohashi (whose credits include Witchblade, Vampire Hunter D and Trigun) clearly has an eye for panache, though Amnesia never quite settles on any one tone, flitting as it does between its various genre tags orbiting the reverse-harem gimmick at its core. Unlike other visual novel adaptations, particularly Steins;Gate, this style conscious cosmic joke of a love story never does enough to tear away from its source.

Special Features: Lost diary entries / Trailers

AMNESIA COLLECTION / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: YOSHIMITSU OHASHI / SCREENPLAY: TOUKO MACHIDA / STARRING: KAORI NAZUKA, TETSUYA KAKIHARA, KISHOU TANIYAMA, AKIRA ISHIDA / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


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