Reviewby Rebecca Silverman, Apr 13th 2013
The nameless heroine has her life reset several more times and finds herself dating different men of her acquaintance. While few answers seem to be forthcoming, she does end up living several of the scenes she partially remembered in earlier episodes. As we approach the final male of the show, will the heroine figure out what's going on? And will viewers get a sufficient reward for watching the entire series?
Once upon a time there was a girl who had a death wish. Because she didn't really care whether or not she survived, she barely spoke a word and was content to be submitted to a variety of awful situations without ever making any real attempt at understanding them. When told how to preserve her life, the girl did nothing, because she was beyond caring or learning. The end.
Although Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm never recorded such a tale in their folklore expeditions, if they had, it might reasonably be the base story for otome-game-turned-anime Amnesia, which features a storyline in its second half that is both gruesomely fascinating and utterly irritating, in places even more so than in its first six episodes. When we last saw our nameless protagonist, she was drowning in a lake while not making any attempt to save herself. Episode seven begins with her waking up to find that she is dating Kento, the stoic guy who wears a lot of buckles. At first it looks as if things are finally going in a positive direction – Kento knows immediately that something is off with his girlfriend and he asks her about it. The result? An episode where the heroine speaks in complete sentences, interacts amusingly with her fey companion Orion, and real steps are taken to make sense of her multiple restarts and her amnesia. And then she gets hit by a truck.
Episode eight begins with the heroine dating Toma, and it is a real letdown after the progress made in the sole episode allotted to Kento. Even were there not some seriously questionable content in the Toma arc, the fact that the anime's staff chose to pare down the one arc that seemed ready to provide some much-needed answers is, to put it mildly, a bit of a letdown. The better option may have been to switch the order of the Toma and Kento arcs so that when we got to the “true ending” segment – Ukyo - there could have been a tighter wrap-up because we had already learned some of what was going on. Yes, this would have meant shortening Toma's or Ikki's segments, but in neither case would the story have really suffered and the show might have flowed more smoothly.
Fortunately all three of the final options are more interesting than not, so the sensation of being a spectator at a traffic accident remains, encouraging viewers to continue watching. The Toma episodes are real standouts, although not in a good way. There is something impressive about the way that the show teases out his true personality as the arc goes on, slowly unveiling the truth about him. With another heroine, these episodes would have been emotionally very high-stakes, and even with such an unsympathetic one there is a lot of tension to be found here.
The final arc, which focuses on Ukyo and provides answers to the burning question of “What the hell?”, feels a bit like it is taking the show to another genre as it discusses the fusion of science fiction and fantasy elements with the romance plot, but overall is easy enough to swallow. (The same, however, cannot be said for where and when the majority of this explanation takes place.) There are some genuinely emotional moments as Amnesia wraps up, for even if we as viewers cannot like the heroine, the same, as it turns out, can't be said for some of the other characters. The very end of the show lacks the same impact as the moments before it, unfortunately, and viewers may come away feeling distinctly dissatisfied.
Animation quality remains fairly stagnant, although some sparkly lights add interest towards the end. There are really no remarkable visual or auditory changes with these second six episodes, although it is worth mentioning that Kouki Miyata does some very good voice work with Ukyo during his arc. Ultimately Amnesia ends as it began – fascinating in the same way a loose tooth is, but the payout when you finally get rid of it doesn't feel like enough. While getting answers is nice, the inconclusive ending simply doesn't cut it. If the game were available in English, I'd say to play it rather than watching the show, because without all of the options, and without the power to influence the second-to-last scene, there is not a lot of satisfaction to be found when you reach the end of the road.
Overall (sub) : D
Story : D
Animation : C
Art : C+
Music : B-
+ Answers are actually provided, some real emotion in the last episode. Strangely watchable.
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