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Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (review)

Impression – playful and surprisingly touching (8/10)

Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Dusk Maiden x Amnesia)

Teiichi Niiya heard the stories of the cursed ghost that haunts the old school building, but he never expected her to be so beautiful…or playful.  After discovering her remains hidden beneath an old classroom, he and Yuuko decide to found the Paranormal Research Club. On the surface it’s nothing more than your standard occult-themed student organization, but its true motive is to find a way to help Yuuko recover her lost memories.  Joined by the perky Okonogi and the only other person who can see Yuuko—her great niece Kirie—the four of them set to work solving the supernatural mysteries of their maze-like school.

As Dusk Maiden starts, it’s just oozing with creativity—whether it’s new ways to think about how an incorporeal spirit interacts with the world or how to adequately tell the story of said ghost without being pathetically blunt about what’s going on.  The flow of events at the beginning is a little questionable at times with long flashbacks seemingly taking place out of proper order.  But it never stops being entertaining with something fresh in every episode. It makes you think and smile all the while saying, “that was really smart. I’d never thought about it that way before.”

Probably the best thing about Tasogare Otome is its ending.  It’s very emotionally moving but still manages to keep the generally lighthearted style that made the rest of the series so much fun.  This delicate balance between heart wrenching and comedic elation could have been such a messy let down if it hadn’t been constructed in such a smartly arranged crescendo.  Rarely do I find myself nodding at the end of a series while saying, “I couldn’t have imagined it finishing any other way.” With that kind of reaction, I’m going to call Dusk Maiden of Amnesia a resounding success.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia Ep. 1

Initial impression – an aura of fun

Spring 2012 (12 episodes) (English title - Dusk Maiden of Amnesia) (more info)

Tasogare Otome has a really playful, refreshing attitude about how it tells its story.  Yuuko, the ghost president of the Seikyou High School occult club, doesn’t remember everything about her past, but she’s determined to enjoy her unlife as much as possible nonetheless. That’s where Teiichi comes in.  He’s a kindhearted young man, but perhaps a little over accommodating to Yuuko’s poltergeist pranks.  He also has the …fortunate?… distinction of being Yuuko’s object of affection, but perhaps it was inevitable because he’s the only one who can touch her.  This is a genius, nearly tangible way of creating empathy for Yuuko’s existence because of the very emotional response it generates to the concept of having only one person in the world you can be close to.  Where Tasogare Otome’s plot goes from here is up in the air, but it has already demonstrated very clearly that the setting concept is solid with a great air of mystery and some really likeable characters.  I particularly enjoyed how it started out showing everything from Momoe’s perspective to creatively establish that she can’t see or hear Yuuko and the naturalness of her reactions was made all the funnier when the scene was revisited from Teiichi’s point of view.  If Tasogare Otome continues this way, I expect great things are to come.

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