Amnesia 01 – The cure to memory loss is bishounen
January 9, 2013 6 Comments
The idea of waking up in an apparently strange place with amnesia can produce some fascinating stories with the main character struggling to cope with a world that appears dark, dangerous and unknown. One of the best examples of this would have to be the Bourne Identity, with Jason Bourne waking up and having no idea where he is, who he is and why people are constantly trying to kill him. In face, much of the action set pieces are specifically designed around the notion that this characters body remembers all of his special forces training, but he doesn’t remember who he is or what he is supposed to be. Amnesia obviously doesn’t have this sort of set up, and Heroine certainly isn’t an amnesiac Special Forces agent with the ability to kill at a moments notice, but she could be. That is the strength of amnesia stories, regardless of who the characters might be at this moment in time, it is what they could be and what they have forgotten about that helps to move the story forward. That she simple wakes up in the backroom of a restaurant, dressed as a waitress, and clearly a member of the staff but with no recollection of what has happened would obviously come as quite a shock to most people.
Heroine is a curiously quiet and almost docile character, someone who at first almost lacks the ability to even answer or disagree with people. Part of this must obviously be due to her current mental state and that she cannot remember anything, not even whom the people who are talking to her are. The idea of waking up in that sort of state and wondering where you are, who you are, and who all the people who obviously know and care about you are. With this in mind, Heroine’s apparent inability to even converse with others, coupled with her bemused nature almost seems natural since she is attempting to, and arguably incapable at this point in time of processing everything that is suddenly happening to her and why. Toma and Shin (the first two bishies) know her and interact with her and each other as if they are long time friends, hinting at their close relationship through their constant banter about the silly things they did in the past. In a way this could be comforting, but it also has the ability to be unnerving for any amnesiac who doesn’t even know their name, let alone who others are.
What is particularly curious about this entire scenario is the presence of Orion, a spirit who only Heroine can see and interact with, and someone who seems to know a little about what has happened to her. He mentions that when he appeared in the human world he collided with Heroine’s spirit, apparently knocking it out of her body, with this apparently simple act causing her amnesia, and leaving Orion as an integral part of her. Orion further reveals that she has lost all of her memories prior to August the 1st, and also must spend her time socialising with those who know and work with her in order to regain them. What is also fascinating about the story is that, at least judging by a picture on the wall of Meido no Hitsuji’ staff room, Heroine was a relatively energetic, or at least cheerful person. She was obviously not the most hyper active or tomboyish of characters, but her amnesia appears to have had an effect on how she acts and reacts to people, turning her from someone who could talk to others into a fairly docile and withdrawn individual. But, once again, this is almost expected or acceptable, at least in the context of her characters suffering from amnesia, while surrounded by handsome men/boys and with a talking spirited floating above her constantly.
There is a dark feeling about Amnesia, not just because the central heroine has lost all her memories, but because of all the little things that are happening around her. Before she collapsed we were given a flashback almost showing Heroine in a burning building and then falling from a boat into what may be a lake. This coupled with the presence of Orion who also mentions that he has been with her for a few days makes things a little strange. It only gets more eerie with the appearance of a green haired guy who has a wonderfully evil laugh and appears to be stalking Heroine for reasons that have yet to be revealed. Furthermore, there is also a group of girls who seem to hate Heroine for apparently breaking her promise, that this little encounter brought back a brief flashback of her being attacked by someone with scissors reinforces the feeling that Heroine’s amnesia may not simply be because of Orion. The trauma that she seems to be suffering from, followed by her fear filled eyes and fainting adds another level of unease to this story, and presents us with an anime that at first appears to be more about the handsome male characters, but also carry’s with it a much darker aspect.
For many, Amnesia will be annoying, dull and bland, largely because of Heroine’s lack of dialogue and her apparently docile nature and willingness to follow the orders of whatever bishie comes her way. The setup however intrigues me, and from my point of view, the way Heroine interacts with others, coupled with the almost tangible sense of dread really creates an interesting series, or at least the potential for one. The way every character in the series seems to know who she is and where she is from, coupled with her inability to recognise them makes for a curious first episode. Heroine is desperately trying to continue her work and continue the life that she apparently lives, all without any knowledge of it prior to August the 1st. The tangible sense of darkness in the series further presents us with a character that has no memories and for all intents and purposes is stuck in a dark world without any light; she is in a sense metaphorically blind due to her memory loss. It has to be said that the series is so far pretty confusing since it started right as Heroine’s amnesia started, with every other character acting as if we already know who they are rather than being given an information dump like many other anime do. But in my case I rather enjoyed it, and found the idea that we were finding out about the world and Heroine’s memories, as she is particularly fascinating, if rather slow paced. Still, judging by all the Bishounen around this restaurant and in her life it’s not to hard to tell who this series is aimed at, especially considering it has been adapted from an Otome-Game.