Tasogare Otome x Amnesia First Impressions – Even ghosts can get jealous
April 15, 2012 Leave a comment
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is this seasons third anime about some form of supernatural occurance, the other two Sankarea and Kore wa zombie desu ka? Of the dead are largely to do with zombies and other strange beasties. Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is however to do with a ghost, a ghost with amnesia to be more specific, and yet, while the other two series have a big supernatural element, with lots of weirdness, this series is more akin to a mystery anime. The mystery of course is about who on earth Kanoe Yuuko is, along with the countless mysteries surrounding her demise, along with why she even has amnesia.
This series centres on Niiya Teiichi and Kanoe Yuuko – for some unknown reason Yuuko was killed many years ago and her body was buried under the Paranormal Investigations Club. She is now a ghost with amnesia, a rather unfortunate state for any ghost to be in really, but importantly two people, Niiya and Kanoe Kirie, can see her. There is a fourth member Okonogi Momoe, who appears to be pretty dense, and generally runs around screaming at the slightest notion that a ghost is present, which of course is the case.
The first episode makes good use of a fascinating narrative device, with two distinct sections. I have to say however that Yuuko’s interactions with the world around her are great to watch, and far from being a spooky horror series, it has more in common with a black comedy, although it isn’t entirely black, yet. Niiya, the unfortunate, or perhaps fortunate main male lead is an interesting character, someone who can see the supernatural, and appears to have gained a girlfriend in the form of Yuuko. There interactions, along with the madness that follows the two of them made this first episode incredibly entertaining to watch actually. Seeing Yuuko openly flirting with Niiya at every opportunity, even going so far as to push him into a food lift in order to have a little ‘private time’.
Much of the comedy largely revolves around the central duo of Yuuko and Niiya, a comedy of errors in a sense due to Yuuko messing around, Niiya replying to her and then attempting to cover up the awkward moment when people seem to think he is talking to thin air. Of course, we have yet to really get involved with the mystery, something that is touched upon towards the end, but is likely being left for the next couple of episodes. The end however, does point to quite a fascinating set of mysteries surrounding Yuuko; not least of them is why she can’t remember anything. And while there was not much in the way of story and character progression during this opening episode, there was at least some indication that this series is going to be slightly more than an interesting plot device coupled with slapstick comedy of the paranormal kind.
Okonogi Momoe was great, running all over the place looking for strange paranormal occurrences, only to scream and cling to Niiya when something actually happens (usually because of Yuuko), much to Yuuko’s chagrin. In a sense we are getting a classic aggressive yet cute (perhaps Tsundere) girlfriend here, who gets jealous whenever another girl or woman goes near the object of her affection, only in this case, no-one can see Yuuko, which makes the jealousy even funnier. Furthermore, there is the implication that Yuuko and Niiya are stuck together, and that their connection is far more significant than perhaps we might first think. While Kirie can also see Yuuko, it seems that Niiya may be the only one capable of actually touching and fully interacting with Yuuko, something that seems to feed into the numerous mysteries surrounding Yuuko and the school building that her body resides under.
It was fascinating to see Yuuko switch from clowning around to suddenly very serious, pointing to the darker side of the manga’s plot, but the flow of the episode never changed, allowing for a near seamless transition from paranormal slapstick to serious mystery. This is going to central to continuing this series and making it successful, along with demonstrating that the characters, and in particular that I Yuuko are far more complex than this first episode may have many believe. However, it is unlikely to be serious all the time, and part of the charm of the original manga was the slightly strange high school romance element to it. I very much like the idea of the relationship between Yuuko and Niiya being portrayed as quite a normal high school romance, with Yuuko being pretty aggressive and touchy-feely. Of course, to everyone else (except for Kirie), this relationship does not exist due to Yuuko being largely invisible.
This series has a similar colour scheme to Hiiro no Kakera, with a lot of reds, golds, oranges and yellows – this sort of animation style and colour palette looks great, giving this episode an eerie, yet beautiful quality. Not enough series use this kind of colour scheme, although if it was overused the impact would lessen, so perhaps this is a good thing. Overall a well made first episode, and while the plot device used was fascinating, and very well executed, I hope that Tasogare Otome x Amnesia has far more to it tan simply a plot device (although quite a unique and well execute plot device). So far it has not tried to be a full horror series, something that should work in its favour, and instead I think its best to approach Tasogare Otome x Amnesia as a mystery anime with a paranormal twist. A good start, and I look forward to seeing Yuuko’s and Niiya’s relationship progress while the mysteries surrounding the school deepen.