Tasogare Otome x Amnesia 02 – Isolation and the fear of being abandoned
April 23, 2012 2 Comments
To be alone must be terrible, but to be alone without truly understanding why your alone, must be even worse. Yuuko has to live with the knowledge that she is dead, yet does not know why and how she died, furthermore, she does not even know anything about her life anymore. It is a terrible loneliness, one that must add a crushing weight to her existence, and something that she clearly questions even when there is evidence that she, as a person, or a being does in fact exist in this reality. Yuuko’s reality is one of uncertainty, she has no knowledge of her past, and her future is one of loneliness, and as far as it is possible to tell potential dispair. It is this fear of being left alone, and forgotten that drives Yuuko to approach and interact with Niiya.
To Yuuko, the introduction of Niiya is incredibly special, and very important; he helps to justify her existence to herself if no one else. His concern with her, along with their banter demonstrates to her that there are people in this world that can see and interact with her in a normal manner. The idea of simply being able to touch someone and fully interact with them in the way any normal high school girl can further demonstrates the importance of human contact to Yuuko. Seeing a look of sadness cross her face when Niiya suggests that ‘even withered silvergrass can seem like a demon if you are afraid’ further points to the notion that Yuuko is afraid of being left alone, and that the idea of her existence being akin to withered silvergrass upsets and scares her.
From the first two episodes we have seen Yuuko messing around with Niiya, creating all manner of embarrassing situations for him, along with fulfilling her role as a mischievous ghost in the school. It is not as if Yuuko wants to cause trouble for Niiya, it is just that being capable of this sort of interactions has made overjoyed to the point of forgetting about everything else. Her teasing of Niiya, along with some of the service is just her way of enjoying herself, along with reaffirming the notion that Niiya views her as a proper girl. Perhaps this is the reason that she falls in love with Niiya, or at least grows incredibly attached to him, since he is the only one who truly acknowledges her existence as a ‘normal’ girl. Her jealousy at seeing Niiya approached by another girl further enhances the idea that Yuuko’s attachment to him is incredibly important, while also demonstrating her ability to behave like a normal human girl.
There are points throughout that show Yuuko questioning her own existence, and treating her time with Niiya as little more than a drop in a bucket of water. She has already resigned herself to the knowledge that Niiya will one day forget about her, he will move on with his life and she will still be stuck in the school. There is this inescapable inevitability to their relationship, one that hurts Yuuko, but she does not see any way to change their current situation. As she says, she is nothing more than a hallucination to people, and while some may see her as she is, they quickly forget about her, her existence no longer matters to them. That the tirual of ‘Hide the Demon’ involves Yuuko further points to the idea that her existence is one that is acknowledged, but alsot twisted by other peoples desires and imaginations.
Yuuko’s clingy behaviour is just an example of her tenuous grip on reality, along with the uncertainty in her relationship to Niiya, it is as if she is physically trying to make a strong impression on him so that he wont forget her. By creating the paranormal investigation club and registering herself as the president, Yuuko is perhaps trying to justify her existence to the world at large as well as to herself. It is as if Yuuko has got to the point that she is even questioning her place in this reality, and that the only way she seems able to stop these thoughts are by messing around, playing pranks on people, and creating an official club. By showing Niiya the club and having him join there is now an element of legitimacy to this space that Yuuko has created for herself, and by speaking through Niiya, there is an element of Yuuko finally being capable of interacting and speaking with other students in a normal way.
That Niiya can see and interact with her in such a way, demonstrates as Yuuko points out that he has strong feelings for her, something that see seems to take very seriously. Furthermore, Yuuko is overjoyed with the idea that Niiya is serious about finding out how and why she died. He is the first person to care about her, acknowledging that her existence is real and not just his mind playing tricks, in effect, Niiya is the first person who has viewed Yuuko as human. Finding out that Yuuko until recently had been taking the health checkups with all the other girls in the school further demonstrates her wish to be noticed. That she only stopped because her measurements never changed and because no one truly noticed her as an individual, something that must have been crushing for her.
The humour has a bittersweet quality to it, while it is incredibly funny in places; it is also another part of Yuuko attempting to create a place for herself in the school and other peoples lives. There is a distinct need to belong, Yuuko does not fear death since she is already dead, and however, what she seems to fear more than anything is to be forgotten. That is why there is an almost inherent tragic element to her relationship with Niiya, and her playful antics, calling him ‘pervert’, and acting like a spoiled child around him reinforce the idea that they only have a limited amount of time together.
Furthermore, while meeting Niiya is a tremendously important event for Yuuko, it can also be argued that it may be the most tragic part of her existence. By meeting him, getting to know him, and growing ever closer together, it just makes what may seem as their inevitable parting that much more tragic and painful. Perhaps that is why Yuuko puts so much time into messing around, she has already recognised the inescapable consequences of getting to know this high school boy and knows that falling in love with him may be the best, but also the worst thing to happen to her. Tragic romances are often some of the most beautiful and heartfelt, that there is the knowledge of its impending collapse further enhances the finer elements of the relationship. This, along with the wonderful animation style have made Tasogare Otome x Amnesia a joy to watch so far, and the curious relationship that Niiya and Yuuko have, injects elements of humour, while at the same time remaining quite dark, and actually quite sad in places.