Review: Amnesia


Often when you decide to watch a show that you haven’t heard of before or has mixed reviews, things work out really well. In my case, I’m not particularly hard to please so I find most shows like that pretty enjoyable. Every so often though, things don’t quite go the way you hope they will and you come across a bit of a mess. That, unfortunately, is the case with Amnesia.

Background

Amnesia is a show that has a good premise. Based on a visual novel, a nameless girl has lost her memories before August 1st. The story is told through her relieving the days following August 1st in relationships with 4 of her male friends (plus 1 other guy, but he doesn’t really count).

Toma seems to be the most normal of the guys, or that's what I thought to start with anyway.
Toma seems to be the most normal of the guys, or that’s what I thought to start with anyway.

Plot

The problem arises when we actually look past the premise and actually at what each episode does to further the plot and character development. The answer to that for the first 10 episodes? Not all that much. Each of the arcs for the four love interests have their quirks (*cough* locked in a cage *cough*), but on the whole they ultimately fail to move the story forward towards any kind of end. It wasn’t until episode 11 when the fifth man arrives that I could actually begin to guess what was causing the travelling back in time and loss of memories, and even then, within 10 minutes of having that opportunity, the cat was let out of the bag anyway.

The last two episodes showed the supernatural element of the story that the writers were clearly going for, but in this case they couldn’t shake off the premise of a visual novel, that being to work through each of the potential love interests. It’s not that I thought each of the 10 episodes before the big reveal were universally awful, I just thought they were irrelevant, and while that wouldn’t be a problem if it was a standard harem show, it becomes one because there is clearly a lot more than that going on.

In terms of the ending, it does have an ending. Though rushed, the ending does tie up what’s been going on throughout the show and brings everything to a close.

This is Orion, the heroes guardian... fairy?
This is Orion, the heroes guardian… fairy?

Character development

There isn’t any. Our main character, who remains nameless throughout, knows nothing about herself and seems only interested in regaining memories about her relationship with the boys around her. Though this is no doubt important in a harem style visual novel, it offers nothing to a TV show. As for the heroine, I didn’t feel like I knew anything about her at the end that I didn’t know at the start, she was quiet, timid and a bit stupid.

The fifth and final male character’s constant, if brief, involvement in the show was interesting, but even here I felt there wasn’t enough time to really show any progression or to get inside his head. As for the other four, sure they had distinct personalities which is credible, but because they were each given an individual arc, there simply isn’t any time for development.

Sound, artwork and animation

The opening to Amnesia, is distinctive and edgy (in a good way) and is one of the better parts of the show, plus the title credits to go alongside it, though not flashy, did portray what the show should have been about to an extent. The artwork was pretty dull on the whole, which is pretty surprising, given that the different colours of each of the male characters should open up interesting avenues for artistic imagination. I guess this would also be the section to say that, despite my well advertised preference for English dub, if you watch this avoid the dub costs! Watching through the subbed version to grab stills was enough time to tell me how much better the Japanese was in this show.

It's not all knives and collapsed people.
It’s not all knives and collapsed people.

Favourite episode

Episode 12: XII

Unlike a lot of reviews I do, my favourite episode in Amnesia was easy to choose. The last episode is by far and away the most imaginative as well as one of the only two episodes to really further the plot at all. The little questions that were brought up throughout the show were, on the whole, answered in this episode. The ending is also reasonably satisfying, as the main character goes back to her ‘real’ world (though someone should really think about their career in writing for naming the God Neil).

Favourite piece of music

The first piece of music, Zoetrope by Yanagi Nagi, is by far and away the best track on the soundtrack, so it’ll sit nicely in the gap here:

Overall

There’s no way to gloss over it: Amnesia was a huge disappointment. The character development and plot is lacking all round and my emotions watching the show ranged from bored through to disturbed, neither of which are great indicators for feelings on a show. At times, certain aspects of the show were quirky enough to take my interest and the opening was alright, but I’d feel bad recommending this to anyone – so I won’t.

Amnesia

 

*score is out 10

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