Going into Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, I was expecting something creepy. I mean, I've been lucky in the last year or two to get shows like Shiki and Another, which have done some good things with horror and I expected to keep that streak going. Well, as it turns out, Dusk Maiden was not that by a long shot. Instead of pervasive discomfort and general unease, the show's tone was romantic and light-hearted. There was a bit of disappointment, as should be expected, but I found the quickly established relationships amused me and the central mystery behind the death of the titular Dusk Maiden interested me.
That and the ghost was pretty damn hot.
So with a dozen episodes down and all the mysteries solved, how did the show pan out? Well, you'll have to hit the jump to find out!
After Niiya helped Yuuko come to terms with her dark side, the principal/Yuuko's sister closes off the Paranormal Investigations club room and removes Yuuko's body. After Yuuko's body gets a proper funeral, Kirie and Niiya return to school to visit with her spirit. Yuuko, of course, wants to go on a date with Niiya, so Kirie leaves while the love birds spend the day together. Things are pretty typical until Yuuko starts having trouble holding material objects.
When the two of them sit down by the pool watching the sun set, Yuuko reveals that she will disappear soon. After all, she's completed her unfinished business and reunited her disparate halves. She asks that Niiya leave with his memories of her intact, but he refuses to say goodbye to the ghost he loves. He convinces her to let him stick around until she's gone.
The two of them take a walk around the school, hitting up all their familiar spots. Their final destination is, of course, the Paranormal Investigations Club room. By then, Yuuko starts to fade and her voice gets distant. As she can't talk anymore, the two of them use a notebook to communicate. She makes Niiya promise to move on with his life and not get hung up on her. After he makes his promise, she finally disappears.
The next day, Niiya meets up with Okonogi and Kirie and finds out that the old wing of the school will remain open. He walks back to the club room while promising to keep his memories of Yuuko sealed. When he enters the club room, he finds that everything has been set up again. He opens a box that contains the notebook he wrote with Yuuko and then hears Yuuko's voice. Turns out she's not quite done and has seemingly "possessed" Niiya. The show ends with the two of them kissing.
Despite not being what I thought it was going to be, I found Dusk Maiden of Amnesia to be an overall enjoyable show. In fact, I'm kind of glad that it wasn't as dark and dreary as some of the horror shows in the past couple years. It was a nice mix up after the persistent dread felt in Another. The silly relationships between Niiya, his ghostly girlfriend and the girls in the Paranormal Investigations club were enjoyable, if not original. I'm also a sucker for a cute romance, which the show brought on in spades.
Speaking of the Niiya/Yuuko dynamic, I was particularly pleased with how that turned out. The whole revelation about Yuuko's split personality made sense, given his background. While it was resolved in a fairly typical fashion, the way the show had Niiya experience Yuuko's past was pretty interesting. I can also believe that a guy like Niiya would go through a fair amount of crap for Yuuko, which is important on a believability level. Their final exchange was handled quite well and left me with a tear in my eye. Granted, all of those emotions are undone by Yuuko's very quick return, but I suppose it makes sense in story for Yuuko to transfer her 'unfinished business' to Niiya.
While there weren't a ton of problems with Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, it wasn't perfect. Okonogi was pretty useless, her only purpose being a tool to make Yuuko jealous. I'd also say that Kirie, while much more interesting than Okonogi, was also a lost opportunity. I found the dynamic between her and Yuuko interesting, considering their familial connection. I kind of wanted there to be more between the two of them, but that would've put some stress on the pace, what with only 12 episodes in the season. There are also a couple episodes that don't really do much for the overall story in the first half, but after the sixth episode the show moves along at the right pace.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is the kind of show that you should watch while waiting for something better to come along. It doesn't insult your intelligence, with a few early exceptions, and knows when to bring the heavy tones out. The relationship between Niiya and Yuuko carries the show, with the some pretty drastic issues appearing in the second half. It's an entertaining bit of fluff that will move you with its finale.
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