Amnesia Series Review

Overview:

A girl wakes up but doesn’t remember anything and for some reason seems to intrinsically trust whichever guy shows up in her life first.

Review:

Originally I reviewed this over on Crunchyroll immediately after watching it. Probably a bad idea (it was pre-blog) and I really didn’t like it very much. That said, I probably didn’t hate it as much as some people did. This review isn’t a rehash of the previous one  on Crunchyroll but rather a reconsideration after time and a rewatch which has more or less brought me to the same conclusion. Amnesia isn’t terrible, but it just isn’t very good.

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Any kind of accurate plot synopsis that tells you more than my overview is going to spoil what few plot points there are in relation to why she keeps waking up without her memory so I’m just going to point out that the plot makes sense in that the ridiculously shallow character archetypes wander through the events and usually respond in a way that makes sense (even if the characters themselves don’t). The problem with the plot is only that it relies very much on the central gimmick of a main character with amnesia and the suspension of disbelief when they reveal why.

If you haven’t already backed out of this review and are still reading I’m now going to turn my attention to the characters.

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My original description of the main character was ‘blank slate heroine’ and I’m sticking by that. She genuinely has nothing, not even memories. So forget the usual blandness of self-insert and just think of a Doll from Darker Than Black without the potential for evolving. And that leads me to wonder who this anime is for. The stereotypical hot guys (personifying various tastes)  dancing around in every other shot would indicate they are trying to appeal to women and yet the main character isn’t someone you can self-insert onto even if you wanted to (and given the personalities of a lot of the guys you would have to wonder why you would want to enter that world – this one is much safer at a distance). She is so hopelessly blank you almost pity her. So while a stronger heroine who could negotiate with the various men in the harem might have provided for an entertaining bit of escapism and a flirt with danger, the heroine here just makes you cringe and want someone to rescue her from her very existence.

Or maybe that was just me but my impression from first viewing to second actually got worse because the first time through I just found her bland and the second time I was genuinely wanting her out of most of those situations.

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The shock deaths that are thrown at you throughout the series are also kind of off-putting (and this is from someone who actually appreciates slasher horror). In amongst this warped romance these deaths feel incredibly out of place and because the heroine is so hopelessly defenceless against them it kind of hurts to watch. This isn’t the amusement of watching a bad horror in action, or even the thrill fo watching a good horror play out while you wait with anticipation for the next shoe to drop. This is just uncomfortable viewing at the best of times. I think it’s because it really feels like the writers at times felt that having the girl fall in love with or be played around with by the possessive guy or the jerk or the whatever wasn’t edgy enough so let’s add a dose of inconsequential death and that will give it some edge.

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My final major criticism with this show is that all of the main characters really are dressed like extras from a circus. It helps distinguish them from one another (because little else does) but you have to wonder how long it would take to put on some of those outfits and given the truly bizarre effect of them, why they would even bother (not a criticism of individuals who have clothes with flair but rather a criticism on ordinary character designs poorly disguised up by overdressing characters).

So if it seems like this is truly dreadful from that then I’m probably not being fair. Amnesia is perfectly watchable with a plot that works during the viewing and fails on the reconsideration. The characters are not good but with the exception of the central protagonist they aren’t so dreadful as to make this an unwatchable ordeal and even my main criticism of the protagonist is that she is an empty shell rather than a terrible character (though some would argue that this is worse).

On a personal level I really disliked the show. I hate the way the heroine is portrayed and romance in general and the ending (while conclusive enough) is not satisfying nor does it seem to justify the journey (though it is logical enough within the context of the show). But I can’t bring myself to actually say I hate Amnesia because mostly I am walking away realising that much like after my first viewing I’m going to forget this very quickly and move on to other anime that leave a more lingering impression. More importantly, I can kind of see that some viewers would enjoy elements of this show even if they aren’t for me.

If you’ve watched Amnesia, I’d love to know your thoughts.


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27 thoughts on “Amnesia Series Review

  1. I completely forget this anime existed. I decided to see it through to the end to see where it would go. Unfortunately it was boring. This was an anime that’s didn’t need to exist really. Knowing that this was a visual novel before an anime makes me sad Well.. time to forget it again XD.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you, I remember feeling really sorry for the poor girl when I wasn’t annoyed by her complete lack of confidence or self-respect. Amnesia as an easy in for a girl to be used and abused by dickish guys doesn’t even make decent fantasy fodder, let alone a satisfying story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve played part of the game (I’m not finished with the whole game yet) and while I’ve enjoyed the game so far I’m not sure if that would translate to the anime :/ As you point out as a character she is kind of a blank slate. It works well for the game because it adds your ability to make choices for her and choose the personality she is going to have and how it effects you routes, but I can see that as an anime character it would get really boring and annoying really fast. One of these days I will have to actually give this show a shot.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I’ll have to finish the entire game first and then do the anime. I’ve been hearing a lot of things about the show that don’t necessarily line up with the game so I don’t want to watch the original so to speak first lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I REALLY liked Anmesia the first time that I watched it, and even though there are many who don’t, I still feel like going back and revisiting portions of it just because it has again been brought to my attention. (Who am I kidding? I’m going to go watch more Hakuouki, but I still enjoy Amnesia. Anyway…)

    Now that my bias is out of the way, I will continue on to say that, though I positively laughed out loud when I read “I think it’s because it really feels like the writers at times felt that having the girl fall in love with or be played around with by the possessive guy or the jerk or the whatever wasn’t edgy enough so let’s add a dose of inconsequential death and that will give it some edge,” (and isn’t that why a LOT of such things get added, to dramatize otome and shoujo anime?) I think that, should you play the otome, those random deaths start to make more sense.

    I watched the show before I played the game Amnesia: Memories (just purchased during the Steam sale, woo!) and now, having spent some time playing it, I can see how the anime was a great compilation of various routes into the only format that would maintain the original intent while giving each route a bit of shine time. The game has SO many possible endings, and not one of them follow a path quite like the anime.

    The outfits compliment the game’s original visual style (It’s quite cool, in my opinion.), so I fully understand why they retained them even if they are a bit outlandish when placed into an ordinary setting. In the game, it is stated during the prologue that her personality has vanished along with her memories, so even though the nameless heroine is soooooo flat (and she is, I agree, don’t get me wrong), I can see why the creators made the choices that they did.

    All in all, having played some of the game has complimented my appreciation of the anime. Also, Toma was my first experience with a yandere character, and I was flabbergasted, so there’s that. Did NOT see that coming. Oh! And Ukyo is a wild ride, huh?

    Anyway, I’m glad you chose to write on Amnesia today!! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it and the game. This one definitely wasn’t to my tastes in the end but I don’t hate it anywhere near as much as some people seem to because (as you put it) there are reasons for the choices made even if I don’t much like the outcome of those choices. It is better than something that is just complete nonsense.
      Thanks for your comment and I hope you continue to have fun with the game.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love following Amnesia with Diabolik Lovers (it feels cathartic).
    ^-o I have an odd relationship with this anime (have it on blue ray).
    *I was at comic con looking though Manga uk’s DVD library.*

    me:”They have Amnesia on DVD!”

    *Manga uk representative walks towards us with swagger.*

    friend: “Is it good?”
    Me: “It’s terrible.”

    *He stops in his tracks and has a shocked face.*

    Me: “You will be hard pressed to find an anime that fails in the way this show does.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pretty infamous title, almost on the level of Diabolik Lovers (but that’s a whole ‘nother beast). Do not hear good things about this title from ANYONE. Though, most are usually a lot more critical of the blandness than you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bland is only one aspect of the show and while it is enough to kind of ruin most of everything else, there are other things going on. When all is said and done, the heroine doesn’t speak much which means there’s lot of other characters and things filling up the viewing time (very few of which are great but most are passable).

      Like

  7. I’ve watched it …. I don’t like it, to the point that every time I see this on Hulu’s list, I cringe. ( alphabetical so Amnesia is one of those we can’t help but see right away ) . This is originally an otome game, and more often than not, the anime version turns out bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wound up giving this a 1/10. Every time I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did exactly that, until we wind up in a situation where (spoiler alert) where one of the heroine’s options locks her in a cage, which she somehow mysteriously escapes from, and then after she runs away, she discovers in an existing diary that the her on this timeline DOES love him. This revelation literally saves her from an oncoming rape.

    And even at that point, it still hasn’t hit rock bottom yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, she does get herself into some pretty awful situations. By the time we got to the cage I was just kind of wondering how they hadn’t done it already and was really just waiting for things to get worse.

      Like

  9. Watching a memoryless, personality-less girl get tugged around by 4 (or 5?) men does so very captivating.

    …yeah, no.

    I liked the OP of this and thought of about trying it but reviews have been overwhelmingly bad so I’m not too keen on it anymore. Your review has been one of the more positive I’ve seen. You think this could function well as one of those shows where entertainment comes from yelling at the characters every other second?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, and I thought I was being reasonably harsh (though I have seen some pretty ranty reviews over this one).
      I don’t know that you’d even get much fun from shouting at the characters given she keeps resetting and it would be like giving her the same advice all over again and I think after two rounds the novelty of that might wear thin.

      Liked by 1 person

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