Amnesia – 12 (Fin)

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Ukyou chases the heroine around the burning church with a knife, but keeps changing back to his gentle, caring self, who tells her her death in this church started everything. He wished she could live, and Orion’s creator, Neil, granted his wish by sending him to worlds where she was still alive, but only one of them could live in whatever world they ended up in. He stabs himself to stop the evil him from killing her. She ends up in limbo, where Orion explains what happened. Neil thanks her for restoring his powers. Neil in turn will restore her memories and let her return to her original world.

We’ll be honest, we were dreading both the possibility that this would go on for another slow, deliberate season, or worse, the ending wouldn’t be told until who-knows-when in some future film of OVA. Fortunately, neither happened, and we got a definite end that competently explained the mystery of the heroine’s predicament, Ukyou’s full role, and the real reason Orion was by her side for most of her journey. Most of these answers are delivered rather matter-of-factly through exposition, much of it either happening while Nice Ukyou peeks his persona in or by Orion in the checkered limbo when the cycle finally breaks. We’re somewhat conflicted with regards to whether all the explanation at the end works (the pop-up monitor Orion uses to show recaps flashbacks is pretty silly).

On the one hand, we liked the idea of a wish gone wrong, Ukyou causing far more trouble for himself and his lover just because he wanted to see her again, and worlds that don’t like people who aren’t supposed to be there. On the other hand, neither Orion or Ukyou really earned the emotional resonance this episode was trying to peddle, the four other dudes are completely abandoned  and while we really wanted to see just a smidgen of the heroine’s world, the end did not provide. Finally, the big NEIL reveal…just didn’t do anything for us. When weighing the pros and cons, this is a fittingly good but not great finale to a good but not great series.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • For the record, when he’s in control, Evil Ukyou is not that good at carrying out what he says needs to be done in a prompt and efficient manner. It’s not as if the heroine is particularly fast.
  • That is one massive, slow-burning church, and the flames are remarkably smoke free. No asphyxiation for our heroine! 
  • The end credits didn’t feature a heartwarming shot of the heroine locked in Toma’s Cage of Happiness.

Amnesia – 11

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The heroine and Orion learn that Ukyou has a split personality: one side wants to protect her and prevent her from dying on the 25th, the other side wants to kill her so he can live. Despite warning her to stay away, she can’t, and when a text he sends her a text on the 25th implying he’ll die that night, and she goes out into a storm to find him. The evil Ukyou corners her in a burning church.

The heroine proves yet again that her sense of self-preservation is iffy at best, but overpowered by her refusal to stand by and let anyone suffer, especially if it’s for her sake. Logically, if half of Ukyou wants to see what the inside of her skull looks like, she should stay away from him, period. But she thinks with her heart, not her head, and for her trouble she ends up right where she started the series: in that burning church, hiding from the person she came to save. Nice symmetry!

Apparently, while this world will try to kill the heroine until the 25th, if Ukyou dies in her place, she’ll live on. Ukyou makes reference to having met the heroine and seen her die countless times, so it’s not unrealistic to assume the experience has made him go at least half-mad, developing a side of himself to stop him from dying in the heroine’s place. That half’s willing to do anything – kill anyone – to stay alive, just as the heroine is willing to risk her life again and again to relieve the pain of others.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Amnesia – 10

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The heroine unlocks her diary where she learns she loves Toma and planned to confess to him the day of the accident. She lets him read it when he appears, and his misunderstanding is cleared up. He takes her to the hospital, where the fangirls show up apologize for how they treated her. In the night, Ukyou throws the heroine off the roof of the hospital, and she wakes up in a world with a much nicer Ukyou who protects her and claims to be her lover, but tells her the current world she’s in is trying to kill her.

We’ll admit, we were furious when the heroine all but forgave Toma’s criminal activities just because he “cared” about her. Hell, there’s no telling what the madman would have done to her had she not had that diary to defuse his rage (letting him off the hook is so glaring, we’re rating the episode a point lower.) But sure enough, she’s back in the hospital (she’s there so much, she must be putting a great many health professionals’ kids through college), only to get frikkin’ thrown off the roof by that creepy evil Ukyou guy. So long, world in which her childhood friend kept her in a cage…

…and Hello to the Killer World; that is, the one in which everything bad that can happen to the heroine does happen, unless the nicer Ukyou warns her or gets her out of harm’s way at the last second. Our thought was that if getting killed in one world throws you into another, why not just die and be sent somewhere less dangerous? We don’t know, because even though the heroine wants answers, she doesn’t ask any meaningful questions. Nice Ukyou – who may be on the same kind of “journey” through world as the heroine, is too preoccupied with her safety to let her (or us) in on what he knows…which is a lot.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Amnesia – 09

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After the heroine’s hair is cut by the Ikki fans at the mall, Toma grows increasingly protective, insisting she stay at his place and not go out anymore. Orion appears and tells her he’s drugging her food and drink to keep her asleep. Shin shows up, and she learns Toma isn’t really her boyfriend. Eventually, Toma locks her in a cage to keep her safe, but doesn’t feel good about it. Desperate to know how she feels about him, she escapes and heads to her apartment to see if there’s anything in her diary – but Toma pursues her.

Whoa…okay then! Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard the crazy train. Your conductor is none other than Toma, who takes his commitment to protecting the heroine a bit too far, to say the least. Granted, she is being mercilessly bullied by the fangirls, and her contact information has been distributed online, which can’t be good. She’s having garbage stuffed in her mailbox, flower pots dropped on her, and her lustrous locks are sheared every chance the bitch squad gets. And more importantly, she’s utterly incapable of dealing with any of this do to her disorientation with the timeline.

But still – and we don’t give a rat’s ass whether Toma’s “heart is in the right place” – you cannot kidnap, drug, and imprison someone in a cage and expect us to be okay with it. The heroine shows a surreal amount of passivity to this situation, and even seems on the verge of forgiving him for this sickening treatment (the episode never explains, for instance, how she goes to the bathroom in there). But we don’t care how many memories she’s missing or how much she may actually love Toma. He has to go to jail for this. In any kind of sane world, he would. This apparently isn’t that world, but at least Toma admits what he’s doing is, indeed, quite fucked up.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Amnesia – 08

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The heroine is now in a world where Toma is her boyfriend, as well as her childhood friend. He is very attentive and caring, but in the course of the next few days, her mailbox is filled with garbage, someone misses her head by a hair with a dropped flower pot, and she is accosted by Ukyou, who warns her she’s about to die. She stays at Toma’s place, but while shopping she goes off alone, and the Ikki Fan Club corners her.

The show is called “Amnesia”, but this week it could might as well be called “Paranoia” – full as it is of shadows and secrets, threats and intrigue. The heroine starts this next chapter out of it to begin with, but like no other episode before, she’s a marked woman, and there’s the sense she’s on borrowed time. She may not be dating Ikki, but she’s still meeting him periodically in “The Back Alley”, so his fangirls are as ferocious as ever with their acts of psychological warfare and outright assault. And then there’s a particularly sinister Ukyou, who’s acutely aware that she’s jumping from place to place and dating a different guy each time.

He rather flippantly informs her of her impending death (jerk). Orion’s nowhere to be found, and Toma is doing all he can to protect her, but he can’t be awake and by her side at all times, and every time he isn’t, she gets into hot water. We’re curious what the fangirls think they can get away with in a busy mall, but one thing is certain: the heroine has gone with the flow thus far. If she doesn’t want to end up dead, she may need to take a more active role in preserving her life. Though every other time she’s “died” she’s simply woken up somewhere else.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Amnesia – 07

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The heroine appears in another world, in which she is dating Kent, who accompanies her to the temple festival and thanks her for encouraging him to open up more. When he determines her memories are missing, Orion appears, and Kent asks to talk to him through the heroine. After learning that the heroine is shifting between alternate worlds, Kent considers whether the heroine he knew is gone. The heroine promises she’ll see him tomorrow, but in the middle of an intersection, she shifts again, now accompanied by Toma.

As demonstrated by his status as a grad student in math, a lover of math games, and initial ineptness at male-female communication, Kent is a bit of a nerd. On the other hand, judging by the height of his head he’s either built like a fashion illustration or he’s, like, eight feet tall. Character distortion aside, it’s clear Kent is trying. Plus, there’s no fan club after him, and he not only believes that Orion is real, he even agrees to communicate with him (Orion’s a him, apparently) through the heroine. His obsession with belts is a bit of a concern, but otherwise, he’s decent boyfriend material. Going with the flow as always, even when it leads to her secret being revealed to the guy she’s currently dating, it seems the heroine could be content staying here.

So of course, when she wants to stay, she ends up shifting somewhere else, where she’s doubtless involved with Toma. We share her exasperation; just when a little progress was being made, she’s back to square one again. But that’s the way these things usually go: progress is treacle-slow, involving intense patience from all parties involved. By episode’s end, we were thinking for the first time not just about the heroine, but also about how these guys feel when their version of the girlfriend suddenly changes into the character we’re following. Does their heroine return to normal when she shifts out of their worlds?


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Amnesia – 06

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Mine confesses to Ikki, but is rejected spectacularly. As the heroine walks home from work in the rain, she crosses paths with Ukyou. The next morning she’s in bed with a cold all day, and Ikki nurses her. The next day she learns of a retreat to Shinano with Ikki’s Billiards Organization, which is mostly an Ikki Fan Club, of which the heroine is apparently a member. She learns that that the girls leave Ikki after three months, not the other way round. The fangirls confront her, as her three months are almost up. They shove her into a boat, which eventually sinks, and she sinks with it…

Twisted memories or no, the heroine should have the common sense not to walk around in the rain without a decent coat or umbrella. Of course she catches a cold, and of course her boyfriend (in this universe) Ikki takes care of her. But if her self-manufactured suffering isn’t enough, she’s also forgotten the nature of her relationship with Ikki, and the promise she made to the other fangirls, who have made a pact to “share” Ikki. For his part, he believes he was made irresistible to the opposite sex thanks to a wish upon a falling star in his youth, and you can’t really argue whether it was successful.

The thing is, that instant popularity is a blessing and a curse. With so many girls in love with him, any one he ultimately chooses becomes the target of the others’ scorn, making it very difficult for that girl to stay with him. In setting up their system the fangirls didn’t stop to think about whether Ikki would ever fall for one of them, as he has with the heroine. They’re just using them to satisfy their own lust. We didn’t think we’d ever sympathize with Ikki after his earlier showing, but…we do now. As for the heroine, oh, of course she can’t swim. But we suspect she’ll wake up in another time before she drowns.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Amnesia – 05

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The heroine finds herself in a new world where Ikku is her boyfriend. Rumors fly around that he treats dating like a game and has dumped all his previous conquests three months after meeting them. However, according to Kent, he has not yet done so with her. Orion reappears but promptly disappears, just before she is able to tell her what exactly is going on.

We’re starting to think Eureka the heroine’s encounter with Merry Nightmare Orion now has her bouncing between universes. Whenever some time passes and she is able to gather information about the universe she’s in, boom, she wakes up back on August 1, in a totally different universe. Well, a slightly different one, at least. It’s all about the details: most importantly, whom she’s dating.

While it’s eventually made clear Ikku and the heroine are a couple, because we know that she doesn’t remember (or is from a universe where they aren’t a couple) there’s a bit of a creeper factor to Ikku. It’s as if the series is relishing putting the poor unwitting heroine in the middle of these relationships with fairly aggressive men who wear the same weird clothes every day, have no notion of personal space, and play nerdy math games.

Of course, the heroine keeps going with the flow. Why bother learning more about where she is if you’re just going to end up somewhere else a couple days later?


Rating: 6 (Good)

Amnesia – 04

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As Shin walks the heroine home, he tells her he doesn’t want to go back to being just childhood friends. When she and her coworkers have a fireworks party, she invites him. He declines at first, then comes, and proceeds to tell her about the accident. He was too forceful, which led to her running off and falling off a cliff. In the past, she didn’t give up on him, so he vows not to give up on her. After almost getting hit by a car, she wakes up. It’s August 1st again, and Ikki is back, and calling her out for a date. When she heads outside, she sees him with the girls who confronted her in the future.

This week some of the pieces finally started to fall into place for the heroine. She now knows about the bond between her and Shin that led to his confessing to her, as well as what transpired before she fell off the cliff. Shin is a forceful, aggressive guy who doesn’t usually mince words, and at first glance he seems a curious choice for the heroine to date, but after this episode we could definitely see her saying yes to him. She never gave up on Shin after the unpleasantness that followed his dad being branded a murderer, and never let him give up on himself. He wants to return the favor by not giving up on her.

For a long stretch of the episode, even though Shin is giving her a lot of backstory, there’s the sense that the heroine is no longer just trying to regain lost memories, but being content for the time being to form happy new ones, like the little fireworks soirée. These are people she got along with and even loved; in time, memory loss or not, she’ll reform the bonds she lost. But only if she can stay in the same place! Her shift back to August 1st, and the reappearance of Ikki the also-super-aggressive ladies’ man (dick didn’t even give her the chance to say ‘No’), threatens all the progress made with Shin. Her trials continue.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Amnesia – 03

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Shin takes the heroine home from the hospital. The next morning he returns, telling her they’ve been dating for three months. He takes her to her university, hoping to jog her memories, including in the practice room where they first kissed. When she returns to work, the trip to Shinano differs in several details, and Kent and Ikku no longer work at the maid cafe. She asks Shin what happened the night of her accidnent, but all he can tell her for now is that it was “all his fault.”

Things don’t get any easier for our poor delicate heroine this week, as she wakes up in a hospital, back in the beginning of August, after an employee retreat that she remembers happened days later. And it isn’t just dates she’s confused about: people who used to work at the cafe are now just random acquaintances. There was no meteor shower. And the “photographer” guy? He helped them look for her, but now he seems to vanish into thin air when she’s not alone. Consistent  facts elude the heroine at every turn. We’d be pissed, but she handles it all with grace and patience.

All we know for sure (we think!) is that she fell off a cliff and was injured How, and why and to what extent she was hurt, we don’t know. Nor do we know if the last episode was just a dream, or if this one is. Shin isn’t forthcoming, because he’s not confident enough to discuss it calmly, or something. Beside their frustrating discussion, a juggler juggles, providing a not-so-subtle visual aid of what the heroine is trying to do. And then, to complicate matters further, Orion, who had been absent in this time, tries to re-establish contact.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. The heroine’s university is Rikkyo University in Ikebukuro. We happened upon the real thing while on a trip  there and were struck by its Western design. It looked like someone plopped down a patch of England right in the middle of Tokyo! Also, like Shin, we love melon soda.

 

Amnesia – 02

Eureka the heroine wakes up after her encounter with the girls, wondering if she broke a promise and caused someone harm as a result of her amnesia. She decides to join her co-workers on a 2-night orientation trip to an island where they’ll be able to see a meteor shower. She gets flashbacks of Kent at a festival and of Shin confessing to killing someone, and when she ends up alone with Shin, she panics, and ends up falling off a cliff. She comes to in a hospital. It’s August 1 again, Shin comes in to kiss her, and Orion is gone.

The mysteries continue unabated this week, with the poor unnamed heroine’s plight becoming more and more complicated and confusing. It’s bittersweet feeling, as we’re enjoying all the intrigue, but at the same time frustrated that we just don’t know anything concrete yet. On more than one occasion Orion apologizes for being useless, but really, where would the heroine be without her guidance? Well, we may find out next week, as it would seem she’s gone back in time, her neck is bandaged, and Orion is nowhere to be found.

Is Orion being trapped inside her soul the main cause of this, or are matters more complex than that? How much time traveling has she done? Are there paradoxes to resolve? (sorry, we’re deep into FFXIII-2). It seem’s she’s had/has/will have some kind of romantic connection with all the guys (explored in both OP and ED) at some point. Who knows? She doesn’t even know who she is, only that she’s apparently quite popular, despite spacing out all the time. We haven’t even mentioned that weird photographer guy. Curiouser and curiouser…


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Amnesia – 01

Three days after passing out at work, a girl finds she has no memory of who she or anyone around her is. The amnesia is brought about by Orion, a spirit only she can see and hear who crossed paths with her soul by chance and is now trapped inside it. The girl’s friends Toma and Shin walk her home, and the nex day she goes back to her job at a main and butler cafe, where she meets Ikki and Kent. When she goes home, she’s cornered by three girls accusing her of betraying them. She experiences a traumatic memory and passes out again.

The title “Amnesia” turns out to be a perfect description of what we see in its first installment, which is all about the confusion, frustration, and helplessness that accompany a state of Amnesia, and this girl has it bad (worse still, no one will say her name, which she doesn’t know herself.) Despite a couple tiresome moments of her fumbling with words or dishes, we’re on her side, because we’re just as in the dark about everything around her as she is. Her relationships to all these guys for instance, remain a total mystery, and none of them do her many favors with regards to helping her remember.

Still, she does okay for one day. Jumping right into a job at a maid cafe – or any job, for that matter – is no small task, but she does it to try to unlock some memories. All she gets are flashes that only raise more questions. The OP and ED seem to have fun with the fact that any or all of these guys could be her lover; we just don’t know at this point. As for Yumekui Merry Orion, well…we’re not the hugest fans. Her voice is annoying, and her design is a bit rote (Yumekui Merry looked cooler, even though we dropped her). Still, we like the premise atmosphere well enough, and will certainly give it another look next week.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)