First-year Niiya Teiichi gets turned around deep within his mazelike school’s older buildings, and comes across the ghost of a former student named Kanoe Yuuko, who died trapped behind a mirror. She’s as surprised as he is that he can see, hear, and touch her, but she has amnesia and has no idea who she was or why she died. She starts a Paranormal Investigations Club and makes Teiichi the first living member. Their first client is Okonogi Momoe, who is afraid a ghost is stalking her since her “Hide the Demon” ritual was interrupted.
In a manner similar to Haganai, the first episode took place when everything and everyone was established, and the second episode goes back in time to when Teiichi first meets the ghost Yuuko. It’s certainly an interesting way to start things; allowing the series to throw you right into the thick of things first, then take a step back and explain how things began. Not too far back, though; the episodes are called “mysteries”, and the main one of who Yuuko was and why she died will the occupy the balance of this series. As veterans of recent goregasmic gems like Shiki, Blood-C and Another, we can’t say our horror itch is very effectively scratched; this is much lighter fare with a supernatural edge. It’s more about the romance and mystery than the horror.
Details: the labyrinthine school is effectively creepy; there’s some decent moments of comedy when Teiichi is talking with Yuuko (invisible to everyone else); the concept of autohypnosis and preconceptions of the supernatural allowing people to see what they want to see is interesting, as is the flimflam show that appeases Momoe. Finally, the history of the school is provided through the use of some tasteful-looking traditional painted scrolls. This isn’t the best the Spring has to offer, but it’s not bad, either.
Rating: 5 (Average)
Niiya Teiichi, Kanoe Kirie, and Okonogi Momoe are members of a Paranormal Investigation Club at their school, tasked with investigating their school’s many ghost stories. Their club president Yuuko is the ghost of a long-dead girl at the school, who only Teiichi and Kirie can see and hear. Momoe suspects a poltergeist when things start to move on their own, including Teiichi himself. They head to the alleged grave of Yuuko in the woods on a hill, a place she doesn’t seem to remember. Teiichi seems to have agreed to help her find out the mystery of what happened to her, perhaps so she can rest in peace.
While Sankarea is clearly the more horror-tinged of the two supernatural series we’ll be watching this Spring, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is bent more towards mystery and point-of-view. This first episode cleverly began from Momoe’s, in which neither she nor we could see or hear Yuuko, and then the act reset to where we could see and hear her, but Momoe still couldn’t. We’re not sure if Kirie can hear her, but it seems she can see her. We like how Momoe believed Teiichi could read her thoughts, even though he was only responding to Yuuko and just happened to match them.
As for Yuuko herself, she’s a mischievious flirt of a ghost, not above lightening the mood with antics, but also clearly in need of some answers, since she hasn’t moved on to the hereafter and all. This episode limits our exposure to just these four club members, and while the 3:1 girl-to-guy ratio portends a harem, but at least one of the girls in question is dead, which makes things more interesting. Technically speaking, the series impresses with a bold and atmospheric presentation. The old, sprawling school oozes with secrets waiting to be uncovered, and characters are brought to life with some intense close-ups, quick moments of action, and decent voice work. Most of all, we want to know more about who Yuuko, how she died, and why she chose to haunt Teiichi, so we’ll keep watching.
Rating: 6 (Good)