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Amensia Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

11 min read

Amnesia DVD Cover Not FinalWhat They Say:
She runs through the flaming building seeking escape. She struggles in the water, desperate to keep afloat. And then she wakes in the hospital, with no knowledge of how she got there or memory of who she was. People she doesn’t know come to visit her, but only the one that no one else can see, the spirit boy who calls himself Olion, seems to understand what has happened to her. And he tells her nor to let anyone know of her amnesia. As the Heroine struggles to recall her past and connect the random recollections in her mind to form memories, one thing seems sure: Time is no longer a constant, and the date of August 1st… the day she keeps waking up in the hospital… is somehow significant. As are each of the people she meets, though the stories that link her to them seem to shift like sands in an emptying hourglass. Will she be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and what will she see if it becomes complete? Lost to both the world and herself, the Heroine must lift the veils of AMNESIA.

The Review:
Amnesia is heavy on inner and outer dialogue and doesn’t call for much in the way of extra effort in sound effects or music. With both Japanese and English audio tracks, I’d suggest avoiding the grating passiveness of the Heroine’s American voice. The opening to each episode is passable, but nothing exceptional, and to my great displeasure, there is no audio at all on the end credits. Any sound track within the episodes is absolutely forgettable, and I’m actually fairly certain that there isn’t one at all.

Pretty. Amnesia is pretty. The cool colors in this anime are gorgeous, at times giving it a dream-like state. There’s a kind of soft edge, even to warmer colors, and everything seems to have a sort of fade to it. I was particularly fond of the design and color scheme of eyes in this anime. At first I found it very strange, but before long I was in love.

A standard sized DVD case, Amnesia opens to a hinged 2-disc holder and a 3rd disc secured to the back of the casing. The front cover is a fairly classic close-up of the Heroine’s 4 main love interests, as we well as a centered full body illustration of the Heroine and Orion. The back is a bit busier, with a description that I find to be a little cluttered visually. The Heroine claims the focus of the back cover, with a half dozen screen captures beneath her and a simple episode count and special features list. The spine manages to be my favorite part, sporting a manga-style illustration of Shin, matching the style of art on the discs inside.

A simple menu, on each disc a different recurring love interest and playing card theme claims the right side of the screen with a list of selectable episodes on the left as well as the ability to access the language menu. The third disc adds the special features at the bottom of the list.

When it comes to Amnesia’s special features, I could take them or—more happily—leave them. Aside from the half dozen previews for other Sentai Filmworks projects, the only additional content on with this collection is “The Lost Diary Entries”… and they were better left unfound. The Diary itself is just passing mentions of the Heroine becoming re-acquainted with her friends and lovers after the end of the series and seems to disregard even the most constant parts that previously united every alternate universe. To make matters worse, there appears to be no Japanese track for the Diaries, just the twitch-inducing American track.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Adapted from the Sony PSP visual novel by the same name, Amnesia plays out much like the recent fad of romantic facebook games that allow you to choose and date a number of cast members throughout a story.

The Heroine, who never gets a real name, wakes up on August 1st. With no memory of her past, she seems not only to have forgotten who she is, but she seems to have lost her personality as well. Fair warning, if you are watching the English dub, the Heroine’s voice, which I expect is meant to sound spaced out, just sounds emotionless. I’d suggest the subtitled Japanese version for anyone who wishes to maintain some level of sanity, or enjoyment of the series.

Introduced with our Heroine is Orion, a fairy, or spirit depending on which language you are watching the series in, who claims to have been the cause for the Heroine’s inexplicable memory loss. Orion is a fun and cute, and he also seems to be the only person that has any idea of what might be going on. Her serves to guide the Heroine through the first couple of episodes, before disappearing when calamity befalls her. He reappears now and then, offering advice, and even speaking to one of the Heroine’s love interests, but every time he starts to say something really important, he disappears again.

At first, the series seems like it will be based around the Heroine regaining her lost memories as she becomes re-acquainted with her (mostly male) friends and co-workers. She seems to spend the majority of her time with them, and we don’t see much of anyone beyond Shin and Toma (her childhood friends), Ikki and Kento (her co-workers), Wawa (her manager), and Mine and Sawa (more co-workers, but with breasts!). Everyone seems fairly friendly and familiar with the Heroine, and as she gets to know them a little better, she seems to regain little bits of memory—just quick flashes with no context.

At least she seems to be making progress, though… until she falls off a cliff to the serenade of a mysterious man’s maniac laughter. Oh yeah… creepy. Who is he? Why didn’t he save her? What’s he mean, it’s her destiny? And how do all of these people get away with these really strange wardrobe choices?

When the Heroine wakes up, its August 1st again, and instead of Orion by her side it’s coarse and insulting Shin—and he’s not afraid to kiss her! I have to admit, in the first few episodes, it seemed like all of the boys, with the exception of the manager and Mr. Mystery, had a bit of a crush on our spacey Heroine, but this is no crush. This is no crush, though, and soon it’s clear that the Heroine (who was the lazy ass that decided not to give her a name, by the way?) is dating Shin. It also becomes pretty clear that something has changed, other than just the date. Still, seeing as Shin was the character I was most interested (I always like the dark and brooding ones!), I was pretty happy with this turn of events.

Don’t get used to anything, though, because just about the time you do something going to change. Shin’s only the first of many boyfriends for our Heroine. Every time she seems to really understand one of the boys, an accident happens and she finds herself back at August 1st again, a new boy by her bedside. Each new boy comes with his own faults and unique story line, but there are a few constants to ever alternate universe that the Heroine enters, which is nice.

For instance, no matter who she is dating, the Heroine works at the same cute café where all the customers are greeted as Masters or Ladies. The staff isn’t always the same, sometimes it is all of her friends, sometimes it is only a few, but everyone seems to be present in each timeline. Wawa, the manager, also seems to have a different personality each time she enters a new timeline.

Another thing that remains the same is that the Heroine grew up and has a close relationship with Shin and Toma. Sometimes, too close, as in Toma’s timeline he becomes so set on having her that he creates danger for her, and when she doesn’t take her advice on staying safe he goes to such great lengths as to cage her. Toma’s story line is the only one that I was actually uncomfortable with. While all of the other boys have their flaws, and the Heroine helps them overcome the things holding their love back, Toma’s storyline takes a bit of an unrealistic twist.

When the Heroine escapes his cage and runs home to pick the lock on her diary, she finds that her alternate self, the one that belongs int hat timeline, actually loved Toma, but hadn’t gotten the chance to confess her love to him before an accident happened. That’s great and all, but what’s not so great is that after Toma learns this, everything seems to be okay. It’s okay that he locked her in a cage… he just loved her soooo much that he couldn’t help himself.

Uh…. No.

Anyway, moving on. Some of the boys figure out that the Heroine has lost her memory, one, Toma, even speaks to Orion through the Heroine. That might have been one of my favorite scenes, as it was interesting to see Toma, who was generally pretty closed-off, in the element, working the scientific process. Actually, three of the main four romances gave me moments that just made me melt a little. There were feels. For someone who loves character-driven story, I got exactly what I wanted with Shin, Ikki, and Kento… and Ukyo.

Ukyo is the final constant in the series. He appears in every timeline, if only for a moment. His constancy, though, is high inconstant in and of itself. Ukyo is the man I referred to above as Mr. Mystery. A taxi cap wearing photographer, there are two sides of Ukyo. There is nice, sweet Ukyo, who seems to be the only person other than Orion that knows that the Heroine is moving through parallel timelines, and then there is crazy, maniac, murderous Ukyo. We don’t like him, okay? We don’t’ like him at all.

After the first four romances, it’s Ukyo’s turn… but he doesn’t get his turn until after he—well bad him—throws the Heroine off the roof of the hospital!

And suddenly, we remember that there is a plot to this anime. While dating all of the other boys we, and I man the writers, seem to have forgotten that the Heroine was trying to regain her memories, and we began to just try to figure out each timeline. Now we’re back in the original ball game.

As it turns out, Ukyo is the Heroine’s lover from her original timeline, and he’s been following, or rather searching for her, in every time line. I do mean every, as it seems he’s been in many, many more than the Heroine even remembers. In the final timeline, he warns the Heroine that the world, itself, is trying to kill her.

…Because she’s already dead.

Before the Heroine’s lost memory, she died in her original world during an explosion at her university. Ukyo was so distraught that he wished to find her in another universe, and Niel, the creator of the fairies, made that happen. The only problem was that in each timeline, the world tried to kill Ukyo, because he didn’t belong, and after some time, he developed a split personality—and Bad Ukyo didn’t want to die anymore, so Bad Ukyo started killing the Heroine. Good Ukyo, though, would eventually feel such grief that he would wish again to find her in another timeline, and so the circle continues…

I do love the premise behind why the Heroine is stuck travelling through all of the world’s, and I love the kind of dark reality to the lover who wants so badly for her to be alive that he is happy even if she is with someone else, and the personality that develops from dying so many uncountable and horrible deaths. I felt that the climax was well placed and well written, even if we did forget about plot there for a while, but what I didn’t like was the very end of the series.

After the Heroine survives nearly being murdered by Ukyo again because Ukyo stabs himself to keep his bad side from hurting her again, she is transported to Orion’s world. The Heroine finally broke the cycle, surviving until after the moment of her original death. In doing so, she granted Ukyo’s wish to see her live and saved them both form being transported to new timelines. Now she gets to regain her memories, though she will lose her memories of Orion and, presumably, the alternate timelines, and she gets sent back into the timeline where she belongs. Except…

When she walks through the door that should take her to what one would infer was a specific timeline, she is presented with big, floating playing cards. So, rather than be sent to HER timeline, she now has to choose which timeline she returns to?

This begs to question, did she die each time she had an accident, killing off each of those alternate selves, and now she picks one timeline… and she’s dead in all of the rest? Or is she alive in all of them and she is just choosing which one that consciousness wants to live out?

What if she makes the wrong choice? Are all of her other alternate lovers now mourning their girlfriend? What kind of cruelty is this?

Needless to say, after really enjoying the series, the ending left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m a little angry about the open ending… okay, maybe a lot angry. Idea Factory handed me a happy ending and then ripped it away.

In Summary:
If you like romantic anime for nothing more than the romance, then Amnesia is the title for you. Most of the series has no real visible plot to tie it together, but each section is enjoyable for its stand alone value. What suspense there is resides primarily in the first few episodes, and the last few, and seems to be more of an afterthought than an actual premise. Still, for a casual viewing and a bit of, mostly, heartwarming romance, Amnesia is a laidback and entertaining series with five unique stories of young love. Just don’t’ get too attached to anyone.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Lost Diary Entries

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: C
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: A-
Extras Grade: D

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: June 3rd, 2014
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480p standard anamorphic
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Review Equipment:
HP 15z-af100 laptop with AMD R2 Graphics, Super Multi DVD burner, DTS Studio Sound, and earbuds.

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