Seikyou Private Academy is odd for a school. It’s winding halls end in abrupt dead ends. There are stairs that go no where. One wing of the school, the oldest, is used for storage and is seldom visited. Ghost stories abound about that wing. The stories all share a name: Yuuko-san.
Teiichi Niiya likes those ghost stories. He found himself in one of the furthest rooms of the ramshackle school wing. An old mirror stands. Of course, there was a ghost story about that old mirror. It was said whomever gazed into the mirror should not turn around. Yuuko-san waits behind to steal souls. Teiichi hears a sound behind him and turns. It is just a story, after all. A girl dressed in an old school uniform regards him. Her hair, long and dark, floats in a wind that doesn’t blow. Yuuko-san.
It turns out Yuuko-san isn’t such a bad ghost. She only has a few problems. She’s dead. She’s lonely. She can’t remember her past. Teiichi and YuukoKanoe, as her name was when she was alive, found the Paranormal Investigations Club to look into Yuuko’s forgotten past and all the ghost stories surrounding the school.
Yuuko can only been seen by people who become aware of her. As a ghost, she is solid and enjoys eating. She is alive in most every way, but things are never quite what they seem. She appears to people as they expect to see her. Expect a demon, and she appears as one.
Teiichi and Yuukoare joined by Momoe Okonogi. Momoe is a high strung girl who cannot see Yuuko or any ghost. She enjoys the fear and digging up old ghost stories. Kirie Kanoe joins the group. She is able to see Yuuko but refuses to touch her. Yep. As you can tell from the same family name, they are related somehow.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia focuses on the relationship between Teiichi and Yuuko. A human and a ghost should never interact, let alone develop a relationship. Yuuko’s mysterious past and death draws the pair together even as it threatens to tear them apart. This anime hints at harem relationships. Momoe and Kirie have some feeling for Teiichi. Yuuko has a jealous streak.
This series is creepy at times. Comedic hijinks, including the usual nudity jokes and boob jokes serve as a sharp contrast to the heavier, darker elements of the story. Teiichi and Yuuko are both likeable. Although in typical shonen stereotype Teiichi can be thick headed at times. At least he is a little more perceptive than the typical shonen hero. Yuuko is complex and tragic despite her lighthearted antics.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is a good story. Momoe gets annoying at times, but that is to be expected of Japanese comedic relief characters. The use of shadows and scenes is well done. The scenes are shot in ways that emphasizes the darkness that pervades the story. There are hints of this undercurrent even in the comedic scenes. Expect some fan service. Yuuko is a ghost, after all, who isn’t used to people being able to see her. Many of the scenes use cut out effects (small frames set against black) masterfully to convey the crushing loneliness Yuuko feels.
I am mixed about the ending. Without spoiling it, I will say that the ending could have been bold and memorable. It is still satisfying, but it dilutes the impact the series establishes.
I enjoyed this series more than I expected. It is an interesting love story laced with sorrow and despair. It has some rough spots, particularly with some of the comedy, but it is worth a watch if you enjoy mysteries and a love that cannot be.