Take one part Haunted Junction, one part AnoHana, two parts Hyouka, and throw in a little bit of Another, and if you bake it for 12 episodes (and one OVA) you get Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. And it's a pretty tasty treat... But that last hint of aftertaste is slightly bitter and, well, it kind of leaves a bad flavor in your mouth.
I'll just say right from the start that I did like Dusk Maiden. It was fun, started off light, got kind of serious (in a good, not overly dramatic way), and it all led up to (what should have been) a very emotional ending... But then, at the half yard line it stopped, did an early touchdown dance, and got FLATTENED by a 360lb left tackle from out of nowhere. What is it about? I'm getting to that, but first I have another 5 metaphors to make about it saying the exact same thing though.... Oh, for the love of... Very well. I'll stop being creative and simply tell you what it's all about. RAT FART!
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is about an average kid named Teiichi who goes to Seikyou Private Academy in some dinky mining town in Japan. While exploring the campus one day after class (the school is a giant maze with 60 years worth of buildings criss-crossing and built upon old structures throughout the grounds), he gets lost, and stumbles upon an old storage room with a giant mirror in it. While gazing into the mirror he sees the face of an evil spirit covered in blood and gore that haunts his nightmares for weeks to come before finally devouring his soul in its search for mortal sustenance in order to keep itself going until the End of Days occurs.... No, I'm just fucking with you. Instead, when Teiichi looks in the mirror he sees a beautiful girl with long, black hair standing behind him. This girl, Yuuko, is a student at the school too. Well, she was up until about 60 years ago when she died somewhere on the school grounds and has been haunting the place ever since.
Yuuko is a very outgoing girl with nary a trace of repression or shame, and Teiichi, who despite still being alive, falls in love with her. Yuuko though cannot remember anything about her previous life except that she's sure that she's buried somewhere on the campus, and together the two of them join forces to form the Paranormal Investigations Club in order to track down all the haunted stories of the school in order to see if any of them bear any truth and can lead them to Yuuko's tale and the fate of her previous life.
Along their adventures they run into a partially retarded blonde girl with a shitty butch haircut named Hikaru, I mean Momoe, who thinks that she's been cursed by one of the school's 7 spirits (EVERY school in Japan has stories of its 7 hauntings — it's quite comical, and yet kind of sad). After Teiichi (with sexy Yuuko's help) sorts it all out for her, Momoe joins their club, and soon after that an angry girl named Kirie Kanoe, who bears a striking resemblance to Yuuko (except she's not growing maggots in her eyeballs and is in fact alive), joins the PIC in order to try and free Teiichi from Yuuko's potentially evil grip.
The characters and the main storyline of Dusk Maiden were enjoyable, yes, but I'm going to go full-on spoilers now to discuss the lameness of the very end this entire storyline because the term "cop out" is not sufficient enough to explain my rage.
So, by the end of the show Teiichi gets to the bottom of Yuuko's original death, and after an emotional self-imposed amnesia spell everything gets sorted out, Yuuko gets to become fully whole again (it's a long story), and then she's able to move her cute little ghost ass to the next life... Heaven, reincarnation, Nirvana, what-have-you. Teiichi moves on, and everybody, though a bit sadder, has grown and has become stronger.
And then they pulled an Abenobashi in the very last minute of the entire series and bring Yuuko back, thus pissing all over the actual lessons learned in this thing and destroying any and all character development that may have been created. Honestly, I wish that we had turned off the TV with that last minute and a half yet to play. There was no reason for it, it felt totally tacked on, and it ruins everything that came before it. Teiichi should have been allowed to move on and hook up with a real flesh and blood girl (like Kirie, NOT Momoe). Instead the writers and director have made sure that Teiichi will be forever emotionally super-glued to a dead girl who cannot leave the school grounds, thus forcing him to become a teacher there and never retiring until she decides to leave him for a virile 15 year-old boy when he's 50, balding, and got a pot belly going on, while she's still eternally 16 and sexy-gorgeous. And Yuuko will soon get tired of that new teenager when she realizes that he's not anywhere near as caring or amazing as young Teiichi was, and she will then quickly realize that she blew her only chance at eternal happiness beyond the light because she's a stupid, horny teenager herself. There is no way this can end well for anybody.
So, I liked about 99% of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, and if I had known better and turned off my TV with a minute or so left to go in the TV series, I would have come away thinking that it was a very solid "B".... But alas. No.
I enjoyed this show quite a bit, except for that ending. The Rossman has already covered that though, so instead I'll just talk about other things.
I liked the art, the character designs, the opening song, the mysteries behind Yuuko and her existence, and I thought Yuuko's and Teiichi's relationship was sweet.... In a weird, sick sort of way. Really, it wasn't a bad show, just mostly harmless and entertaining. Just turn it off with thirty seconds remaining in the final episode and you should enjoy it yourself.
Another anime. Another high school anime. Another high school anime featuring a dead girl... You'd be surprised how often this genre pops its little head up.
So this girl is dead, but she's a ghost who still hangs out at the school she died in. And there's this kind of wussy boy who can see, hear, and even feel her, but they never have any crazy supernatural make-out, heavy petting, or full-on ghost-banging sessions.... Rrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiight. It's strange, Japanese anime that is. The men are either totally neutered pansies who get nose-bleeds at the very thought of seeing some cleavage, or the men are hard-core sex-addicts with raging hormones and tentacle demons in their pants. Literal tentacle demons. There is no in between.
Japan, you are so very extremely weird.