I guess every one who work with texts has the same problem: writing the first paragraph. All the words and ideas you want to tell the reader are there, at the tip of your fingers just waiting to be typed, but you can’t find that first word. That’s why most writers begin their texts with something superfluous. Pure incompetence and total lack of creativity.
I’m clearly not that kind of person, what you’re going to read are my thoughts about the anime Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, and of course I’ll stay on the subject. For example, I’ll start by stating the fact that every single episode has a “mystery” in its name, but such thing is nowhere to be found on any episode. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s misleading anyway.
The show starts with a guy named Niiya Teiichi at school and some rumours about the ghost of a girl who haunts the place. He enters one of the rooms and there’s a mirror inside. When he looks at it, he suddenly feels the presence of a girl. It’s actually Kanoe Yuuko, the same ghost of the rumours.
This is a moment of surprise: Yuuko was invisible to everyone for ages. As a ghost, nobody could see, listen or touch her, but with Teiichi, these weren’t a problem. They start interacting, and Teiichi finds out that Yuuko has amnesia and doesn’t remember her past or death conditions. That’s when they decide to establish a club to investigate her past.
Another two girls are members of the club; Konoe Kirie, a mature girl yet very emotional behind that serious face she puts to show, and Okonogi Momoe, a cheerful blonde eager to investigate every single mystery out there. The thing is, Kirie is also aware of Yuuko, but Okonogi isn’t.
The story develops on top of this scenario. They follow a mystery to find a piece of the puzzle that is Yuuko’s past, and it leads to another mystery. This keeps developing to a point where they become aware of another Yuuko, or as I should say, Kage Yuuko (kage is japanese for shadow).
I won’t talk anymore about the story because it would be simply too much spoiling. But be advised of this, the story is not very elaborated. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t any at all. In short, it’s a ghost story about ghost stories, if you know what I mean.
I’m saying this because I want to remind you about my second paragraph, where I said this wasn’t about mystery. This show sure has a lot of potential to tell great mysteries and some people said you’ll find them in the manga, but you shouldn’t expect a lot from the anime because it just won’t deliver that. All mysteries are simply too shallow.
So, if this show doesn’t have mystery, what does it have? Comedy and drama. Every time they build up a great tension and you begin to think “that’s some mystery”, they try to make you laugh. By my standards, this is a comedy show, and the development to each joke is something mysterious. That’s just it.
Hey, I also said drama, and I’m serious here. By the last four episodes, the anime stops being “mysterious” and funny to become a melodrama of their feelings. This starts right after Teiichi discovers everything about Yuuko’s past, and also when some loose ends are finally tied up.
Enough about story, let me do a quick talk about everything else. You may need to calibrate your screen and adjust black levels, because everything here is dark. Most HDTV releases (if not all) you’ll find are not very nice on the eyes, but let’s try not to blame the encoders… dark tones are always a pain in the ass of every encoding algorithm. Well, at least the one people use the most. Hopefully the Blu-Ray will address this.
Another visual aspect is animation, and we’re talking about Silver Link here. I won’t complain, everything looks just fine to me. Well, maybe the ED could have been better with some effort, Yuuko is singing there but her mouth just doesn’t follow the lyrics. Also, she’s probably one of the hottest female characters ever, it’s a shame this anime didn’t show more of her body.
On the same subject of music… what a great opening theme, I’ve listened to it in a loop dozens of times and I’m nowhere near of getting tired of listening to it. The ending song is also good, and if you pay attention, there are two different versions for you. The lyric doesn’t change though.
What else… there are only four main characters and two secondary with some relevance to the show. This means once you’ve got used to the mains by the second episode, that’s it, you won’t have surprises.
TOxA is a mystery by definition, but if you want true mystery, go look somewhere else. It’s in fact a love comedy that will make you laugh… for about eight episodes though, because after they solve all mysteries, it becomes a matter of solving emotional issues. You don’t need a lot to put tears on my eyes, but I found some of the last episodes pretty sad.
I enjoyed every single moment watching it. If you have nothing better to do and is up for a little sad story mixed with comedy, go for it. The development is really great, nothing is too rushed, so there’s enough time to enjoy the funny moments and suffer the sad ones. The character design is pleasant, Yuuko is hawt and the BGM/sound effects are great. Just watch it already.