DVD Review: Amnesia – The Complete Series
16/07/2015 Leave a comment
Do you suffer from memory loss? Then you could be the protagonist within MVM Entertainment’s latest anime release known as Amnesia. Potential fun aside we take a look at this title to see whats on offer; is it any good? Find out in our Review.
She runs through the flaming building seeking escape. She struggles in the water, desperate to keep afloat. 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 whom no one else can see, the spirit boy who calls himself Olion, seems to understand what has happened to her, and he tells her not 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. So 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 put the pieces of the puzzle together, and what will she see if it becomes complete?
Amnesia starts where it ends and ends where it starts; it’s all relatively confusing and it’s a series that makes more sense the second time you watch it however despite all of this Amnesia is just as forgetful as its own title. A mysterious form of time-travel and parallel-universes is what’s on offer here; but unlike the exceptionally entertaining Steins;Gate there is nothing to keep you motivated in watching to the end; this is unless you like multiple personalities and short love stories between multiple characters which don’t seem to go anywhere.
Let’s rewind for a moment; this “Amnesia” anime series is based upon Idea Factory’s visual novel for the PSP (and PS Vita), whereby a girl – who is known as the Heroine – has lost her memories and must interact with various characters – majority of which are boys – to regain them. It’s a similar story here in this anime variation; except the major difference here is that we get to watch the events unfold as opposed to playing them. In hindsight it’s like watching someone else play the game but in a more animated fashion.
It all begins when the protagonist of the series, which amusingly has no-name, awakens in her flat on the 1st August to find that she has no memories of her past at which point a fairy known as Orion arrives onto the scene explaining her situation. It’s explained that due to him running into her soul, and in turn merging with it, all of her past memories have been lost; however Orion believes if that she interacts with numerous friends, relatives and co-workers she will regain those memories. It all starts off relatively simple and straight-forward; with her engaging in – what she believes to be- her normal daily activities, such as working at the maid café known as Meido no Hitsuji or hanging out with friends, but by the third episode the series takes a more ‘unique’ twist to its storyline progression.
This twist itself sees the protagonist fall from a cliff but instead of dying she wakes up to find that it’s the 1st August all over again; additionally the people around her have different personalities. Not to spoil the ‘surprise’ but the twist is that every time our protagonist dies her consciousness finds itself within an alternate universe and in turn a different set of circumstances. For instance the first trio of episodes sees her being in a relationship with Shin and then after being warped to another universe (so-to-speak) she find that she is in a relationship with Kento. This happens throughout the series; and it’s intended so that all five male characters have their own love story told – just like they are done in the visual novel. Ironically because they are done at such a fast pace – with most stories only lasting 2 episodes at most – it’s hard to become attached to the characters; as by the next universe their personalities are completely different; and that’s if you see them on screen at all.
Ironically however these mini-love-stories are all just an illusion to what’s actually happening with our protagonist; and it all revolves around the shady-looking-guy known as Ukyo and his split personality. Spoilers aside Amnesia is a uniquely unsatisfying series – it teases the possibility of memory-loss but then it dives into something much more obscure and sinister; at which point by the time it ends we are right back at where we began but at least now we know whats going to happen.
When it comes to bonus materials then this DVD release of Amnesia offers a few surprises; for starters not only do we have a variety of trailers – majority of which are not licensed MVM Entertainment – but there is also a bonus mini-episode of sorts. Of course the biggest surprise is the lack of any textless songs; which is disappointing as the opening song features a fair amount of movement – and the song is pretty cool as well.
This mini-episode, entitled Lost Diary Entries, sees the protagonist reading out various entries from her diary. As ‘entertaining’ as it sounds its actually rather pointless; for starters this particular bonus feature is only available in English and secondly the diary entries appear to be in a random order so it doesn’t flow naturally. More disappointingly is that it doesn’t really fill-in any other blanks regarding events that happened in the series.
In regards to the trailers then there isn’t a lot to say; the Familiar of Zero trailer is the original Japanese announcement trailer while the remainder are clips of the show mashed together with theme songs – which is pretty traditional of Sentai Filmworks.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:24:59 (Disc 1) 2:25:05 (Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
Amnesia is the anime adaptation of a visual novel game developed by Idea Factory for the PSP and PS Vita; whereby a girl – simply known as the heroine / protagonist – awakes on the 1st August to find that she has no memories of her life and that a fairy known as Orion is now part of her soul. Now both Orion and herself must recover her lost memories by interacting with everyone she knows; however that’s easier said than done when each time she unexpectedly dies finds herself sent into a parallel universe where her friends personalities and opinions are all different. In a nutshell this is Amnesia and while a few unexpected surprises throw up in the later stages, all of which attempt to provide some closure to the events that unfolded earlier, its a pretty bland and forgetful experience thats just as meaningless as the protagonist.
That’s right; despite being called the protagonist or heroine the female lead character does not really do anything and its instead left to the mostly male cast to lead her around and talk to her. I guess it’s a way for the series to closely resemble the game; as in the games it’s about “you” uncovering “your” lost memories but it doesn’t seem to work here in this animated series; which is disappointing as the whole idea is pretty entertaining.
Disappointing story aspect aside this DVD release by MVM Entertainment, which uses assets provided by Sentai Filmworks, is just as expected. The picture quality is as you’d expect from a DVD release (and looks better than the screenshots shown in this article) and the subtitle quality is better than that of past MVM/Sentai releases. For instance when multiple people are having conversations (such as two conversations at once) one set of subtitles will be yellow while another set of subtitles will be white in a smaller font; this makes it easier to distinguish who is talking and makes it easier to follow both conversations at once. Positives aside the most negative aspect of this release is yet again the English Dubbing provided by Sentai Filmworks; non of the voices seem to fit their roles and at times it can be quite hard to work out what the English voice actors are saying – its like they are mumbling the lines as opposed to speaking them. Of course this should’nt come as a surprise as most English Dubs from Sentai Filmworks are ‘woeful’ at best.
Overall Amnesia is a relatively disappointing show; it tries something different and rather unique but it tends to follow the source material too closely and as such makes the experience more dreary than it should do. If you’re looking for something different to the norm that offers memory loss and alternate universes (so-to-speak) than Amnesia may be worth checking out; however the best experience may be had with the PSP and PS Vita games that this series is based upon.
Amnesia – The Complete Series will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 20th July 2015; in the meantime the PS Vita game will be released next month into the UK by Idea Factory.