One of my several guilty pleasures is romance anime, which might surprise those of you who’ve heard me moan about the over-abundance of Mary Sues in fiction today. Not that romance means bland female characters, obviously, but you might get where I’m coming from when I mention Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey.
Don’t worry, I am going somewhere with this. Amnesia, a recent release from MVM Entertainment, is probably one of the biggest Mary Sue series of anime but I really enjoyed it. This is a series based on a Japanese otome visual novel series (aka dating sim), in which a young woman awakes on 1st August to find that she has lost all of her memories – even her own name. With the help of Orion, a mysterious fairy who only she can see, she struggles to make sense of the world around her, her life, and her relationships with her (exceedingly handsome) male companions. Just when she feels that she is making herself at home, everything resets to the day she lost her memory… 1st August.
To an extent, you can judge Amnesia (available to buy here) from its DVD cover. This is ultimately a dating/otome series, in which the girl is incredibly bland so the female viewer can impose her own personality on her and pick her love interest from the stereotype handsome boy cast member. If that’s your thing (whether you openly admit to it or not), it’s definitely worth a watch. The animation and soundtrack (and boys) are particularly pretty, so will hit the spot if you’re looking for that particular format.
What I found particularly enjoyable about Amnesia was measuring how unbelievably dim the ‘heroine’ is. I’ve seen my fair share of anime and read my fair share of books, but she would give Bella Swan a run for her money. She is simply listed in the credits as ‘Heroine’, the ultimate mark of Mary Sue-ness when you don’t even warrant a name (so she can get it on with whichever guy she fancies). You would think one of the other characters would say her name at some point in the series but I can only assume they’ve all forgotten it as well, so I’m going to simply refer to the generously-named heroine as ‘Heroine’.
What sets Amnesia apart from the other otome series is the way the world resets fairly dramatically every few episodes, so you really do feel like you’re watching someone play a game. Each time Heroine wakes up to 1st August again, she finds herself with a new boyfriend but, bless her, never clocks on to this! Despite permanently looking sadder than an abandoned puppy, having nothing to offer in the way of personality and running for the hills when a guy so much as smiles at her, all the guys inevitably love her at one point or another. Heroine’s two female friends actually have personalities and – no – I’m not counting ‘permanently confused and gasping in surprise’ as personality traits.
I should probably also briefly discuss the male characters. You have Shin, the dark haired and moody childhood friend; Ikki, who is apparently so handsome he has his own fanclub (or stalkers); Kento, the serious science geek who sadly only gets one episode dedicated to him; Toma, the seemingly nice and innocent guy; and a mysterious green-haired photographer who keeps popping up. Each male character fills a certain quota so you have a nice well-rounded otome-esque cast and my personal favourite was Shin, who sadly gets dropped quite early on in the series… and after the other fairly awful guys Heroine goes through I was desperately hoping he’d make a big comeback by the end. Oh yes, these guys are either clueless, rude, womanisers or liars – and, naturally, Heroine doesn’t see anything weird about any of this. There’s a scene that probably isn’t meant to be so funny (but totally is) where Heroine gets locked in a cage by one of the guys for her own safety but, oh no, he’s only doing it for her own good, so I suppose that’s all fine then.
As you’ve hopefully guessed, Amnesia‘s story isn’t exactly ground-breaking but it’s very entertaining – whether you love watching otome series or want to test the boundaries of Mary Sue-ness. It’s easy to watch, nicely animated, (maybe unintentionally) hilarious and has lots of handsome men in it. For these reasons, Amnesia gets a decent 6.5/10!