Impression: AMNESIA – Episode 01

Imagine waking up one day with absolutely no recollection of your life, and the only way to regain your lost memories was to spend each day socializing with five beautiful young men. That’s essentially the premise of AMNESIA, a new anime series from Brains Base that’s based on a fairly popular otome game in Japan. It’s not often we get a reverse-harem (God-forbid, there’s like 15, 532 shows about clueless male leads surrounded by well-endowed women who are irresistibly attracted to him), so I have high hopes for this one.

The premise is deceptively simple. Our nameless Heroine (Kaori Nazuka, who you may remember as Nunnally from Code Geass) awakens to discover that she cannot remember anything about her life, including where she lives, who her friends are, and how to make parfaits. (Given the endless amount of blank stares she gives out during the entire episode, I was honestly surprised that she still remembered how to eat and breathe.) Two young men come to her aid, Shin (Tetsuka Kakihara) and Toma (Satoshi Hino), and agree to escort her home to rest. All the while, the Heroine is accompanied by a mysterious floating being named Orion (Hiromi Igarashi), who is invisible to everyone but her. Orion explains to her that in order for her to regain her memories, she must try to continue on as normal and socialize with the people who know who she really is. And of course, she can’t tell anyone she has amnesia nor can she go to the hospital, because that would be TOO easy.

Along with the two male leads are Ikki (Kishou Taniyama), a suave waiter who works at the same cafe as the Heroine; Kent (Akira Ishida), a bespectacled and sharp-tongued young man; and Ukyou (Kouki Miyata), a creepy green-haired man who seems to be stalking the Heroine. I wonder who the Heroine will fall in love with? (I really hope it’s not this guy.)

So far, Brains Base is handling the production of this series pretty well. The animation and BGM are great, so at least quality-wise, it keeps up with the other animation powerhouses like KyoAni and SHAFT. The character designs were…interesting, especially for the male leads. I felt like I was watching a bunch of Kingdom Hearts rejects along with the typical anime maid. Speaking of the Heroine, I realize that given her current situation, she’s lacking in basic skills and memory. That said, her portrayal in this series is very bland, and most of the time she’s either staring blankly off into space with that same expressionless look in her eyes or she’s stumbling around trying to get herself together. I really hope that as the series goes on, she regains some semblance to an actual personality.

I’m pleasantly surprised by the level of intrigue this first episode presents. It looks like the whole series will be told from the Heroine’s perspective, meaning that we know about as much as she does. It adds a bit of tension to certain scenes, and the fun of course is in putting the pieces together yourself as the series moves along. Still, it’s very early to tell what sort of direction this series will take its story. We’ve already got some vague hints in the episode’s opening scenes with the Heroine in a burning building and falling underwater. Not only that, the ending scene of this episode has some dark implications for the Heroine’s past. Anytime you receive a hidden camera photo of yourself with your face scratched out, you know you’re in some deep shit.

(Alas, as much as I’d like to, I might have to put this series on the backburner. Semester is starting soon, and I won’t have time to cover all the shows I want this season, so I won’t be doing weekly impressions for this one. I’ll likely finish the series, so a full series review isn’t too far-fetched.)

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