Tag Archive: romance


If you could go back and change something, would you do it?

Would you risk everything for simply a chance?

Is that truly your wish?

amnesia wall

What could be more difficult than waking up into a world where nothing makes sense? Your work, your school, your friends, your interests, your dreams – why can’t you remember? It seems like there is something you should not have forgotten, no matter what happened. What…or who…could it be?

Opening your eyes for the first time you come across a strange looking boy with horns – a spirit named Orion. Barely remembering your own name, Orion explains that he accidentally crashed into you – literally – and fused with your subconscious, knocking your memories and personality to the winds while doing so. How unfortunate, but luckily he vows to stay with you until your memories can be found and returned. Now, where to start ~

amnesia memories orion

Amnesia: Memories by Otomate and Idea Factory is a beautiful visual novel in which a young girl, the player, returns to her life after an uncanny turn of events and attempts to recover everything about herself that she lost. Reliving the month of August within 5 different timelines – the places remain the same and so do the people around her – but not everything is just as it used to be.

Although waking up with amnesia is certainly terrifying, staying locked inside is probably the worst possible scenario: no outward stimulation means no chance of triggering a memory returning. Only once these precious significant memories are recovered can Orion finally be separated from you and you can begin to live your life as you used to.

amnesia memories suits

Your apartment, your work, the hospital, the theater, the park – these are all places that mean so much to you for various reasons both past and future, yet they always remain static; it is the people you surround yourself with that have the biggest impact, and also provide the biggest danger. There is Shin (the harsh but caring suit of hearts) and Toma (the protective suit of diamonds) that have been your closest friends since childhood; Ikki (the compassionate playboy suit of spades) and Kent (the methodical suit of clubs) who you know from work and school; there is Sawa, who one of your best friends, and Mine who is a younger co-worker and occasionally a friendly rival; then of course there is the manager of your work, Waka, who has unique quirks of his own (military style run maid cafe? Sure, why not). Last but not least there is one other individual (the joker) – his appearances are rare and usually veiled in mystery, yet he almost seems the most important…but why?

amnesia memories others

So you must relive and relearn life as you once knew it five times over; but fear not, although the faces and locations remain familiar, the events that occur within each story arc vastly differ and are never easily overcome.

Each of the five arcs hold numerous bad endings, a normal ending and a good ending; which although may seem like a lot (26 endings in total) they truly leave you with a thorough understanding of everything around you. Initially, the first four arcs (heart, spade, diamond and club) may be played in any order; once completed, the final arc (joker) may be played. After viewing all the other stories, the final arc is almost a culmination of aspects the other four possess and represents the place where you truly belong.

amnesia memories heroine

Amnesia: Memories is truly a captivating experience and never seems like you are simply reading the same things over and over again. How you react and the answers you give to those around you can make a huge difference and change how the story plays out in drastic ways. Attempting to hide your amnesia but poorly masking it may lead others to become suspicious of you or even acting so off course to how you used did (which who really knows how that was until someone tells you) may become a good or a bad thing. However, even though you go to and from your apartment and work so often throughout the month, don’t think for a second that it is just an average slice-of-life playthrough. Each route holds its own suspense and in each one there are attempts on your life through various forms of dangers and harassment. Perhaps it is a jealous fan club that wishes you harm for dating their obsession or maybe it is being pushed by an unknown source into an oncoming train or traffic. Orion and those around you try to help as much as possible, but it is never easy to know the future or react fast enough when the time comes.

amnesia memories group

You may think this sounds familiar, and perhaps it is; there is an anime of the same name that follows a similar premise (If you’d like to see my review of that, click Here). However, the downfalls of the anime are almost entirely replaced within the visual novel on so many fronts. For one, the visual novel requires self insertment meaning that you, the player, become the protagonist/heroine and you decide what is going to happen and how to answer; in an anime, the viewer has no input and therefore the heroine became a blank slate with no memories, no personality, no brain (or so it would seem) and was simply frustrating to watch at times. The VN also is able to place far more detail into the story – almost akin to how reading a book and watching a movie based on the book will be similar, but not the same. The VN explains that it was her personality as well as her memories that were pushed out by Orion fusing with her and it also goes into far more aspects of the other characters that simply could not be conveyed in a 12 episode series adaption.

An aspect of the anime that did transfer over from the VN would be the exquisite art style and the beautiful soundtrack. From the ornate and detailed outfits and look of all the characters to their multifaceted eyes, the art style is mesmerizing. The music adds its own opening and closing themes and the instrumental backgrounds that accompany the scenes simply meld perfectly – from gentle, unknown melodies to beautiful piano arrangements to suspenseful rhythms which all somehow never take away from what it actually happening on screen. The voice acting is also superb and really brings the characters to life no matter what change of atmosphere may occur.

amnesia memories shin

One thing that caught me off guard in a good way was how consistent the story remained in its finest details. Many games that have multiple endings will change them drastically and leave you wondering which is truly the correct ending – which one really adds up all the details and makes sense 100% and which ones don’t quite fit right. Within each arc there are 4-5 different endings, yet the story never deviates from its ultimate path. For example, in the heart world you are pushed off a cliff by someone and wake up in the hospital. Shin is suspected of having done so but was let off after many interrogations and your own support to the police claiming that he did not do it. As the story goes on and you, as well as everyone who was present that night, go back to investigate the incident the paths begin to diverge. However, even though all of the endings come to vastly different finales, the culprit who pushed you remains the same…although that may not necessarily be the same person who kills you or attempts to interfere or otherwise. On a larger scale, even throughout viewing the stories of the other worlds so many things remain the same. Each characters personalities never falter even if their type of relationship with you changes, who they are friends with, who you are friends with, the types of dangers and atmosphere at present – they all exist in all of the worlds, it is how they affect you and what you are involved with that changes the outcome.

In the end, Amnesia: Memories is a romance and mystery visual novel with dabbles of supernatural (I mean, you are fused with a spirit after all). I suppose something that should be explained for those who may not know is what a visual novel actually is: it is an interactive fiction game usually using anime style art and still images. For anyone who may have only seen the anime or is interested in this series, I would highly suggest playing the visual novel. It is not a game for everyone, but if it is you will certainly not regret it. Give it some time and let the story truly encompass you. Let the fear, the sorrow and happiness pull you in. Experience the journey. Remember the good and the bad. Simply, feel.

amnesia memories pretty

Advertisements

Amnesia [Anime]

“Memories are nice, but that’s all they are…”

amnesia wall

What would you do if you woke up one morning and found everything you ever knew to be gone? Your memories, your friends, your relationships and even who you are, all a mystery. The scenery is familiar, your apartment the same and even work; yet everything that has ever occurred up until this day is completely unknown.

The anime Amnesia, adapted from its visual novel form, takes you through a mysterious journey of a girl with no memories trying toamnesia Heroine_Orion understand who she is and everything that is around her. However, many challenges await as she attempts to let on to others around her that nothing is amiss while everything is actually completely new. To makes things more difficult, every time she begins to grasp the entire picture, it is ripped out from under her feet and she is thrust into another realm where things are almost the same, yet not at all.

Throughout the chaos there are certain factors that always remain the constant, if not entirely in the same circumstances. Her childhood friends, Shin (the angst-ridden loner suit of hearts) and Toma (the outgoing suit of diamonds) each have their own arcs as well as fellow friends and co-workers, Ikki (the ever popular ladies man suit of spades) and Kent (the rational mathematician suit of clubs). In addition to these four, one other mysterious long haired stranger often seems to catch her eye at least in passing throughout the series; he represents the joker and his intentions are kept secret until nearly the very end.

“It’s nice to see you again, or should I say, it’s nice to meet you?”

Each section of this 12 episode anime begins with the heroine always waking up in bed on August 1st, attempting to understand which of her friends she is with and what is happening in her life and finally ending in some untimely accident. Then it all begins anew.

The story of this anime is much like watching someone else play the visual novel. It is a basic reverse harem setting that dabbles in wish fulfillment and dedicates a couple episodes to each of the male character arcs and then moves on. Unfortunately not much is explained until the very end which leaves audiences confused as to what is going on and why. Although the premise is slow, it does give the amnesiaimpression of what is going on and what the overall outcome may be leading up to.

The art style used is one area that this anime does truly excel in – especially in the character design. From each characters unique appearance, colors and multi-faceted eyes, it is truly entrancing to watch. The male characters themselves, while fairly set into cliche categories, have an interesting depth at times and quite an air of attraction to each of them. Unfortunately, in regard to the heroine, she is quite possibly the most difficult part to deal with in the series. With mundane looks and the personality of a wooden plank, her minor one word answers and expressions of confusion and doubt get tiring pretty fast; as far as most people are concerned, having amnesia does not make for a lack of personality.

Overall, Amnesia is a series that certainly is not all bad but definitely is slow to get into. It probably took until halfway through the show to really catch my attention and make me want to finish it out; and even then it was mostly to see if my own prediction was correct. By the end everything does get explained, but it all happens during the final episodes rather than giving any kind of build up. Although the artwork is probably its best redeeming quality, it is hard to deny that there weren’t a few truly captivating moments between the characters that, in the end, almost make it all worth it even despite its flaws.

amnesia ukyo

“I have lost count of the number of times I’ve met you and lost you. But even now…I still love you.”

Theirs was the story of a promise; a tale of the great ruler of monsters and the boy who gave his all to her, and the eternal bond that they shared.

For as long as they have existed, humans have always wished to turn a blind eye to things they do not understand. Monsters, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, spirits – the list goes on; and most, if not all, of these beings are simply chalked up to fantastical writer’s musings and creative minds.

But what if they are wrong?

This world in which people live is a dangerous place where being different and going against the norm can entail severe consequences. So what if the world suddenly came to realize that these “fictional monsters” were in fact very much real? A world where vampires, beastmen, and other wonders walk amongst humans on a daily basis; simply using their fictional status as a shield against harm. However, the time for hiding away in secret has finally come to an end.

Vampires have made their presence known and the ruler of the vampires, Mina Tepes, has announced the creation of a place called the Vampire Bund – a place where all vampires can live in safety. Humans, and even some vampires however, are not so eager to accept this agreement and arguments over the bund, vampires, and their overall relationship are thrown into question at a rapid pace.

Meanwhile, Mina has been reunited with her sworn protector, Akira, with whom she made a lifelong promise with as a child. Akira is a member of the earth clan and is also a werewolf; but due to the failure of an important mission involving the vampire true bloods one year ago, he has lost nearly all of his memories and constantly struggles to piece his past, and his life, back together. Of those memories, one of the first to return is the promise he made to Mina as well as his love for her. Although his protection at first lies wholly on instinct, it soon forms into a duty he would lay down his very life for.

Dance in the Vampire Bund is a supernatural anime series involving action, romance, and malicious plots from every angle. The goal sounds simple enough: to create a specified area as a haven for all vampires of the region – but no plan is ever so flawless. Various Japanese politicians plan to withhold support and backing for the bund, a rebel band of humans and vampires called Telamir take constant action to destroy any peaceful prospects between the races, and the three true blood leaders bear their fangs and power in hopes of marrying the princess and continuing the blood line. Even amidst all of this turmoil,  a glimpse as to how humans are dealing with the emergence of vampires is seen through the academy Mina and Akira both have connections to. As students either run in fear or become vampires, the lines begin to blur between friend and enemy; and knowing who to trust can make all the difference.

As characters go, in general most people will form some kind of opinion of them whether it be love, hate, endearment, annoyance, envy or admiration. But what happens after all is said an done? Oftentimes, many of these beloved characters fall to the background – gone but not forgotten.  Every so often though, a character may emerge that truly stands out. Mina Tepes is one of these characters. She takes the form of a young girl with long blonde pigtails dressing in all fashions from school girl to Lolita to medieval dresses. But despite her appearance, Mina is anything but a child. Being one of four true bloods and the ruler of vampires, she is not one to be taken lightly as she is much wiser than her 9 year old appearance implies. She is a strong willed spirit that will stop at nothing to ensure her goals are reached; yet at the same time, she has a caring heart and even through the most difficult of situations she retains the perfect image of strength and courage. Although she wishes for humans and vampires to be able to coexist, she does not hold this above the safety and well-being of her own people. One of her main purposes even for building the bund was to provide a sanctuary for the fangless – vampires who voluntarily removed their fangs so as to not feed on the blood of humans. Mina draws her strength not only from within but from those loyal and close to her; especially Akira, and the unwavering trust they have for each other.

I honestly wasn’t too sure what I would think of this anime for the first couple of episodes, but somewhere along the line it drew me in (and don’t even think of comparing it to Twilight…just. don’t.). Some people criticize it for certain elements within, particularly concerning designs and occurrences with Mina in her childlike form; but from what I saw, they are not present enough nor create such impact as to mar and detract from the story being told. The story itself weaves a twisted path and oftentimes no matter how you want to feel about a character, their decisions dictate an automatic response – at least temporarily. Perhaps what drew me in was that the vampires, werewolves, and other beings have actual reasoning to what they do and how they exist. For example, vampires are generally destroyed by sunlight, however when a certain substance is spread on their skin they are allowed to walk in daylight for a limited amount of time unharmed. It does not simply magically happen. Perhaps it is the masterminding political intrigue that keeps everything between humans and vampires in a tumultuous state of order. Or it could be the relationships the characters form with each other. Or maybe it is simply a tried and true method of the princess and knight in shining armor deal, which even in all its overused glory still holds a certain charm.

I must admit that this short 12 episode series that I had very little expectation for has intrigued me – more so now than ever. I do plan to read the manga for this as well, and who knows how my thoughts and inclinations may change afterwards regarding what I have written here.  But regardless of reason, I am glad to have found this and look forward to reading more into it.

Even if you end up as the world’s enemy, I’ll still be your knight – Squall, FFVIII

Interesting fact: Mina’s name in the series comes from two distinct and well known entities. Mina is the name of the original woman Dracula sought as his bride in the original novel. Tepes is the Romanian word for ‘impaler’, originating from the historical warlord Vlad the Impaler.  This was a man often recognized by his patronymic name, Dracula, and who’s excessive cruelty was known and feared throughout Europe during the mid-1400s.

I also recommend listening to the opening theme: Friends ~ Aika Nakano