There’s a genre or style of today’s anime where we’re presented character development based on how well we know the character based on one-sided presentation of the information, and interactions are couched by the emotional state of the initiator in a particular transaction, and delivering the packaged goods in scenes. This is kind of the basic approach to directing that we know from Makoto Shinkai and it’s a very common device in visual novels too. I think Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is basically this.
The problem with Dusk Maiden is how we get this sort of approach but it comes together loosey-goosey. It’s like episodes of Bakatest where 90% of the time it’s just duders goofing off, but you occasionally get some sad and sappy drama thing that makes you go “dawwww.”
Well, maybe that’s just how the source material is. I don’t think that’s really the case for Tasogare Otome x Amnesia. The departure from the manga aside, the story worked the best when our climatic set pieces get the setup done fully, completely, and done well. I thought that made the final two episodes as good as they were. And maybe that’s enough. It’s the eerie parallel with the ends-justifies-means sort of thing, that Yuuko was fine with being [despoilered:] the result of the process that turned her into a ghost in the first place, if it means that her beloved’s offsprings were able to have that fated encounter and live on in her stead. It’s a tough pill to swallow when we’re talking about Yuuko’s story specifically, but thankfully this is often not the case when it comes to set pieces in anime.
In some ways it only gets more complicated when we frame this issue in the “is it worth watching 11 episodes of crud to get to that climatic, penultimate episode of things-come-together-in-a-really-good-way episode?” Well, I guess that’s kind of besides the issue. Regardless of what we’re watching it might be best to state that the better its set pieces are, the better off it will be? And in a way the problem about set pieces come to light only when the rest of the show kind of feels flat in comparison. To that end it is merely wisdom to set up your awesome sets at the end of the series.
Thankfully, while the darkness and light analogies in Dusk Maiden might have some parallel with the way, the brightly burning romance story doesn’t quite overshadow everything. I enjoyed the “Yuuko the Schoolgirl Ghost” part of the show perhaps the most; second to the dramatic farewell on part of
TakaneYumi Hara’s delightfully acceptable overacting. Yep, all Takane fans would enjoy this show, I’d say.