One day, a girl wakes up to find that she has lost all her memories – her relationships, her life, even her name. All she knows is that it has something to do with Orion: a boy-like apparition that only she can see. With nothing left she can only forge ahead, trying to make sense of the world through the people that claim to know her best.

Amnesia is an adaptation of an otome game, and this is probably it’s biggest downfall. An anime structured as a dating game has, in this instance, made for a very difficult production. You need to understand a little about the Amnesia franchise before you can understand what this anime is aiming to do. The good news is you’ve got a lot of time to get to grips, because the pace is just so slow.

I’m aware that the first half is about getting to know the harem-esque male leads: five very different guys who might hold the key to the heroine’s missing memories. For the most part, this is enjoyable. The men are all traditionally bishounen, attractive enough; but all have rather stereotypical personalities: the brooding, tortured one; the childhood friend; the ladies man; the older, educated one and another that’s completely mysterious. Sometimes, there is so little happening that it makes you wonder what, exactly, you are waiting for. The biggest reason for this is the heroine herself: she has no personality of which to speak of. She repeats the same day ‘Groundhog Day’ style and just stares like a goldfish, dumbly accepting the fairy-like Orion tells her. This is no doubt drawn from her initial role in an otome game, and is another reason why Amnesia just does not work alone as a stand-alone media.

amnesiaDon’t get me wrong – this series is not a complete write-off. Visually, the characters are beautiful. I was completely mesmerised. The soundtrack is also spectacular. Nagi Yanagi’s ‘Zoetrope’ in particular had me watching the opening scene over and over. It is still one of my all-time favourite opening soundtracks to an anime and you can listen to it here.

In it’s second half, things do start to look up. The relationships become darker and more warped as the plot progresses (with closet yandere Toma resorting to keeping the heroine within a cage for her own protection). Even so, the heroine still manages to weigh the pace down by not even trying to react to any of this, which is truly frustrating. When the denouement finally gets around to revealing itself, it’s an uncomfortable fact that is all comes far, far too late. Everything crawls along until the final two episodes where a whole seasons worth of plot and intrigue is unceremoniously dumped upon you, leaving you no time to process the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’ you have been asking this whole time.

What disappoints me is that Amnesia really had the potential to be a much better anime, but ultimately let its otome roots big it down, which was a real shame. Other series, such as Fortune Arterial and A Bridge to the Starry Skies were much better at shaking off similar shackles. Amnesia could have followed suit and, along with its stunning visuals and soundtrack, become something even better. Sadly, it was somewhat lacking in certain crucial areas.