Anime Review: Boys over Flower

BOFSeries: Hana Yori Dango

Other Titles: Boys Over Flowers

Genre: Drama, Romance, School Life, Shojo

Series Run: 51 Episodes (aprox. 22 Min per)

Distributors: Viz Media, Discotek Media

Requested By: Janie

 


 

I make no secret of the fact that I am a hopeless romantic who has a taste for the dromatic.  So, when the lady of my life requested that I review one of the few anime she has seen within the genre I was ecstatic.  Moreover, the fact that it is a shojo in a high-school setting made me wax nostalgic about our own romance so I was all-in.  While I don’t regret my gunge-ho approach to this series there were some moments that went way over the line of what was acceptable and made this an uncomfortable watch. But I will address that later in the review.

On a personal note, Dear I hope you like this one.


The Story

Hana Yori Dango is a school-life anime surrounding the exploits of Tsukushi Makino, a new student at Eitoku Academy who happens to be of lesser means. Desiring nothing more than a low-profile existence among the upper-crust of society Tsukushi’s world is turned upside down when she encounters an elite clique of popular men known as the F4. From here, she begins a chaotic, fish out of water story where the boys are constantly involved. In the midst of this, she manages to fall for two of the Flowers Four creating a romantic triangle with two distinct flavors.

The first relationship is your standard aloof love interest angle with Rui Hanazawa. I like the quiet, kind, artist, nature of the character and his dynamic when opposite Tsukushi elegantly done despite the lack of dialogue between them However, this ceases to be when their growing relationship is subvert by his returning flame, Shizuka Toudou. While Shizuka was a welcomed addition providing exposition on the F4’s history, a humanizing character for the group as a whole, and a sort of guide for Tsukushi she felt more like a protagonist in her own right rather than a supporting character. But, by far, the worst thing the writers of the anime could have done was use the sympathetic character to remove Rui as the love interest for the secondary alternative.

The secondary Romance begins with the leader of the F4. Tskasa Domyouji. To say that I despise this character is a gross understatement. His personality shifts between childishly lording his status over characters to picking on Tsukushi to being uncharacteristically nice to her. Worse yet he seems to have an almost incestuous fixation with his sister who happens to look like our main heroine. As if to feed into the creep factor he holds her down and nearly RAPES her in an early episode.

While he does mature throughout the series the and eventually becomes worthy of the love interest role the aforementioned moments irredeemably corrupted the character to such a degree that I cannot stand his on-screen prescience. Even after he redeems himself by softening up I still detest the character I am supposed to root for. In short I found him to be a pretty face with little more than a base understanding of social functions that was easily overshadowed by almost every other character.

this brings me to the side-characters which can be summed up in the phrase as bland as white bread. In fact, the only two character’s whose names I remember without consulting MyAnimeList ar Soujirou and Akira and their main functions were to act as the F4’s exposition and voices of reason. Otherwise, every other character in the series is a direct embodiment of their trope. The childhood friend is a cookie-cutter childhood friend. Tsukushi’s family seems to be the cliché poor family composed of the overbearing mother, the pathetic father, and the annoying little brother. After that every other character just blends into the background until they decide to cause trouble or just randomly speaks up. To remind Tsukushi of her place.

The focus on the pauper-versus-prince wealth disparity that persists throughout the series is a glaring weakness in storytelling. While this is a universal plot element that transcends its medium it actually weakens the relationship building aspect of the show. Combine this with the night-and day dynamic between Tsukushi and Tsukasa and the viewer gets a dysfunctional relationship that feels forced and unrealistic. Sure, one might see it as a clear case of opposites attract but, Boys Over Flowers executes this poorly.

Thus I come to the shows worst flaw of this entire narrative. its execution If the story of an independent woman finding herself in a high-society prep school featuring a cast of bishounen men is familiar to you have likely seen a reverse-harem anime in the last 20 years. While the show’s formula is well-trotted ground for many anime fans at this point the story’s progression is painfully slow providing the viewer with very little pay-off. For any romantic plot steady character growth and interaction is key. Hana Youri Dango’s characters grow at a snail’s pace making its run a slog to get through.

Style:

Alongside the painfully weak story Hana Yori Dango suffers from an eye-ruining animation style that seems to be a halfhearted attempt to simply colorize the cells of the original manga. While the muted colors and stark background would have translated well to the manga format the same cannot be said for animation. In fact. I found the lack of vibrancy and life in some scenes to be somewhat distracting at times. Aside from that character movements seem a bit stiff which forces some of the dialogue-heavy moments feel more like poorly animated GIFs rather than properly animated sequences. But, discounting my nitpicking, I feel that character and background designs are beautiful when assessed separately as portraiture.

Sound Design:

Much to my delight, Hana Yori Dango scores highest in the category of sound design. Unfortunately, this applies to the series’ soundtrack rather than its vocal performances. While they can be taken separately, I feel the two are inexorably linked and aides the viewer in suspending their disbelief. For their time, the talent did a passable job of bringing the characters to life. But, it is important to remember that the 90s were an awkward time for anime dubs and this anime suffers greatly from the growing pains of the time. Thankfully the music does a great job of distracting us from the flawed delivery.

For the most part, the music of Hana Yori Dango does quite a bit to amplify the high-society feel of the show. The opening and ending themes are light and airy J-pop pieces that connotes a relaxed and energetic tone. This does a great job of setting the tone as a slice of life piece. Intermittent pieces like Tomaso Abononi’s Symphony No. 5 adds depth to the upper-class feel of Eitoku Academy. Together, classical and popular styles fill the gap created by poor voice acting. Sadly, it isn’t enough.

I watched the series in its English dub as distributed by Viz Media as instructed by the one who requested this review. While it was nice to hear popular 90s era voice actors like Micheal Adamthwaite and Stephen Park in the roles of Tsukasa Domyouji and Rui Hanazawa I feel that Kelly Sherodin was completely miscast as Tsukushi. This led to my great dismay as her pronunciations of the name Rui as Luis grated on my ears. Alongside this, some dialog was stiff and stilted leading to an overall flat delivery. The lack of compelling delivery forces me to dislike the dub but only slightly.

Recommendations:

I do not usually give my recommendations separate from my conclusion but since the following are TV dramas rather than anime I feel obligated to break form and inform you as to the existence of two great shows.  If you wish to see this concept done  properly I point you to the Taiwanese Drama Meteor Garden as I believe the acters Vic Zhou and Jerry Yan provide the best characterizations of the two male leads.  While the Karean variant has its merits, I find it slightly less appealing.  Still, feel free to check both out for yorself as this is a matter of preference to me.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion I feel that Hana Yori Dango suffers from a lack of proper execution. But, it is still a salvageable piece. In many ways it is the progenitor to great series in its genre and I encourage fans of pieces like Ouran High School Host Club to check this out, The dub is currently licensed by Viz Media and is available at Rightstufanime. Please feel free to enjoy Boys Over Flowers and stay tuned here for more reviews.

Anime Review: Sword Art Online II: Phantom Bullet

Sword Art Online has been a rather touchy subject to me of late.   In the days leading up to this review I have made a point to rewatch  the Phantom Bullet Arc to assure myself that it was really worth a review.  I’m proud to say I managed to set aside my biases for Sword Art Online I  in order to give its sequel the proper attention.I believe  in giving every show I review publicly.  Regardless of my thoughts on the previous incarnation of SAO I will be giving its predecessor a fair and untainted criticism.

As is tradition with  Sword Art Online I will do these reviews on an arc by arc basis since every arc is a unique piece.The world and characters change withe each new arc making them hard to include in a single cohesive review. To focus in on each arc allows for the precision required for a true critical opinion.  With that, I have to relate them to the complete series. So, let me bwegin my attempt at redemption on Sword Art Online..

Story:


The Story of Sword Art Online II: Phantom Bullet begins in the exciting world of Gun Gale Online, a Virtual Reality Massively Multi-player Online First-Person Shooter that is rocked by  the sudden appearance of a mysterious assassin.  Going by screen-name Death Gun, the masked player-killer seems to have the ability to kill players by killing their in-game avatars. With the VRMMO genre still in the grips of scrutiny from the events of  the first series the Japanese government turns to Kazuto Kiriguya, better known as the legendary “Beater” Kirito .  This pulls Kirito from the normality of cram school life and into another death game.

Within Gun Gale Online Kirito falls from his normal status of VR-MMORPG God to a newbie who must relearn some combat..  Fortunately, help comes to him in the form of Shino Asada a woman wit post-traumatic stress disorder who fights an aversion to fire-ams through the alter-ego Sinon.  Due to the feminine appearance of his avatar she assumes Kirito to be a girl and the two become fast friends. The two proceed to enter the The Bullet of Bullets Tournament, a free-for-all competition to determine GGO’s best player.  It is here that Kirito must seek out Death Gun  and  confront a long forgotten piece of his past.

Long time watchers of SAO will notice an almost offensive lack of screen time for the female lead Asuna Yuki.  While she is peppered into some episodes but the focus is clearly on Sinon throughout the arc.  This is yet another incident wherein Kirito is tempted by a secondary love interest. I find such things irritating as most fans know it isn’t going anywhere and that she’ll likely join his current friend group. Aside from this Sinon and her counterpart Shino is a surprisingly complex character.

Unfortunately, as her psycho-emotional issue come to an end she fallows the cookie-cutter archatypr of damsel in distress almost being raped and  killed shortly after the defeat of Death Gun. This is the second pet peeve I have with this show. The author of the light novels seems to have an affinity for placing \powerful women  into scenarios where they are compromized and over-sexualized. While I understand the cultural fascination with female submission asn the darker aspects of sexuality among the Japanese popus foreighn viewers might find it unsettling. However   I’m glad this season’s scene wasn’s as allusive to rape as the one in the first series.

Rape and domination issues aside. the story of Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet.is the most praise-worthy of the franchise in my opinion.  It’s theme of confronting one’s past and the stress of dealing with traumatic events speaks to everyone.  The writing of SAO as a series  is evolving and has become extremely enjoyable. I’m very impressed  by the second incarnation’s jump in quality and look forward to the Mother’s Rosario Arc.

Style:


In terms of aesthetic styling sword art has always straddled the line between whisical fantasy and gritty realism. While that holds true for the real-world and Alfhiem Online segments Gun Gale Online seems to barrow heavily from the cyberpunk and post-apocalyptic sub-genres.  The battlegrounds in particular featured bare a striking resemblance to the wastelands of   its sister-anime Accel World as well as Bethesda Softworks Fallout 3 . The execution of of the competitive first-person shooter aspects of this anime is well done, but is little more than framing device for creating a believable world wherein gun battles take place.  Unfortunately, given the evolution it irritates me to se that the creator behind Sword Art Online II  Phantom Bullet did not see fit to equip his protagonist with a more appropriate weapons and attire.

On the topic of Kirito’s gear and avatar style it is mismatched with the setting offered herein. Whereas many fellow players are dressed in combat fatigues and given guns Kirito is given a sidearm and a light-saber with false Jedi robes.  In all honesty.this loadout would be unacceptable if plot did not demand Kirito’s survival.  With this irritation staring me in the face the feminine look of his avatar isn’t so off-putting.  Even the light novels say he has a feminine face and the his attire  was similar to a dress so the similarity was obviously a ploy to cause controversy which demonstrating the childish tendencies of the author.

Sound Design

With my aesthetics issues out of the way sound design to take center stage.Yet again, the sound track and voice casts save this show.. Tracks from the Sword Art Online I have made a triumphant return with a few tracks  receiving remixes.Aside from the original soundtrack the voice actors of the original series have also returned with a few new additions; most notably is the sniper Sinon played by veteran voice actress  Michelle Ruff in the English dub..  Alongside Brice Papenbrook her talents truly shines and the duo make an excellent team. These two seem to fit better here.  They really make the characters pop.

Conclusion:.

This incarnation of Sword Art Online far surpasses the original. The quality of this piece is worthy of anyone’s ranks among the best in recent years.  That said the story needs improvement. My point is it’s getting better.  Watch it on Crunchyrolll or Toonami  or buy it from Rightstuf if you feel so inclined.

Anime Review: Sword Art Online Part 2/2 (Alfheim Online)

Previously, I posted a review of the Aincrad Arc of Sword Art Online. As I stated in the aforementioned review I felt it had a lot of potential but did not live up to the hype surrounding the series. However, despite its flaws, I found it a creative well-animated take on the survival game subgenre. It is rather unfortunate that such an interesting and well thought out premise has to be marred by less than affable writing. Personal hang-ups aside, at least the ending of the first arc was plausible and, despite the cliffhanger, was somewhat satisfying.

To my dismay, such an ending was not satisfactory for the production studio as it didn’t cover enough source material to fill a twenty-five episode series. Apparently, the producers over at A-1 Productions decided to incorporate what should have been a completely separate series into a thirteen episode arc. This forced combination of the two arcs resulted in the second arc feeling more like a vague and unneeded continuation of Sword Art Online Completely reliant on the Aincrad arc for key elements of its back-story Alfheim Online pales in comparison to its predecessor in every way possible. Unfortunately, given the fact that my reviews are all-inclusive I would be remiss to review one half of a series without the other: thus I solider on for my viewing audience.

Story:

The Alfhiem arc picks up where the previous arc left off where Kazuto has returned to the real world and struggles to adjust to life outside of the game. However, it is soon revealed that this apparently happy ending isn’t as flowery as it seems since Asuna remains trapped in the the game while real body lies comatose in a hospital. Initially distraught at the loss of his lover Kazuto begins to visit her regularly only to be informed that she is soon to wed to a megalomaniac named Sogou Nobuyuki who seeks to possess her for devious reasons. A colleague of Asuna’s father, he acquires the assets used to create Sword Art Online using them to foster the creation of a new VRMMO wherein he has imprisoned Asuna. Enraged by this knowledge Kazuto reassumes the mantle of Kirito and dives headlong into Alfhiem Online with the intent of saving her.

Upon entering the game, Kirrito immediately receives plot armor through a glitch that allows him to retain his stats from Sword Art Online with the excerption of the revered dual-wielding skill. Unfortunately this isn’t the only that gives the Black Swordsman a rather obvious edge since most the game’s source program is a direct rip-off of SAO which opens the game up to severe exploitation which I won’t go into since it would lead to a massive spoiler. The viewer soon learns that the key difference between Alfheim Online and its deadly counterpart is the inclusion its flight system and the ability to log out. While I appreciate these features I feel like the real-word sequences slow the show down and leave me somewhat depressed.

Irritatingly enough, the Alfhiem arc also includes a secondary love interest and mentor in the form of Laefa, While I found her light-hearted personality refreshing the incestuous desires of her real-world counterpart Suguha detracts from her character and makes her seem like a love-struck teenager While I wanted to enjoy both Leafa and Suguha immensely as characters they just didn’t have the same depth of character Asuna had in the Aincrad arc.

This brings to Asuna who has fallen as a character from being one of the best female main characters of all time to the oversimplified role of damsel in distress. To add insult to injury the poor girl is nearly raped twice in the course of the arc. Being forced to watch these instances of depravity really brought the series down for me since Asuna is hands-down my favorite character. In the end, I actually felt sorry for her as she was literally tortured by Sogou having been forced to watch the final battle before being essentially felt up by Oberon. While both Sogou and his avatar get what they deserve I find Asuna is made to suffer for the sake of plot which is why I will not rewatch the Alfhiem arc.

Style:

As horrible as the plot of Alfhiem Online is I am afraid the style has suffered even worse. This is particularly true in the area of character design. For instance, Kirito’s design seems to be patterned after a troll doll whereas Leafa’s is a blatant rip-off of Disney’s Tinkerbell. Asuna’s design , I’m sorry to say, gets the worst treatment as she is made to wear a very revealing costume that makes her character seem more like eye candy than a full-fledged character. This aside, the overall art style of Sword Art Online remains largely untouched making it a treat for the eye.

Sound Design:

Fortunately. Sword Art Online’s soundtrack saves the whole review. However, I find that the new opening that accompanied the Alfhiem arc was a bit jarring in comparison to Aincrad’s Crossing Fields and the other orchestral on the OST. The voice acting is well done with the exception Cassandra Lee Morris whose performances as Suguha and Leafa left a lot to be desired. In all honesty, Morris’s child-like performance brought down the otherwise stellar portrayal of Kirito and Asuna don by Pappenbrook and Lee. This leaves me unable to say I enjoyed it enough to compare to the previous arc.

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Conclusion:

As I said previously, Sword Art Online had a lot of potential. However, to its misfortune, Alfhiem squandered a great deal of it. With a plot so contrived that it might as well have been a poorly-written fan-fiction alongside character that seemed to be trope inspired rip-offs I feel Alfhiem pales in comparison to Aincrad in every way possible. Although it sets up for the upcoming c I question rather I will watch the second incarnation as its formula is quite stale by now. But, like all new anime you have to wait and see.

As always, don’t take my word for it. I invite you to watch Sword Art Online on legal streaming sites like Crunchyroll or Netflix and submit your own opinion. If you are so inclined you may purchase the series on DVD or lu-ray via Rightstuf.. Thank you for your patronage and I am honored to give my service to such a wonderful community. Keep your browsers pointed to this bkog for all your anime needs.

Anime Review: Sword Art Online Part 1/2 (Aincrad)

 

I have been waiting to review this one for a while. In all honesty, I thought Sword Art Online had a lot of potential. After all , it was an inescapable Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game with perma-death. But much like its predecessor .hack I find that SAO suffers from its share of bugs so to speak. However, I find that the flawed aspects of Sword Art Online don’t detract from the overall epic feel of the anime. Also, given the fact that the series has amassed enough popularity to warrant its upcoming second season I thought I would put SAO through my personal gauntlet.

As many may have noticed  this is part one of a two part review.  It was out of necessity as the majority of the series takes place across two distinctly daffiest virtual worlds. An unfortunate second reason for this division lies in the drop in plot quality and character development during the second arc of the series.  Since the fluidity of the world is part of what makes Sword Art Online such a grand experience I would be remiss to judge both as one. Thus I choose to begin in SAO’s original setting of Aincrad.

Story:

The story of Sword Art Online revolves around Kazuto Kirigaya, better known as Kirito, a young gamer who was a beta-tester for Sword Art Online prior to the start of the anime.  But soon after the game’s official launch Kirito and thousands of other unsuspecting gamers come to the terrifying realization they were trapped in a death-game orchestrated by game’s megalomaniacal  creator Akihiko Kayaba. A solo player initially, Kirito quickly becomes one of the strongest players in SAO befriending many of his fellow players as he worked to clear the deadly MMO. Among these is Asuna Yuki a beautiful and talented swordswoman with whom Kirito becomes romantically involved.

This is where the anime begins to frustrate me as the aforementioned romance seems forced going from loathing tolerance to a literal in-game marriage within eleven episodes. While it is entertaining to watch these love-birds save each other time and time again I have to wonder how a relationship could progress so quickly even with the two year time skip. I might have been able to overlook this gaping plot-hole were they not the only characters who developed beyond their introductions While the story explains that many players do find love during their two year confinement the intensity of the romance between Kirito and Asuna seems forced and hallow in comparison to other anime couples. It is unfortunate that this the least vexing of Sword Art Online’s deficiencies.

The most irritating aspect of Sword Art Online lies within the character of Kirito . He is protected by a Superman-esque suit of plot armor that apparently allows him to level up from level one to level seventy in only a few episodes, withstand a pummeling from many enemies, one-shot bosses, gain an exclusive skill and even stave off certain death. While I understand that main characters have to win this McGuffin makes it far too easy. In the end of the arc I wanted to see Kirito lose. I liked him well enough but I couldn’t stand how over-powered he was.

If that wasn’t bad enough we have to contend with my least favorite ending of all time. The Aincrad Arc seems to end abruptly. It was as though the writers suddenly tried to give the SAO’s sadistic creator a heart mid-episode. I saw this as a cop-out. As you might surmise. I was extremely dissatisfied with this shameful attempt at an ending.

Style:

Despite the flawed story. Sword Art Online is aesthetically beautiful. Characters are very well drawn and the world is a detailed and vibrant setting. The fight scenes are polished and are among the most intense I have ever seen. Sword Art Online is stylistically light-years ahead of anything in its category. However style alone isn’t enough to distract from the previously mentioned problems.

Sound Design:

In a show like Sword Art Online sound design can make or break the experience be it subbed or dubbed. Aniplex of America hit the nail on the head when they selected Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh as English voices of Kirito and Asuna. Their stirring performances redeemed Sword Art Online for me creating a grand fluid experience. These voices combined with a mined-blowing orchestral soundtrack made an unbelievable audio-journey.

Conclusion:

While the Aincrad arc of Sword Art Online is somewhat flawed I found it enjoyable. I admit it is nowhere near the greatest anime of all time it is at least watchable. Usually I would give a recommendation as too where to buy the series, However I believe I will withhold this until the second part of this review. Expect the second half soon

Anime Review: Dusk Maiden of Amnesia

 

It has been quite a while since I have written a review but I find that I can’t stay my hand from flying across the keyboard to pay respect to this show. In my humble opinion, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is one of the few recent examples of anime as an art form. While the series is inundated with what some consider common tropes of the anime industry; its execution weaves the usually meaningless amalgam of fan service high-school drama and supernatural phenomena into a storyline worthy of a top ten list. These factors combined with fact that the show explores a rather unique premise and does so in a visually stunning manner creates what could be dubbed a modern masterpiece. Unfortunately Dusk Maiden of Amnesia has one fatal flaw that keeps it from attaining true masterpiece status. Like many of the better anime out there it is cursed with a short run lasting a total of twelve aired episodes with a thirteenth being included on the final blu-ray disc.

Storyline:

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia fallows the exploits of a seemingly normal high school student named Teichi Niiya whose life is turned upside down upon a chance meeting with the legendary subject of Sanyo Academy’s ghost stories Yuko. Referred to as Yuuko-san throughout the series this mischievous, bawdy and free spirited phantom becomes both the center of conflict as well as Niya’s love interest. Oblivious to her dark and mysterious past and largely unable to interact with the living Yuko relies on Niiya and his newly formed Paranormal Investigation Club to delve into the enigma that is Yuko’s former life. Alongside the cheerful and highly excitable  Momoe Okonogi and Yuuko’s bitter yet emotive descendant Kirie Kanoe, Niiya sets to work unraveling the mysteries  surrounding Yuko’s death.   However,  Niiya soon discovers that the stories related to Yuko uncover a warped version of her past that includes everything from from a pandemic to human sacrifice

Initially Dusk Maiden of Amnesia begins in a traditional boy meets girl fashion and quickly spirals into dark and bone-chilling tale of the paranormal wherein Yuuko is divided into two separate and opposing entities.  The normal Yuko serves as the representation of her pure and unspoiled self whereas the dark twisted and almost demonic form of “Shadow Yuuko”  is a literal embodiment of her counterpart’s negative memories and emotions. This aspects creates an intriguing duality between Yuko and her darker self which is reminiscent of ChäoS;HEAd protagonist Tokumi Nishijou given the fact that she seems to have the supernatural  equivalent of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)  wherein the the untainted persona imprints her negativity onto the other leaving the true form with a deliberate case of amnesia.. This transference and subsequent removal of  the negative  aspect of her consciousness the character of Yuko in many ways mirrors the division and partitioning experienced by those who have severe Multiple  Personality Disorder..

Ironically, Yuuko’s psychological complex acts as catalyst for the romance that occurs between herself and Niya for the remainder of the series. When Yuko excises her feelings for him  Niiya is forced to declare his love for her in order to restore her recent memories.  In doing so, Niiya allows Yuko to recover some of the emotions she had previously cast off.  Eventually, through Niiya’s acceptance of  her counterpart Yuko is able to merge with her darker self thus allowing her to recall her past and move on.  The romance between Yuuko and Niiya  is a well-developed one considering the length of the series. Even so, it was criminally short lived and left me wanting more.

The ending of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is one of the most soul-tearing, depression inducing climaxes ever to grace anime. In fact those who watch the final aired episode should be advised to have comfort food and a means by which to dry your tears on hand because you will ball like a toddle for the majority of the second half . It is almost a tragedy to watch these lovers as they share their final moments together culminating in one final kiss as Yuuko fades from existence.  Fortunately, the final seconds of the show are light-hearted and act as a contrast to the tone of the previous scene.  Oddly enough, Yuuko returns to Niiya causing the series to end on a happier note.

Style:

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia is surprisingly well done.  The animation is crisp and characters as well as backdrops and set pieces are extremely detailed.  However, in an anime filled with emotional extremes I find  that some of its more subtle scenes; this is  especially true with the opening and closing theme sequences wherein Yuko’s lip flaps are synced with the vocal tracks so that she appears to be singing them. In-keeping with the theme of subtlety I find that anime like this are often dark and rely heavily shadows to create ambiance while Dusk Maiden of Amnesia  uses bright colors and intricate lighting effects to create beautiful backdrop that is a feast for the eyes. This is most apparent in twilight and night scenes when the viewer is treated majestic sunsets and an almost ethereal night sky.  These subtle details gives Dusk Maiden of Amnesia  a near magical feel like no other anime out there.

Sound Design:

Sound design is one area in which Dusk Maiden of Amnesia seems to lack slightly.  Aside from the opening theme”Choir Jail” very few tracks from the soundtrack are memorable much less noteworthy. This fact is made horrendously clear when viewing the Sentai Filmworks dub of the series.  While Emily Neves and Clint Brickham do a fair to descent job of voicing Yuuko and Niya others such as Jessica Boone and Brittney Karbowski are annoying to listen to.  This is why I would recommend  the subbed version.  Sorry Sentai, but you have only yourself to blame.

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia  is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.  I implore you fans please stream it legally. Doing so supports the anime industry. If you enjoy it buy it at Rightdtuf.   As a reviewer I think this is a series worthy of  anyone’s collection. That being said, don’t take my word for it.