Review: Mnemosyne

title

Anime: Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi / Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne

Studio: Xebec

Episodes: 6

Original Run: Feb 4, 2008 to Jul 7, 2008

Genres: Action, Horror, Romance

 

Synopsis:

To most people, death is inevitable and absolute.

But to those women like Asogi Rin whose bodies have absorbed Yggdrasil’s special time spores, death is only a temporary condition. But being immune to death is not the same as being indestructible and there’s nothing that stops others from attempting to kill Rin through methods that range from relatively tame to utterly horrific. And when someone seems to be actively hunting immortal women, it seems that Rin’s existence might be in real danger.

Mnemosyne spans 65 years of Rin’s life as she lives in a changing world with her unchanging body, longing for someone whom she can’t seem to attain.

 

Story:

I don’t know exactly what I expected from Mnemosyne but what it delivered was something truly unique. There are only six episodes in this anime but they’re 45 minutes each and, with the exception of the final episode, there are timeskips between them. Each episode features a particular event or mystery, often introducing important new characters. The entire anime spans 65 years, from 1990 to 2055.

story-1

Rin, one of the immortal women, works as a private detective with Mimi, another immortal woman, as her assistant. Despite the danger that’s common in Rin’s line of work, her immortality means that no matter how thoroughly she’s killed, her body will be restored to the state it was when the time spore entered it. The show is not shy about abusing this and Rin gets killed in a myriad of gruesome ways from the first episode onwards. Oddly enough, the deaths never feel cheap even though it’s guaranteed that Rin will come back, perhaps because of their brutality.

Mnemosyne’s greatest strength is the excellent execution of its premise. Immortal people wandering about among us is not a new concept but the anime builds an intricate world around this aspect, giving some very unique twists to the idea. The details concerning the immortal women, their male counterparts and the origin of it all are scattered throughout the narrative, each one revealed in due time rather than dumped on the audience via rushed exposition. I prefer the first four episodes which are more or less self-contained, each focusing on a particular story. Towards the end, everything becomes a little confusing as new information is rapidly revealed without allowing any time to process it all. The conclusion is still satisfying but not as enjoyable or impactful as the preceding episodes.

story-2

I feel compelled to warn potential viewers that this anime does not shy away from sex or violence. Rather explicit sexual content of the lesbian and straight variety is common as are scenes of torture and mutilation. That in itself wouldn’t be too surprising but Mnemosyne just loves to blur the lines between the two which means that violent and sexual content often go hand-in-hand, ending up in a kind of fan disservice. But none of it is gratuitous, instead helping to push the plot along.

 

Characters:

Due to the the long timespan of Mnemosyne, it has a number of characters but most of them perish before the end. The ones who last the most aren’t explored too deeply in the narrative but at the same time, it manages to make them appear quite rounded.

mimi-apos-laura-koukiMimi, Apos, Laura, Kouki

The central character, Rin, is also this anime’s main attraction, literally and figuratively. Even in-story, everyone loves Rin. Men and women fall in love with her left and right, and even some of those who don’t have feelings for her certainly want to sleep with her. I can’t blame them since Rin is one of the most charming protagonists I’ve come across. She’s smart, capable and compassionate, fully utilizing the advantages her immortality gives her to go out of her way to help others who are in need of it. She does have her own plethora of problems but not once do we see her break down from the pressure of it. Liking Rin does come with its own set of difficulties since it involves watching her get mutilated in grotesque ways again and again.

Mimi, a girl who’s far less young that she seems, is another immortal woman who’s been Rin’s companion ever since the latter once saved her. They seem to be in a relationship of sorts but drifts apart over the course of the anime. A computer whiz and skilled cracker, Mimi considers herself to be helpless and reliant on Rin for protection. Mimi doesn’t really shine until the last two episodes where she truly displays the true extent of her skills while also fighting down her weaknesses to do what needs to be done.

teruki-tajimamori-sayara-mishioTeruki, Tajimamori, Sayara, Mishio

As for antagonists, we have Laura and Apos. Laura former is hitwoman who develops an obsession with Rin that manifests in the form of an intense and relentless drive to kill her permanently. Laura’s nonchalant confession of love to Rin is also one of the best scenes in the show and she’s a fascinating character despite the relatively little screen time she gets. Apos, the main villain of the show, is utterly vile from beginning to end. Though he’s far from fearsome, he is most definitely effective and has a through presence in the story from the start.

Other characters include the various members of the Maeno family whose lives seem to be entwined with Rin’s, the faceless man that watches over Rin, the police officer who’s in love with Rin…yes, Rin really is the center of this show. There’s Sayara though, who’s only concerned with herself and also somehow manages to be as despicable as Apos.

 

Art and Music:

The animation is nice, though not of the best quality. Faces seem off from a distance and details are sparse. However, it still manages to effectively construct an elaborate world. The supernatural as well as technological features that pop up multiple times per episode are handled quite well. I like the filter used in flashback as it portrays the vagueness of memories quite well.

art

Mnemosyne’s music gets no complaints from me. The OP, Alsatia by Galneryus, is fine but even better is the ED, Cause Disarray by the same artist. Both convey the chaotic action that makes up a large portion of the show. The original sound track is good as well. Purity, the track that plays during poignant moments, is particularly noteworthy.

 

Veridct:

Mnemosyne is an entertaining and solid show but it is definitely not for the faint of heart. There are also some very unfortunate implications in the way time spores change men into uncontrollable beasts that feel compelled to violate the women who’ve absorbed the same time spores while the immortal women are left with no choice but to succumb to the men’s advances. But that aside, this anime is worth a try.

Rating: 7/10

 

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About D

Just another avid anime fan.
This entry was posted in Anime, Mnemosyne and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Review: Mnemosyne

  1. Karandi says:

    I’ve had this title on my watch list forever because I’ve never found anywhere to access it. The story sounds really interesting and I’d love to give it ago some day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • D says:

      The story really is good. I ended up liking it a lot more than I expected. I’m not entirely sure but I think it would appeal to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Karandi says:

        From everything I’ve read about it I think I’ll enjoy it, I just haven’t managed to find it. Still, I really enjoyed reading your review because it reminded me to keep an eye out for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. cainslatrani says:

    One thing you can certainly say about this one is that you won’t ever see another anime quite like it.

    For my part, I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys horror especially, as this is one show that isn’t afraid to get truly gruesome, not just in the visual sense, but in the metaphorical as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      Yeah that’s definitely true. It’s unique in so many ways.

      I can deal with horror pretty well (unless it’s The Grudge in which case, I’m outta there) so it was never taxing to sit through this and I really liked the way it employed most of those elements. But yes, Mnemosyne does show a lot of variety when it comes to fucking up the viewer’s mind.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cainslatrani says:

        Which version of The Grudge? Original or American remake? Cause both of them freaked me right the hell out.

        I’d have to say that what startled me about Mnemosyne was that, while it is extremely graphic, possibly even more so than Elfen Lied, it was never to distract from the lack of a story, but rather existed as an integral part of it. That’s really hard to pull off, and they made it look really easy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • D says:

        American remake. Something tells me that the original would have the same effect. I’ll stay well away ’cause I am not putting myself through that again.

        Yeah, every instance of violence or sex or unholy combinations of the two helped move the plot along rather than exist as mere shock factor. That is pretty impressive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cainslatrani says:

        I watched the original. It’s even creepier. Which is kinda impressive.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Artemis says:

    This one surprised me too, mostly in a really good way. I’d absolutely call it one of the best horror anime titles out there – and intriguingly enough, one of the best yuri anime titles too. A pity it’s so underrated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      I only found this because I was looking for a yuri anime that might appeal to me since most of them focus on romance and that’s not really my thing.

      Like you said, it ended up being surprisingly good. True about it being underrated. I rarely see it mentioned and that is a crying shame.

      Like

  4. raistlin0903 says:

    I have never heard of this series before (well not since reading this review for it anyway), but I really like the plot that you are describing for this series. I always enjoy dark series, and this one seems to really go into a very dark place. Also like stories about Immortals, so this is pretty much a must see series for me now. Thanks for putting this one up 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      It’s not a well-known show, I think. I found it pretty much by accident. But it’s totally worth a watch and if dark stories about immortals are your thing, then this is definitely for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. humbleace says:

    I found the actions scenes between Rin and Laura to be surprisingly well-done, particularly their encounter in the hotel. And one of my favourite moments in the show is when Rin takes down the three guys harassing Kouki (the suit adds to the stylish nature of her fighting).

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      Rin and Laura are endlessly engaging when they’re on screen together. I’d say my favorite was the scene in the nunnary (?) towards the end.

      That is indeed a great moment. Rin in a suit gives me life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The 45-minute run time honestly makes me want to try this series for that alone. I actually have an article that’s going to cover this going up on my blog within the next week where I go over the pros and cons of what anime can do and give some comparisons to the animation and television of other countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      I hadn’t known of the runtime until I watched the first episode but I’d say that it really suits this show.

      That sounds like an good idea for an article. I admit that I’ve never actively thought about how different anime is from other live action or animated shows. It’s just something that I’m vaguely aware of so it’ll be interesting to see your post on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I echo your sentiments. Good series that gets weird towards the end. It’s a hard show to recommend because I imagine the sex/violence would turn off some people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      I was pretty confused at the end thanks to all the infodump.

      And yes, it really would – I’d be a little reluctant to recommend it to my friends but hey, none of them know anime even exists so that’s fine.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. remyfool says:

    This sounds like a very interesting show. I know romance isn’t your thing, but did you think Rin ever had a decent relationship throughout these 6 episodes?

    Thanks for the review! A shame this anime is so under the radar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D says:

      It really is and it’s a pity that it’s so underrated.

      I actually liked the romantic elements in this. And I do like romance-I’m just too picky!
      As for Rin, her relationship with Mimi seemed good until it became strained. My personal favorite was her and Laura. Basically, Laura is a hitwoman who becomes obsessed with killing the immortal Rin and falls in love along the way. Except that for her, the ‘love’ is the obsession.

      …and you wonder why anime romances seldom work for me.

      All in all, I wouldn’t say she has a decent romance with anyone but she sure has romantic bonds that are enjoyable in their own way.

      Like

      • remyfool says:

        Oh! My bad. Yeah I can’t blame you. Sometimes the romance depicted in shows are rather lackluster. Wait, we’ve talked about this before!
        Oh, no, I was banking on Mimi and her staying an item. Well, can’t be helped.
        Hey, it’s both twisted and good. I like what I’m hearing. I mean reading.
        Fair enough. Sometimes that’s all a character or person can expect.

        Liked by 1 person

      • D says:

        We have 😀
        I’m at the point where dysfunctional relationships are more my jam than the normal ones. Serial killers falling in obsession-love? I am there!

        Mimi does stay with her and there is potential for future romance. I mean, it’s not like they’ll run outta time. Seriously though, everyone loves Rin and most of the ones who don’t want to sleep with her. She’s something else.

        Liked by 1 person

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