An elemental workshop.

A mixed bag of moe, bishoujo and supernatural elements make Tasogare Otome X Amensia’s fourth spectacle – the visuals are horrifyingly phenomenal to no end, yet the story dips only slightly, or so initially thought.

First, as always with any Silver Link creation, the visuals must be commended – it’s as if the frames were illustrated through a collaborative effort by Manet and Van Gogh. The degree of excellence Silver Link achieves with aesthetics is simply ridiculous – and it’s no longer comprehensible how they can manage such exquisite aesthetics.

Throughout the episode, the frames all vary in technique like no one’s business, ranging from those only known by experts to more playful affairs – look to image number five below for example, Silver Link decided to go the route of lineart colored digitally to simulate water color. It’s beautifully devised – and the creativity to come up with such a frame and then place it accordingly in the episode for added impact at the relevant moment is spectacular. This is true artistry.

If this were an MMO, this is the part where the other studios should start saying “gg” as no one can compete with this – Silver Link is simply too good, and they’re somehow toppling their own magnificence every episode. As they currently stand, Silver Link is like that one guy ranked first on the highscores who has an insanely larger number than everyone else – they somehow have this unbelievable degree of skill.

Just scroll below and notice the variety in the scenes – take image number three for instance, we could go on for pages about the marvels of this frame alone, thus instead simply compare the method exercised. Abstract blur effect with gradient – light applied in a fashion to represent solid assurance and leveled ground, a darker blue fills the bottom of the art, whilst intense white takes the top. Now compare this to the fourth image which blasts a sun hued gradient – this scene is a comic relief reaction moment, a cartoony impression.

And lastly, take those two, and set them against the tenth in the set of imagery – examining anything versus this frame, the most prominent variance is present. A super fine-tuned piece which takes advantage of realistic value implementation and incredibly thin, precise lines, alongside definitive colors which only softly range in tone on the subject matter as result of reaction as per the light source – similarly, the background feels affects of the room’s source of light, thus bearing a far more hard-contrasting value.

Notice the key terms in those three images described above, “abstract”, “cartoony”, and “realistic” – only looking at three different frames, Silver Link delivers three separate stylings of aesthetics, and that’s not even getting started with the overwhelming glory of each of said frame. Sure enough, every one of them is enough to serve as a full artwork in themselves. And at that, these frames alone are far superior to many artworks to begin with.

Not only is the art exceptional beyond all on a frame-by-frame basis, yet as an entire animation, Silver Link tied together everything with intricacies – adhering to the standards of designs even on a larger scale. Much can be seen in this respect, although simply giving one of many as a case of point, notice the orange and yellow mizugi spotted in the first still below – then see that it is the same selection of utilized for the gradient background of number four.

Recurring hues from a distinctive palette have been manipulated to the same visual effect across multiple frames – a level of ornate detail simply transcendent.

Now what of the story accompanying these visuals of legend?

The plot is quite amazing in itself as it initiates relatively the same as usual – only to have an unexpected turnout. Tasogare Otome’s anecdote is fascinating in that it starts playful and average in terms of lifestyle. Yuuko is a ghost of course, but a friendly one, and thus there’s nothing to be concerned with in that respect since she’s simply treated as any other bishoujo – the series continues along as if it were no different than a typical harem romance, however it makes repeated references, or hints rather, at supernatural facets which progress gradually.

A prominent one of such is a point where Yuuko is reading a diary. Our crew is at school alone during summer break – spending the night to investigate ghosts. Now skipping over the less savory flirting moments which are, unfortunately, becoming a nuisance yet again – while Yuuko’s beloved Teichi-kun is asleep, she reads the diary, and she comes across something which leaves her in a frightened shock. Specifically what she sees goes unmentioned – although the transition from there is as smooth as can be as so much is said indirectly.

Yuuko awakens Teichi and then takes him along for an adventure, finally telling him that the curse listed in the journal of the lounge is false – she says this, yet then why did she erupt into a worried surprise earlier? There is reason – and hopefully the series delves into it sooner or later.

Another supernatural aspect which may or may not be related is the ghostly entity which the adorable bishoujo of short dark hair, Kirie, has encountered – our crew don’t manage to catch or interact with it, although throughout their little adventure from arrival to nightfall, the episode shows that it has been following them around, and it looks to be quite devious a creature indeed. There’s the generic question of why this spirit is haunting our characters, or more generally, the school – yet getting more explicit, why Kirie?

It’s not before a hype inducing feature of suspense is seen that the episode concludes – Yuuko and Teichi are off flirting somewhere, leaving Kirie and the blonde sleeping alone. The blonde can’t see specters, so what relevance this will have to her, if any, is uncertain – although as for Kirie, it looks that she’s in imminent danger. As she sleeps, the otherworldly being she’s been in pursuit of is now standing at her feet – and if choosing a term to describe its appearance, the word would be “menacing”.

Ideally of course, nothing harmful will happen to our much loved dark haired bishoujo Kirie – ideally.


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