Shed by the legendary tree Yggdrasil, the mysterious Fruits of Time are both a blessing and a curse, granting immortality to women, but condemning men to a fatal, bloodthirsty hunger. Rin Asogi is one such immortal, and as the ages pass, she and her faithful companion Mimi can only watch as the world turns and each generation succeeds the last. Their endless lives are far from uneventful, however, for in the background a shadowy force is slowly but surely hatching a deadly plan that could change the world forever.
A six-episode OVA, Mnemosyne started out most promisingly, offering us an invincible female hero, spy-style action, slick (if not especially sophisticated) action scenes and an all-round solid experience. If you enjoyed the likes of Alias, you just had to be on board for this one.
Unfortunately, once the sheen had worn off, the later episodes of Mnemosyne consistently managed to disappoint. Amidst a wave of gratuitous sex and violence, any vestiges of a story were quickly lost, leaving the viewer to flounder around in what was presumably meant to be the 21st century’s answer to the cyberpunk titles of the 80s and 90s. Worse yet, after the first couple of instalments, each episode jumped ahead several decades, making it even harder to discern what was meant to be going on. Yes, there was an evil force in the background, but what were they trying to achieve beyond some rather extreme S&M? Even if you could figure out what was going on, would you even care that much? Sadly, it seemed unlikely.
Worse yet, despite seeming so worthy at the start, Rin gradually proved to be as disappointing as the world she inhabited. Instead of being the strong woman she initially seemed, Rin seemed to spend far too much time either battling an uncontrollable lust for the male angels or otherwise at the mercy of various male antagonists. I may have hoped for a smart, sassy female who was basically invincible no matter what the enemy tried, but what we got was a largely ineffectual character who seemed to ultimately be driven by centuries of frustrated love.
Meanwhile, the supporting characters are largely underwhelming; Rin’s constant companion, the “not as young as she looks” Mimi may provide a lighter touch to the show, but she becomes increasingly redundant as the series progresses, whilst others such as various generations of the Maeno family, blonde antagonist Apos, an unrelenting cyborg and various others are as bland as they are forgettable.
Visually, Mnemosyne offers a range of character designs from the attractive to the generic, although whilst the base material is good, the animation seems surprisingly shoddy and low-budget for an OVA- perhaps an attempt to recapture the ‘gritty’ feel of the 80s and 90s series it wants to emulate. Background music is mixed in quality, although there are some good tracks that make acquiring the OST an attractive prospect.
Despite a promising start, Mnemosyne quickly went downhill, attempting to emulate the retro OVA style for an audience who had long since moved on from such things. Ultimately, what we ended up with a confusing morass of gratuitous sex and violence that was barely worth watching once, let alone returning to.