The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

One Week Friends

Title: One Week Friends
Genre: Drama
Company: Brains Base
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 06 Apr 2014 – 22 Jun 2014

Synopsis: Fujimiya Kaori has a strange condition; every Monday she loses all her memories of her friends. She hides herself away, never making any friends to forget, until her classmate Hase Yuki starts eating lunch with her on the roof. Together, the two work to address Fujumiya’s challenges as she learns to open up to people and expand her circle of companions.

The Highlights
Characters: Sweet and innocent.
Friendship: Brings happiness, but it’s not always easy.
Hase: Has interesting faults, unlike most of the others.
Cuteness level: High.

Why would someone lose only their memories of their friends? Only because the show needs a premise to build from. The absurdity of Fujimiya’s condition is acknowledged somewhat by the show, but it really only forms the background to the real story being told: that of her relationships with Hase, who serves as the protagonist, and her new friends. Hase wants to force Fujimiya out of her shell, admittedly because he thinks she’s cute, and soon becomes deeply invested in their friendship. Fortunately, he doesn’t see her as a broken person in need of fixing. Rather, Fujimiya is treated like someone with a disability that must be adapted to. Though Hase hopes that Fujimiya’s memory will improve with time, he acknowledges and understands that this may never happen and wants to be with her anyways, even if it’s sometimes very difficult. He sees the worth of her companionship despite the challenges it brings and the pain it sometimes causes him.

For all his good intentions, Hase is not completely altruistic. He becomes jealous when she makes other new friends and agitated when others carelessly ignore the rules and structure he has developed to govern his interactions with her. The narrative never quite portrays him as controlling, instead allowing him to embrace the changes once he sees Fujimiya having fun. He is also reined in by his best friend Kiryu Shogo, who sees things for what they are and always manages to dispense the right advice just when it’s needed. He’s the laid back, sarcastic plot-advancer needed to balance the anxious, awkward leads. Rounding out the main cast is a rather dumb and selfish girl who adds little to the story and has an unfulfilling subplot with Kiryu. She idolizes Fujimiya, who, while very cute and likable, is a little too perfect. Once her shell is broken, she becomes a sunny, happy girl who is quick to attract new friends and finds joy in everyday things. Her struggles are downplayed and she is quick to recover from any setbacks. Her wonderful new friendships seem to trump her pain, even when some light is shed on why her memory is faulty later in the series. When this occurred, I was pleasantly surprised that instead of the external conflict for Fujimiya I expected, the story focuses more on Hase’s internal conflict.

The series rides on the childishness of the characters and their optimism and innocence is incorporated into the art style of the series. Unlike ef – a tale of memories, which uses bold, unconventional visuals to tell a similar story of lost memory, One Week Friends maintains a simple, soft style that helps to tone done the melodrama of some scenes and reflects the sunny dispositions of the characters. The show features little background music, instead using the piano lead-in at the beginning of the ending theme to cap off the episode’s emotions. The minimalism of the art serves to accentuate the cuteness of the series.

One Week Friends portrays friendship as something everyone deserves and needs in order to be happy. It also shows that friendship can be hard. It does not, however, delve very deep into the real difficulties of living with a disability, preferring instead to keep things fairly light and sweet. It’s an idealistic portrayal of the joys of friendship with just enough depth to the protagonist to keep it from being pure cotton candy.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Kaikyaku

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