The main concept of this show makes it stand out from any other slice of life. It is also what makes it feel stupid. It plays out like any other of its brood, where teenagers are doing simple everyday things, but adds the catch of selective amnesia. The main girl has a weird mental condition which makes her forget at the end of every week what she did with other friendly people. She still remembers what she learned at school, or what she did with people she doesn’t care about, but if she considers them to be friends, they are wiped from her memory. And that is the whole hook of the show; a tragic case of a girl which can never have friends. Even if she keeps written notes of what she did with the main boy in the story, those are just information and don’t count as actual memories.
So what does the show do with such a premise? How do the characters deal with it? Do they find a cure? Do they work around it? Does a tragedy befall them to end this tale in the worst possible way? The answer is none of the above because there is no plot. Nothing changes throughout the whole thing, besides finding out that her condition is some sort of psychological defense and not brain damage. That in effect makes this whole series to be storyless and pointless because it is not making use of its premise and plays out like any other of its kind. Which is a shame considering it wastes an interesting premise.
A big issue in the show though does not involve the main girl but rather the main boy who wanted to be friends with her at the beginning of the show. You will find him very noble for being willing to befriend her despite her problem. Heck, you even see how he is slowly seeing her in a romantic way. Damn we have something tragic AND steamy going on here! Let’s see how it plays out! Yet after the fuzzy-cutsy-cuddly-emotions pop and your mind starts working again, you realize that this show is… well… stupid. Aside from the disappointment of not having a solid ending, much less any plot or character development, the very character who kick started the whole thing just makes no sense. Why was he so interested in this girl to begin with? Why was he so hell-bent on befriending her while everybody else, her including, didn’t care about that and ignored him? We are given no real motivation other than “Well, lets be friends because I saw you and I instantly wanted to befriend you, no matter what.” Normal people need far more than that to try so hard and put up with the whole amnesia thing. Why is the girl even allowed to go to a normal school if she has such a mental condition? Why is everybody ok with letting such a mentally ill person to go to school? Isn’t her presence alone making everybody feel weird and ruins the harmony of the school or something?
As you see, this show gives you no reason to care or look forward to. The best thing it can do is making you feel fuzzy-cutsy-cuddly, which is something you can get by a hundred moe shows. The amnesia thingy ends up being nothing but a cheap shot at drama and a way to remember the show as “the one with the weekly amnesia.” And of course it is quite silly as a plot device, one which I am not fond of. It excuses the lack of development but doesn’t make the show any smarter or deeper.
I can even add how I don’t like the way the characters are drawn. Almost chibi-like with their eyes constantly half-closed and their hair permanently uncombed, as if they are constantly half-asleep. It adds to the fuzzy feeling but also to how nothing really matters. Well if nothing matters, why would I even care? At least something like the Memento film managed to use amnesia in a creative way and exciting way. Here? You are not given a reason to care. And that is why it will fail to be anything particularly good as a show. Ironically enough, chances are you will forget it the moment you start watching your next moe show. Hot damn, even that is excused by the premise! Well done show; I don’t remember anything about you!
Last week, I finished Isshuukan Friends. In fact, I finished the entire series (Which is only 12 episodes) in just three days. It was happy, it was cute, and it had mixed in tradgedy -- or so I thought.
The story centers around Hase Yuuki, who desperately wants to become friends with the aloof Kaori Fujimiya. After working up the courage, he ends up approaching her throughtout the course of a week, despite Kaori telling him time and time again that she doesn't, in fact, want to associate herself with him. After quite a bit of persistence, Kaori agrees to eat lunch with him every day -- but akes it clear that they aren't friends. While this bothers Hase, he agrees to it. Later on it is revealed that Kaori forgets every memory of her friends on Monday each week (Which is much better than Chihiro Shindou from ef: A Tale of Memories, who forgets her memories every 13 hours). Thus, our tragic tale of friendship begins.
When watching this anime, I had hoped for lots of scenes that would make me cry, but that wasn't the case. Once the initial drama of Kaori's prediciment is over, the story contiunes just like any other slice-of-life genre anime. Only in the first few episodes does Hase have to reintroduce himself and once again win the trust of Kaori -- after that, she writes everything in a diary to avoid any drama(which was also done in ef: A Tale of Memories. But that's none of my business). After that, all that is left for Kaori to remember the face of Hase and her other friends. There was a small amount of drama added later into the episodes, when Kaori's childhood friend returns with a strong hatred for Kaori. This brings out quiet a bit of ruckus, and even some jealousy coming from Hase: the first real indication that he actually has feelings for Kaori. However, this too, like all quarrels, is resolved quickly, and doesn't give off a feeling of satisfaction whatsoever. In fact, it almost leaves you unsatisfied. I felt the same way with the ending on the series, too -- they solved a minor problem. Kaori's condition wasn't fixed, and she still lived in fear of her past. At the very end, I was left saying "That's it?".
On a more positive note, overall, this anime was ridicuously cute. There's really no other way to put it. The art was simply gorgeous, and the bright colors made me very, very, happy. The music was lovely and peaceful, as well. Despite all the complaints I had, I really did love watching Isshuukan Friends. Even the slice-of-life parts to it, which I normally don't care for, alway made me smile. I found myself rooting for Hase, and hoping for some romantic development between Shougo and Saki. There never really was a dull moment, and for that, I've got to say that it's one of the better shows that have come out this year.
What I Liked: The dreamy backgrounds and soft, pastel colour palette. Kiryuu, who seemed like the most grounded character of the show. Yamagishi. Kaori's condition seemed interesting and more complicated than the series let on. The relaxed pacing.
What I Didn't: Hase, who I found too immature and shallow to be taking care of anyone. Kaori's condition, despite being nuanced, still felt plot-convenient. It felt like the side characters (such as Kujou) were only there to flesh out the main leads or further the plot. Main characters felt flat and one-dimensional. Generic OP and ED. The relaxed pacing. Relied on many shoujo romance cliches, down to the "guy lands on girl" cliche.
Final Verdict: With it's intriguing plot of guy-meets-girl-with-amnesia, One Week Friends is an inoffensive enough little rom-com that is also unfortunately rather hum-drum and predictable. It's pretty, that's for sure, but the characters feel rather static through their year-or-so together and very little happens in the way of story or drama. Or romance, for that matter.
After the gore infested anime called Berserk I needed a break meaning that I needed an anime that I suspected to be completely in my comfort zone. So I decided to watch an anime that had been sitting on my To Watch list for quite a while. And that anime was Isshuukan Friends or One Week Friends. Only after reading the synopsis I knew that this was an anime that I just had to watch. And after the nightmare that was the ending of Berserk I figured that it was time.
*So I can actually comprise this anime in one word: adorable, freaking adorable. This was such a sweet anime, it gave me the same feeling that Usagi Drop gave me. There are so many sweet and adorable moments in this anime that its almost dangerous to watch. This is the kind of anime that I really, really enjoy, anime’s that make me smile. Not because there’re extremely funny or hilarious but because they just make you have a warm feeling in your hearth.
For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page.
*Now OWF was funny, it had a ton of comical moments but they were of the same kind as those from Usagi Drop. They weren’t meant to make you laugh your ass of, they weren’t pure comical moments. No they were those sweet comical moments that I also saw in Usagi Drop and if you saw my review on that you know that I adored those.
*What else was sweet besides the story and the comedy were the characters. I liked all four main characters and all for different reasons. If an anime can do that, it means that the characters are very well written because usually I don’t like every main character but here I did.
Let’s start with Hase. It is so clear that Hase is in love with Kaori from the start of the anime and to see him try everything to help her makes me like him a lot. I love characters like Hase, characters who would do everything to one: help a friend and two: help the one that they love. I encountered other characters like Hase before and I liked every single one of them.
Then we have Kaori, how can you not like Kaori? She was like the grown up version of Rin from Usagi Drop. She was so sweet and so pure. She was a mix between dandere at first and deredere later. And if you have been following my channel for a bit than you know that dandere’s are my favorite kind of dere’s. They are my favorite kind of female characters in anime and actually in real life as well. That’s maybe why I like these characters so much, I seem to have a thing for the sweet, shy type of girls. Now before I put even more personal information on the internet let’s move on to the next character.
Which is Saki. Talking about pure and innocent. Her clumsiness and her purity made her a very lovable character. She would just say what was on her mind which also created a lot of the comical moments in OWF. And an extra layer for her character was that the closer we get to the end of the anime we see that she’s not all fun. She has a sadder side to her which we then get to know and it only helped building her character.
And the last main character was Shougo. Shougo was the voice of reason in this anime. He may seem a cold person on the outside but there are several occasions in the anime where he steps up when Hase is losing it. Several times in the anime when things seemed to go south, Shougo would speak up and let Hase see the path again. Remind him why he was doing what he was doing and give Hase the strength to move on. And also the way he interacted with Saki made him a great character.
*And my last positive point are the opening and ending songs. If you guys know my taste in anime music than you know that these songs were completely up my ally. Especially the ending song “Kanade” was beautiful, its everything that I search in an ending song: it’s simple and pure. And it becomes even more beautiful when you understand the lyrics. For that I’m referring to the English cover of “Kanade” by Dima Lancaster. I mentioned him before in my Charlotte review because this guy makes amazing English covers. I heard his version of “Kanade” long before I watched OWF and I immediately fell in love with it. After hearing it I thought that I was in for a ride on the feels train.
*Now I just said that I thought I was in for a ride on the feels train with OWF. But I wasn’t. I thought that OWF was going to be a drama that would hit me right in the hearth and it definitely had the potential to become one. But the anime decided not to take that path but instead focus more on comedy than on drama. Now there were some sadder moments in OWF but overall I was expecting more drama.
*Next point is that the plot of OWF is really generic. The storyline of a girl that looses her memories after a specific time and a boy that tries to break that cycle is a storyline that’s been used multiple times before in anime. So if you’re looking for an exciting new story that you’ve never watched and that you can’t guess how it’s going to end, than OWF is not the anime for you.
*And my last negative point fits into my “Dislike Trio”. My “Dislike Trio” consists of the 3 things that I hate most in anime: NTR, over the top fanservice and open endings. And let the ending of OWF be an open ending, an open ending on the romance platform. As I said earlier, it’s clear as day from the very first episode that Hase is in love with Kaori. And during the anime there were multiple moments that I thought he was going to confess to her but every time something happened that prevented that. And like that we got closer and closer to the end of the anime and in the final episode I thought that it was finally going to happen. But it didn’t and that was quite frustrating also since the end of the anime is the end of the manga so there’s no possibility for us to know if they ever become a couple. If I would redo my “Top 10 Anime Duo’s I wished were a Couple” list that I did a few months ago, they probably would be on it.
Now there’s this popular theory about the end of OWF that also I thought of when I reached the final episodes. When we approach the end, Kaori suddenly starts to remember Hase. Now Kaori only loses her memories of her friends which implies that Hase isn’t her friend anymore but something greater. So I like to believe that also Kaori was starting to fall in love with Hase. Unfortunately we might never know for sure.
So as a conclusion, OWF was Usagi Drop 2.0. I felt the same warmth inside of me when I was watching this anime. It wasn’t as good as Usagi Drop but it came close. And that’s why I’m going to rate One Week Friends at 4 stars. If you like sweet slice of life anime’s just stop what you’re doing and watch this anime, you will not regret it.
This was originally a recap on the finale (containing spoilers) as well as the following final impressions. You can read the post on my website found here.
One Week Friends has a simple premise. Fujimiya Kaori has a form of anterograde amnesia, and her memories, especially of her close friends, disappear or are reset, every Monday. This causes her to be extremely distant in school, not wanting to get very close to her classmates.
Hase Yuki however, has a different idea. He sees the smart, but cold girl alone all the time, especially during lunch and decides that he’d like for them to be friends. He soon after confronts her in the hallway and confesses. She quickly runs away, but not after saying thank you for the sentiment.
This early version of Hase (more on this later), is so bold that even without permission, he joins her on the rooftop for lunch. After Fujimiya realizes he won’t go away, she tells the main character about her condition. This lead to all the events which set up and then take place during the series, including the two growing closer, dealing with her memories (and her past) all in a somewhat light breezy way.
That’s the main story. One Week Friends is based on an on-going manga by Matcha Hazuki. The anime is brought to us by Brain’s Base, the same studio who brought us Kawaisou. I was hooked on the simple amnesiac premise the first time I read it. I’ve heard people compare those aspects to the Adam Sandler – Drew Barrymore film 50 First Dates (2004), but I definitely prefer to compare Friends to Momento (2000), a terrific mystery film starring Guy Pierce and directed by Christopher Nolan. Another pretty good comparison is the character Dory, from Finding Nemo (2003), voiced by Ellen DeGeneres.
So, One Week Friends hooked me in with it’s simple premise. The question was, and has been during the course of its 12-episode run, whether or not the show could fulfill the allure of premise. Now that I’ve finished the series, I can honestly say — not so much. The show has a few things going for it, and very little working against it, but the cons are just enough to impede on what I would call a very successful and enjoying viewing.
The’re are four main characters in the show. This is a bit of a spoiler, as Yamagishi, the green-haired girl, isn’t introduced until a later episode. But if you want to avoid all spoilers never watch the opening or ending sequences in anime. Fujimiya Kaori is mostly delightful over the course of the series. She’s written well, and it’s fun to watch a nice person, who had previously shut herself down (outside of her home), finally open up and get to enjoy life again.
Two other main characters, Shogo Kiryu and Yamagishi Saki are just as good, providing wisdom, comedy relief and basically auxiliary power for the show along all season. These two are also an odd couple having polar personality types and you do know what they say about opposites, right? If you know, tell me because I forget things all the time.
Besides those three, and I’m leaving Hase for last on purpose, there’s very few supporting characters. We do get to know a couple other girls in their class, and Kaori’s mom — an excellent character who was introduced in an episode that aired on Mother’s day here in the United States.
Hase Yuki is a the main character and ultimately the driving force of the show, at least in the beginning. The way he’s written however, is the reason I can’t call this a great show. It’s good and sometimes very good, but not great, which bums me out, because the story had the potential to be so. So why do I feel Hase holds back the potential of One Week Friends?
I mentioned earlier, that early in the series he starts out as this bold character, trying to be friends with a distant girl at school. Later, after learning of her disability, he repeats his act of boldness and we get a good sense of what he’s capable of. I’m sorry to tell you this, but in that first confession in the hallway – Hase peaks. For the rest of the season, he constantly doubts himself, relying on his friend to point out completely obvious paths and ultimately — let me choose some careful wording — Hase and how he handles his feelings, his doubts and pretty much everything, is never as good as he is in the beginning.
I could likely go on at length here. Hase is infuriatingly lame at times. He flirts with rising above male main-character status throughout the entire season, but as bad as he is at math, he’s worse when it comes to his own emotions. He does has some nice moments of course, but his overall design — his personality and expressions, end up creating a sense of false drama a few different times in the series. The majority of the characters are written really well, and the concentration on such few characters was a nice change of pace.
The actual character designs were a bit different and slightly retro looking. I enjoyed this show so much in the beginning, I recommended it to a friend, who after watching the first episode, told me, “the character’s all look retarded.” We didn’t speak for a while after that, but I do get what he meant. There’s also a fun thing you can do while watching this. Remove all the characters hair and compare their faces.
I enjoyed watching the pastel-like color palatte they used and the show was also pretty faithful to the source material. The voice acting, in what is essentially a character driven show, was excellent. I’d especially point out Shogo, voiced by Yoshimasa Hosoya and Yamagishi, voiced by Rumi Okubo. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever hear as good of a “dumb” voice as I did in One Week Friends.
So the production was so-so. Nothing to distract me from enjoying the show, while providing some definite level-ups. At one time this was my favorite show of the season, and although my enthusiasm tapered over the course of the season, and along with Hase’s confidence, I still ended up enjoying it. Although the dramatic and more serious moments always seemed a little far-fetched, I cared for the characters and enjoyed the lighter comedic moments.
Again, I would have easily given this an even higher rating than I’m about to, but the show never quite fulfills its potential. I know it’s an ongoing manga, but I always view an anime as its own story. With all that being said, I give One Week Friends a 3.5 out of 5 on theKitsune Scale.
That’s a very solid rating for me. I have all my ratings on my Anime-Planet page if you’re interested in some comparison. Send me a friend invite as well! So, I enjoyed this series quite a bit, especially early in this Spring 2014 season when I wasn’t excited about very many shows. I also may pick up the manga to see what takes place after the events in the series. But for now, and as always, thanks for checking out my reviews on One Week Friends, and here’s to making memories!