Hase has been interested in Fujimiya for awhile but when he finally finds the courage to ask her to be friends she bluntly rejects him and then runs away. Later, he finds her on the roof and for a week they start to talk and get close before she starts to push him away again. Turns out Fujimiya forgets her friends every single week (total reset). After learning this, Hase becomes more determined than ever to make friends with her, every single week.
I often wonder where writers for manga and anime get their information about how amnesia works. While it isn’t totally impossible someone would forget part of their memories each week, nor is it totally impossible that they would just forget what aspect of their life, but to forget just one specific set of memories every single week on the exact same day is probably pushing the notion just a bit for the sake of a cheap plot device. And it is a cheap plot device. They can go through the same sequences of events over and over, the conflict is built right into the premise, and there’s all sorts of things that can go wrong for the main pair. Everything about this story is designed to make you feel for their plight but the question remains of whether or not it succeeds.
One Week Friends succeeds at being an interesting take on the troubles of teen friendship. Why do people make friends? What stops them from being friends? How much work does it take to actually become a friend? And at what point are you friends rather than just acquaintances?
It also succeeds relatively well at being an okay slice-of-life drama thing with the gimmick of memory reset just being the device that stops us from getting too gushy as Hase and Fujimiya get closer and closer.
Where it fails to succeed is at making either of these main characters actually likable and as a direct result while there is interest in the premise the actual steps on their journey kind of lacks emotional impact.
Hase is too nice. He just is. He wants to be Fujimiya’s friend for whatever reason. I know he explains it and he justifies it to his friend (particularly when his friend points out that this particular friendship is more trouble than it actually seems to be worth at the time), but I never buy his attachment to Fujimiya other than he’s the nice guy who can’t leave the puppy out in the rain. The side-effect of not really getting his drive is that some of his actions become questionable. For instance, when Fujimiya loses her journal (in one of the most contrived ways to ramp up tension in a story I’ve ever seen) and also knocks the sign on her door that tells her to read her journal down, Hase ends up spending days looking for said journal in the long grass by the river where he’s convinced (despite a lack of any evidence) she must have lost the book. There’s optimism, there’s plot convenience, and then there is sloppy writing that we’re supposed to forgive because isn’t it sweet how they made up.
Conversely, Fujimiya is just kind of dull. At first she’s stand-offish and you get that she goes through the pain of forgetting people each week if they get close to her and her friends act all horrified the next week when she can’t remember them so it is easier to avoid people.That part of her character is totally understandable and is by far the most interesting part of her character. Once she starts with Hase though she quickly becomes just a nice girl. She’s incredibly passive, allowing the uncertain Hase to drive almost every encounter and step they take as she works toward recovery of memories, and mostly she does not seem all that interesting. Instead, Hase and Fujimiya start doing all the usual high school things as though they are dating but they are just friends. Hase asks her to be friends each week. It’s all very, “What’s the point?”.
Saki and Shougo as support characters fare better but Shougo is pretty laconic so while he does drop a rare gem of a common sense line of thought into the story he is far too often silent and merely watching the action. Saki is irritating in every way as a character but she balances out Shougo and her appearance in the story very much helps make Fujimiya just a little bit more bearable so all and all she’s kind of a necessary introduction to the cast.
I’m not going to talk about the trauma that caused Fujimiya’s condition or how this story resolves but to be honest there are better shows out there if you just want to watch someone’s heart get stamped on week after week. There are better shows for manipulating the audience with contrived plots, and there are better shows for developing teenage characters. Other than the gimmick itself of memory loss there’s just nothing here that is new or fresh or interesting.
That doesn’t make this bad. If you ignore the limited possibility that anyone could have such a condition, the story plays out as it needs to and moves along at a slow but steady pace. It isn’t particularly flash but it gets the job done and there are some good scenes that genuinely make you think. So it isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. Your enjoyment will largely come from whether you find Hase’s relentless desire for Fujimiya’s friendship appealing and whether you accept the overall premise that the show lays out before you.
If you’ve seen this one I’d love to know your thoughts.
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