One Week Friends
Yuki Hase very much wants to be friends with classmate Kaori Fujimiya, but Kaori avoids making friends with anybody. He's a persistent fellow, however, and willing to do whatever it takes to overcome her reservations.
In Kaori's case, the reservations are due to an unusual form of Anime Amnesia in which she literally forgets her friends (i.e., people she has an emotional attachment to, excepting parents) sometime between going to bed each Sunday and awakening each Monday morning. So poor Yuki has to reestablish his relationship with her every week, though at least he doesn't have to do it daily (as Adam Sandler had to do with Drew Barrymore in 2004's 50 First Dates; let us say that some of the premises of One Week Friends are not that original.) Eventually Yuki suggests an obvious work-around that permits some continuity in their relationship, and it's effective for the most part (with only one or two major hiccups.)
Despite her initial reluctance to let Yuki become her friend, once Kaori lets it start she reveals herself as a cheerful girl who loves innocent fun, with the emphasis on innocent here. Yuki and Kaori's relationship is about as torrid or passionate (or for that matter about as contentious) as the one between Keichi and Belldandy, and we only see her actually angry one time. How you feel about this show will depend on how you feel about watching a low-key, innocent relationship. Still, to give credit where it's due, while Kaori might be a little TOO sweet for my taste, she at least is given one interesting (and very positive) trait- an aptitude for mathematics. And Yuki at least shows some inclination to jealousy, especially when a guy named Hajime Kujo shows up later in the show. Hajime knew Kaori from around the time her memory problems began, and as I once heard it "memorably" expressed on MST3K, even a blind person could see where this is going. (The show's predictability was another problem for me.)
There are a couple of other major characters. The one I really DID like was Yuki's friend Shogo Kiryu, a tall, unsmiling, silent loner with a very jaded attitude and a tactless (but honest) way of addressing others. He is nevertheless quietly supportive of Yuki (and, in time, of Kaori and her relationship with Yuki as well), and even joins their homework sessions with the fourth member of their little group, Saki Yamagishi, even though he's always already DONE his homework and doesn't have to be there. The show features him much more than sidekicks usually are- perhaps it knows it's got a genuinely good character here- and so it seems a shame that Shogo seems condemned to a rather unpleasant fate (at least it seemed he was to ME.)
As for Saki...she's annoying on several levels. She has a very poor memory herself, and talks (and LOOKS) like a child despite being the same age as the other three. She also feels that since she's so incompetent, others (literally) need to provide all the answers for her. She wants a husband to take care of her and make all her decisions. Not exactly the most feminist attitude I've ever seen, but maybe this plays better in Japan than in the U.S. Actually, the only female in the whole show that I found consistently both likeable AND lively was Kaori's mom, who I wished had been given more scenes. (I felt like singing Fountains of Wayne's song "Stacy's Mom" every time she was on screen.)
I also wished that there had been more genuine humor in the show. Shogo had a few jabs that benefitted from his (perpetually) deadpan delivery. I know that in the abstract Saki's antics are supposed to be funny, but I developed a rather Queen Victoria-ish "we are not amused" attitude toward her that I couldn't shake, and I DID try, believe me.
I vacillated between only two stars versus three before finally going with the more generous rating. Big negatives here are the show's blandness and predictability. The positives? Some will find that same inoffensiveness a plus (a rarity in today's anime, certainly); and I thought Shogo and (despite her infrequent appearances) Kaori's mom were genuinely good characters. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: This is one of the few series I've ever seen where some mild fanservice might have actually HELPED. There's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING offensive here; even the obligatory beach scene's modest (!)
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
One Week Friends © 2014 Matcha Hazuki/Square Enix/ Brain's Base
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