One Week Friends – 03

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After a month, Kaori’s diary seems to be working, insofar as it’s allowed her to quickly learn about Yuuki and re-befriend him. She even slaves over the stove to make twenty-one different kinds of tamagoyaki, urging Yuuki to tell her which is best so she knows to make it that way moving forward. While it’s a very sweet gesture, it’s also a little strange, and it occurs to Yuuki that Kaori might benefit from other friends besides just him.

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This is somewhat ironic, considering that besides Kaori, I can’t recall Yuuki hanging out with anyone other than Shogo, the person he decides to bring up to the roof. It seems at first like a decision he’ll come to regret: he immediately asks Kaori if she has Multiple-Personality Disorder, is put off by the fuzzy, lovey-dovey atmosphere Yuuki and Kaori create, and then tells Yuuki he’s being too trusting, warning him that Kaori could just be putting on an act. What’s interesting is that Kaori doesn’t instantly deny that charge; she just stays quiet.

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While he could’ve been less harsh about it, I welcomed Shogo’s fresh insights on the situation. And armed with the truth about Kaori—that act or not, she has trouble interacting with people—he even helps her out by going in the classroom where two girls are gossiping about her, shutting down said gossipers, and retrieving Kaori’s all-important “Memory Note.” That act motivates Kaori to speak up to the girls why the notebook matters so much.

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So it seems that introducing her to Shogo wasn’t so bad after all. Even better, her decision to really nail down Yuuki’s egg preference (18g of sugar) results in her recalling the memory of cooking for him and getting a pang of emotion from writing “18” on the chalkboard. Progress is slow, but steady so far, which is why I’m weary of Yuuki’s little voice-over at the end of the episode about him feeling optimistic “at that time,” indicating that unfortunately won’t always be so.

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One Week Friends – 02

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As she had warned, Kaori’s memories of Yuuki have reset, leaving him at square one. But it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be to reonnect with her. The main reason for this is that she doesn’t remember eating lunch all last week, which means she was eating with a friend she had made. So ironically, the very phenomenon preventing her from remembering friends helped her remember Yuuki, lending credence to his story.

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Everything Yuuki and Kaori do in this second week is very similar to what the did the previous week: they chat with each other and have fun doing things, learning about each other in the process. With Kaori’s memory sure to reset next week, wiping it all out, Yuuki figures out a way to help her, while keeping score at a volleyball game: all she needs to do is keep a diary. She hints that she might have done this before, but is enthusiastic nonetheless, and starts jotting down as much as she can.

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It’s notable that Yuuki gets even closer to Kaori this week, taking her out on a date, meaning his jogging of her memory made this week more productive, friendship-wise, than the first go-around. This all seems neat and tidy untill the third week begins. Kaori reads the diary and tries to pretend as if she remembers it—that Yuuki’s plan worked—but it didn’t, as her tears betray. Yuuki blames himself for selfishly forcing matters with his enthusiasm.

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But when he apologizes, Kaori decides to write that down as well, providing more information on Yuuki for her future self; specifically that he’s in her words, and kind and wonderful person. But all of this raises the question of whether she kept a diary before, and if so, why she stopped. I can probably surmise that the more she writes, the longer it takes to read and process it all, until there isn’t adequate time to do so before her memory resets again.

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One Week Friends – 01

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This episode chronicles the sour beginning, sweet middle, and bitter end of a friendship, before starting back at the beginning. It’s almost like a time loop, only it affects just one person: Fujimiya Kaori. The premise of this show is that all of Kaori’s memories of friends made within a week are lost at the start of the next week. Needless to say, this is a heartbreaking scenario.

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The show doesn’t come right out about this (though its title serves as a sizable hint), as we approach her from the same perspective as her classmate Hase Yuuki, who likes her and wants to befriend her. She repeatedly rejects her, but he persists, without getting too stalk-y about it, and she gradually lowers the armor it’s later revealed she’d built up, layer by layer, after untold weeks of making and losing friends.

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You get the feeling the kind, honest, talkative, lively girl Yuuki comes to know in the week this episode covers is the true Kaori, or at least the Kaori that would exist if she didn’t have this peculiar memory problem. I’ve been here before: Golden Time dealt with similar themes of ephemeral happiness and making the most of the time you have. But where Banri never knew when the other shoe was going to fall, Kaori knows exactly when, and that it will keep happening, like clockwork.

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It’s no surprise then that she avoids contact with peers, leading to a reputation of coldness, which is only logical with the limited information said peers possess. Not willing to simply give up on Kaori, Yuuki resolves to make friends with her all over again every week, if that’s what it takes. Obviously, he’s not going to try the same thing every time—we’d be nearing Endless Eight territory—so I’m interested to see how he’ll mix things up. Who knows, maybe he’ll end up “lifting the curse”…or maybe he’ll just fail over and over, and may not even be the first to try what he’s trying.

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In any case, I’m fascinated, and it certainly helps that it’s great-looking show (because Brain’s Base). Kaori’s soft, gentle voice, provided by Amamiya Sora, sounds a bit like a younger Nazuka Kaori, one of my favorite seiyus. I also appreciated the show’s dexterity, taking a subtle dig at itself by having Shogo point out how corny Yuuki sounded, then building an atmosphere of dread around Kaori as the week’s end approached with equal savvy. It’s quality, and I am a man who appreciates quality…despite the fact I drive a Daewoo Lanos.

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