Tag Archives: slice of life

Fall 2014: Slice of Life/Drama


Our final genre is probably one of anime’s most defining genre – the slice of life. Second only to giant robot anime, the slice of life can chronicle any sort of ‘real-world’ scenario from schools to work to life in general. Most tend to gravitate to school environments and be the most prone to fanservice. Despite this, I think this is probably my favourite genre because it’s the most relaxing and easiest to understand; very little chance of learning specific terminology or complicated story arcs. Just kick back and enjoy the drama!

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Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken
(I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying)

Animation Studio: Dream Creation
Origin:  Manga [Kyoshinsha]
Date of Premiere: October 2nd

Summary
Welcome to the internet, we say to Kaoru [our leading lady]. She is married to Hajime, a full-blown otaku to which she is the almost complete opposite; she smokes, has an office job and is cynical as all hell. Now she’s wed to this guy, Kaoru feels like she needs to understand the world her husband inhabits if she wants to save her sanity.

Initial Thoughts
If the producers of this anime wanted to appeal to their target market with something relevant, then they did a good job. I’m sold! This is a five-minute anime series so the time invested is minimal so the risk factor is negligible for those skeptical. This is probably one of the shows I’m looking forward to the most because of the fact that I’m a geek and I want to see what happens. Plus the animation looks cute!

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
(The Shepherd of the Great Library)

Animation Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Origin:  Manga [August/Sasaki]
Date of Premiere: October 9th

Summary
Kyoutarou just wants to read a book, to nocialise in peace in the school library. One day though, his wish to read fantastic tomes is granted with the proviso that he acts like a good samaritan. With the guidance of an outside figure known only as the “Shepherd”, he is charged with spreading happiness to five female classmates with different quirks and personalities.

Initial Thoughts
As soon as I saw Hoods Entertainment were the animators of this I sort of knew where this was going. Hoods primarily animate racier productions and it implies that there will be plenty of stimulating material for young men; of course there will be, this is based on a visual novel game! Predictable and pandering but it looks very good, I’ll probably save this for the latter half of the review season.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Girlfriend (Kari)
Girlfriend (Beta)

Animation Studio: Silver Link
Origin:  Game [CyberAgent/Ameba]
Date of Premiere: October 13th

Summary
You want a girlfriend? Take your pick! You have over thirty girls to choose from in this anime adaptation of the hugely popular iOS and Android game [those have over one hundred to choose from!]. Other than that not much else has been divulged in terms of plot but I think you can guess where it’ll go.

Initial Thoughts
This is certainly…ambitious. One of the most inclusive dating sims in circulation, Girlfriend (Kari) will not have anyone feeling left out, but does it need an anime? This linear art form may not lend itself well to what is essentially an endless video game; people will feel like their favourite has been given short shrift or left out all together. Also nothing about the plot has been explained so that adds to the uncertainty. Not sure about this.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Low

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Grisaia no Kajitsu
(The Fruit of the Grisaia)

Animation Studio: 8-bit
Origin:  Game [Front Wing]
Date of Premiere: October 5th

Summary
Yuuji Kazama is the first boy to enrol in a special school for troubled children where the only other classmates are attractive girls. Each of these characters has a tragic past which has affected their daily lives and it is believed that Yuuji’s presence might be the solution to their problems and help them get over their trauma…it doesn’t help though that Yuuji is there because he has a past he’d want to forget too, can everyone get over their woes?

Initial Thoughts
Another visual novel, Grisaia no Kajitsu seems to be a lot more cerebral than most. The idea of investigation psychological trauma through compassion helping the girls solve their issues is noteworthy but it still could fall foul that plagues most adaptations of visual novels – condensing. You have HOURS of content from five different plots and you have to shrink them all and pick one of the girls to get with Yuuji [probably Sakaki]; people who played the game will again feel left out if their girl isn’t chosen. Risky but interesting enough to give a chance.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
(Your Lie In April)

Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
Origin:  Manga [Arakawa]
Date of Premiere: October 9th

Summary
Kousei was a child prodigy when it came to playing the piano, but when his like-minded mother passed away he was unable to hear his piano play and as such vows to never play the instrument again. After that, life becomes meaningless…until he meets Kaori, a wonderful violinist, who could restore his love for music and rekindle his passion!

Initial Thoughts
This looks really good. A-1 Pictures has picked a cracker of a series to adapt. It’s a simple plot about conquering one’s fear and trauma but it looks like it will be done rather tastefully and eloquently with plenty of visual cues and use of the colour palette. Kaori and Kousei look to be a solid match and I’m keen to see how this relationship unfolds.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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Shirobako
(White Box)

Animation Studio: P.A. Works
Origin:  Manga [Sugihara/Mizutama]
Date of Premiere: October 9th

Summary
Five girls want to make an anime, simple as. Each girl has a specific trait and together they start to carve their way into the animation industry, one trial after another; with donuts. Lots of donuts.

Initial Thoughts
There’s not much to say really with this one. You can sum it up in a sentence which is good. The story is uncomplicated and should actually be interesting as it goes through the animation process and deconstructs it into its component parts; colouring, voicing, 3D work and so on. The story is meant to be heartwarming as these girls will stick together and I will stick around for this because I want to know how a modern anime is made! I mean after last season’s Glasslip, anything that PA Works makes will be better!

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-High

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Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete
(In Search of A Lost Future)

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Animation Studio: Feel
Origin:  Game [Trumple]
Date of Premiere: October 4th

Summary
Uchihama Academy is planning to move to a new location and this year’s school festival will be the last at the current campus. The student body work together to make this festival the best ever…that is until the campus fights back with sightings of ghosts, seizures and unexplained accidents. The school’s Astronomy Club, led by Sou Akiyama, is charged with investigating the phenomena and finds odd things tend to gravitate toward him, especially when new transfer student Yui comes into his life. What happens next?

Initial Thoughts
Oooh, paranormal elements. I like that! Other than that, the premise is solid enough. The original game is based on a long-running novel À la recherche du temps perdu or In Search of Lost Time written by Marcel Proust and in that themes of loss, anxiety as well as tragedy! In all it’ll be interesting to show how this high-brow visual novel is adapted into an anime; based on visuals alone it feels like a Clannad in its sophisticated colour palette but we shall see if that holds true!

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru
(Yuna Yuki is a Hero)

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Animation Studio: Studio Gokumi
Origin:  Manga [Takahiro/Kotamaru]
Date of Premiere: October 16th

Summary
Four girls from the same school form a “Hero Club” which saves the world for what is known as the “Vertex”. When these girls aren’t fighting demons or otherworldly oddities, they are standard moe girls doing adorable things together without a care in the world with cute plushy mascots to accompany them…then they go fight demons!

Initial Thoughts
I think this could be good? It feels almost like a magical girl anime but a lot more grounded. The girls look pleasant enough and the ambience seems rather mellow. It’s a more laidback action anime with chances to have a chuckle with the girls as they go about their lives. Quaintness aplenty.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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And thus concludes our showcase of anime for the upcoming fall season. Our final post will be our Fall Preview Summary where you can see what anime excites Anifile and which leaves us feeling cold and a chance to cast your vote for the anime you’re most excited to see!

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Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) REVIEW


Life is a very complicated beast. People whom you have a connection with can drift out of your life as easily as they drifted into it. That moment that you cherish and cling to in times of melancholy may not quite be what you had imagined should you ever get to see that special someone again later on in life; especially when both parties have changed significantly in the duration. Blue Spring Ride encapsulates this evolution in personality in a safe and leisurely manner whilst also tugging at the heartstrings a tad.

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The story revolves around a girl named Futaba, a recluse whom was unpopular in middle school because she was popular with the boys. The jealousy which emanated from the other girls in her class made her an outcast; it didn’t help that because of this she developed a hatred of boys which compounded her already lonely existence. That is until she meets Kou, a mysteriously sweet boy and classmate at a local shrine. There the pair bond and quickly develop a friendship before outside influences conspire against the pair and Kou ends up leaving the school shortly after the summer break ends. Three years later, Futaba is a different person from the middle school girl she once was; she puts on a persona in order to be popular, unattractive to boys and not be a social misfit and it shows. For her, life is good and stable…until Kou comes back under a different name. He too is a different person and the pair are aware of this. They have the past, but that’s all it is now. Who are they? In any case, they don’t give up and over time they both start to get to know one another and Futaba especially re-evaluates her life choices and starts to change back into the girl that she used to be using traditional shoujo romance tropes along the way.

aoharu_5Blue Spring Ride is a straight up romance for a female audience; it is fit to burst with emotion and drama and yet it doesn’t get in your face. It could easily have become a vengeful and spiteful show about a girl who is bitter and broken after Kou’s disappearance in middle school; but instead Futaba is just confused and compliant. It’s a lot more pragmatic than most anime would be in this situation. She doesn’t scream at the top of her lungs her hatred for boys or be obnoxious, she just acts indifferently whilst also sprinkling in some comedic facial expressions and actions which are more a representation of her inner emotions. Simply put, Futaba is an emotional mess in her first year of high school. She has friends she doesn’t really like and is merely a player in the game of life rather than living it. It isn’t until she meets Kou again that she realises this and understands that she doesn’t have to placate to social conformity and can feel more comfortable in herself and who she wants to be. This is further defined when Yuuri, a girl in her year group, is vilified by the female student body for being popular with boys and ‘putting on’ a cute girl act for them…just like Futaba in middle school. It’s there in front of her and she doesn’t take it anymore and chooses to ditch her ‘friends’ and begin a new circle of friends as she enters her second year. Kou and Futaba do indeed start to grow closer again albeit in a haphazard sort of way with twists and turns and ups and downs, but it does happen.

aoharu_4At the start of each episode, we usually see a flashback to the main characters’ middle school days which add to the sea of memories the pair have and how much fun they had. This contributes to the main arc in two ways. Firstly it tells the audience that the pair were really close and this wasn’t some sort of flimsy one-time encounter and secondly it emphasises how painful the loss of the Kou that Futaba once loved must be; that boy is gone and in his place is a whole different guy with different airs and emotions and yet she can’t quite put the matter to rest. She wants to understand him instead of simply dismissing the new Kou; she wants to know what happened in the three years between middle school and high school. As the story moves on and we are introduced to more characters, we start to see the usual suspects of female romance stories; love triangles, heightened drama, whispering declarations, bitter side characters and subplots up the ying-yang. These don’t detract from the main plot but it sort of brings the package down to Earth a little bit instead of carving out a more unique furrow for itself.

aoharu_3The animation and overall delivery of Blue Spring Ride is a decent affair. Production I.G, as usual, puts in the required effort to construct something with above-average visuals which is pleasing to the eye but nothing truly special or groundbreaking. It’s a shame but it’s not the end of the world; if it looked like One Week Friends though it would be a way better show – just saying! The problem I had with the show was that the art style of the show’s original manga, as designed by Io Sakisaka, doesn’t work that well in anime form. It’s not terrible or anything and the proportions are all there and correct for the most part, but there is something about the eyes and mouth that put me off slightly. Sometimes Futaba’s smile looks too big or her eyes differ in shape every now and again; but that being said, I appreciate that Production I.G. and Sakisaka have managed to work together to maintain the original look of the manga. Some anime don’t do that, but here the original style is faithfully retained and stands out from the sea of moe that is all too common nowadays.

aoharu_6Blue Spring Ride is indeed a fun ride. It may not be aimed at my target demographic, but I was moved by the plot and felt a strong amount of charm in Futaba’s desire to transform herself rather than remain a slave to popularity. Screw that! She can be whoever she wants and be friends with whoever she wants; nobody has to tell her what to do. It took Kou’s return to realise how skewed she was and it’s clear that the two will get together in some way so as to help their warped life paths become straight again or at least straighter than before. I would recommend this anime as it is rather pleasant to watch but if you are a romance enthusiast you will start to see the conventions of the genre pop up in the second act. If you think about it, the show talks about being yourself and not complying to social norms…and yet complies to traditional plot devices in a typical anime romance. Huh. If only it hadn’t, then it would be a fully rounded package; it’s still fun though!

Blue Spring Ride is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CONTINUE [An admirable show with above-average visuals, plot and characters.]

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Jinsei (Life Counselling)


After a short break from reviews, I like to pick an anime which is light on exposition or is not so heavy in terms of philosophical surmising that I want to tear my head in two. In short, I want some cute comedy! After discovering this anime and being surprised by the lack of coverage that it’s received, I want to give it a leg-up and talk about it. It’s a show I’ve wanted to cover for a while and now is as good as time as any. Enter Jinsei and its merry team giving their classmates life advice with a comical twist.
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Yuuki Akamatsu is a guy who is longing to find a girlfriend but lacks the confidence to get himself out there and try his luck. He’s then tasked by the journalism club’s president, Ayaka, to head the school paper’s life counselling section in order to keep the club open. In a fit of Jenga-based madness, Yuuki agrees and he is quickly introduced to the life section’s members – Ikumi, Rino and Fumi. The basic premise in each episode revolves around three to four letters from concerned students concerning topics such as part-time job problems, relationship quandaries and even advice in attracting female members for a mob club. Quite random! Along the way, there are a couple of sub-plots to help keep the show moving forward such as the romantic development between the scientific Rino and Yuuki as well as the rival newspaper team, led by the pervy Asano and their goal of beating Ayaka and her crew in order to absorb the members and readership into their own club. As of yet, there is a fourth character to join the trio named Emi. She has been alluded to in a letter delivered to the club but as of episode six she hasn’t appeared which leads me to believe that she’s the club’s “ace in the hole” or “shark jump”. Either way, it’ll be a game changer in the story’s flow.

jinsei_4I really like Jinsei. It’s got a strong and heartfelt message whilst also being genuinely funny. There were loads of times when I either chuckled or actually went back in the video and watched a clip again because I found it to be amusing. Not only that, but the idea of a life advice column is something which is relatable to students all over the world; the topics even match. It’s something which can easily be transferred to different markets and not be lost in translation or have to be drastically localised if at all. Yuuki is a main character of sorts, but he knows when to get out of the way and let the three girls of the club take the reins. It’s all about them really because they’re the one who are dishing out the advice; makes sense if you think about it. Yuuki has his own goal in trying to find a girlfriend and it’s clear that he will succeed with Rino, the quiet and aggressive “tsundere” stereotype who has an encyclopedic knowledge on all things science-based. On many an occasion where Yuuki would deserve a slap or a scolding, Rino doesn’t seem to bear a grudge for long. It’s cute but slightly predictable. Fumi, the kindly but busty and shy stereotype does have some unusual quirks about her personality. She comes from an ancient samurai family with strong morals and manners but she is beaten down verbally by her grandfather and she actually starts to build a backbone after meeting Yuuki. Who would have thought? The shy girl actually getting more confident on screen! Ikumi is pretty simple to read; she’s the tomboy. That doesn’t mean she’s boring though; most of the laughs are generated from her and the aftermath. In all, I like the characters. Despite their completely different backgrounds, they all have a common interest in helping and all unite under Yuuki’s leadership.

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This show is a little different in that it promotes itself as a show where it dishes out advice for unsure students. Since most anime fans are in their teens and twenties, the advice being dished out by the group can be relevant or indeed applicable to the audience. It’s an anime which can be useful to some extent. Naturally there are some variations between the letters and potential viewers, but the basic idea of the advice given can help a little bit potentially. The girls all have their own opinions and manage to combine them into a final paragraph for the school’s bulletin board where the advice is displayed…followed by a quirky sentence which is mostly contributed by Ikumi and her oddball and brash comments. Is the advice they give any good? I would say so. It’s quite diplomatic and measured whilst also being reassuring, like the writers took time to compose a believable piece of advice, it made it real for me and as such solidified the show’s ‘spine’ as it were. It’s not an excuse to shove sexy girls together!

jinsei_7Unfortunately though, the experience is marred by the overabundance in fanservice. It’s not so bad in the first episode, but as the show ploughs on the rate of ‘boob pans’, awkward moments of sexual tension and wacky hijinx which lead to some kind of sexy result [usually involving Fumi – I wonder why?] goes through the roof. It’s almost as if the writer of the original light novel, Ougyo Kawagishi and the anime’s director, Keiichiro Kawaguchi felt that the premise of giving advice wasn’t enough to sustain an otaku audience and thusly added cheap and unnecessary ploys which simply left me feeling sad and disappointed instead of their intended reaction. It comes off as desperate rather than arousing. Yes, there are some times where it can be considered slapstick comedy where people fall down or get hit in the face with something; but the amount of times where the fanservice is just THERE for no adequate reason displeases me greatly. It not only devalues my respect for Jinsei but it makes me feel sorry for Fumi and Rino who are usually the targets. That being said, it’s not enough to destroy the show for me. The narrative has a habit of coming around and presenting something kind and thoughtful at me in the form of a touching comment or a friendly moral being conveyed. These girls may be polar opposites, but they work together and they want to. That makes me forgive the show for its kinky transgressions…well, nearly forgive it. I just wish they’d tone it down a little at least.

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Jinsei is a cute comedy. I found it to be well presented, cleverly written [when the girls weren’t thrust in my face] and having a strong and yet light-hearted idea. I was left feeling happy from having watched this charming little slice-of-life show; yet it did leave a slightly sour taste in my mouth concerning the over playing of the female form in certain scenes. Ikumi, Fumi and Rino make a good team and Yuuki a good leader. If you’re looking for a comedy which has heart and a helpful message whilst also being quite relaxed then Jinsei is your anime!

RATING: CONTINUE [Cute, caring and charming.]

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Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun


When a girl loves a guy, the first thing she does is declare her love and the pair become a sweet couple…or it could go horribly wrong and end in a complete emotional fireball. You wouldn’t expect it ending up with being the guy’s assistant in his manga project along with his eccentric gang of friends and colleagues. Our main gal has ended up in just a situation in the slice-of-life comedy Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun, an amusing tale about how a fan and a manga artist became friends and a jolly good team!

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Sakura Chiyo is a girl who has had a crush on one of her classmates, Nozaki. She is a bit of a nervous nelly when it comes to proposing the idea of a relationship and then blurts out that she’s a fan. Nozaki mishears this as her being a fan of his work and invites her over to help him on his latest project. He then finds Sakura to be rather good at helping to ink out his artwork and it’s there that we find out that Nozaki is a manga artist, a successful manga artist to boot. Sakura then melts into a humanoid blob of embarrassment which is adorably portrayed. Along the way, Sakura tries to grow closer to Nozaki but still finds herself too shy to fully admit it to him and he’s nowhere close to admitting himself; not because he doesn’t like her, it’s just he’s got no clue how to do it as he’s never had a girlfriend before…yet he’s a lauded shoujo manga writer. He goes under a female psuedonym for his published work so as readers would take his work seriously and not jump to conclusions about him being a male high school student and therefore having no clue about such stuff as romance. He is surprisingly good at it; but he’s not perfect. He does show his shortcomings and it’s up to Sakura to help fill in the gaps and together they make a great team as they grow closer and closer together along with their madcap mates. It’s a simple schoolyard story and I love it.

nozaki_4I love Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun sheerly because it’s so freaking cute. Not only that but it’s properly funny. It may not be hysterical, but it’s consistently amusing and really well timed. All the jokes and musical cues come at the right time and hit their marks with precision despite the lightweight subject matter. It’s not trying to be a polished and sophisticated magnum opus, instead the show simply wants to be a charming story about how a couple got together through a harmless misunderstanding. Nozaki may be adept at channeling emotions onto paper, but when it comes to his own life he’s as dense as an osmium brick [that’s dense.]. Sakura is more attuned to emotions and love but she is burdened with being supremely shy when trying to express it. As a result, she ends up as his assistant instead of being his girlfriend. However, that doesn’t really seem to be a big deal to them at this point in time. They get on great and have fun together; is that enough? I think what really makes it for me is the short, sharp deliveries from the show’s four-panel beginnings from the pen of Izumi Tsubaki and his 2011 manga which first debuted online. Tsubaki’s punchy comedy whilst remaining light-hearted is truly sophisticated and something to enjoy on a mellow day.

nozaki_6Another plus point is in the show’s side characters. You see stereotypical characters but they’ve been completely taken to pieces and made fun of in the best way possible. For example, there is Nozaki’s best friend Mikoto; he is loved by girls and spouts out arrogant nonsense that the girls lap up relentlessly…but when they’re gone he gets frightfully embarrassed by what he says and is scared of talking to girls in actuality. He gets his experience from playing dating sims and we even spend half of one episode hearing how Mikoto believes of the virtues of digital love to Nozaki and schooling him in the arts of eroge [erotic gaming]. This simple sequence was amazing to see and really opened up Mikoto as a character for me; it was hilarious and such a breath of fresh air to see such a pompous douche be really a scared and timid little boy who can’t believe his own luck that he’s popular with the opposite sex. Then there’s Kashima, the female pin-up who girls adore to a fault. She is so adored that she causes destruction to anything in her path from the sheer number of girls following her and being powerless to stop them. It’s almost as if Tsubaki is tearing apart the rulebook and reconstructing these character models as real people who are either putting on a facade or people who can’t control how other people think of them – “With great power comes great responsibility”, you could say. It’s the mark of a great show where you can find fun in the minor characters as well as the main characters. It all adds up to an enjoyable experience which isn’t heavy on plot or meaning. It’s a well-rounded and joyous adventure.

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Studio Dogakoba should be proud of this production, as should Sentai Filmworks who have picked the show up for the American market. Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun is what The Comic Artist and His Assistants should’ve been. An adventure into the world of manga with a team of quirky individuals who work together to produce an acclaimed creation free of any awkward suggestiveness or nuances of sex. It’s simply a joy to watch and will generate a smile and leave audience members pleased to have dedicated their time to it. I was so glad that I got to see this and by the huge amount of requests I got to review it. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Tsubaki’s four-panel work has easily generated a four-star anime. Perhaps five stars for some. A must-see; it’s easy to pick up and understand and requires little background knowledge to fully appreciate.

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CONTINUE [Uncomplicated and consistent amusement for those looking for a peppy comedy.]

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One Week Friends


Memories are precious. Memories are what make us who we are; things that we recall in times of either great elation or times of sadness. They are clearly important to us as human beings; they are what connect us to the people that we love and cherish. Imagine if all that were to be erased at the start of each and every week. People you grew close to would be removed from your thoughts and you would have a blank canvas all over again. It sounds horrifying; but that is what poor Kaori Fujimiya, the main character of One Week Friends, has to go through. Thankfully she is not alone.

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Kaori Fujimiya is a lonely girl. Someone with no friends around her to talk to or hang out with. This isn’t because she’s a nasty person, she is the opposite of that. She has no friends because she chooses not to get involved and have either herself or others be hurt because of her condition; that being that every Monday morning, she forgets short-term relationships or memories that she had formed and anyone she had recently come into contact with and had a good memory associated with them would be erased from her mind, quite literally. When a boy named Yuki enters the scene, he is captivated by Kaori and wishes to be friends with her, but she has rebuffed him once before. Nevertheless, he keeps trying and eventually starts to make an impact when he starts a traditional lunchtime meeting up on the school roof where it’s just the two of them. At first, Kaori is reluctant but she is soon thrust into the excitement of forming new friendships. However, she is soon reminded of her impending memory wipe and begins to close down again in fear of hurting both Yuki and herself. The next time the pair meet, she is cold and distant; it’s quite scary to see…but thankfully things begin to be rebuilt and the pair quickly warm up. Soon, more friends are added to the table and hopefully Kaori can have the circle of friends that she has always wanted. I’m not going to lie, this show REALLY gets to you.

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What One Week Friends has going for it is that it, along with its soft and elegant art style, is very smooth in its delivery and pitch. It knows that memory loss is a sensitive subject and one that could be exploited if a more crass director were to come across it, but Matcha Hazuki’s [the original manga author of the show] vision of Kaori and Yuki seeking mutual companionship has been left intact. It is a beautifully delicate show with a lush and unique colour palette which is full of watercolours and soft pastel hints in its art direction. This is a soft anime with a hard and thoughtful message behind it. Stay positive and life will be positive in return. Kaori is a sweet girl with a loving family which she cherishes dearly as they are the only group of people that she remembers constantly but she presents a cold and impenetrable barrier around everyone else not because she doesn’t care about others; but because she DOES care. If she didn’t care, she’d make friends and then freak them out every week to the point she’d become a potential pariah. The writing is done very sensitively and it’s a marvel to watch.

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Yuki is a good kid too. His attraction to Kaori is mainly platonic and is exhibited in a very plausible manner. When we first see him try and befriend Kaori, it is him declaring his desire to be friends, not to go out on a date or have her be his girlfriend. He has a simple wish to be her friend and include her in school life; his intentions are quite selfless. To see him when Kaori doesn’t recognise him at the end of the first episode was a really powerful narrative twist; even though you saw it coming, you wouldn’t have expected it to be done so cruelly. That’s why I love the writing; it’s not afraid to be cold and tug at the heartstrings of those watching and yet it will reward you with moments of pure and touching joy. I once again have to commend Yuki for his selfless nature; he not only wishes to befriend Kaori but also introduces other people to her as well, ensuring she has a circle of friends and is not just reliant on Yuki for social satisfaction. He could’ve easily kept her for himself and indulge in her vulnerability and manipulate her by claiming something she can’t remember and exploit her trust in him; but he doesn’t do that which is such a relief. You might be quick to notice that the pacing is a little on the slow side; fans of quick-draw storylines and rambunctious characters might be frustrated at the melodic trundling of One Week Friends and its plot, but it has to be like that in order to do the subject matter justice. You can’t blaze through the story a mile a minute, you’d miss out on key nuances and subtle hints of the growing bond between Yuki and Kaori. His idea to use a diary to help her remember things is a stroke of genius and done to help her; even though he realises its use is to keep him in her mind which is a little selfish I suppose…but he apologises for it which only makes Kaori closer to him. It’s all so sweet and tender punctured with a feeling of foreboding and bitter pain that is soon to befall upon them at any moment.

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One Week Friends is one of those shows which makes me proud to be an anime fan. It’s an example of how the medium can tackle a serious issue like mental trauma and turn it into a tale which is laced with positivity and love. Brains Base has produced an animated gem along with Matcha Hazuki’s brilliant premise. It might not be as action-packed or filled with gut-busting comedy to satisfy most slice-of-life fans, but it’s a touching and pragmatic story. It marks what true friendship really is; stand by your friend and help them through their woes, be there for them in their darkest hour and in their moments of happiness. I was blown away with how well this whole package came together and this is definitely a candidate for my top five list for this season.

One Week Friends is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CONTINUE [A majestic masterpiece with sensitive storylines and well-crafted characters]

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