One Week Friends Series Collection (Issuhukan friends) started as a manga by Matcha Hazuki running in Square Enix’s Gangan Joker magazine which ran for three years and wrapped up in early 2015. I had no idea what I was going into when I got my hands on this series, except for the basic story you read on the box. And I decided to keep it that way as I wanted to watch this with unclouded eyes and no outside influence whatsoever. There are a couple of vague spoilers ahead so if you are currently watching the series or want to, you have been warned.
The first episode begins with Yuki Hase, standing in the school hallway hand in hand with Kaori Fujimiya who he very boldly asks seemingly out of nowhere “please become my friend!”, where he is promptly rejected, hastily abandoned and left standing in the hallway alone. Kaori ran from Hase as she has a secret, and it’s a pretty big one indeed and when you actually try to put yourself in her shoes it is heart wrenching and very, very scary. Kaori distances herself from people and refuses to make friends, as she will not remember them when the next week starts. No matter how many fond memories she makes with them, it will all reset when Monday rolls around. She is withdrawn, distances herself from people and is in general a prickly and unhappy person to be around, so most of her classmates leave her to herself. Feeling a bit dejected, Hase consults his friend Shougo Kiryu, and despite his reluctance to become involved, Kiryu always seems to give the most mature and level headed responses to problems (he seems to be the solid personality in the group). Hase doesn’t give up, and in reaching out to Fujimiya, from the first week you can see her changing and opening up, which sometimes you just sit there and find yourself smiling. And this has a roll-on effect in her life, and it reveals possibilities she thought were no longer available to her.
Her memories don’t disappear altogether, she remembers things like events, family, school, general interactions with people and almost everything else, except for the special friends she makes. In order to get around this and help her forward, Hase recommends she keep a Journal to read every week in hope she retains some memories. In doing this, the journal becomes something of a necessity for Fujimiya, and she relies on it as a window into the life she has forgotten, a past joy and reminder of all the quirky odd things she writes in there. The story has a lot of awkward re-introductions between Fujimiya and Hase and generally getting to know each other better through their strange situation.
I really liked the animation style, it’s soft and still colourful which suits the mood of the characters and story really well. The only strange thing is their mouths are quite low on their faces compared to their nose, and in some scenes I couldn’t help but imagine if a real person looked like that. I think this style stays true to the manga. The kids are cute and generally not too wacky with their actions or personalities (with the exception of Saki Yamagishi, she is somewhat of a strange sloth in human form. Green hair and everything), and I was hoping Hase and Fujimiya’s relationship would progress a little further. It seemed to go in circles and come back to a spot where they were both “comfortable” with each other again. When they got to finding out a bit more of Fujumiya’s past, they didn’t really confront the problem or discuss it at all. It was revealed, then everybody was a bit shocked or didn’t know how to feel, then almost pushed aside. The final episode felt a bit open ended and unfinished, which I am sure was intended in case they want to continue the animated series. I am unsure exactly how much of the manga was covered in the anime, but I think maybe about half way. Kiryu was probably my favourite, as he pretty much just says what needs to be said and doesn’t hold back.
To wrap it up, the One Week Friends Series Collection was a warm and easy watch, and when I think back, not much actually happened but there was a fair bit of character development with Fujimiya. Hase always seems to be conflicted about something, he is a bit of a tender emotional soul and Yamagishi was the comic relief as she is so odd. This is worth a watch if you like Shoujo genre and nothing too heavy.
The DVD has only Japanese 2.0 available with English Subtitles which is fine for me. I actually prefer watching anime in Japanese as some English voice actors are….just…awful……the voices in the original Japanese are quite tame so they are easy to listen too and don’t get annoying.
The Madman DVD release comes with a double sided printed sleeve, which you can reverse if you wanted to have a clean textless cover. It’s a 2 disc Set with 12 episodes total.
The second disc has a couple of nice little extras like a creditless opening and closing and some Madman trailers of new and existing releases (makes me re-wanna watch Space Dandy). I always like to watch these so I know if I’ve missed anything awesome.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.