Review: Isshuukan Friends

This is the last post which will be made on Meepinganime. It’s kind of sad, isn’t it? From here on out, we’re renaming ourselves to something totally different, and hoping to deliver a whole new experience. Any issues with domains and redirect loops are going to occur within the first few days, but if you get an error, please let one of us know at meepinganime.at.hotmail dot com. It’s been a fun few years, and we’ll all be on the other side!

One Week Friends

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AlexI find that whenever I look for a drama, regardless of what shape and form it may be in, it’s littered with melodrama and unrealistic characters and situations. It’s not played out the way normal people play out their lives, and it’s often got something to ruin it. I had heard amazing things about the source material to this show, but when it revealed that it’s got a amnesiac trope as it’s main part, I was pretty concerned. Thankfully, those concerns were for nothing, as this is quite possibly the most realistic portrait of amnesia in anime that i’ve seen, and how people around you adapt and cope with it.

If you couldn’t tell from the opening paragraph, Isshuukan Friends is about a girl named Fuijimiya Kaori who has post traumatic stress disorder, and her memories reset every Monday. It’s a very selective reset, but amnesia often is a selective thing. She meets someone named Hase Yuuki who wants to be her friend, and everything starts from there. However, this storyline is actually surprisingly normal. It’s about making friends, keeping fri ends, and going through problems with friends. It’s not got anything trying to destroy the world, it’s not got a love triangle, and it’s not got a main character that’s clearly a pimp. It focuses on showing that there’s so much more to making friends than stretching your hand outwards, and it actually turns the amnesiac trope into a side-issue for a large amount of time…which is where the trope belongs.  The whole scenario revolves around these two characters, with their traits, personalities and interests, and shows exactly what it’s ;like to make friends with someone who’s unwell.

There are two other main characters, who both serve to forward the main characters, whilst having their own scenarios and situations of their own. Saki Yamagishi and Shougo Kiryuu are so much more than the traditional wingmen cliche’s that get included in anime, and whilst they do serve as wingmen, they do things which go above and beyond their role. These two characters just being here exemplifies what I think is the best part of this show, and that’s how realistic and down to earth it is. The melodrama takes a back-seat whilst the characters go through problems which are caused by misunderstandings, jealously, and sadness. It’s problems which people go through in relationships with those who are truly precious to you, and anyone who’s experienced a relationship with someone like that can support me when I say that there’s none of that anime styled drama and novel styled relationships, to re-iterate the point, it’s what regular people go through in their regular life. Everyone grows and everyone changes over the course of time and over certain events, and it doesn’t need arcs or chapters to do this. Real life doesn’t operate on a schedule like that, where everything builds up to arcs and events. I think it’s a very mature approach to take, and I love the show for doing this.

The art style, character design and soundtrack serve to help this point. They’re nothing special, but it’s my opinion that anime which needs to rely on special visuals or special sounds aren’t as good as those which use the tried and tested mains, and for that reason, this is actually the only area I can score the show down in. Whilst it does use the limited visuals and soundtrack to outstanding effect, I don’t think I’ll remember any of the OST in a month or two. The artwork, putting aside regular anime tropes, is actually serving the human side of things. You meet characters with hairstyles which would never really work out, for an example, but the hairstyles everyone has in this show help create the illusion of realism,  and the same applies to how they dress. It’s tiny things like that which I think are much more important than having visuals which instantly wow people, because when the character’s artwork reflects the character’s personality, you know that the artist has done an outstanding job. Even the voice work in the show reflects the characters personalities. From a technical standpoint, it’s nearly spot on.

Isshuukan Friends is charming and innocent, and packed with scenarios and situations which you can relate to. I often hesitate to use the word beautiful, but I think it applies to this show more than it does to anything else. The drama is beautiful, the settings and scenarios are beautiful, and the events are beautiful. The pacing may have it’s problems, but that actually applies to real life, and just as you go through dramatic and serious events, you often go through fast and dramatic moments. Life is rewarding, just as making friends can be, and just how living and enjoying yourself can be. Everyday life with your friends should be enjoyed and should be cherished, and that’s the idea and concept behind Isshuukan Friends. If you’ve got the time and the patience, it’s a show to be cherished and enjoyed, just like life, relationships and friends are. It’s a generous score, but from my perspective and my viewpoint, this show is worth every part of it’s perfect score.

10 stars

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