One Week Friends remains sweet, but I’ve lost interest. The memory problem that defined earlier episodes has degenerated into a circumstantial plot tool and any weight it once held is gone; Yuki Hase reduces the progress he and Kaori Fujimiya have made together to acts that he is solely responsible for, and a grudge-holding boy from the past enters the scene and conveniently resets Fujimiya’s memory from the beginning. The more this series has progressed, the less and less it’s appealed to me, unfortunately.
Episode 08 is a beach episode with surprisingly little fan service and a lot of awkward improvisation when the day gets rained out and is a group event rather then a one-on-on like Hase had wanted. Episode 09 is the end-of-break homework cram session and a return to school that culminates in an old face causing Fujimiya to collapse, resetting her memory. Episode 10 is Hase dealing with his jealousy of the newcomer and frustration about the setback this obstacle caused.
Really, at this point the audience has had very little in the way of a glimpse into Fujimiya’s take on the topic of Hase – she appreciates him, yes, but at every opportunity for something more, she’s either been oblivious or confused by Hase’s awkward pseudo-advances. This didn’t irritate me as much as it does now that the newcomer has been introduced and Hase’s feelings have become more visible. The usual moping and awkwardness is still there, granted, but it’s supplemented by his taking the credit for Fujimiya’s growth, as if she had nothing to do with it. While he did show her kindness, her growth has been her own and their group has coalesced into a circle of friends that support one another. That Hase believes Fujimiya’s accomplishments are a direct result of his involvement at every crossroads is idiotic and misogynistic. The jarring scene in which Hase’s sentiments are revealed made me realize that not once has this show asked what Fujimiya wants, sticking her in a cutout of the ‘reclusive girl who wants friends but doesn’t know how to make them’ stereotype. The audience has watched her develop these skills and the confidence to use them thanks to a group of properly supportive friends but Episode 10 takes that all away from her in the instant a new/old boy is introduced and the focus shifts ever more squarely to Hase’s frustration and desires.
I wasn’t thrilled with One Week Friends before this and now I’m downright irritated by it. The last three episodes have a lot of ground to make up for and then some if it wishes to impress me. Here’s hoping One Week Friends makes the home stretch count.