There were a lot of dangers for One Week Friends coming into this episode, and, sadly, it seems the show just couldn’t avoid all of them. As I go on here, keep in mind that One Week Friends has been in my top 4 shows of the season since week one, and so I hold it to a higher standard. I’m about to be somewhat rough with this show, and its because my expectations were not met and I felt the show got away from the things that make it exceptional, tumbling into the mundanity of the rom-com-drama genre in places.
One Week Friends just isn’t built to handle big drama, but that’s what the show tried to pull off this week.
Let’s Study (Tropes!)
We started off the episode with an event we’ve already seen happen: the whole group studying at Fujimiya’s house. There’s a lot of bumbling around, until Fujimiya launches into her impassioned explanation of math, which introduces the very important idea of process and destination. There’s an answer, she says, but there are many ways to get there. It’s surely foreshadowing that the straightforward route we’ve been on is soon going to become twisted, but you wouldn’t know it, because everything seems par for the course, including the sadly pedestrian “falling on top of the girl” trope. Maybe having Fujimiya be utterly clueless and simply pick some dust out of Hase’s hair is somebody’s idea of undermining trope, but if anything it just layers on the unfortunate fact that this is a shortcut. For a show that’s so steadfastly been avoiding the worst of the tropes that plague the genre, to see One Week Friends dive into them headfirst was pretty disappointing.
To Change, or Not to Change?
Change is an inevitable part of life (I’m thinking a lot about this right now in my post-Monogatari Series: Second Season watch). Nothing stands still, nothing is permanent. Either you try and hold onto what you have and grow sad as it passes away, or you adapt and change with time and enjoy the new adventures that life gives you.
On this kind of discussion, Shogo falls into an interesting space, as he contradicts himself when talking to Hase and Saki. He tells Hase that it’s alright to not want to change the way things are, but later tells Saki that he pushed her, hoping to get her to change herself. And especially with Hase, who has been mired in indecisiveness and bashful worrying, Shogo should know better than anyone that the status quo can’t remain the status quo forever. After all, if you don’t change yourself, the world will change around you. Better to be the instigator than the reactor.
It’s interesting that all this comes after Fujimiya’s mother tells Hase that the “new” Fujimiya is more or less a return to her grade school days. In others, it’s still the same. Hase knows that Fujimiya’s problems aren’t fixed, but he’s unwilling or unable to take further steps (and yes, I’m referring to a romantic relationship) to push Fujimiya down that path. It’s also foreshadowing, as we all know what happened last time Fujimiya was in her grade school days: that’s right, the mysterious accident that give her the condition in the first place.
Transfer Students Are Never Any Good. For Anybody.
And now, for the big moment of the episode. You wanna know who I’m not blaming for what happened here? Kujo Hajime. We don’t know the details for sure, but my read on the situation is that Fujimiya did something that hurt him, and obviously pretty badly, and her memory loss is her trying to block it all out, perhaps even to the point of avoiding responsibility. People don’t just haul off and call someone a traitor for no reason. And given Fujimiya’s raging lack of awareness (of herself or others), I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out that she’s the one at fault. I think that would be an excellent development for the show. Give Fujimiya a bit of responsibility in this whole deal; don’t let her just be a victim.
The ending itself? Well, I wasn’t much of a fan of having Fujimiya collapsing and then forgetting Hase again. It felt pretty forced to me. I’d much rather have had her start to deal with the fallout, but instead she’s regressed to where she was at the beginning of the series. Right now, that doesn’t make me happy, but One Week Friends has enough watching credit with me that I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. The show’s on really slippery ground, though, and resorting to tropes like the tripping scene and the transfer student (seriously? transfer students are LAZY writing) kind of dulled the impact of the ending for me. If we had gotten more of episode 8-like Hase and Fujimiya interactions, the ending could have been devastating.
One Week Friends can do it, have no doubts. But they’ll have to do a better job than they did this episode.