One Week Friends Review

one week friendsStory:
Yuki Hase kinda sorta has a crush on quiet girl Kaori Fujimiya. But when he tries approaching her and asks to be her friend, he is immediately shot down. Determined not to lose, he makes his way to the school roof to eat lunch with her. But he soon finds out why it is that Fujimiya is so often alone. Every week her memories of her friendships reset, leaving her with no knowledge of those she holds dear.

Violence:
This is a calm slice-of-life and thus there really isn’t any violence on screen at all. We know through flashbacks and such that one character was hit by a car when she was small. We never actually see the damage done, however.

Language:
This section is pretty light. Aside from a few scare d-mns and such, there’s not much to report.

Nudity:
Another section that can be left largely blank. No busty characters exist in this show (a nice little break) and there really isn’t any fanservice either.

Theology/mythology:
If you were really bored (and likely pretty lonely to boot) you could probably come up with some ridiculous notion stating that Fujimiya’s memory loss is some commentary on current societies reaching for closeness without ever truely knowing those we love most or some such tripe. To be honest, this show is as straight forward as it comes and there’s simply no theology prattle at all to be had in this show. Unless, of course, you’re exceptionally bored (and lonely).

Personal impression:
Let’s cut to the chase. This show was set up to be the strongest of last season’s line up. It ended up as the weakest. And that last genre tag is why. Drama.
Now I get that pretty much every romance show has this. Action does, as well as quite a few other categories. Drama exists, in some form, in nearly every story. But too much of it is crippling. One Week Friends started out rather light hearted and warm, with a slow moving friendship that was actually building up over time. Then drama happened and closed every door of possibility this show was creaking open. Weighted down by Fujimiya’s past, the last, not half, not third, but quarter (never introduce major plot elements to the last quarter of your story. Never) of the show ended up in a sinking pit of doom of which the last episode barely managed to keep the leads’ heads high enough for air. But overall it wasn’t enough. With the light tones it began with gone, the end frizzled out and left a depressing note ringing in my ears.
As a writer, I do understand and appreciate that not all tales have a happy ending. But it’s one thing to naturally be lead to that lesser state and another for it to be painfully clear that the creators did so on purpose, thinking they could wrap it all up, and only just realizing last minute that, no, they don’t have the time and a rush ending must be rushed. What smiles existed in the last episode were forced. Brutally so. To say nothing of the intentions of the hero being thrown into question (so, it wasn’t about friendship at all, was it?).
Although the music and art remain laid back and nice throughout, the inconsistent story made this show a bore to me. But, hey. Those side characters were pretty adorable. Now that was an OTP. Too bad we didn’t get more of them instead.
(Note: Due to there being nothing really objectionable in this show, it’s rated pretty young. But young audiences would likely be bored to death by the subject matter. Just sayin’.)

Personal rating: All ages

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: PG
Genre(s): Slice-of-life, romance, drama
Company: Toho
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screenshots:


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Extra: Bookworms have a voice

(Aka the Ritsu appreciation post. Considering most of her real character comes out in the last part of Kawai Complex, be prepared for a few spoilers)

kc3As I mentioned in my post last week, I take what I can get. The last streaming season, as usual, didn’t really bring in anything that broke cycles in anime. But it did have some surprises and now I want to focus on one of my favorites: Ritsu, from Kawai Complex.

Ritsu is introduced from the very beginning as a stoic bookworm who honestly does nothing but read 24/7. In other words, a non-alien version of Yuki Nagato, from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Oh and without any super powers either. Which you’d think would make her boring. And for the first half of the series it does. But once the hero gets in a bad situation, one in which he is being bullied, Ritsu breaks out of that horrid stereotype and… speaks. Oh but she doesn’t mutter something short in a monotone. She looks right into the room and speaks, clear, strong and not to be argued with.

Now, I’ll admit, I was hesitant when this first happened. Sure she got shy again right after, wondering to herself how she managed such a feat. But it seemed so against her character type, I thought it might have been a simple easy out for the writers. Something they forced her to do to increase the romantic entanglement between her and the hero. Something they can brush off later as an oddity. But to my shock, this didn’t come to pass. As the series began to move towards a close, we got to see Ritsu stand for herself as well. She looks right into the eyes of a judgmental guy and states her differing opinion loud and clear. She then removes herself from an uncomfortable social position all on her own, without any aid from the hero character, or anyone else for that matter.

See, the problem I have with bookworm characters is that they are so often kept voiceless. Often opinion-less to boot. At best they might have a single outburst of feeling. Maybe twice. But more often than not it’s the main characters that must “stand up for them.” The bookworms themselves rarely, if at all, learn to stand on their own. And that’s pretty interesting considering that, in the real world, bookworms are actually pretty talkative. The invention of social media and various, rather nerdy, sites gaining in popularity have made it clear that bookworms have some pretty strong opinions in general. And as projects like the Vlogbrothers on Youtube have shown, nerds are very capable of speaking about those opinions. As a fellow bookworm myself, it’s pretty obvious that opinions run strong in us. You don’t read tons of books, all with different voices, situations, concerns and issues and walk away without feelings about such things. And while Japan is a super conservative culture as a whole, it still doesn’t excuse  the stereotype of “those that read hath not a voice.” It’s simply not true. No matter what culture you’re in, reading expands your world. It doesn’t make it smaller. It makes it larger. More vibrant. And while not everyone will wish to speak their mind openly on the feelings they have about the world around them, they will have an opinion. Often a very strong one, cultivated over years of looking at life through the eyes of hundreds of people who lead different lives than they do.

Ritsu still ends the series as herself. A shy girl, awkward and usually neck deep in a book. But she’s far more human than I thought she would be. Because she isn’t a voiceless bookworm. Not this one. Ritsu may be quiet as a rule, but she’s far from not having an opinion, let alone a voice. And that make her more real and a character deserving of the title “heroine.”

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior Review

kawai complexStory:
Kazunari Usa just moved into his new home where he will stay through his high school years. Full of hope that something good will happen, he is quickly reminded that he is not so blessed when all his housemates turn out to be insane creepsters. The only highlight? One fellow boardee happens to be Ritsu, his shy, bookloving crush.

Violence:
Even though a great deal of the show is slapstick comedy, some of the jokes can be violent and there is blood from time to time. It’s not supposed to be serious, but it is there nonetheless.

Language:
Aside from the usual d-mns and sh-ts, there are also b-words on occasion. This isn’t a clean show, but any accounts, though it’s not obscene about it either. At least not in this section…

Nudity:
Aside from one very busty chested character, there’s nothing too visually graphic in this show aside from the typical fanservice shots. However, it’s often what is joked about that’s the worst. One housemate is really into bondage and abuse. Against himself. This can be quite disturbing to some. Pair that with two other housemates that make a lot of sexual jokes and comments and this is the worst part of the show right here. Some comments were so bad I nearly gave this a WZ, so be warned on this front.

Theology/mythology:
Not much to put here. Besides characters bemoaning bad luck and such, there’s really nothing to note. Well. Two characters have a thing for ghosts and the supernatural. They are portrayed as kinda crazy and are only side characters, though.

Personal impression:
At first I only watched this show because I like the colors and it aired new episodes at a time when other shows did not. Aka it’s what was on. It wasn’t until the last half of the show that found myself really enjoying the episodes as they became far more about Usa and Ritsu than about their zany housemates. Don’t get me wrong. Crazy comedy can be fun at times. But that was not always the case with this show. Thus I found myself far more drawn to the romance angle, what there was of it, despite that being rather against my nature. It also took about that long for Ritsu to start showing up as more than the traditional stoic bookworm type. She began to have a personality and a strength. It was a shock, but a nice and much needed one.
As far as music goes, this show was pretty typical. And although the art was bright, it does almost go into the garish section once or twice. Oddly enough, it fits the tone of the show well as the comedy looks like that too.
If the nudity section didn’t put you off your tea, and you don’t mind the dredge through the first part of the series, this is a decent title. Especially considering the female love interest actually has a legit personality for once.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Comedy, romance
Company: TBS
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
Screenshots:
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