Isshuukan Friends Ep. 2: Bittersweet

one week friends 0201

Friendships aren’t easy, apparently.

Episode Summary

Yuuki reintroduces himself to Kaori, and their friendship kicks off again. This time, he suggests to her that she could keep a diary of her experiences. In doing so, he hopes that the diary will help the girl remember stuff that she’s forgotten. In the end, Kaori still can’t personally remember anything she’s written in her diary, but she is nevertheless happy to have a record of the time she’s spent with Yuki.

Notes

• It’s a little peculiar how the memory thing works. Since Kaori forgets everything she knows about Yuuki every Monday, she ends up forgetting what she did last week during lunchtime too. For her sake, I hope they never become study partners anytime soon. Boy, would that suck: “I know I studied for the test! Why can’t I remember anything?!”

• Yuuki surprises the poor girl by talking about all the things he’s learned about her last week. It can be a bit startling from Kaori’s perspective. Some random classmate you barely know seems to have all this personal information about you. Sure, we might’ve been friends, but what if…? In a way, Kaori’s very lucky. There are people out there who wouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of her condition: “Well, you told me this last week. Don’t you remember? Of course you don’t. But that’s what you agreed to last week…” But instead, it’s Yuuki and he seems about as harmless as a puppy.

one week friends 0207

• Last week, I suggested that Kaori could take a page from Memento and take copious amounts of notes of her experiences. This way, even if she forgets everything every Monday, she will have her own words to fall back on. Some people balked at this solution, but what’s wrong with taking notes to remind yourself of the friends you’ve made and forgotten? Sure, the fact that you’ve forgotten them is bittersweet, but it’s better than giving up on the friendship entirely. Hell, with smartphones nowadays, these two could even take selfies of themselves hanging out together. Or better yet, they could record short videos of the time they’ve spent together. Then every Monday, Kaori would have a reliable record of what she had done the week before. What’s wrong with that? What’s really the big deal here? It would hurt her that she forgot all about Yuuki? Man, whatever. So you’d rather not have friends instead? It’s hardly the ideal solution, but it’s what we’ve got to work with, so I don’t understand this defeatist mentality of, “Uguu, it might hurt…”

• And hey, would you look at that? Yuuki suggests to Kaori that she should start keeping a personal diary. In fact, I’m more amazed that no one else, i.e. her parents or the medical professionals that had diagnosed her condition, had thought of this before.

• Regarding the diary, Yuuki says, “That way, maybe your memories will return.” Kaori hesitates because she isn’t sure if it’ll work. True, I doubt it’ll work either. Plus, I know what Yuuki’s going for when he says that the diary might help her remember things that she’s forgotten; I know he’s trying to be optimistic about her condition. Still, the words in the diary doesn’t necessarily need to help Kaori remember anything. In a way, the diary would be her memories. I think they’re getting hung up on the wrong thing here. Instead of trying to cure Kaori of her condition, the diary can simply function as a stand-in for her lack of short-term memories. Even if she never recovers from her anterograde amnesia — even if the memories she writes down will forever stay in the diary and never in her own mind — the distinction is not as important as you might think.

one week friends 0208

Oftentimes, we’ll reflect on a memory in our own mind and wonder to ourselves, “Gee, did it really happen that way?” So reflecting upon our own memories is not always substantively different from reading our memories off of a page in a diary. There’s just this intrinsic level of trust in our own memories when we happen to recall them personally, because it has the privilege of being in our brain. But there’s no logical reason to deny the same functionality to a diary or even a video recording. They’re all memories; they’ve simply taken on different forms and formats. If anything, these memories are less volatile. The mind can often play tricks and distort our recollections. We’ve often remembered things incorrectly. On the other hand, the page of a diary just is. A video recording just is. The words on a page won’t change depending on your mood or the chemical makeup of your brain at any given moment.

• Damn, I want an egg bun. Curry buns sound nice too, but I’m not a big fan of Japanese curry. Now, if you could somehow stick lamb korma in a bun, then we’ll talk.

• Wait, what? An egg bun with coleslaw and tartar sauce? Yeah, nevermind…

• I still think Kaori’s room functions as a nice “mood ring” for both her condition and her state of mind throughout the week. In this shot…

one week friends 0202

…even though the girl has just returned home from school, it feels as though the day is just starting. The light coming through the window feels more like it’s coming from a sunrise rather than a sunset. And why not? She’s just reconnected with Yuuki, and not only that, they’ve come up with a way to cope with her memory loss. It’s a start of a whole new chapter in her life.

• It’s that damn crepe flyer again. So anyway, why would it be embarrassing for our two friends to be seen getting crepes together after school, but not on Sundays? If it looks like a date on the weekday, it should still look like a date on the weekend.

• C’mon, dude, if you think she looks nice, just tell her that. I’m sure it’ll make her day. The world would be a nicer place if we weren’t all too shy to say nice things about each other.

• Welp, the damn place is closed. Should’ve gone immediately after school, eh? Why would you close on a Sunday anyway? That’s prime business time. In the end, the two friends end up going to a karaoke bar. I’ve personally never been to one.

• Ah, so that’s what the note on her door says:

one week friends 0203

That’s nice.

• So here’s the moment of truth. Monday has come around yet again (as it always does), but this time, Kaori is now looking through her diary. Will reliving the memories she’s lost make her cry at times? Sure, it can. But will keeping the diary prove to be a good thing in the long run? I have no doubt that it will.

• The next day on the school’s rooftop, Kaori claims that she can now vaguely remember a few of the times she’s spent with Yuuki, but she still can’t remember him. I suspect she isn’t being entirely honest here. I doubt she can personally recall any of the time they’ve spent together.

• Her memories are a bit scary-looking though:

one week friends 0204

• Kaori ends up crying because she still can’t remember what Yuuki looks like. In her memories, as you can see from the screenshot above, he’s still just a blur to her. But we knew this would happen. We knew that the process of keeping a diary would end up being bittersweet for the girl. What’s more important, however, is that she even has any recollection of her time with Yuuki at all. Again, even if she can’t personally remember her time with Yuuki, the diary can still function as her memories. It’s just like an external hard drive for her brain. The words on those pages are still hers; the images they convey are still hers. Perhaps she can start writing down a description of Yuuki every time she hangs out with him, but hey, nothing we do is ever perfect right off the bat. As with everything else in our life, it’s process that she’ll have to refine with time. As she continues to keep her diary, she’ll get better at it. To put it another way, she’ll start to keep better memories.

• Ultimately, life just isn’t black and white. Sometimes, the good comes with the bad. If we try to avoid pain altogether, we’ll just end up passing up on a whole lot of positive experiences as a result. At the end of the day, this is all that really matters:

one week friends 0205

She’s crying, but she’s happy. Barring a miracle, what more could you ask for?

• In the end, Yuuki correctly discerns that Kaori is telling a white lie: “You don’t actually remember anything, do you? I’m sorry for making you lie… But you don’t need to force yourself anymore.” But again, the diary contains her memories. Just because it’s on paper instead of being in her brain isn’t that important of a distinction in the grand scheme of things.

Closing Thoughts

I don’t really have much more to add. Most of my thoughts are already included in the notes above. Well, I could mention that I thought this was a nice episode. This and Ping Pong are the two shows I’m most looking forward to every week. As I say that, I must now start working on Harem Hill. Yay…

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Isshuukan Friends Ep. 2: Bittersweet

  1. Chakraborty

    This show is a definite keeper. Here’s a thought and I apologize if it seems silly: what if Koari did try keeping a diary before, but destroyed it/disposed it before her memories reset? I’m thinking that perhaps she was too scared to put herself through the constant cycle of experiencing and forgetting, that she decided she wouldn’t try at all. Maybe Yuuki’s honest attempt at being her friend and his kindness encouraged her to make a diary and actually keep it, because she thinks that Yuuki is a friend worth fighting for?

    Anyway, a great post and I’m looking forward to your evisceration of Nisekoi on Tuesday. Will you be doing a post on Mekakucity Actors and the second ep of Brynhildr in the Darkness? That was all kinds of messed up. lol!

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      diary

      Maybe, but I find it hard to believe that she didn’t have any honest friends before, and as a result, the prevent attempts at keeping a diary failed.

      Will you be doing a post on Mekakucity Actors and the second ep of Brynhildr in the Darkness?

      Yeah, I’ve already written the Brynhildr post and it’s just waiting to be posted. I try to have these things spaced out. As for the Shaft anime, I think it’s going into the “Everything Else” post that I do weekly. I tried watching but it was just too boring.

      Reply
      1. Chakraborty

        Well, given her conditions, I think that even classmates would have kept aloof. There would be a barrier that they would have to overcome in order to talk and interact with Kaori. So, in the end, people don’t make friends with her and she doesn’t want friends. A win-win situation. But because Yuuki is probably crushing on her secretly, he definitely is inclined to overcome the curve and try to make a dent in her memories. I’m not trying to malign his intentions, but I think he wants to be more than “just friends” with Kaori.

        As for Mekakucity Actors, me being a fan of SHAFT, I’m inclined to give this show a watch. Bakemonogatari has given me enough endurance training to sit through Shaft-esque dialogues. Except for drops in animation quality mid-way, this is a show I like. I’ll comment in detail in your specific post.

        Cheers.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          It’s likely that her previous acquaintances would have stayed aloof after her accident, but she didn’t have a best friend? A childhood friend? No one close enough to have attempted what Yuuki is doing now? I realize Yuuki has romantic intentions, but I don’t think a best friend would’ve given up on her either if she had really tried the diary thing before. I just think this is honestly the first time she’s tried it, but hey, I could be wrong. We might see a flashback or something that would support what you’re saying. It’s just that given what I see right now, I’m inclined to think otherwise.

          Bakemonogatari

          Yeah, I didn’t enjoy any of the Monogatari stuff. That’s probably where we differ.

        2. Mocha

          she didn’t have a best friend? A childhood friend?

          As a matter of fact, she does. According to manga readers, she knew this boy at school before, and he probably liked her, but she got her amnesia and forgot all about him. He should enter early enough in the manga to make it into the anime.

  2. caetano

    I think Kaori just didn’t want to be seen going home with him by their classmates or something.

    About the sunset and her room thing, you’re right, makes a lot of sense. It’ll be important to pay attention at that part. The crepe flyer might be relevant too – I mean, I wonder when they’ll finally be able to go to the crepe shop together, since Kaori gets all cheerful when Hase talks about it. Maybe there’s a hint regarding what can take her memories back.

    Reply
  3. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

    Can barely type but NEED to say: ” I think they’re getting hung up on the wrong thing here. Instead of trying to cure Kaori of her condition, the diary can simply function as a stand-in for her lack of short-term memories.”
    THIS combined with tape recordings (which I thought I mentioned last time, didn’t mean to sound like I was down on your notes idea entirely mate) makes for the next-to-PERFECT solution!

    It might be silly to say but you are a genius, mate!
    When we remember things we mainly remember them from a visual perspective anyway, unless we’re blind, obviously.

    No WAIT! Record all of your bonding with a camcorder, and THEN write your inner thoughts of the recorded moments in the diary! It’s cruel you can never truly experience these things as others can, but this way you have both of the main aspects of a memory that’s needed to be healthy!

    This could work! THis could really work!
    I don’t know why I’m excited haha Maybe it’s just that I too, as you read in my last reply to ths how, hed the defeaest attitude about this disorder and romance before. I was all “Uguu it can rarely if ever work out” But we’ve just-well, you really,- discovered a way to give a victim of such a cruel affliction a chance as a healthy life! You rock!
    …I’m way too excited for no reason. haha Whatever. I just hope the romance works out in this show
    And that she takes better notes than Leonard haha

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      But we’ve just-well, you really,- discovered a way to give a victim of such a cruel affliction a chance as a healthy life! You rock!

      Whoa, let’s rein things back a bit. I’m just reacting to an anime episode.

      Reply
      1. mrfatso

        @7:49: when talking about the diary, she mentioned “Besides, in the past I…” which meant that she probably tried doing that in the past but gave that up, probably too painful for her..

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s