Management: I know, right? Another accidental writeup here, this time in my usual style. I only realized I’d become trapped in a writeup about halfway through the episode, so it’s a little sparse, but hopefully still enjoyable!
So yeah, One Week Friends is pretty great. It’s got a wonderful atmosphere, its characters are absolutely charming, its direction does great work in driving home the emotional states of the characters, and it actually digs at some really poignant stuff. As I said in my week in review, One Week Friends kind of covers the same territory as Evangelion – a fear of human connection underlines all the actions of this series. But One Week Friends is a much more upbeat show than Evangelion, so it doesn’t just wallow in that fear – by design, it exists in the fraught space between isolation and comfortable connection, meaning it is pretty much always about the importance, difficulty, and power of trust. Due to Fujimiya’s memory, its characters are continuously reaching out, continuously being forced to extend a hand they’re not sure will be reciprocated. And through both the narrative and the cinematography, One Week Friends demonstrates again and again how extending that trust can open up your world.
5:31 – Beautiful shot. This show loves to strand its characters in massive, overwhelming backgrounds devoid of other characters. It’s very good at visually portraying the sense of isolation and discomforting tone even such a bright and ostensibly friendly world can project when you are alone
7:36 – Hase can trust his friend absolutely. He doesn’t need to make careful gestures and try to acclimate himself to his friend’s comfortable space – he can assume he’s the good friend he’s always known, a privilege Fujimiya can never have
7:49 – And again. There are all these shots (like in the second episode, as Hase’s heading upstairs after the first week) of characters staring towards the horizon, frightened of the first moment of contact as it approaches. There’s this infinite distance of trust to cross before you can become comfortable with another person, and this show exists within that space while also cherishing the first recognition of trust being okay
8:28 – And his friend is totally blunt – “she seems like a different person.” Trust makes you beautiful
8:35 – But that’s impossible, of course. He’s asking for her to take Shougo’s friendship on faith, to skip all the steps he’s already learned he can’t push through himself.
12:02 – “If you never read the diary, you never know what she’s writing. And why are you doing all the talking?” Hase is the one doing 100% of the trusting in this relationship – she has very good reasons for not trusting him, but she needs to meet him halfway
13:20 – “It’s nothing you need to worry about.” “You’re just trying to protect me because you’re nice.” No, HE needs to trust as well – he can’t carry it all. He has to let her in on his problems if he wants her to extend the same trust
14:25 – The moment of truth. More great direction, emphasizing the distance and her concentration
14:51 – Once again, isolated in a frame far too big for her. These backgrounds are lovely, but they also convey this sense of emptiness, of this soft silence. Being alone is safe, but you are always aware of it
15:20 – And again. She’s too frightened to enter this space. The camera even zooms back, specifically conveying how cavernous this room must feel
15:29 – A little embarrassed to admit I can completely relate to this. “Ehhh, too many people. I’ll circle the block, maybe then they’ll be gone”
16:12 – Hiding her face even from the camera. I love this kind of shot – the eyes can sometimes be almost too expressive, whereas just this can more lightly convey the emotions involved
19:49 – It kinda feels like the moment she remembers is the moment when she forgot her anxiety – when being friends with Hase was just natural, not something she had to worry about and consciously consider. Though trust is fraught with constant moments of danger, sometimes it’s just natural too
What a beautiful little episode. Each protagonist unable to take a step towards trusting the others, each utterly understandable in their motivation, each articulated through these understated little conversations and the fantastic direction. And ultimately, Fujimiya takes that terrifying step forward, and her whole world changes. This show is very warm and fuzzy, but it’s also very sharp as well, and I wouldn’t have it any other way – as I’ve said time and again, happy moments mean nothing unless they exist in a world where they are precious. And this show’s microscopic focus is determined to show how precious they are.
Man. It actually looks like Hase’s the one who most has to grow, now – while Fujimiya learned to take steps for herself without his help, he still hasn’t moved past trying to solve her problems for her while hiding his own. He’s opened up to her in some ways, but trust requires more than that – for her to rely on him for her problems, he has to be able to rely on her for his own.
I’m sure we’ll get to that, though. This episode was basically perfect, and this show has proven itself remarkably perceptive and well-composed so far. Can’t wait for the next one.