Time for something a bit more light-hearted and romantic! Today I’ll be talking about the live action movie of One Week Friends (Isshuukan Friends)! I had originally planned this for my second article, but pushed it back due to being hyped for Erased. This film was originally released in February 2017. It is based on the manga of the same name, which ran from January 2012 – January 2015. The anime had also been released back in April – June 2014. Prior to watching the movie, I had briefly started reading the manga and wanted to watch the anime. I never finished and I never watched the anime though. My friends jokingly discouraged me from doing so because of all the feels… So thanks BAYOG, for giving me an excuse to do it anyway. I mostly stuck to the anime version for my comparisons. Although I did briefly go through the manga again. I didn’t remember most of it though, so I suppose you can say it’s more like I watched the movie first before diving into the source materials.
Manga cover shown on the left. Anime shown on the right.
Yuki Hase is a high school student who has started noticing his classmate Kaori Fujiyama. Kaori is always alone, doesn’t have any friends, doesn’t talk to anyone, and seems a bit cold. Still, Yuki decides that he wants to get to know her and be friends with her. After becoming more acquainted with Kaori, she reveals to Yuki that she loses all of her memories of her friends every Monday. Despite the difficult predicament and Kaori’s warnings, Yuki decides he’s going to keep becoming her friend every week.
[Warning: Some Spoilers Ahead!]
The movie follows this basic plot of the anime, however, it has some several changes in regards to both the story and the characters. In the anime, Yuki suggests that Kaori writes down everything that happens that week in a journal. This is to help her record the things she did and felt, and to remind her of her friends. Yuki partially suggested it because he felt nervous and scared to have to always ask Kaori to be his friend again every week. However, it’s ultimately mostly for Kaori’s sake. She writes down the things she feels are precious to her and doesn’t want to forget. In the movie version, Kaori is still a bit cold and apprehensive. She’s more adamant about refusing to be Yuki’s friend. Yuki suggests doing a diary exchange with Kaori so they can get to know each other, and she can remember their exchanges. They trade the diary every week and have little conversations through it. It’s Kaori’s suggestion that she takes the diary home every Friday so she can read everything on Monday. In this version, it’s mainly used as a way for the two to connect and build their friendship. It’s something special since it’s like a secret only between the two of them. It’s shown to be very personal since Yuki is the one who carefully chose the notebook and matching pens for himself and Kaori.
The characters have some differences as well. Some characters have slight changes, while others have completely different changes. Yuki is a very kind, seemingly shy, and sincere guy. He really does his best despite any doubts and predicaments. The movie version is also still very kind and sincere, but he also seems to be more of an outgoing and goofy character. He also enjoys drawing and is a member of the school’s manga club. The movie version of Yuki still shows the same determination as his anime counterpart. I could even argue that he’s a bit more selfless than his anime counterpart.
Kaori is still very kind and sweet like her anime counterpart. However, she’s not as naive, bubbly, and cutesy as the anime version. I suppose you can say the movie version is more of a mellow and realistic approach to a high school girl.
Shogo Kiryu wasn’t all too different. Although his role is also minimized a great deal. Shogo is that cool, popular, “I can’t really be bothered with anything” kind of guy. He’s reserved, mature, level-headed, lazy, but smart. He seems pretty indifferent to everything, though he is mildly annoyed by things. The movie version isn’t all that different. Although, he seems to be constantly annoyed and more like a slightly angsty high schooler. He has girls clearly fawning over him. Shogo is a bit more vocal and not as indifferent as his anime counterpart. He’s still Yuki’s best friend and confidant, listening to his problems. He still states his opinions, pushes Yuki when he needs it, and consoles Yuki when needed. However, his role and character relationship with Kaori is limited. He isn’t made aware of Kaori’s situation from the get-go like his anime counterpart. It seems he had a hunch, but he’s only vaguely told the situation near the very end.
Hajime Kujo was kind of a jerk. He was that cool, naturally popular, and a tad bit annoying kind of jerk. Although you can say he just seemed more like a kid who was just bitter and upset. He eased up more and was a bit more understanding though. In the end, he wasn’t a bad guy. The movie version just seemed like a douchebag to me. He was still bitter and upset, but his words and actions were harsher and meaner than the anime version. Honestly, I hated him and he just annoyed me. Sure, it also turns out he wasn’t that bad of a guy…but there was just something about him that bugged me. I still just didn’t find him very likable.
However, the character with the biggest change was Saki Yamagishi. In the anime, she’s more of a childish, naiive, and forgetful airhead. She was very easy going and a slacker. Saki is unreliable, but she’s a good friend with a good heart. The anime version of Saki was a classmate who wasn’t involved with the group until she asks to be Kaori’s friend. Truthfully though, she wanted Kaori to be more like a big sister. Saki was very dependent on other people. She’s very attached and affectionate to Kaori. The movie version of Saki is almost a complete opposite. She’s a responsible class representative. The movie version of Saki is almost mother-like and cares for Yuki, doing things like rushing over to fix his bedhead, giving him her handkerchief to clean his face, and fixing his tie. Here, she’s a childhood friend who is very dependable and seems to have been in love with Yuki. The movie version of Saki does talk to Kaori and try to befriend her at first, however, she also warns Kaori not to hurt Yuki. They do hang out, but they don’t seem to be as close as the anime counterparts.
Despite the changes, I actually enjoyed the movie. If you’re open minded, then it’s actually a pretty great live action adaptation. However, I was a bit disappointed in the dynamic change in Saki’s character. Not only that, but as a whole I was sad that the friendship between Kaori and other friends where basically non-existent. They didn’t know anything, until towards the end. In the anime, the other friends were much more involved in supporting and helping Kaori with her situation. The movie did build a strong friendship between Yuki and Kaori. That’s great, but it’s a shame. Other friends like Saki and Kiryu played roles in helping Kaori break out of her cold facade, and build friendships that helped her change. In other words, this is yet another live adaptation that really failed in carrying over that strong and important friendship theme. I’m starting to see a theme with these live action movies. While relationships between the two main characters are very important, I think these live adaptations really shouldn’t cut out the worth of the other characters and friendships.
Sorry for this ugly screen-cap…I’m lazy and it required more effort than I was willing.
There were other little differences as well. They took a more realistic approach to Kaori’s memory loss, with her parents regularly taking her to see a doctor. In the anime the parents (more of the mom) are concerned about what could have caused it, however, it seems like they’ve accepted it and just live on like normal. In the movie, the parents are much more concerned, especially Kaori’s dad. He was originally against the diary exchange and Yuki continuing his friendship with his daughter. He’s constantly worried about the negative effects it may have on Kaori. Kaori’s mom, while also concerned for her daughter, seemed more positive and was incredibly grateful that Yuki became Kaori’s friend. She was still very supportive. Although, you can say that it’s conveyed more in the anime version. Unlike the anime, Yuki doesn’t first find out about Kaori’s condition from Kaori herself. Rather, he is informed by their teacher. Again, it’s more of a realistic approach where even the teacher at school is aware of Kaori’s condition. After informing Yuki of Kaori’s unique condition, he advises Yuki against trying to become friends with Kaori. It is after Yuki finds out about Kaori’s condition that he decides on the diary exchange idea. Another change is that Mayu, Kaori’s close friend from middle school, also makes more of an actual appearance in the movie than her anime counterpart.
This picture isn’t even a screenshot from the movie. It’s just one of those BTS pictures.
As I said before, I consider this to actually be a successful live adaption. I admit it was a bit watered down at times, but it was still interesting enough to not bore me. The movie had differences from the manga and anime, but it managed to be it’s own thing. For me, this wasn’t exactly a bad thing. If you keep an open mind, then this movie is actually one of the better live action adaptations. However, those who go in wanting it to be exactly like the original may be disappointed. My only nitpicking issue is that I still wished that they had built up on some other friendships for Kaori as well. I felt that it would’ve really strengthened the story more and added more depth to the characters. I know you’re thinking, “Minty, you’re being hypocritical…you said to keep an open mind…” I just think that carrying over some of that strong friendship theme with various characters could have only added to the story. I get the two main characters are important, but supporting characters should still have some presence and depth too.
Other than the lack of Kaori’s other friendships, I was slightly annoyed by the ending? I won’t spoil it. It wasn’t terrible, but there were things that bugged me for sure. I will say this movie made me go on an emotional roller-coaster ride. I was touched and felt so happy by this pure and sweet story. I was like, “Aw! A sweet, fluffy story!~” Then I got completely heartbroken, ugly cried, and was kind of happy but at the same time like “WTF? REALLY??” Some of it did feel like bullshit, and the logical side of me was still asking questions like “WHY?!” Despite all of that, I would say that this was probably my most favorite live adaptation movie so far. Though the supporting characters lacked some presence, the movie was still fairly well done. It’s still a very pure, sweet, and fluffy feeling kind of story. I would still recommend this movie perhaps because it’s quite different from the manga and anime. The movie is different, but still has the essence of One Week Friends (at least in regards to Yuki and Kaori’s relationship). It’s strange to say that for me this was the One Week Friends I knew, but at the same time it wasn’t. Again, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’d say this is a case where a movie can be successful despite being different. Despite my complaints, I still enjoyed it quite alot. This movie is definitely on my recommendation list for Japanese live action movies. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Me watching this movie:
My random observation/side note:
I noticed something about one of the classmates the second around. It’s 2017 (almost 2018) and this dude has the 1990’s – early 2000’s Asian idol haircut. I don’t know why but I couldn’t help but chuckle and be mildly amused. It reminded me of some Sechskies (hella old Korean group) and some old Thai pop singers. I can’t name specific Japanese idols, but yeah that hairstyle was hella popular with all Asian male celebrities back in the day. However, I literally haven’t seen this hairstyle since then because well…it’s been way out of trend. It’s a bit nostalgic for me actually.
Also, I’d like to take it upon myself to wish you all a Happy New Year from the BAYOG crew! We hope you all had a great year, and please look forward to more things from BAYOG in 2018!~