Isshuukan Friends. – Episode 8: The Beach with Friends

I hope I don’t forget today…” – Kaori Fujimiya

Impression:

 As a general recap, today’s episode was all about the group’s trip to the beach. It rains, they go to an arcade, Shogo owns the crane (where Hase fails), and then we receive a slew of cute and beautiful scenes, all of which fail to really move the plot along and instead highlight the issues and questions I’ve had for weeks. That said, I’m glad that they’re finally building on Fujimiya and Hase’s relationship, however slight these development may be.

 The whole point of this episode was to give us a glimpse at our characters happy-go-lucky friendships before sh*t hits the fan (as exemplified by the appearance of a certain black haired male upon the episodes’ conclusion). Hase and Fujimiya are at an impasse. Neither of them is willing to move (or is able to recognize) the relationship along and so it falls to outside sources to push them in any real direction. Shogo won’t act because, ultimately, he’s apathetic to their romantic situation, only ever helping when Hase asks and or is in emotional turmoil. Saki won’t act because…well, she’ll probably forget there was ever an issue in the first place and do her ‘thing’. And thus, they’re at an impasse.

 On the whole, the groups friendship was strengthened through the utilization of such bonding exercises as the classic photo booth and the ever potent fireworks fiesta. Were it not for a certain beautiful sunset scene, this episode could easily be shrugged off as simply ‘filler’ – the series fulfilling it’s slice-of-life duties and gouging the more casual viewer with their fix of cute girls doing cute things and pretty artwork. Speaking of pretty artwork…my God, that ocean though… The sun set leaving in it’s wake a sea that shimmered a burnished sparkling caramel, then moved into lustrous brown at it’s edges, illuminating our almost incandescent characters as they tended to their (anime) teenage proclivity and shared a touching moment, Hase then catching Fujimiya before she could fall… ’twas truly heartrending, no?

 Alas, the episode ended with foreshadowing enough to leave my mind abuzz with questions and speculation. Just who is the black haired boy? Does he have something to do with Fujimiya’s memory? Was he Fujimiya’s friend from before the accident? Just what will Hase do when posed with yet another threat to his and Fujimiya’s relationship (he’ll probably run away and cry until Shogo rescues him from the depths of depression)? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

– Chris.

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