One Week Friends Volume One introduces two high school students, and one of them has an unusual problem.

One Week Friends Volume One
Written by: Matcha Hazuki
Publisher: Square Enix Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: December 19, 2017

The volume introduces the reader to Yuuki Hase, a high school student who has a crush on his classmate, Kaori Fujimiya. Kaori has developed a reputation for being stand-offish, but this doesn’t deter Yuuki. One day, Yuuki is assigned to carry notebooks with Kaori, and he asks to be her friend. Kaori says she appreciates the thought, but she can’t be friends.

This answer doesn’t deter Yuuki, though. He starts spending lunch period with Kaori on the roof, and he comes to learn that she has an unusual problem… her memories concerning people she cares about reset every Monday. The only people close to her that she doesn’t forget is her family. But even this admission doesn’t deter Yuuki from wanting to be Kaori’s friend. Every Monday, he asks to be her friend again.

During Volume One, Yuuki comes up with the idea for Kaori to keep a diary so she can read over it at the beginning of each week to remind herself of what she did the previous week. Kaori is skeptical about the idea at first, because she had tried it before. However, there’s something about Yuuki and his determination that encourage her to try again. As the volume progresses, we see a couple of instances where Kaori will hear or see a word and it makes a memory actually return to her. This may not be much, but it’s a start.

This volume also introduces Yuuki’s friend, Shougo Kiryuu. He’s a rather laid-back guy who can also be rather blunt when he talks. After a couple of weeks of Yuuki and Kaori becoming friends, Yuuki decides to let Shougo in on what’s going on. While Shougo doesn’t become as close to Kaori as Yuuki does, Shougo refers to Kaori as his friend by the end of the volume.

I’m already familiar with the material in Volume One because I’ve already seen the One Week Friends anime. From what I remember, the anime adaptation didn’t diverge much, if at all, from the material in this volume. I’ll be curious to see how long this holds true as I continue reading the manga series. When it comes to the material that appears in this volume, I found that the character development that takes place feels realistic for the story and situation that has been set up at this point.

When it comes to the manga’s art style, there’s definitely a “cute” look to it. To be honest, this cute look makes Kaori and Yuuki look more like they should be in middle school rather than in high school. Shougo, though, doesn’t have as much of that “cute” look to him, so he looks more like he should be in high school. But this cute character design aesthetic does work well for the story that’s being told in this series. The anime adaptation captured the manga’s character designs very well, so I easily recognized the various characters. In my writeup about the anime adaptation, I mentioned that the anime seemed to have an almost watercolor aesthetic to it. I see a similar aesthetic to this on the front cover, and I’m guessing that’s likely where the anime adaptation got its idea for its art style.

One thing that jumped out me while reading One Week Friends Volume One is the fact that it combines a traditional manga page layout with the four-panel format. There’s usually a page or two with the regular manga layout to set up the story that’s going to be told in that section, and the rest of the story is shown through the four-panel format. There is a mini-arc that runs through the four panels, and the four panels are labeled with a title that describes what happens. When I read manga, it’s usually either told in the traditional manga layout, or it’s told completely in the four-panel format (like Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun). This is the first time I’ve seen a manga mix the two layouts for its storytelling. While there were some four-panel format pages in Fullmetal Alchemist, these were always done as bonus pages and not as part of telling the overarching story.

If you’ve watched and enjoyed the One Week Friends anime, then you will recognize and appreciate the content in Volume One. For those not familiar with the anime adaptation, I think this series will have the most appeal to readers who enjoy light-hearted stories featuring high school students as they work at building friendships and relationships.

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