Despite its title, Memories Off #5: Togireta Film is the fourth instalment of the series that has been adapted into anime. Read carefully: Into anime. That’s mean that game-wise, this is correctly the fifth instalment. I guess there wasn’t anything happening in the fourth that the producers never adapted that into an anime and went directly to the fifth one. I did not read the synopsis when I first decide to jump in and watch this final Memories Off series because I assumed it will be more or less the same thing. However after watching this single OVA episode, I was confused of what just happened. More like, how did it happen? So I had to go read up on the premise and after that, it became a little clear. So note to myself: Next time read the synopsis first before just diving straight into it. Saves lots of memory brain power that will be used to quell the confusion.

With a new different set of characters, we have Haruto Kawai who is a member of the Chihaya University Movie Club (I wanted to abbreviate it to CUM Club but it just sounded so ‘dirty’. Plus, even more so considering the first thing that comes to mind the kind of club activities they do when a group of young people gather to film. So mind you, it’s not porn). He and his best friend-cum-rival, Yuusuke Hina who is also the president of the movie club was making some movie but he unexpectedly died. All these are the setting 1 year prior to the events in the OVA. So we have Haruto and his movie club members trying to finish his film but with one of the members having issues with Yuusuke’s death and having reluctance to return after leaving, will the movie ever be completed? Will she be able to bury the ghost of her past? Sounds like a typical drama romance movie plot, eh?

Film, Interrupted
Mahiro Sendou is being chided and blamed by Asuka Hina for the death of her brother Yuusuke. Couldn’t take any much more of it and feeling guilty, she mails goodbye to Haruto and disappears. A month has passed.
Haruto is seen editing his film. His other members Asuka, Kazuki Mishima, Shuuji Ozu and non-member Miumi Sawarabi are celebrating the completion of their film Stairway of Light in his room. Why? Because they’ll get scolded if they hold celebrations in the club room. But it’s not going to be any different for Haruto because they’re being too noisy. Not heeding his words, they got overexcited when Ozu shows his finished film poster. Looks bland… Mizuho Amamiya comes knocking on Haruto’s door and tells them to pipe down. Though she’s okay with the noise, someone else may not. That person is Shin Inaho as he comes busting in with his complaints. I guess everybody’s awake and lively so they join in the party. The ruckus gets louder when Miumi and Mizuho tries curry chips and chugs down curry juice, thinking it was water to relieve themselves. They spilled the can drink over Asuka’s skirt and Ozu gets nose bleed over seeing that ecchi scene. With the place in a mess, Haruto kicks them all out! Kind Mizuho allows them to continue at her place. Morning comes as Asuka wakes up but hears Mizuho murmuring in her sleep for somebody not to leave her. Asuka spots a disturbed look on her face.

Haruto continues to edit his film (yeah, he stayed up all night). Shin wonders if Mahiro will come back so Haruto replies when this film is complete, it’ll be proof of his feelings. What if she doesn’t come back on presentation day? Haruto tries not to think that. On that day itself, Asuka surprisingly spots Mahiro outside the university and wonders where she has been the past month because Haruto has been looking for her. She also invites her to see the completed movie. However Mahiro refuses and cycles off. Asuka rushes to go tell Haruto about this but seeing his happy face, she couldn’t bring herself to say it. During the film’s screening, Asuka narrates why she couldn’t tell him what’s going on. She likes Haruto and doesn’t want to see his painful expression. But she feels at this rate Mahiro will make everyone sad. Asuka unknowingly said painful memories should go away while walking with Miumi. Seems Miumi too is sad but says no matter how painful, memories are important. Because if you lose that, it’ll be more painful. Asuka hugs and apologizes to Miumi, promising to hold on to her memories and be happy. Shin leaves a cafe and is surprised to see Mahiro approaching him. She has a favour: She wants him to lend some money so she can move out from the same pathetic apartment. Yeah, she’s been there all the while. But he invites her to come back since everyone is waiting for her. She is adamant that she won’t change her decision. Then he points to Haruto sitting in the cafe that if she would change her mind if she saw him. She gets scared and even hides behind Shin. Then she goes off and warns Shin about telling him they had met. Does she look like a person who could kill? Well if you think about it, she did blame herself for Yuusuke’s death though it was a car accident. Okay, so she’s not a killer.

Next day at the beach, Mahiro remembers the time when Yuusuke was searching for some rare surf clam to make a pretty charm pendant. That time Mahiro had long hair and wore an eye bandage over her right eye. He has been doing so for 2 years because he believes that if you persevere, your wish will come true. He is confident he will find it. Back in reality, Mahiro spots the surf clam. She picks it up but breaks down thinking that she persevered but her wish didn’t come true. She wanted to see Haruto one more time but couldn’t find the courage to face him. She breaks down thinking her predicament is useless. Haruto and Asuka are the first ones to arrive at the beach for their filming. She knows he is thinking of Mahiro because of his sad expression. She laments that she too will be sad if he puts on that face. She tells him that Mahiro came that day. Though she left right away, she feels that she was waiting for the completion of the film. She knows that his feelings has reached her and hasn’t forgotten about him. Thus, he will surely see her again. Asuka was on the verge of tears when he thanks her to cheer her up. Once Ozu and Kazuki arrive, Haruto randomly shoots his camera and realizes this scene is the one similar in the film. Then he rushes off and spots Mahiro and calls out to her. This time she didn’t run as Haruto invites her back but she still thinks she shouldn’t be with everyone. However he thinks this is not what Yuusuke would think. He then says to come back to his side. But would it be okay? When a guy confidently says he wants you to be by his side, he means it. They both embrace and Asuka’s heart is at ease.

Memories Fail…
Erm? So that’s just it? Mahiro comes back to the club and into Haruto’s arms? So where is all that tension and suspense that I am expecting here? It was that simple just for Mahiro to come back? All she needed was just a chance to see Haruto and everything else will fall into place. The entire OVA sees Mahiro putting on a troubled face, just in a dilemma of what to do. Other than that, it was Haruto completing his film. Too bad we won’t really see the contents of the film. Everything in this OVA was just too short to leave any impact. It makes me feel that you need to play the game and know the setting if you want to understand what is going on here. And that this OVA is just bonus for fans of the game and something a little extra.

Again with this instalment only being a single episode, it is like as though the other characters didn’t play much of a part to have any impact either. Just to show that they’re there. I’m beginning to wonder if Shin is the same guy from all the Memories Off adaptation. Looks the same and probably he is the only character that appears in each series. He is like the Suginami of Da Capo series, eh? As for Asuka, I was having doubts if she was the same person at the start of the series. When she was chewing out Mahiro at the start of the episode, she looked and sounded like a totally different person. Then over the episode, it doesn’t feel that she had this maximum hate for Mahiro but someone who is willing to forgive and let go. Perhaps time healed her heart? The drawing and art of this OVA is much better than its predecessors but the storyline can’t be said the same. However the saving grace is the ending theme which is an extremely catchy and lively piece. Romancing Story by Ayane is by far the best theme I have ever heard for this series so much so I listened to it many times over and over again. I can’t get enough of it. So all good things come right at the end, eh? Hey, why do I start remembering that Can’t Take My Eyes Of You? The opening theme Film Makers, also by Ayane is pretty much typical and generic. Ah, let me hear the ending theme again.

I browsed Wikipedia briefly and am surprised to see that this Memories Off game has lots and lots of sequels, direct prequels and spin-offs. Looks like this dating simulation game is popular enough to have 16 games in total! That is as of to date. I’m not a dating sim game enthusiast but I further found out that the original company making these games went into bankruptcy in 2007, cancelling the production of one of the titles, Memories Off #5: Encore. So the game series took a temporary break before another company took over and resumed the development of the series. It must be pretty confusing to consider the time line and some of the overlapping characters, eh? But I can’t say since I didn’t play the game.

I have to admit that with the way things went, the Memories Off series for me just went downhill. So is it no surprise that no more OVAs of the series are produced? I mean, you get more or less the same drama romance. You just change the setting and characters. Otherwise it is pretty much standard recipe needed for such genres. Hey, you can’t be forming a party and going on a journey to slay dragons or save the world, right? So matters of love aren’t as easy as it seems but when it goes your way, it’ll leave good memories for a long time to come. Well, if it doesn’t, then just turn your memories off.

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