One

March 2, 2007

This is one of the most confusing animes that I’ve ever watched in my entire life. Yup, I’m talking about the anime called One. Yes, that’s what this anime is called. And with a name like that, it’s really really going to be tough to find any information and answers from the internet. Yeah, about 1,000,000,000 hits. At least it has a second title, so it’s full name would be One – Kagayaku Kisetsu E. Phew.
 
Even though this 2001 OVA production has only 4 episodes, I had to watch it twice just to understand things. But unfortunately, after watching it for the second time, I can’t really say that I did understand things. Sighs… As expected, a lot of "what the…", "erm…", "huh?" lines from my part. Maybe the confusing storyline and plot is all part of the drama of the series. Yeah, and they mix it with some supernatural and mystery ambience with it. Also, this anime is based on a game of the same name.
 
But before I blog on the each of the episodes, I’d just like to sum up what the story is all about. This line is taken from Anime News Network and the story goes something like this. A guy named Kouhei Orihara returns to his town after a long disappearance to fulfill the promises he made to several girls in his childhood. He suffered a memory loss and carries a tragic past. A strange ambient surrounds the OVA… It’s almost like a dream, like memories from the past trying to come together in one piece but without being able to…
 
Seems simple and enough to tempt me to watch out of curiosity, isn’t it? And before that too, I’d like to mention (and warn) that in the series, there’ll be another person who looks like Orihara. Namely Hikami. Dunno whether he is his twin or look-a-like or what. But due to the way they show things, you’re not gonna be sure sometimes which of the 2 guys is him. So for convenience, if ever such situation arises, I’ll just refer to him as ‘that guy’. Simple.
 
You’ll notice a few similarities between each of the episodes. Like how each episode has a name that is associated with some forces of nature. And each episode features 2 girls in which Orihara would interact with. In addition, we see that guy playing a different classical instrument in each episode. Also the ending theme are different for each episode and is sung by one of the voice actresses of the girl for that particular episode. There’ll be changes in the scene whereby one minute they show the girls and then the scene changes to that guy or some flashback. So here we go and see if you (especially me) can figure out what’s really going on.
 
Episode 1 (The Rain Chapter)
As usual, the episode starts off with some sort of flashback of a young boy running. And when he stops, he noticed a girl watching him nearby. He looks away for a while and looks back. Guess what? The girl disappears. Ohhh… Things do get started on an eerie note.
 
So the scene changes to a current one. And the girls featured for this episode will be Akane Satomura (who’s locks seems too heavy for her head) and Shiiko. It’s raining and Akane is waiting in the rain when the scene changes to that guy playing the piano. Back to Akane when she caught a glimpse of that guy getting onto a bus. She stares at him for quite a long time before her friend Shiiko gets suspicious and asked what’s going on. Akane replied that it’s nothing. Suddenly the sky turned from sunny to a rainy one. And Akane said something like "Something I’ve forgotten…". Wah! It’s already so darn confusing after just a few minutes.
 
At school, Akane heard somebody playing the piano in the music room from a distance. A short flashback of her seeing that guy before. Soon she rushes there only to bump into Shiiko. But Akane rushes off. Once Akane had arrived at the music room, she finds nobody there. Then that guy comes in and asks what she wants but Akane replied that she heard someone playing the piano earlier on. However, that guy says nobody has been playing it, since that guy takes out the piano key and unlocks it. I’m getting this creepy feeling now.
 
Later as Akane’s waiting in the rain spacing out, that guy offers his umbrella to her but Akane ran off and waits under the bus stop shelter. That guy said "Did you make a promise to meet someone? What a cruel person to break a promise to you". The bus then arrives and Akane gets on. A short flashback and some spacing out.
 
Next day, it’s the same thing. Akane heard someone playing the piano and rushes there. But this time she saw that guy playing it this time. That guy replied that his name is Kouhei Orihara and said something like "You remembered me". And this is the creepy part. Outside the room, that guy walks away. So there are 2 of them? Or is it an illusion or what?
 
Anyway, Akane chat with Orihara like how they grew up together as they’re walking in the rain. Then a flashback of that young boy picking up a small chameleon-like statue at some temple. He’s saying "Forever… was nowhere to be found…". But some girl appears and say "Forever does exist. It’s right here". Back to present time, Akane gives Orihara a present for listening to her story. As the bus arrives, Orihara gets on and says "This time I’ll be the one to wait". Akane replied "Is that a promise?". The bus leaves.
 
Then the next day, Akane noticed that guy playing the piano but she didn’t rush there. Instead it seems that Shiiko bumped into Akane this time as Shiiko’s rushing somewhere. When that guy finished playing the piano, Akane claps and says "Hikami-kun, you’ve finally improved". Oh, now this guy’s Hikami. Hikami says "You finally remembered my name. He’ll return on special days". Akane replied "Who?". Yeah, who buddy. Must be that Orihara guy, of course. Akane continues "Is there someone by that name?". Hikami then said "No. If you don’t remember, it’s okay". With that some name in some book disappears.
 
The next day, we see Akane and Shiiko walking home from school together happily. And the sky seems to be clear. End of episode. WARGH!!!!!!! What’s happening? What’s going on? That Orihara guy is the one big mystery that’s causing my a major concussion. I mean, who is he? Who is this Hikami guy to Orihara too. I thought Akane remembered him. But I suppose she just forgot for the convenience of the thickening of the plot. Let’s move on.
 
Episode 2 (The Wind Chapter)
Just like in the 1st episode, this one too begins with a flashback of some young boy running. But this flashback has some add ons. Yup, this time, that girl said to him "Do you remember me? I remember you, Kouhei Orihara". So that little boy’s Orihara. Actually I’ve already knew it since but this confirms it. Then some short and fast flashback in some hospital and that chameleon.
 
Back to present time. In this episode, another 2 different girls will be featured. They are Rumi Nanase and Mizuka Nagamori. And instead of waiting for the bus, we see one of them in the train and the other one waiting at the railroad crossing.
 
At the school’s swimming pool, Rumi and Mizuka are having some chat. And over the school rooftop, we see that guy playing a violin. This guy must be pretty multi talented in musical instruments. Or is it. But anyway, while Rumi is swimming, she spots a seed in a swimming pool but doesn’t bother too much about it.
 
Later while the 2 girls are walking home, Rumi’s talking about when Mizuka transferred to this school about a year ago. Rumi then said something like "You lookd like you were carrying a violin case or something, and beed dumped by someone". This caused Mizuka to go into some flashback mode which sees her carrying a violin case while waiting at the railroad crossing. Rumi asked what’s with her spacing out when Mizuka said she forgot something and ran off. Rumi then caught a glimpse of that guy across the railroad tracks. She ran towards him and they walked off together.
 
Next day, Mizuka went to the instruments room and saw a violin case there. A flashback of how she carved some initials on it. She’s taken back to reality when that guy comes in and asked her what she’s doing before taking out the violin and play. Mizuka asked him "Hikami-kun, haven’t you forgotten about Kouhei Orihara?". He then replied "He’ll definitely come back".
 
Then the next scene we see Rumi and that guy (presumably Orihara if I go by the theory that a guy can’t be at 2 places at 1 time) walking towards some cherry blossom watching place while chatting. She said something about how he protected her and Mizuka. Suddenly, that guy goes into shock mode and a flashback of that temple and chameleon with that eternity phrase thingy. But this time, there’s an additional line, "I’m your replacement sister". Uh-huh. Rumi then asked him about some promise on why he didn’t come. He apologizes and is spacing out. Soon that guy runs back down the stairs, pass the railway tracks, back to school and towards the instrument room. There he saw the violin case and when he touched it, a flashback of the initial carving event. Is this making any sense? Not at the moment to me.
 
Meanwhile, as Rumi’s waiting at the lake, that guy arrives. Looks like he’s back again. Or is it the other one? Hmm… Anyway, Rumi thought that he had forgotten about the promise as she showed him some ground cherries but drops them. Then several cherries began to resurface on the lake. Rumi looking quite scared (so am I). And with a big gust of wind, that guy vanished. Literally, gone with the wind, huh. Then back at the instrument room, that guy finished playing the violin when he leaves the room with the violin case. He meets Mizuka at the railroad crossings and then they… disappeared??!! CREEPY!!! What the?!
 
Then Rumi and Mizuka together at some festival together when the former says it’s her first time here but it somehow feels nostalgic. Mizuka gave her some ground cherries which caused her to have some sudden flashback and at the same time dropping the gold fish they got at the festival. But since it wasn’t anything big, they just left like as though nothing much happened. And we see the train leaving before the episode ends. HUH???!!!!!
 
Episode 3 (The Snow Chapter)
For this episode our female protagonists will be Misaki Kawana and Mio Kouzuki. But instead of that usual flashback, we see a flashback of a young Mio crossing a bridge then sitting on a swing when she saw that boy (yeah, the young that guy, get it) watching her and said "That’s the 1st time I saw". They draw some pitures together in some sketchbook. As the boy leaves she said "Our promise has yet to be fulfilled".
 
Back to the present time, on the school rooftop, Mio drawing in her sketchbook as the blind Misaki arrives. Mio then approached her and showed some words she written "Is the sunset pretty?" to her. Misaki then touched and feels her face and says "Don’t worry, the sunset is pretty". Then nearby that guy playing the flute as a painter girl stares at him and starts to wonder. Yeah, soon it started snowing.
 
At the music room, that guy staring into some notebook. Scene changes to the rooftop and Misaki asked him "How many points would you give for today’s sunset?". He says 65 points. But Misaki says she’ll give 95 points. Why? Because she missed a part of his song. What’s that gotta do with it? It seems that guy is also playing his flute at Mio’s rehersal.
 
The next scene sees Misaki entering the music room while it’s snowing outside. But that guy says he isn’t here. I’m assuming this is Hikami. Misaki says she thought it’s Orihara who’s playing but Hikami asked will she wait for him. She says no. She also mentions that this is her first time in this room. Meanwhile, Mio and that guy waiting at train station. Back to the music room, Misaki explains before she lost her sight, he used to live near her place and how he brought her to a whole new world. She continues by saying how he promised to play the flute at the graduation ceremony.
 
In the train, Mio takes out sketchbook and remembers something. Uh-huh, that flashback and promise thingy we saw earlier on. Then Mio and that guy at a snow covered playground. Mio sat on the swing and once again took out her sketchbook. When she shows him a picture of that chameleon, he goes into shock. You’ve guessed it too. That flashback we see in the beginning of this episode. Haih… I’m thinking all this repetitive flashbacks are just to make the show longer.
 
Anyway, he’s lending her something and promised to come back. Then another flashback, the one where he’s running. Yeah, he’s running to a hospital and once there, he’s shock to see the chamelon lying on the floor and his sister, Misao, dying. *Sighs*. That eternity phrase again.
 
Back at the music room, as Misaki leaves, Hikami says "That guy may never come back. He’s taking a trip to eternity". Uh-huh. Why why why WHY?! Then Mio and that guy on a bridge together. As Mio looks back, that guy’s gone, vanished. And slowly, so are his footsteps in the snow. What’s this supposed to mean? Then at the graduation ceremony as Mio’s performing and Misaki’s watching, wee see that guy playing the flute behind the stage curtains. The scene changes to one on a beach whereby the wind flips open the sketchbook on the rocks to the page of the crayon drawn chameleon as it disappears too. It’s already 3 episodes and I don’t know what’s really happening!!! Somebody help me please. Hope the last one can solve it all.
 
Episode 4 (The Cherry Blossom Chapter)
Back to that usual flashback of that young boy running. That have you forgotten me and I remember Kouhei Orihara line. Then the hospital scene and that chameleon before one where that guy stands under a tree and a girl says "We’ll meet again". He says "I will return… so don’t forget about me". The girl then asked "Is that a promise?" when he replied "Yes… and eternal union". I see. Anyway, the girls for this last chapter are Mayu Shiina and Mizuka. Yes, that Mizuka from episode 2. She makes her second appearance here.
 
As Mizuka pushes her bicycle out of school, wee see that guy playing a cello this time in some hallway. Then that guy’s twin comes in and said "I’m afraid she’s forgotten about me". Other guy says "But you’re going, right?". The twin then walks away and disappears while the other one says "Goodbye, but we’ll meet again". Now it’s really getting creepy.
 
Mizuka saw a little girl, Mayu, crying near a tree and asked her what’s wrong. Mayu said she died. No not Mayu, her pet which she buried there lah. Later when Mizuka’s painting a picture of that guy, she heard somebody playing some music but doesn’t know who. A flashback of that waiting at railroad crossing with violin case. She then meets up with Hikami who says he’s playing the cello. Mizuka says how nostalgic that song made her feel. Hikami says that he’ll return but Mizuka replied who. Oh oh. Shock waves for Hikami. Just then, Mayu came crying and hugged Mizuka. The 3 then have dessert and Mizuka explained that Mayu’s pet ferret had died. Hikami says everytime she thinks of her ferret, she becomes sad, that’s why people want to forget.
 
Then the next scene shows a temple covered with blood coloured puddles as that guy saw Akane and Shiiko walking pass by, then Misaki praying at a temple, followed by Rumi standing near that cliff by the lake, and finally Mio who’s drawing and dropped her pencil. He tries to pick it up but his hand just went through it. He’s in shock. He ran back down all the way to school and keeps on until he got lost in some dark forest. Yeah, he’s lost and so am I.
 
Meanwhile, Mizuka and Mayu are talking when Mizuka stops and ponders while Mayu went ahead. Wee see Mizuka’s flashback when she was young with that guy at temple talking about if you lie, you’ll swallow 10,000 needles. Then she spots that guy playing the cello who tells her that that guy had already left. Some railroad crossing flashback and that I am your susbtitute for your younger sister line when he suddenly says no and she says "Please come back". That violin case carving flashback before Mizuka then hurriedly left school on her bicycle.
 
Mayu arrived at the tree where she buried her pet ferret and saw that guy sprinkling some sakura petals on it. That guy asked her name then said that he is Kouhei Orihara. A big gust of wind and Orihara saying don’t forget as he disappears. Mizuka then arrived and Mayu told her that he left and don’t forget. In town, Mizuka caught a glimpse of that guy on a bus and decided to chase after it.
 
She arrived at some hospital. More of those chameleon on the floor flashback and how she watched him crying over his little sister. Looks like the place now is desolated, abandoned and messy. Then this part I don’t get. That chameleon floating on the pond soon sinks to the bottom to an underwater bridge and town below??!! HUH??!!
 
Later, Mizuka then spots that guy near the river. When he said "Eternity never existed", she answered "Eternity does exists". He then turned and asked who is it. Mizuka said "Have you forgotten about me? I remember Kouhei Orihara". That guy looked like he’s a little shock like as though he isn’t expecting her or anyone to remember him. She then continued and told him her name is Mizuka Nagamori before saying "I promised and so I remember". Then there’re sakura petals everywhere as Orihara ran towards her they both embraced with Mizuka looking quite happy. The end.
 
THAT"S IT????!!!! HUH?!?!?!?!?! WHAT IN THE WORLD HAS JUST HAPPENED????!!?!!!?! I still didn’t really get it. Oh dear, oh my. Maybe I should see it again… NOT!!!! I think I don’t want to be confused all over again. So let’s look at the next chapter, shall we? Just kidding. The conclusion, that is.
 
Conclusion (The Analyzing Sh*t Chapter… sorry, just kidding)
Even though I don’t know what’s going on still. But I managed to find an anonymous viewer’s comment and point of view which goes something like this: Orihara when he was young, made a promise to a girl to be her ‘only one’. But he forgot about it and broke it. So he vanishes together with people’s memories of him. After vanishing, he’s reunited with his sis, whom he made the promise with. But he doesn’t want to end it like that and wants to return to reality to fulfill promises he made and find a way to return. In a way, Orihara is stuck in some time loop and the only way to return or to be saved is if someone remebers him. So he goes round fulfilling promises to several girls in hopes that someon will remember him.
 
Ah… I see, if it’s put in that way, then I suppose I can understand a bit lah. Makes sense a little. Thanks whoever you are. So I see that’s why he’s going round like that. But that promise thing isn’t so prominent in the series, not like he really asked the girls to fulfill whatever the promise he made. Also I thought that this Orihara guy’s a slut and two-timing jerk since he’s going round with several girls in which ‘dumped’ him in the end. It seems that only Mizuka remembers him and whether or not the 2 will live happily ever after probably isn’t that important. Maybe the life lesson here is not to forget somebody. If not it would make your first encounter with that person meaningless. Maybe. Just guessing.
 
So a lot of things still remain a mystery like Hikami. Who is he really. A twin or what? Still can’t get over it all. And what’s so tragic about his past? I mean, yeah if you consider losing your little sister while you’re young to be very tragic, then I suppose can lah. Maybe the producer had a similar incident too? And that chameleon… What’s it got to do with it all? Really dunno.
 
The entire series managed to give that creepy and scary atmosphere. Yeah, especially the soundtrack. It’s really eerie. One moment the music becomes loud and ‘shocking’ which made my heart skip a little faster and I’d be wondering "what’s gonna happen? What is it, what is it?". And sometimes the silence is deafening too when suddenly they play those eerie strings. *Shivering*.
 
But if you people like this kind of mysterious supernatural kind of show, then I suppose you can go ahead and watch it. Good luck trying to understand at first go. Okay, so I still didn’t. Also, I wouldn’t consider it to be a harem anime. Though there are many girls (they’re not that kawaii to me. Just look normal), it’s not like they love him or want to be with him. Heck, they couldn’t even remember him! I’m not sure about the game, though. It may be good or it may be different. But let’s just leave it there.
 
So ‘one’ last thing. Why is this anime called One in the first place. Is it in reference to that ‘One’ guy. Or is it that ‘One’ girl who will set him free. Maybe it’s that ‘One’ promise or thing or probably it’s just a ‘One’-off anime title. Or perhaps it’s just ‘One’ big screwed up anime to screw with our minds. And today’s special guest number is ‘One’ brought to you from the Sesame Street gang production. See, my mind’s already gone cuckoo.