When Orihara Kouhei was still a child, he lost all memory of his past. Years later, he came back to keep promises that he had made to a few girls during his youth.
summary by Eek
Highs: Pretty pictures
Lows: Pretty pictures won’t save you from falling asleep
ONE is based on a dating sim. The game was such a hit in Japan that its popularity directly led to the conception of this short series. With any luck, this anime will never be licensed for distribution outside of Japan for the sake of the rest of world.
The only good thing that ONE really has is its clean art. Character designs are cute and flow quite well with their surroundings. Likewise, the backgrounds are painted to look quite real, and watching the sun set here is actually peaceful. Like many modern anime, the art style is sharp and fresh, giving the series a relaxing mood.
The art may put you into a relaxing mood, but your frustration will quickly boil as you realize just how utterly boring this OVA really is. Quite literally, there is no action as nothing great goes on. People talk to each other, but it seems as if they are trying to stretch things out because their responses may sometimes take ten seconds to even occur. The background music attempts to cover up, but it is nothing special at all; blanketing the fact that characters just stare at one another for long periods of time is more demanding than it can handle. And while the creators try to make something happen, ONE is rife with confusion. Numerous, repeated flashbacks take us to childhood memories, as if I was being hit over the head with a hammer because the creators wanted to pound the information into my head. Still, this strategy does not work at all. The characters and plot are as dry as sand, and the confusion does not make it any better. Let me put it this way: to come up with a summary, I had to watch all four episodes to even gain an ounce of understanding as far as what was going on.
Dead characters and plot mixed with confusion is a good equation for boredom. With exception for fans of the game, no one else should even touch ONE… unless you are suffering from insomnia.
Highs: Pretty sounds
Lows: Pretty sounds won’t save you from falling asleep
When I heard this anime was based off a dating sim game, alarm bells already started ringing, but even so, I really cannot emphasize just how much of a complete and utter snooze-fest ONE turned out to be. I think it was supposed to be some sort of whimsical tale, filled with metaphor and symbolism, about keeping long-lost promises, but truthfully, I spent the whole time not really caring enough to even try to truly understand what the actual point of it was. I’m just proud that I somehow managed to slog all the way through it.
ONE fails because it seems the writers put absolutely no effort whatsoever into being at all original. Cherry blossoms, sunsets, transfer students, forgotten promises, painful childhood memories, you name the romance cliché, ONE will have it, and it all comes off like an impotent “Days of our Lives” with a narrative drive that makes a funeral procession look like NASCAR. It doesn’t help matters either when the entire four episodes are spent trying to make sense of the ambiguous flashbacks and do-nothing dialogue that, in the end, really don’t amount to anything solid anyway. I find it absolutely mind-boggling that this anime can be so confusing when next to nothing happens.
Visually, it’s nothing to write home about either. The artwork and animation is clean and crisp but again it’s just too run-of-the-mill to really care about. The only good thing going for it is that some of the music was kind of nice. I mean, if I’m going to be sent to sleep, at least I’ve got a couple of good lullabies to help me get there.
Bluntly put, ONE is boring and it couldn’t dredge out even a single ounce of any other emotional response. To exemplify just how bored I was when watching this anime, I found it more entertaining to spend the majority of my time bouncing an old wine cork off my monitor and counting how many times I could catch it. My record was 34.
ONE can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.