Math and Games in Isshuukan Friends – The Journey is More Important than it’s Conclusion

[HorribleSubs] One Week Friends - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.24_[2014.06.17_19.25.02]

In episode 9 of Isshuukan Friends, Fujimiya said an extremely attention-grabbing statement, an eye-opener for those who hate math, myself included.

“Math is like a puzzle or a game. There’s a clear answer, and you’re going on a journey to find it. But there are many ways to reach that answer. That’s why it’s so fulfilling when you find the solution. There are ways to find an answer promptly, or more freely. Even roundabout methods can bring you to a definite solution. The method may not be pretty, but when the answer you worked hard to discover is right, it makes you happy. That’s why I think the problem-solving process is important.”
~by Fujimiya Kaori

[HorribleSubs] One Week Friends - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.53_[2014.06.17_19.07.38]

Ishhuukan Friends is a currently airing anime of the Spring season about a girl who has slight amnesia issues, and her memories, especially happy memories with her friends, are reset every week on Monday. As you can see from above, Fujimiya likened math to games, which is an interesting thought, because it’s not something that occurred to me throughout the years I had struggled-killing off my brain cells and wrestling off with countless numbers just to find an answer to a particular question.

[HorribleSubs] One Week Friends - 08 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.00_[2014.06.17_19.28.44]

In the visual culture, games have a certain unique trait that distinguish itself from the other media that includes, but not limited to-anime, manga, novels and so on; games provide interactivity. Unlike other media like the aforementioned ones where the story is particularly fixed, in games, you are invited to partake just how the story will proceed to it’s conclusion, the “how” clearly more emphasized. In math, the “working out” process can be counted as an interactivity of sort.

On a somewhat relevant scale, you can probably add in visual novels to the equation as well, since the different choices the players had to pick in order to reach the conclusion can be counted as an interactivity in itself.

But what does it all means? Isshuukan Friends is obviously not an anime about games, or math, for that matter. Did what Kirimiya said has a deeper connotation to the show? Or rather, just pointless banter? But first, both Kiryuu and Hase has something to say to that.

[HorribleSubs] One Week Friends - 09 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.43_[2014.06.17_19.32.06]

Hase: I wonder if I’m helping Fujimiya-san…
Kiryuu: Huh?
Hase: Fujimiya-san’s problem hasn’t been resolved. It may even be a problem that can’t be solved.
Kiryuu: But the process is important, right?
Kiryuu: In Fujimiya-san’s words, the process is more important than the solution. If that’s true, then aren’t things fine as they are?

Effort is more important than the solution. The anime is trying to portray that even if you don’t manage to achieve a result by working hard, it’s fine, because you can already learn something in the prospect of working hard. Perhaps you found a very difficult boss in a game you can’t beat, even though you had burned countless time and effort grinding your levels and upgrading your equipments, and after trying again after a long break, you perhaps found out you had been using the wrong strategy all along. Similarly, perhaps you had worked hard, gawking at your sheet full of intimidating numbers, trying to solve a few difficult questions you just can’t solve, however, after a more thorough understanding of the questions and a more solid grasp of the formulae, you finally solved the questions. After working hard through countless failures, and finally achieving your goal, it is certainly fulfilling – it makes all those hard work paid off.

However, all the scenarios above are cases where there’s a clear-cut answer. I might want to add that I don’t particular agree with the anime’s seemingly optimistic views. And certainly, such optimism, at least in my opinion, isn’t an “answer” for something as serious as amnesia. In any case, it is still interesting to see where the story (most particularly the manga, actually, since it’s still ongoing and had probably gone further than what the anime had shown us) goes with this – the “journey”? Or the “conclusion”?

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This entry was posted by Kai.

6 thoughts on “Math and Games in Isshuukan Friends – The Journey is More Important than it’s Conclusion

  1. Well, you know anime: crappy morals…

    In a sense, it really depends on your environment. Remember that the world only really cares about the results, and the process isn’t really important: that’s why cheaters get better grades than someone who might have worked hard, and scammers are richer than others.

    It sucks, but hey, that’s the world we live in.

    • Man, cold, hard truth D:

      But if you had watched Sakurasou, well actually not sure if you do, but that anime in contrast, actually questions the significance of hard work. I wouldn’t dare say it’s realistic, but it’s definitely a more realistic and pessimistic taking than Isshuukan Friends’s. There are some anime that actually challenged the concept of morality more, but regardless or not they are “correct” is another matter altogether.

      • Ah, I remember that series. It started out really strong, and I loved the characters, but midway through the series, it just lost track of what it was trying to present and went on to describing the other characters instead (which is probably a direct copy from the LN).
        That’s a big no-no.

        On that thought though, what kind of “morals” did you see in the series? All I really saw was various “dilemmas” that the characters solve on their own that doesn’t really make too much of a difference in the title…

        • You mean the other characters from the main cast? As far as I concerned, I think most of the developments still fall upon the main cast o.O

          Sorry, let me rephrase that. In Sakurasou’s case, perhaps less of morals and more on the theme of hard work and result. It’s a theme also quite relevant here so that’s why I mentioned it, lol.

  2. Everybody hates math at least once in there life :D

    I did however come to like it more when I reached high school. I agree with Fujimiya only up to a point really, in that, there can only really be one answer to a certain mathematical problem. To me then, it’s like it didn’t matter how I got the answer (except if the teacher would require you to show your solutions, lol) as long as it was right. This is where I could flip her statement and say that you are free to do the most roundabout solution you can, but what really matters is you come up with the right answer.

    As for how it applies to Hase and Fujimiya, well, it feels too sentimental to think that the “journey” is enough, or is more important than the “conclusion”. As this is anime though, I expect it to follow the ‘ef – a tale of memories’ formula.

    • I actually hated math the more years I advance through my school, lol. I was fine with it up until upper primary (I assume it’s equivalent to senior middle year), but begun to hate it once I reached high school, even more when I reached senior.

      There’s indeed clearly just one answer to any mathematical problems. It’s unlike other subjects like for example, languages-type subjects where there might be different answers to the same question, or History, where there’s also just one clear-cut answer, but doesn’t require you to show your solutions like you need for math. In fact, you can write up massive solutions all you want, but if the answer isn’t correct, it’s over D: That’s why we are very particular with getting the right answers, and in our math textbooks, we also had the answers already printed at the back of the book, and when we were doing our practice questions, we usually flipped our book back to check the answer, and to check if we really understood everything.

      And yes, I kinda got a feeling it will too. Happy end ftw.

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