• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

The Spring 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Unnamed Memory

How would you rate episode 1 of
Unnamed Memory ?
Community score: 3.8

What is this?


Prince Oscar has been cursed since childhood to never have a child of his own, and he seeks out the calamitous witch Tinasha to find a way to break the curse, braving the trials of her tower. When they meet, Tinasha reveals that she has a strange connection to Oscar, and a curious courtship begins between them that threatens to shake the power structures of their world.

Unnamed Memory is based on a light novel series written by Kuji Furumiya and illustrated by chibi. The anime series is streaming on Crunchyroll on Tuesdays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisnbeis

It wasn't until I was a few minutes into this one that I realized how much I've been longing for a serious, classic fantasy. We've got no isekai shenanigans and no slapstick silliness—just a solid fantasy premise.

What we're getting with Unnamed Memory isn't just a fantasy story, it's a fairy tale. Oscar is a noble prince, cursed when he was young by a witch. For years, he's searched for a way to lift the curse—finally making his way to a different witch's tower to ask for her aid. Yet, as these kinds of stories go—you know, when you have a handsome prince and a beautiful woman all alone in a tower—well, let's just say love is in the air.

This setup works especially well because of how well the two characters, Oscar and Tinasha play off each other. Both are used to getting their own way—one as a prince and the other as a powerful magic user—but their stubbornness is tempered by kindness. Oscar wants her to bear his child but she is against the idea. However, the two can come to a compromise: he wants a year with her by his side to try and make her fall in love with him—and she is willing to give him that chance. It's a great start to a fantasy romance.

The other thing I love about this anime is the magic system we're introduced to—or rather, the two magic systems. In general magic in this world follows hard set rules of what can and can't be done. However, there is a secondary system that combines emotions with raw magic to create curses and blessings. The whole twist with Oscar being blessed rather than cursed was an interesting one that shows the writer put a ton of thought into how magic works in his world.

So, in the end, we're left with good characters, a fun setup, and a great magic system. And looming behind it all is an intriguing mystery. Why was Oscar cursed in the first place—and what will the witch who cursed him do should she discover his plan to continue his family line? I don't know but I'm excited to find out.

Nicholas Dupree

Let me tell ya, this show is not being done any favors by airing in the same season as the new Spice & Wolf anime. Obviously, neither show's creators planned that bit of synchronicity, but the fact we have two dialogue-heavy premieres between a guy and his centuries-old magical girlfriend shines the harsh light of comparison upon Unnamed Memory, and it doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

For one, it's just rather dull to look at. The designs are alright, but not memorable – especially Tinasha, whose whole look is surprisingly subdued for a light novel heroine. The animation is serviceable, carrying the short action scenes with just enough energy to get by. The direction makes occasional attempts at more dynamic angles but lacks the evocative storyboarding necessary to keep an extended scene of two people talking visually interesting. The result is a lengthy sequence that feels like it drags hard and makes watching more of a chore than it needs to be.

Of course, Of course, our leads could mitigate that if they established strong chemistry through all that talking. Unfortunately, Oscar and Tinasha are no Lawrence or Holo. Many of the pair's discussion revolves around Oscar pushing for Tinasha to marry him entirely for the sake of birthing a royal heir, which makes their relationship feel much more one-sided from the get-go. It's hard to root for these two to get together when their central romantic tension is Oscar trying to slow-roll a political pregnancy, and it only gets weirder when they establish his great-grandfather tried the same thing with the same woman. Considering a different Witch was the one who cursed Oscar with killer sperm, maybe all the men in this family should just keep their dicks away from any sorcerous women, as a rule.

Even setting aside that dynamic, Tinasha isn't very interesting in her own right. Despite being a witch who's lived for hundreds of years, secluded in her magical tower of her own will, she feels neither ancient nor particularly anti-social. She doesn't offer a perspective that betrays her age, and her prior relationship with Oscar's ancestor is played for a couple of laughs but otherwise doesn't inform their current dynamic. She feels generic, and Oscar's pushiness superseding any other part of his personality makes for rather dull company together. That's enough to make the whole episode kind of a bust and does nothing to make me want to see more of them.

Rebecca Silverman

Unnamed Memory may not put its best foot forward, but it still stands out as an original fantasy story with no video game trappings. Oscar never once mentions levels. Tinasha's tower guardians are either monsters or math puzzles, and there's something comfortingly old-fashioned about the setup. She's more Rapunzel than anything, but a Rapunzel who has decided of her own volition to live in her tower and has to be convinced to come down.

Oscar's reasons for wanting her to do that are somewhat less charming, and it is worth mentioning that for all of its strengths, the source material has some issues foreshadowed here. Witches have cursed Oscar and his father never to reproduce as their partners cannot carry a child to term, and Oscar's entire trip to Tinasha's tower is to find a cure for this issue. Tinasha's revelation that, as a witch, she could overcome the spell, Oscar just up and propositions her right there. It's more than a little creepy, implying that he sees her as a walking uterus. He does seem to realize what he's implying, but he has so little affect that it could easily be a deal-breaker for the series. Even his compromise with Tinasha feels suspect; he doesn't say what he's planning to do in the year she's agreed to stay in the palace.

To be perfectly honest, I don't think this episode wants to be unpleasant. It sets Oscar up in comparison to Tinasha; he gives the appearance of coldness and determination while she floats through life and makes tea for those who manage to make it to the top of the tower. She's willing to help Oscar, and he thinks he's cutting to the heart of the matter by seeing if she'll carry his heir instead. He's been carrying the burden of the Witch of Silence's curse for a long time, and that's likely affected how he interacts with others and his single-minded determination to find a solution. As he sees it, he's the last hope of the monarchy.

Although the episode moves quickly through the original light novel, it doesn't feel terribly rushed. The quicker Tinasha goes with Oscar, the sooner the actual plot can start, and although we don't entirely understand why she eventually agrees to the year at court, we can see that it's essential to get her there. The deep shades of blue the episode is bathed in help with the atmosphere quite a bit, giving things an otherworldly air that helps to brush aside pesky pacing or plot details. However, I don't particularly like how the underside of Tinasha's hair is colored. Still, this feels like a promising enough start if you enjoy the books – and if you're hoping for a plain old fantasy story with a little mystery and romance, this deserves a chance.

James Beckett

You know what my biggest issue is with a lot of anime fantasy, be they isekai-adjacent or otherwise? They take the entire concept of a fantastical universe for granted. Here we have a genre with literally boundless possibilities in a medium that has more opportunity than most to depict whatever the hell the authors and artists of these worlds dream up, and how do they choose to capture the audience's imagination? In the case of Unnamed Memory, you begin with a prince named Oscar and some dude named Lazar riding through the desert to some tower. Everything is done in extremely tight medium shots or closeups, which means there are no unique details about the setting to take in, and the costumes are all vaguely "fantasy" looking without giving any indication of a specific character or culture. It's a desert like any other desert, except there's a magic tower, I guess, two different witches whose names don't mean anything to us, and two dudes climbing the tower for…reasons.

I'm not saying that every fantasy anime has to be some sweeping, magical epic that changes your entire perception of what "fantasy" can even be. I'd just love it if these shows could get a little more ambitious than simply dressing everyone up in their best Renaissance Faire cosplay, plopping them down in whatever JRPG dungeon level that requires the least amount of effort to explain, and then proceeding to have a bunch of characters we don't know talk about proper nouns and exposition that doesn't matter to us. This, unfortunately, is exactly what the first episode of Unnamed Memory chooses to do in its premiere.

Now, to the show's credit, there's still some potential to be mined here, and I'd be a lot more enthusiastic about Unnamed Memory's prospects overall if it didn't spend so much time faffing around before giving us an idea of the actual plot is going to be. For one, Oscar and Tinasha come close to establishing a fun rapport after—let me check my watch—nearly twenty minutes of sitting around and chatting, which could make for a legitimately interesting pair of characters for us to follow. The show's got decent production values, too, and I kind of dig the fact that Oscar has one year to convince Tinasha to help him lift the curse on his bloodline by essentially wooing her. If done right, this could make for a cool and romantic fantasy adventure.

It's just a shame that we're going to have to wait another week to get a better idea of what sort of anime Unnamed Memory will be. I can only hope that this anime doesn't think of itself as a D&D-ified Bakemonogatari, though, because I'm absolutely going to lose interest if the show spends too much more of its time on protracted exchanges of banter and exposition. If it can pick up the pace and flesh out its world into something more memorable, though, then Unnamed Memory might be worth giving another shot.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

discuss this in the forum (465 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

back to The Spring 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Season Preview Guide homepage / archives