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Unnamed Memory
Episode 9

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Unnamed Memory ?
Community score: 3.2

unnamed-9

Look, Unnamed Memory, I want to like you. I really do. But how can I when you consistently take the tension and emotion out of almost every scene, leaving the entire narrative hollow? It's like biting into a chocolate that's supposed to have filling and discovering a space instead of caramel. It's been a problem since at least episode two, and this ninth entry is quite possibly the worst offender as it ruthlessly cuts out everything but the bare bones of the story, leaving us with a collection of images and dialogue that serve only to make us regret what might have been.

That is, I suppose, one way to get people to pick up the light novels, but I can't say I approve. Sadly, that statement could be applied to the entire episode, which feels like a bare-bones plot summary rather than a narrative. It tries to cover a lot of ground, and that's likely where the problem starts. In the space of twenty-four minutes, we have people expressing their feelings about Tinasha as Oscar's queen, Tinasha and Lucrezia chatting about what Tinasha should do, the possibility of Tinasha erasing Oscar's memories of her, a random attack that nearly kills both Tinasha and Oscar, the world's least dramatic recovery from near-death, and then the supposed satisfaction of our leads realizing that their feelings are mutual. (Well, Tinasha realizes she returns Oscar's feelings.) That's enough for at least three separate episodes, and frankly dividing the plot up would have made it a lot more impactful.

It's especially true for the attack and its aftermath. Since the issue with Tuldarr is resolved, as well as the odd storyline from last week with the nomadic group, it's not entirely clear who is attacking Farsas, although, at this point, I could simply have forgotten some other unhappy neighboring kingdom; it's hard to make plot elements stick when you rush through them so frequently. In any event, whoever this is going after Oscar can command monsters and use deadly poisons, which is where the near-deaths come in. The most egregious piece of this entire disaster is that the two people who nearly die are Oscar and Tinasha - the main characters. Their predicament ought to strike fear into our hearts as they combat a poison that no one has ever recovered from. Tinasha sacrificing herself to save Oscar's life should be a deeply moving moment. Their mutual recovery and Oscar reclaiming his erased memories of her deserve to be a shining beacon of true love conquering even death. Unnamed Memory practically owes us an emotional payoff with this storyline.

As you've guessed, I don't believe we get it. There are clear attempts to make everything meaningful, with some decent bookending involving an aborted kiss and one carried to completion, and Tinasha finally figuring out her feelings. The latter is handled a bit better than the former, if only because it manages to use humor decently well; Tinasha's realization of love is quickly followed by her nonsensical statement that she'll have to kill the object of her affection, presumably because she's a witch and needs (wants?) to remain one. However, it just doesn't stick the landing, which has become the secondary problem in this series after it “rushes through plot points with mad abandon.”

Can Tinasha reclaim her human life span? That comes up a couple of times this week, with the implication appearing to be “yes.” Given that Tinasha has expressed boredom with her endless life, it seems like returning to being a human mage would be the easiest solution to all of the problems presented by the series. Maybe it'll go that way once the whole random attack thing is taken care of. (Assuming we go back to it at all; it's not mentioned as soon as the poison storyline starts.) But the real trick will be making anyone care about it because much as I love a good romantic narrative, all the big kiss scene at the end of this episode left me with was a feeling of mild indifference and a wish that I cared more.

Rating:

Unnamed Memory is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.



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.


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