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Unnamed Memory
Episodes 1-2

by Rebecca Silverman,

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

How would you rate episode 2 of
Unnamed Memory ?
Community score: 3.9


Someone really doesn't want the current royal family of Farsas to continue to rule. Prince Oscar and his father are suffering from a witch's curse, which has made it so that no woman can safely carry a child of their line to term, which means that Oscar will be the last king of their family. That's Macbethian enough right there, but as we learn in the second episode, every single one of Oscar's younger cousins has magically disappeared as well, which speaks to some real dedication on the part of the witch who cursed them. All of this makes Oscar's decision to seek out witchy help himself make sense: after all, there's nothing to suggest Oscar himself might not vanish just so that the one who cast the curse can be absolutely sure that nothing will stop her plans from playing out. Can't have him suddenly turning virile, after all.

That's what lays down the framework for Unnamed Memory, a fantasy series based on the light novels of the same name. The witch Oscar seeks out is Tinasha, a deceptively young-looking woman who lives at the top of a blue tower, willing only to help those who make it past her many tricks, traps, and (math) puzzles. When Oscar does this handily and explains his desire for the curse to be removed, Tinasha notes that she can't help him in that way before foolishly (?) mentioning that a witch could probably carry his child. Since Oscar is very, very preoccupied with having an heir, he decides to ask Tinasha then and there to marry him in what is probably anime's least romantic proposal. But that's the point – Oscar's not romantic, and his mind is wholly occupied with the business of running his kingdom and preparing to rule it someday. He's arguably much less "human" than Tinasha is.

One of the most engaging pieces of these opening episodes is how Oscar and Tinasha play off each other. Oscar is serious to a fault, determined to do everything he can, preferably by himself. Tinasha, despite her advanced age, is still driven by emotions, something she seems to try to hide at least a little bit. She remembers her adventures seventy years ago with Oscar's ancestor, and she's clearly struck by how much the prince resembles him, which may influence her decision to give Oscar a year to convince her to bear his child. Her tower is less someplace she can't leave and more one she doesn't want to: it represents safety and a barrier between herself and a world constantly moving on and leaving her behind. Oscar shakes her because he's a memento of someone she knew who is no longer around, and she's unsure what to do with those feelings.

Episode two really showcases how much that past continues to haunt her. She's fully aware that the rival nation of Druza is trying to draw her, or at least Oscar, out by attempting to resurrect a beast she helped to seal seventy years ago, but it feels distinctly like she blames herself for not killing the monster back then. In failing to do so, she has enabled it to return to haunt the present, and she intends to quietly take care of the problem herself. When Oscar objects, she accuses him of being unable to delegate, but she could also be talking to herself: Tinasha wants to fix what she sees as her mess without anyone else there. Yes, she's a mighty witch who may not actually need the help, but the sense that it's strictly her responsibility is something that dovetails with Oscar's drive to have a hand in everything that happens in his kingdom. They both struggle with feelings of being the only ones responsible; they manifest them in different ways.

While the fantasy world is interesting, this budding relationship feels like it will drive the story. Oscar and Tinasha have to learn to let go a little to move forward, and I don't think either of them is particularly good at it. Whether or not they can meet in the middle may well determine their future together, and both of them will struggle to get there, no matter how old or young Tinasha looks.


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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