「背中合わせの記憶」 (Senaka Awase no Kioku)
“Two Joined Memories”

Oh how I like being right, even when being right still feels wrong. Promised cliffhanger? We got that. Absolutely hair pulling, what the hell cliffhanger having you question how things can continue? Got that too. Oh, and let’s not forget ending with a moment that definitely would have induced rage if it wasn’t followed by that second season announcement. Or, in other words, that time-honoured cliffhanger conclusion once again. Truthfully I could go on a bit about how I liked this episode in part for the Tinasha-Oscar moments and how I disliked it for the speed at working through the tangential story material once again, but such thoughts have been voiced repeatedly already so I think it’s better hashing them out in the final impressions. After all, this is the finale, so onto the conclusions!

Final Impressions

What sticks with me looking back at Unnamed Memory is flaw. This is a series with a decently compelling romance plot wrapped up in a sufficient fantasy package which got absolutely lambasted by the adaptation bat. The key parts we received were good (in some cases very good), others absolutely terrible and further proof of how a strong story in written form isn’t necessarily enough to overcome production committee shenanigans. Or if you will, the quintessential anime adaptation experience.

To get the bad out the way first, what hurts Unnamed Memory the most is the hacking, slashing, and breakneck pacing. Admittedly we get shows like this all the time, where structure, narrative, and feel go right out the window due to the demands of publishers and producers chasing that one key moment believed to drive major source material sales. In Unnamed Memory’s case though it was arguably felt more given how much such potential moments got condensed for the sake of the one. From the first boss in Miralys up to Lanak next and finally Leonora we had three proper season finale moments each wrapped up in the span of an episode or less. This hurts hard because any proper sense of suspense or intrigue is quickly lost; characters have a cameo before almost immediately appearing, key characters only developed at the point which they become critical for the central plot. It makes for very disjointed watching since the attachment one would normally develop can never materialize and the interest one has in discovering more overshadowed by the knowledge it’ll come out with an episode or so. At least for me it felt like going through the paces, and such a feeling does not help when it comes to keeping the audience enraptured and seeking more.

Concomitant to this is the central pair in Oscar and Tinasha who themselves tangentially suffered due to the chopping of material involving them. Here the main casualty was in the secondary cast and slice-of-life moments; we got a few quick glances of both growing closer and living the day to day, yet quite a few others are blatantly missing thanks to some characters going from nameless face in the background to sudden point of interest and back again within a similar one episode span. Much like with the antagonists this really held back a good part of Unnamed Memory’s strength because it turned the gradual progression of witch and prince from contractual partners to married couple into a rigid (and sometimes confusing) series of steps. The results may be logical, the outcome predicted, but the journey to it more than once lacked the glue of small moments and filler which makes romance so enrapturing in the first place. It’s why I remarked early on about how Unnamed Memory airing alongside Spice and Wolf was an interesting coincidence – the latter has everything missing from Unnamed Memory, benefits all the harder because of it, and shows why romance is often made (and broken) by the little things.

Nevertheless that criticism does not take away from what Unnamed Memory does well, which paradoxically is Oscar and Tinasha. Although counterintuitive it probably shows the solidity of the key relationship that even for all the problems and faceplants watching both main characters grow and develop still had more fun moments than not. The first couple of episodes naturally highlight the potential, but it’s the midseason and now especially the last few episodes which showcase the natural banter, the confident teasing, and the gradual move towards intimate confidants which ends with a proper romantic conclusion. It is this relationship which undeniably kept me watching in spite of everything else, because even with all the adaptation malarky at play seeing a bashful Tinasha attempt handling a flirtatious Oscar never failed to crack a smile. Does it mean it was perfect? Far from it, however it definitely highlights how this show was carried by its well-built foundation and how critical it is to the enjoyment gleaned.

Ultimately in the end Unnamed Memory will be like many an adaptation before it: if you’re already a source material fan you’ll easily find something to like, if you’re a sucker for flawed experiences – i.e. the anime version of campy B-grade movie fun – you’ll likely be like me and can look past the warts to find the charm. Anyone else however I’d steer towards the source material for an entry point because you’ll certainly get a better experience and indication of what Unnamed Memory is like from it. This story is not bad in the slightest, but it deserved better for its anime showing, which is unfortunately something which can be said about a lot of series these days. Just have to hope that sequel next January can do better than what we got here, because if one story deserved such anime redemption Unnamed Memory would be it.


  1. It says something that the dynamic between Tinasha and Oscar was that good in spite of all the flaws of the production’s decisions. It only makes you wonder how the next season will turn out. Too bad really – you would think spending more time including all the small details would be beneficial to any adaptation, but this is an unfortunate example of “The Business Model” that pervades most media-related industry at this time.
    If we had a show like this 20 years ago, we’d be glued to our chairs for a full year awaiting each episode..

    1. This anime was made by Studio ENGI, a subsidiary of Kadokawa.

      ENGI has a poor record with its shows, with “The Detective is Already Dead” crashing and burning after a great 1st episode, or the production woes that turned “Kancolle: Itsuka ano Umi De” into a monthly series halfway through an already truncated show.

      From what I’ve heard, Kadokawa treats anime primarily as advertisements to sell more LNs, unless it’s a promising title that can become a cash cow (cough cough SAO). Churning out these half-baked adaptations is a twisted way to lure people into buying the novels though.

      I found Tinasha and Oscar quite endearing despite the weak anime, and I have to wonder how much better their relationship was presented in the novels. Looking forward to the second season.

      Magnus Tancred
  2. When I was a kid, the idea of an MC time-traveling back to the past to update a character’s history was cool. Now that I am much older, not so much. Updating someone’s past alters the traveler’s present. And when the time traveler leaps forward in time, it’s not their present they are going back to.

    So Oscar went from having a solid relationship with Tinasha to a fifty-fifty chance of ever meeting up. Or a fifty-fifty chance in which they feel a connection that would normally spark a relationship. Or a fifty-fifty chance in which their values align that is required to form a healthy relationship. All I am saying is Oscar traded certainty for uncertainty. We don’t even know if the Kingdom still stands.

    1. He trader a happy future for a bloofy “will they won’t they ” cliche because the writers just couldn’t help themselves and had to f up their relationship 4 the sake of the plot!

      Zemo x2
  3. Well okay, I didn’t expect THAT kind of cliffhanger ^_^;

    Then again, with Season 2 already announced for 2025, I’ll survive the wait. All things considered, I enjoyed it.

  4. Really loved the dynamic between Oscar and Tinasha. Also most of their inner circle like Lucrezia and the mage/knights gang. But for the overall story, I think they needed more episodes OR better cuts. I think some characters are better off cut out altogether. Probably no major impact on the story and perhaps a better flow and screen time for those that do matter.

    This last episode suspiciously explains why the title is called “Unnamed Memory”. Can’t say it’s a conclusion I liked. Not sweet nor bittersweet, more like: that’s it?

    Of course there is a major unresolved and unexplained plot point. Why Oscar got cursed and if the solution actually worked. The problem of the kingdom’s heir is still unresolved. If it will ever be.


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