I know for sure I don’t have anterograde amnesia, because I’ve seen this premise before. The hero encounters a beautiful girl and their relationship deepens, only for him to discover that she won’t remember him once the day ends. At this point, Adam Sandler should be getting royalties from the publisher.
All jokes aside, Even If This Love Disappears Tonight is a predictable book from start to finish. It hits all the notes of a sentimental teen love story to an almost clinical degree. Although it does have a satisfying ending that lives up to the themes of the story, the road to it is full of shallow characterization and contrivances that don’t even make much symbolic sense; they exist merely to set up the inevitable tragic scenario.
For example, the instigating incident, where a bully pressures Toru into making a false love confession to Maori, makes no sense for any of the characters psychologically. The bully himself has no reason to be fixated on Maori or on Toru’s relationship with her. Toru decides to go along with it even though he harbors no secret feelings for Maori at this point, and he was perfectly capable of standing up to the bully in the previous scene. Afterward, the bully rehabilitates himself out of a belated sense of guilt and is never relevant to the story again, except to make a ham-fisted point near the end about how people are capable of changing. He’s simply an uncreative plot device to get the two lead characters talking because they have nothing in common otherwise.
Toru and Maori’s reasons for deciding to fake-date each other are similarly flimsy. Usually, the couple would face some kind of negative outcome if they don’t agree to fake-date, but here there’s nothing of the sort to justify the trope. Toru agrees to this convoluted setup without question because he’s just nice and accepting. Even though the novel wastes no time in describing Maori as beautiful, it also makes pains to convey that Toru is not the shallow kind of guy who lets her looks influence his decision. Even after she explains her motivation to try something new in life, there’s no indication of why she found him worthy of trust as a stranger, or even sees him as physically attractive. It fits with the common trope of pure love transcending superficial attraction, but in this case the couple has such little chemistry that it makes for a terribly boring romance.
The story does pick up after the first shoe drops and when it starts exploring Maori’s amnesia more deeply beyond her immediate relationship with Toru. Firstly, it delves into Maori’s anxiety about being unable to learn new things and develop skills after she finishes school. Secondly, it brings up the possibility of using her diary to falsify her past. The latter point directly leads into the most interesting scenes in the book; the author uses perspective shifts purposefully so that each day’s Maori feels like a subtly different character. Unfortunately, the biggest twist in the novel is accompanied by a contrived event that had no setup or foreshadowing. It’s also a twist you’ve likely seen before.
If you like bittersweet teen romances like I Want to Eat Your Pancreas and Your Lie in April, then Even If This Love Disappears Tonight may appeal to you, but this one is firmly middling in its genre due to its weak setup. This is definitely one of those stories where the strength of the concept is meant to override the flaws in the execution and storytelling, but the hurdles were too steep for me this time. Even if it were to disappear from my memory tonight, I won’t be making an effort to remember this one.
Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. Yen Press, BookWalker Global, and J-Novel Club are subsidiaries of KWE.