Review of Amagami SS

amagamiss

Junichi Tachibana is not fond of the festive season. Does he loathe the December period because buying presents wrecks havoc with his bank balance? Nope. Perhaps he hates listening to those cheesy Xmas tunes the radio stations play ad nauseam every single year? Nah. His disdain for the holidays stems from painful memories of that one time a girl no showed for their agreed upon Christmas Eve date. Thankfully for the heartbroken teenager Junichi has been a good boy this year, so Santa is going to reward him with the gift of six potential girlfriends!

LEWD CONDUCT AT THE LIBRARY – BOOK HIM DANNO

Amagami SS is a twenty-four-episode anime based on a Japan exclusive PS2 dating sim. The series is broken up into four part story arcs, which each chronicle what would happen if Junichi hooked up with one of his academy’s eligible bachelorettes. MVM’s six disc DVD collection begins with Junichi courting Haruka Morishima, who happens to be the most popular girl in their high school. She’s well liked by the student body for some unknown reason. After rejecting all suitors to date and dropping out of every club she has ever joined you’d think the capricious minx would have annoyed enough people to lose her popularity title by now.

The second tale of romance stars classmate and part time waitress Kaoru Tanamachi. Junichi and Kaoru have been nothing more than platonic pals for many years, but that all changes when a trip to the library ends in a spot of belly button smooching. Once he’s done with extracting the navel fluff from his mouth, Junichi moves onto bashful freshman Sae Nakata. After rescuing the timid girl from a vicious puppy, Junichi agrees to help Sae overcome the social anxiety that is preventing her from landing a job. The trick to beating embarrassment is to picture everyone in their underwear… or in the case of this anime, pretend that everyone is a vending machine.

DATE A FAT GIRL? I DON’T THINK IT WILL “WORK OUT”

Next up is swimmer Ai Nanasaki. The pair met one fateful day, at the park, when Junichi got a glimpse of Ai’s panties. Sexual harassment led to love and the rest is history. Right, let’s move on. You can’t have a rom-com without a childhood friend so enter Rihoko Sakurai, the obese chum who weighs a staggering 60kg. Yep, what one would deem borderline anorexic in the States is classed as fat in Japan. Different cultures. Different standards. Anyways, the Rihoko arc deals with the clumsy lass battling against her inability to both diet and confess her true feelings to Junichi. Can she slim down and get her man or will Junichi say “no fat chicks?”

Last but not least is Tsukasa Ayatsuji, who at first glance appears to be a polite and responsible class representative. When Junichi volunteers to help Tsukasa with organizing the end of term Christmas Festival he however learns that Ayatsuji’s courteous exterior is nothing more than a facade. Away from prying eyes Tsukasa reveals herself to be an ill-tempered schemer. Most guys would abscond at this point, because you shouldn’t put your dick in crazy, but Junichi ends up falling for her. The question is whether he is attracted to the sweet Tsukasa everyone knows or her evil alter ego.

VERDICT

My rating for Amagami SS is a four out of five. Romantic comedies are not usually my thing, but I must admit to liking this one. It’s got the right mix of humour and romance to appeal to audiences of both genders. Lonely girls, who wish to vicariously experience love through the eyes of animated women, will find plenty of mushy stuff to enjoy by watching these DVDs (with their cats.) Macho guys, on the other hand, can justify purchasing such an unmanly series by pointing out that the gags are rather funny. In terms of jokes my favourite part of Amagami SS came during the Sae arc, which is narrated by a sarcastic fourth-wall breaking commentator.

In terms of structure Amagami SS is reminiscent to Photo Kano. Rather than have Junichi pick one true love from all the available candidates, every girl gets her own story and happy ending. I like this format for storytelling and it was better executed in Amagami thanks to its higher episode count. Every girl gets four episodes, rather than just one, resulting in deeper storylines and better character development. Apart from the main series MVM’s collection also includes two OVAs. One of these features a stalker and the other revolves around Junichi’s little sister. In case you are wondering, no there isn’t any incest. Prudes and perverts will be relieved and disappointed respectively.