Director: Yoshimasa Hiraike
Developer of Original Visual Novel: Enterbrain
Animation Studios: AIC
Version Watched: Subbed
One of the reasons I enjoy Japanese media so much is that it explores such a massive range of concepts and settings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it when shows get back to basics. Amagami SS is an adaptation of a visual novel of the same name, focusing primarily on a series of vanilla romance stories that each star one of six heroines. While it lacks the impact that would spur me to return for a re-watch the series is well made and enjoyable as a whole due to its down to earth take on some heart-warming relationships.
I’m not going to lie, this will be a really short review. The basic plot for the first season involves Tachibana Junichi, a high school student who was stood up on a date at Christmas two years ago, and the heroine of the day falling in love. The cast features a variety of personalities and interests, meaning that you’re not just watching the same tale over and over again and it’s easy to become invested in the relationship of the couples in question. There isn’t any extreme drama to be found except in one of the arcs, however, so if reasonably generic romance doesn’t sound like your kind of thing you can safely avoid Amagami.
The show does manage to include some pretty decent comedy, though I’m not sure how much of it is intended. Even the most humorous of scenarios are entirely possible in real-life scenarios which I usually find makes the jokes that much more enjoyable. Unfortunately it needs to be noted that each heroine only gets 4 episodes, making it difficult for them to leave a lasting impression; though it may be one of Amagami’s most novel features the rotating story format is also one of its biggest weaknesses.
Visually, Amagami ranges from some very nice and enjoyable art to some really quite rough scenes. While it’s normal for facial features to degrade in quality as the camera moves farther away from them, the effect is pronounced in this case. The soundtrack, as per usual, does its job well without standing out while the EDs change for each new character which is great.
Finally, there’s a second season that doesn’t add all that much to the experience, so I’d recommend just watching the episodes featuring the couples you liked.
Summary – I told you this was going to be short and here we are. Amagami SS may be a generic romance but it’s a generic romance that’s done right; the characters are likeable, the progression from friend to couple is fun to follow and most of the conclusions to each story are satisfying. Unfortunately the four-episodes-per-character thing makes it hard for any one story to really stand out (though, admittedly, there was one that did that for me) meaning that the series as a whole lacks the impact that would make it memorable and allow me to give it a higher score.
Score: 8/10 – Good
Because I know someone will ask:
Nanasaki Ai/Ayatsuji Tsukasa/Tanamachi Kaoru > Nakata Sae > Sakurai Rihoko > Morishima Haruka
[WARNING: SPOILERS IN COMMENT SECTION]