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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Amagami SS!

 Hey anime fans! To kick start this blog of mine I'm going to talk(write) about an anime I came across that I
really love called Amagami SS which is a romance genre anime. The show is made in what is called omnibus format meaning that it essentially tells a new love story in each arc with the events and circumstances of the show being reset at the end of each arc. This means that the next story will take place with the conditions being restarted as though the events in the previous story had never happened!

There are actually two seasons. There's Amangai SS and Amagami SS Plus. I'll focus on season one this article and finish up the series next week.

 The main character/hero of Amagami SS is Junichi Tachibana a third year high school student who is a really good guy... even if he's a little perverted ;). Each arc depicts how Junichi gets closer to, and eventually falls in love with a different girl in his school.

Basically it's this stud:

And these girls(From left to right: Kaoru Tanamachi, Sae Nakata, Tsukasa Ayatsuji, Ai Nanasaki, Haruka Morishima, and last and possible also least(haha) Rihoko Sakurai)

 I for one am a sucker for love stories and dreams coming true, so I may be a bit biased but I really got into this show. What fascinated me was that through each story arc you had the same universe in the same setting with all the same characters while following the same protagonist and yet you got a completely different chain of events deciding the lives and futures of all of these different people. It caught me off guard in the beginning too, because I thought this was going to be a harem style anime where all the girls try to sabotage and fight each other for the love of the handsome hero. So imagine my surprise that at the end of episode 4 Junichi is already married to Haruka and are living happily ever after! Holy Hell!

 Here's a brief layout of how each arc went about:

 Haruka Morishima- Bonding over cute puppies, kissing weird parts of the body, and Junichi's cowardly fear of peeping in on a naked girl! Also, this chick seems ditzy but she's clearly doing...certain things on purpose.

Kaoru Tanamachi- We've been best friends forever but now we're more mature and...Woah! Did we just kiss?! Cuz it was kinda nice...also it's okay to cry.

Sae Nakata- So sweet of her to return that money holder! But it took a lot a courage for such a shy girl to do that, she didn't even wait for a thank you! No worries though Junichi will become your instructor in courage and people skills to help you get ahead in life. Also, you get the perfect excuse to have a make believe wedding. ;)

Ai Nanasaki- If she catches you leering at her she'll report you to the cops! Or she may fall in love with you...while having an experience which I swear is drug induced but the story sets it up to keep me from proving it! They make it look likes it's all okay but I've watched anime long enough to know better... Also, the ultimate climax doesn't feel the need to have clothing.

Rihoko (Rihocchi) Sakurai- We've known each other since childhood! My extra fat goes to allllll the right places and my Tea Club needs you to join so it won't die and I can have you there!

Tsukasa Ayatsuji- I'm the best there is! I'm sweet and lovable, class rep., President of the Christmas Party Committee and I respect your efforts! As long as you don't reveal what was in my notebook you can keep breathing and even be my right hand!

*(Lisa)Risa- An extra girl they threw into the mix who turns out to be more than she seems!*

 I don't think I knew what I was getting into choosing a show like this as my first blog topic. The multiple arcs I have to look at, all with different plot lines makes approaching a legitimate review difficult and I've never done this before! Oh well, I promised and I shall deliver this article. Brace Yourselves!

 While I did like some arcs better than others, which I think is a very natural thing. The stories did something for me that was really powerful. It made me care very deeply for every character in the universe. What I mean to say is that each girls life was drastically driven into fairy tale happiness and love because of their experiences with romance. Haruka married a man who loved and embraced her insanity, Kaoru fell in love with her best friend who stood by her when her family faced a major schism, Sae learned to overcome her agoraphobia with the help of the big and strong upperclassmen who was so sweet to her, Ai had a great time with this wonderful guy she met, while they probably dropped acid together and gained a supportive lover in her life, Rihoko finally made advances on the guy she always loved, and Tsukasa learned that she could trust others to help her and rely on a good man being by her side.

 But a part of me was a bit saddened as I watched each story. Because as each new story got underway, I felt that the girls that came before had just had paradise stripped coldly and cruelly away. Each happy ending was stolen away and then handed to someone else, at first causing me to be pissed at the new girl taking Junichi away, but then I myself fell in love with her prompting me to think: "Well damn it!". I grew sympathy for each girls problems and fears and doubts and pain and I wanted Junichi to save them all, but in the end this show told me: "Nope! These are your options, you have to choose which one to believe in!" It especially broke my heart after Sae the Shy got over her fear of the world through her love's guidance only to see her in future arcs struggling to deal with these issues without Junichi's brilliant kind of bummed me out a little...and another thing, what about Kaoru's family stress? What happened to her mother and that man? Without Junichi how could she possibly be dealing with that crap?! How can the other girl(s) be managing when the one thing they were missing is hanging on to someone else now?

 It gave me a great sense of awe and wonder about how life could work. Are we really potentially that close to a life altering experience? Could simply bumping into the right person in the hallway change our lives and give us everything we ever wanted? What could have happened if I'd only stayed to chat a bit longer with this person or that person? Could we all be missing out on beautiful things in life just by missing one single person, place, or thing?! These are the kinds of things I wondered as I endured huge sympathy pains for these ladies. Like Rihoko when she needed someone to join her in the Tea Club so that when her Senior club mates graduated the club could keep going, she also conveniently had a boy whom she loved who might be willing to help her out with that! But what about the other arcs?! Did the club fall apart without Junichi in those other stories? What happened to poor Rihoko while Junichi was getting it on with some other chick?!

 This kind of stuff bothered me all through out the show...but I have to say I think that is exactly what made Amagami SS such a great experience for me. It engaged me and made me give a lot of thought and appreciation to the basic needs and wants we all have in life and how we only have a few people who are really there for us. In any of the given stories most of the characters were completely unaware of each others problems and pursuits, but they had their own crap to deal with and their own happiness to achieve. I watched people suffer through problems who made me root for them but gave me no one to blame or appeal too for sweeping salvation! It was fascinating, stimulating, hilarious, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. It had senseless moments and moments of reality checking too. The variety of experience of emotion and unpredictable events with a method of story telling which challenged what I normally accepted as right and good gave me a happily stimulating experience which I recommend to anyone who's into the Romance genre and doesn't need too much action or adventure.

 So, the big question I've had trouble answering: Which is my favorite arc?

 Well as you may have gathered from what I've told you thus far that's a damn hard question for me to answer. But I think I have to lean towards Tsuakasa Ayatsuji for my number one choice. Mainly because her relationship which she developed with Junichi seemed to have the greatest amount of legitimate substance. What I'm saying is that while these love stories were all very nice in the way they mixed fun bullshit with deep and intimate issues the Tsukasa Ayatsuji arc told a story about a budding couple who had real work to do. Tsukasa was President of the Committee in charge of planning the big Christmas bash for the entire school and Junichi volunteered to help her. The two of them in my opinion anyway dealt with the greatest amount of honest to God responsibility and mature relationship demands. Don't get me wrong, this one did have it's fair share of silly lovey dovey tomfoolery like other arcs(I'm looking at you Ai Nanasaki! I know you had some illegal substances in that belt!) which I love very much and in fact wish we had more of the silliness in real life not just anime. But my point is that I believe their relationship did the best job of unifying and balancing the lovey dovey with the practical genuine life. I also have to admit that I may be biased because it might also relate to what I'd like to have in life. A nice girl who has a dark side capable of heavy handed discipline to keep me straight and make things more intense!

 So there you have it, my best effort on article number one! Go watch the first season entitled Amagami SS and then watch Amagami SS Plus so you can follow what's up around here! I won't do more than two articles on this one I promise. Unless you want more!


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