Hello there and we’re definitely well into the month of December! The cold temperature has finally started here in Northern California and it really is feeling like winter now.
December also is a very special time for myself and my blog since it’s the month that I started this little hobby of mine and wrote my first ever anime review (exact date being December 20th, 2016 if I can recall). And that review was a write-up on the 2010 romance anime Amagami SS. I remember just finishing the first season; I had so much going on in my mind regarding how much I loved that anime and I wanted to talk about it badly. So, on my already existing blog where I just aimlessly talked about my boring life, I wrote a full review on the show.
That review is long gone since it was on my past blog; however, it would’ve been nice to look back on it, see how much I’ve improved my writing skills.
That being said, since December is a special month, I decided to re-watch Amagami SS for the second year in a row. I was trying to figure out how I’ll talk about this romance anime for this year; last year, on my old blog, I re-watched it and actually reviewed every single episode. I’m not going to do that this time since I am way too busy with other things, and instead I’ll be writing a few posts revolving around the series (both on SoA and #moe404). Today’s Amagami-related feature is basically me “ranking” all the arcs, from what I think is best to worst. I thought this would be a good way of briefly expressing my thoughts/opinions on each arcs all in one post, so yeah (FYI: rank 6 = worst one, 1= the best one outta the bunch).
Also I should note that with these rankings, I have put all my bias towards particular characters and arcs aside and ordered the story arcs best to worst in a pretty honest manner. So even though I love Tanamachi Kaoru to death… you might be surprised where I put her story arc in this list.
But first, allow me to give you a bit of a synopsis/background info about this show because this is sort of like a harem anime.
Our MC, Tachibana Junichi, unfortunately was met with bad luck about two years ago when the girl who he asked out on a Christmas Eve date stood him up and never even bothered to show up at night. Thus, he was scarred from what happened on that uneventful day and decided to not try out his hand at romance any longer, as he fears that he’ll be rejected once again. Present day, Christmas is right around the corner and it seems like Junichi is gracefully given a second chance at trying to develop a romantic relationship with another person, as he meets six lovely and unique women he becomes interested in.
(It’s also good to note that this romance is in an “omnibus” format where rather than all six of these girls throw themselves on this one guy all at once, the timeline essentially resets every four episodes after a story arc has finished. Think a dating simulation/visual novel, which this anime was based off of)
6. The Sakurai Arc (eps. 17-20)
I adore a romance story between childhood/long-time friends. It’s my favorite kind of relationship, mainly because I believe it’s the best kind of relationship since you both are already comfortable with each other and have a lot in common (however this is coming from a person with zero dating experience).
The story arc with Sakurai Rihoko, Junichi’s close friend from when they were both children, is basically the “childhood friend” trope in this romance anime. And it actually really liked it! I loved Rihoko the first second I saw her in episode one; I thought she was different from all the other childhood friend characters I’ve seen in other anime where they tend to be pretty loud and annoying or just really shy and timid. With Rihoko, she’s sort of in the middle where she’s pretty chillax, has a good amount of expressiveness, and likable. This arc definitely did a great job showcasing how the friendship between Rihoko and Junichi started and developed throughout the years they’ve known each other, with it gradually leading into it going into a more romantic direction. You could tell that both of them are really close friends that care for each other…
…however what happens at the end of Rihoko’s arc, which I won’t say because it’s a pretty big spoiler, sort of ruined the whole arc for me personally. I’ll just say that while I love Rihoko and her friendship with Junichi, how her story arc was written just disappointed me so much to the point where I have to put her arc in last place (that doesn’t mean it wasn’t written well!).
(but keep in mind, last place doesn’t mean I hated this arc; I actually liked it a lot… just not as much as the others)
5. The Morishima Arc (eps. 1-4)
The first relationship we watch Junichi go through in the Amagami SS series, and while it’s a pretty darn good one as an introduction to what this show is all about, I don’t think it really lived up to the later story arcs.
Morishima Haruka’s character comes in quite a large package. She’s an upperclassman, the school’s idol whom everyone adores, beautiful as heck, comes from a foreign family, rich; the list goes on and on. Essentially, this story arc can be described as the typical “bland, nobody guy tries to go for the most popular girl in school” storyline. However, you’d be surprised since there’s actually a lot more than how I just described this arc. Things added such as the reoccurring scenes where roleplay between Haruka and Junichi are present and the different (and sometimes embarrassing) ways the two interact with each other, you can see that while they seem like people with opposite behaviors and personalities at first, in the end, you realize that they’re actually perfect for each other.
But I still hold my stance that while this was a sweet narrative and relationship to watch (episode 4 was really heart-warming), it felt pretty bland compared to the other story arcs. Sure, it had its unique aspects like the roleplaying between the two characters but there wasn’t much shown in this arc that made me really care about the relationship between Haruka and Junichi (or at least care as much as the other stories in this series). But that’s just my opinion.
4. The Nakata Arc (eps 9-12)
Oh boy, well, you know those narratives about a person/multiple people trying to befriend a timid and shy individual and sort of also help them break out of that social anxiety shell? Some good examples are Clannad, Kimi ni Todoke, and I’m currently reading a really nice manga that is all about that in Miss Komi is Bad at Communication. Well, the story arc of Junichi and freshman/one of his sister’s good friends Nakata Sae is essentially that. And to be honest, they do a pretty nice job expressing that kind of narrative with Junichi really giving it his all to assist Sae in being more sociable and less shy around others (while there were some questionable practices Junichi implemented sometimes). Whether that be making her talk to a vending machine or doing breathing exercises, it made me smile seeing Junichi care that much about Sae.
And all the work and practice definitely was worth it for Sae since she became a significantly better person later on in her story arc; it also helped in how the relationship of those two became more romantic. Overall the romance in this particular narrative, while not as obvious/prevalent as you may expected, it still had a smooth and clear connection to the other things that happened in this arc and helped make the story of Sae and Junichi a lot more interesting and memorable.
I’m also a bit surprised that Miya (Junichi’s younger sister and Sae’s close friend) was okay with their relationship lol
3. The Tanamachi Arc (eps 5-8)
KAORU’S NOT EVEN SECOND ON THIS LIST?!?! As much as I love, love, love Tanamachi Kaoru, her tomboy-ish personality, messy hair, and overall lovable presence in this series… her arc wasn’t the best, story-wise.
But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. It was actually VERY good. Since she and Junichi have been very close friends ever since they and good friend Masayoshi Umehara all met in middle school, you already can tell they have a great relationship together. However, watching Kaoru start to realize that she has feelings for Junichi and balancing that with all the drama and conflict going on in her life like how she has to work her ass off at multiple jobs in order to survive in this world with only her mother, this narrative was definitely one of the more drama-heavy ones. And I loved it! I love watching drama unfold in a romance, and I think Kaoru’s arc definitely did a good job expressing drama in a short length of only four episodes. Junichi’s involvement in Kaoru’s struggles were also notable since as we’ve seen in the other arcs, he is a very thoughtful kind of guy who is willing to help anybody, and that part of his personality really shined bright in this arc.
As for the romance, it sort of turns off and on throughout this particular arc but it still was fun to watch. Seeing Kaoru and Junichi be awkward with each other because they don’t know if they should turn their relationship from a “bro”-like one into being actual lovers, you start to wonder in what way their relationship will end up. Plus, if I believe Kaoru’s confession scene is honestly one of the best confession scenes I have ever witnessed… I think it’s self-explanatory why I really like the relationship of these two.
2. The Ayatsuji Arc (eps 21-24)
The main reason why this arc with Junichi and fellow classmate Ayatsuji Tsukasa is one of the best ones is because of how intriguing the storytelling was, with the personality changes in this particular narrative. The most obvious one being that Junichi changes his bland self a bit by joining Ayatsuji in the Founder’s Festival planning committee, where the two take on the difficult duties of organizing their school’s annual Christmas festival. However the most interesting personality change to watch was definitely Tsukasa herself since while she is seen as a kind, model student by everyone in her class, only Junichi gets to see the real Ayatsuji who is more… manipulative. It was quite a narrative to watch unfold, especially with how it would affect the romance aspect of the arc. But overall, Ayatsuji’s story arc was a great one to end the season off with.
Also just by looking at them, Junichi and Tsukasa just seems like a great pair.
1. The Nanasaki Arc (eps 13-16)
And now, here we are. What I consider is the best story arc in this series.
I loved the relationship between Nanasaki Ai and Junichi. I felt it was so genuine and had a pretty interesting progression throughout these four episodes. You have Ai, one of the best swimmers on the school’s team and an underclassman who despite the younger age, wants to be mature; while Junichi can sometimes be the opposite cause of his mild pervy nature. You would expect that kind of relationship to not sail smoothly, but somehow they developed a great relationship that later had a good chance at sparking some romance.
Speaking of romance, this arc, in my opinion, probably had the most amount of romance involved. The ways Junichi and Ai started to have feelings for each other and once it started to get serious (e.g. the scene at the park), it was really sweet to watch and surprisingly made me consider the Ai/Junichi pairing being the best and most enjoyable out of all of the them. While the development of their relationship started off slow, it definitely ended with a bang.
Also, Ai’s ending song is without a doubt the best one out of all of them.
So that’s all I wanted to say today. I hope this post was interesting to read, even for people who haven’t seen this anime yet!
Amagami absolutely has a special place in my heart, as it’s one of the few things that made me want to start this hobby of blogging about my interests. If it wasn’t for this show, who knows what I’d be doing with my spare time 😛
But anyways, thank you for reading and expect a few more posts for the remainder of December! I’ll try my best to write some good stuff on both blogs 😀
“Kimi no Mama de” (Amagami SS OP2) – azusa