Gintokiro's Blog – An anime blog for news and episodic reviews.

Posts tagged “School Life

Amagami SS+ Plus – Episode 02

Well, it was quite obvious that Tsukasa would see through Noriko’s plot – it was far too obvious, well clearly not that obvious seeing as Junichi completely fails to see it, however, what was not obvious is how exceedingly lucky Junichi would get in this episode. For some reason Amagami seems to have a fascination with this school grounds shed (which, never seems to be in a dimension that occupies the same space as the school however, seems unbeknownst to anyone but Junichi and whichever girl he is with) and all sorts of crazy things happen there. As we all know from the first season, whenever someone enters that shed with Junichi, strange things occur – this time it wasn’t some weird play but we actually got a proper reaction out of Tsukasa. Which by far, is the best part of this new season of Amagami. Seeing all her different faces and personalities has been the highlight of the Tsukasa ark this season – whilst the first concentrated on Junichi penetrating her iron clad facade.

Whilst I often find the generous rewards Junichi gets for his quite feeble attempts to be a bit unrealistic, I also do quite enjoy the dynamic that Junichi and Tsukasa had going on. The different ways he makes Tsukasa gradually lower her guard and break her usual fake mask is always interesting to see and the relationship we see developing from it is anything other than insincere. As I said in my first impressions of Amagami SS+ Plus, I really do not care for all this high school election plot nonsense however, Amagami makes it interesting and really ties the character development into it well. It was nice seeing Sae going strong even though se wasn’t with Junichi and Risa even made a small cameo in the hall. Junichi does actually seem to try to help and we do get the feeling that he does genuinely care for Tsukasa’s efforts and even though his reward for his efforts are pandered beyond reason, I can’t fault Junichi’s character for actually coming across as mature and truly dedicated to the point where he works his butt of to try to get to a good enough university to go with Tsukasa but even acknowledging that he accepts Tsukasa would also go without him. It is nice to see Junichi actually act like a man this season, especially compared to the Haruka arc of the first season – Junichi was practically a pet.

Just a playful dog bro…
Didn’t help with dog. Still get rewarded. 

Overall though, I’ve really enjoyed this arc. Not only did we see Tsukasa grow and develop as a character and got to see her many sides, I actually thought Junichi grew quite a lot himself and showed us a few sides we didn’t know he had. They handled this story quite well, there was drama, laughs and the romance wasn’t overdone or just weird kinky stuff. So for me, even though it was only a short lived, 2 episode arc (half the length of the original) I thought they directed it really well.

I now await the next arc, looks like Rihoko is up next and despite her getting friend-zones in the last season (hard) I really hope they give her a proper ending this time.

PS.

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Sorry Couldn’t resist.

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Amagami SS+ Plus [Gentle Bite SS+ Plus] Episode 01 – First Impressions Review

Junichi’s Dream.

Win! Seeing as Amagami SS was my favourite romance anime of 2010, I can certainly say I was looking forward to this episode, and it didn’t disappoint. Amagami SS for those who did not watch the first series – which I would highly recommend, especially if you intend to pick this up – is a romance anime with copious amounts of comedy – I was literally rolling around laughing at the Sae arc in the first season. Now, whilst might look like your typical bishoujo harem anime, it has several features which make it stand out from such a dry label. Firstly and most distinctly, Amagami uses small arcs – 4 episodes in the first series – per female protagonist, to tell the story of Junichi Tachibana who has been suffering from being stood up two years prior to the story, who now meets new a new girl and we see their relationship develop. Each arc was told pretty well and all the female characters were quite likeable. Another thing which was always interesting, was seeing how the girls from previous arcs acted around Junichi, when it was another girl’s arc. This sounds confusing and probably a bit complex for the writer, but actually, its really easy to follow and it also meant there were varying jokes, atmosphere and we didn’t fall into a nauseating harem. Anyway, lets jump into it.

One thing I quite liked was that they decided to start with Ayatsuji this time, when in the last season, she was left until last. As arguably the most interesting arc from the previous season, I was definitely looking forward to seeing how they would continue her story. From the start of this episode, I already felt like I was back watching the first season with the opening scene being Junichi dreaming about bathing with Ayatsuji. Despite the way this anime looks, the ecchi nature of this anime isn’t that gratuitous, its actually rather funny but above all; realistic. Amagami is very well written in that it makes Junichi feel so much like a real teenager, like that friend that we all have and know. From his constant ‘book’ swapping with his best friend, to his extremely ‘imaginative’ mind, he seemed like your run of the mill, hormonal teenager who does tend to have genuine feelings but wasn’t typecast as an unrealistically, innocent boy. That is one of the reasons Amagami stands out so much, it doesn’t try to be especially grande in its character personalities, but this normality is what allows us to empathise with them so well. That said, a lot of the scenarios they end up in, are not all that normal – which in contrast to what I just said, is (oddly) also what makes it very interesting. I’m sure running for student council president is common in Japan, and I’m sure rallying support is pretty common too, however, doing so in a swimsuit or coordinating a large scale sabotage effort, is not. Amagami manages to take the absurd and make it the norm. I never felt as if I was watching something quite abnormal or unrealistic (As an anime fan, I’m aware of the irony in that remark) but actually I found myself engaging quite a bit with what was happening. The scenarios are never boring, and the characters are always refreshing.

Whilst watching this, I couldn’t keep a smirk off my face. I normally do not care for high school class nonsense such as the school council elections however, as I have already said, Amagami isn’t your typical school life romance. One thing I didn’t like from Ayatsuji’s arc in the last season was the whole Founder’s Festival organisation malarky, as I said, I’m honestly have no patience to sit through a whole episode about fictional school festival planning, but Amagami made it interesting! Ayatsuji’s sabotage of the only male contestant by planning it so loads of porn falls out of his bag in this episode, was just hilarious – student council elections are serious business, by the looks of it, in Japan. Just seeing Ayatsuji doing her whole good side-bad side thing, was very amusing but also, seeing Junichi wearing the trousers for once e.g during the photo shoot – where did he get professional photo equipment anyway? – was quite nice. I felt far enough away to laugh in safety, though not quite the same could be said for Junichi. His perverted nature often seems to be in contrast with his quite timid nature, especially when Ayatsuji handles him like a boss. It was great though seeing Junichi not brooding over his trauma from two years ago – don’t get me wrong, it was a clever mechanism to push the plot along in the first season but, after seeing him go through it 6 times, its effects wore – but now living life. In this episode though, we saw Junichi take some control and saw him act like a man, a rarity – trust me, especially if you saw the the Morishima arc from the first season.

It was good. It was funny, it was animated well, there was nice music and overall, I’m loving how they’ve taken the stories further from the first season. The only thing I was slightly disappointed about was the OP and ED theme, the first season had great OP music, it really fitted the anime, and there was an individual ED for each character arc which really gave it that diverse flavour. But I guess, we can’t have it all. Anyway, there was speculation as to whether this was going to be a 1-cour per character season but by the looks of it, deservedly, the show is getting a full season. I can’t wait. So for me, Amagami SS+ Plus epsisode 01, gets a solid 8. I can only anticipate this will only get better as the season continues.

Likelihood I’ll be watching: Definite! Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Definite!