Three for now, three for maybe later?
|“Let’s get the gang back together” can be a good thing, or can be kinda misleading|
Which Way Was It Going to Go
The real OTP: Ikuo and Shouichi
As more and more information trickled out about Seiren in the lead-up to the Winter season, the comparisons got stronger and stronger. To what? To Amagami SS, of course. The highly successful (at least in giving the fans what they want to see) series is the best example of a non-harem omnibus romance show. And it’s a format that, surprisingly, isn’t used more often, because it would seem to give romance and VN fans what they want: the ability to develop the relationship between the MC and all of the heroines individually, much more like the structure of many bishoujo visual novels. In fact, there aren’t many I’m aware of where there is an explicit harem in the game, focusing instead on individual routes where the couple gets the focus, and the rest of the characters are mostly just around as friends. And that’s exactly how Amagami SS handled it, splitting 24 episodes into 6 routes with 6 different heroines all finding their love with Junichi.
Hikari Tsuneki is number uno
She just had to pick *his* desk to sit on?
So when the news came out about the staff of Seiren, like director Tomoki Kobayashi who was an episode director for Amagami SS and the series director for the follow up SS+, and then series creator Kisai Takayama, who did the Original Character Design (and may have been the series creator for Enterbrain) for the previous series, people’s thoughts immediately turned to wondering about how it would be set up. And when the key visuals and character names came out, it was obviously tied into Amagami SS, even using Ai-chan’s younger brother Ikuo as one of the supporting characters. But still that question remained. We’d all been a little disappointed when Photo Kano, another Enterbrain adaptation, had changed the series plan to 5 common episodes and then 1-3 episodes per heroine, leaving a lot of them rushed and unsatisfying. But from all indications in this first episode, Seiren is going with the full split, and I think everyone rejoiced.
When you get waved over by the girl you like, you should go
How is the Actual Show?
But happily eating lunch with them probably won’t make you many fans with the other guys
Our protagonist is Shouichi Kamita, a second year student who is starting to think about his future (in this story) and isn’t particularly notable. The show spends a little of time introducing other characters, but compared to Amagami it was nowhere near as much. In particular, we don’t really get to know the other heroines of the show at all. In fact, the only mention of one of them is in passing as Shouichi’s older sister Tomoe mentions yukata shopping with her. Instead, the show gets right into setting up Shouichi and Hikari Tsuneki, the “cutest girl in the class.” Runner-up in the Miss Santa contest, she’s usually with her friends Yukie and Youko, and they seem to act like typical girls, although watching the show a second time, there’s definitely some interest from Hikari towards Shouichi. Things like sitting on his desk to force an interaction with him, or inviting him over to the girls’ table during lunch, as well as inviting herself to join his study group with Ikuo, are the kind of signs that signal that kind of thing.
Hey, can I butt in?
Who looks at this and thinks “She’s totally dating that guy”?
And from Shouichi’s point of view, it’s not really a problem, but he’s certainly not overreacting as far as interest in Hikari. He does get a little jealous about the spurious story from Ikuo, that his sister thinks Hikari is dating some older guy, but seeing her with an older guy with a beard, I’m sure the whole audience was thinking “What? That’s just some guy she’s working with, not dating.” Or the spurious story about her spending summer break with a bunch of 3rd year boys at the beach. It’s surprising that Shouichi didn’t actually listen to her when she said she was going on a trip with her family. But he’s heading to a summer cram school camp in the mountains to better himself. What’s going to happen now that she’s crashed into his room at the camp?
A tell… tail?
When it became obvious they’re limiting the number of heroines for the series to 3, and focusing on just one girl for now, I think everyone was pretty happy. Now we can relax and focus on the content rather than the structure. I thought that this first episode was pretty laid back. There’s not much overreaction happening on anyone’s part, and the characters all seem rather chill. They are also fairly likable, with no annoying flaws. So now it’s just to settle in and watch the rest of the show.
Eventually they’ll get to Kyouko-kouhai